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Tag Archive | "city of cedar springs"

Festival proposes city pay to use trademark


By Judy Reed

 

It was 1939, when Cedar Springs Clipper editor Nina Babcock said the businesses decided to tag Cedar Springs as the “Red Flannel Town” and hold a festival. The name stuck, and has been used cooperatively by the city and the festival for many years. The recognizable logo of a pair of long johns hanging on the clothesline and the words “Red Flannel Town” or “Red Flannel Festival” can be seen all over the city—on street signs, city trucks, letterhead, the water tower, and signs welcoming people to Cedar Springs.

That could change, however, if the city decides it cannot afford a licensing agreement recently proposed by the Red Flannel Festival for $8,000—the same amount the city told the Festival last year they would need to start paying to cover services the city provides, such as police protection at the Grand Lodge, DPW work, etc. for Red Flannel weekends.

At budget time last year, the City of Cedar Springs had a deficit of $55,000, and cut services to all community organizations, and also made cuts to city staff. “We had to cut so deep that no one was immune,” City Manager Christine Burns told the Post last year.

They city decided to phase in the cuts to the Festival, and donors came forward to help cover the difference. The two entities completed an agreement for four years with the Festival offering to pay $8,000 each year to the city for services rendered.

According to documents the Post obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the RFF is now proposing a licensing agreement for the city’s use of the Festival’s trademark—for $8,000 per year, through 2015. Festival president Michele Andres said it’s difficult to determine what the trademark is worth. “What is the cost of someone’s identity and brand for 72 years? It’s been a shared responsibility—a quid pro quo. Now that seems to be over. The Red Flannel ad hoc committee thought that $8,000 would be cost neutral to both parties—to put it back where it used to be,” explained Andres.

The first indication that there was a problem with the city using the trademarked logos and text came in December, when the city ordered and began selling Red Flannel license plates and frames for the library fundraising program. According to Mayor Charlie Watson, Mayor Pro-Tem Christine Fahl was notified by the Red Flannel Festival committee that there was an issue of trademark infringement, and he told city staff to pull the plates until they could work through the issue. The Festival was on hiatus from November through January, and the Festival ad hoc committee (with three members from City Council—Watson, Fahl, and Pat Capek) met with the Festival committee.

According to documents and checks and invoices obtained by the Post, the RFF wrote the city a check for the license plates. Burns said the understanding was that the city would reimburse them next August for the plates they sold. The city then decided to write a check back to them right away, assuring them they would sell them all. But it was returned by the Festival, and they are working with the library to sell the plates. You can buy them at City Hall or the library (see story on page 7)

So why did the Festival pick now to enforce trademark rules with the city? “Obviously we support the library. But the board felt like it’s their duty to protect the trademarks,” explained Andres. “It’s created confusion—is it the city or the festival? We only generate revenue through donations or sales of our products, and we need to protect that. Anyone who wants to use trademarked items must get approval first.”

The RFF holds state trademarks on at least 10 different phrases and logos related to Red Flannels and the Festival is working on federal approval.

During the years that H.H. Cutler owned the main trademarks, only the Chamber of Commerce had rights to the marks, for $1 a year. That did not extend to the Festival or the city, according to a letter written to City Manager Frank Walsh in 1996 by lawyers for the children’s clothing manufacturer. Cutler later closed down.

The Post asked Burns what it would cost to remove the trademarked insignia from city property, if council decided to reject the Festival’s proposal. She wasn’t sure. “It would depend on whether it had to happen all at once or in phases,” she said.

Mayor Watson feels both sides want to work diligently to come to a compromise. “I feel both sides recognize we should work together for the betterment of the community,” he said.

“Working closely together benefits both the city and the Festival, and the community, with the economic impact the Festival brings,” noted Andres. “It’s critical that both organizations have open, honest, communication. We can’t do it without each other.”

The city will meet with the city’s lawyer on Thursday to discuss the proposal. According to Watson, they could come back with a counter offer, recommend council accept it, or that they deny it. He didn’t know yet what they would decide.

What do you think? Do you think the Festival should charge the city to use the logos? Do city taxpayers want the city to pay to use the trademark? Or is it time to develop something new? Send us a letter to the editor with your thoughts to news@cedarspringspost.com, and be sure to include your name, phone number and city or township.

 

By the numbers

Red Flannel Festival President Michele Andres told the Post last year that the 2011 budget for the Festival was about $90,000. To show how much the Red Flannel Festival has grown, total gross assets on the Festival’s 2010 tax return (the latest year available) were shown as $233,902. In 2004, the total gross assets were $4,625.

The 2010 return showed net total revenue of $57,346, with net expenses of $33,016. Net assets, including cash and savings, was listed at $130,250.

Schedule O showed gross expenses of Festival events at $45,161; and other expenses (including building and other expenses) at $16,489, for a total of $61,650. The largest single expense on Schedule O is advertising/printing, at a cost of $16,381. Gross income from fundraisers and events is listed at $65,940. The event that brought in the most money was the Grand Lodge, at $25,607 and the cost was $7,515.

 

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City hires new finance director


Previous director takes job with Rockford

Pictured (L to R) is Mayor Pro-tem Christine Fahl, former Finance Director Linda Lehman, new Finance Director Karen Mushong, and City Manager Christine Burns.

The City of Cedar Springs said goodbye Monday to Finance Director Linda Lehman, after 10 years of service with the city. The longtime Cedar Springs resident recently took a job as the Finance Director for the City of Rockford.
“It’s been tough coming to terms with Linda leaving,” said Cedar Springs City Manager Christine Burns. “She has been a part of the team for 10-plus years and possesses a great deal of knowledge and understanding of the city’s finances. She’s become a great friend as well. On one hand I’m devastated to lose her, but from a personal standpoint, I’m thrilled for her and her family.”
Lehman is being replaced by Karen Mushong, of Comstock Park. She worked at Plante & Moran, PLLC from 1998-2008 as an audit associate/senior manager, and then at Mosaic Properties, Inc. from August 2008 to August 2011 as controller.
“There is comfort in knowing that Karen is stepping into the job with a very strong financial background and Linda left everything in great condition,” said Burns. She also noted that Mushong is fortunate to have a great support staff working with her to make the transition as easy as possible.
Lehman has offered to help as needed but doesn’t foresee needing to come back too often due to Mushong’s experience with Plante Moran.

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City receives tree grant


The City of Cedar Springs recently received a grant for $1,800 for the purchase and planting of 18 trees throughout the city. The grant was made possible through the Michigan Forestry and Park Association and Consumers Energy.
The trees planted last week included three sugar maples along the bank of Cedar Creek in Veterans Park (to help produce shade to keep the creek cool for trout); five Cedar trees on the south bank of the creek behind the firebarn; five flowering crabapple trees on Man Street between Beech and Maple Streets; and five red sunset maples in the new section of Elmwood Cemetery.
“We’re really thankful to Consumers Energy and the MFPA for making this possible,” said DPW Supervisor Roger Belknap.
Earlier this year the city received a grant for 12 trees from DTE Energy, and planted a mixture of crabapple and lilac throughout the Main Street streetscape.

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City dedicates Gust pavilion


City officials and the Gust family gathered for the dedication of the Clara Gust Gazebo Monday at the White Pine Trail. L to R: Councilor Ashley Bremmer, Councilor Pat Capek, former Mayor Linda Hunt, Councilor Ken Benham, Lolly and Gary Gust, Mayor Charlie Watson, Izzy Tackmann, Michelle Tackmann, Jeff Gust, and City Manager Christine Burns.

By Judy Reed

This rock, donated by the Dean Wall family, holds the plaque honoring Clara Gust. L to R: Michelle Tackmann, Izzy Tackmann, Jeff Gust, Lolly and Gary Gust.

Clara Gust, 90, will long be remembered by the residents of Cedar Springs and all the people who use the White Pine Trail staging area at W. Maple and Second Streets. The city dedicated a pavilion there in her honor Monday.
Clara’s son, Gary Gust, told the Post in a previous interview that when he heard that the city of Cedar Springs wanted his property at the end of Maple and Second Street for a staging area, he knew what he wanted to do with it. He and his wife, Lolly, and his sister, Joanne, decided to donate the property, with one stipulation. “I wanted them to build some sort of structure, such as a gazebo, and put a plaque on the building dedicating it to our mother,” explained Gary.
The city agreed, and the gazebo was built last fall by Charlie Nelson, 16, and other volunteers for an Eagle Scout project. A plaque in Clara’s honor was placed on a rock that was donated by the Dean Wall family.
Clara moved here in the 1930s with her parents, George and Nellie Ruth (Lockwood) Sillaway, from Ada. Her father was the last station agent here for the Grand Trunk Railroad, and retired after 47 years of service.
Clara graduated from Cedar Springs High School as salutatorian of her class, and worked in several local businesses. She married Roger Gust and they had three children—Gary, Joanne, and Beverly.
Several members of the family were present for the dedication, including Gary, his wife Lolly, son Jeff Gust, daughter Michelle Tackmann, and her daughter Izzy Tackmann. Clara was unable to attend due to her health.
Mayor Charlie Watson said the location of the pavilion would be a hub for the future of Cedar Springs. “The Clara Gust Gazebo will be a pleasant rest stop for travelers on the White Pine Trail. They will be able to picnic and relax here, children will be able to play here and visit one of the city’s original flowing wells, fish in Cedar Creek, and one day visit the new Cedar Springs Public Library or skateboard at the skate park or listen to concerts at the amphitheater that the city hopes to one day add to this part of town,” he said.
The White Pine Trail staging area has been made possible by a matching grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Trust Fund. Besides the gazebo, new picnic tables, benches and a bike rack have been installed, and bathrooms will be installed later this year.

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Fire Chief Gross appreciation party


Chief Gross was presented with an axe by the fire department for his years of service. Photo by T. Noreen.

The City of Cedar Springs held an appreciation party for former Fire Chief Jerry Gross Sr. last Thursday, June 9, before the city council meeting. Gross decided to step down from administrative duties, at the end of May, after 11 years as Fire Chief. “My intent is to stay with the department and still run fires and medical calls,” explained Gross, who turns 64 in September. He has been on the fire department for 32 years.
The Post thanks Jerry for his commitment to the community and the dedication he has shown through his service. We wish you the best!

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CTA Students Celebrate Cedar Springs Earth Day



CTA students celebrated Earth Day with the City of Cedar Springs.  City Clerk, Linda Branyan, invited the students of CTA to participate in a logo contest for the city’s 2011 Earth Day celebration.  Hunter George, 8th grader, won first place and his design was featured on the front of the Earth Day t-shirts with sponsor Choice One Bank on the back.  8th grader Kaylynn Botruff’s entry took second place with 9th grader Erin Munger taking third place.  All three students were recognized by Ms. Branyan at City Hall on Saturday, April 16.  Kaylynn Botruff was unable to attend but Hunter George and Erin Munger are pictured with all three entries.  Hunter is also pictured with Ms. Branyan.  Thank you to the City of Cedar Springs for encouraging the Chargers to join the Earth Day celebration!

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Community Night to celebrate 25 years


Community Night is April 21 from 6-9 p.m. at Cedar Springs High School

AeroMed is always a big draw at Community Night. Post photo by J. Reed.

It was 25 years ago, in 1986, when the idea for a “Community Dinner” for Cedar Springs Public School, the City of Cedar Springs, and the school district area was born.
According to an article written five years ago by Shirley Hans, a former education booster and school board member, they were looking for some way to involve the community and schools in some experiences that would encourage everyone to work more together for the community as a whole, and share things the students were doing in their classes. “We wanted more parents, businesses, clubs and organizations, and community members to learn more about each other and the good things we were all doing. It could be fun, free, and positive advertising for us all,” she wrote.
Invitations were delivered for the first “Community Dinner,” as it was then called. It was held at the Middle School (now Cedar View) and most of the participants were school booths, area clubs and groups who handed out information, and area restaurants that handed out samples of food. It was fun, but too much work for the restaurants, so modifications were made. After a few years the dinner portion was dropped and it became “Community Night.”
The Community Action Network (CAN) now oversees the event, and it’s now a tradition for many businesses, organizations, churches, and school groups to participate in Community Night, held each April at Cedar Springs High School.
Come celebrate with your friends and neighbors at this year’s Community Night on April 21 from 6-9 p.m. at Cedar Springs High School. There will be fun, prizes and free cake for everyone!

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Cedar Creek cleanup this weekend


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 fourth annual Earth Day cleanup this Saturday, April 16. 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.
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!
After the cleanup, there will be a pizza party at noon the American Legion for the clean up crews, with awards for winners of the logo and photography contests.
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.
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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Celebrate Earth Day the Cedar Springs way


By Judy Reed

Do you have any old junk computers and monitors lying around? What about personal documents you are afraid to throw away because of the personal information on them? Would you like to see Cedar Creek clean again? Or buy some seedlings? What do all of these have in common? They are all part of Cedar Springs’ 3rd annual Earth Day 2010 celebration!

The city will hold their Earth Day celebration on April 24, starting 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. Televisions will not be accepted, however, you can drop them off at Comprenew at 629 Ionia SW in Grand Rapids for a $10 recycling fee.

New this year is personal document shredding at Kent County Credit Union, 14111 White Creek Avenue. Residents can bring up to two boxes of confidential information for secure shredding, such as credit card receipts, pay check stubs, savings plan statements, bills, tax records and other miscellaneous items that you no longer need.

Also new this year will be a ground breaking ceremony at the city’s new park, Veteran’s Memorial Park, at the corner of Main and Oak Streets at 9:30 a.m., followed by a tree-planting there commemorating Arbor Day.

Residents will meet again at 10 a.m. at the Fire barn on Maple Street to clean up Cedar Creek. You don’t have to pre-register to work, but the first 100 registered get a free shirt! After the cleanup, there will be a pizza party at the American Legion for the clean up crews, and a green cleaning products demonstration. There will be a city surplus auction following lunch. Visit the city’s website at www.cityofcedarsprings.org for a list of items, and to download a registration form for the cleanup.

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Community night tonight!


By the looks of this sign, it looks like someone was stepping into the excitement of Community Night a little early! The event is tonight, Thursday, April 15 from 6-9 p.m. at Cedar Springs High School. Bring your BIG foot and friends for some real fun!

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