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Archive | Voices and Views

Vet appreciates anonymous note

This note was given to my husband, a 91-year-old WWII veteran, at the Burger King in Cedar Springs by a young lady who recently graduated from Cedar Springs High School last year. I thought it might be appropriate to post the letter to all local vets. My husband was deeply touched by her verbal “thank-you” as she pushed this note toward him as she left the restaurant.

Here is the text: 

Dear World War Two Vet,

Hi! I am a stranger, but I am indebted to you. It is because of people like you that I can do the things I do. I do not know or understand what you’ve been through, but I appreciate your commitment to keeping the country safe. You have my utmost respect and gratitude. Thank you for your sacrifice and service. Thank you for being willing to put your life on the line to keep total strangers away from harm. America is founded on men with hearts like yours. You are a true hero.

A thankful stranger.

A few people suggested that I submit the letter to the Post to not only recognize local vets but also to recognize the thoughtful young lady, who like many others these days show their gratitude long over due to vets still living, who deserve to be thanked.

Margaret Bieszka, Plainfield Township

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The Coin of the realm

By Lee H. Hamilton

Debate in Congress has always been contentious. The levels of vitriol may seem especially acute these days, but confrontation is not new. I can remember times on Capitol Hill when “debate” was actually more of a screaming match than a civil discussion.

Back then, we had a colleague who invariably stepped forward at these times to remind each side that if we wanted to get anything done—rather than just shout at each other for the cameras—we had to have a measure of trust in one another. We used to call this his “Trust is the coin of the realm speech.” And though we joked about it, we appreciated it—because he was right.

Representative government depends on trust. It depends on trust among policy-makers in Congress, even when they don’t agree with one another. It depends on popular trust in the people who make decisions on Capitol Hill and in the White House. It depends on trust in those who are charged with implementing those laws. And it requires trust in the institutions in which those decisions are produced and implemented.

We might have joked about my long-ago colleague’s speech, but trust really is the coin of the realm. It is a bedrock requirement of democratic governance. If there’s nothing but cynicism, deep suspicion, and lack of confidence in the system, it cannot work.

To understand how interwoven trust must be within the system, think about it from the point of view of ordinary citizens. We have to believe that our voices will be heard, listened to, and taken into consideration in the halls of power.

This means that those in power must be accountable, and that the institutions they serve in will function in predictable, rule-based ways. Which is why it is so damaging when government acts in ways that diminish trust.

If you feel that government is just helping corporations and rich people, you lose confidence in the system. If people see a government that tolerates a high degree of economic inequality in the country, and great disparities in opportunities between rich people and middle-class people, they no longer trust that system.

Yet for representative democracy to work, public officials, politicians and policy makers have to have a sufficient level of support from ordinary people. You and I have to believe that our representatives will in fact level with us rather than present half-truths and distortions, and will act in our interests. Similarly, for government to have any standing in our lives, we have to have confidence in the experts, technocrats, and frontline staff who make the system work.

This means, in turn, that government has to be able to deliver the goods, the services, the protections that people expect. So the performance of the government—its efficiency and effectiveness—is fundamental to the success of representative democracy.

It’s the same with our elected representatives. If they can’t show they’re able to function according to the rules, traditions and norms that we expect, if they are unable to demonstrate durability in the face of adversity, if they are unable to acknowledge the facts, if they cannot rise above division and gridlock and negotiate to get things done, then we lose faith. This may explain why so many have become suspicious not just of our government, but of one another.

 

Ironically, one cure for this lack of trust is more exposure to the system, through engagement and participation in politics or in civic life. If people are regular participants in political parties, clubs, organizations, or associations of all kinds in their communities, they are much more likely to carry some level of trust in government. And to the extent they don’t do these things, public life seems more distant and less trustworthy.

There is no doubt that my colleague was right. If the various levels of government don’t enjoy the trust of the people, if within each level the participants don’t trust one another, then representative democracy doesn’t work.

This is why the low levels of trust we see in the United States today are so worrisome. How far down this road can we go before we lose the ability to function effectively as a democracy?

 

Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar of the IU Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies; and a Professor of Practice, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs. He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years.

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Post Scripts NOTICE

The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election. 

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Info on fire station bond proposal

 

Fellow Cedar Springs residents, 

I want to provide some information about the upcoming bond proposal to build a new fire station in Cedar Springs.  The current building is 40 years old. During the 40 years the CSFD has needed to grow its capacity to protect 5,600 people. Our 17 volunteer firefighters work selflessly to ensure our safety getting a per call payment that barely covers the price of lunch. A recent fire study done in conjunction with Solon Twp revealed that we have exceptionally short response times and we compensate our fire fighters well below what is standard practice for volunteer fire fighters. When it was suggested at a council meeting that we raise their pay, the fire fighters said what they really needed was an adequate facility for our growing community. Building a new fire station is necessary to meet that need by allowing for more and larger trucks while following updated federal requirements since 9/11. If you have further questions please reach out to me. I am happy to answer questions.  

Pam Conley

Mayor Protem City of Cedar Springs

 

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Taking fire truck put people at risk

 

I am not a resident of the Village of Sand Lake, but I am in the area serviced by the Sand Lake Fire and Rescue. I was appalled when I read the recent article about one of the units being taken to a parade in an area not even served by Sand Lake when back-up is needed. Just thinking about the risk this created for those of us who often work in fields and woods not accessible to the big, heavy, awkward vehicles gave me a horrible sense of abandonment. Is there no common sense in politicians?

The Unit Being taken: probably Wrong

The Unit Being taken without the knowledge and consent of the Fire Chief, Ed Holtzlander; definitely WRONG.

The Unit Being taken and used to support a politician; NO BRAINER. Again I ask, Is there NO common sense in politicians?

Sincerely,

Karen Hayden, Ensley Township

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Vote for Trent Gilmore

 

To the residents of the Cedar Springs School District,

As a long time teacher at Cedar, and a former graduate I would like to take this opportunity to strongly urge you to vote for Trent Gilmore for our school board in the upcoming election. It has been my pleasure to have known Trent for the last 25-plus years.  I know him to be one of the most honest and competent individuals I have ever met.

Trent has served in the FFA in Clare, Michigan as a local and regional officer, and has been a responsible, upcoming manager at Consumer’s Energy. He has worked for Consumers as a laborer, and worked his way up in management. He therefore has experience on both sides of the union issue. Having observed Trent as he has grown from a young man to a father of three of my grandchildren, I can say that he is an excellent decision maker.

I think the community could do no better than to choose Trent to remain on the school board.

Larry Reyburn, teacher Cedar Springs High School

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New Village of Sand Lake Main Street project

 

The paving of Sand Lake’s Main Street is done and looks beautiful. We appreciate all the leg work and research done by former Village of Sand Lake President Roger Towsley to get this project going. Everyone please come and visit The Village of Sand Lake and check out the awesome job well done.

Marcia and Marty Helton

Village residents of Sand Lake

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Solon Twp Ordinance on Lot Size

 

The current Solon Twp Board has gone against the wishes of voters and passed an ordinance requiring a 2-acre home site. They have passed this despite citizen’s survey responses of 61 percent wanting to leave lot size at 1-acre.

When the township master plan was updated in the 90’s, a majority of the residences responding to a similar survey also preferred the 1-acre lot size and the board followed their recommendations.

The board’s idea of saving farmland and natural resources is nonsensical. Requiring lots to be twice the size encourages urban sprawl, reduces tillable farmland, and disturbs wildlife habitat and resources.  

Residents’ quality of life would not be improved either. Under the ordinance, homeowners would be required to mow and rake lots twice the size as a 1-acre lot. Larger lot sizes require more time to maintain, reducing quality time with family and friends or overall enjoyment of their property.  

This ordinance is bad for residents and even worse for the future of Solon township.  Vote “NO” on Proposal 18-4-Z.

John Cornell

Retired Solon Twp Supervisor

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Money wasted on pocket park

Post Scripts NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

Many of you may be familiar with the area just to the north of city hall. That is the area that previously had broken cement with two handicapped parking spaces. It was with anticipation that I noticed work being done on that area. Problem is, it was not fixing the parking spaces, but putting in what is called a “pocket park.” The city council and the city manager decided that would be a better use for the space. It may look better than the broken concrete but it’s not very useful. There is no seating, no parking and no identifiable useful space. With winter coming, whatever use might have been imagined for the “park” is not going to happen at least until spring. Handicapped parking was at least a year around use.

The handicapped parking is now out on Ash Street, in another area with broken concrete and only one space instead of two. It is now a much longer and painful walk to get into city hall for anyone who must count each step with a mobility aid. If you are not very careful, you will be in danger of falling if your cane or walker falls into one of the cracks. It doesn’t appear that our handicapped residents are considered when these types of decisions are made.

People who make these decisions should not be allowed to decide how to spend the three million dollars that is being asked for to build a new fire barn. I suggest, if you agree, to vote NO on the fire barn. 

Allen King

City of Cedar Springs

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Vote Gilmore for school board

Post Scripts NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election.


 

Dear Cedar Springs Voters,

You have an opportunity to impact the lives of students by voting Trent Gilmore for Cedar Springs School Board in November.

Trent Gilmore takes an interest in those around him. He is the first to jump in and get involved when there is a need. Trent saw there was an opportunity to serve on the local school board where his children attend and he stepped up to the task. You won’t find a more hard working, genuine individual. If you’ve met Trent you can speak to his authentic interest in those he meets. Quick with a smile and a handshake, you know you’ve met a friend.

Coming from a family of educators, Trent’s life attests to the value he places on education. Trent worked to put himself through college while working full-time and caring for his family. A natural teacher himself, Trent is quick to share whatever he is learning, reading, or building with his co-workers, family, and neighbors.

Trent asks great questions, reserves judgment until all the information is present, and keeps the students as the priority. For all of these reasons and many more, I believe Trent will be an asset to our community in this role.

Please join me in voting for Trent Gilmore for Cedar Springs School Board on Nov. 6th.

Natasha Mueller, Courtland Township

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