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Tag Archive | "Village of Sand Lake"

Don’t forget to vote on November 6


By Judy Reed

This week we continue our election coverage with candidates for the Village of Sand Lake, the area senate and representative seats, and Kent County Commissioner.

Village of Sand Lake

The Village of Sand Lake has several seats to fill, including Village President and three trustees. However, your ballot will look rather empty and includes a name of a person no longer running. Listed below are your candidates. Some of them you must write in.

NOTE: Nyha French is on the ballot for Village President. She is no longer a candidate since she moved out of the area.

Danielle Hardenburg is a write-in candidate for Village President, which is a two-year term. She currently serves on the Village Council as a trustee. Hardenburg is 33 years old, and grew up in Cedar Springs where she was raised and attended school. “For the past seven years, my family of six children and spouse have lived in Sand Lake. It is in Sand Lake where I currently hold a seat as a Village Council Member, Fire Fighter, and Medical Responder for the Sand Lake fire department over the past three years. I work in the nursing field as a Nurse Technician at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital. Currently, I am seeking my Registered Nurse Degree with hopes of continuing my line of work on the Ortho Trauma floor.”

Hardenburg said she is running as a write-in for Sand Lake Village President because there is a serious need there for positive change. 

Besides serving on the Village Council, prior leadership experience includes teaching CPR, assisting on the AYSO board for a brief time, providing assistance on request for a committee where candidates were reviewed for work programs through Michigan Works, and chairing a seat in the neighborhood watch program for the Rockford area.

What strength can she bring to the Village President position? “Besides a fresh start with new ideas and an eagerness to learn, I feel that my passion for the place I raise my family provides all the strength I need. What is best for my family and our community is my driving force. While I may make mistakes its an opportunity to learn and grow.” 

What does she think is Sand Lake’s biggest challenge? “There are many challenges here in Sand Lake. I believe once our annual audit is complete we can really dig in to analyze where and what our biggest issues are that we face.”

Sand Lake Village trustee 

There are three people running for three seats. This is a four-year term. You will only see one name on the ballot, and must write in the other two.

Marcia Helton will show up on the ballot. Helton grew up in Cedar Springs and graduated from Cedar Springs High School. She has lived in Sand Lake, Nelson Township for 30 years after with her husband, Marty Helton. “We have 6 children and 9 grandchildren. Our children attended Tri-County. My husband Marty was the Sand Lake Village DPW Supervisor for 13 years. I am the Custodian for the Sand Lake Village/Nelson Municipal Hall, Library and also at Algoma Township hall.” 

Why is Helton running for a seat? “We have great people that live in Sand Lake and I want to see what I can do, along with our board to help us as Village Residents work together. We’re a small town, but I believe we have big hearts!”

What other leadership has she had? “I served on the Sand Lake Chamber for many years of helping out in many areas, along with being the Secretary after awhile. Linda Misner and myself co-directed, bringing an Easter Egg Hunt to the Village for many years. Also, did the Santa Claus arrival for a few years. Sand Lake is a community that enjoys their children.”

What strength can she bring to the board? “I have been going to the Village meetings for awhile and see there is a need for help in different areas that if I can help, I would like to. We all have opinions, which is good and we need to respect each other’s opinions then work out a compromise. The Village of Sand Lake and Nelson Township can work together to help each other out and accomplish more. 

“I will do the best I can to help out as a Village Trustee to help the residents.”

Rachel Gokey is running as a write-in for Village trustee. She is currently serving as an appointee to the board. “I was born and raised in Lakeview, Michigan before heading to GVSU to obtain my BBA in Management and Marketing. I have lived in the Village of Sand Lake since July 2005. I am married with 3 children. Currently I am a stay at home mom that also substitute teaches in my spare time.”

What is her reason for running? I decided to run because our Village needs some TLC. There is quite a bit of moving forward and working together as a team that needs to be done to get everything accomplished. I do not plan on leaving Sand Lake any time soon. I plan on raising my kids in the community and would love to help our Village anyway I can.

What prior leadership experience does she have? I am currently the President of our Preschool board for Resurrection Lutheran Church in Sand Lake. I spent over 16 years in customer service and management and was happy to serve on various committees through the years from event planning, education planning and more. I enjoy problem solving and brainstorming to help create forward movement and well thought out decisions.

What is the main strength she can bring to the board? The main strength I feel I am bringing to the Village of Sand Lake Council is my determination. I firmly believe that where there is a will there is a way. I love to make things happen! There is nothing better than setting goals and accomplishing them.”

What is the major challenge Sand Lake faces? “I feel like the major challenge our Village is facing is unity. The last few years have been bumpy. My hope is that I can help open positive lines of communication between all Village councils and boards, as well as Nelson Township boards and councils. If we all work together we can head in the right direction of positive change for our entire community.”

Thomas Gore is also a write-in for Village trustee. He is currently serving as an appointee. He did not respond to emails or messages from the Post requesting information.

 

Kent County Commissioner 3rd District

Roger Morgan, of Courtland Township, is running for another term as County Commissioner of the 3rd District. He is running unopposed. It will be his 9th two-year term representing the residents of the City of Cedar Springs; the Villages of Casnovia, Kent City, and Sand Lake; and the townships of Courtland, Nelson, Solon, Spencer, and Tyrone. He is a member of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Board, and was chair of that board from 2013-2018; is CEO of Rockford Ambulance; is a member of the Kent County Fire Commission and the Kent County 911 board; and a past member of several others. 

Senator – 29th District

There are three candidates running for State Senator in the 29th District: incumbent Peter MacGregor (R), Craig Beach (D), and Nathan Hewer (Lib).

Peter MacGregor is running as a Republican and is seeking another four-year term as our state senator in the 29th district. He and his wife, Christine, have been married for 27 years. They have three sons, Patrick (24), John (22) and Matthew (20). “Our family attends Blythefield Hills Baptist Church in Rockford. I have lived in Kent County Since 1991 and in the senate district for 21 years. I grew up in SE Michigan. Prior to serving as your current State Senator, I owned a small business for 14 years, employing 12-14 employees.” 

Why is he running for office? “My children are why I ran for office. In 2010 when I first decided to run for the legislature, and as a parent of three school-aged children, we were terrified there would not be opportunities in Michigan when they graduated from school. In 2010, our state was the worst state in the country. I wanted to help create an economic environment so that all Michigan residents can thrive. Our state has made an amazing turnaround with unemployment rate at its lowest level since 2000, and personal income rates are up. Michigan is out of the crisis mode and today, because revenues are up, we are investing more in early childhood, career tech education, K-12 education is funded higher than ever before, the roads are being fixed, and our State’s debt has been reduced by $20 Billion. The investment has begun to pay for itself through a stronger, healthier economy. We still have much more to do and I want to continue this amazing transformation of our state over the next 4 years.”

What other experience does he bring to the position? “Prior to joining the State Senate, I served 4-years in the Michigan House of Representatives. From 1997 through 2010, I also served as a Cannon Township Planning Commissioner, Township Trustee and Township Supervisor.  I’m a member of the Rockford Lions Club – serving as the club’s President from 2007-2008. I volunteer as a board member with “Finish the Mission” Veterans Relief Fund, helping veterans and their spouses during critical times in their lives. For the last 2-years I have been pinning Vietnam Veterans with a 50-year commemorative lapel pin – thanking them for their service and properly welcoming these veterans’ home. I am also one of the founding chairmen of “Volley for Mitchell” – a charity volleyball tournament to raise funds for Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy.”

What strength does he bring to the position? “My past experiences in both the private sector, running a successful business with 12-14 employees, and in the public sector as a local township official, are where my core strengths come from. I believe we should apply business ‘best practices’ to local and state government, attempting to find efficiencies, cut red tape and demand more accountability. I have the practical experience that helps me lead. When times were tough, early in my legislative serve, I cut my own pay and increased my healthcare co-pays. I have led by example. My commitment is to fight for working taxpayers, so that you will have the secure future that you deserve. I respect that you work hard for your paycheck, and that’s why I want to make sure you keep more of what you earn.” 

What does he feel are the major challenges facing our district? The three major challenges facing our district are 1) Continuing the investment in our infrastructure—not only for roads and bridges, but also water, sewer, storm water, and broadband. 2) Developing a sustainable plan for school mental health and school safety initiatives. 3) Creating a working environment for public/private partnerships for skilled trades training and talent initiatives. 

Craig Beach is the Democratic challenger for state senator in the 29th District. “I have lived in the Rockford area for 20 years. I have been married to my wife Laura, for 29 years and together we have been blessed with three children, each working their way through college. Our family has also welcomed numerous refugee foster children into our home, helping us to experience the world from a larger perspective. These young people are now in college, college graduates, and even business owners. I have taught in public schools for 32 years, 30 years at Rockford High School, teaching Economics, History of World Religions and Advanced Placement European History. My wife, Laura has taught at the elementary level at Rockford Public Schools for 31 years.  

What is his primary reason to run for office? “My main platform issues include: Restoring funding and the respect for education in Lansing. The current political structure has done everything it can to discourage and denigrate the teaching profession, which has scared off our best and brightest young people from pursuing a career in the classroom. This is an ominous issue for the future of our children and grandchildren.

Restoring Michigan’s middle class. The Michigan Association of United Way estimates that close to 50% of Michigan families have an income stream that does not allow them to cover all necessities, plan for retirement and help their children fund post-secondary training. Through my educational plan we will develop in our young people the talent to capture not just a job, but a lifelong career that provides a level of income that creates a stable and sustainable middle class.

Protect our water and natural resources

PFAS, Line 5, and the Nestle water withdrawal are symptoms of a state government that fails our citizens. Michigan receives 10% of the material that flows through Line 5.  Our tourism industry generates $27 billion in economic benefit.  The risk of Line 5 dwarfs our benefit.  The health of our citizens and our economy have been threatened by the failure of the current administrations leveraging of our natural resources to corporate interests. Together we can put people above profits and return government to the citizens who elect it.

Restore governmental accountability and transparency

Unfortunately, our state government is rated last (50th) in the United States and given a “F” grade in terms of governmental accountability and transparency.  This shows a troubling disregard for the citizens who elect our legislators. I will restore governmental transparency so that citizens have confidence that their voices carry as much weight as “dark money” donors.

What other leadership experience does he bring? “I have served on the Otisco Township as a township board trustee and on the zoning board.”

What is the main strength he brings to the position? “I believe an effective education is the key to the success of our state. As someone who has taught for 32 years I believe I bring practical knowledge to this foundational issue. If we can develop our young people’s talent, talent will provide them the tools to capture a career, not just a job and a career will create a sustainable, thriving middle class. I will end our divisive political culture by working with all stakeholders.  Our state will become more prosperous and vibrant when we put people above politics.

What does he see as the major challenge facing our district? Creating an educational system that ensures our young people will have the talent to have a sustainable standard of living; one that covers family necessities, health care, retirement and post-secondary training for their children.

Protecting the health of our citizens through greater governmental oversight of our water and natural resources. We need to put people first and preserve the beauty of our wonderful state.

Addressing our dismal governmental transparency and accountability issues.

Nathan Hewer is the Libertarian candidate for state senator in the 29th District. Hewer grew up in Reed City, a small town about an hour north of Grand Rapids, but has lived in Cannonsburg Township for the last five years. “I went to college at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Construction management and 2 associates degrees, one in Business and one in Building Trades Management. While at college, my wife Amanda and I started our family very early, when I was 18 years old, with my son Ayden (now 14 years old), followed by Charlie (13), Emma (11) and Ella (6). I paid my way through college by working 2-3 jobs until I started a small contracting business and was able to support my family through that job alone. After college graduation I worked across the country as a superintendent and project manager for large industrial and mining construction projects. In 2013 I was able to move back to Michigan. I now work for Meijer in the corporate office managing construction.” 

Why is he for running for office? “I have a deeply held conviction that people should be allowed to run their own lives without government interference. I believe in the liberty of the individual to make their own choices. I believe in true free markets without corporate welfare and government kickbacks. I believe people should have the right to keep the money they earn. I believe individuals should be allowed to chase their dreams without the government protecting big businesses though unnecessary licensing, red tape and bureaucracy. And I believe that individuals have a second amendment right to protect themselves and those rights in the manner they see fit. It became apparent to me at the end of the 2016 election cycle that without a third party both parties will continue to erode our freedoms campaigning as the lesser of two evils. I decided I could no longer sit on the sidelines and watch both Democrats and Republicans trample these rights. We need a strong third party to force politicians to campaign on their convictions and not just demonize the opposition. Libertarians are the best voice for freedom and liberty. As your state senator I can help keep the government out of your wallet, bedroom, health care system, and your markets.”

What other leadership experience does he have? “I was involved with the Republican party for many years. I was a Precinct Delegate and a poll watcher in 2004 and 2008 involved in campaigning for them in Northern Michigan. Most recently I was a Precinct Delegate in the 2016 election. This experience showed me that as long as we only have 2 choices no one will campaign on any principles. They will simply find a demographic to cater to and offer to use their power to their advantage at the expense of others. I joined the Libertarian Party in 2016 and have worked in various committees within the party since.” 

What is the main strength he would bring to the position? “Tenacity, independence and conviction. My wife and I had three kids by the age of 21. I was able to finance my own education while supporting my family and I was an MMA fighter for 10 years. I know how to stretch a dollar and I have the tenacity and grit to fight for a cause. People don’t want to be taxed more; they want their existing taxes to be used for their intended purpose. If you want someone to defend your personal freedoms, make better use of existing funding and protect your paycheck, elect the fighter to take the politicians, lobbyists and special interests to the mat for your liberty.”

What does he see as the major challenge facing our district? 

“The challenges that face my district are largely the same as those facing the state and the country. Democrats are attacking half of the constituent’s freedoms and Republicans are attacking the other half. Both take your money and spend it on their pet projects. They both have marketed for years that you only have two choices. They know they can steam roll half of their constituents as long as they can claim they are better than the other guy. We need an independent voice for the people in Lansing that says it is the people’s individual right to make their own choices to pursue life liberty and happiness, and they must be allowed to keep the money they earn to spend as they see fit.” 

73rd District Representative

There are two candidates running for state representative of the 73rd District: Lynn Afendoulis (R) and Bill Saxton (D).

Lynn Afendoulis is running as a Republican and is seeking a two-year term as state representative. “I was born in 1958 in Grand Rapids, Mich. My mother was an elementary school teacher; my father owned a restaurant. I am part of a large, extended family that includes my second cousin and the current state representative for the 73rd District, Chris Afendoulis. I started my career as a newspaper reporter. For 25 years, I have worked in various capacities for Universal Forest Products; for last 15 years I have been director of corporate communications. I have lived in the area most of my life. Today, am a resident of Grand Rapids Township. Most importantly, I am the mother of two– a daughter who is a junior in college and a son who is a senior in high school.”

What is the main reason she is running for office? “I love this state and I have been pleased with many of the accomplishments of the current legislature. I want to continue the Michigan Comeback and improve upon it to make sure it is meaningful to all. Importantly, I believe holding office is an honorable vocation and want to demonstrate that to my children and their friends so they might see it as a worthy opportunity for people of integrity, and so that they might understand the work and commitment behind a healthy, successful republic.”

What other leadership experience does she have? “I sit on the boards of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Club of Grand Rapids. I resigned a few seats to run for office: my church’s parish council and the Michigan Transportation Commission, to which I was appointed in 2013 by Gov. Snyder. I have had the honor of serving on many other boards, including the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation (which serves Grand Rapids Public Schools and which I chaired for a number of years), Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth (now the Boys and Girls Club of Grand Rapids), Opera Grand Rapids, Circle Theatre and others.”

What is the main strength she would bring to the position? “I bring to the table conservative principles, 35 years of business experience and communication expertise, a history of public service and a passion for respect, accountability and results. From that combination of experience springs an ability to make thoughtful, sound decisions based in facts and not emotion, a commitment to working with integrity and toward results, and a perspective of someone who hasn’t worked in politics, but understand what it takes to get a job done.” 

What does she see as the major challenge facing our district?  “The 73rd district, like all others, needs improvements in education and training for today’s jobs, better roads and infrastructure, and a more efficient and understandable government, but at the top of the list of issues is the quality of our water. This is a basic human need for which the government is responsible. I was heartened by the legislature’s current allocation for addressing PFAS, but how and when that money is spent is critical. It must reach communities and people in the form of solid solutions. As your legislator, I will stay on top of the entities and individuals responsible; I will listen to and learn from local officials to make sure they are satisfied with the response. I will listen to residents and I won’t rest until they feel that the water they use for their families, pets, crops, homes and recreation is safe. We must make sure that water in our state is protected from PFAS and other threats; this abundant Michigan resource is our treasure and our responsibility.  

One other issue critical to making sure anything in politics gets done in Michigan—and everywhere—is practicing respect, even for those with whom we disagree. I will do that. Those who call for incivility harm the republic and model dangerous behavior for our next generations. We must show that we are bigger than our differences through thoughtful, respectful communication and action and by doing what we are sent to Lansing to do: listen to the taxpayers and work together to get things done for them as responsible public servants.” 

Bill Saxton is running as the Democratic candidate for state representative in the 73rd District. “I’m Bill Saxton and I’m 40 years-old, currently residing in East Grand Rapids. I’m a small-business owner, an engineer, and married with 3 young children. My wife and I are raising our kids in the Grand Rapids area because of the great schools, the tight-knit communities, and shared Midwest values. We are members of Central Reformed Church and our oldest attends preschool at Grand Rapids Christian.”

What is the main reason he is running for office? “Every family should have access to safe, clean drinking water, every child deserves a high-quality education, and everyone, regardless of age, deserves affordable healthcare and prescription drugs.  Over the last 8 years, our government has prioritized polluting industries over the environment, has left our public-school system severely underfunded, and has done nothing to rein in the costs of health insurance and the price-gouging of pharmaceutical companies. I’m running because we need someone new representing us in Lansing who will work to solve these problems, for us and our children. As an engineer, I have the problem-solving abilities we need to think creatively and get real solutions.”  

What other leadership experience does he have? “I’ve been focused on providing for my 3 young children and coaching their t-ball teams. But, when I saw how under-funded our schools were and the multiple crises our environment was facing, my family and I felt compelled to act. This is not the time to elect a typical politician.”

What is the main strength he would bring to the position? “As an engineer and small business owner, our district could use a problem-solver with my real-world experience, rather than another partisan politician. I will also work across the aisle to find solutions to our State’s issues.  In business, you don’t ask your employees or customers what their political affiliation is—you establish relationships based upon mutual respect and trust. My family has both Democrats and Republicans and most of us work to find common ground with one another.”

What does he see as the major challenge facing our district? “Although the government is, belatedly, dealing with the groundwater contamination issues across the district, many of the people I’m talking to are still not drinking their tap-water even if their water considered safe—people simply do not trust the government, particularly after the Flint water crisis. We need to work on getting that credibility back or we’re simply wasting millions of dollars on these cleanup efforts. I think more transparency in the process and more community involvement will go a long way.”

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Taking fire truck put people at risk


 

I am not a resident of the Village of Sand Lake, but I am in the area serviced by the Sand Lake Fire and Rescue. I was appalled when I read the recent article about one of the units being taken to a parade in an area not even served by Sand Lake when back-up is needed. Just thinking about the risk this created for those of us who often work in fields and woods not accessible to the big, heavy, awkward vehicles gave me a horrible sense of abandonment. Is there no common sense in politicians?

The Unit Being taken: probably Wrong

The Unit Being taken without the knowledge and consent of the Fire Chief, Ed Holtzlander; definitely WRONG.

The Unit Being taken and used to support a politician; NO BRAINER. Again I ask, Is there NO common sense in politicians?

Sincerely,

Karen Hayden, Ensley Township

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Missing fire truck sparks controversy in Sand Lake


By Judy Reed

Some tempers are flying hot again in the Village of Sand Lake after Village President Tom Norton took a Sand Lake Fire Department grass fire/medical truck without discussing it with the Fire Chief and allowed someone in the Curt Benson for Judge campaign to drive it in the Pulaski Days parade last Saturday, October 6.

The Post got a tip about it from someone earlier this week, and then called Fire Chief Ed Holtzlander to verify what had happened. 

According to Holtzlander, he went into the fire station Saturday and saw it was missing. “We already had engines 6 and 7 reserved to go to Cedar Springs for the Red Flannel parade and now this one was missing. We use it for grass fires but it’s also our second medical truck,” explained Holtzlander. 

He said he found out that Norton had spoken with a DPW taking the truck. When Holtzlander saw it was missing, he immediately called Norton. 

“I told him to he had 20 minutes to get it back here or I’d report it stolen,” said Holtzlander. “He told me he didn’t need permission to take it.”

The pickup did arrive back at the building about 20 minutes later. But none of the firefighters recognized the guys who brought it back.

The Post spoke to Norton about it, and he verified that he did take the truck without calling Holtzlander. “The Chief doesn’t run the fire department, the President of the Village does,” stated Norton. 

When the Post asked why he didn’t call him and let him know, Norton responded, “The Chief never calls me back anyway.” He also said he had a new phone and didn’t have everyone’s phone number in it.

He assured the Post that it was completely legal. “Under a general law village, a president can do that.” 

“We were asked by someone to send a truck to the parade. An email was sent out on Friday evening to the Chief and Council,” he said. “I got no response. People have smart phones with emails popping up all the time. There’s no reason not to see it.”

The email was reportedly sent at 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

“One of the reasons I delayed the email was to see if we were going to have rain,” explained Norton. “We’d had three days of rain so knew we wouldn’t need it. The only time it’s used is during a grassfire so this is a complete non-issue.”

But Holtzlander said that’s not the case. It’s also a four-wheel drive vehicle with medical supplies and they just recently used it to get back to where someone had fallen out of a tree stand.

But who was driving it in the parade? Norton said he swore a guy into the village so that he would be covered by the village insurance and legally be able to drive it.

In the email that was sent out (which Norton read to the Post over the phone) it was mentioned that doing this would help with grants by making other community’s parades look bigger. The Post spoke with some other Village sources (not Sand Lake) who said that they knew of nothing like that. Instead, they said they don’t allow the use of Village property for political purposes to avoid the look of impropriety.

“I’m appalled,” said Sand Lake Village Council member Danielle Hardenburg. “I did some investigating and don’t like what I found out at all,” she said. 

Hardenburg is also a firefighter and said she understands Holtzlander’s frustration. “We don’t even know the drivers, or if they were certified to drive the vehicle. I had to take a course, and then a test, and then a driving test, and then an annual test every year just to be able to drive it. The fire chief also signs off on who drives it.”

Hardenburg said the vehicle should only be used for when the village is responding to a call. “We just had a conversation recently about who can use village property,” she said. She also doesn’t think it should be used to endorse a candidate. “We should try to stay neutral.”

“This was a complete disrespecting of the head of the fire department by not asking to use the vehicle,” she added. “It shows extremely poor judgment and a complete disregard for public safety. This is a serious matter. I think he should resign and let president pro-tem Dave Dewey take over, even though he only has a month left.”

Norton’s term will be up this fall and he will soon be moving out of Sand Lake.

Hardenburg, who will run for Village President as a write-in in the November election, said she plans to call for Norton’s resignation at the next meeting.

“I feel Tom is incapable of performing his presidential duties. He’s abused his power. It’s a dishonorable service to the community. It makes our board look unhealthy and it needs to stop. I am so floored. What if we had been toned out and showed up at the station and the truck wasn’t there? What would’ve happened?”

The next Sand Lake Village Council meeting will be Monday, October 15, according to the dates posted on their website.

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Charges denied in Sand Lake threats case


By Judy Reed

The Kent County Prosecutor’s Office has denied charges in the case of Nelson Township resident Scott Britton confronting Tom Norton, the President of the Village of Sand Lake. 

Britton is the husband of Robyn Britton, the Supervisor of Nelson Township. Both Robyn and Norton are running for the Nelson Supervisor seat in next Tuesday’s election, and tensions are running high in the community. 

The confrontation occurred the evening of Wednesday, July 18, after Scott Britton was made aware that someone had put used toilet paper on his wife’s office door. Nelson Township and the Village of Sand Lake share offices in a municipal building there.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office responded to the 100 block of W. Lake Street sometime after 8:15 p.m. on the night of July 18, on the report of threats/assault.

Norton said he had just gotten back from Indiana that day and was at a resident’s home, speaking with him outside about an upcoming tree removal, when a vehicle pulled up and a man got out and yelled, “Are you Thomas Norton?”

“I said yes and he then violently moved towards my direction and stated, ‘I’m Scott Britton and I’m going to %$#@ kill you,” Norton later wrote in an application for a personal protection order. “He then raised his hand and pointed it toward me. I was 98 percent certain he was going to do something. He then screamed, ‘Did you S#$% paper my wife’s door Tuesday night?”

Norton said he told him no, that he was in Indiana. He said that Britton told him he didn’t believe him, that he was a liar, and stated again he was going to kill him. Norton then began to record the conversation as Britton moved away, and told him again that he was in Indiana and could prove it. Britton then yelled that Norton would need a restraining order when he proved he did it. He then left.

Norton pressed charges against Britton, saying he had concerns for the safety of his family.

Norton gave the Post a copy of a receipt showing he was in Indiana when he said he was, but Robyn Britton said she actually discovered the used toilet paper on her door the morning of July 12, not the day before the confrontation. She said her husband didn’t know when it occurred, because she didn’t tell him about it. Instead, she said someone in the office mentioned it to him on July 17, thinking he knew. Then her husband saw Norton outside on the night of July 18 and confronted him.

Robyn didn’t report the occurrence initially. She said the only people that could have done it would have needed a key—and that would mean they would have been a member of the staff of either Sand Lake or Nelson Township, the police department, or the fire department. “I was just hoping to get through all of this to the election. The date couldn’t come soon enough for me,” she said.

But after the confrontation occurred between her husband and Norton, she told one of the detectives at the Kent County Sheriff’s Office about all that had been occurring recently: the unproven accusation of her interfering in Sand Lake’s search of a Village clerk; the cease and desist letters sent by Norton’s attorney to four women, including herself, demanding that they retract statements made about him; the toilet paper on her door, etc. “I wanted them to understand why Scott had gotten so mad and I wanted it on file in case anything else happened,” she said. She also said that she couldn’t prove who put the toilet paper on her door.

Norton said he would also like to find out who did it, and would be willing to take a lie detector test to prove he didn’t do it.

On Tuesday, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker told the Post that charges in the incident between Scott Britton and Tom Norton had been denied. “From our review of the report there were no punches thrown, no physical contact, the most physical action described in the report was a ‘hand out in a pointing fashion.’ Words were exchanged, but there is not enough here to file any sort of assault charges under these circumstances,” he said.

Norton was notified by the detective on the case. “I can understand not pressing charges because they think he’ll calm down after the election, but I’m still concerned about my family,” he said. “There was enough in the report for me to get the PPO.”

He also will be glad to see the end of the election. His supporters have told him of other people demanding that they take his signs down out of their yards. “We have lost 36 signs in the last 24 hours,” he said.

Robyn Britton said she hasn’t had anything to do with that. “No one in my family has touched a Tom Norton sign. I feel bad for him about that. I know how expensive they are and wouldn’t want someone touching mine,” she said.

See results of next Tuesday’s election in next week’s Post.

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Sand Lake passes “no obstruction” ordinance


Tensions run high on board; trustee resigns

By Judy Reed

Tempers were high and accusations made of improper conduct at the July 16 board meeting of the Village of Sand Lake. The possibilities of violations of the Open Meetings Act and infringement on first amendment rights were also at issue.

And in the wake of everything that went on, one board member, Jan Dewey, turned in her resignation. (See her resignation letter here)

Tensions have been running high for sometime, and have come to a head since the board sent a cease and desist letter to a Nelson Township employee, accusing her of interfering with governmental operations of the Village of Sand Lake. She had been accused of talking to those interviewed for Sand Lake’s clerk position and telling them not to take the job. (She denies that allegation.) The board had taken their lawyer’s advice to send the cease and desist, and voted to have an investigation done. However, at the June 25 meeting, Jan Dewey, of the personnel committee, reported that their lawyer said their case was too weak and there was nothing to investigate. The board decided to go ahead with an ordinance against interference and voted to approve the new language of the ordinance Monday evening, and said it would apply to any intentional interference moving forward. 

Dave Dewey said that there were times when he was president that this ordinance would have been helpful.

Mrs. Dewey told the Post that the personnel committee did not do any type of investigation into the claim against the Nelson Township employee, so did not speak with the clerk candidates to find out if there had been interference.

The Post sent a FOIA request to get the names of those interviewed for the clerk position and was successful in interviewing one of the candidates, who asked not to be named. “I was offered the job and declined it. I made this decision following a phone call with Mr. Norton (the Village President), after which I felt that I would not be able to productively work with Mr. Norton. My decision was entirely based on my phone call with Mr. Norton. I never spoke to, met with, or had any contact with anyone from the Township or their government. In particular, any claims that [the unnamed employee] influenced my decision are completely false. I have never had any contact in any way with [unnamed employee]. I declined the position based on my phone call with Mr. Norton and upon the advice of legal counsel.”

Norton was the target of many of the accusations Monday evening. At one point, Council member Danielle Hardenberg tried to bring up a letter she had received from Norton’s lawyer regarding a statement she made in the previous meeting that “women are afraid of Tom.” Before Hardenburg could say anything about it, Norton quashed it by telling her it was civil and she couldn’t talk about it. She tried to say she had been asked to speak about it in a public meeting but he did not let her speak. 

The letter demanded that she recant her statement in the same way she gave it, which would be a public meeting. Him not letting her speak could be seen as infringement on her first amendment rights. 

During council comments, Gary Wheeler read a litany of complaints, mostly aimed at Norton.

Hardenburg asked how many council members it took to make a quorum. She explained that she met with Dave and Jan Dewey about a problem she had with Norton, and the Deweys contacted the village lawyer, Jeff Sluggett, who gave them options on what Hardenburg could do. Hardenburg decided to have a face to face meeting, so all four met to discuss the problem, which would constitute a quorum. She felt that the business should be brought before the council. Norton said no, because they weren’t conducting business of the Village. She asked to take it into closed session, but he said no, it wasn’t on the agenda. And that they could do it at the next meeting, either in closed or open session, he didn’t care, because he had screen shots of their conversations.

Hardenburg told the Post she felt that it was Village business, because it involved the Village President and affected the way she did her job. 

If it was a quorum, and considered Village business, that meeting would be a violation of the Open Meetings act.

Norton showed the Post the screenshots. He did admit she had been sent something inappropriate by him but that it was accidental and he told her not to open it. She responded, “lol, ok.”

Hardenburg told the Post she responded that way because she didn’t know what to think.

Norton feels he is the target of accusations because he is running for Nelson Township Supervisor. He has sent at least three cease and desist letters to those he says have said untrue things about him.

Trustee Tonia Parkhurst also read a statement during council comments. She said she was taken aback by the negativity she felt at last month’s special meeting and was tired of the undercurrents. She had been excused from the meeting of June 25, but during the deliberations on the government obstruction ordinance, Norton texted her to verify if she was coming. When Parkhurst showed up, Wheeler told Tom he saw him pick up his phone earlier and asked him if he texted her. He said he had. Discussions then ensued on whether that was ethical, to which Norton replied, “Is it ethical to work with the township in order to sit there and stop ordinances and undermine operations of the village?”

Use of a phone when others do not know what you are doing, could be considered a violation. According to Attorney General Bill Schuette’s handbook on the Open Meetings Act, it says on page 9: 

“Use of electronic devices: Moreover, the use of electronic communications for discussions or deliberations, which are not, at a minimum, able to be heard by the public in attendance at an open meeting are contrary to the OMA’s core purpose–the promotion of openness in government.”

Dave Dewey told the council that he and his wife work hard to do the right thing. “To use the council as a platform for personal grievances you all are going to burn the church down. You need to have personal stuff remain outside of the council.”  

 

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Candidates in city/township races


 

Tuesday is election day here in the U.S., and residents will be voting for president, vice-president, federal and state senators, representatives, judges, sheriff, and many varied city and township positions and proposals. Below are just a few of the races in our area. (Mostly just the contested ones.) To see what will be on the ballot for your township or city, please visit www.michigan.gov/sos, and click on Michigan Election and Voter information, and then on “View your sample ballot.” You will input your county, then jurisdiction (city or township), then precinct to see your ballot.

CITY OF CEDAR SPRINGS

Two people are running for two City Council seats in the City of Cedar Springs: incumbent Rose Powell, and Jerry Gross, who was recently appointed to fill the seat vacated by Robert Truesdale earlier this summer.

Rose Powell

Rose Powell

Rose Powell: Incumbent Rose Powell is seeking her second term as a City Council member. She has been married to Chris Powell for 46 years. They have three children: Gina, Brynadette, and Christopher. “It has been an honor to serve our community,” she said.

Rose said her primary reason for running for office was that she felt the citizens of Cedar Springs were betrayed when the Red Flannels were destroyed. “I hoped to help restore trust and confidence in our city government and city staff,” she said.

Besides one term on the council, Rose has also served on the Zoning Board of Appeals, the DDA, and the Community Building Development Team. She feels that the main strength she brings to the board is common sense and respect for others’ opinions.

Rose said the major challenges facing Cedar Springs right now is the need for a new firebarn and finding the money for it. She’d also like to see simple and inexpensive improvements to the downtown business district and storefronts.

Jerry Gross

Jerry Gross

Jerry Gross Sr.: Jerry Gross Sr. has been married to Barbara K. (Anderson) Gross for 43 years. They have two children, Lisa and Jerry Jr. (JJ); four grandchildren, and two stepgrandchildren. He has lived here for 43 years, was born and raised in Sand Lake, and graduated from Tri County High School. He spent four years in the Navy during Viet Nam. He has an associates degree from Ferris State University in social service technology, with a juvenile corrections major. He is semi-retired, and has worked part time as Nelson Township Zoning administrator and code enforcement for 10-1/2 years. He also worked half a year as Solon Township code enforcement, and has spent 36 years on the Cedar Springs Fire Department.

Jerry’s main reason for running for office: “To paraphrase something my father told me a long time ago: If you believe that there is a problem and you are  not part of the solution, then you may be part of the problem.” He said that he believes that there may be too many decisions that have been made to satisfy personal interests or special interest groups and not always to the benefit of the taxpayer and residents of Cedar Springs.

He said the main strengths he would bring to the position are logic, reasoning, look at all angles before making a decision, and to remember needs before wants.

Jerry said that the major challenge facing our community is keeping up with the cost and commitments that they already have to the citizens of Cedar Springs, while developing the dreams of others in the community. “We have business, residential, and manufacturing areas that cannot be developed because we cannot provide the fundamental services that will draw growth into the city. We need to find ways to repair our infrastructure and roads without having to hope and pray we can find grants,” he said.

NELSON TOWNSHIP

Supervisor Tom Noreen is on the ballot, but he is asking voters to WRITE IN his current Deputy Supervisor, Robyn Britton. Noreen had initially decided to run, but later decided that he would retire and missed the deadline to get his name off of the ballot before the primary. He won the primary over Britton by 20 votes. After the election, he spoke with her, and appointed her as his deputy.

“I thank the voters for their support and confidence over the years,” said Noreen, “but I encourage them to support Robyn.” Noreen said that if he wins, he would be retiring in December or January. Britton would not automatically become supervisor; instead the board would have to appoint either her or someone else.

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 led 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.

SOLON TOWNSHIP

There are four people running for two positions for Solon Township trustee: incumbent V. Fred Gunnell; Mark S. Hoskins, who has been an interim trustee; Christine M. Witt; and Bruce Gravelin.

Fred Gunnell

Fred Gunnell

V. Fred Gunnell (R): Fred Gunnell is running as a Republican for his seat as Solon Township trustee. He’s lived in Cedar Springs and the surrounding area, including Solon Township, for over 40 years. He graduated from Cedar Springs High School, and married Carollee Crane, who also lived in Solon Township. He graduated from Mich. State Univ. with a Master’s Degree and took some post-graduate work at Western Mich. Univ. and Univ. of Mich. His professional career was at Mich. Tech. Univ. for 25 years. He’s been serving Solon Township for about 22 years. First, as a planning commissioner, and later as a trustee to the Solon Twp. Board since the mid nineties.

Other boards he’s served on include the Michigan Township Association, the Cedar Springs Education Foundation, several Rotary Clubs, Red Flannel Rod and Gun club member, chairman of the trustees of Cedar Springs United Methodist and member of their administrative board, and as President of the Cedar Springs Historical Society.

Mark Hoskins

Mark Hoskins

Mark S. Hoskins (R): Mark Hoskins is running as a Republican for a seat on the Solon Township board. He grew up in the Cedar Springs area and graduated from Cedar Springs High School, as did several of his children. He and his family have lived in Solon Township for the last 11 years. He began working as a realtor in 1985, and currently works for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Rockford.

His primary reason for running for office? “As a Christian, I believe it is important to be an active participant in the community in which I live, to have input into decisions that are made and to use my time and ability to serve the residents of Solon Township,” he explained.

Hoskins has some experience in government service. He was elected to a four-year term on the Cedar Springs City Council in 1982, and has served on the Solon Township Planning Commission, Board of Review and Board of Appeals. In 2015, he agreed to fill the remaining term as trustee of the seat vacated by a former member.

Hoskins said his main strength is fiscal responsibility, morals of right and wrong, and just plain common sense. He said he sees Solon’s main challenge as their fire department. “It is my goal to retain our on-call firefighters and medical responders. I believe that losing so many of them is partially a result of our very fluid society. We need improved methods of training and ways to retain those who join the department,” she said.

Christine Witt

Christine Witt

Christine M. Witt (D): Christine Witt is running as a Democrat for a trustee seat on the Solon Township board. She was born in Muskegon, moved to Grand Rapids during college, and has lived in Solon Twp. since 2004. She is married and has two children. She will graduate with a law degree in Janauary, and has worked in local government for the last two years as a deputy clerk and archivist.

What is her primary reason for running? “I care about the community and want to be a part of it. I see Solon Township growing. I’d like to make sure that it retains its rural charm and strong community,” she said.

Witt said she has served on other types of boards in the past, and has a long history of volunteering. “I believe we should all lend a helping hand to keep our community strong,” she noted.

Witt said the main strength she’ll bring to the position is a background rooted in the understanding and analysis of legal issues, current and former work experience in local government, and a desire to expand the work she does in the community.

Witt said she sees Solon’s major challenge as keeping up with growth and the resources necessary to support it. “I would work diligently to understand the issues, examine the information, and hear public input. I would also look for ways to streamline processes and maximize efficiency if needed.”

Dave Gravelin

Bruce Gravelin

Bruce Gravelin (NPA): Bruce Gravelin is running with no party affiliation. He originally came from Ottawa County, but has lived in Solon Township for 32 years (since 1984). He is a Metroligist\Tool & Die Maker at GM.  “I have a wife and two wonderful adult children. I am in my early 60’s and I was born in the early 1950’s,” he said.

Why is he running for office? “I see an opportunity to better my community.  Instead of a division between the other communities within Solon Township I feel we should work together to form a partnership that will benefit us all in the long run,” he explained.

Gravelin said he has served on numerous team problem solving oriented committees while working for GM for the last 33 years. He said his main strength is “a multitude of life skills including ISO-9001 and ISO-14001 Lead Auditor certifications, with on the job work skills which give me a unique insight on how to problem solve and achieve all of the goals that the individual citizens of Solon Township require.”

Gravelin said the major challenge facing Solon Township is that property taxes should be established in a more impartial manner that will benefit individuals, businesses, and the township. He noted that infrastructure also needs a more aggressive strategy to improve the community’s quality of life. He also said there should be more transparency in the decisions made in Solon Township.

VILLAGE OF SAND LAKE

Residents in Sand Lake will be voting for a new Village President, and three seats on the Village Council. Two trustees are running for Village President. Thomas Norton is on the ballot, and Bette Towsley is running as a write-in candidate.

President

Thomas Norton: Thomas Norton is running for Village President. “We live in the village of Sand Lake and my family has been part of that community most of my life. I’m a small buisness owner which started about 2 years ago and has been going very well. I am married and have 3 kids that are very happy to go to the Sand Lake park and I can say are all loved very much by myself and people in the community,” he said.

What is his reason for running? “My main reason for running for Village President is to make sure our road construction project of Lake St. is completed, then to lay out a plan to fix roads throughout the village. Secondary reason is to start working on making sure there are budget standards to continue to have snow clearing of sidewalks, police and fire departments. My third reason for running is to make sure that there is a more open meeting format. The agenda needs to be expanded to have more input from the community during meetings than we have now. For example, two sections for public comment,” he explained.

Norton has served as a trustee on the board for two years of a four-year term, and was elected as a write-in candidate. “I am very happy to have been on the budget committee and balanced the budget while maintaining services,” he said. He has also served on the police committee.

Norton feels the main strength he brings to the office the ability to negotiate. “Since being on the council I have negotiated the reopening of the boat landing, with the majority of the council oddly enough opposed during the meeting by my write in opponent. I also have negotiated the telecommunications contracts, which saved the village thousands of dollars and hadn’t been done in years.”

He said he also brings leadership. “I have led soldiers in the army and have had a knack for vision of where we need to go to put ourselves on solid footing. This is the reason why the majority of the council has had me do negotiations and agreements that would traditionally be done by the village president.”

Norton said he feels the major challenges facing Sand Lake will be roads and budgets, and the next biggest challenge will be “making sure we begin to improve our infrastructure projects and have standards met and enforced when it comes to testing water and enforcing law.”

Bette Towsley

Bette Towsley

Bette Towsley: Bette Towsley is running as a write-in for President of the Village of Sand Lake, a seat her husband Roger Towsley currently holds. She has been married to Roger for almost 54 years. “We came to Sand Lake after living in Trufant on a small farm for about 5 years, and were headed back to the Grand Rapids area. We got sidetracked here and have now lived her about 43 years,” said Bette. “I am a 40-year-old in mind, physical strength and spirit—72 by this world’s time clock.  We are parents of four kind, thoughtful and successful adult children.”

Bette said one of her main reason for running is availability. “I feel availability is very important in daily operations as well as attending informative and often beneficial meetings. I am retired and available on a daily basis. I am physically active, care for people, am free to volunteer and actively serve not just as President of the Village Council, but to serve the community or individuals in whatever capacity as I see occasion or need,” she explained. She noted that there is also another reason. “Recently, there have been concerns  of change that have come to my attention that I feel would not be beneficial for the Village and its residents. As President I would hope to foster a healthy, friendly community for the peace and success of the Village as a whole.”

What is the main strength she would bring to the position? “Availability and willingness to serve whenever and almost whatever is needed. I was Village Clerk about 8 years, custodian for 2 years and have been a council member twice.  As clerk I found everything passed through me—mail, phone calls, communications of every sort; thus I feel it important to have  a good relationship and communication with the Clerk as well as the Treasurer, Police, Fire Dept., DPW and the community,” explained Bette.

The major challenge she sees is the role of President at the meetings. “I do not have the knowledge of much that comes natural to men.  However, I am counting on the understanding of all while I learn, and hope to be able to depend on the Council and Council member Dave Dewey in particular, who is wise and has served as President and Council Member over a period of over 25 years (or more).”

Sand Lake Village trustees – 3 seats

Nyha French

Nyha French

Nyha French: Nyha French is running for Sand Lake Village trustee. She is 36 years old, married, and has four daughters, ages 18, 12, 11 and 9. “I have lived in Sand Lake Most of my life. I grew up in Sand Lake and worked at my grandfather’s hardware store, grandmother’s gift shop, and mowed lawns for those in need,” she said. “I have worked with the people in our community for a long time now. I am also a part of the Sand Lake Fire department and have been a First Responder and Fire Fighter for the past 2 years. I love serving the community in this way. I work at Williamson Family Medicine in Rockford as a Medical Assistant.”

French said her main reason for running for office is to “help improve our little town. To hear the concerns and ideas of our community and help address and or achieve those concerns and ideas. I want to be a part of making our community a better place,” she explained.

What is the main strength she would bring to the position? “I would have an open mind and hear all options before making a decision, not only that but my decision would be based off what is factual and right for our community. I want to hear the people of Sand Lake and what their concerns are for our community and help improve in any way I can.”

Tonia Parkhurst

Tonia Parkhurst

Tonia Parkhurst: Tonia Parkhurst is running for Sand Lake Village trustee. She is 42, and a 17-year resident of the Village of Sand Lake. “I was born and raised in the greater Grand Rapids area. I graduated from Aquinas with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems with a focus in Systems Analysis. I am the Senior Technologist for TrackCore, Inc. located downtown Grand Rapids. I’m happily married with four grown children and two beautiful grandchildren.”

What is her main reason for running? “Sand Lake is facing some major issues and challenges.  I would rather be part of the solution than part of those who gossip and complain after the tough decisions have been made,” she explained.

Parkhurst served on the Village council once before. “I’ve served several years previously on the Village of Sand Lake Council as trustee, including being part of the budget committee.  When I chose not to continue in the trustee position several years ago, I continued my service on the Planning Committee for the Village of Sand Lake.” She has also served as a leader in Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and filled various positions in Boy Scouts.

What is the main strength she’ll bring to the board? “In addition to the experience gained from serving previously on the board, I bring a strong analytical mindset, a desire to do what is best for the Village and a strong background in technology and problem solving.”

The major challenges she sees facing Sand Lake include limited funds, poor road conditions, limited community involvement and communication, as well as needed image improvement of the downtown district. “These challenges cannot be overcome by a single person; it will be a group/community effort to overcome them,” she said.

Incumbents Danielle Hardenburg and James Ward are also running for their seats as trustees, but did not return a candidate survey.

Proposals on ballot for all of Kent County:

John Ball Zoo and Grand Rapids Public Museum millage: The John Ball Zoo and Grand Rapids Public Museum are seeking a millage to establish dedicated funding for the care of animals and artifacts, to provide enhanced educational programs and for the repair and renovation of exhibits. This proposal will create a dedicated source of funding for these publicly owned institutions. This is a 10-year, .44 millage that starts in 2016 and ends in 2025. If passed, the proposal is an annual increase of $37.44 per year or $3.12 per month, for the average homeowner in Kent County. All millage dollars will be split equally between both institutions and go through an independent financial audit every year.

Kent County 911 surcharge: The ballot question asks to increase the current 9-1-1 surcharge you already pay for phone service in Kent County. An additional $0.70/month per line for a total of $1.15/month would address 9-1-1 Dispatch technology improvements and fire dispatch operations. Residents with one phone would pay approximately $13.80 a year per phone. Visit https://accesskent.com/Sheriff/surcharge.htm for more information on who the money would be used.

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What is going on in Sand Lake?


 

“What is going on with the Village?” A question that I’ve fielded more frequently of late.  The divide between residents of the Village of Sand Lake and the administration has risen to the surface recently with the ordeal surrounding the proposed CMC Tavern.  I’ve heard many stories and versions of the same story; one thing for sure, many residents are fed up, and the administration seems reluctant to listen to their concerns.

At the center of the controversy, which has been brewing for years, is the Chief of Police.  The Chief serves at the pleasure of the Village Council; hence, they are brought into the fray when they condone Police actions that are at least controversial, and at worst divisive.  The fact is this: many residents have the perception that the police are less than professional and have no confidence in their performance.  The opposing perception is; the Chief is right and just in all his actions, and that holders of the opposing perception are rumor-mongers, liars and less than honest citizens (have an ax to grind).

So far, a statement of current conditions. Evaluating past history, understanding both sides of the controversy, and searching for the root cause of this mendacity, one finds the central figure to be the Chief of Police. Be it fact or perception, he is the catalyst for this current divisive state of the community.

It is my opinion that an early retirement is in order, which will allow the Chief to depart with dignity.  The Village can then begin the healing process and strive to become the small town it can be. We have had our controversies in the past, there will always be rumors and personal conflicts; that, in fact, is the strength of any real community. However, when those controversies and personal conflicts prove damaging to the domestic tranquility of the community as a whole, action must be taken to clean and heal the wound.

May God have mercy on my soul.

Dan Hula

Resident, Village of Sand Lake

 


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. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to PostScripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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EDWARD J. SMITH


 

Edward J. Smith, age 89, of Sand Lake passed away at his residence on August 22, 2015.  He was born April 12, 1926 in Lakeview, the son of John and Margaret Smith.  As a teenager, Ed worked for his brother, Francis, at Smitty’s Garage in Lakeview.  He also worked delivering coal in the Lakeview area.  He served his country in the US Army during WWII and was a member of the Sand Lake VFW Post.  After the war he worked for Dohler Jarvis in Grand Rapids and Toledo as a die cast repair man, retiring after 35 years. Ed never lost his love for auto mechanics and was noted in Sand Lake for being able to fix most anything.  He was always willing to help neighbors and the Village of Sand Lake with repairs.  Many children learned how to repair their bicycles from Ed.  Ed loved to fish, hunt and camp. He enjoyed riding motorcycle and fast cars. He also loved to restore old cars and tractors.  Ed and his wife Laura could often be found sitting on the swing in their front yard.  In his senior years Ed rarely missed Friday music at the Howard City Senior Center. Surviving are his wife Laura; children, Dan (Jane) Smith of Pierson, Margaret Merritt of Sand Lake, Sandra (Harold) McConnell of Sparta, Edward (Karin) Jr. Smith of Ohio, Randy (Roxie) Smith of Texas, John (Cheryl) Smith of Sand Lake, Lori (Scott) Wesche of Howard City; 23 grandchildren and 24 great grandchildren and one great great grandchild; one sister Dorothy Briggs of Muskegon; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers, Francis and Ray Smith and one sister Charlotte Rogalewski. Funeral services will take place on Saturday, August 29th at 11 am at the Heckman Funeral Home in Howard City with burial in the Pierson Cemetery, where Military Honors will be conducted by the Howard City VFW Post.  The family will greet friends on Friday, August 28th  from 2-4 and 6-8 pm and prior to services on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Howard City Senior Center, 132 E. Edgerton, PO Box 399, Howard City, MI 49329  Attention Delores Becker.

Arrangements by Heckman Funeral Home, Howard City

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Girl Scout Troop honored


_N-Girl-Scout-Troop-4282

Girls from the Girl Scout Troop 4282 were awarded Good Citizenship certificates by the Village of Sand Lake on August 30, for being good stewards of Salisbury Park.

According to Judy Howard, Clerk of the Village of Sand Lake, the troop picked up trash that littered the park. Howard presented the certificates to the girls.

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