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Archive | Post Scripts

City manager was run out town

 

Thursday night’s council meeting was our City Manager, Thad Taylor’s, last. Mr. Taylor came here three years ago as a very experienced, well-qualified manager who has since received high praise from many citizens, professionals, businesses and developers. He did all he could to move our city forward and was successful in bringing several new businesses to town.

Regrettably, Thad Taylor has been run out of Cedar Springs! He was blindsided by a group of people who made his job unendurable. These people now sit on our Council advancing their own personal agendas over the interests of the community as a whole. They are catering to special interest groups, spending thousands of dollars that should be spent on our crumbling sidewalks and roads under the guise of “the good of the community.” I found Councilor Powell’s sudden concern for finances, in searching for a new manager, seemingly hypocritical given the fact that she freely encourages council to write blank checks for unbudgeted items benefiting groups she supports and is affiliated with.

Ignoring Thad’s MML recommendation Council Conley urged Council to get opinions from stakeholders on what qualities they wanted in a manager. After some debate, the decision was made to allow the public to have a say. Aren’t we, the taxpayers, the biggest stakeholders after all? On November 19, at 7:00 p.m. there will be a special meeting for the public to express their opinions on what qualities a city manager should possess. I’m hoping integrity and transparency are among those at the top of the list. I also hope this council strives to acquire the same characteristics because, to date, I have sensed a great deal of ignorance of the law along with a failure to listen to those who do understand the gravity of making decisions contrary to it, that being the manager and city attorney.

I support libraries and community buildings but the council’s first responsibility is the health, safety and welfare of its citizens; running the fund balance down is not in our best interest. When Council passes a resolution giving special advantages to groups determined to get their ideas advanced regardless of the consequences and when, as a member of the Planning Commission, I am asked to make a decision “in the spirit of the law,” basically ignoring the law, there is something seriously wrong with the governing unit of this city. If citizens attended meetings or watched council meetings on youtube.com they would better understand the critical nature of business that is going on behind the scenes.

I wish Thad Taylor God’s speed and a professional group of people to work with in Manistee, something he so desperately deserves.  He will be missed.

Kathryn Bremmer, Cedar Springs

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Here’s what’s going on in Sand Lake

 

As a trustee for the Village of Sand Lake, I support our Police Chief and officers. Although I cannot express each trustee’s feelings here, I can say that, as a council, we support our police. Their job is difficult, and with so much public scrutiny of law enforcement nationally, it seems like every action a police officer takes is questioned. We believe we have good police officers who enforce the law.

The Village’s Zoning Administrator has told the Police Chief that he needs to leave, which is an overreach of his authority. The Village President and Council have the authority over the Police Department. The Zoning Administrator has made an issue of the Police Chief’s “theology,” making a mistaken assumption about which religious denomination the Chief belonged to, and that eventually led to a question about whether the Chief was “a sinner.” These are civil rights issues.

To be told to ignore the law and walk away, as our Zoning Administrator directed our Police Chief, betrays the public’s trust that police are here to protect people by enforcing the law. The police are sworn to uphold the law, and so is the Village Council and other Village officials, including the Zoning Administrator. By ignoring laws and putting “blinders on,” as the Zoning Administrator says, the police and Village officials would be no better than the people who break the laws.

The Zoning Administrator’s attack on the Police Chief, his officers, and the Village Council, in his letter to the Post (11/12/15—What is going on in Sand Lake?) is unjustified. As a Council, we cannot terminate the Chief’s employment, ask him to resign or retire because he is guilty of enforcing laws, nor can we make an issue of his “theology,” which was never a consideration for his employment or a condition of his job.

The Zoning Administrator said in the Post Scripts that rumors and personal conflicts are the strength of the community. I think that cooperation and collaboration make a stronger community. When police, residents, and businesses cooperate and collaborate, everyone wins. When laws are not enforced, we all lose.

David R. Dewey, Sand Lake Village trustee

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What is going on in Sand Lake?

 

“What is going on with the Village?” A question that I’ve fielded more frequently of late.  The divide between residents of the Village of Sand Lake and the administration has risen to the surface recently with the ordeal surrounding the proposed CMC Tavern.  I’ve heard many stories and versions of the same story; one thing for sure, many residents are fed up, and the administration seems reluctant to listen to their concerns.

At the center of the controversy, which has been brewing for years, is the Chief of Police.  The Chief serves at the pleasure of the Village Council; hence, they are brought into the fray when they condone Police actions that are at least controversial, and at worst divisive.  The fact is this: many residents have the perception that the police are less than professional and have no confidence in their performance.  The opposing perception is; the Chief is right and just in all his actions, and that holders of the opposing perception are rumor-mongers, liars and less than honest citizens (have an ax to grind).

So far, a statement of current conditions. Evaluating past history, understanding both sides of the controversy, and searching for the root cause of this mendacity, one finds the central figure to be the Chief of Police. Be it fact or perception, he is the catalyst for this current divisive state of the community.

It is my opinion that an early retirement is in order, which will allow the Chief to depart with dignity.  The Village can then begin the healing process and strive to become the small town it can be. We have had our controversies in the past, there will always be rumors and personal conflicts; that, in fact, is the strength of any real community. However, when those controversies and personal conflicts prove damaging to the domestic tranquility of the community as a whole, action must be taken to clean and heal the wound.

May God have mercy on my soul.

Dan Hula

Resident, Village of Sand Lake

 


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 PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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What is a leader?

 

A leader is:

Accountable – they take responsibility.

Honest – honorable in principles, intentions and actions.

Focused – know where they are going.

Passion – live, breathe, eat, and sleep their mission.

Respect – treat people the same, no playing favorites.

Confident – believes in one’s self and what they are doing.

Clarity – saying yes to the right things and no to the others.

Integrity – have strong moral principles.

Inspire – encourage those to be the best they can be.

Compassionate – show concern for others.

Collaborative – takes input and feedback from those around.

Communicative – share their vision to those around.

Fearless – not afraid to take a risk or make a mistake.

Genuine – clear on what your values are and have courage to hold true to them.

Thank you, Superintendent VanDuyn, for being our leader. Thank you for your vision of what Cedar Springs can become and for your dedicated service to moving us forward. I have been employed here for over 13 years and have never felt more a part of this team. To you, no job is too big or too small. We all matter; we all play an important part  in this school system. Decisions you make are not always easy but you do what is in the best interest of the students and this school. I thank you for your courage to stand for what is right.

Becca Fisk, Ensley Center


 

Post Script 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 PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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Concerned parent speaks out

 

I am concerned about what is happening in our school district and concerned that only one side of the story is being voiced. There is a group of school staff who seem to be unhappy with some of the changes happening in the district.  This is the voice that was heard at the school board meeting last week (10/26) and in last week’s Post (10/29). There is another voice in this situation, but I feel these voices are probably afraid to speak. I almost didn’t. Why? Because this small group of staff touch my children’s lives every day. If I speak up, how is it going to trickle down to my children? Will they be treated different by this group of staff?

Ultimately, where our district goes from here is what’s important for my children.  Our children are what are important.

The new superintendent was hired to improve the district, make it a better place for our children. That’s what she’s doing. Our district was in need of change and restructure.

It’s important for the parents of Cedar Springs to realize all the positive things that have been accomplished in the last year. To name a few: lower classroom sizes, new district website, new math curriculum (6-12), new health care clinic, new buses, academic interventionists and full time GATOR reading interventionists, upgraded/new technology added. And then, look ahead to what’s planned for the coming year; more new buses, research/selection of new math curriculum (K-5), growth of Campus Kids , fencing around Beach Elementary, responsive classroom training, an interactive Rotary Club for high school students, new board policies and operation procedures, and increased safety/security at our school entrances. These are just a few of the things that have and will be done last year and this. I would encourage community members to visit www.csredhawks.org for a full list.

My hope is that parents and community members will look at the facts and see that Superintendent VanDuyn is working very hard to ensure the best for our students, and is working to move our district forward to bigger and better things.

Jennifer Skelonc, Nelson Township


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 PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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What’s happening to our school board?

 

To the Cedar Springs Community,

I am a concerned parent and community member. At Cedar Springs Public Schools, we prided ourselves on evolving our school district into one of the best in Kent County. The pillars of success that we are known for include Cognitive coaching, Adaptive schools and Professional Learning Communities dedicated to ensuring our teachers and administrators are trained and proficient in delivering and enhancing our children’s learning. Our children’s education was our number one priority. But the state of our district has changed and there are behaviors and patterns that cause concern for our future.

According to the Center for Public education, the school board is supposed to serve their communities in several important ways:

  • First and foremost look out for students.
  • When making decisions about school programs, incorporate their community’s view of what students should know and be able to do.
  • Be accessible to the public and accountable for the performance of their schools.
  • Ensure that students get the best education for the tax dollars spent.

It is increasingly apparent that our leadership is acting in their best interests and beliefs vs. the community’s.  Parents, teachers and administrators have brought forward example after example—written and verbally—of concerns, mismanagement and actions not in alignment with the excellence we have achieved and come to expect in Cedar Springs. The board has not demonstrated the behaviors expected of a board:  willingness to listening, understanding the issues fully, and then acting on behalf of our children and community and what is best for their academic success. They have gone to great lengths to defend and protect their direction and new leadership, despite the feedback they are hearing. Discussion at board meetings has been misrepresented in the published minutes; they have sent numerous signals through behavior and words that our concerns don’t matter; there has been no communication on the academic strategy of our district; and they have undervalued our teaching staff. When is enough, enough?

Three of our top performing administrators have left in the last nine months—Steve Seward, Jennifer Harper and now Dave Cairy. Why?

Our focus and resources dedicated to the cognitive coaching discipline have been cut by four positions in the last year, while the data shows the overwhelming impact and value it has given to our teaching staff and student outcomes. Why?

These are just a few of the big questions. We need parents to be aware, ask questions, be informed on what is going on and help to hold the board and our superintendent accountable. Form your own opinions.

We have worked way too hard as a district to come this far and allow it to slip away. Come to the board meetings, be curious and let your voice be heard.

Laura Davis, Algoma Township  


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 PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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CS School board treasurer speaks out

 

To the Community of Cedar Springs:

I, Michelle Bayink, was unable to attend the Cedar Springs Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Monday, October 12, 2015 due to an out-of-state work assignment. I have upcoming work obligations and I will not be able to attend the October 26 and the November 9th meetings.

I am stating that at the October 12, 2015 Cedar Springs Board of Education meeting a statement was read by the board president and was not shared with me prior to the meeting and was not part of the board packet. I had no knowledge of the statement being addressed to the public and I do not support the statement.

Respectfully, 

Michelle Bayink

Board Treasurer

m3bayink@yahoo.com


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 PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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Happy with school superintendent

 

As a follow up to Lyle Perry, Jr.’s comment last week, Superintendent VanDuyn’s letter in the post was outstanding! I am very excited and hopeful about the direction I see her taking our school district. It was also very encouraging to hear the school board members voice their support of Dr. VanDuyn and all she is accomplishing at this week’s school board meeting. As a parent with four children in the district I would also like to thank Dr. VanDuyn, the administrators, teachers, and support staff for the way the lock down situation was handled on Monday. I think you all did a great job, thank you for keeping our kids safe!

Jenny Skelonc, Sand Lake

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Inspiring Letter

 

Dear Editor,

The letter in the Post from Cedar Springs School Superintendent Laura VanDuyn is outstanding! Progress achieved and plans made for the future are reassuring and inspiring!

Lyle Perry, Jr., Cedar Springs

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Shame on you

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 PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.


 

 

To the person or persons who took a tote from the Cedar Springs United Methodist church on Tuesday morning, October 6:

I want you to know just what you took. This tote was filled with health kits which were being sent for distribution to people who are victims of natural disasters or are refugees fleeing war. These combs, wash cloths, towels, toothbrushes, soap and nail care items were purchased with nickels, dimes and dollars contributed by children during Vactation Bible School and church members who supported them. They were expressing their concern for other children and their families who have nothing yet seek to regain their personal dignity. You did not steal from us – you have taken from folks who are really in desperate need. Think about it!

Ann Scott, Missions Team Chariperson

Cedar Springs United Methodist Church

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