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Tag Archive | "Solon Township Hall"

Staff and others share reasons for wanting Superintendent to resign


By Judy Reed

Over 500 people filled the meeting room and foyer of Solon Township Hall Thursday evening to hear the personal stories of both current and former staff and board members of Cedar Springs Public Schools and how they have been affected by the policies of Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn.

Several of the speakers were in tears as they told their stories in public for the first time, despite fears of retaliation.

VanDuyn was hired to be Superintendent four years ago, but a movement within the community to get her to resign or for the board to give her a vote of no confidence has been steadily growing. An online petition has garnered just under 1,900 signatures, and paper petitions with signatures will be presented at the next Board of Education meeting on March 26.

Mary Graf, an elementary teacher for 41 years, said she has worked for seven superintendents and several principals over the years. She said there would always be change, but also there has always been mutual respect and collaboration with the administration. She remarked that now there is no collaboration, and that teachers now feel repercussions if they don’t completely agree with something or question anything. She said that happened to her last spring during a PLC on reading. There was a lot of tension in the room, and she said she tried to clarify how the teachers were feeling. The next week she received a letter from her administrator saying she had been unprofessional. Graf said her administrator had not even been in the meeting. When she met with him about it, he told her he was forced to write the letter.

Jan Wallace

Former board member Jan Wallace spoke about consultants, noting that the district had spent $300,000 over 15 months. “Do you wonder why our district has to consult outside experts so often?” she asked. Wallace added that $115,000 of that was spent on the Orange Frog program, “which teaches the staff to learn to be happier.” She felt they could have used that money on the deteriorating roads on campus. 

Wallace explained that when she was on the board, they looked at privatizing busing, and met with the staff to talk about it. “This board didn’t do that. They had a consultant come in to help,” she said.

Former board member Ted Sabinas talked about being locked out of the meeting on privatization of transportation; the fact that once he was on the board, staff and administrators told him they were not allowed to talk to him; and that all three elementary principals, two assistant principals, and the athletic director had all left in the last three years. He also noted that the Superintendent received a 3 percent raise while the staff did not receive a raise.

Joan Boverhof

Long time teacher Joan Boverhof spoke about the relationship between the teachers and administration eroding. She said that the board, administration and teachers union used to work together as a team but that was not happening now.

Teacher Brett Burns, who also president of the teachers union, said the union has been trying to repair the relationship with the board but they aren’t listening. He likened it to a child coming to him and saying he was being bullied and him ignoring it, and then the same thing happening again, and him not doing anything about it. “I am begging,” he said. “We are hurting. When are you, the community, and the board going to acknowledge that we are human?”

Secretary Mary Gardner was in tears as she shared an ordeal she faced about being forced to administer shots. She steadfastly refused, as she has a fear of needles. It was something nurses used to do. She finally got a lawyer involved.

Teacher Erin Cairy spoke about taking leave just before school started. She said the administration never reached out to her. Although she emailed a letter to be sent to the students who were supposed to be in her class and their parents, it was never sent. She also emailed asking how she could help the new teacher, but that went unanswered. She said she returned this year, and many questions she’s asked about programs, such as iready, have been taken as being negative.

At one point during the meeting, moderator Todd Norman asked the group how many were hearing these stories for the first time. Almost half the room raised their hand.

Teacher Libby Metiva said that the board of ed has said things that have wounded, but they have also been manipulated. “How can we help them? All of you are influencers. I’m asking all of you to help empower and influence the board members to take back Cedar Springs.”

Superintendent VanDuyn gave the Post a statement about the petition. 

“As superintendent, it is my promise to the community to make the best decisions I can to ensure our students have an exceptional educational experience while keeping our district financially stable. Our students should have a top notch school system to develop and grow. I am saddened by this petition as I am fully committed to making CSPS the best place it can be. My daily motivation and priority continues to be serving the students and families of CSPS.”  

To watch the entire video of the community meeting, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68xfuX_Ulsw&feature=youtu.be

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Solon Township celebrates trail with ribbon cutting


Solon Township cut the ribbon on the new trail which will run through and around Velzy Park.

Saturday, June 10, was a perfect day for Velzy Park’s Spring fundraiser. The event, sponsored by the Velzy Park Committee and Solon Market Committee, included community sales, indoor craft sales, basket raffles donated by area businesses, a ribbon-cutting and a hotdog lunch.  All profits went to funding continued development of the park, located behind Solon Township Hall.

Community sales were part of the fundraiser.

The highlight of the event was a ribbon cutting ceremony to introduce the new trail running through and around the entire park. This begins Phase One, which will include a restroom, play ground and picnic area. Shelly Aardema, Committee Chair, assisted in the ribbon cutting. It was her inspiration to pair Solon Market’s Community Sales with the Park fundraiser. The event netted the Park over $450 and likely will become an annual event to showcase park improvements. Donations for the park can be made out to Solon Township Velzy Park and mailed to 15185 Algoma Ave., Cedar Springs, MI  49319.

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Solon Market closes for the 2017 season


 

N-Solon-MarketLooks to the future with a dedicated shelter

Solon Market is taking hiatus for the 2017 season as the Market Committee determines how best to serve its customers and Market family.

The Market has been a staple at the Solon Township Hall for the past seven years catering to the community. It has provided a free venue for farmers, artisans, and flea market vendors, as well as activities and entertainment to area residents.

The Committee will continue to meet to determine the future of the market as the township works toward its planned park with a dedicated shelter. They will be assisting the Park Committee in fund-raising as the Township continues Phase One of Velzy Park.

Plans for a community garage sale/picnic are in the works for June 10, as well as a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the recently completed new trail. For a minimal fee, crafters can set up inside the Community room for this event. Plans also include a 50/50 raffle.

The park will also serve as an important pit stop for the North Country Trail as it connects to the Cedar Springs line. For more information or to donate to the Park, please check out Solon’s website at solontwp.org or call the Township Office at 616-696-1718.

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Construction at Velzy Park


Five new picnic tables were donated anonymously to Solon Township for Velzy Park. Courtesy photo. A new walking trail is under construction at Solon’s Velzy Park. Courtesy photo.

Five new picnic tables were donated anonymously to Solon Township for Velzy Park. Courtesy photo.

Construction on a new walking trail is underway at Velzy Park, located at 15185 Algoma Ave NE. The park surrounds Solon Township Hall, and is named for what the area used to be called.

And that’s not the only thing that’s new. “Our Park Committee is very excited and thankful about 5 picnic tables that were anonymously donated to our Park a week or so ago,” said Mary Lou Poulsen, Solon Township Clerk, and a member of the Solon Park Committee.

On June 10, Solon will celebrate the new walking trail with a ribbon cutting, and a community-wide yard sale and picnic. The picnic will take place at noon, with the ribbon cutting and cake to follow. Suggested donations for the picnic will be $4 for individuals, and $10 for families.

A new walking trail is under construction at Solon’s Velzy Park. Courtesy photo.

A new walking trail is under construction at Solon’s Velzy Park. Courtesy photo.

The park is still in phase one, which features walking trails, a restroom building and parking. Phase two will be a playground and three barn relocations. Phase three will be the Farmer’s market and picnic shelter; and native prairie restoration.

Memorial benches will soon be available to purchase. Watch solontwp.org for info. If you’d like to make a tax deductible donation for the park, send it to Solon Township and designate it for Velzy Park.

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Velzy Park fundraiser


ENT-Velzy-Park-spaghetti-dinner

Grab your sweetie! Mark your calendars! The Velzy Park Committee is hosting their second annual (fall in love with Velzy Park) Valentine Spaghetti Dinner on Saturday, February 11 at Solon Township Hall. All proceeds go towards the construction of the new park behind the Township office. The dinner includes a dessert auction as well as musical entertainment performed by our very own Courtney King! Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Township office (15185 Algoma Ave, Cedar Springs) Monday through Wednesday or at the door. Park committee members will be selling tickets as well. Ticket prices are $10.00 each or two for $18.00. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and dinner begins at 6:00 p.m. with the popular dessert auction following.  There will be a 50/50 raffle as well. Join your neighbors and shake off the winter blues while helping to make this much needed park a reality! For more information, call 616-696-1718 or check out the Park’s facebook page (Solon Township’s Velzy Park).

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Work on new library site begins


The work began last week on the grounds of te new Cedar Springs Library, at the corner of Main and W. Maple.

The work began last week on the grounds of te new Cedar Springs Library, at the corner of Main and W. Maple.

Work began last week on the grounds for the new 10,016-square foot library at the corner of Main and W. Maple in Cedar Springs.

The $2 million project estimated to take about 6-8 months to complete.

It is just the first step in a wide scale project being called “The heart of Cedar Springs.” It encompasses ten acres between Maple and Pine Streets. Plans include the new library building, an amphitheater, a boardwalk along the Creek, with rain gardens and sculptures, a community building and a recreation/fitness center. There are also plans for clock tower on the corner of Main and Maple. Complementary to this Town Square development, the White Pine Trail and the North Country Trail will intersect right here in Cedar Springs.

In the meantime, there are still ways you can help the library with funding. A paving brick can be purchased for $50 for a 4×8 or $100 for an 8×8 brick. Paving bricks will be placed in front of the library building and will be highly visible to everyone using the library. With the purchase of a personalized, engraved brick, your pride and support of this project and the community will be permanently displayed.

You can also purchase a commemorative brick or block. A block can be purchased for $1,000 to be used in the retaining wall along a path on the northeast side of the new library. Donations for a retaining wall block will not only offset the cost of the retaining block and its installation but will afford you the opportunity to honor or remember a loved one, show support for your community, or advertise your business or organization. The blocks will be formed with an inset to hold an 8×10 brass plaque that can be engraved with your name, logo, or other information. There are also a limited number of capstone blocks available for $2,000.

Forms for both blocks and bricks are available from their website, cedarspringslibrary.org, and at the Cedar Springs Public Library during library hours. They are also available at Cedar Springs City Hall and Solon Township Hall.

Library ClockTower Plan WDimension.pdf

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Solon seeks public input on proposed park plan


 

Solon Township will conduct a public input session for the Township’s 5-year Parks and Recreation Plan on Tuesday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. at the Solon Township Hall.

The purpose of this meeting is to gather input from the township residents concerning current and future opportunities for parks, recreation, and trails in the community. The comments and ideas received from this meeting will be used to develop the 2015 Parks and Recreation Plan Update.

Watch for information on future sessions on the Solon Township website and facebook page.

The final public presentation of the Solon Township Parks Master Plan will be held on Wednesday, July 1 at 11:00 am at the Solon Township Hall. This presentation will be attended by the Township Board and is open to the public for viewing and comment.

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Solon Market giveaways this week


 

*ENT-Solon market giveawaysExciting things are happening with the Solon Market (formerly Solon Township Farmers Market), held every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the new Solon Township Hall, 15185 Algoma Ave.

Not only did they reorganize under a new name, they have a variety of events planned for the season, beginning this weekend. Check out their market giveaways this Saturday, June 29. There will be a multitude of drawings for market products donated by the vendors, as well as other giveaways. Future events include Concert in the Barn, Critter Barn Petting Zoo, Dog Days and a Fire event. Watch the Post for dates and times.

According to Vicky Babcock, spokesperson for the Solon Market, a group of vendors got together recently to talk about plans for the market. “The new name was chosen to reflect the variety of vendors in the market family—farm produce, crafts and other merchandise,” she explained. “We are focusing on obtaining more fresh produce, larger market and use of the Township’s large barn for sales and events. Stop in to see us on Saturday.  We’d love to tell you more!”

For more info, call 696-1718, or check them out on Facebook.

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