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Archive | July, 2012

Cedar Springs chooses top candidates for city manager position

The Cedar Springs City Council met Friday evening and chose seven candidates to interview to fill their vacant City Manager position, including a couple of them with ties to Cedar Springs. Over thirty people applied.

“The field is stronger than I have seen,” noted consultant Frank Walsh, Manager of the City of St. Joseph. “I think the reputation of the community and the proximity to Grand Rapids may have had something to do with it.” He said that the seven they chose was a good group and they had a wide variety of candidates to choose from..

The candidates they chose, in no particular order:

Meg Mullendore-Cluckey, Village Manager at Cassopolis, Michigan since January 2011, and City Manager of Buchanan, Michigan 2005-2010.

Thad Taylor, City Manager of Alpena, from December 2007-April 2012, and interim City Manager at Alpena 2006-2007. He was also Public Safety Director there from 1992-2007.

Jared Olson, Assistant to the Assessor in the City Clare, December 2011 to present, and City Management Intern May to September 2011.

Roger Belknap, former DPW Director for the City of Cedar Springs, October 2010 to June 2012, and transportation planner for the Kent County Road Commission, August 1999 to October 2010.

Patrick T. Reagan, Downtown Development Authority/Main Street Manager for the City of Portland, Michigan, April 2009 to present; DDA/Main Street Manager for the City of Iron Mountain March 2008-April 2009.

Adam Poll, Associate Planner for the City of Waterloo, Iowa, October 2008 to present. Poll is a Cedar Springs graduate. Between 2004 and 2008 he held several positions for the City of Grand Rapids, including financial assistant in the water department, property inspector, assistant to the assessor, and several interim intern positions.

Jonathan Greene, Executive Director of Downtown Development Authority for the City of Jackson, February 2009 to present; economic development and housing coordinator County of Eaton, March 2005 to January 2009.

The candidates will come for a public interview on August 4. There will be a tour of the city for the candidates at 8:30 a.m. and the first interview will start at  9 a.m. Each one will last 45 minutes with a break for lunch at 12:30 p.m.

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City’s 1929 fire truck to get face-lift

By Linda Branyan, clerk for City of Cedar Springs

A piece of Cedar Springs history is being given new life! The old 1929 Model A Fire Engine, the City’s pride and joy, is going to be brought back to its original glory through the efforts of Carl and Rich Straub, owners of Pro Autoworks, in Cedar Springs.

Fire Chief Marty Fraser announced plans for the refurbishment of the vintage fire truck at a recent City Council meeting. The Straubs plan to do a quality restoration job complete with the truck’s original gold leaf and brass ornamentation. They estimate it will take about 200 man-hours and approximately $7,500.00 to bring the vehicle to museum quality.
“The preservation of this truck is important to all of us, as well as the community,” they said.

Cedar Springs Clipper Editor Nina Babcock gets a ride on the old Model A fire engine during a Red Flannel celebration, year unknown.

Cedar Springs Clipper Editor Nina Babcock gets a ride on the old Model A fire engine during a Red Flannel celebration, year unknown.

The Cedar Springs Fire Department will be taking donations toward the restoration’s expenditures. Those wishing to make a donation should contact Fire Chief Marty Fraser at 616.813.6209 or by email at mfraser@gmail.com.   Donations may also be dropped off at Cedar Springs City Hall. All donations are tax-exempt and receipts will be issued.
To begin the fund raising campaign, members from the Cedar Springs Fire Department will be participating in the Chamber of Commerce’s Community Celebration Day August 11. They will be holding a car wash at the Fire Station on Maple Street and offering area children the opportunity to see the station’s fire trucks up close and personal, as well as getting some hands on experience with a fire hose!

Story first published on the City of Cedar Springs website cityofcedarsprings.org.

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Man killed in hit and run

A man was killed in a hit and run accident last Friday morning in the Village of Howard City.

According to the Montcalm County Sheriff Department, a passerby saw a body lying in West Edgerton Street shortly before 2:30 a.m., on Friday, July 20. The passerby proceeded home (a few blocks away) and told his father, who called 911.

Police said it was evident that the man had been struck by a vehicle and was dead when emergency responders arrived at the scene. He was identified as Scott Michael Gregory, 25, of Howard City.

The passerby was arrested at the scene for operating while intoxicated. As deputies investigated the scene, they found evidence that may link the passerby’s vehicle to the accident. Crime scene technicians are analyzing his vehicle to see if it was involved in the crash. As of July 24, police were still waiting on a report from the crime lab. The passerby has not been charged in the death.

The Howard City Police Department and the Montcalm County EMS assisted deputies at the scene.

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Police chief named acting city manager

By Judy Reed

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent has been appointed as acting city manager now that former City Manager Christine Burns is headed to the Village of Spring Lake. Her last official day was July 25.

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent

Parent is used to wearing more than one hat. He most recently did double duty as both Police Chief and Fire Chief for over a year. But this position is expected to last only about a month, while City Council searches for a replacement. “I’m a team player,” he said. “We’ll get the job done.”

According to consultant Frank Walsh, who is heading up the search, 33 people have applied for the position of City Manager. “It’s a deep pool of talent,” remarked Walsh, who is City Manager for St. Joseph, and a former Cedar Springs City Manager. “The level of candidates is outstanding. It’s a great bunch of candidates to choose from.”

There will be a special City Council meeting this Friday, July 27, at 7 p.m., where the field will be narrowed down to six finalists. Walsh has given the council a list of who he considers are the top 13 candidates, but council is free to choose any six they wish. Their names will be available to the public after that meeting. The six semi-finalists will then be interviewed in a special meeting on Saturday, August 4, starting at 9 a.m. Each candidate will be interviewed for about 45 minutes each. Both meetings are open to the public.

The City Council held a goodbye party for Burns before the council meeting on July 12. During the council comment time, Burns, who has been here 5 years, commented on her time in Cedar Springs. “I just celebrated 21 years of municipal service, and I’ve never worked with a better group of people,” she remarked. “This is an amazing community, and it’s been a great learning experience for me. I will always have a special place in my heart for Cedar Springs.”

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Cedar Springs man pleads guilty in Montana

By Judy Reed

A Cedar Springs man that led police in Montana on a high-speed chase in a stolen car earlier this year pled guilty to several charges last week in Columbus, Montana.

Nathaniel James Purdy, 28, of Cedar Springs, pled guilty to one count of felony Criminal Endangerment, one count of felony Assault on a Peace Officer and one misdemeanor count of fleeing and eluding. Under the plea agreement, the Stillwater County Attorney’s office will recommend that Purdy be sentenced to five years with three years suspended. He will also be given credit for time served, about seven months.

Nathaniel Purdy (center) was arrested in Montana last January. Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Hensley, left, and Stillwater County Undersheriff Woody Claunch, right, assisted in the pursuit. Photo by Brenna McElhinny, editor of the Stillwater County News.

Nathaniel Purdy (center) was arrested in Montana last January. Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Joe Hensley, left, and Stillwater County Undersheriff Woody Claunch, right, assisted in the pursuit. Photo by Brenna McElhinny, editor of the Stillwater County News.

The saga started with a car that was stolen from a Cedar Springs gas station. According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, a 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix was stolen from the Admiral Gas Station at 194 S. Main in Cedar Springs, about 8:45 p.m. January 2. The 43-year-old female driver left it running while she went inside to pay for gas. Surveillance footage shows a short, stocky person wearing a hooded sweatshirt and baggy clothing get into the car and drive away. Police say it appeared to be a smaller size female.

Two days later, on January 4, the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Department in Montana arrested Nathaniel James Purdy, 28, of Cedar Springs, after a high-speed chase topping 100 mph. According to the Stillwater County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy located the stolen vehicle about 10:15 a.m., after it was involved in a gas theft in Billings, Montana. The deputy attempted to stop the vehicle in the Park City area of I-90, but the driver fled, leading the deputy and two highway patrol troopers on the high-speed chase. As they neared Columbus, Montana, Sheriff’s deputies and the Columbus Police Department put down spike strips, but Purdy still refused to stop, and exited into the town of Columbus. Purdy’s damaged tires gave out when he turned down an alley and he crashed into a building. He then fled on foot, but police pursued him and ordered him to the ground at gunpoint about 50 feet away from where he had crashed.

He has not been charged in connection to the vehicle being stolen. Anyone with info on the original theft of the auto should contact the Cedar Springs Police Department at 696-1311.

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Cedar Springs Police community alert system

Would you like to know if there are break-ins in your neighborhood? If a child has gone missing? If police are searching for a suspect? Residents can now sign up for community alerts from the Cedar Springs Police Department.

Like other area police agencies, such as Rockford and Howard City, the Cedar Springs Police Department has become an active member of Nixle. Nixle offers a free program for law enforcement agencies to send out police alerts, messages and other community news. Those who sign up can receive messages by text or e-mail, and there are no advertisements sent out to those who register.

Howard City Police were recently able to identify and arrest a couple on fraud charges in one day after sending out their photo on Nixle to area subscribers.

To receive Cedar Springs Police Department alerts and news, you must first register at nixle.com. From this site you can select the police agencies you wish to receive news from. The police do not see who has registered and they do not receive this information from Nixle.

“My goal is to publish messages that are pertinent and timely,” said Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent. “Look at this as one more way to receive your community news. Remember, our news may not make the evening news on TV but is still very important to us who live or work within the City of Cedar Springs.”

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Chamber to hold Community Celebration Day

The newly formed Cedar Springs Area Chamber of Commerce is holding its first Cedar Springs Community Celebration Day on August 11. There will be activities on Main Street sidewalks from Muskegon to Maple Streets. Look for sidewalk sales, artists, musicians, face painters, a flea market, a dunk tank, food, and more! The fire department will also be doing a car wash to raise money to restore the antique fire truck and standing by to cool folks off with a spray down.

The celebration will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 11. For more information, contact the chamber at 616.773.5126. Check out their web page at cedarspringsareachamber.org, or follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CedarSpringsAreaChamberOfCommercecsacoc.


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Candidate would like his signs back

By Judy Reed

Most local candidates running for office don’t have a big budget for advertising, and that includes Solon Township Supervisor Bob Ellick, who is running for reelection. And right now he is wishing he hadn’t spent money on signs, because they keep being stolen.

“Every year you always have a couple come up missing, or pulled out of the ground and thrown down, but this year is the first I’ve had that many come up missing,” he explained.

Over the last couple of weeks, he said he’s had at least a dozen of them stolen out of people’s yards in Solon Township. “I had specific permission from landowners to have them there,” he noted. In one instance, his sign was next to the sign of another person running for trustee in Solon Township but Ellick’s was the only one stolen.

“A thief is a thief. Somebody knows where they are and I’d love to have them back,” said Ellick. “It makes you wonder what else they are stealing. I’d put one in my yard but they would probably steal that, too.”

Stealing political signs is a crime, and Ellick has reported the thefts to the Kent County Sheriff Department. But he would rather the signs were just returned. “Whoever stole them can leave them in the foyer of the Solon Township Hall,” he said.

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Nelson Township August primary candidates

Candidates for Supervisor

Tom Noreen is running as Republican for the seat of Nelson Township Supervisor. He is originally from Nelson Township and a graduate of Cedar Springs High School. He grew up on the farm where he now lives. He spent over 26 years in the Army and moved back to Cedar Springs in 2001. After retirement, he has worked for Senior Neighbors, Howard Christensen Nature Center, and as a military consultant. Since 2006, he has published The Bugle, which has served the Cedar Springs community for over 30 years. Tom and his wife, Nancy, have four adult children. Tom said that since he began serving as trustee, he has considered running for Supervisor should the opportunity occur. Other boards he has served on include secretary of the CS Rotary Club, trustee on the CS Education Foundation, Committee Chairman for Boy Scout Troop 222 and Venture Crew 2222, and Chairman for CS United Methodist Church Council. He has also served as treasurer for the CS Theatre Association and as a member of the board of directors for Howard Christensen Nature Center. Tom said the main strengths he can bring to the position are over 35 years of public service, eight of which are as a Trustee for Nelson Township. “As a 26-year Army veteran, I led organizations with hundreds of personnel and managed budgets in excess of $30 million. I thrive on challenge and seek opportunities to give back to my community,” he explained. Tom said the township does not face any major challenges and it is fiscally sound. “I want to make sure we preserve the rural character of our township while encouraging responsible growth in the commercial corridors. One service I would like to explore is a way to provide broadband internet service to all areas of the township,” he said.

Kirk Thielke is running as a Republican for Nelson Township Supervisor. He is a 47-year-old married father of four, and a 25 year resident of Nelson Township. He is currently fulfilling his 3rd term as village president for the Village of Sand Lake and has recently been appointed as the Nelson Township Deputy Supervisor. Thielke says he offers the township excellence through experience. “I am a military veteran with practical and financial experience in both private and public sectors,” he explained. Kirk has started and owned 2 retail businesses within the township; volunteered for many years on the local chamber of commerce; and coached several local sports teams. He has also served on both local police and fire departments, which he said contributed to his ability to be provide for the needs of both. “I believe a good leader must be a great servant. As my record clearly exhibits, I am dedicated whole-heartedly to our community. I am not afraid of hard work or tough decision. I was an unequivocal opponent of the disincorporation of the Village of Sand Lake and consider the significant victory by the voters, a great accomplishment for the entire community,” said Kirk. “I retain excellent problem solving skills and if given the opportunity, I will approach all township issues with the same diligence, honest and integrity I live by and that the township and its people deserve. I believe strongly that the township should be more accessible and accountable to the people it serves. I feel that with unambiguous job descriptions and clearly defined objectives this can be accomplished benefiting all residents.”

Candidates for Clerk

Laura Hoffman is running for as a Republican her seat as Nelson Township Clerk. She is currently uncontested. She and her husband Curt have been married for 26 years and have two married daughters and three grandchildren, who speak three foreign languages between them. After moving to Nelson Township in the fall of 1987, she began working elections the following year and has worked every election since. In 1992, she was offered the deputy clerk position, and in 1995 was appointed township clerk. Shortly afterwards she was asked by the Kent County Clerk to administer two recall elections in neighboring townships. “I take great pride in running local elections and pledge to uphold the law and its integrity,” said Laura. She is currently the treasurer for Kent County MTA Chapter, the Vice Chair of the Friends of the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library, and the secretary for the Nelson Township Planning Commission. The primary reason she is running for a fifth term is to continue helping residents by promoting services such as Passport agency and notary services. “One of my long term goals includes improvements to our township cemeteries. Throughout my years serving Nelson Township, I’m most proud of assisting township residents in resolving community issues,” she said.

Candidates for treasurer

Katy Austin is running as a Republican for Nelson Township treasurer. She did not return a questionnaire.

Candidates for Nelson Township trustee (2) seats 4 – candidates

Glen Armstrong is running as a Republican for Nelson Township trustee. He has lived in Nelson Township his entire 56 years, and is employed at GE Aviation as a manufacturing engineer. He and his wife have raised three children in Nelson Township. Glen believes his main strength is the experience he has in township government. Glen has served for over 25 years on the planning commission, as a trustee, and most recently as Supervisor. He said his primary reason for running is that he would like to see the government serve the people and not the other way around. He would also like to see paving roads become a priority again.

Maureen Mahoney is running as a Republican to hold on to her seat as a Nelson Township trustee. She has lived in Nelson for 12 years, and moved here from Kansas City, Missouri to be closer to her family. She is single and has no children. She is currently employed at Advantage Health Physician Network as a Medical Assistant. She was elected four years ago and knew little about government but has enjoyed the learning process and would like to continue to serve. She is currently President of the Friends of the Sand Lake/Nelson Township Library. What is the main strength she would bring to the board? “I think I’m a very fair minded person. I listen to all sides before making a decision or voting,” she said.

Warren Hanson is running as a Republican for Nelson Township trustee. He has lived in Nelson Township his whole life. For 20 years he owned Hanson’s Radiator and Auto Repair on Main Street in Cedar Springs. He also served for five years for the Department of Defense in Iraq, and just returned in November of 2011. Warren was a member of the Cedar Springs Lions Club for 20 years. He said the reason he is running for office is because he would like to see the assessor removed.

Gabrielle Warner is running as a Republican for Nelson Township trustee. She moved here from Toledo, Ohio and has lived in Nelson Township 12 years. She is a financial services professional with Mass Mutual and owner/agent at Innovative Solutions Agency. She has been married to her husband, Bill, for 31 years, and they have two grown children. Gabrielle said her primary reason for running is to stay involved with her township and get to know her neighbors better. She hopes to bring her skills in business efficiency to the Nelson Township board to benefit residents. Gabrielle has served on the Nelson Township Board of Review for four years, been on the board for the Cedar Springs Rotary Club, and is 2010 past-president. The major challenge she sees facing Nelson is providing expected services for the township despite budget pressures due to the economy and reduced state funding. “I hope to bring fresh ideas with a business owner’s efficiency to the board,” she said.

See next week’s paper for more candidates.


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Solon Township August primary candidates

Election time is here, and there are a lot of candidates running for both local and state government. Voters will go to the polls on August 7 to make their selections.

Candidates for Supervisor

Robert Ellick, the current Solon Twp. Supervisor, has lived in the district 40 years, and is running as a Republican. He is a self-employed builder, and owns and operates Ellick and Sons. He has served in several capacities in the township, including a member of the Solon Zoning Board of Appeals, Chair of the ZBA, four years as trustee on the Solon Twp. Board, eight years as Supervisor, and had 30 years in business in Solon. Bob said he is running again to see Solon Township into the future with a new township hall, pavilions, and walking trails. “It will be a place the community can take pride in,” he said. Ellick feels the main strength he brings to the board is his common sense and logic. He said the main challenge facing Solon is the planning for the development of the new township land, fire barn, and continued paving of the roads.

Michele Andres is running as a Republican for Solon Twp. Supervisor. Michele, her husband Nick, and children Matt and Meghan have been residents of Solon Township since 2000. For the last 20 years, Andres has worked in supply chain management, and the last eight years in healthcare administration. She currently works at North Ottawa Community Hospital as Director of Supply Chain Management. “My primary reason to run for Solon Township Supervisor is to use my unique, varied and proven non-profit and government leadership experience to bring a servant leadership alternative to the residents,” said Andres. She said her main strength is organizational leadership and proven success and results in past organizational achievements. Michele has served on the Red Flannel board of directors since 2002, and been President since 2003; served on the Cedar Springs City Council 1998 to 2000; chaired the Solon Township Zoning Board of Appeals 2000-2004; served on West Michigan Regional Planning Commission 2006-2010; and served in several other agencies. Michele said Challenges facing all municipalities are reduction in tax dollars. “Collaboration with our neighbors to reduce the overall cost of government is vital. A strong, local economy is an important element of what a community needs to function… Continuing the business friendly attitude to partnership with entrepreneurs to facilitate growth along the 17 Mile corridor and developing the commercial, taxable areas will help the sustainability of the township.”

Candidates for Clerk

Mary Lou Poulson is running as a Republican. She is currently Deputy Clerk. She did not return a questionnaire.

Candidates for treasurer

Heather Zenker is running as a Republican for her seat as Solon Township Treasurer. Heather has held that position for the last seven years. She has lived in the township for 12 years with her husband, Kevin, and two sons. She said she has an extensive background in banking and customer service. She received her title of Michigan Certified Professional Treasurer from the Michigan Municipal Treasurer’s Institute. Heather said she is running for office because she loves working with the people of Solon Township. She is currently President of the Kent County Treasurer’s Association, has served as President of the Cedar Springs Area Parks and Rec, treasurer of the Red Flannel Festival, treasurer of the Cedar Springs Public Library Board, and more. Heather feels that her experience as treasurer for the township and experience with boards and committees will bring strength to the position. She said she would love to see the new township hall built and the grounds developed for a community park, as well as see continued development of the 17 Mile Road corridor.

James Dean is running as a Republican write-in candidate for Solon Township Treasurer. He has been a resident of Solon Township for almost 20 years. His family has roots in the community for over 80 years. He works at Meijer and is pursuing a degree in Business Management at GRCC/Ferris State University. James said he is running because he would like to make a difference and serve the people of the community where he lives. “Through more interactive communication, I will promote the voice of the residents of Solon Township and represent them to the best of my ability,” he said. James currently volunteers as Chairman for the Solon Township Site Plan Committee that has been charged with developing a master site plan for the property surrounding the future township hall. He has worked closely with the current township board, chaired meetings, and helped create and deliver a site plan survey to Solon residents. James said his main strength will be to bring a fresh perspective to the challenges facing the community today. “With hard work and determination, I will join with other community leaders to create a business and resident friendly environment where everyone will have the opportunity to express their ideas, opinions and concerns,” he said. He believes the biggest challenge facing the township (as with everyone) is spending their budget in the most responsible way possible. “I will work diligently with the township board to identify cost saving opportunities within our budgeted expenditures. Through careful review and analysis, we can eliminate excess spending and be more fiscally responsible,” he said.

Candidates for Solon Township trustee (2) positions, 4 candidates

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 18 years. First, as a planning commissioner, and later as a trustee to the Solon Twp. Board since the mid nineties. Fred said he is running for office because he has always supported strong local government and encouraged economic growth, yet with appropriate controls. “I believe in residents’ input in all major decisions the township board is required to make. The constituents must have a say in governing our township,” noted Fred. 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. He is currently President of the Cedar Springs Historical Society. Fred sees two major challenges facing Solon Township. “Commercial growth is one area that must be monitored at all times by adhering to the Master Plan to the township and applying ordinances and codes stringently, yet fairly,” he explained. The second is “that the township board must continually be fiscally responsible in managing taxpayers taxes fairly and efficiently and effectively. It is the board’s responsibility to be transparent to the public in all its transactions.”

Rich Straub is running as a Republican for his seat as Solon Township trustee. He did not return a questionnaire.

Tony Owen is running as a Republican for Solon Township trustee. He has lived in West Michigan from Grand Rapids to Saranac, where he worked for the Michigan Department of Corrections. He retired after 28 years to the Cedar Springs area and currently works for the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel as a manager in their Housekeeping Department. He holds a Bachelors in Criminal Justice and a Masters in Public Administration from Grand Valley University and currently teaches Management and Criminal Justice at the University of Phoenix in Grand Rapids. He has been married to his wife, Dolores, for 39 years and they have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. Tony currently serves on the Cedar Springs Public Library Board for Solon Township, and said his primary reason for running for office is to be a more productive resident. Other experience on boards includes the Gerald R. Ford Council and Membership Chair and Trustee for the Michigan Corrections Association, a statewide organization of professionals from all areas of the Criminal Justice field. He feels the main strength he would bring to the board is the commitment to service and to being open to communication from all parties involved in issues. “My background in union leadership and as a manager also allows me to view issues from different perspectives,” he said. He sees a major challenge to the township in dwindling state revenue. “Because of the state taking revenue back and the township tax base not growing I see the budgeting and finding of new business to move into the township, which would create jobs for those in the township, of great importance. Proper zoning and outreach would help in this area.”

John Rideout, who is currently the clerk, is running as a Republican for one of the open trustee seats. He has lived in the township for over 40 years, with his wife Diane and four children. He holds business degrees from Davenport and Grand Valley State University. He served four years in the Marine Corps, including two tours in Viet Nam and is a life member of the Disabled American Veterans. He was a manager with the U.S. Postal Service before retiring in 2002. He has been active with the Kent County Veterans Advisory Board, Kent County Veterans Honor Guard, Boy Scouts and United Way. As township clerk for eight years, he has been involved with the everyday affairs of running the township and believes he is uniquely qualified to help lead the township for the next four years. Some of John’s top priorities if elected are to continue development of the new township hall site, with emphasis on developing a new recreational park once the office and community room is finished; and the continual development of the 17 Mile corridor and improvements to the fire department.


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Girl’s body exhumed in cold case

The homicide of 18-year-old Shannon Siders, of Newaygo, has never been solved.

The body of Shannon Siders, of Newaygo, was exhumed Thursday, in the hope that new advancements in forensic science will lead them to her killer.

Shannon, 18, was last seen on July 18, 1989. Her body was found on October 15, 1989 in a wooded area near M-82 and Thornapple Road in Brooks Township, Newaygo County. It was an area of the forest known as “the pit,” where young people hosted parties. An autopsy determined the manner of death to be homicide.

For the past 23 years, area detectives have continued to investigate the case, following up on hundreds of tips. Last year, a task force led by investigators from the Michigan State Police that includes the Newaygo County Sheriff Department, Newaygo City Police and Newaygo County Prosecutor Robert Springstead, began to focus on the cold case. They reviewed the nearly 2,000-page report and associated tips, and examined evidence collected by the original investigators.

They also consulted with forensic pathologist and forensic anthropologist on the case. With new advancements in forensic science and new information uncovered by the task force, a decision was made, after talking with Shannon’s family, to exhume her body. Investigators hope this will help them solve the case.

Detectives are asking anyone with information regarding the homicide of Shannon Siders to contact D/Sgt. Scott Rios of the Michigan State Police Hart Post-Newaygo Detachment at (231) 873-2171 ext. 222 or email him at RiosS@michigan.gov.

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Keep it sweet

When people are asked to mention some of the things that God calls us to do, people will often mention having a prayer life, reading the bible and loving our neighbor. These are some of the most well known commands God gives to His people. In the book of Proverbs we find another call, but it’s not as well known; it’s a call to eat honey. In chapter 24:13 it says: Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste (NIV). It is somewhat of a puzzling proverb, but there are two aspects to it.

Pastor Jim practicing what he preaches and having fun with a water slide.

Pastor Jim practicing what he preaches and having fun with a water slide.

The first aspect is nutritional. Honey is good for us to eat. It boosts energy, builds up the immune system and can lower cholesterol. It also aids in restoring the body. Honey can prevent infection from things like cuts and burns in addition to soothing pain. In the Old Testament, the Promised Land was often referred to as the land flowing with milk and honey, which meant that it was a fertile land, and what it produced would be good for the people. On the one hand, God is calling us to eat things that are healthy for us. It’s a helpful reminder that we need to be good stewards of our bodies.

The second aspect of the proverb is about enjoyment. Notice that it says that we should eat honey because it is sweet to your taste. Never mind the nutritional and medicinal value of honey, we should eat it simply because it tastes good! Honey is enjoyable and pleasant and being able to experience that in our lives is also important. The second thing that God is saying here is that He wants us to enjoy our walk with Him. Often we work so hard and take things so seriously that we lose our sense of enjoyment of being in a relationship with our Maker. Sometimes Christians don’t smile enough. Yes, there is a sense of urgency attached to spreading the Gospel. Sometimes when we think about what goes on this world, we can’t help but cry; but we need to smile, too. There is a place for a Christian to bowl, dance, and even color their hair a wild color from time to time.

God wants us to take our relationship with Him seriously and to live according to the guidelines He has set forth in His Word. But don’t forget to have fun and enjoy your walk with Him, too!

Pastor Jim Alblas

Pioneer Christian Reformed Church

3110 17 Mile Road, Cedar Springs

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