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Tag Archive | "Michele Tracy"

Year in Review: Former refugee becomes RF Queen


Red Flannel Queen Mumina Ciise (left) is shown here on Red Flannel Day with Grand Marshal and Library Director Donna Clark, and court members Kaley Louck and Madison Case. Photo courtesy of the Red Flannel Festival.

Red Flannel Queen Mumina Ciise (left) is shown here on Red Flannel Day with Grand Marshal and Library Director Donna Clark, and court members Kaley Louck and Madison Case. Photo courtesy of the Red Flannel Festival.

By Judy Reed

For Mumina Ciise, being chosen as the 2016 Red Flannel Queen is a dream come true. And not all that long ago, this special event would never have seemed possible for Mumina or her family—a family that was just struggling to stay safe in war torn Somalia.

Mumina’s parents, Max and Maryan, fled Somalia with their seven children, due to civil war, when Mumina was only three-years-old. They arrived in Cedar Springs in 2010, and moved into a two-bedroom apartment. The community welcomed them, and helped them realize the dream of owning their home, through the Inner City Christian Federation. Mumina was thankful to be chosen to represent the Red Flannel Festival as queen. She hopes to one day become a teacher and teach at Cedar Springs High School.

Grand Marshal

Longtime resident and Library Director Donna Clark was chosen as Grand Marshal for the 2016 Red Flannel Festival. The Festival chose Donna due to her many years of selfless service and outstanding dedication to the community through both the library and several service organizations. “The Red Flannel Town is truly a better place because of her exceptional community involvement and extraordinary volunteerism!” said former RFF president Michele Tracy.

RFF President

In other Red Flannel news, Michele Tracy stepped down as President after 15 years, and assumed the role of president emeritus, a non-voting member of the board. Tracy moved to Hershey, Pennysylvania this year to work for Penn State University’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Taking over as president of the RFF was Randy VanDuyn, husband of Cedar Springs Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn.

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Board candidates are financially focused on kids


 

As someone who manages a $400 million budget, I can appreciate the complexity of managing multi-million dollar budgets. With a tight budget comes difficult decisions, especially when it affects the education of students. The school’s budget can be very complicated and challenging. One responsibility of the Cedar Springs Board of Education is to review the budget and ensure it is in order, while following the districts’ goals.

A BOE member also needs to be aware of the State’s educational budget and how it affects the districts students. That requires attending legislative meetings and advocating for public education with the local, state and federal government. It requires asking difficult questions and being persistent to get results and in the end, doing the right thing for the greater good.

For this CSPS Board of Education election, voters should take both of these into account when selecting which candidates they are voting for. I strongly believe Heidi Reed and Joseph Marckini both exemplify the ability to do both without a personal agenda. Heidi Reed has years of experience overseeing budgets and business acumen on the government level. Joe Marckini has years of experience advocating for the children of CSPS on multiple levels of the government. Both are financially focused for the kids of this district and want ensure the school’s money is used to benefit all learning styles of CSPS.

As a CS Red Hawk, I encourage you to please vote on November 8, for Heidi Reed and Joe Marckini. They both put kids first.

Michele Tracy, Palmyra, Pennsylvania

Formerly of Cedar Springs

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Red Flannel Festival to see change in leadership


Michele Tracy, President Emeritus of the Red Flannel Festival (front right), with the 2015 Red Flannel Festival Queen Bailey Lachniet (front left), and her court (back row left to right) Jessica Plowman and Megan Zinn. Courtesy photo.

Michele Tracy, President Emeritus of the Red Flannel Festival (front right), with the 2015 Red Flannel Festival Queen Bailey Lachniet (front left), and her court (back row left to right) Jessica Plowman and Megan Zinn. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

 

Michele Tracy has been the guiding hand and president of the Red Flannel Festival since she joined the organization 15 years ago. But she is now easing out of that role after a recent move to Hershey, Pennsylvania to work for Penn State University, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.

She is still active on the RFF board, however. “I’ve been voted in the position of President Emeritus (Past President), a non-voting member of the Board,” Tracy explained. “I am extremely active this year,  ‘virtually’ helping new President Randy VanDuyn transition, and am honored to stay in that position as long as the Board decides they benefit from this advisory position,” she said.

The Red Flannel Festival has blossomed under Tracy’s leadership, adding many new events and drawing 40,000-plus annually to the unique celebration. The RFF also broke away from the prior Cedar Springs Chamber of Commerce and became a non-profit organization in its own right, and purchased its own building on Maple Street, and another on Main Street a few years later.

Her tenure, however, has not been without controversy. Most notably was when the RFF board threatened to sue the city over its use of the logo, and the city voted to no longer be called The Red Flannel Town. With new leadership in place at City Hall, the two entities have since come to an agreement over that issue.

So how does Tracy feel about her time on the Festival board?

“The Red Flannel Festival truly has been a labor of love for me,” she remarked. “Quite simply, I love the Red Flannel Festival! It’s been such an honor and privilege to be a part of the 77-year tradition of all of the volunteers that have made this Festival great. It truly is the heart and soul of Cedar Springs and the pinnacle of our community pride. I’m hoping Grace and Nina would be proud of my service, as I always tried to have them in mind. I am confident the current Board of Directors, Matt Andres, Laura Nozal, Lea Drake, Rick Knapp Jr., Liz Thorington, Mark Laws, and Andrew Bartoszek, with the outstanding leadership of new President Randy VanDuyn, will continue the legacy in all of the great traditions! Of course, I’ll ALWAYS be home for Red Flannel Day!”

For some of the Red Flannel events coming up next week, turn to pages 8-9.

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Red Flannel Festival starts next week


N-Red-Flannel-theme-2015-logo

There’s a new sheriff in town…Red Flannel Country, USA!

The Red Flannel Festival Board’s theme for the 76th annual festival not only recognizes the “wildness” of our town’s beginning, but is also a tip of the hat to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, who has been providing law enforcement for us since November 2014.

The all-volunteer Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors has been working to provide fresh new events for the 76th “Red Flannel Country USA…There’s a New Sheriff in Town!” Festival celebration. “We’re so grateful to have this beautiful logo designed by local artist Doris Vinton again this year,” said Laura Nozal, Festival First Vice President.

“The board has added many events in the last few years and boasts over 5,000 fans on our Facebook page,” said President Michele Tracy. “This board is extremely dedicated to ensuring the Red Flannel Festival is the biggest and best ever! We want to especially thank Cedar Springs resident, Tim VanWagoner, for his suggestion of a country-western theme for this nationally recognized, quality event, as well as the Kent County Sheriff Department for their approval of this creative theme. The comments about the theme have been very positive!”

The Festival will partner with 95.7 FM in Grand Rapids, for radio commercials and an expanded number of television commercials will begin on Charter Cable Channels in September. The 36-page full color “Official Red Flannel Press” has already been distributed, thanks to Festival Business Patron Sponsors and “Friends of the Festival,” a donor program designed exclusively for individuals.

NEW this year is a competitive Red Flannel Open Golf Tournament, hosted by Whitefish Lake Golf and Grill.

Also new this year, the Festival will debut a Mechanical Bull, a Western Obstacle Course and Olde Tyme Photographs to complement the Country/Western theme. The Scottville Clown Band will return in the Grand Parade, with a concert after the Parade in the Grand Lodge. “This is a fantastic, entertaining group to have return again this year,” said Tracy.

A Red Flannel Comedy Revue will also be NEW this year as part of the Grand Lodge entertainment, hosted by Festival Board Trustee Liz Thorington, who has performed several years in Gilda’s Club LaughFest.

Due to last years’ success, The Red Flannel Wine and Microbrew Tasting event will be held this Saturday, September 19 at the American Legion.

The Red Flannel Art Review, Red Flannel Town House Decorating Contest, Trolley to provide transportation, and an AYCE Spaghetti dinner at the Cedar Springs Big Boy Restaurant will also return.

“Of course, the traditional events are still in place,” said Tracy. “The Car & Tractor Shows, Museum Open House, Rotary Chicken BBQ, Lion’s Lumberjack Supper, Queen Scholarship Pageant, Bed Races and Grand Parade are wonderful traditions!” For a full schedule of events, or to download event applications, visit www.redflannelfestival.org.

 

Download our Red Flannel POST pages here!

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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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Red Flannel Festival reveals 2015 theme


 

N-Red-Flannel-theme-2015-logoThere’s a new sheriff in town…Red Flannel Country, USA!

The Red Flannel Festival Board announced the theme this week for the 76th annual festival, and not only does it recognize the “wildness” of our town’s beginning, but is also a tip of the hat to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, who has been providing law enforcement for us since November.

The all-volunteer Red Flannel Festival Board of Directors has been working to provide fresh new events for the 76th “Red Flannel Country USA…There’s a New Sheriff in Town!” Festival celebration. “We’re so grateful to have this beautiful logo designed by local artist Doris Vinton again this year,” said Brynadette Powell, Festival Vice President.

“The board has added many events in the last few years and boasts over 5,000 fans on our Facebook page,” said President Michele Tracy. “This board is extremely dedicated to ensuring the Red Flannel Festival is the biggest and best ever! We want to especially thank Cedar Springs resident, Tim VanWagoner, for his suggestion of a country-western theme for this nationally recognized, quality event, as well as the Kent County Sheriff Department for their approval of this creative theme.”

Tracy said that the Festival continues to expand its advertising portfolio with the addition of billboards to advertise this year’s events. The Festival will partner with 95.7 FM in Grand Rapids, for radio commercials and an expanded number of television commercials will begin on FOX 17 in September. The 32-page full color “Official Red Flannel Press” will be distributed in August, thanks to Festival Business Patron Sponsors and “Friends of the Festival,” a donor program designed exclusively for individuals.

New this year, the Festival will debut a Mechanical Bull, a Western Obstacle Course and Olde Tyme Photographs to complement the country-western theme. The Scottville Clown Band will return in the Grand Parade, with a concert after the Parade in the Grand Lodge. “This is a fantastic, entertaining group to have return again this year,” said Tracy.

A Red Flannel Comedy Revue will also be part of the Grand Lodge entertainment this year, hosted by Festival Board Trustee Liz Thorington, who has performed several years in LaughFest.

Due to last years’ success, The Red Flannel Wine and Microbrew Tasting event, Art Review, Red Flannel Town House Decorating Contest, Trolley to provide transportation, and an AYCE Spaghetti dinner at the Cedar Springs Big Boy Restaurant will also return.

“Of course, the traditional events are still in place,” said Tracy. “The Car and Tractor Shows, Museum Open House, Rotary Chicken BBQ, Lion’s Lumberjack Supper, Queen Scholarship Pageant, Bed Races and Grand Parade are wonderful traditions!” For a full schedule of events, or to download event applications, visit www.redflannelfestival.org.

The Festival was granted 501c3 non-profit status and all donations are tax deductible. The Festival is an independent, all volunteer organization with volunteer openings for individuals, families and groups to be involved. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. For more information on how to donate, volunteer or get involved with the Red Flannel Festival, call 616-696-2662 or visit www.redflannelfestival.org.

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RFF president named to state board


Michele Tracy

Michele Tracy

Red Flannel Festival president Michele Tracy is one of three new members elected to serve on the Michigan Festivals & Events board, a networking partner for event planners, volunteers, vendors and their communities.

The other two new members are Debbie Mikula, Greater Lansing Festival Alliance; and Ashley Rop, Chelsea Area Festival & Events. All three will serve on the MFEA Board of Directors for 2015–2017.

This was Tracy’s 13th year as Red Flannel Festival president. “It’s exciting to be able to represent the Red Flannel Festival on a statewide basis!” she said.

MFEA’s mission is to support and promote festivals, fairs, events, attractions, suppliers and tourism through educations, marketing and networking for the success of members.

 

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