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Archive | Voices and Views

Support 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. 


I am writing in support of Mr. Trent Gilmore joining the Cedar Springs school board and would like to encourage my fellow residents to strongly consider him for this role, as a most qualified candidate. 

Having known Mr. Gilmore for many years, I can attest to his character, work ethic and sense of responsibility. He will always lend a helping hand or give sound advice to those who need it. He is seasoned in business matters and adept at looking at a problem from all angles, considering the input of others and proposing rational solutions.

I have seen him excel as a leader and be equally effective as a team player. His ability to collaborate with others, with patience and respect, will be crucial to making progress towards the board’s vision.

Mr. Gilmore is and will be an effective communicator. He will work hard to help keep the public informed of the district’s progress and challenges.    

I have no doubt that Mr. Gilmore will help to establish a clear vision for our school district and will work hard to ensure that the team sets goals and measures its success, in a matter that is well considered, planned and executed, and fiscally responsible.

Most importantly, as a father in our district, his focus will be on what is best for our students.  I truly believe that and will be placing my vote for Mr. Gilmore.

Andy Fochtman, Algoma Township

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Michigan should not automatically prosecute 17 year-old as adults

 

By Det./Sgt. Theodore Nelson, retired, Michigan State Police

For much of my twenty-five year career as a Michigan State Trooper, I agreed with those who argued for lowering the age at which minors could be prosecuted as adults. Then I started teaching high-school-age kids at a career center and my thinking changed. Getting to know these kids, I see young people who struggle with decision-making, peer pressure, lack of adult role models, lack of parental support, and a general lack of knowledge about the direction in which they are headed. They need direction, guidance, and advice by teachers, coaches, counselors, and other community resources. If instead we put 17-year-olds in the criminal justice system for non-violent crimes, we start them on a cycle from which many will never emerge.   

Only four states automatically prosecute 17-year-olds as adults. Unfortunately, Michigan is one of them, and it does so regardless of the severity of the crime. 

This public policy is not sustainable. It’s out-of-step with best practices, recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions, and Michigan law. On top of that, the punishment is cruel, discriminatory, and counter-productive. Approximately two-thirds of Michigan youth prosecuted as adults were convicted of non-violent offenses that did not include weapons.

Sending these kids to an adult prison—rather than to a juvenile facility—significantly reduces the likelihood they will obtain a diploma or certification. Many suffer severe mental and physical damage from the violence and sexual abuse endured while in the adult prison system.  

The current policy has a strong negative impact on all Michiganders, as nearly all incarcerated individuals eventually come home to our communities. Keeping that in mind, it makes sense to ensure that these young people return as assets, not as liabilities. This means promoting and advancing policies that support effective, rehabilitative practices and job preparedness. 

The best path to achieving this outcome for 17- year-olds is to ensure that they never enter the adult criminal justice system in the first place. National research shows that youth exiting the adult system are 34 percent more likely to re-offend, re-offend sooner, and escalate to more violent offenses than their counterparts exiting the juvenile justice system. Furthermore, Michigan’s impacted youth face an incredible hurdle to employment upon their release: an adult criminal record.  

Simply put, the national research indicates that Michigan’s current policy is better at preparing youth for a life of crime than re-entering society. The current law misses the mark morally, ethically, and is not practical in its application.

The state legislature is currently considering a 10-bill package that fixes this problem while promoting public safety and holding youth accountable for their actions. I’m urging them to raise the age before the current legislative session expires in December. Concerned citizens should contact their state legislators and do the same. 

For more information on Raise the Age, please go to www.raisetheagemi.org.

Theodore “Ted” Nelson is a resident of Howard City. His 25-year career with the Michigan State Police included serving as a trooper in Detroit and investigating large-scale narcotic conspiracy cases. He also has 17 years experience teaching high school students at a career center. He is now a member of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership, a nonprofit group of police and other law enforcement trying to improve the criminal justice system. You can see his full bio at https://lawenforcementactionpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Ted-Nelson2017.pdf.

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Who voted for the Health Care Bill

 

AARP opposes act it calls an ‘age tax’ on older Americans

AARP – June 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives on May 4, 2017 passed the American Health Care Act by a razor-thin margin: 217 to 213. It includes an “age tax” that AARP says would add as much as $13,000 to the cost of insurance for those 50 to 64, and would discriminate against people with preexisting health conditions such as cancer and diabetes. What’s more, we believe it would cause millions of Americans to lose coverage and put Medicare in worse financial shape, according to AARP.

That’s just a partial list of what we believe is wrong with the legislation, which is now under Senate consideration. AARP promised to hold members of Congress accountable if they voted for this bill.

Here they are for the state of Michigan:

MI-1 Jack Bergman

MI-2 Bill Huizenga

MI-3 Justin Amash

MI-4 John Moolenaar

MI-6 Fred Upton

MI-7 Tim Walberg

MI-8 Mike Bishop

MI-10 Paul Mitchell

MI-11 Dave Trott

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What does it mean to be an American? 

 

By Lee H. Hamilton

Tell me: What does it actually mean to be an American? In the press of day-to-day events and amid the ongoing tumult of politics, we don’t think about this much. Yet it’s a crucial question, one that each generation in this country is called upon to answer for itself.

Despite our differences, there are some traits that I think we and our predecessors would recognize—characteristics to being an American that resonate with most of us, regardless of our age or our political beliefs. For instance, I believe the aim of our representative democracy is to enhance the liberty of free people, and to offer them the opportunity to make the most of their talents. This lies at the root of what it means to live in a representative democracy: extending respect to all and wanting every person to be aware of his or her political importance.

Perhaps the most eloquent expression of this view is the awe-inspiring Declaration of Independence, which remains a core inspiration both for our political values and our shared identity. The notion that all people are created equal, that we possess God-given inalienable rights, including to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—these are beliefs that undergird our democracy.

They suggest that our country can—and should—be an example to the world of what a government of liberty can mean in the lives of citizens. And that we should never stop trying to make the world a better place. Bringing these values into our policies and our politics depends on all of us—another notion embedded in this country since the beginning.

Often people ask, “Where are the Jeffersons or Lincolns in this time of need?” They understand that the quality of our elected leaders makes all the difference, and that bold, decisive, thoughtful leadership is essential for our country’s success. Yet while I recognize the need, ultimately our success as a nation will rest on the strength and capabilities of our citizens. The Founding Fathers spoke often of the need for citizens of virtue and talent, for people capable of governing themselves.

We do so through our political institutions, within a framework set out in our Constitution. While our system is not perfect, it has provided us with the tools to meet our challenges and in a better fashion than any likely alternative.

Politics as it is practiced in our country can bring despair and crushing defeat. But it can also produce splendid achievements. If you enter politics, you have to be prepared for both. I know that a lot of people view politics with disdain and disapproval, yet over the course of a long political life, I never felt the desire to escape it. Just the opposite, in fact. I knew a lot was at stake in the battles, and I embraced them.

To be sure, I pursued them at a time when it was possible to find common ground across partisan divides, and when respecting one’s opponents did not bring immediate censure from donors and primary voters. The atmosphere is different now. Yet the basic need—for using the political system to resolve fundamental challenges—has not changed.

Nor has one of its most basic features: a permanent tension between the preservation and expansion of individual freedom on the one hand, and the stability and strength of the nation on the other.

Government must have enough power to protect the national interest and to be capable of addressing deep-seated problems. It must secure and enlarge personal liberties while maintaining order and stability. It must provide the national security necessary for the preservation of freedom.

These are not contradictory goals, but they do rub against each other. How we interpret them—how far in one direction or the other we go as our national circumstances change — is a constant challenge. Being an American means not shying away from that task, but instead embracing it as part of our birthright.

Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar, IU 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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Securing the Integrity of Michigan’s Elections

 

By Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson

This is my last year as your Secretary of State and I am proud of what we have done to promote voter registration and secure the integrity of our elections. 

Because of our efforts, USA Today has ranked Michigan number one in the nation for getting eligible people registered to vote. There are currently 7.4 million Michiganians registered to vote in 2018 and we are ranked in the top 25 percent in the nation for voter turnout. Over the last 7 years we have registered 4.9 million voters in Michigan. In the August 2018 Primary 2.1 million Michigan voters broke the turnout record with an increase of 12 percent since the 2014 election. 

It’s clear Michiganians are engaged in our elections process and I am proud that they have a secure elections system which guarantees that their vote counts on election day.

In my administration, we’ve worked on election integrity since day one. PEW rates Michigan among top states for conducting elections, thanks in large part to our local clerks. 

In just over seven years we have removed 1.2 million names from the Qualified Voter File including 604,532 who are deceased, 144, 303 who moved out of state, and 3,505 who were non-citizens.

We have invested $40 million to purchase state-of-the-art voting machines for all 83 Michigan counties and we have invested 11.2 million dollars in upgrades and security measures to make sure our current and ongoing elections process is secure. 

Michigan has become a model for other states for post-election audits and ballot validation through a hand count process. We have conducted 1,787 post-election audits. We have helped train 30,000 poll workers and we have expanded training for 1,520 local clerks. And we have replaced a 20-year-old qualified voter file with a more secure system. I am happy to add that we have guaranteed the use of paper ballots in Michigan’s elections, making sure we have a paper trail for every vote in our state. 

Our administration has set goals and we have met them. I am so pleased with our team and all the work we have accomplished in the last seven and a half years. 

Every Michiganian can feel confident in the security and integrity of our state’s elections system. It is a legacy that I am happy to leave behind as I finish out my second term as your Secretary of State. Thank you for putting your trust in me and my team with your vote. It has been an honor serving you. 

Ruth Johnson

Michigan Secretary of State 

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Mackinac Center applauds Gov. Snyder’s “outside the box” reforms

 

Reforms make it easier for those with criminal records to gain employment 

 MIDLAND — Gov. Rick Snyder issued an executive order September 7 making it easier for people with criminal backgrounds to earn a second chance at gainful employment. Applicants for state employment and people seeking an occupational license will no longer be disqualified just because they have a criminal record. Also, people enrolled in job training programs while incarcerated will know upfront if their background prevents them from obtaining certain employment, and the state will help them get licensed if they need to.

Removing barriers to employment for people with criminal records—which is a large and growing demographic—benefits the public in multiple ways. Research has shown that employment is a key factor influencing someone’s probability to reoffend. Employed ex-offenders are much less likely to commit new crimes, improving public safety. Further, removing these barriers for ex-offenders may help Michigan employers find the talent they need.

More than 20 percent of Michigan jobs now require a state license, which mandates fees, training, exams and more. The vast majority of these licenses, prior to Gov. Snyder’s executive order, restricted people with criminal backgrounds from working legally in these fields. This disproportionately impacts blue-collar workers and those with trade skills, including roofers, painters, cosmetologists, barbers, security guards and many other jobs in high-demand fields.

“A past mistake should not prevent someone from being able to shampoo hair or put up gutters for a living. But that was the reality,” said Jarrett Skorup, director of marketing and communications at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “This is a great move by Gov. Snyder that will help ex-offenders, job creators and the rest of society.”

As a result of these orders, the Michigan Department of Corrections will ensure that prisoners meet the licensing requirements prior to enrolling in job-training programs, like Vocational Village. As part of this reform, additional trades will be taught at Vocational Village.

Kahryn Riley, director of the Mackinac Center’s criminal justice initiative, sees these changes as transformational for former offenders, and a significant step forward for Michigan in the national effort to get smart on crime.

“Michigan’s government has done a great thing by banning the box for state employment—and it has set a great example.” Riley said. “Our state courts hand out nearly 50,000 felony convictions every year, so it’s incredibly important to ensure that people who have made mistakes can still find work and become contributing members of society. This could also be a game-changer for trades facing labor shortages.”

About the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan, free-market think tank dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Michigan residents. Its policy experts develop solutions to state and local economic policy challenges based on fundamental principles of free markets, individual liberty, limited government and the rule of law. Headquartered in Midland, Mich., the Mackinac Center has grown into one of the nation’s largest state-based think tanks since its founding in 1987. For more information, visit www.mackinac.org.

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Farewell from Brook Nichols

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.

 


Farewell from Brook Nichols

Fourteen years ago, I decided to run for the school board. There were two seats open and five candidates. I was fairly new to the area and didn’t know many people, but I was successfully voted in and ran for two additional terms after that. Being on the board was so much different than I thought it would be, but I learned a lot about myself, working with others and most importantly, I learned how much people in this community truly care about their students. Many things have changed over the 14 years I served on the school board and we have gone through some tough times and had to make difficult decisions, but I feel very optimistic about the future of Cedar Springs Public Schools and am excited to see what happens from here. Since our youngest graduated, we decided to move closer to our jobs and family, so I had to resign a few months prior to my term ending. I will miss being a part of this community on a daily basis, but will always be grateful for the years we lived here and raised our girls here. Thank you for the opportunity to serve on the school board for so long. See you on Red Flannel Day! 

Sincerely,

Brook Nichols

Former member of Cedar Springs Board of Education

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Our legacy lives on

 

 

Book donation completed

by: Lois Allen

We reached out to our readers and asked for financial help to keep our history in book form by contributing to the binding of The Cedar Springs Post Newspaper for the years, 2016 and 2017. Thankfully, our readers responded.

We now have enough money to make it happen. Our thanks and appreciation go out to those donors including Nancy Nielsen, our very first donor, as well as Dan and Donna Clark, Kim Gillow and Mary Balon, Sally Thompson and one anonymous.

We will have a dedication page in these books to honor their contribution with their names to be seen and appreciated for years to come.

Thank you!

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Community focus opportunity

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.


As the new school year begins, we want to include prayers for safety and success for all involved throughout our community.

Learning is a gift from God. As we begin this new school year, we give God thanks that he has given us thanks to learn many things in many ways.

Loving God, sometimes the new school year seems exciting or scary or both. Help us to remember to show our thanks for your gift of learning by doing our best everyday. We ask that you bless our schools, teachers, classmates, volunteers, friends, and administrators. We ask that you bless those who prepare our lunches, those who drive us to school, and those who keep our schools safe and clean. 

We ask God’s blessing on this new school year that it may be a time when we appreciate and fully use God’s gift of learning, Amen. 

Ann Scott

Cedar Springs United Methodist Church

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A More perfect union

 

Lee Hamilton

By Lee Hamilton

You know these words, but how often do you stop to think about them? “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…”

They belong, of course, to the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. That remarkable document is not just the blueprint for our political system. Its Preamble is also a profoundly aspirational call to arms. Because when you read it, it’s hard not to ask yourself how we’re doing—at establishing justice, promoting the general welfare, securing the blessings of liberty, and, in sum, creating a more perfect union.

It’s especially hard to avoid asking this question now, when the warnings of democracy in retreat are all around us. For many, the creeping authoritarianism that has taken hold in any number of countries—Russia, China, Bolivia, Turkey, the Philippines, and Hungary, among others—seems alarmingly on the ascendant.

You can also look around and find developments that make you wonder whether the world’s democracies have much cause for complacency. Worrisome environmental trends, population growth, climate change, the ills that go along with rising consumption—like mountains of trash and depletion of natural resources—all suggest a world unable to rein in its appetites.

Yet it’s undeniable that we’ve come a long way in this country and in other democracies, expanding women’s rights and the rights of minorities, ending child labor, banning nuclear testing, improving literacy, building strong economies. The world’s most vibrant economies and most nimble military forces remain mostly in the hands of democratic nations: the U.S., France, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, and Australia.

I don’t believe that people around the world favor authoritarianism. They prefer a voice in government. But most of all, they want decent lives for themselves and their children. They are not so wedded to a democratic system that if they see no improvement in their lives, they’ll reject authoritarianism. So democratic governments have to perform. They have to meet the expectations of their people and improve the quality of their citizens’ lives.

In the U.S., many Americans, worried about the direction of their country, wonder whether it is making progress toward the ideals of the Preamble. We seem to advance, fall back, and then move forward again, all in incremental steps.

What do we mean when we talk about “a more perfect Union”? I suppose we think of material progress. But more fundamentally, I hope, we think about the expansion of human freedom and progress toward the goals set out simply and eloquently in the Preamble. There’s a sense that we’re all in this American experience together: it brings us together and connects us with our past, present and future.

The American experiment in representative democracy is always a work in progress. The results are always in doubt. Lincoln’s words at Gettysburg — “whether a nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure”—will probably resonate for as long as we’re a nation.

We face immense systemic problems at the moment: racial discrimination, wage stagnation, staggering income inequality, political polarization, the pernicious effects of too much money washing around in the system, the degradation of civil discourse. It is not a given that we’ll be able to resolve them, and we always have to be alert to the fact that our freedoms and rights can be eroded. Which means that to prevent this erosion we have to step up to the task of responsible citizenship.

This is a challenge for every generation. We’ve stepped up to it in the past, through world wars, the Civil War, economic recessions and depressions. As Americans we believe in a set of democratic ideals, basic rights, fundamental freedoms, and the notion that all people are created equal and all are entitled to dignity. These are ideas that give us cohesiveness and identify us.

But we cannot take our ability to deliver on them for granted. Without a renewal of energy and commitment to the democratic values of the Constitution, without acting on the call issued by the Preamble, we could lose them.

Lee Hamilton is a Senior Advisor for the Indiana University Center on Representative Government; a Distinguished Scholar, IU 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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