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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.

 

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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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An idea to raise funds for Red Flannel Day


From the editor

We’ve been getting comments on the story we ran last week “Festival proposed city pay to use trademark.” Below we are printing a letter we received, and a few samples of comments from our website and our Facebook page. Please visit those sites at www.cedarspringspost.com and www.facebook.com/cedarspringspost to read all the comments, or post some of your own. You can also email us at news@cedarspringspost.com.

 

An idea to raise funds for Red Flannel Day

 

Dear Editor,

One idea about gaining money  to support Red Flannel Day could be a Booster Club. The Cedar Springs Red Flannel Day Boosters Club, an independent club composed of our citizens, and one ex-officio member from the City Council and one ex-officio member from the RFF.

We have many public-spirited folks in the Cedar Springs community. A concerned, dedicated leader of the Boosters, with the help of the Boosters committee, could create programs to earn money specifically for Red Flannel Day expenses.

Very truly yours, 

Lyle Perry, Jr

 

Some online comments 

I was intrigued by Ms. Andres’ statement, “is it the city or the festival?” This is not an either-or, but a both-and. Without the City’s support, there would be no Red Flannel Festival; without the Red Flannel Festival, the City wouldn’t have a signature event.

The City made a decision based on budgetary constraints, and donors stepped up to cover the RFF’s deficit. This is probably what should continue. A true win-win for everyone.

Craig Owens, Cedar Springs

 

I’m pretty sure that Red Flannel weekend brings the most business in one weekend than any other weekend of the year.

Benjamin Knapp

 

This has everything to do with the relationship between the committee and the City Manager. As the article says…it’s been a cooperation in the past. The only reason it isn’t is because the CM sprang on the RFF charging them for city services.

I do think the RFF needs to be knocked down a peg or 2. They think they run the town. I think it’s time for “Cedar-fest,” move it up a month for nicer weather and tell the RFF we’re no longer interested. It will be hard to protect that precious logo without income.

William Wheeler

 

I think this is very irritating of the RFF to do. Amazing how the amount is exactly the same as the cuts last year. As a society we’ve all had to endure cuts. They should not be immune, and the residents should own the TM not the committee. I as a resident would not want to profit off of history. The TM is synonymous with the city of Cedar Springs. Let’s keep politics out of the underwear!!

Katie Griffard Kangas

 

I am fine paying a little more in taxes to support our festival. Every year it brings in revenue to our local business, and that is worth supporting. The festival really just needs the city to cover the police and DPW workers, they are not trying to make a profit off any of us.

Molly Nixon

 

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City rejects offer on 95 N. Main


The building at 95 N. Main shortly before Cedar Auto Supply closed.

By Judy Reed

 

The third time was not the charm for the sale of city-owned property at the southwest corner of Maple and Main Streets.

Liquor Hut, who owns the business just south of the vacant building at 95 N. Main, originally offered to buy the old building, formerly home of Cedar Auto Supply, and demolish it. Last year the business submitted a revised offer saying they would rehabilitate the building. Then, in mid-February, they changed their mind and asked to only buy the two vacant parcels, after they had the building inspected and said they were told that the entire second floor contained asbestos.

City Manager Christine Burns took the offer to the City Council on March 8, but they were not receptive. Most council members agreed that selling off the two vacant lots left the building even less valuable than before, and that the property would be more marketable if the city demolished the building and sold the entire parcel together—four 66×132 lots.

“We can’t afford to keep putting money into this building,” remarked Mayor Pro-tem Christine Fahl. “We had to fix the roof last winter.”

Burns estimated it would cost $8000 to $10,000 to tear it down. They already have $20,000 invested in the building, and estimate that they could probably get $30,000 out of the property if sold as one parcel, which would recoup their costs. They are not allowed to make a profit on the property, since they bought it from Kent County due to a tax foreclosure.

Burns said that there is a fuel oil tank under the sidewalk on Maple Street that will also have to come out, but that the Michigan Economic Development Corporation has given them permission to use part of an EPA grant to get that done.

The council asked the city manager to go ahead and get bids on demolishing the building.

 

 

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City receives tree-planting grant


Cedar Springs also planted trees in 2009 with a tree-planting grant.

The Department of Natural Resources and DTE Energy foundation announced earlier this week that the City of Cedar Springs will receive of one of 32 grants being issued to Michigan communities for tree-planting projects.

Cedar Springs applied for the grant last winter and requested $1,000 for the replacement of eight trees that they had removed from Main Street. They received a total of $1,400, and will now be able to purchase 12 trees to plant on Main Street between Beech and Maple.

According to DPW Director Roger Belknap, they will plant six Ivory Silk Lilacs and six Spring Snow crabapples sometime in mid-April. “We needed trees that would fit the Main Street footprint, and that would be hearty enough to handle the salt,” explained Belknap.

The grant requires that the city provide a local match, which can be comprised of labor, equipment and funds for tree purchase. According to City manager Christine Burns, they received word that DTE would also be helping them with labor.

Cedar Springs also received a tree-planting grant in 2009.

All 32 grants issued by the DNR and DTE, totaling $62,000, will be used to purchase nearly 1,000 trees of various species and sizes, with planting to begin this spring.

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City gets new warning siren


By Judy Reed

Post photo by J. Reed

Residents of Cedar Springs now have a brand new siren to warn them of severe weather this spring and summer. It was installed Tuesday at North Park, at the north end of Cedar Springs.

The city sought a grant for the siren through Kent County a year and a half ago, after the original siren tower outside the Cedar Springs Library was deemed unsafe. Burns said they were notified last week that they had received the $19,900 grant for the siren tower, which would be turned on through Kent County’s central dispatch. The old siren was manually turned on at the pole.

A poll on the city’s website showed that residents are in favor of continuing the tradition of blowing the siren at noon everyday. That is not covered in the grant, however, and the city will cover the $500 cost with money from their 2007 bond proceeds.

According to specs, the siren will be heard over most of Cedar Springs, including all the way to White Creek to the west, and Ritchie to the east. To the south, however, it will only cover to just north of Dio Drive. “We hope to someday qualify for another siren to cover the south end (of the city),” said Burns. She previously explained that the siren was erected at North Park to cover the area with the greatest density.

The old siren was scheduled to be torn down immediately, and possibly given to the Cedar Springs Historical Society if they want it.

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City Council clips


Eagle Scout Charley Nelson, 16, is presented with a “You make the difference award” by Cedar Springs Mayor Charlie Watson. Post photo by J. Reed.

City honors Eagle Scout

The City of Cedar Springs honored Charley Nelson, 16, son of Charles and Ginger Nelson, of Courtland Township, with their “You make the difference” award at their monthly meeting last Thursday evening. He was given the award for recently earning the rank of Eagle Scout. Charley, with the help of his family and friends, took on the building of the gazebo at the White Pine Trail staging area at Maple and Second Street in Cedar Springs as part of his progress toward earning the Eagle Scout rank.

Police officer commended

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent recently commended Cedar Springs Police Officer Mike Stahl for turning a potential life and death situation for a young man into a routine call. According to Chief Parent, Officer Stahl noticed a young man standing in the roadway at 3:45 a.m. January 1, swearing and yelling at others, while holding a 2×4 board with protruding nails. When Officer Stahl approached in his police car, the man ran off. The officer then got ahead of the man, got out of the police car and yelled at the man to get on the ground, but he did not comply. Officer Stahl drew his handgun and pointed it at the man, who had stopped just feet away, and gave the man a second chance to get down and drop the board, which he did.
“Citizens never truly understand that this situation was just a split second away for any police officer needing to make the ultimate decision to use deadly force to protect himself or others,” said Parent, in the commendation. He noted that Officer Stahl did not know that the man was allegedly using the board for his personal protection, or that he was intoxicated. He also noted that police are trained to use a force above the threat they are facing, so a TASER would not  have been used because it would have been considered a lesser threat than the board with protruding nails. “This young man will never know how fortunate he was to have you as the responding officer that night,” wrote Parent. “You were able to de-escalate the situation without a tragic ending.” He credited Stalh’s years of service and training as a Range officer as contributing to his decision-making that night.

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City receives $200,000 brownfields grant


Four area governments formed a coalition and received a $200,000 brownfields assessment grant. Signing the agreement: (L to R) Kirk Thielke, Sand Lake Village President; Charlie Watson, Cedar Springs Mayor; Glen Armstrong, Nelson Township Supervisor; Denny Hoemke, Algoma Township Supervisor.

The City of Cedar Springs has been awarded a $200,000 Community-Wide Brownfields Hazardous Substance Assessment Grant by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA.)
The City, along with the Village of Sand Lake and Algoma and Nelson Townships, formed a coalition to apply for the grant.  The City and Coalition members formalized a Memorandum of Agreement describing the process by which the Coalition partners will conduct grant tasks and disburse grant funds.  The funds will be used to conduct environmental assessments within the coalition region to support redevelopment and reuse of brownfield sites.
Coalition members met Tuesday, Dec. 7 to sign the agreement at Cedar Springs City Hall.
“This grant application is a perfect example of northern Kent County communities working together to improve the quality of life for our residents,” said Cedar Springs City Manager Christine Burns.
As the lead coalition member and grant recipient, the City will manage the grant program and report to the USEPA. The City has retained Soil and Materials Engineers, Inc. (SME, Inc.) of Grand Rapids, as its brownfield environmental consultant.  SME, Inc. will assist the City with grant management tasks, perform environmental assessments and prepare technical documents.
Grant projects must be located within the jurisdictional limits of one of the participating coalition communities.  The grant is intended to fund environmental assessment activities at properties where known and/or suspected releases of hazardous substances or comingled hazardous substances and petroleum products have occurred.
The Coalition is currently accepting applications for projects to be considered for funding.  The project period for the grant is Aug. 1, 2010 through July 31, 2013.  Applications will continue to be accepted during the grant project period or until all of the available funds are expended.  The City will review and approve applications for site assessments.
Forms for submission for potential projects are available at Cedar Springs City Hall, 66 S. Main St., Cedar Springs or can be downloaded from the City’s website http://www.cityofcedarsprings.org/.

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City designates overnight parking lots


The city of Cedar Springs adopted an ordinance last week that will allow city residents to park overnight in specific public lots from November 1 to April 1.
The council discussed whether to allow parking in one, two or three lots. The initial discussion centered on the old community building parking lot at the corner of Ash and Second Street. Councilor Raymond Huckleberry said he’d like to see a public lot on each side of Main Street, possibly the lot behind the Kent, across from the Post Office.
Councilor Neil Gomez suggested opening one on each side of Main Street instead of opening three. Mayor Charlie Watson said he felt the taxpayers own the lots and didn’t see why it would hurt to open all three.
Mayor Pro Tem Christine Fahl mentioned that there would be extra cost in signage and work for the DPW with a third lot.
The council voted to open the lots at Ash and Second and at Cherry and First (across from US Post office) for overnight parking, and possibly add a third lot later if needed.
Parking signs in the lots would specify which side or spaces cars would need to park in to comply with rules on snow removal, and drivers would be ticketed if they did not comply. “I’m 100 percent behind enforcement of tickets for people who don’t follow the rules,” said Watson.

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