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Primary election for Cedar Springs City Council


Tuesday, August 6

The City of Cedar Springs will hold a primary election next Tuesday, August 6, for City Council. The city must hold a primary when the number of candidates running is twice the number of open seats. This year five candidates are running to fill two four-year terms. One seat is being vacated by Mayor Pro-Tem Charlie Watson, who decided not to run again, and trustee Pamela Medford-Conley’s seat is also up for reelection. The election will be held at the Cedar Springs City Hall, and a runoff will be held in November.

N-Candidates-Perry-HopkinsPerry Hopkins

About him: “I am 24 years old and have been for the last 14 years (I’m really 38.) I currently reside in Cedar Springs and am originally from the Palo/Fenwick area. I’ve been working in the area since 2006 and moved here in 2010. I own Kin of Hope Natural Health and Perry’s Place LLC for herbs, teas, and more. I also work part time at Meijer in Cedar Springs.”

Primary reason running for office: “I believe that if you don’t get involved, then you have no right to complain about how things are. If I can make the community I live and work in a better place, then I should do my best to do so.”

Other experience: Perry is currently a board member on the Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce, the DDA, the Planning Commission, and Community Action Network (CAN). He also is an active member of subcommittees for the CSACOC on all community events, including the Founders Day event, Halloween Spooktacular, Mingle with Kris Kringle, and is currently working with the library, museum, and Kent Theatre on possible upcoming fundraisers.

Main strength he brings to the position: “I am community involved and have interest in what’s good for the community. I am dedicated in what I do. I am open-minded, and look forward to improving our town.”

The major challenge he sees facing the district and what would he do about it: “The biggest challenges I see our community has is that many members of the community have a bad taste in their mouth over our town’s image. Many have given up and have the opinion nothing can get changed or done because no one will help. I will address these challenges by listening to the citizens, business owners, and other community members and make a voice for them. I will pass my vote for what I think will encourage them that yes, we can improve our community’s image, and yes we can grow, and yes, we can do it!

N-Candidates-Pam-ConleyPamela Medford-Conley – Incumbent

About her: Pamela Medford-Conley is 43 years old, and has lived in Cedar Springs for 14 years. She holds degrees and certifications from Montcalm Community College, CMU, and GVSU in child development, speech pathology, theater, dance, history, secondary education, communication, and argumentation. She teaches policy debate, communication, and academic tools for Forest Hills Central High School. She is married to Clint Conley who is a teacher for KCTC. She has two children–a daughter, Abbi Conley, will be a senior at Cedar Springs High School this fall and her son, Caelun Conley, will be entering first grade at Cedar Trails.

Primary reason running for office: If re-elected this would be her second term on City Council. “I am looking forward to continuing to represent my fellow citizens and be what I hope they feel is a true representative of their concerns,” she said. “One of the biggest issues the city will face in up-coming years will be our aging water system and continued funding cuts brought by Michigan’s state government.”

Other experience: Past experience includes serving 6 years on the Board Of Education for Cedar Springs Public Schools, where she held the positions of Treasurer and Legislative Representative and made multiple trips to Washington DC and Lansing to advocate for kids in Cedar Springs; 5 years on the Library Board including part of that time as Vice President; one year on the PTO Board of Directors; one year on the Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors; 10 years  in the  Garden Club with 6 years as President; and 13 years as co-discussion leader of the Cedar Springs  Book Club.

Main strength she brings to the position: “I believe what I bring to the office is experience, the desire to always seek information before making any decision, and an open mind to listen to all positions and represent all citizens.”

The major challenge she sees facing the district and what would she do about it: “The major challenges I see on the horizon are dealing with our aging water system, and resolving the issue with the Red Flannel Festival regarding the use of logos and doing this with dwindling resources as Michigan’s State Government – both the legislative and executive branches continue to add mandates and restrict funding.”

Gerald Hall (No photo available)

About him: He was raised here and has lived in Cedar Springs for 64 years. He is retired from the City of Cedar Springs, where he was formerly the Superintendent of Public Works.

Primary reason running for office: Gerald believes his experience will help the future of the city.

Other experience: His experience includes serving on the City Planning Commission and six years on the Cedar Springs Board of Education.

Main strength he brings to the position: Gerald said the main strength he will bring to the position is his knowledge of the city.

The major challenge he sees facing the district and what would he do about it: He said the major challenge facing the city is a shrinking budget.

N-Candidates-Mark-LawsMark Laws

About him: “I moved to Cedar Springs from Muskegon last June 2012. I am an operations management professional who most recently worked for Huntington Bank and before that the Federal Reserve Bank. I am now an entrepreneur.”

Primary reason running for office: “I found myself complaining about some of the outcomes in the council meetings. My momma taught me to get involved and do something to improve the situation and get off the bench and into the game. Complaining about something never makes it any better and according to my momma it actually contributes to making it worse. We have so much potential here in Cedar Springs.”

Other experience and main strength he will bring to the board: “Twenty plus years of operating businesses and business units up to 7 billion dollars, making tough budget decisions, negotiating contracts, sales and marketing, continuous improvement implementations, innovative and outside the box vision, and a can do attitude are just the tip of the iceberg of previous experience that will be beneficial to the City Council position.”

The major challenge he sees facing the district and what would he do about it: “Residents and businesses need to know that City Hall is here to assist them to get ‘er done. Whatever that may be. I would have the attitude of if it is a good idea that will benefit the community I would find a way to accomplish that thing and do all in my power and ability to do just that. Can’t is not in my vocabulary.”

Other: “Contracts for services needed by the City should go to residents of Cedar Springs if at all possible. Keeping the money local is a good thing, even if the local quote is  $37 more than the out of town quote. It would also be nice to have Cedar Springs be the Red Flannel Town that the Clipper Girls gave us and we have enjoyed for 70 plus years. And just how much has been spent on attorney fees for this situation? And we don’t have any money is the line that is put out there. But the cost of the attorney fees says something different. Just sayin!”

N-Candidates-ClarkDaniel Clark

About him: “All in all I have lived in the City of Cedar Springs for 20 years. I met Donna at what later became known as Jordan College on Pine Street in 1972. I graduated from Jordan College that same year with a B.A. and then from Andrews University in Berrien Springs in 1975 with my Masters.  I received my teaching certification from Aquinas College in 2007. We lived in Oklahoma, Donna’s home state, and then in Israel from 1988 to 2000. In 2000, I was hired by Creative Technologies Academy, where I am currently employed as the Director of Operations and Maintenance.”

Primary reason running for office: “I would like the opportunity to work for the good of my community; to make a practical, positive difference; to offer workable solutions as challenges and issues arise. I want to be involved.”

Other experience: “While living in Oklahoma I served as a volunteer fireman for eight years in a department with three full-time firefighters and twenty volunteers. I served three of those years as a captain of a five-man team. I completed training as a second level EMT. Mustang’s population at that time was 10,000. Through the last 12 years since we relocated to Cedar Springs I have volunteered on many occasions at Creative Technologies Academy beyond my regular work duties and have helped Donna with many details to do with library programs and fundraising, such as helping to load and unload tables and books for Friends book sales, etc.”

Main strength he will bring to the board: “I was raised on a farm and have a strong work ethic. I keep up on the news both locally and around the world and feel that my various experiences will help me identify with the citizens of the community and hopefully make choices balanced between necessary regulation/expenditures and those offering greater personal/business opportunities to Cedar Springs citizens.

The major challenge he sees facing the district and what would he do about it:  He said the major challenge is rebuilding community good will, especially regarding the Red Flannel Celebration. Also he would work to provide activities and opportunities for our youth to discourage drug and alcohol dependency.

 

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Mushong takes job in EGR


Karen Mushong

Karen Mushong

The City of Cedar Springs is again looking for another Finance Director.

It was announced last week that current Karen Mushong, the city’s current Finance Director, has been selected to take over that same position in the City of East Grand Rapids.

Mushong was hired by Cedar Springs in November 2011 to take over as Finance Director, when Linda Lehman left to take over the same position in Rockford. According to Cedar Springs City Manager Thad Taylor, her last day on the job is expected to be April 23.

Taylor said the vacancy will be advertised, and he will bring a transition plan to the Cedar Springs City Council for approval on April 11. He said they hope to have someone by the first of June.

“We have a part time Deputy Finance Director/treasurer that will need to do a little more, and coupled with the transition plan I’ve put together, we’ll have it covered,” said Taylor.

 

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Former city manager to lead search


By Judy Reed

A former Cedar Springs City Manager is going to lead the search for a new city manager for the community—for free.

The Cedar Springs City Council voted last Friday, June 29, in a special meeting, to hire former Cedar Springs City Manager Frank Walsh to lead the search for a new city manager to replace current outgoing City Manager Christine Burns.

Walsh was Cedar Springs City Manager from 1991 to 1996. It was his first City Manager job. He then went to St. Joseph, where he has been City Manager ever since.

“It’s great to be back in town,” he told the City Council Friday, while making his presentation.

When the City of Cedar Springs found Christine Burns five years ago, Bill Baldridge, a consultant with the Michigan Municipal League, led the search. According to Burns, the MML offered its services again, but last time the cost was $8,000, and she said that the cost has probably gone up, and this time the city does not have the money to pay for such a search.

Walsh has led searches in at least eight other communities, some more than once. And they all have given him high recommendations.

Walsh’s timetable for the search started with getting an ad up this week on various websites for the position; have applications due by July 23; doing a first round of interviews on Saturday August 4 at a special meeting; a second round of interviews on Wednesday, August 8, at a special meeting; and choosing the candidate on August 9. He is shooting for September 10 to be the new city manager’s first day on the job.

Christine Burns will be leaving July 25, but also taking some vacation in July.

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Help clean up Cedar Creek this Saturday


Grab your friends and family and make a difference this Saturday by helping to clean up Cedar Creek. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

 

It’s that time of year again—time to get out and clean up Cedar Creek and the surrounding area!

The City of Cedar Springs will be holding their fifth annual Earth Day cleanup on Saturday, April 28. The day starts at 8 a.m. with E-waste collection behind Cedar Springs City Hall. Bring all your electronic waste for disposal such as computers, monitors, keyboards, cell phones, radios, stereos, laptops, VCRs, modems, power cords, etc. This will be staffed by the Cedar Springs Rotary.

Then meet at 10 a.m. at the trail staging area on W. Maple Street (west off Main) to clean up Cedar Creek. Volunteers report to the staging area to receive their t-shirts and clean-up assignments. The first 100 registered get a free shirt. New this year is a limited number of trash picks and waders for volunteers to borrow.

There will be a city surplus auction at 1 p.m. to auction off surplus city equipment, along with a container to collect expired or unused prescription drugs (see article on page ??). No liquid or syringes accepted.

Visit the city’s website at www.cityofcedarsprings.org to download a registration form for the cleanup. Registration is not mandatory to participate, but it does help the city to pre-assign clean-up locations, and plan for the purchase of trash bags and t-shirts. Please return the form to City Hall (66 S. Main St., PO Box 310,Cedar Springs, MI  49319 Attn: Chris Burns. You may also fax the form to 616.696.0202.  Please call City Hall at 616.696.1330 X 104 with any questions.

Cedar Creek is one of our greatest assets. Our town, the second village in Kent County, was established along that creek and named for both the springs that flowed from it and the Cedar trees that bordered it. It supports wildlife and flora, and is a key component of the future plans of this city. Our city will only be as beautiful as we make it.

 

 

 

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Cedar Springs Earth Day event


The City of Cedar Springs will be holding their fifth annual Earth Day cleanup on Saturday, April 28. The day starts at 8 a.m. with E-waste collection behind Cedar Springs city hall. Bring all your electronic waste for disposal such as computers, monitors, keyboards, cell phones, radios, stereos, laptops, VCRs, modems, power cords, etc. The trailer will be there until 3 p.m. This will be staffed by the Cedar Springs Rotary. No TVs or big box appliances will be accepted. Televisions may be brought to Comprenew at 629 Ionia SW in Grand Rapids for recycling. A fee will be charged per TV.

Then meet at 10 a.m. at the trail staging area on W. Maple Street (west off Main) to clean up Cedar Creek. Volunteers report to the staging area to receive their t-shirts and clean-up assignments. The first 100 registered get a free shirt. New this year is a limited number of track picks and waders for volunteers to borrow.

The days’ events will conclude with a City Surplus Auction beginning at 1:00 p.m. with excess City equipment to be auctioned off.

Visit the city’s website at www.cityofcedarsprings.org to download a registration form for the cleanup. Registration is not mandatory to participate, but it does help the city to pre-assign clean-up locations, and plan for the purchase of trash bags and t-shirts.

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Spring cleanups start soon


By Judy Reed

 

As the weather warms up and residents begin to spring clean, some municipalities are offering drop off sites to help get rid of the clutter. Check out the list below to see when it’s offered in your area.

Algoma Township: Spring cleanup days are Wednesday, April 25, through Saturday, April 28. Dumpsters will be available at the township hall at 10531 Algoma Ave. Hours will be Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m to 3 p.m. No shovel offs or loose trash allowed. No liquids, no hazardous waste (no paint, oil, fuel, gasoline etc.) No brush or yard waste, no cement.

All tires must be cut in half, propane and fuel oil tanks must be cut in half. Fencing must be folded or rolled up. Barrels must have one end open or be full of holes. Will also collect E-Waste at the same location (cell phones, computers, TVs, stereos, speakers, etc.). Call the township for more info 866-1583.

City of Cedar Springs: The city will collect E-waste on Saturday, April 28, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., during the Earth Day cleanup. A dumpster will be located behind City Hall. Bring all your electronic waste for disposal such as computers, monitors, keyboards, cell phones, radios, stereos, laptops, VCRs, modems, power cords, etc. The trailer will be there until 3 p.m. No TVs or big box appliances will be accepted. TVs may be brought to Comprenew at 629 Ionia SW in Grand Rapids for recycling. A fee will be charged per TV.

The annual brush pickup will be Monday April 30 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please have brush out by 6:00 a.m. and neatly stacked as close to the curb as possible. No brush larger than six inches, tree removals or stumps will be picked up. They will make one pass through town. Final fall pickup is September 24. There is no longer a spring trash cleanup date, since Duncan Disposal, the city’s preferred waste hauler, does that for residents.

The Department of Public Works will be flushing the City’s hydrants on Friday, April 27, 2012 and September 21, 2012. In most cases, hydrants are flushed during the night-time when water demand is at its lowest

Please remember to let your faucet run clear before doing any white or light colored laundry to avoid staining your laundry. Please contact DPW Director Roger Belknap at 616.696.1330 X 108 should you have any questions.

Courtland Township: No spring cleanup, they have a fall cleanup.

Nelson Township/Sand Lake: Spring cleanup days are Friday, June 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, June 23, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Residents should bring trash to the water tower in Sand Lake. New this year is a charge of $15 for mattresses and $15 for box springs. Proof of residency required with a tax bill or voter registration AND a driver’s license. Will also collect E-Waste at the same location. Please call the township for more info at 636-5332.

Oakfield Township: No cleanup scheduled.

Sand Lake: See Nelson Township.

Solon Township: Spring cleanup dates have been set for two consecutive Saturdays, May 5 and May 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the old horse farm, 15185 Algoma. Proof of residency required. Must be residents—not just landowners. One 5×8 trailer with 48-inch sides or one pickup box per household. All items should be boxed or bagged, 45 pounds maximum. Tires must be cut in four pieces, car or light truck only, limit four. Appliances such as washers, dryers, etc. will be accepted, but not appliances that used Freon. Call township for more info  at 696-1718.

Spencer Township: Call township for info at 984-0035.

 

 

 

 

 

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City to celebrate Earth Day by cleaning up creek


 

This shows how trash can mar the beauty of Cedar Creek. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

 

It’s that time of year again—time to get out and clean up Cedar Creek and the surrounding area!

The City of Cedar Springs will be holding their fifth annual Earth Day cleanup on Saturday, April 28. The day starts at 8 a.m. with E-waste collection behind Cedar Springs city hall. Bring all your electronic waste for disposal such as computers, monitors, keyboards, cell phones, radios, stereos, laptops, VCRs, modems, power cords, etc. This will be staffed by the Cedar Springs Rotary.

Then meet at 10 a.m. at the trail staging area on W. Maple Street (west off Main) to clean up Cedar Creek. Volunteers report to the staging area to receive their t-shirts and clean-up assignments. The first 100 registered get a free shirt. New this year is a limited number of trash picks and waders for volunteers to borrow.

There will be a city surplus auction at 1 p.m. Visit the city’s website at www.cityofcedarsprings.org for a list of items, and to download a registration form for the cleanup. Registration is not mandatory to participate, but it does help the city to pre-assign clean-up locations, and plan for the purchase of trash bags and t-shirts.

Cedar Creek is one of our greatest assets. Our town, the second village in Kent County, was established along that creek and named for both the springs that flowed from it and the Cedar trees that bordered it. It supports wildlife and flora, and is a key component of the future plans of this city. Our city will only be as beautiful as we make it.

 

 

 

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City chooses new Fire Chief


Deputy Fire Chief Marty Frasier has been chosen as the new Fire Chief for the Cedar Springs Fire Department. Photo by Sarah MacKinnon, www.smackphoto.net.

By Judy Reed

 

The City of Cedar Springs announced Wednesday that they have selected Deputy Fire Chief Marty Frasier to be the new Fire Chief for the Cedar Springs Fire Department.

“We are very excited about this decision and are confident the community will be very pleased with the direction of the Cedar Springs Fire Department,” said a statement from the city.

Police Chief Roger Parent has been serving as interim Fire Chief for the last year, with Frasier serving as Deputy Chief. Frasier is a 35-year veteran of the department and has served in various roles. He has been a first responder since 1990.

The city held public interviews for the position on Monday. Other applicants included Rockford firefighter John Vandermey, who is also a firefighter instructor and certified fire investigator; and Courtland Twp. firefighter Jerry Wineland, who also has been a wild land firefighter for the DNR and is a reserve police officer for the city of Cedar Springs.

Frasier will be sworn in as the new Chief at the Cedar Springs City Council meeting on April 12. The public is invited to attend. He will begin his duties as Fire Chief the following day.

 

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City vies for placement in Guinness Book 2012


By Lois Allen

 

The City of Cedar Springs is vying to set a world record in an effort to put the city “on the map” once again by making it into the Guinness Book of World Records for 2012. On the first of April, all groups, including non-profits, organizations and local businesses, as well as the city of Cedar Springs, the Cedar Springs Library, local police department, and yes, even The Post will collectively begin eating Girl Scout Cookies.

The City is aiming for the title of “The most girl scout cookies consumed by one town in one day,” category. To even qualify, a total of 50,000 cookies must be eaten within 24 hours, according to Guinness officials.

The purpose of the event is to not only help the Girl Scouts, a wonderful organization for young girls, but also to give Cedar Springs a new identity. The city could be dubbed the Girl Scout Cookie Town. It’s fun to say—try it! “It just rolls off your tongue like a thin mint!” said Belinda at The Post.

If you need to get your cookies, sorry, the girl scouts have been deployed. However, the Post has about six boxes left. First come first serve!

If you already have your boxes, get ready and get your cookie face on!

April Fool.

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Red Flannel Festival Facts


*The Red Flannel Festival incorporated in 1978. It has been an independent, non-profit corporation for 34 years.

*The Red Flannel Festival Corporation and the City of Cedar Springs are two completely separate entities.

*The Red Flannel Festival first trademarked its logos in the 1970s. The Festival holds state trademarks on 10 different phrases and logos. There is also Federal protection on a main, generic logo.

*The Festival Board has a duty to protect its logo/trademark from infringement of state and federal law from any entity, as it would with any other Festival asset.

*The Festival and City Ad Hoc Committees met for the first time on Jan. 23, 2012 to discuss the Festival’s trademark and continue to work positively and collaboratively together toward an agreement that will benefit both parties. We consider these negotiations in the very beginning stages, and no final decisions have been made.

*Taxpayers of Cedar Springs have paid $5,400 (as per City budget line item) for Festival services for 71 years.

*In May 2011, Festival paid City $5,224.65 for the 2011 Festival. City Council accepted an agreement that is valid until 2015 for a “not to exceed” amount of $8,000.

*The Festival received a final bill after the 2011 Festival for $8,064.30. Taxpayers covered $2,839.65. A copy of the bill is on the Festival website, www.redflannelfestival.org.

*The City of Cedar Springs (per their website) enjoys a budget of approx. $6.9 million, and $1.9 million in the general fund. The Festival has a budget of approx. $90,000. The proposed $8,000 is a nominal amount in budget comparisons.

*The Festival has spent $393,000 since 2006 at local or state businesses for goods and services. The policy of the Festival Board is to buy locally first in Cedar Springs, then in the immediate surrounding area, unless items are unavailable.

*The Festival does not employ any paid staff. Planning for the Festival begins in January each year and all work is done solely by volunteers.

*The Festival Board implemented the community share program, whereby non-profit organizations provide volunteers and the Festival shares event profits. The Festival has donated $25,748.05 to area non-profits the past few years.

*The Festival donated $2,024.69 to the City of Cedar Springs the past 2 years for Veterans Park for the Timmy Brown Family Fund from the Flapjack Breakfast.

*The Festival has always paid for security at the Grand Lodge. Since 2005, the Festival has paid $3,495.21 to the CS Police Department for security at the Grand Lodge.

*The recent newspaper article makes it appear we made $18,092 in 2010 for the Grand Lodge. This is because expenses of $1,126 in Sales Tax, $3,180 in contract labor and $2,250 in donations associated with the event are reported in other areas of the tax return.

*Net income for the 2010 Grand Lodge was $12,536.29. In 2011, net income for the Grand Lodge was $8,915.08.

*The Festival draws 35,000+ visitors into the City of Cedar Springs annually for the events, which in turn, boosts local businesses.

Red Flannel Board of Directors

 

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