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Police Chief to retire


Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent

By Judy Reed


Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent announced last month that he would retire August 29, after almost 40 years in law enforcement.

He hired on as the Cedar Springs Police Chief April 15, 2008. Prior to that, he served 34 years with the Kent County Sheriff Department.

“What I’ve really enjoyed is being able to work with dedicated patrol officers who understand how important it is to provide service to the community along with police protection. Even through these tough economic times, the police officers have been given the proper equipment, training and technology to maintain a professional police department,” he noted.

He also highly commended the officers working under him.

“We have great officers. When you don’t have a lot of turnovers, and the officers like to work here, they have good relationships with the citizens—that’s really a plus. You don’t see that everywhere,” he explained.

Growing up just outside of Sparta, Parent was familiar with small towns, and said it was pretty much what he expected it would be like.  “Cedar Springs has a lot to be proud of,” he said. “I was never embarrassed to say that I was police chief in Cedar Springs,” he remarked. “My entire experience has been positive. There are a lot of nice people here. I’ve worked for two fine city managers here, and the city has good employees at city hall.”

Parent said he will be spending his free time with more recreational activities, including his twin 2-1/2-year-old grandsons.

“Roger has done a fabulous job,” said City Manager Thad Taylor. “I was and am continually impressed with his professionalism. And his customer service is outstanding. He has a keen sense of what it takes to succeed as a small town police chief and translates that to how our officers should perform. He sets a great example and will be sorely missed.”

The city is already searching for a new chief. They currently have an ad up on their website, and plan to post the ad on several professional websites as well. Taylor said they would consider both internal and external candidates. The deadline to answer the ad will be April 25, and interviews would be the week of May 12. “We hope to have a candidate identified with background check and physicals by the end of June, and extend an offer and have it accepted by the first part of July,” explained Taylor. He added that the candidate would then start in early August to have three to four weeks of working with Parent.

The Post asked Taylor if he had considered doing what the Village of Howard City recently did—merge with the county Sheriff Department to save money. Under their agreement, the officers became Sheriff deputies and administrative duties went to the county. Cedar Springs has checked into this before, but never acted on it.

“If council directed me to do it I would,” said Taylor. “There are pros and cons to going that route. I’ve not been asked by council as a whole to pursue that.”


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Cedar Springs to start Superintendent search

Superintendent Ron McDermed

Superintendent Ron McDermed

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education began input sessions this week from various groups in the community as they start their search for a new Superintendent.

Superintendent Ron McDermed will retire in July, after serving 25 years in the district. He was hired as an elementary principal in 1989, and served in that role until 1997, and then as associate superintendent over curriculum until 2009, when he was chosen as Superintendent to replace outgoing Superintendent Andy Booth.

The Board of Education voted to use the services of the Kent Intermediate School District, and consultant Mike Washburn, former Superintendent at Forest Hills Public Schools, to run the search.

The board met with community members prior to Monday night’s board meeting, and with several other groups this week at various school buildings. They would like input from parents, staff and community members in what they value in the Superintendent’s role. If you have not yet had a chance to attend one of these sessions, they will meet on January 20 with the Cedar Springs Education Association in Conference Room B at Hilltop at 6:30 p.m., and again before the regular board meeting at 6:30 p.m. on January 27.

You can also email questions and input to the various board members. Find the board members and their email addresses at http://www.csredhawks.org/board-education/meet-our-board-members


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Leader of Michigan National Guard retires

Thomas CutlerLANSING, MICH.—Maj. Gen. Thomas G. Cutler, who served as adjutant general and director of the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs during one of Michigan’s most active mobilization periods in history, retired Jan. 29, 2011.
“It has been an honor to serve as Michigan’s Adjutant General over the past eight years,” Cutler said. “We have been at war for this entire period and I have been incredibly impressed with the dedication of the young men and women who serve in our National Guard. They have made huge sacrifices as they’ve answered our nation’s call and I am deeply appreciative of their service. I’m also very thankful for the great support of our fellow citizens here in Michigan. They too have sacrificed to support our soldiers, airmen, and their families.”
Cutler began his military career by attending basic military training in 1970. He attended officer training school and received a commission in July 1971. Following undergraduate pilot training at Vance Air Force Base, Okla., he received his wings in September 1972. He held a variety of leadership positions at the Battle Creek Air National Guard Base between 1972 and 1987. In August 1987, he took command of the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena, Mich. Eight years later, Cutler moved to southeast Michigan to command Selfridge Air National Guard Base from 1995 to 2002. In 2003 he assumed the helm as Adjutant General of the Michigan National Guard where he led until his retirement.
During Cutler’s tenure, deployments in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) have been extremely demanding. More than 17,000 Soldiers and Airmen from Michigan National Guard units have been deployed since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.  The Michigan National Guard and the National Guard as a whole has transformed in the past eight years, becoming an operational force for the nation’s armed forces rather than a strategic reserve force.  As adjutant general, Cutler took every opportunity to visit deployed troops, thanking each and every one for their service.
Gen. Cutler and his wife Chris are looking forward to increased family time and opportunities to travel and pursue some neglected hobbies in the months and years ahead.
Michigan’s newly elected Governor Rick Snyder offered these words during the change of command ceremony held Jan. 8, 2011 at the Guard Joint Forces Headquarters in Lansing, “For the past eight years, Major General Tom Cutler has served with distinction as the adjutant general for Michigan. He has a phenomenal record of accomplishment in the Air National Guard with 40 years of service, 40 years of progressively greater rank and responsibility. Tom was always selected for the tough jobs, always picked for the positions where we needed our very best, and he was always known for his leadership, his integrity, and his passion for people. I am truly grateful for the high performance bar you set and I wish you the very best of luck in your years ahead.”

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McDonald’s is still open!

If you’ve driven past McDonald’s on 17 Mile recently, you may have noticed there is some construction going on—and wondered if they were open. According to store manager Brian Miller, they are renovating their entire dining area with a whole new interior design. There will be new tables, chairs, and a new playland area.
“It’s a new wave in design for McDonald’s that started about two years ago,” said Miller.  “It’s similar to the store in Jenison.”
He noted that it wouldn’t look like what people are used to seeing. “If you’ve been coming here 10-15 years, and you walked in after it’s done, you wouldn’t know it’s a McDonald’s,” explained Miller.
While the lobby is currently closed, they have the double drive-through lanes to help with the customer load. Miller said they would keep both drive through lanes, even after the lobby reopens.
Some people have wondered how they know which car is picking up which order if there are two lanes.  “The machine snaps a picture of the car to match with the order,” he explained.
They hope to reopen February 4.

Lions Club helps Santa Claus girls

The Cedar Springs Lion’s Club, who has a long history of helping those in need in the community, assisted the Santa Claus girls last month by delivering gifts to 94 area families, for about 250 children. The Cedar Springs Lions Club is part of Lions Club International, founded in 1917. The Lions Club is known for helping members of the community with free eyeglasses, eye exams and hearing aids. But they also volunteer for many different kinds of community projects—including caring for the environment, feeding the hungry and aiding seniors and the disabled.

Local attorney to retire

After practicing law for 50 years in Cedar Springs, Thomas D. Anderson, Attorney at Law, says he will soon retire.
Originally from the Rockford area, he decided to set up his law practice here in 1961. “My father had a law practice in Rockford, so I branched out into Cedar Springs,” explained Anderson. He considered himself a general practictioner. “I didn’t specialize,” he said.
He said he doesn’t have any concrete plans for the future, but hopes to maybe travel and do some things he didn’t have time to do when he was working full time.
Anderson said that he is still finishing up some existing work, but is not taking on any new clients, and will not be keeping regular business hours.  He won’t disappear from town, however. Anderson is a member of Rotary and still plans to go to those meetings and other things. “For people in the Cedar Springs area and others with whom I have dealt, I have enjoyed working here, and I thank you for your support,” he said.

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