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Tag Archive | "Dan Clark"

Hard work brings beauty to library grounds


 

by Donna Clark and Sue Wolfe

The asphalt being poured on the walking trail at the Library.

Volunteers continue to work hard to complete the projects around the library and surrounding park areas, which includes the flowers around the stainless steel structure and the native grasses in the rain garden on the south. Naturalists Tom Mabie and Perry Hopkins took oversight of these two projects, gathering most of the native grasses and plants from the area around Cedar Creek, and then babying them to be sure they survived.

From the first days of May to the Grand Opening of the new Library, many good folks from the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) and beyond came together to put in the shrubs, trees, stones and lawn around the Library. An underground watering system on timers has been key in aiding in the growth and stability of the healthy plants and lawn. The system was provided by Dan McIntyre and his company, Splash, and then installed at no extra cost to the Library. Several free visits have been made as adjustments or replacements to sprinklers have been needed.

City Councilor Dan Clark has put in a lot of hours tending to the library grounds.

Councilman Dan Clark has spent many evenings and weekends around the Library and walking path in the surrounding park areas off Main and Pine Streets, hand-mowing the lawn,  edging, checking on the sprinklers, making sure the timers are set right, and cleaning around the new asphalt and placing sod to prevent any washouts. Clark is doing the finishing touches that take a lot of time but really pull things together for a neat and crisp appearance. Also spending many hours toward cleaning up the grounds, trimming bushes, and sweeping sidewalks has been donated by Andy Dipiazza.  The public grounds are really beautiful!

Along the new path you can now see the (36) 10”x8” brass plates inset into the retaining wall blocks. Thanks to Don Snow and his team at CS Tool Engineering, Inc., the plates and engraving are finished, and at no cost to the Library. Thanks to Dale Larson, owner of Northwest Kent Mechanical and his team, 36 plates were installed with great care and precision on September 27 and 28. 

An example of one of the many bricks available to purchase.

The 129 bricks that have sold this past year have arrived and will be installed very soon. With the help of our new DPW Director, David Ducat and his team, and any other volunteers needed, the plan is to install them at the entrance of the new Library. According to Duane McIntyre, foreman of the project, we have 410 places for bricks, depending on the sizes purchased. The sizes offered are the 4×8 for $50 or the 8×8 for $100. On the 4×8 there can be 3 lines of 21 characters, including spaces between words and for the 8×8, 6 lines. These will make wonderful holiday presents! In fact a long-time community person with lots of family and grandchildren recently said she was going to purchase 21 bricks for her family Christmas presents.  

Mayor Gerry Hall and Councilman Perry Hopkins have been assembling the 10 benches purchased through the CBDT. The nameplates will again be engraved under the direction of Don Snow. Memorial and honorary brass plates will be installed on these benches, also. McIntyre and Hopkins will oversee the installing of the benches on various cement slabs around the library and surrounding park area. 

You perhaps noticed the four six foot benches around the clock tower and the sidewalk at the east side of the Library, ready for Red Flannel visitors.  They were in constant use and a very attractive and useful addition to our festivities!

Director Donna Clark was on hand at the library on Red Flannel Day offering tours and information about the vision our community has embraced called, the “Heart of Cedar Springs.” The entire property, going even beyond the edge of Cedar Creek and the White Pine Trail, will be a park-like area, developed and supported through a base constituency of over 100 volunteers and donors, the Community Building Development Team.  

The next project is building an amphitheater along where the White Pine Trail and Cedar Creek meet west of the park property.  A new fundraising campaign has begun. The City of Cedar Springs and the CBDT will work together on submitting an application for a Economic Development Grant for a $50,000 match within the next few weeks. Watch for details soon on how you can get involved. 

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Asbestos Management Plan


 

The Asbestos Emergency Response Act (AHERA) requires all schools to have an “Asbestos Management Plan” and to make that plan available to all concerned parties. Creative Technologies Academy, an asbestos free school, hereby notifies all parents, building occupants, and the parent association that the Asbestos Management Plan for all buildings under the jurisdiction of this local education agency is available in the principal’s office of Creative Technologies Academy located at 350 Pine Street in Cedar Springs Michigan.

This notification is to advise all concerned parties that the Asbestos Management Plan required under the AHERA is available for review upon request. The plans can be viewed by any person during normal business hours. Those interested in reviewing the Asbestos Management Plan can inquire about the hours and times that the plans are available by contacting Mr. Dan Clark, Director of Energy and Maintenance, or the School Leader at 616-696-4905.

Creative Technologies Academy has followed all of the laws pertaining to asbestos in schools for the state of Michigan. Based on the findings, there is no asbestos on the CTA campus. Steps have been taken for a permanent exemption because there is no asbestos to monitor or remove.

Affirmed by the Board of Directors, August 10, 2016

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Festival donates Red Flannel medallion to city


The Red Flannel Queen and court member presented the Ronny Merlington Memorial Medallion to his wife, Shirley Merlington

The Red Flannel Queen and court member presented the Ronny Merlington Memorial Medallion to his wife, Shirley Merlington

By Judy Reed

The Red Flannel Festival presented the city with a large wooden Red Flannel medallion, called the Ronny Merlington Memorial Medallion, to replace the one originally commissioned by Merlington, a longtime council member and former mayor who has since passed away. They presented the medallion at a special meeting of the City Council last Friday evening.

The original medallion that hung on the city’s wall for many years was destroyed after a cease and desist letter was sent by the Red Flannel Festival to the City.

Resident Kathy Bremmer told the Council that if the threat of a lawsuit still stands, then the council would be in violation of the law if they instruct the City Manager to hang the medallion on the wall.

*N-Red Flannel2Mark Fankhauser, a Keystone Cop and former Mayor of Cedar Springs, commended the Festival for honoring Merlington, and said he was a phenomenal individual.  “But there are concerns that council has to address,” he noted. “Both entities can survive independently. I don’t think we need to blend the logos. Regardless, Cedar Springs will always be known as the Red Flannel Town.”

Councilor Rose Powell said it was not a logo, but a symbol of the community’s culture. “It goes beyond being a sign. Hopefully it will restore our city as the Red Flannel Town,” she said.

Councilor Perry Hopkins said he didn’t know Merlington, but thought it would be honorable to honor him. “If we could have the cease and desist removed, it would be an honorable thing to hang on the wall,” he said.

“I don’t think the division is what Ronny would want for us,” said Councilor Dan Clark. “I hope hanging this would be some type of unification.”

Red Flannel President Michele Tracy and the board was in attendance for the presentation, and so was Shirley Merlington, Ronny’s wife, and this year’s RFF Grand Marshal. Ronny was Grand Marshal in 1994.

The Cedar Springs Red Flannel committee and the Red Flannel Festival will meet Thursday evening, June 4, at 5:30 p.m., at the Creative Technologies lounge to discuss a potential Red Flannel Festival agreement.

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The Post travels to Israel


N-Post-travels-Israel-Clark

The Post recently took a trip to a 55-acre archaeology site in Israel, known as Biblical Tamar Park, spanning 4,000 years of Israelite occupation, from Abraham to the present.

Pictured are Cedar Springs residents Dan Clark (left), his wife Donna (center), and Dr. DeWayne Coxon. The Clarks are among the hundreds of volunteers taken by Dr. Coxon to Israel over the span of 30 years to engage in worthy projects there.

The Clarks previously worked in projects in this desert region for 13 years, and returned to Cedar Springs in 2001. “It was great to be back ‘home’ in the Arava with our good friend, DeWayne, and our hometown paper, the Cedar Springs Post!” said Donna.

Anyone interested in Dr. Coxon’s work in Israel can visit www.blossomingrose.org.

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Four new members voted on to City Council


Perry Hopkins

Perry Hopkins

Pamela Conley

Pamela Conley

 

Molly Nixon

Molly Nixon

 

Rose Powell

Rose Powell

By Judy Reed

 

Voters in the City of Cedar Springs cleaned house Tuesday and voted in four new faces to the City Council.

Perry Hopkins, Pamela Conley, Molly Nixon and Rose Powell all won seats. Leaving the council will be Mayor Mark Fankhauser, Mayor Pro-tem Patricia Troost, and Ashley Bremmer. Ken Benham decided not to run again. Both Troost and Bremmer were up for recall.

Conley (382 votes) and Hopkins (325) beat out Fankhauser (311) for two seats. Nixon (310) ran against Bremmer (295), and Powell (346) ran against Troost (270) under the new recall law.

The candidates ran in two groups. Signs around town urged people to vote for either Conley, Nixon and Powell, or Fankhauser, Troost, Bremmer and Hopkins.

A little over 33 percent of registered voters voted in the election.

Winners of this election will join Dan Clark, Jerry Hall, and Bob Truesdale as members of the City Council at the November 13 meeting.

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Investigation into open meetings violation will go on


Cedar-Springs-new-logo

By Judy Reed

 

The Cedar Springs City Council voted last month to conduct an investigation into whether a violation had occurred under the Open Meetings Act last July, when the Council voted to take Mayor Bob Truesdale into closed session to hear complaints against him.

The Michigan Open Meetings Act states that a closed session may be called to hear complaints against a public officer, when the person requests a closed hearing. It can also be rescinded by the individual at any time.

According to Truesdale, he did not ask for the closed session, but was instead told by two of the council members that they were going to do this in closed session. Truesdale said he voted with the council figuring he had nothing to hide, and was not aware of his rights to end it at any time.

Two of the council members—Patricia Troost and Ashley Bremmer—are up for recall and the alleged open meetings violation is one of the reasons listed.

While Councilmember Dan Clark originally voted for the investigation, he began to have second thoughts last week, after reviewing two opinions by former State Attorney General Frank Kelley in connection with recalls and using public funds to defend the members up for recall. So he asked to have the matter revisited when the council met last Thursday for a special goals workshop session.

“I voted for it (the investigation) last month because I was not a councilmember at the time it occurred and did not want to interfere, “ he explained. “But when I realized that there was a conflict with an attorney general opinion, I tried to have them change the language to take it away from the recall.”

At the workshop, Clark proposed that they delay the investigation until they could find out whether the two opinions he read would cause the council to do something illegal. “In connecting the investigation with the recall, we are putting together two areas that should not be—the electoral and the judicial,” he explained.

The two opinions he cited were from former State Attorney General Frank Kelley.  In opinion 6704, dated March 22, 1991, Kelley answered the question on whether a municipality can use its funds for the purpose of paying expenses incurred by its city commissioners in the defense of a recall petition arising out of their performance of their duties as elected officers. He answered that no officer has any duties regarding the…outcome of  a recall election, and that his opinion was that the township may not expend public funds to challenge the sufficiency of  recall petitions.

The second opinion, no. 6715, dated March 17, 1992, also addressed public funds to pay legal fees of village council members who are subject of a recall. He again stated that a village may not use its funds for the purpose of paying legal fees to legal counsel opposing a recall petition.

Clark likens those opinions to what he sees the council is now doing—performing an internal investigation using public funds to exonerate the two members under recall. But Mayor Mark Fankhauser sees it differently. He says the investigation is not on behalf of Troost or Bremmer.

“We rely on our lawyer to act legally on our behalf. The recall was the catalyst that caused the entire to be compromised, and I felt it was important to address whether the council had done anything improper. It will be a small impact financially.”

City Manager Thad Taylor told the council that he had asked City Attorney Jeffrey Slugget whether they were using the funds improperly, and he told them that the city’s charter says they can use public funds as long as they are using it for a public purpose. He explained that the city must do the initial gathering of information, then show any evidence they gather to the prosecutor. If the prosecutor feels there is a case, it gets turned over to the Michigan State Police for further investigation.

Fankhauser said he felt the investigation should continue so that the public knows whether or not something illegal has been done.

Troost agreed, saying the investigation would tell them if five of them still on the council did something wrong.

Clark said the real issue is that they shouldn’t spend money on an electoral process.  “I want us to have a good image. I don’t want to spend public money on this. As a public body, we are influencing the electorate unintentionally.”

He said if there had to be an investigation, he felt it should come from a private source, not one funded by the city.

Clark also took issue with lawyer Sluggett’s response when asked at a previous meeting about who can call a closed session. “Mr. Sluggett said over and over that anyone can call a closed session and it is not so. I would like to have more than his opinion. As a council I don’t want to be diametrically opposed to what the attorney general says.”

Clark moved to amend their motion to investigate and asked for Taylor to stop the investigation and not restart until further info was gathered. It was defeated 6-1, with Truesdale saying he accidentally voted no when he meant to vote yes. That may have been true for one other council member as well.

Mark Laws, the Cedar Springs resident who has filed the recall petition, has also filed a complaint against the Council under the Michigan Campaign Finance Act. Under that act, a public body must maintain strict neutrality in each election and not attempt to influence the outcome of an election.

 

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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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