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Archive | Voices and Views

Vote NO on Nelson library millage

POST SCRIPTS NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. * We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to an election. 


Nelson Township voters need to be aware that the August 3 election is about more than just selecting a state Senate candidate. There is a proposal to increase the township library millage. This was voted down a year ago, and yet township officials refuse to accept that the people have already spoken on this issue. So, they are trying to sneak it past voters in an off year primary election where the turnout will be very low. This is totally unethical and should be illegal. Furthermore, they have misused taxpayer money and resources by including propaganda about this in the newsletter sent out with property tax bills. The propaganda states that the library needs a new roof and boiler. This is highly suspect for a library building barely 15 years old. The real question is why there is a township library tax at all. The township library millage was passed in 1987, and unfortunately has no expiration. In 1995 a countywide library system, KDL, was created with a new tax to support it. Nelson Township officials should have stoped collecting the township library tax at that time. The fact that this township library tax is still collected means we have been doubled dipped for library services for the last 25 years. Shame on Nelson Township’s self-serving and less than honest elected officials (past and present).  However, this is not a raw enough deal for taxpayers to satisfy the current township officials. They want to increase the township library tax to scam taxpayers even more. This proposal needs to be soundly defeated. Please vote NO! It also needs to be noted that the KDL library millage has increased by 85% (from 0.68 in 1995 to the current 1.26 mills), so KDL certainly could and should be paying the maintenance and utilities on the library building. In the interest of full disclosure, I do not live in Nelson Township, but I own (and pay taxes on) 80 acres in Nelson Township.

Daniel Davis

Courtland Township

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Who likes appointments at SOS?

The recent decision to offer only “appointments only” at the Michigan Secretary of State offices is nothing more than government takeover.

I believe that the Michigan Secretary of State offices are to serve the people of Michigan, not to make it more difficult to obtain required documentation.

Thank goodness I don’t have to make an appointment to shop at the grocery store!

Betty K. Towns, 

Cedar Springs

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Windless whistleblowing

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 Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.


I live in the Village of Sand Lake, with my father, Nile Hayden. I’d like to make a statement on his behalf.

The Cedar Springs Post has three articles, published in print and online on April 1st, 2nd, and 8th, about the Open Meetings Act lawsuit. All three articles mention a phone call from an automatic speakerphone from my father to Ms. Gokey, allowing her to overhear “the entire conversation” between my father and a Michigan State Trooper. Ms. Gokey stated, my father “implicitly or explicitly admitted the truth of the assertions, that he had met with Council Members in violation of OMA, and that he wanted to know who told.”

It’s impossible for that phone call to have happened, Ms. Gokey. 

The security system, that is supported by the company SimpliSafe. was put in for my mother, who suffers from dementia. My father and family have been using this system for years to monitor the house. Father uses it everyday. The doorbell is a receiver of information. It cannot broadcast or receive except at the doorstep. If the system is breached while “active,” the SimpliSafe team calls my father first, if he doesn’t respond, SimpliSafe is to call the County Sheriff. That’s how my father’s list worked. It also sets off an alarm that turns into a siren. The security system doesn’t dial, it has a wireless contact to SimpliSafe. SimpliSafe would only call my father or the County Sheriff.

They would not have knowledge of Ms. Gokey’s number. She’s not on my father’s list. SimpliSafe without number knowledge or permission to call her, didn’t make the call to her to help my father. 

It could not have been an accidental phone generated call. Father’s phone history lists no calls lasting longer than 13 minutes to Ms. Gokey, ever.  

The “entire conversation” between my father and the trooper lasted over an hour, in house. Not on the doorstep. 

The best part of speaking with the knowledge to clear my father’s good name, is that it has already been done by the Michigan State Police. “The investigation was closed as unfounded.” Quoting Spl/Lt Michelle Robinson, in the Cedar Springs Post, April 8, 2021.

Cherrie Camilleri, Sand Lake

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Do not support senate voting bills

POST SCRIPT NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.


I want to congratulate all Michiganders for the successful election we participated in on November 3, 2020. We had 5.5 million people vote in this election – the most ever in our state’s history. In 2018, we passed Proposal 3 to make it easier to vote because we the voters should choose our politicians, not politicians choosing their voters. The Michigan Senate introduced Senate Bills 272-311 to make it harder to exercise our fundamental right to vote. We all know that it is not always easy for our grandparents and even parents to get to the polling place on Election Day. Making it easy and convenient to vote from home through the mail by absentee ballot is a great and safe way to vote and we should not support any bills that will make that process harder. I think that even you may have taken advantage of this method of voting because it really makes it a lot easier to mail in your ballot instead trying to vote after working all day. I hope you join me and other Voters Not Politicians volunteers and contact your state legislators to make sure they do not support these bills that will make it harder for all of us to vote absentee.

Joan Fifelski, Kent City

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Thank you Sand Lake residents

To the Village of Sand Lake,

Thank you for trusting us. We have a long road ahead of us, and each one of us will wholeheartedly put in the work that needs to be done. From the sound of it, we will have some cleaning up to do, but rest assured that we will do what we can. Every one of us knows that we have big shoes to fill and the fate of the village is potentially in our hands. We will work for you and with you.

Your support does not go unnoticed, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

Meetings are the third Monday of every month at the Village office, the public is welcome at the council meetings. 

We like to use the word “united.” We will strive to be united with our neighboring municipalities, for what is best for our village.

Sincerely,

The United Four and Nile Hayden

Mollie McLellan, Kim McNees, Kevin Wright, Stacy Rudicil

POST Scripts NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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What is Solon Township trying to do?

On November 6, 2018, the voters in Solon Township voted down Ordinance No 18-4-Z.

After the election, the Solon Township Board added to the moratorium on residential development in the Township. This extension has resulted in a moratorium totaling approximately two years.  Because of this moratorium, Solon Township is in a lawsuit.

I ask you now, how much of the Solon Township taxpayers’ money is the Board going to spend on an issue which was already voted down in the November election? 

Gary Johnson, Solon Township

POST Scripts NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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Former City Manager remembers Shirley Merlington

While serving as Cedar Springs City Manager from 1991-96, I had the distinct pleasure to work with Shirley Merlington. Shirley’s tireless work with the Red Flannel Festival, and the Chamber of Commerce, was a model for all of us to follow. Shirley made sure the Chamber’s relationship with the City was positive and energized. 

This week, I received a call from Shirley’s daughter-in-law letting me know that Shirley had passed away. Since the call, I’ve been reminiscing about the many great things Shirley did for Cedar Springs. 

It’s important that we honor those who made us better. Shirley gave everything she had to the Red Flannel City. 

May we all take a moment and reflect on those who have made Cedar Springs strong. 

Frank L. Walsh

Meridian Township Manager 

Okemos, Michigan

POST SCRIPT NOTICE: The Cedar Springs Post welcomes letters of up to 350 words. The subject should be relevant to local readers, and the editor reserves the right to reject letters or edit for clarity, length, good taste, accuracy, and liability concerns. All submissions MUST be accompanied by full name, mailing address and daytime phone number. We use this information to verify the letter’s authenticity. We do not print anonymous letters, or acknowledge letters we do not use. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Email to news@cedarspringspost.com, or send to Post Scripts, Cedar Springs Post, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

* We only print positive letters about candidates one week prior to the election. 

 

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Allowing multiple marijuana businesses ignores master plan

Our quaint little town of Cedar Springs is facing a major threat to the character and values of its citizens and businesses alike.  By potentially opening up our downtown and the city as a whole to multiple marijuana businesses, the City Council has completely ignored our Master Plan’s vision for our fair city. 

The Master Plan Vision states, “Cedar Springs will build upon its small-town character by upgrading and reinforcing the downtown as a quaint center for community gatherings, recreation, specialty shopping and governmental services.” Its economic goals, in part, are to “Attract specialty businesses downtown that will enhance the unique character of the area.” Housing plans are to promote the single-family character of Cedar Springs and also provide a broad mix of housing types downtown. The plan calls for making it comfortable and easy for people to walk and bicycle throughout the city.

The City Council totally ignored the Planning Commission’s recommendation against allowing marijuana businesses in the downtown area. Our leadership is convinced that flooding the downtown with those businesses, for the purpose of renovating old buildings, is worth the risk to our community’s health, safety and general welfare. They are willing to try this “experiment” with little regard as to the possible damage it could do to our recently improved reputation in the area, our property values, and to current businesses.

Marijuana does not fit in our downtown. It does nothing to “enhance the unique character of the area” as described in the economic plan’s goals outlined in the Master Plan.  The word “quaint” means charming, sweet, attractive, and old-world.  That is what Cedar Springs is, a quaint little town where kids ride bikes, families walk downtown, and seniors feel safe.  There is nothing quaint about armed guards standing outside a building on Main Street. There is nothing quaint about people lining up to be registered to go inside a marijuana shop. 

A three-year study in Denver showed an increase in property crimes in the areas surrounding a marijuana shop, 83 a year over normal, or 1.6 a week and it is in our neighborhoods that the threat would exist. Because it is a cash only business, there is a further threat of criminal activity. Those businesses would be detrimental to the unique character and safely of the entire area.

The Planning Commission can stop this from happening downtown. If they follow the guidelines for a special land, use there is no way they could approve a marijuana business downtown. Those standards are listed in the City’s Ordinances.

Kathryn Bremmer

City of Cedar Springs

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A community with no local newspaper? That’s bad news

Dean Ridings

Dean Ridings, CEO, America’s Newspapers

What would my town be without a newspaper? If you haven’t asked yourself that question, perhaps it is time to consider just what the newspaper means to this community.

Because the doleful fact is, too many small towns and mid-sized cities are losing their newspapers right now. An extensive study (https://www.usnewsdeserts.com/reports/expanding-news-desert/loss-of-local-news/) from the University of North Carolina released in January found that by last year, 2,100 newspapers had disappeared, or almost 25% of the 9,000 newspapers published in 2004. That translates to 1,800 communities that 15 years ago had their own newspapers that now have no original local reporting, either in print or digital. 

Note that this report was released just weeks before the coronavirus pandemic swept up newspapers in the same financial catastrophe that’s devastated businesses of all types and sizes and thrown millions out of their jobs and households into terrifying economic uncertainty. 

What does a community lose when it loses its newspapers? 

The most obvious is the community’s access to news about itself: The workings of its town hall; information about taxes and property values; the operation of schools for its children; the achievements, or the criminal activities, of local residents; the scores of local ball teams; schedules and reviews of movies, concerts, restaurants and books; and the offerings of local small businesses. 

During this pandemic and in spite of their deep financial troubles, newspapers continue to provide the unique local news and information about COVID-19—from testing spots to restrictions and openings to dining options—unavailable from any other source.

But the less obvious losses when a newspaper disappears may be the most devastating to a community. 

Researchers in 2018 found that when a local newspaper closes, municipal borrowing costs — and therefore residents’ taxes—go up. Why? Losing a paper, the study said, creates a “local information vacuum.” It turns out that lenders depend on local reporting to judge the value of government projects—and the officials in charge of them. Without that information, lenders tend to charge higher rates. 

Communities without newspapers are also more likely to be victims of corruption petty and grand, local incidents the national media will never uncover. The most glaring example comes from the small California city of Bell, where—without the eyes of a local newspaper on them—the city council engineered passage of a virtually unnoticed referendum to get around a new state law capping council member salaries. Within five years, council members were taking home a cool $100,000, the police chief was being paid $450,000—and the city manager of this municipality of just 37,000 souls was making nearly $800,000. 

Losing a local newspaper, another study found, can also lead to more political polarization—something no community, nor our nation, needs now.     

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to avoid becoming another “news desert.” For one thing—subscribe. 

But there is also pending bipartisan legislation that deserves your support. The Local Journalism Sustainability Act (H.R. 7640) provides for tax credits that support the three pillars of trusted, fair and accurate journalism: people who subscribe to newspapers or other local media; businesses that advertise in local newspapers; and newspapers that staff their newsrooms with journalists who cover the community. The tax credits aren’t permanent and sunset after five years. 

In a nutshell, this bill would provide every taxpayer tax credits up to $250 a year to spend on subscriptions to qualified local newspapers. It would give businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees tax credits of up to $5,000 the first year and up to $2,500 for the next four years for advertising in local newspapers or local media. And it would give local newspapers a tax credit of 80% of its compensation to journalists in the first year and 50% for the next four years. 

These are tax credits—not a handout, not a bailout. And the tax credits go away after five years. But this legislation provides a lifeline for everyone affected by the pandemic: local readers, local businesses, local news providers. 

Asking your legislators in Washington to support the Local Journalism Sustainability Act is a simple step you can take to help your community from becoming yet another news desert. There’s a simple way to take that step, too: Just go to https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials for contact information for your legislators. Your right to fair and trusted local news and information is worth the effort. 

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See your lifetime earnings with My Social Security

By Vonda Van Til, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist 

Did you know you can see your work history online all the way back to your first job?  Your earnings history is a record of your progress toward your Social Security benefits.  We keep track of your earnings so we can pay you the benefits you’ve earned over your lifetime.  This is why reviewing your Social Security earnings record is so important. 

If an employer didn’t properly report just one year of your earnings to us, your future benefit payments could be less than they should be.  Over the course of a lifetime, that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in retirement or other benefits to which you are entitled.  It’s important to identify reporting problems as soon as possible.  As time passes, you may no longer have easy access to past tax documents, and some employers may no longer exist or be able to provide past payroll information.

While it’s your employer’s responsibility to provide accurate earnings information to us, you should still review and inform us of any errors or omissions so you get credit for the contributions you’ve made through payroll taxes.  You’re the only person who can look at your lifetime earnings record and verify that it’s complete and correct. 

The easiest way to verify your earnings record is to visit www.ssa.gov/myaccount and set up or sign in to your personal my Social Security account.  You should review each year of listed earnings carefully and confirm them using your own records, such as W-2s and tax returns.  Keep in mind that earnings from this year and last year may not be listed yet. 

You can find detailed instructions on how to correct your Social Security earnings record at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10081.pdf.

Let your friends and family know they can access important information like this any time at www.ssa.gov and do much of their business with us online.

Vonda Van Til is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.  

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