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Archive | From the Editor

What’s in a name?

By Judy Reed

Shakespeare tried to answer that question in Romeo and Juliet. “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose, by any other name would smell as sweet.”

I don’t know if the Sand Lake Fire Chief would agree with that, nor do I know whether he smells sweet. When I see him at a fire scene, the air smells like burning wood and so does everyone else. The acrid odor of smoke fills your nostrils and burns your eyes and gets in your hair and I usually leave feeling like I need to take a shower. No sweet smell of roses there.

Recently, he and his crew, along with the Cedar Springs Fire Department, fought a fire in Nelson Township where many animals died. I wrote about it in last week’s Post. When I write about something like that, I try to identify the person with their job title and their name. And when you read it, you think, oh yeah, I know him, or her. The problem is, you might not have recognized the name of the Sand Lake Fire Chief in last week’s paper. Or maybe you sort of did. 

While banging out that story on my trusty keyboard last week I morphed the current Sand Lake Fire Chief (Ed Holtzlander) with the former Fire Chief (Bob Hawkins) from about 7 or 8 years ago. Yes, that’s right. I called him Fire Chief Ed Hawkins.

Ed called and ribbed me about it. I couldn’t believe I did it. Why that name popped out of my brain and on to the page I’ll never know. I can only guess that it’s because I’ve been at this job for a long time (12 years full time and 12 years part time before that) and I have seen a lot of people come and go. I apologized for the error. Thanks, Ed, for taking it in stride. Look at the bright side: at least I had two chiefs from the same fire department. It could have been worse—I could’ve typed “Ed Fraser” or something, and then I would have had some explaining to do to both you and Marty! (Marty Fraser is the Fire Chief in Cedar Springs.)

As I said, I don’t know about smelling sweet, but I think it’s pretty sweet what you all do every day—putting your lives on the line to put out fires, helping the injured at crash scenes, giving aid in medical emergencies—all for low pay and little thanks. You deserve better. And I’m sorry I got your name wrong. 

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What constitutes a letter to the editor?

By Judy Reed


People love to express their opinion. And folks love to read it—and respond to it. It’s what makes our country great—the right to free speech and exchange of ideas. That’s why the Post offers our letters to the editor section called PostScripts. There has been some confusion over what constitutes a letter to the editor, or what we’ll allow. What follows is a more in depth look at what we allow and don’t allow, and what guidelines readers should follow.

First, please limit your length to 350 words. Once in awhile we might allow a longer one. But that should be the exception rather than the rule. 

We try to verify letters. Please include a phone number, and your name and address. We do not print anonymous letters. Your phone and address will not be printed, just your name and city or township. If you have some special connection to the issue you are writing about, please include that relationship. For example, a village trustee writing about a village issue should be identified that way.

Stick to public issues. Letters should concern public issues or those that come before a public body. Compliments and criticism of businesses and private organizations do not belong in letters to the editor. Neither do press releases or news stories. 

No thank you letters. Once in awhile we might print a letter from an out of town visitor that was impressed by some kindness they received while here. But other than that, thank you letters are printed on our church page, and there is a charge. Most of the time, people would rather have a handwritten note expressing your appreciation.

No mass-produced or out-of-town letters. Local opinions and issues count the most. 

We will edit—sometimes aggressively. Letters may be edited for length, repeating themes, clarity, accuracy, punctuation, grammar, etc. Keep it short and to the point.

No more than two letters on an issue. You get one letter and one rebuttal. We want everyone to have a chance to express their opinion.

Candidates should publish an ad for campaign purposes. Sorry, no free letters from candidates. And responses to published campaign ads should also be paid ads.

No negative comments in campaign letters in the week before an election. That’s because there would no chance for a rebuttal letter. Just tell people why they should vote for a candidate without tearing the other one down.

Questions? Give us a call at 696-3655, or email your questions or letters to news@cedarspringspost.com.

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Remembering our friend

Cindy Lewis

Cindy Lewis

By Judy Reed

Hearts have been heavy at the Post since late last week, when we lost our friend and coworker Cindy Lewis. She died in her sleep last Thursday morning, December 17. We were told it was probably a heart attack. She was only 54.

This came as a real shock to her family, friends and coworkers because Cindy was so full of life. She was the type of person that brightened the room as soon as she entered. She was always smiling, often laughing, and was genuinely interested in those around her. She was kindhearted, compassionate, generous and selfless. She loved people—and she showed it in the way she treated them.

Some of you who are business owners knew Cindy through her contact with you about advertising in our paper. She was one of our salespeople, and took a real interest in not only keeping her customers happy, but in building relationships with advertisers.

When Lois Allen, our publisher, was involved in her accident last spring, Cindy often went out of her way to make sure Lois had what she needed. She also made sure several of Lois’s customers were taken care of, though she made no commission. She cared more that the paper survived that setback than she did about who got credit for sales.

Some readers may have known Cindy through interactions with her during her children’s sporting activities over the years, such as football and cheer. She was an avid supporter of her seven children, who are now grown. Family was the most important thing in her life; she talked about them often. Our hearts go out to her family; her fiancé John, her children, grandchildren, mother, and extended family. She was a stabilizing force in their lives and they will need much peace and comfort in the coming weeks, months and years.

Cindy’s death has left a gap here in our office, as well. We are not quite whole. We keep waiting to see her smiling face come through the door, or hear her voice on the phone.

Sometimes it’s the little things that get you. Yesterday, when I got to the office, I wondered briefly if I should unlock the back door for Cindy, since her key didn’t work last time. And then, with a little stab of pain, I remembered.

When deciding what to make for our Thursday staff lunch meeting this week, I wondered what I could substitute for onion in the recipe—because Cindy was allergic to onions. Sadly, that will no longer be an issue.

But I think what I will miss most is when she would come plop down in the chair in my office and talk—about anything, about everything—her family, the community, what was happening in the office. In the days and weeks before she died, we talked about what she was getting the kids for Christmas; the surprise she had for her mom and other family members about someone coming for the holidays and how hard it was to keep that secret; her grandchildren; my kids and grandchildren; and much more. It was nothing earthshaking; just the stuff that affects us everyday—the things that friends share. Because Cindy was more than a coworker; she was a friend. One that I and the rest of the staff at the Post will miss very much. But I do know that I will see her again someday, and that I am a better person for having known her.

For more information about Cindy, you can read her obituary here.

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From the Editor’s Desk


By Judy Reed


Late last month, the Cedar Springs City Council went into closed session without being specific on what it regarded. When they came out, there was a vote on a new contract for the City Manager. It was approved 4-3. (click here for story.) This is a letter I read to the Council at their last meeting, September 11.


Cedar Springs City Council,

I have spoken with the Mayor briefly about this, but wanted to make the council aware of some concerns I have regarding the procedure used at last month’s meeting to approve the new contract for our city manager.

Please understand that I am not disputing the contract. It’s nothing personal regarding Thad. He is our City Manager, and if you have evaluated him and decided that he met his goals and will continue as our City Manager, then he does indeed need a contract.

My concerns, as I said, are with the procedure:

First, why wasn’t it on the agenda as approval of the City Manager’s contract? Instead, it was added to the end of the agenda to go into closed session to discuss “attorney correspondence.” And when you (the council) actually adjourned to closed session, the minutes read that you motioned to go into Executive Session, (which is a term used by the private sector and not a municipality) “to discuss a written, legal opinion of the City Attorney.” No mention of the City Manager contract. The language should have been more specific.

That presented two problems: One, it left the public in the dark, and gave them no time to comment on it. And two, even the council members did not have a copy of the contract, or know what was to be discussed, so had no time to digest the information before voting on it.

My second big concern is that the Open Meetings Act only allows specific things that you can go into closed session for. Discussing a city manager’s contract is NOT one of them. You can see the list in Sec. 8 of the OMA. Attorneys Foster Swift Collins & Smith PC, of Michigan, who wrote “Dealing with Employment Issues and Complying with the Open Meetings Act,” specifically stated this in their conclusion. They said:


Closed session is permitted under certain circumstances for discussion of:

dismissal, suspension, or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, or to consider a periodic personnel evaluation;

collective bargaining; or


However, not every employment-related issue falls into these exemptions.

For example, a city may not meet in closed session to negotiate a new employment contract (except for a collective bargaining agreement) for a city manager. Similarly, a village may not meet in closed session to discuss budget cuts that may result in layoffs or the reduction of employment benefits.” (http://www.fosterswift.com/publications-Employment-Issues-Complying-Open-Meetings-Act.html)

I do understand that Thad’s contract was to expire yesterday, Sept. 10 and you were under the gun to get it done. But since it was already late in the game, I think it would have been better to give Council members some time to digest the contract, and the public some notice, and then either approve it in a special meeting or at tonight’s meeting, even though a day late. Otherwise, it appears to people like it was something railroaded through. And I don’t think you want that or meant for it to be that way.

I believe that each one of you wants what’s best for this city, although you may have different ideas of what that is. The other thing you have in common is that you all want people to be more involved in their city government. But they can’t do that if you shut them out and disregard the Open Meetings Act, whether by accident or by design.

Thank you,

Judy Reed, Editor

The Cedar Springs Post


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From the editor’s desk


By Judy Reed


There are still good people around. Just ask Thelma Gould. We had a good conversation last week about how someone made her day. And she doesn’t even know who it was.

Thelma’s husband, Leonard, has had health problems, including cancer, and can’t get out of the house much. “It was the first day he could get out, and we decided to take a trip to the casino for a little fun,” explained Thelma. So she took several rolls of quarters to the bank to cash in. But when she got to the window, she discovered she was short. “I told the teller I thought I had another roll,” she said, “and that I’d probably find it in the car when I had time to look.”

She and Leonard went on to the casino, and didn’t think too much about it. They had a good time, and were just glad to be out.

As it turned out, Thelma found out later that night that someone found the roll of quarters in the bank parking lot and turned it in to the bank. “Who does that?” asked Thelma.

The teller remembered Thelma saying she lost a roll, and it just so happens that Thelma’s granddaughter works there, so she knew how to contact her.

“It was really a joyous day,” remarked Thelma. “It amazed me. Everything worked out so well. I felt really lucky that day, even though we lost (at the casino). But we didn’t have much money to lose,” she said with a chuckle. She said even both of her sons called, who she rarely talks to on the same day. “It was all happiness for me. The good Lord was looking out for me,” she said.

Thelma is grateful to both the teller for remembering her, and the person who turned in the roll of quarters—whomever he or she is. Someone who was unselfish, thinking only of someone else. That’s good people.


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From the Publisher

I want to thank everyone in Cedar Springs for 24 great years of publishing The Cedar Springs Post. Thank you to those of you who read us and to those of you who support us with your advertising dollars. (The only advertising I like!)

Why is the Post such a great little newspaper? It’s because I learned long ago that it is not my paper, it is your newspaper. I always joke, “I don’t run The Post, the Post runs me!” Or, “I’m not the boss, the community is my boss!”
The Post reflects the personality of the people living here in Cedar Springs like no other newspaper. It’s dependable, informative, accurate and even entertaining because of Judy Reed, our editor. Judy is crazy dedicated. Although there is therapy for that, we can’t cover it. Sorry Judy. The Post has a real sense of style. It always looks so great because of our graphic artist Belinda Sanderson. She’s the best.

At the Post, we begin each week facing blank pages waiting to be filled with the stories of us. The stories of tragedy, of accomplishment, of growth and of loss. The stories about the people of Cedar Springs. It’s our own history that magically, appears in print – with photos! Twenty-four years, fifty-two issues a year. That’s a lot of history – and a lot of work!

What would Cedar Springs be like without the Cedar Springs Post? Would we have our Kent Theatre? What about our library? Who would run free lost and found animal ads? Where would we look to find our local candidates? The Post brings thousands and thousands of people together on one page, so to speak. It’s what gives us our voice, our goals and our sense of community.

But, in reality, nothing is free (except kittens). So a very heart-felt “thank you” goes out to the business community that has not turned away from the local newspaper. Businesses that want to help build this community while building their business. They keep the Post on the newsstands and in your hands. (We are not government funded or use taxpayer dollars in any way and survive only on local advertising.)

The business supporters found on the pages of The Cedar Springs Post are critical for the survival of a hometown newspaper. They pay the staff, printing fees and the bills. We cannot forget that The Post would not exist if it were not for them.

Thank you Cedar Springs
Happy Birthday Cedar Springs Post!

Lois Allen, Publisher
The Cedar Springs Post

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From the editor’s desk

by Judy Reed

Mired in Internet hell

If there is such a thing as an Internet hell, we’ve experienced it here at the Post this last week.
Some of you may have noticed that you had trouble contacting us by email. There is a reason for that—our Internet provider whacked our email addresses without giving us any time to migrate them over to a new one or even tell us they were going to do it. And they’ve been double billing us to boot.
A few months ago we switched from a Charter residential plan to a business plan, including the phone. Shortly afterward our publisher, Lois Allen, received two bills and called to find out what was up, and was assured by the company we were up to date.
Then, last week, we had a problem getting online. And although we’d been making payments, Charter said we owed over $1,000. Lois wondered why when she had been paying her bill. The answer? They were still billing us for both services.
I don’t know about you, but if we did that to a customer we would have to forgive the charge because it was our mistake. Evidently not so with Charter. Lois spent hours on the phone trying to sort out the mistake, and being bounced from the residential to the business side. Neither side could help her. So she went to the Greenville office to see if she could get it straightened out. And then suddenly we couldn’t get into our charter.net emails.
After calling them yet again, they finally told her that when switching to a business plan, you need to set up a new domain name and change your email addresses because Charter.net is for residential email addresses. Customer service helped her set up the new domain name and told her it would take 24 hours to sync. He said after that she would be able to migrate all the old email messages, contacts, etc into the new email addresses we would set up. He told her where to print out the inch-thick instructions on how to do it. Twenty-four hours came and went and our old emails still had not been restored. So she called Charter yet again. This time she was told the emails and all the info contained therein—ads, contacts, news and information, was gone forever. They had deleted them and there was no getting them back.
She asked to speak to a supervisor, and was told he was the supervisor for that area. So we were stuck. And ready to drop kick Charter out of our lives.
Rather than creating new addresses, we went back to using some older ones that came with our website. The email boxes are now bigger and can hold the photos and ads you send us. If you have tried to make contact with us over the last week through our Charter addresses and it bounced, please email us at these addresses:
news@cedarspringspost.com for general news
design@cedarspringspost.com for sending ads
sales@cedarspringspost.com for contacting one of our sales people.
See a complete list of email addresses in the “about us” section on our website.
And, if you know of any good high speed Internet providers, let us know.

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From the editor’s desk

By Judy Reed

Did Obama lie?

For many of the people who watched President Barack Obama’s speech last week on the health insurance proposal making its way through Congress, one thing will stand out—Rep. Joe Wilson accused him of lying. It was a Kanye West kind of moment. The President had just finished saying that illegal immigrants would not be covered under the plan, when Wilson yelled out, “You lie!” Whether you agree with the president or the protestor, it was a disrespectful way to refute what the man who holds the highest office in the land was saying. (He later apologized.) And now that the furor has been overshadowed by Kanye West’s latest antics (taking the microphone away from Taylor Swift during her victory speech), the question remains—did Obama lie? We went to factcheck.org to find out, and discovered some interesting points.

Obama was correct when he said his plan wouldn’t insure illegal immigrants; the House bill expressly forbids giving subsidies to those who are in the country illegally. Conservative critics complain that the bill lacks an enforcement mechanism, but that hardly makes the president a liar.

The president said, “No federal dollars will be used to fund abortions.” But the House bill would permit a “public option” to cover all abortions, and would also permit federal subsidies to be used to purchase private insurance that covers all abortions, a point that raises objections from anti-abortion groups. That’s true despite a technical ban on use of taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion coverage.

The president repeated his promise that his plan won’t add “one dime” to the federal deficit. But legislation offered so far would add hundreds of billions of dollars to the deficit over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The president overstated the degree of concentration in the insurance industry. He said that in 34 states the “insurance market” is controlled by five or fewer companies, but that’s true only of insurance bought by small groups, not the entire “insurance market.”

Obama said his plan won’t “require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.” It’s true that there’s no requirement, but experts say the legislation could induce employers to switch coverage for millions of workers.

Obama said that one man from Illinois lost his coverage in the middle of chemotherapy because his insurer found that he hadn’t reported gallstones that he didn’t even know about. They delayed his treatment, and he died because of it. The insurance company did treat him badly and did delay his treatment for stage IV non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a form of cancer, but it was resumed in April 2005. He died this past January, 2009. There’s no way to know whether he would have survived his cancer if the treatment had not been interrupted. According to a writer from the Chicago Tribune, White House speech writers said they got their info from Slate magazine, who reported the case “incorrectly.”

This is just a summary. For more in depth analysis, go to www.factcheck.org.

Also, we want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts on the health care issue!

Posted in From the Editor, Voices and ViewsComments (1)

The Health Care Scare

By Lois Allen

Health Care is scary. Especially when you don’t have it! There’s been a lot of debate about Health Care, the health care system and an urgent need to reform.

Let’s face it, the only people that need health care are sick people. And they cost money. The only way a health insurance company can make a profit is to deny paying for care. Death by denial.

I have long thought that health insurance companies should be nonprofit industries. With a not-for-profit industry, any money made over expense is put back into the company thereby making it even better for those that use it. Of course that’s only if  the CEO’s of that company don’t give themselves great big fat paychecks!

I’m 54 (almost) and I pay $100 a week for my health insurance coverage. That does not include prescription or dental. I also have to pay for doctor’s visits and lab tests. I have not been sick since I got it. Not that I’m complaining! But I can’t help thinking how much money I would have right now if I could have put that money into the bank and drawn interest!

Today I am having great difficulty deciding whether to cancel my health insurance or not pay my mortgage. And that’s the way it is.

A woman awakes from a deep sleep to hear someone breaking into her home. She dials 9-1-1. “Someone’s breaking into my home,” she whispers. The operator on the other end replies, “I’m sorry ma’am, but you don’t have police protection coverage, so we cannot service your call….” Click.

Calling the doctor’s office, “I’m sorry ma’am, but you don’t have health coverage we cannot heal you…. Click. Or at the pharmacist’s counter, “I’m sorry, you have to pay…” “we can’t help you.”

For those in that situation, it may feel like they’ve been assigned to a death squad.

And that’s what I’m going to hear when I’m canceled! It seems to me that in this, the wealthiest country in the world, people should not be afraid to get ill.

Currently those that have it are either the rich or the very poor. But it is the working class that runs this country! If you have it great! If you don’t have it, you want it. You need it.

Some of the Post employees need it while others have it through their spouses.. The Post is an independently owned small business. Like many today, it is trying to just stay afloat.

We need all of America healthy with a home. Anything less is not acceptable.

Join our health care discussion on our Facebook page.

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