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Let the people elect our mayor

My condolences to the family of our beloved council person and mayor, Ron Merlington, who had a great big heart for the people of Cedar Springs.

Soon, seven council members will be deciding who your mayor will be for 2015. This means, that only 4 council persons will make that very critical decision. The Michigan Municipal League tells me that our city attorney, at very little cost, could help us rewrite the city charter, so that you, the caring people of our city, would vote to elect the mayor of your choice, every 4 years at the same time we elect our state governor. To me that sounds like a better plan. If you concur, talk to your council persons. My only interest is building a community that is beyond reproach.

Next week see my apology to those who were offended by my personal e-mail to council member Patricia Troost.

 

Bob Truesdale, 

Cedar Springs

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City Council takes a gamble

 

Sometimes governing bodies risk public money in the hope of benefitting the public.  And sometimes city governments use their power to take actions where their authority is questionable. Last Thursday I sat on the council trying to persuade my fellow council members to delay using  public time and resources for what I considered a questionable purpose; an investigation into last July’s alleged Open Meetings Act violations.  Admittedly, the intent of the council was not thoughtless foolishness nor has the amount spent so far been large.  But, depending on the course of the investigation and decisions of the state prosecutor, spent public funds could grow significantly. Secondly, and of even greater concern, these uses of public resources may infringe on voting process integrity. Three members of council were willing to at least put off the investigation to allow time to better understand the City’s position.

We are currently gambling at the one-dollar table, where public resources are concerned. The voting process issues cannot be valued. They are connected to the recall petition. Many readers are aware of the current recall petition seeking to replace two of our current council members. The council is using public money to conduct an investigation to demonstrate innocence. This use of public money may be illegal. Rather than show restraint until we can be legally clear, the council is pushing ahead risking our integrity, the very item they say they are trying to protect.

Here are the three numbers on which the council can still gamble:

1.  Delay  investigation (low risk)

2.  Continue  investigation  (high risk)

3.  Cancel investigation (no risk)

My number is (3).  I do not feel the investigation will lead to public confidence or satisfy all of the council members. However, if the council chooses (2), then I believe they must show responsibility by insuring the investigation is in no way violating the voting process. Would this additional time and information gathering cost more money? No, if the council will consult the attorney generals office for their opinion, yes if we go through our city attorney. Costs will also increase if the state prosecutor decides to proceed with the recall-connected investigation, number (2.)

I encourage council members and citizens to consider the most responsible course, not what might make us feel justified or avenged.

Please contact council member Dan Clark at 616-263-7172 if you want to receive more information about this issue:

a) Open Meetings Act quotes

b) Attorney General Kelley’s opinions on public money spent on recall-related activities

These comments and opinions do not represent the City of Cedar Springs nor the majority of council.

 

Dan Clark, Cedar Springs

 

 

 

 

 

 

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RF Festival threatens Chamber

We have received numerous responses to our article last week: RF Festival threatens Chamber with legal action. Below is just a sampling of comments we received through the mail, on our website, and on our Facebook page.

 

Keep Cedar Springs Red Flannel Town, USA

My sentiments are tangled in memories of living where we are in Cedar Springs for over 50 years.

The new generations didn’t know us when the Clipper Girls were with us; and when Gerald R. Ford, a future president of the United States, walked the parade with us year after year; or Emory Monroe on Red Flannel Day policed the sidewalks and traffic; or Tom Anderson in his bear skin coat, in all kinds of weather, called the names of parade participants; or we viewed 10 or more area high school bands playing and marching in the parade.

Just recalling these few events fills me with nostalgia of Red Flannel Town.

And, generations later, youth who have grown to adulthood, do not have these experiences to remember. They have their own, newer experiences, and rightly so.

I vote to keep Cedar Springs, Michigan, Red Flannel Town, U.S.A.

Very truly yours,

Lyle Perry Jr., City of Cedar Springs

 

What a joke

Please move the weekly articles regarding the childish underwear antics and aberrations between the City Council and the Red Flannel Festival Committee from the front page news. Please enter these as “Joke of the Week”!

Thank you,

Bob Robinson, City of Cedar Springs

 

From the editor: The current news articles are actually of a situation between the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce and The Red Flannel Festival. The City of Cedar Springs is not involved, other than two of their members being under recall for voting on a new logo to replace the old Red Flannel logo.

From George Follett (website) Cedar Springs always has been and always will be the Red Flannel Town. If the so called board seems to think otherwise then I suggest they take their festival to the new Solon Township hall. They have enough room. I was proud to say and brag I was from the Red Flannel Town. My how things change when they think they can be somebody. Myself and family missed last year and will not bother to attend another. I hope everyone is proud that they ruined a good thing!

 

From Trisha Dart (website) There are so many wonderful comments in support of the Chamber of Commerce. I am another who supports them. We are and will always be The Red Flannel Town. The RFF need to understand the perspective of the citizens of Cedar Springs. We are tired of the fighting. We want our community back with our slogan without questions. I grew up here and I want to raise a family here but I also want community. Stand tall Chamber in your decision. I support you.

 

From Cindy K. (website) Most people in the town know that the Red Flannel Festival is run by volunteers. What they don’t realize is that they have by laws that they must adhere to which state office terms. If the town does not like what the president of the Festival is doing and the board of directors they should get a copy of their by laws and see what can be done to remove them and to get some volunteers in there to ensure the well being of the towns legacy of being the “Red Flannel Town” and bring back harmony to our town regarding the City, the Chamber, the Library, and the Festival.
All of these organizations should be working together in the best interest of the town as a whole, thus enhancing all the organizations in Cedar Springs instead of giving us a Black Eye to the rest of the world!

 

From Nicole Snyder-Brinley (Facebook) So my 4 year old daughter and I are sitting at the table this morning eating breakfast. I was using the butter. She also wanted to use it. She said, “Let’s just share it. It makes more sense.” If my 4 year old gets the concept why can’t the Red flannel festival get it? Yes it comes down to what we all learned in preschool “SHARING IS CARING.”

 

From Kathy Bullen  (Facebook) Way to keep it classy Cedar. How embarrassing. If there were ever an example of how not to do things, the relationship between the Red Flannel Festival, Inc. and nearly everyone else would be it.

 

From Kelly Stewart (Facebook) Cedar Springs is the Red Flannel Town!! This needs to stop. Stop bringing such negativity to our Community. Sounds like it’s time for a new Red Flannel Festival Board and time to VOID that stupid trademark! It’s doing nothing but causing problems. This is not why Red Flannel was created!!!

 

From James Cheevy (Facebook) How embarassing that the city can’t even support the only thing the city has going for it. Keep bullying the festival, why would the volunteers want to continue to try to fight these people? I know I wouldn’t. Shawn, if its the city’s identity, then why did the Chamber file paperwork with the state? You knew what you were doing, and you knew what you were doing was wrong.

 

From Michelle Milzarski (Facebook) Legally “right”… Morally WRONG!

 

From: Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce (CSACOC) (Facebook) Your Cedar Springs Area Chamber would like to make it very clear that, to date, we have spent nothing on attorney fees and we truly hope that it is not ever necessary.

 

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The kindness of strangers

When I describe what it’s like growing up in Cedar Springs, I always mention the small town feel and how people seem to be looking out for each other. If you grow up in Grand Rapids, it’s a hard thing to understand and even describing it can be a challenge. However, if you have lived in Cedar Springs you know just what I’m talking about.

I have never had a serious situation where I truly required someone to look out for me but there is always a time when it is going to happen. This winter has been one of the toughest and coldest we have had here in Michigan and sometimes the elements can get the best of us. This year, those same elements got to me.

The snow drifts and ice combination on Sunday, January 19, had me sliding off the road and into the ditch. I was pretty shook up; after all it was my first time ever sliding off the road. I was in once piece and so was my car. The thing that surprised me the most was the amount of people who stopped to make sure I was okay. I realize this probably happens a lot but I can’t imagine anything like this occurring in Grand Rapids.

Many of the people who stopped offered to stay with me until my neighbor arrived to pull me out of the ditch. I sent them on their way but two gentlemen offered to get their tow rope and to come back to make sure I was out. They arrived soon after my neighbor did and quickly hooked everything up and had me out in no time.

I want to personally thank everyone who stopped to make sure I was okay. I also want to thank the two gentlemen who helped not only get me hooked up to get out of the ditch but also on helping me drive out. I also want to thank my neighbor who was quick on the moment to come and help me. A big thank you to everyone who stopped to check on me and those who helped get me out. If it wasn’t for you all, I would probably still be in that ditch!

 

Tanya Giaimo, Courtland Township

 

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City needs a leader with common sense

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. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

 

_________________________________________

Dear Editor,

I have lived around the Red Flannel Town for 80 years now, and was a resident of the city around 30 years in that time span. I have no voting power now, so maybe I can look at the machinations going on more objectively.

I do not know the council members personally and Mr. Truesdale slightly. When reading his letters to the public in prior editions of the Post, my reaction? Wow! What a great thing to keep the citizens informed, regardless!

Cedar Springs needs a leader with plain old common sense. I’m not a common sense type of person, but have enough wisdom to realize that to run a successful city, business, or anything, common sense is a requisite of great value.

Mr. Truesdale would have made a very, very good Mayor. He is honest and blessed with common sense.

Council take heed of one comment in the meeting and have no more of “underhanded dealings and slipping things in at the last minute.” This is not the most ethical way of business.

There was a comment as a reason for not voting for Mr. Truesdale. The reason came from a piece of gossip: “Mr. Truesdale didn’t believe women should be on the council.” It does give one pause. That’s a good reason?

To the mayor and council members, for the good of the city, everyone stop the pettiness. Please!

 

Alice Powell, 

Solon Township

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Were we at the same meeting?

 

After reading Kathy Bremmer’s letter in the Cedar Springs Post (11/27/2013), it’s hard to believe we were at the same City Council meeting. I had been wondering if you were ill or moved away since I haven’t seen you at a City Council meeting in several months. You were right—a woman (me) proudly took to the podium on Thursday, November 14, 2013. That’s where your truth ended. You may criticize me and disagree with me; that is your right. Attack me with lies and that is very different. I had to leave early for medical reasons, not as you stated that I wasn’t interested in important city business. I did send my regrets to our new Mayors, for my early departure.

My statements that night: First, I thanked the current and past city council members who voted Bob Truesdale into the Mayor’s seat. I felt it was the best thing they ever did for our city (not a castigation of council members). Second, I thanked the volunteers and Red Flannel Board for their hard work and dedication for our Red Flannel Festival. I thought the 2013 Red Flannel Day Festival was awesome. It was an honor and a privilege to work with the RFF board and volunteers (I said nothing about costs, police or beer tent). Third, I also said I feel the Red Flannel is like a mascot for the Cedar Springs community, like Spartie is for Michigan State, Wolverine is for U. of Michigan, Red Hawk is for Cedar Springs Schools, etc. Some people love it, some hate it, and a few just don’t care. I did say I like the new logo and I hoped that someday it might include our Red Flannel. Fourth, I asked council to table the vote on the new logo and give our residents, voters, and taxpayers a chance to review it. Most people didn’t know about the new logo until it showed up on the front page of the Cedar Springs Post the day of the council meeting. Fifth, I asked what the plans were for the new logo? What kind of costs would be involved in applying it to our city identity? Will we have to replace patches we just purchased for the police department uniforms? We just paid over $700 for them. I asked if we have to destroy or grind off the former tagline “a great place to live, work and play” from our city signs? What was the cost to develop that new logo? As we know, last year the City of Cedar Springs spent thousands of taxpayers’ dollars to destroy and replace our people’s property. How much more will we be spending on logos and taglines? Kathy, as a concerned citizen and former city councilwoman, you should be interested in these additional expenses.

Last, but not least, I addressed a rumor I have heard from several citizens—that our Cedar Springs City Council is planning to remove the Red Flannel from our water tower. I have reassured folks that because of the enormous cost, it could never happen. (I hope not.) Kathy, you have taught me a valuable lesson. If I address City Council again, I will record my every word, put it in writing, and submit it to the City Council correspondence, for the historical record. Kathy, hateful vitriol is all yours. I am a proud Red Flannel Festival volunteer. I haven’t lost friends, our family hasn’t split. The truth is, I made and renewed many wonderful friendships this past year and our family remains united. Our friends and family are looking forward to the 75th (diamond) anniversary of Red Flannel Day, 2014.

Rose Powell, Red Flannel Town, USA

Cedar Springs, Michigan

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To the Cedar Springs City Council and its Tax Payers:

 

I have held back my thoughts for a couple of years, but recent events do not allow me to do so any longer.

Just when several of us, and what I truly believe to be a majority of the tax payers, were excited that we had a leader with innovative business ideas, as well as a goal of making the city friendlier, a majority of the council voted him out of office in what I would call a very unprofessional manner. I know Mr. Truesdale had some very big, aggressive, modern, and forward-thinking ideas that quite possibly the council was not ready for yet, but in my opinion, it is past time for big ideas for this city. He may have made some mistakes, but who doesn’t? I, personally, like big goals. I look at it if from the point of view that if you only make it half-way to your goal, you still got somewhere! But why should I be surprised when this is the same group that says you cannot run the city like a business? I find this statement ridiculous and cannot believe such a thing is said. Rather, if it’s a school, city, county or any organization, it must be run like a business and get the most out of every dollar you possibly can. Please remember in your thinking, you do serve the taxpayers. The task of the council should be about what is best for the citizen not about which side one is on or about wins or losses.

It also does not hurt to be friendly instead of arrogant. Some of the city employees are great, but it seems as you get up the ladder it ends. City Hall should be a friendly place to go, not confrontational. After all, you are working for the citizens of the community!

I know some of the council members will say I have no vote or voice, as I do not live in the city, and yes, I cannot vote but I do feel the $468,000 I have paid in property taxes to the city in the last ten years does give me a say! I pay what I consider a lot of property tax without any city services: no water, sewer, leaf pick-up or road maintenance, as our property is on a county road but in the city limits.

I have never met the new city manager who has been here over a year. If I was a council member, I would want him out meeting with the tax payers, seeing if they had any needs, complaints, and maybe even new ideas. The last couple city managers at least stopped at our place of business when they first came to town.

Our company does a lot of municipal work for several cities throughout West Michigan and I can assure you, our city is very backwards and unfriendly. I truly feel we are a joke to all of West Michigan, not just Kent County. In the construction industry, we are known to be a very unfriendly city to try and build anything for and/or with.

I remember when my uncle (Mike Holton) and I donated the heating and air-conditioning to the Kent Theater, I checked to see if we could get the city fees waived. “Oh absolutely not,” as that would set a dangerous precedent. A few months later, we donated the plumbing for a shower building at the Kent County fairgrounds in Lowell. The city waived the fees and asked us if there was anything else they could do; they even thanked us and they weren’t even the owners of the building!

I have watched this city squander away so many things in the past, one being when the new Meijer store was being built. Meijer offered to pay the entire cost to run a water main big enough for their store as well as for future use under the expressway. This included all engineering, fees, permits, fire hydrants and related items at a cost close to one million dollars, and all at no cost to the city. As the individual from the West Michigan Metro Council tried to explain to both the city and the township, he encouraged them to take this gift as this is something the two of them wouldn’t be able to afford to do together in the next 10 to 15 years.  It was still turned down. In talking to Meilogo. This is my opinion, but I feel this is such an embarrassment to all of the residents in northern Kent County. What a joke that never should have happened. The attorney fees and time that was wasted on this is totally ridiculous! I am old-school and just a plain plumber, but I feel both sides should be tarred and feathered for their actions. Some sensible people from both sides need to get involved and get this issued solved. We do not need a new logo. I truly believe the Red Flannel logo needs to be returned to the people who really own it—the citizens of Cedar Springs and surrounding area. It has been our logo for as long as I can remember.

It’s past time to return the community back to the people that pay the taxes instead of a few people, who in my opinion, are trying to feed their huge egos and it appears have no common or business sense.

In all honesty, I feel badly that I have to write a letter of this nature. I grew up in this town, graduated from the school system, I’ve ran my business here, Northwest Kent Mechanical Co., for 25 years, and my mother lives here. My dad was fire chief for several years, he was on the council for 15 years, and served as its’ mayor for 7 years. This is a city which I truly cared for in my past, care for in my present, but more importantly for the future.

I truly hope this council can go forward in a more professional manner, but I am not convinced it can.

Thank you for taking the time to allow me to share my concerns and frustrations.

Dale Larson

 

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Time to move on

For over 70 years there was a cooperative spirit between Red Flannel Festival volunteers and city officials who worked together to promote Cedar Springs for the good of the entire community. That all changed in 2011 when the economy took a serious downturn and the city could no longer justify costs associated with the festival, as taxpayer services and staff were negatively impacted. As a result, the Festival Board threatened a lawsuit if the city didn’t pay for use of the long john logo. After almost two years, facing what would surely be a prolonged court fight and considering the subsequent costs to taxpayers, the Council voted to move forward with a new logo. During last Thursday’s council meeting, members were openly castigated for doing so by those RFF volunteers who refuse to accept the decision and who seemed determined to promote more divisiveness within our community. I found it telling that they left immediately after speaking, not caring about anything else but their own agenda.

After all the Festival’s demands for taxpayer dollars, I found it ironic that a woman took to the podium to quite proudly proclaim the Festival Board’s success in taking care of everything (costs) themselves this year, except for police support at the beer tent. (She explained that an outside security would have been used but the City charged less.) You just can’t beat that good old American can-do spirit, the concept of pulling one’s own weight! Had that been done in the first place, it would have been a win-win situation for everyone.  The city vehicles, stationary, street signs, etc. would have continued to be free advertising for the yearly festival and the citizens would have their red flannels. I found it odd that the Festival recently offered a new business free use of the Red Flannel logo when it is being held for ransom from the city.

The whole issue surrounding the logo boiled down to nothing more than pride, arrogance, and unwillingness to do what was best for Cedar Springs. There is plenty of blame to go around for all involved but, the Council, having no other viable option, has voted, with heavy hearts, to move on.  That can only happen if people will stop the rumors, gossip, and hateful vitriol that is taking place throughout the community and on social media and embrace the future.  Friendships have been lost, families divided and enough is enough! Take a step back and work to restore good relationships within our city for the good of all.

Cedar Springs will always be known as the “Red Flannel Capital Of The World”.  Google that title and you can find as many as seven websites where our city’s name shows up as just that. That isn’t going to change. It’s time to support the Chamber of Commerce, an entity that is trying to bring back a spirit of cohesiveness and community to our town. Business owners are joining in and Shawn Kiphart has worked tirelessly, and at great cost to himself personally, to improve community relations. Let’s all do our part to make that happen. We can’t change yesterday, tomorrow is a new day, let’s make it good.

 

Kathy Bremmer, Cedar Springs

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Congratulations to the new mayor

Congratulations to our new Mayor, Mark Fankhauser, for winning the mayor’s seat, and a big thank you to that person who spilled the beans several days before election night that I would not be returned to serve you, the good people of Cedar Springs. I have been asked not to write and inform you any longer. I will honor that request, but let me tell you before I go, our City is not broke, and the $2,930 in fees invoiced to the Red Flannel Festival for 2013, is not the big picture.

I have a copy of those “severe” cuts that were made a few years ago when our revenues dried up. One of them was using two-ply rather than four-ply toilet tissue at City Hall. You poor people, it made me want to cry. When I was a kid growing up on West Muskegon Street, we had the luxury of going from corn cobs to the pages from a Sears and Roebuck Catalog. Those were the good days, as my Grandpa Eldred was also a successful businessman.

Thank you for your prayers and support. 

See you, Bob Truesdale

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Scholarship pageant

Dear Post people,

Just read through all of your paper dated October 3, 2013. Coverage of the crowning of the Queen and her court, very nice. I also saw pictures of athletes of the month, very nice also. What I didn’t see was a picture of a little lady by the name of Tamara Tiethoff that was voted by the other ladies on the scholarship pageant for “Miss Congeniality.” Would really have been nice to see her name even mentioned.

A Post Reader,

Wm Boehm

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