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In stunning upset, Trump wins presidency


This photo shows President elect Donald Trump back in July when he accepted the Republican party nomination. Trump promised to bring sweeping political change, to create wealth, and to make America safe again in a speech that excited delegates on the fourth and final day of the convention. (A. Shaker/VOA)

This photo shows President elect Donald Trump back in July when he accepted the Republican party nomination. Trump promised to bring sweeping political change, to create wealth, and to make America safe again in a speech that excited delegates on the fourth and final day of the convention. (A. Shaker/VOA)

By Judy Reed

In a move that took the nation’s media, pollsters, and political gurus by complete surprise, Republican presidential candidate and billionaire Donald Trump solidly defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in a polarizing election not soon to be forgotten.

Just three days before the election, several media outlets, including the New York Times, projected Trump’s chances of winning were between 2 and 15 percent.

Those who projected Clinton would win have been shaking their head and trying to analyze how they could’ve gotten it so wrong. They’ve blamed their methodology in polling, surveys, and other tools they use to predict elections. But the bottom line is that there is a big disconnect between “the experts” and the people in rural America that Trump appealed to—the ones who felt that their voices weren’t being heard. And they underestimated just how angry those voters were with the last eight years. Trump won what were thought to be Democratic strongholds, and significant swing states where Clinton had been projected to win. Despite the fact that the media continually endorsed her, Clinton could not inspire the trust or passion among voters that Trump did. And the investigations by the FBI and deaths of Americans in Benghazi did little to inspire any confidence. Many of the voters the Democrats thought would turn out to vote did not—or they voted for Trump.

He won the election with 279 electoral votes, to Clinton’s 228.

Michigan results didn’t come in until Wednesday, after Trump was already elected. He won the state by a slim margin of 13,225 votes. He won 47.6% compared to 47.33% for Clinton.

Michigan had become an important battleground state, and Trump’s last rally of the campaign was held in Grand Rapids Monday night at midnight, with over 30,000 people attending.

Trump gave a gracious victory speech, and congratulated Clinton on a hard-fought campaign. “Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country,” he said.

He also said it’s now time to bind the wounds of division. “To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.” He pledged to be president of all people, and promised that those who have been forgotten will be forgotten no longer. For a complete transcript of the speech, see below.

Trump was to meet with President Obama on Thursday. Trump will be sworn in as our 45th President in January 2017.

 

President-elect Donald Trump’s victory speech November 8, 2016

Thank you. Thank you very much, everybody. Sorry to keep you waiting. Complicated business. Complicated. Thank you very much.

I’ve just received a call from Secretary Clinton. She congratulated us. It’s about us. On our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign.

I mean, she fought very hard. Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.

I mean that very sincerely. Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division, have to get together. To all Republicans and Democrats and independents across this nation, I say it is time for us to come together as one united people.

It is time. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all of Americans, and this is so important to me. For those who have chosen not to support me in the past, of which there were a few people, I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.

As I’ve said from the beginning, ours was not a campaign but rather an incredible and great movement, made up of millions of hard-working men and women who love their country and want a better, brighter future for themselves and for their family.

It is a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds, and beliefs, who want and expect our government to serve the people — and serve the people it will.

Working together, we will begin the urgent task of rebuilding our nation and renewing the American dream. I’ve spent my entire life in business, looking at the untapped potential in projects and in people all over the world.

That is now what I want to do for our country. Tremendous potential. I’ve gotten to know our country so well. Tremendous potential. It is going to be a beautiful thing. Every single American will have the opportunity to realize his or her fullest potential.

The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer.

We are going to fix our inner cities and rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals. We’re going to rebuild our infrastructure, which will become, by the way, second to none. And we will put millions of our people to work as we rebuild it.

We will also finally take care of our great veterans who have been so loyal, and I’ve gotten to know so many over this 18-month journey. The time I’ve spent with them during this campaign has been among my greatest honors. Our veterans are incredible people.

We will embark upon a project of national growth and renewal. I will harness the creative talents of our people, and we will call upon the best and brightest to leverage their tremendous talent for the benefit of all. It is going to happen.

We have a great economic plan. We will double our growth and have the strongest economy anywhere in the world. At the same time, we will get along with all other nations willing to get along with us. We will be. We will have great relationships. We expect to have great, great relationships.

No dream is too big, no challenge is too great. Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach.

America will no longer settle for anything less than the best. We must reclaim our country’s destiny and dream big and bold and daring. We have to do that. We’re going to dream of things for our country, and beautiful things and successful things once again.

I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone. All people and all other nations.

We will seek common ground, not hostility; partnership, not conflict.

And now I would like to take this moment to thank some of the people who really helped me with this, what they are calling tonight a very, very historic victory.

First, I want to thank my parents, who I know are looking down on me right now. Great people. I’ve learned so much from them. They were wonderful in every regard. Truly great parents.

I also want to thank my sisters, Marianne and Elizabeth, who are here with us tonight. Where are they? They’re here someplace. They’re very shy, actually.

And my brother Robert, my great friend. Where is Robert? Where is Robert?

My brother Robert, and they should be on this stage, but that’s okay. They’re great.

And also my late brother Fred, great guy. Fantastic guy. Fantastic family. I was very lucky.

Great brothers, sisters, great, unbelievable parents.

To Melania and Don and Ivanka and Eric and Tiffany and Barron, I love you and I thank you, and especially for putting up with all of those hours. This was tough.

This was tough. This political stuff is nasty, and it is tough.

So I want to thank my family very much. Really fantastic. Thank you all. Thank you all. Lara, unbelievable job. Unbelievable. Vanessa, thank you. Thank you very much. What a great group.

You’ve all given me such incredible support, and I will tell you that we have a large group of people. You know, they kept saying we have a small staff. Not so small. Look at all of the people that we have. Look at all of these people.

And Kellyanne and Chris and Rudy and Steve and David. We have got tremendously talented people up here, and I want to tell you it’s been very, very special.

I want to give a very special thanks to our former mayor, Rudy Giuliani. He’s unbelievable. Unbelievable. He traveled with us and he went through meetings, and Rudy never changes. Where is Rudy. Where is he?

Gov. Chris Christie, folks, was unbelievable. Thank you, Chris. The first man, first senator, first major, major politician. Let me tell you, he is highly respected in Washington because he is as smart as you get.

Sen. Jeff Sessions. Where is Jeff? A great man. Another great man, very tough competitor. He was not easy. He was not easy. Who is that? Is that the mayor that showed up? Is that Rudy?

Up here. Really a friend to me, but I’ll tell you, I got to know him as a competitor because he was one of the folks that was negotiating to go against those Democrats, Dr. Ben Carson. Where’s Ben? Where is Ben? By the way, Mike Huckabee is here someplace, and he is fantastic. Mike and his family Sarah, thank you very much. Gen. Mike Flynn. Where is Mike? And Gen. Kellogg. We have over 200 generals and admirals that have endorsed our campaign and they are special people.

We have 22 Congressional Medal of Honor people. A very special person who, believe me, I read reports that I wasn’t getting along with him. I never had a bad second with him. He’s an unbelievable star. He is … that’s right, how did you possibly guess? Let me tell you about Reince. I’ve said Reince. I know it. I know it. Look at all of those people over there. I know it, Reince is a superstar. I said, they can’t call you a superstar, Reince, unless we win it. Like Secretariat. He would not have that bust at the track at Belmont.

Reince is really a star and he is the hardest-working guy, and in a certain way I did this. Reince, come up here. Get over here, Reince.

Boy, oh, boy, oh, boy. It’s about time you did this right. My god. Nah, come here. Say something.

Amazing guy. Our partnership with the RNC was so important to the success and what we’ve done, so I also have to say, I’ve gotten to know some incredible people.

The Secret Service people. They’re tough and they’re smart and they’re sharp and I don’t want to mess around with them, I can tell you. And when I want to go and wave to a big group of people and they rip me down and put me back down in the seat, but they are fantastic people so I want to thank the Secret Service.

And law enforcement in New York City, they’re here tonight. These are spectacular people, sometimes underappreciated unfortunately. We appreciate them.

So it’s been what they call a historic event, but to be really historic, we have to do a great job, and I promise you that I will not let you down. We will do a great job. We will do a great job. I look very much forward to being your president, and hopefully at the end of two years or three years or four years or maybe even eight years you will say so many of you worked so hard for us, with you. You will say that — you will say that that was something that you were — really were very proud to do and I can — thank you very much.

And I can only say that while the campaign is over, our work on this movement is now really just beginning. We’re going to get to work immediately for the American people, and we’re going to be doing a job that hopefully you will be so proud of your President. You will be so proud. Again, it’s my honor.

It’s an amazing evening. It’s been an amazing two-year period, and I love this country. Thank you.

Thank you very much. Thank you to Mike Pence.

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Change direction of school district by voting Nov. 8


Change direction of school district by voting Nov. 8

As we approach this upcoming November 8th election for Cedar Springs School board, I encourage everyone to learn about the current state in our district and the candidates running for two open board seats.

Our district’s integrity and our commitment to our children’s education, the teachers and each other matters.  We have endured much change over the last two years, some of it positive and some of it destructive. This is our home; it is where we chose to raise our children. This is something we all have in common.

The divide in our community is heart wrenching to experience. I have tried to seek information and understanding on the actions of our new leadership and Board of Education. Instead of conversation and communication, we are met with resistance and disregard. Walls have been built instead of bridges.

November 8 gives us the opportunity to change the trajectory. Who we vote into these seats matters. The board must be involved and active in building relationships, being strong stewards of our district, our budget and our success. They need to be brave, engaged and thoughtful members that are not afraid to challenge, negotiate and lead. Healthy debate is good and necessary. Accountability with checks and balances is critical. Our leadership needs to practice these qualities.

Ted Sabinas and Mistie Bowser are two candidates with a passion for getting involved and building us back to the education powerhouse we were.

Ted has rich experience from being a teacher and coach in our district for over 30 years. He is known as a balanced, smart, intuitive leader who is not afraid to work through the tough issues with grace, respect and accountability.

Mistie is a passionate mother who is centered on our kids and the well-rounded education and life experiences they get here. She is committed to tackling the tough challenges ahead and celebrating the successes. She has a proven commitment to serving our community.

I trust both of them and hope you will, too. Please join me in getting to know Ted and Mistie. On November 8, I hope they can count on your YES vote.

Laura Davis, Algoma Township

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Candidates for August primary


 

Election time is here, and there are a lot of candidates running for both local and state government. Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, August 2 to make their selections. Because there are so many candidates to cover, and we couldn’t possibly fit bios in of them all, the Post chose to send questions only to those running for Kent County Sheriff and contested Supervisor positions in area townships.

Kent County Sheriff 

Five people are running for Kent County Sheriff—four Republicans and one Democrat. They are running for a four-year term.

Sheriff Larry Stelma

Sheriff Larry Stelma

Lawrence A. Stelma (R) – Larry Stelma is the current Sheriff in Kent County, and has held that position since 2000. He was born and raised in Kent County. “In the early 60’s, my father purchased land and a business in Cedar Springs and it is the same land on which we live today, located in Solon Township,” said Stelma. He graduated from Creston High School, the bible college now known as Cornerstone University, and has been married to his wife, Iris for 44 years. They have two adult daughters and one grandchild. “I remain active with all things outdoors and on our farm, raising horses and Christmas trees,” he said.

Stelma joined the Sheriff’s Office in 1972 as a corrections officer and worked his way up through the chain of command, serving in every capacity and division within the Sheriff’s office. This included training and graduation from the FBI National Academy, the National Sheriff’s Institute and the U.S. Secret Service Dignitary Protection Academy. In 1999 he was appointed Undersheriff, and then was elected Sheriff in 2000, and reelected in 2004, 2008, and 2012, by overwhelming margins.

Stelma wants to run for office because he said that his father instilled in him a service attitude at an early age, and service is in his DNA. “My life’s calling has been serving our community as an officer with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. I am running for office again simply because it’s my passion and calling,” he explained. He said that over the years as Sheriff, he has initiated over 40 new initiatives and programs that help to keep schools a safe place for learning (such as township patrols and the school resource officer program), provided the mechanism for more efficient law enforcement (such as township patrols, the Cedar Springs Police Department consolidation project, and dispatch consolidations), reduced jail populations, and maintained a crime rate half the national average. He’d like the chance to continue these initiatives and complete those in progress.

Stelma says the major challenge facing law enforcement is the ever increasing demand for more and more services brought on by a growing population with ever increasing expectations. “These expectations are driven by society’s obsession with technology, drugs, and violence, and law enforcement needs to stay current on how crime is facilitated by these influences and how these influences can help solve crime. All of this is constrained by tighter budgets,” he explained, noting that expectations increase while resources decrease. He said the only way to deal with these complex issues is to have the ability to develop and maintain strong strategic relationships with community leaders, education, mental health and medical providers, and faith-based community. “These relationships have served this community well, and enable me to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow,” he said.

Stacy Browe

Stacey Browe

Stacey M. Browe (R) – Stacey Browe is a certified police officer with 9 years of prior law enforcement experience. Her experience in Michigan includes 7 years as a Certified Police Officer for the City of Wayland. “During this time, I was responsible for handling every aspect of assigned calls including reports, follow-up, and subsequent investigation. Following my time with Wayland, I worked for two years as a Certified Police Officer for the City of Swansboro, North Carolina,” she said.  After missing her family, she decided to move back to Michigan and currently lives in Kentwood.

I am running for the Office of Sheriff because the people of Kent County deserve a leader as their Sheriff. I will be a Sheriff who is visible and accessible in the county every day of my term. Under my leadership, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office will become a model for law enforcement agencies throughout the state,” she said.

Browe said she will bring the experience acquired through 9 years of certified law enforcement, including investigations, field training, crisis intervention, drug interdiction, and numerous other specialized areas of policing to this Sheriff’s Office. “I will use my experience to devastate the heroin industry in Kent County. I will protect Kent County from terrorism and related crimes and I will protect the constitutional rights of my constituents. I will also work to eliminate dispatching fees, which are fees unethically assessed to local units of government for dispatching services, in addition to the taxes already paid for the same services. I will support all townships, villages, and cities including those that wish to operate their own police departments as well as those preferring a contractual agreement.”

Browe said the biggest challenge facing the Kent County Sheriff’s Office is multifaceted. “There are numerous county residents upset by the violence and terrorism nationwide. Residents look to the Sheriff’s Office for protection and leadership in times like these. Sadly, other candidates including the current Sheriff have been mostly silent on these issues and have not articulated any plan for protecting the people they wish to serve. My plan is to actively monitor terror alerts and keep my staff abreast of relevant information on a daily – not monthly basis. I will also begin requiring all law enforcement personnel to complete counter-terrorism as well as active shooter training and I will be in daily communication with our county’s emergency management coordinator. I will work with and be in regular communication with the Michigan State Police as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to make sure all residents of Kent County are safe and secure in their homes, places of businesses, and public venues. That being said, The Sheriff’s Office, State Police, and local law enforcement will be conducting all enforcement activity that does occur in Kent County except activity that involves violations of federal law.”

John Stedman

John Stedman

John G. Stedman (R) – John Stedman was born and raised in the Heart of Grand Rapids, Mich. His family later moved to Wyoming, where he still lives today. “I have been in my current home for over 25 years in the Wyoming panhandle. I have managed and owned businesses since I was 17 years old. In the late 70s I followed in my father’s footsteps, opening my own insurance company, which has operated for over 40 years. In 2004 I purchased the building at 508 28th Street SW and US 131 where I had been a tenant since 1986. I am a dedicated family man with two wonderful children, Jon and Kari and celebrated 40 years of marriage to my high school sweetheart Susan in June,” he said.

Why is he running for Sheriff? “Times are changing in Kent County and we must change with it. There are several diverse communities that make up our great county and we need someone who has experience working with many of them. This is to ensure that we are increasing equality in a time when the divide between the community and police is growing. In addition, the Sheriff’s department makes up a large portion of the county’s general fund. We cannot arrest our way out of certain issues and our attempts to do so are currently unsustainable and costing taxpayers too much. We must use a business mindset in order to identify inefficiencies and adjust where needed,” explained Stedman.

He noted that he is proud of his role in developing  a ministry that seeks to help those who are returning from prison so they may lead productive lives and not contribute to the counties 80 percent recidivism rate.

Stedman sees his main strength has having a business background that has molded him into someone with keen financial sense who can identify budgetary issues and implement proper remedies. “I have managed a diverse staff of employees over the decades and understand organizational development. The staff of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department deserve to have the best opportunities in their careers. Reactionary cost cutting that decreases law enforcement jobs will not be tolerated under my term as Sheriff.”

Stedman said that the main challenge facing Kent County is a heroin epidemic. “The lack of recovery resources in the county, coupled with a financially wasteful ‘War on Drugs’ mentality is doing nothing but fueling the fire. We must look at individuals such as Chief Leonard Campanello, of Gloucester, Mass. and other proactive law enforcement leaders around the country and implement solutions that will decrease use and save lives especially the county’s youth,” he said.

Timothy Lewis (R) – Did not return any info on his candidacy.

Michael B. Scruggs (D) – Did not return any info on his candidacy.

Township Supervisor Candidates

Algoma Township has two people vying for the seat of township supervisor—both Republicans. They are running for a four-year term.

Nancy Clary

Nancy Clary

Nancy Clary – Nancy Clary is the current supervisor in Algoma Township. “I have lived in Algoma for the past 29 years and have provided public service to the community since my arrival. I was born and raised in Montcalm County where I served as Montcalm County Administrator for 17 years. My husband, Jack R. Clary Esq. and I have 4 grown married children and 7 grandchildren.

Clary said she is running again because she’d like to continue the collaborative work on projects with other units of Government and the State that are now ongoing in the Township. “It has been my good fortune to work over the years with many of the excellent people who are in leadership roles in the area and we have mutually respectful relationships. Those working relationships are very helpful when problems need to be solved that require services and cooperation with adjoining communities. The Archery Center on 10 Mile Road is an example of what can be accomplished with collaboration. River’s Edge Park is now being expanded and Rockford Public Schools will be partnering with the Township to provide an outdoor learning experience for students,” she said.

Her past experience includes: Algoma Township Planning Commission member for 11 years, Trustee for 7 years, Deputy Supervisor and Currently Supervisor.  “I am a founding Board Member of a Private Children’s Charity as well as Past President of the following:  Michigan Association of County Administrative Officers, Michigan Association of County Personnel Officers, Michigan Association of Governmental Computer Users and United Way of Michigan, Public Services Sector.”

Clary said her main strength is the strong regional relationships she has maintained to create greater collaboration with the West Michigan Community. “I have developed and monitored multi-year, multi-million dollar municipal budgets that ensure long-term financial security for Algoma’s assets and services.  I have the endorsements of the following leaders and individuals:  State Senator Peter MacGregor, State Representative Rob VerHeulen, State Representative Ken Yonker, State Representative Jon Bumstead, Kent County Sheriff Lawrence Stelma, County Commissioner Tom Antor, County Commissioner Diane Jones, County Commissioner Harold Voorhees, Former Supervisor Dennis Hoemke, and Kent County 63rd District Judge, Retired Steven R. Servaas.”

“The major challenge facing our district is continuing to maintain the rural character of the Township while accommodating development where desired and assuring that the rights of all property owners are considered and protected,” she noted.

Kevin Green

Kevin Green

Kevin Green (R) – Kevin Green is a former State Representative running to be Algoma’s next Supervisor. “I grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, have lived in Kent County for 20 years and am now living in Algoma Township for almost 5 years,” he said. “I own a small business helping property owners with zoning, planning issues and outdoor advertising. I have two beautiful young children, Elliot, 7, and Meadow, 6, that attend a Rockford elementary school.”

Green said he is running for supervisor because he wants to give a fresh perspective to the community while using his education and professional experience as a leader. “As a State Representative I worked hard for our residents for 6 years. I also bring experience as a business manager and a former City Councilman. As the House Whip, I used years of proven negotiating skills to bring people together and get things done in a timely manner. Helping our Algoma residents is my number one concern,” he explained.

Green said he has been a leader in many non-profit organizations including the Lions Club, Chambers of Commerce, Sons of American Legion and more. “I recently joined Moose Club and Rockford Sportsman Club. I started my career in Cedar Springs over 20 years ago, as an intern for former City Manager Frank Walsh,” he recalled.

Green believes that treating people with kindness and compassion is his main strength. As the former House Whip, it was my job to bring people of many backgrounds together to get things done for our State. People deserve to be treated with respect and I bring the sense of true public service to our residents,” he said. “I am highly skilled business manager, negotiator and mediator.”

Green sees over taxation as a major challenge facing Algoma Township. “Over taxation on residential property is a huge concern of Algoma’s residents and must be addressed by utilizing fair assessments. Protecting private property owner rights and our residents’ freedom of decision-making must not be eroded any further than it already has been. We must be diligent in preserving the character of our community by maintaining a quaint rural atmosphere and welcoming small town values,” he said.

Nelson Township

You will see two names on the ballot for Nelson Township Supervisor, both Republican. However, we found out that one of the candidates—current Supervisor Tom Noreen—has decided to withdraw from the election. “I just don’t  have the time,” said Noreen. The other candidate is:

Robyn Britton

Robyn Britton

Robyn Britton (R) – Robyn Britton said she lives 27 minutes from the house she grew up in. “I’ve spent my whole life (48 years) living in either Solon Township or Nelson Township,” said Britton. “I graduated from Cedar Springs in 1986. I’ve been married to my best friend Scott Britton for 27 years and we have 3 amazing children, Hannah, Jesse and Jake. Both Hannah and Jesse are in college and Jake is a junior at Tri County High School. Both my husband and I have owned and operate Britton Builder’s Inc. for the last 25 years. I just recently left my position to start my own endeavor—a renovation company purchasing old homes and putting love back into them. And let’s not forgot my love for farming. We own and operate a 30-head Scottish Highland Farm. You want to talk about up and downs. All my friends that own what they call the ‘Real Cows’ get a chuckle at me because I love my Grass fed, big horn babies.”

Britton said the main reason she is running for office is for her children. “I’ve tried to teach my children if you don’t like something do your best to fix it. Well, if I’m going to ‘Talk the Talk’ I better ‘Walk the Walk.’ I had the fortune to work with some amazing people during my time working for Cedar Springs Police Department; it gave me a real insight on our community and the people servicing our community. It’s a tough job. The biggest thing I learned is if one person tries then others will follow or at least pay attention. I’m not a politician. I just feel that it’s my responsibility to be the best person I can be and try to make the community I raised my children in a place they may want to raise their children in.”

What does she feel she can bring to the position of Supervisor? “Own and operated a building company for nearly 25 years, negotiated buy sell agreement hundreds of thousands dollars, and worked in the corporate world for 15 years. My background has lead me to work with architects, engineers, subcontractors, financial institution, state and local government officials etc. I love people and I make no bones about it – I love to talk and meet people listen to their views and ideas, but more importantly I want them to know they matter regards of who they are,” she said.

Britton feels the that the major challenges facing Nelson Township are communication, accountability, and just plain common sense. “Fixing the problems start with the people. Five boards can’t fix everything that’s going on in this community.  If you want this community to prosper it has to be a joint effort.” She feels that the Supervisor and community will have to do it together, and she urges the public to attend their meetings the second Tuesday of every month.

Oakfield Township 

There are two candidates running for Supervisor in Oakfield Township, both Republicans. They are running for a four-year term.

William Greg Dean

William Greg Dean

William G. Dean (R)– Greg Dean is the current Supervisor in Oakfield Township and has been for the last 24 years. He was born in Oakfield Township 62 years ago and has lived there his entire life. Besides serving as Township Supervisor, he also drives truck for a living. He is married and has five children.

Dean said that his main reason for running for office is to ensure the township remains on sound footing, as they are now.

Dean believes that his main strength is that he practices excellent fiscal management of township funds and budgets and will continue to do so. “The township has no debt, and we borrow no money,” he explained. “We pay cash for everything and will continue to do so as long as I remain Supervisor.”

He said the main challenge facing Oakfield is the paving of more roads and funding Fire Department operations. “This is done by strong fiscal management,” he said.

Paul H. Decess (R) – He provided no info on his candidacy.

Solon Township

There are two candidates running for Supervisor in Solon Township, both Republicans. They are running for a four-year term.

Robert Ellick

Robert Ellick

Robert Ellick (R) – Bob Ellick is the current Supervisor in Solon Township and has been for 12 years. He is 63 years old and has owned a home and lived in Solon Twp. for 44 years. He and his wife have raised three sons in Solon. Ellick is a self-employed builder, semi retired, in addition to being supervisor. Prior to that he was a trustee for four years, trustee. He has also been a state certified building inspector for 10 years.

Ellick said his main reason for running for office is “to help make Solon Township a better place to grow families and businesses, while impacting the rural character of the Township as little as possible, and also to make certain that the residents get the best service possible at the most economical rate possible.”

Ellick has also served on the Cedar Springs Public Library board for the last four or five years, the last two years as Chair. He has also served on the Solon Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Commission, and the market committee member and chair for a couple of years.

Ellick said the main strength he brings to the position is “a good understanding of the job and all its constitutional and fiscal responsibilities, and to keep the Township running in the green with a good fund balance for our future. We do not take our lead from the federal government,” he said.

He said one of the biggest challenges in government is money and patience. “It seems that there is never enough of either to go around. But zoning, public water and sewer, traffic/roads are big issues in the Township, particularly with the 17 Mile and White creek interchange.”

Jerrod Roberts (R) – He provided no information about his candidacy.

For a complete list of candidates running for office in your area, and a list of proposals, download the pdf below:

CandidatesAugust2016.pdf

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Don’t forget to VOTE on road funding May 5


 

A special statewide election will be held on Tuesday, May 5, to decide whether to increase taxes for road maintenance and its outcome will affect every household in Michigan. Some school districts also have proposals on the ballot, but here in Cedar Springs and the surrounding area, we will only be voting on Proposal 1. The Post is rerunning an article we published recently by The Mackinac Center for Public Policy, which breaks down the proposal, and there is a link at the end for further information.

New study analyzes impact of Proposal 1 on taxpayers

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy published a new analysis of Proposal 1, which voters will be asked to approve or reject on May 5. The proposal increases taxes by $2 billion and aims to dedicate most of that revenue for future road construction and maintenance. In addition to reviewing the proposed constitutional and legislative changes, this new study estimates how Proposal 1 would impact the typical Michigan household.

James Hohman, author of the study and assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center, used data from the U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to estimate that Proposal 1 would increase the tax burden of the typical Michigan household by about $500 in 2016.

“These estimates rely on assumptions about the average price of gasoline and other factors, but they’re about as close as one can get to figuring out about how much taxpayers would pay if voters approve of this plan to increase funding for roads,” Hohman said.

Proposal 1 would make four changes to the Michigan Constitution: increasing the allowable sales tax rate to 7 percent, exempting fuel purchases from sales and use taxes, prohibiting public universities from receiving revenue from the School Aid Fund and earmarking a portion of use tax revenue for the School Aid Fund.

These changes are “tie-barred” with eight legislative bills that will go into effect if voters approve of Proposal 1. These laws would hike the sales and use tax to 7 percent, create a new wholesale fuel tax of 41.7 cents per gallon and earmark this revenue for roads, increase the state’s earned income tax credit, boost spending on one public school program and create new rules pertaining to road construction projects for the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Regarding the proposed wholesale tax on fuel, it is likely that prices at the pump for gasoline consumers will be higher if Proposal 1 passes. Based on data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average national gasoline price in 2015 will be $2.39. At this rate, consumers would pay about 10 cents more per gallon in taxes at the pump.

“The difference between the proposed gas tax and the current one depends a lot on the price of gasoline. But only when gasoline prices exceed $4.20 per gallon will consumers start to pay less at the pump under Proposal 1,” Hohman added.

The analysis found that the proposed new wholesale fuel tax will increase at a rate that will outpace inflation. The mechanics of the formula prescribed in the law to adjust the tax rate based on inflation ensures that the rate will grow faster than inflation.

“The way the fuel tax formula is designed, taxpayers can expect to see fuel taxation rates rise faster than inflation,” Hohman said.

Even though the earned income tax credit would be increased under Proposal 1 (from 6 percent of the federal EITC amount to 20 percent), low-income households in Michigan may not experience much of a tax benefit overall.

“The average EITC recipient’s tax burden will likely be reduced slightly if Proposal 1 passes, but there will be EITC recipients whose overall tax burden will still rise,” said Hohman.

The full study can be found online here: www.mackinac.org/21128

The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Michigan citizens by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions. The Mackinac Center assists policy makers, scholars, business people, the media and the public by providing objective analysis of Michigan issues.

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Ballot issues


 

Voters will have several proposals to vote on in next ‘Tuesday’s election.

State: There are two proposals on the ballot in regard to wolves.

Public Act 520 of 2012 would: Allow an open hunting season for wolves and allow the Natural Resources Commission to schedule annual wolf hunting seasons. Require a person who wishes to hunt wolves to obtain a wolf hunting license.

Provide criminal penalties for unlawful possession or taking of wolves; and create a Wolf Management Advisory Council for the purpose of making nonbinding recommendations to the legislature regarding the proper management of wolves.

Public Act 21 of 2013 would: 

Allow the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to designate animals as game for hunting purposes without legislative action.

Allow the NRC to establish the first open hunting season for newly designated game animals without legislative action.

Allow the NRC to schedulde a wolf hunt.

Grant the Legislature the sole authority to remove a species from the list of designated game animals.

Eliminate the $1.00 hunting and fishing licensing fee for members of the military, whether stationed inside or outside of Michigan, subject to any lottery.

Give the NRC the sole authority to regulate fishing.

Kent County: There are two proposals at the county level.

Dedicated millage for Veterans services: Shall Kent County levy .050 mill which is equal to five cents per $1,000 of the taxable value on all Real and Personal Property subject to taxation for the period 2014 through 2021, inclusive, for the purpose of providing dedicated services to veterans of active United States military service and their dependents? The amount raised by the levy in the first year is estimated at $1,001,290.

Nelson Township: Nelson is asking for an additional 0.1068 mill ($0.1068 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of ten years, beginning in the year 2014 and continuing through the year 2023, both inclusive, to provide library services and support and maintenance of the Township library. It is estimated that a levy of the additional 0.1068 mill would provide revenue of $12,718 in the first calendar year. The revenue from this millage levy will be disbursed to the Township of Nelson for distribution to the Library Fund.

School districts:

Cedar Springs Public Schools: Is asking for a renewal of its operating millage. Homeowners will NOT see an increase in their taxes. This renewal is for the 18 mills currently established on non-homestead property. ($18.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation.) It is not a new tax. A Yes vote allows for the continued quality education programs offered at Cedar Springs Public Schools, with no additional cost to homeowners. A no vote does not mean a reduction in homeowner taxes, but it would mean a loss of over $2 million used to maintain current educational programs and services. They are asking for a 10-year renewal.

Tri County Area Schools: Is asking for a renewal of its operating millage. Homeowners will NOT see an increase in their taxes. This renewal is for the 18 mills currently established on non-homestead property. ($18.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation.) It is not a new tax. The first year would bring in $661,000. They are asking for a four-year renewal.

Other school districts asking for renewals in our area include Rockford, Greenville, and Montcalm Community College.

 

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Look for what’s right


Dear Editor:

 

It’s a simple fact: You find what you’re looking for. If you are looking for bad news, you will find something to criticize; if you are looking for good news, you will find something to compliment.

In this election cycle, I hear and read far too many candidates that are looking for the things that are wrong. Electing those candidates perpetuates bad news. Is everything perfect in Cedar Springs? In Michigan? In the United States? Of course not. But there is a lot that is right. I’m much more interested in focusing on those things.

The way to move our city, our state, and our country forward is to support those candidates that are focused on our strengths—on what’s right in our communities—and electing them into positions where they can help our strengths overcome our weaknesses.

Send a message this election cycle: Vote for the candidates that are looking for what’s good and right and strong.

 

Sincerely,

Craig T. Owens, City of Cedar Springs

 

 

Post Scripts Notice: 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. No letters against a candidate will be published the week before an election. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

 

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From the Mayor’s Desk


Mayor Bob Truesdale

Mayor Bob Truesdale

By Bob Truesdale

 

Wow! Election Day was exciting. I saw many of our older citizens hobble in and out of City Hall to vote. They remember the good old days when our city was a thriving community.

A big thank you to everyone that put forth the effort to vote the new faces to city council. It was a tough call, but you made it happen.

Congratulations to Daniel Clark and Jerry Hall. I look forward to working with each of you in years to come.

And to Pam Conley and Mark Laws, you fought a good fight, and don’t give up. Our city needs someone like you to form a “Concerned Citizens Coalition,” with a representative of the group at every planning and council meeting. If you, the taxpayers of our city will get involved, I promise you an all new Cedar Springs in 2014. With God’s help, watch us make the changes you have been asking for.

 

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From the Mayor’s Desk


Mayor Bob Truesdale

Mayor Bob Truesdale

By Bob Truesdale, Mayor

The City of Cedar Springs

 

In Florida, 78 degrees, taking a few days off before our November 5 big election (in Cedar Springs).  I’m sitting on the veranda of a mini $1.5 million southern plantation that most of us only dream about. My granddaughter and her husband own and operate a lucrative photography studio site. They are a very organized young couple, living what this generation calls the good life. Oh, and did I mention, they run it like a business?

I am thinking that maybe you, the local taxpayers, should check with my counterparts on our city council and some very sensible first-time candidates, as to where they stand on our city being operated in a more business-like setting, and also not doing a thumbs-down on the Community Building Development team’s proposed plans to relocate the fire barn, so we can enjoy a beautiful new library and community building overlooking a multi-colored flowing well. I would ask you to please take a look at what other villages and townships have done all around us, over the past few years. They are called visionaries. We also have leadership with a passion to give of their resources, abilities, and their time to make it happen in our community, for our present and future generations.

Please get out November 5 and vote your God-given wisdom. If you need a ride to and from the poles, phone 696-2050. There are cars and drivers standing by, ready to get you there.

God bless you, I am humbly, 

Your Mayor

 

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School board election May 3


Residents in the Cedar Springs Public Schools district will vote on Tuesday, May 3, to fill two board positions and vote on whether to accept a one-mill sinking fund levy to help fund maintenance of school buildings and grounds. The sinking fund would last 10 years, and cost a homeowner with a $100,000 property value $50 per year. It is a pay as you go plan, and there would be no finance charges or interest. School officials say that with proposed cuts in the state budget and increased costs, they are looking at a $2.4 million in cuts, and that without additional funding to support infrastructure, they will be forced to cut programs for kids. For a flyer on the issue, click link: Sinking Fund Flyer.
There are three candidates running for two positions on the Cedar Springs Board of Education. Running are two incumbents—Joe Marckini and Jeff Gust—and newcomer Mistie Bowser.

Joe Marckini

Joe Marckini, a journeyman sheet worker, has lived in the district 15 years. He is currently board president. He has also served as vice-president, treasurer and trustee. He has served as the board’s legislative liaison and a member of the National School Board Association (NSBA) Federal Relation Network (FRN).  He has earned through the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) a level one certification, award of merit, award of distinction, and an advocacy skill specialty award.
“I am seeking another term because I believe in providing all our students with a 21st century educational experience and look forward to working with our community to make this happen,” said Marckini. He noted that Cedar Springs Public Schools is a unique district, one that is collaborative and totally focused on student achievement.
Marckini said there were two major issues facing the district. “One is funding and the other is the new Nationwide Common Core Standards. I will continue to advocate on behalf of our district for full funding of both state and federal mandates. Although I commend our nation’s attention to educational issues (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)), I will continue to advocate the educating of the whole child when it comes to the implementation of the Nationwide Common Core Standards,” he explained.
Marckini said that he is not against sharing services or administrators with other districts to contain costs as long as it did not harm the district. “Our district is currently sharing services with Sparta and Kent ISD to save money. We are also moving forward with our neighboring districts in developing other possible shared services,” he said.

Jeff Gust

Jeff Gust, owner of Gust Construction, has lived in the district 43 years. He has served on the board for 16 months, and has owned or operated his own local business for 20 plus years. He has also coached in the school district for over 12 years.
Gust said he is seeking another term for several reasons. “I have three children who are currently attending CSHS or have graduated from CSHS, my wife is employed at the HS, and I wanted to have a say in the quality of their education and workplace,” he noted.
Gust said the major issue facing the district is funding from the state and federal governments. “We are on a very tight budget and it seems to be getting tighter every year. I think it is our job to ensure that the cuts we make are in the best interest of our students. We have an excellent teaching staff and support staff, along with administrators that all care about our students. We have been working with each of these groups on trying to make the right cuts that are in the students best interest,” he explained.  “We are currently asking for a sinking fund millage to be passed by our community that would be used for repairs to roads and energy upgrades, etc.  If the community sees fit to honor us by passing this bond we would have the duty to be good stewards of the money and spend it as wisely as we can.  I would like to be a part of that process.”
Gust noted that he is not against sharing services or administrators with other districts. “I am all for it if we can save money by doing it and provide the same or better services to our community and students. We would need to do this carefully as to not burn our employees out with the added responsibilities,” he said.

Mistie Bowser

Mistie Bowser has lived in the Cedar Springs district for 10 years. She currently is unemployed, but her previous job was as an account executive in business sales. She said she has at least 10 years of experience in participating on boards or committees. She was on the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Kent County board, with the last 8 years holding the positions of Vice President and President. She also served on the Michigan Public Policy Committee that successfully got the blood alcohol content level of .08 passed, and is currently the spokesperson for this side of the state for Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
Bowser said she decided to run for the Cedar Springs School Board because she wants to ensure her four children get the best education possible. “I look forward to listening to my friends, neighbors and people in the community and sharing their ideas or opinions with the board so an educated decision can be given,” she said.
Bowser sees budget issues and class sizes as two major issues facing the district. “A couple of issues that I’m seeing is the obvious budget cuts and it seems that our students are the ones paying and I find it disheartening. I’m irritated by the size of classes that my kids are in and I feel that this is hindering our children. We need smaller class sizes,” she noted.
Bowser said she would have to research sharing services and administrators with other districts before giving an opinion.
Voters should vote at the city or township polling place where they usually vote. Polls normally open at 7 a.m. Call your local government agency for more information.

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City Council candidates bring drama to election


If one candidate wins, it may be a conflict of interest. Another candidate is facing legal charges. Another just wants to hold on to his seat. Welcome to this year’s Cedar Springs City Council election, where two four-year terms are up for grabs.

One seat is being vacated by Mayor Linda Hunt, who retired, and the other seat belongs to Charlie Watson, who is running to regain it. The other candidates are Pamela Medford-Conley and Arthur Tiethoff. Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Charlie Watson

Charlie Watson

Charlie Watson

This will be Charlie’s second term on the council, if elected. He has lived in the Cedar Springs area all of his life, other than when he was in the military. He graduated from Cedar Springs High School in 1982, and has an associates degree from Grand Rapids Community College. He has served as a firefighter at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids since 1990. He also served on the Cedar Springs Police and Fire Departments for 10 years.

During his time on the City Council, Watson has served on the planning commission, personnel and compensation committee, government liaison and finance committees, and several ad hoc committees. He is currently serving as Mayor Pro-tem, and recently completed the requirements to obtain his Level 1 Elected Official designation from the Michigan Municipal League.

Watson said he ran for office because he enjoys serving the people. “I like helping the community and letting the voice of the people be heard,” he said.

Watson said that he thinks the economy is the most important issue facing Cedar Springs. What does he think should be done about it? “I will continue to try to bring business and industry to the city,” he said.

As incumbent, Watson said the thing he is most proud of accomplishing is the resurfacing of city streets (such as East and West Muskegon) and the sidewalks they’ve been able to replace. He also said he’s proud of other things such as the restoration of the flowing well, but noted that, “without decent streets, you won’t get to those places.”

Pamela Medford-Conley

Pamela Medford-Conley

Pamela Medford-Conley

Pamela Medford-Conley has lived in Cedar Springs since 1999. She teaches communications at Forest Hills, and is the debate and forensics coach there. Conley has been active in the community, serving on the library board, the garden club, and she is currently in her second term on the Cedar Springs Board of Education. While on the Board of Ed, she has made several trips to Washington DC with the federal relations network to talk to legislators about what is and isn’t working in education.

Conley said she was prompted to run for office because of some issues she’s had with the city. “I’ve had some issues with zoning—how the laws are enforced and what they are. We need some clarity on that,” she said. She also added that if she’s not willing to step up, she can’t complain.

Conley agreed with Watson that the most important issue facing the city is the budget crunch. “There is declining revenue from state and property taxes, so we have to make tough choices to allocate the resources we have. The face of the community is changing—there’s new housing, new people, and our choices need to reflect that. We’re turning into the ‘burbs.”

Conley’s service on the Board of Education has some wondering whether serving on the Cedar Springs City Council might be a conflict of interest. The school reportedly contacted Kent County Elections Director Sue DeStiguer last summer to see if she could legally serve on two elected boards if she were to be elected in November. The Elections Director then contacted the city. City Clerk Linda Branyan sent Conley a letter explaining that she had been contacted about it, and that it was not something prohibited by the city. However, she did point her to Michigan Compiled Law, Act 566 1978, on holding incompatible offices. Branyan noted in her letter that the Attorney General and the Michigan Supreme Court have ruled on the matter, and pointed to the incident in Muskegon County where an individual elected to the Muskegon School Board and County Board of Commissioners was ordered to resign from one of the positions by a Circuit Court judge who ruled he was in violation of the Act 566. Branyan said in her letter that the problem for Conley might be that there are contractual agreements between the city and school board. She said she was writing to give her time to do her own research, and contact an attorney if necessary. Branyan said she would be happy to sit down with Conley and show her the information. But Conley never responded to Branyan’s letter.

“My lawyer advised me not to,” said Conley. “That letter was not appropriate prior to an election. Anyone gets to run for office.” She said that she had spoken with two lawyers, and both said that the jobs would not be incompatible. “In the Muskegon County Case, there was an overarching county board. Are they going to say the city is subservient to the school board?” she asked. “This is not even remotely an issue.”

Arthur Tiethoff

Arthur Tiethoff

Arthur Tiethoff

Art Tiethoff has lived in the district for 37 years, and is a retired electrician. He feels that his skills as a project leader at work will be valuable as a city councilor. “I will stand up for what is right,” he said.

Why is he running? “I see the need for someone to represent the people. I believe in a government for the people by the people. Sometimes it seems the other way around.” Tiethoff also said he thinks the economy is the biggest issue facing Cedar Springs. “I think we should be careful on how money is spent for the taxpayer as well as for the city…I believe we should live within our means, not just within someone’s wishes. If the people can’t afford something, hold off til they can.”

Tiethoff is currently facing a misdemeanor charge of malicious destruction of property, for allegedly putting a scratch in another person’s car. It’s a charge he vehemently denies. “I’m not guilty,” said Tiethoff, “but it’s up to the court to decide.” Police were called to a home on S. Second on July 29, where someone allegedly observed him make a scratch on the rear bumper of someone’s brand new vehicle. He was arraigned on Oct. 7, and has pled not guilty. He is scheduled for a jury pick on November 19.

Tiethoff knows that the situation may cost him a seat, although he is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. “The people that know me will vote for me,” he said.

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