1. Name, age and city/village/township of residence?
2. Current employment?
4. What qualifications do you have that would effectively serve and benefit your county/township if you are elected to this position?
5. What sets you apart from your opponent(s)?
6. What is your main concern about your county/township and how would you address that issue if elected?
7. What would you like to accomplish during your term if elected?
1. Tonda Rich, 41, Belding, Orleans Township.
2. Ionia County clerk since February 2005.
3. Graduate of Belding High School and Davenport College, extensive training in the court system, vital records and elections.
4. I started working for Ionia County in 1996 in the Probate Court office. In 2005, I began serving as county clerk/8th Judicial Circuit Court clerk. I am familiar with the court system, issuing and maintaining vital records and the election process. I am an avid team player and am dedicated to my job, but to the individuals I work with and those I serve.
5. I have the experience. I have the knowledge. I have the dedication. I have worked for Ionia County for 16 years and I have no intentions of climbing the political ladder.
6. Within the clerk’s office, reducing operating costs while maintaining and improving services is a challenge. I have reduced operating costs each year. Record preservation can be very expensive and time-consuming. My office works with the Michigan Works Program. Participants have the opportunity to gain work experience while helping our office scan and index records at a minimal cost. Keeping up with the ever-changing election process is always a challenge.
7. With our imaging/scanning program, I would like to offer the ability to do record searches securely online while still being able to offer public access to our vital record books.
1. James Lower, 23, Ronald Township.
2. Ionia County commissioner.
3. Graduated from Ionia High School, bachelor’s degree in economics from Michigan State University, master’s degree in business administration from Grand Valley State University expected in 2013.
4. I served as legislative aide to then-Rep. Brian Calley and I currently serve on the Ionia County Board of Commissioners. These positions have given me a broad range of experience with state and local government. Having been a commissioner, I feel I have a good understanding of the challenges I will be faced with if elected to the clerk’s office.
5. My experience leading change and my respect for taxpayers is what sets me apart from my opponent. I will never forget that any funding the clerk’s office receives comes from taxpayers and, as such, the office exists to serve them.
6. Customer service, innovation and accountability. I will improve customer service and innovate by using technology more and by changing the culture of the office. Accountability will be achieved through greater transparency and actually following state election law.
7. There are many specific things I would like to accomplish, but they all boil down to excellent customer service.
1. John Bush, 68, Belding.
2. Ionia County drain commissioner.
3. High school education. During my years in office, I have attended many seminars, which have provided me with knowledge to do my job more efficiently.
4. I farmed for 17 years and worked as an excavating contractor for 10 years before becoming drain commissioner.
5. I have 23.5 years experience as drain commissioner. I have a good working relationship with the townships and Road Commission.
6. I feel that the biggest concern for the drain office is the aging tile drains. These are expensive to replace and costly to keep fixing for the short-term life. We have been and will continue to replace as the property owners ask for this to be done. The second concern is getting the drains mapped and in a digital format for the future. I have been working on this and will continue. I think that the third biggest concern is the cost to property owners for all of the state regulations and permit fees.
7. If re-elected, I would continue answering property owner concerns and keeping the drains in good working condition and providing new drains and branches of drains as needed. Also I will keep mapping the drainage system for the future, getting all of the drains and catch basins located with GPS and mapped.
1. David Daniels, 44, Lake Odessa, Sebewa Township.
2. Over-the-road carrier.
3. High school diploma and two years of trade school.
4. My qualifications include more than 20 years experience in the excavating industry. In later years I moved into a position to oversee daily operations as a supervisor and subsequently as a business owner.
5. I would bring a fresh look to the position, a new perspective and fresh ideas. I bring experience and knowledge pertaining to drains and self-employment experience crucial to interpersonal communication skills and problem-solving. I bring a willingness to address every task that arises with 110 percent of my effort to find an economical and amicable solution.
6. Finances, budgets, and money are a concern for everyone these days, whether personally, professionally or governmentally. Despite this, Ionia County still needs to properly maintain drains. I will attempt to accomplish as much as possible, as cost-effectively as possible without compromising quality. My second concern is management of rights-of-way of trees and brush throughout the county. Ionia County currently sprays to maintain rights-of-way. There are other ways to explore that might be more cost-effective and environmentally sound. The third concern is water quality and management.
7. I would like to establish drivable right-of-ways from road-to-road on our county ditches as we clean and/or maintain them to reduce cost of recurring maintenance.
1. Dale A. Miller, 55, Odessa Township.
2. Undersheriff of the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office.
3. Associate’s degree in business management; Mid-Michigan Police Academy; Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command; FBI National Academy; Michigan State University Highway Traffic Safety Program Accident Investigation series; University of Virginia; National Institute of Corrections; U.S. Department of Homeland Security; U. S. Department of Homeland Security National Response Plan; Michigan State Police Advanced Narcotics Training; PADI certified scuba diver.
4. 32 years of law enforcement experience, 26 at the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office. I have worked as deputy, narcotics investigator, sergeant, lieutenant, detective lieutenant and undersheriff. I am an effective communicator. I am a problem solver.
5. I am the best candidate for sheriff because of my dedication and experience within the Sheriff’s Office. I am the only certified police officer running for sheriff. I recognize the county’s strengths and needs.
6. 1. The sheriff’s office has realized a reduction in state and federal funding. 2. Computer crimes are unique in that people are sometimes not aware they have been victimized and the person committing the crime can be in another state or another country. 3. With synthetic marijuana, bath salts and even the manufacture of methamphetamine, the long term costs to the communities will be burdensome. The cleanup of drug manufacturing sites can be expensive as they are hazardous material sites.
7. “Intelligence lead policing” and the formation of inmate work crews. Intelligence lead policing would require us to look closely at crimes and trends and use technology to compile the statistics and then analyze the information. The second program I want to implement is an increase in the work crews that provide a service to the community.
1. Curt Read, 61, Ronald Township.
3. I have a bachelor’s degree in sociology; an associate’s degree in law enforcement from Lake Superior State College in Saulte Ste. Marie; and a master’s degree in management from City University in Seattle, Washington. Graduated from U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and National Strategies from the War College. Hold certificates for the following training courses: Senior Transportation Officer; Military Police; Criminal Investigation; Signal Office Basic and Advance Qualification courses.
4. I was a U.S Army officer, chief of investigations with the Inspector General’s Office and a senior staff officer and a special agent with the federal government. I have worked with groups from all nationalities to improve international relations. I was a commissioned law enforcement officer for 22 years.
5. I bring a unique perspective of personnel and program management, problem solving, team building and effective communications to achieve the maximum results with limited resources. I am able to identify issues and develop an approach for improvement. I have managed emergency and non-emergency operations during situations at the local, state, national and international level. I have managed large budgets, large organizations and large contractors at the national level.
6. Illegal drug usage has been and is continuing to increase all over the county. I am concerned that investigations have not been properly conducted. I am concerned that the ones that are released from the court system are not provided the tools to become productive citizens in the future and not become a burdened to society.
7. I would like to strengthen our relationship with social services, have a drug education and action accountability program in our schools and a strong customer relations program that is mostly staffed with volunteers.
Board of Commissioners District 5
1. Chad Murphy, 41, Orleans Township.
2. Manage Sears in Ionia, in negotiations to purchase the store location.
3. Recently graduated from Montcalm Community College on the Presidential Honors List, currently transferring credits to Davenport University, pursuing master’s degree in strategic management.
4. I am experienced in business and team building. I have expertise in staffing, budgets, scheduling, security, customer service, business operations and human relations. I have managed several Sears stores and kept them in the highest ratings within our district.
5. My ability to adapt and overcome obstacles and to achieve success in the goals I set forth is my unique talent. I have successfully raised my two daughters as a single parent since 1994. I am a problem solver and will help to resolve all matters facing the county in today’s complex economy.
6. Three of the top concerns of Ionia County are: 1. the need for a balanced budget, 2. the need for crime prevention to protect our citizens, and 3. the need for better security for our county employees.
7. I will make it a goal to establish a safe working environment for public officials and their families, including all citizens of Ionia County. I want to ensure all actions are taking place to prevent crime in our communities. I plan on studying where we may save money, raise needed funds and cut unnecessary spending. I will report these findings to the county and to the people of the county I serve.
1. Kenneth Thompson, age unavailable, Ronald Township.
3. Bachelor of science, history and education from a university.
4. I have the common sense solution to reducing government expenditures, reduce spending, then reduce the county and township tax burden.
5. I am a Constitutional and legal historian who knows the bane of “big government” is the unwieldy growth of governmental spending which leads to compounding debt. Compounded debt is tomorrow’s uncollected county taxes spent yesterday.
6. 1. Roll back local regulations that hinder county businesses entrepreneurs. 2. Closing down antiquated taxpayer funded local government agencies and commissions. 3. The solution to reducing government is a county commission working with county citizens and state legislative members to roll back the size of government.
7. End the taxpayer paid health insurance benefit provided county commissioners. Serving as an elected officer in government is a privilege, not a taxpayer subsidized career. Enable the county commission meetings to be streamed in real time online so all county citizens may participate in our county government from the comfort of home.
Scott Wirtz did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Otisco Township Board
1. Kimberly Pennock, 42, Otisco Township.
2. Township clerk and school bus driver for Belding Area Schools.
3. High school graduate, some college credits.
4. I was deputy clerk under Harold Mawby for four years prior to being elected. Harold trained me throughly for the clerk position. I have learned a great deal during my term as township clerk. I am very knowledgeable regarding township law, election law, computers and am a very good communicator.
5. I have eight years experience working as township clerk and I love my job.
6. I have many concerns for Otisco Township, but I think we will focus on roads. Our township has a road millage and I would like to see that money put to use wisely in connection with the Ionia County Road Commission.
7. Our township has grown a great deal in the last few years. I would like to hear more from residents. I feel we can do that with a more integrated website and possibly another survey mailed to residents. I would also like to spend more time compiling detailed records for both our cemeteries.
1. Lynda K. Sower, 66, Otisco Township.
2. Deputy treasurer for Otisco Township.
3. Graduated from Belding High School, Zenger Miller Communication and Work Ethic Program in Chicago, Ill., completed seven training sessions to qualify for my job with the U.S. Census Bureau.
4. I am a people person. A job like township clerk requires communication. I have been involved with Otisco Township politics for the past four years and found it to be personally rewarding and challenging. My clerical skills have been enhanced through my previous jobs, the prison, the census, and deputy treasurer.
5. The fact I am retired from a full-time job will make the job as township clerk my top and only priority.
6. My main concern for my township would be communication or lack of. I will be available to the citizens and get all the information pertaining to events, meetings and current township issues out in a timely manner.
7. I would like to bring more efficiency to the office of clerk. I have been in a position as deputy treasurer to see where money can be saved for the township without sacrificing services.
Gretchen Zahm did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Trustee (2 positions available)
1. David Hodges, 48, Belding, Otisco Township.
3. Belding High School, four-year business degree from Cornerstone University.
4. I’ve served in many leadership positions: four years United States Army, five years Belding Police Reserves, six years church board, six years Home Builders Association Board president, eight years Belding Area Schools Board of Education.
5. I am not running to take anyone off the board. Both of my constituents have served well on the Otisco Board. I am running to serve and be a voice for my township. I want residents to feel like they have been heard.
6. My main concern is getting answers that make sense on issues that affect me and my family, land, business, etc. I want to be their voice and to be a sounding board getting those residents answers back in a timely manner.
7. I would like to help keep the residents of Otisco Township safe. Safe on the roads. Safe in their homes. We are in need of more police presence in our corner of Ionia County. I would like to get us more involved in vying for state grant monies to fix our roads. For residents who have building issues and property tax issues, etc. and need answers, I will be there for them. I may not always give them the answer they desire, but they will get an answer in a timely manner.
Ben Oatley did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Dan Zeigler did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Nelson Township Board
1. Kirk H. Thielke, age unavailable, Nelson Township.
2. Fulfilling third term as Sand Lake village president and deputy supervisor of Nelson Township.
3. High school diploma.
4. I offer the township excellence through experience. I am a military veteran with practical and financial experience in both private and public sectors. I started and owned two retail businesses within the township. I volunteered for many years on the local Chamber of Commerce. I coached several local sports teams and sponsored many as well. I’ve been employed by both local police and fire departments which has contributed to my ability to be proficient understanding and providing the needs of both. I believe a good leader must be a great servant. As my record clearly exhibits, I am dedicated wholeheartedly to our community.
5. I am not afraid of hard work or tough decisions. I retain excellent problem solving skills and if given the opportunity, I will approach all township issues with the same diligence, honesty and integrity I live by and the township and people deserve.
6. Accountability of employee is a must. Job descriptions and objectives need to be clearly defined and monitored.
7. To reestablish the township’s purpose. Our job should be serving you.
Tom Noreen did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Nelson Township Board
Trustee (2 positions)
1. Glen Armstrong, 56, Nelson Township.
2. GE Aviation.
4. I have over 25 years of experience as trustee and supervisor and have lived in Nelson Township my entire life.
5. My experience in township government.
6. I would like to see government serve the people — not the other way around.
7. It is time the township gives road paving a priority again.
Warren Hanson did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Maureen Mahoney did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Gabrielle Warner did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Spencer Township Board
Trustee (2 positions)
1. Eldon Lutz, 65, Spencer Township.
2. Farmer of beef and crops.
3. High school and U.S. Army.
4. I have run a dairy, beef and crop farm for 45 years. I was previously a trustee. I worked for Electrolux for 35 years.
5. I have lived in the township for 65 years. I know what the people of the township would like.
6. Turn the government back to the people. Fix the way money is spent in the township.
7. Make the township an equal opportunity employer. Put a stop on a runaway budget. Work on getting a better fire department. Work on getting roads repaired.
1. Jeffrey Stapp, 55, Gowen.
2. I work in facility maintenance for Arbor Circle in Grand Rapids. I enjoy this because I can repower buildings and empower attitudes.
3. I earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from Ferris State University.
4. The qualifications that empower me to effectively serve and benefit the township include: selected to be interim trustee for Spencer Township; U.S. Army retired (Bronze Star with “V” Device for valor, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Achievement Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters. Good Conduct Medal, Liberation of Kuwait Medal, Drill Sergeant Badge); administrator and direct care provider adult foster care; youth residential crises counselor; Habitat for Humanity coordinator.
5. What sets me apart from the other candidates is community involvement, veteran (combat engineer) and the diligence to finish the job.
6. My concern is continuing excellent services while being fiscally responsible.
7. What I want to accomplish during this term is progress toward lakes we can wade in — barefoot!
1. John H. Tow II, 49, Spencer Township.
2. Owner/operator of Tow’s Country Store at Lincoln Lake and Tow’s Country Store in Coral.
3. Graduated from Big Rapids High School, one semester at Ferris State University.
4. Having ran a successful business in Spencer Township for the past 25 years, I believe that I can bring a management viewpoint that few other candidates can. I also served on the zoning board that formed most of the current zoning code.
5. My daily contact with the residents of Spencer Township.
6. Fiscal responsibility
7. As most township meetings are poorly attended by the public, I believe that I could bring the pulse of the residents of Spencer Township into these monthly meetings.
Albert Frandsen did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Kari Kleynenberg did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Christopher Lange did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
1. Andrea Krause, 48, Greenville.
2. Montcalm County prosecuting attorney.
3. Michigan State University and University of Detroit School of Law.
4. 23 years in the Montcalm County Prosecutor’s Office, 14 of those years as prosecuting attorney. Extensive experience managing cases, employees, budgets and protecting victim’s rights. Appointed by Attorney General as special prosecutor in neighboring counties.
5. Endorsed by Right to Life Michigan PAC. More experience handing criminal cases — I have handled hundreds of criminal cases, including 11 murder trials. Montcalm County resident for 23 years. I’m active in the community and involved in many organizations that work to better Montcalm County. Elected Montcalm County prosecuting attorney in 2000, 2004 and 2008.
6. 1. Substance abuse. An increasing percentage of crimes are committed by people who need to fuel their addiction. As a member of the Circuit Court Adult Drug Team we are working to help defendants stay off drugs. 2. Assaultive crimes. We prosecute these cases aggressively in order to protect victims. 3. Adequate operating budget. Secure additional funding from other sources as I did this past year for child neglect/abuse cases.
7. What I want to accomplish during my next term: Continue strong victim advocacy for crime victims. Continue developing new resources to stretch our budget. Use my experience to assure that justice is served in all cases.
1. Ronald L. Finegood, 61, Stanton.
2. Private practice in Stanton.
3. BA, Eastern Michigan University; Juris Doctorate, Detroit College Of Law.
4. I have been an attorney almost 33 years. I have practiced law longer and have a broader range of legal experiences than my opponent.
5. Over-charging and discovery abuses will not be tolerated.
6. Our senior citizens are afraid their homes will be broken into and they will be physically attacked. Our farmers have suffered a million dollars in property losses, from theft of metal and wires. One way to fight the hard drug trade is to go after and prosecute crimes against property. The prosecutor’s office overcharges, which leads to delayed resolution of cases. The office also has a bad habit of dismissing a case late in the afternoon, the day before a jury trial is scheduled to start. This costs the county more money, than if the prosecutor and her staff properly evaluated the case up front. Crime victims are frustrated and angry by the entire process. Restitution needs to be pursued at sentencing.
7. I will work to reduce property crimes, give victims an opportunity to voice concerns, take on hard cases and not concern myself with being embarrassed, by wins and losses and will put in place an effective and efficient enforcement mechanism to prosecute and collect from bad checks writers.
1. Dennis S. Lance, 56, Crystal Township.
2. I have been employed at Carson City-Crystal Area Schools for the last 15 years, currently as operations supervisor.
3. Carson City-Crystal High School, class of 1975.
4. Twenty years farming, 16 years serving on Crystal Township Board, managing operations and transportation budgets, working closely with students, parents and staff, has prepared me to effectively lead the Drain Commissioner office with fairness, efficiency and transparency for the residents of Montcalm County.
5. I am the candidate that represents change in the Drain Commissioner’s office, change that is needed to help the residents of Montcalm in these difficult economic times.
6. The economic problems facing the county. If elected I would operate the office and projects of the office in an economical, efficient and transparent manner.
7. To improve the relationship between the Drain Commissioner and public.
1. Sandy Raines, 53, Sidney Township.
2. Chief deputy drain commissioner.
3. Central Montcalm High School graduate, State of Michigan soil erosion certification, Leadership Montcalm graduate, numerous professional training seminars.
4. I have 34 years of hands-on experience serving in our Montcalm County Drain Office. Since 1978, I’ve been involved in every aspect of our drain office, from administrative to public interaction to field work. I’m ready, day one, to assume the commissioner’s duties without any learning curve and without expensive training courses necessary for less qualified candidates.
5. My 34 years of experience in our drain office, invaluable experience that’s given me intricate knowledge of drain laws, procedures, DEQ regulations, relevant financial bonding concerns, countywide lake improvement boards, sewer systems, historical knowledge of established county drains and drain office administrative requirements.
6. Budget, jobs and DEQ regulations. Our drain office has taken on more responsibilities and complexities over the years without additional employees. I am committed to keeping expenses down, to not driving the county vehicle home and to contract jobs within our county whenever possible.
7. I will continue to modernize old drain records, cost-effectively maintain our county drainage system and serve the people of Montcalm County.
Board of Commissioners
1. Jack B. Johnson Jr., 39, Greenville.
2. Currently employed as a fire lieutenant with the City of Grand Rapids Fire Department and also as a fire training officer and reserve police officer with the Greenville Department of Public Safety.
3. Graduate of Lakeview High School, U.S. Army Military Police School, Montcalm Community College Paramedic Program, City of Grand Rapids Fire Academy. Currently enrolled in Kalamazoo Valley Community College Fire Science program.
4. I have been involved with Montcalm County since 1992. I have worked for Montcalm County Animal Control, Montcalm County Road Commission and Montcalm County Emergency Services. I am director of the Montcalm County Fire Academy and the secretary treasurer of the Montcalm County Firefighters Association. I have attained knowledge of how county government is structured and have a professional relationship with some department heads. I have been responding to the needs and protecting the life and property of the citizens of Montcalm County for more than a decade.
5. See above.
6. One of the biggest concerns is the Emergency Services millage. I have seen the positive impact firsthand that our county-owned service has given to the citizens it serves. A private service can’t provide the level of accountability that we have with our service. The next issue is to ensure that residents are represented appropriately with fresh ideas and concepts. The last issue is to promote economic recovery that is taking place in our county, to promote higher education and keep our resources here.
7. I would like to see the amount of grant applications and funding increase for the county. I would like to keep residents safe and secure. I will be available to my constituents.
1. Dale Reyburn, 61, Greenville.
2. Currently a financial representative for Lincoln Investment Planning and a membership representative for National Federation of Independent Business.
4. I have been member of the Montcalm County Republican Party since November 2004. I sit on the Greenville Planning Commission.
5. I am a former Montcalm County commissioner. I was president of Flat River Right to Life.
6. Important to me are budget and safety issues of not funding the Sheriff Department. Knowing that when we call 911, the response will be the best, most efficient, and professional we can provide is important to me. I was a commissioner when we adopted Renaissance Zones and the economic benefits we have received have been good for our county. I would work to make sure we stay competitive on economic issues. I would like at least one meeting a year in the evening.
7. Making sure that Montcalm County continues to be the great county it is, agriculturally, modern urban and the recreational haven that it is.
1. Tom Lindeman, 68, Eureka Township.
2. Owner of small businesses in the Greenville area.
3. BBA from Western Michigan University, graduate level classes in business.
4. My career was spent in the private enterprise system. Continual work to improve efficiencies and services.
5. Working in private business.
6. Effectively serve the public with services while maintaining a fiscally conservative budget. Plan for the future of the citizens of the county by helping to make the county the best place to live and raise a family. Keeping the citizens of the county informed of plans and proposals being brought to the BOC
7. Change the mindset of elected officials. Keep the county on a fiscally sound basis. Improve the travel infrastructure in the county. Work in cooperation with other local units of government and adjacent counties.
1. Lloyd Walker, 83, of Greenville.
3. Greenville High School graduate. Short courses in real estate, lumber merchandising and property assessment, plus technical training classes.
4. Comprehensive knowledge of city and county government from covering both county and city meetings as a Daily News reporter. Served 22 years on city council (13 years as mayor) and six years as county commissioner. Serving on State Boundary Commission and Michigan State Air Pollution Control Commission has given me knowledge of county, city, village and township governments.
5. My opponent is a hard-working, good commissioner. Both of us would aim to serve the best interests of the district we represent as well as the best interests of the entire county. My years of experience in local government and my age are the main differences between us.
6. 1: Balancing the county budget through hard work, investigation, discussion and compromise. 2: Provide necessary services to ensure the the health, safety and welfare of all county residents in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. 3: Promote economic development to bring more jobs to the county.
7. I would like to help improve co-operation among county commissioners, all other elected officials and all units of government in the county.
1. Ron Braman, age unavailable, Richland Township.
2. I serve on the Richland Township Board as a trustee, am president of Bass Lake Association, serve as recording secretary of the Blanchard Telephone Association, served on the Richland Township Planning Commission for the past 11 years, and on the Montcalm County Parks and Recreation Committee for the last two years. While I worked at Saginaw Steering Gear, I served as financial secretary treasurer for 10 years, president for three years and chairman for three years. During this time our revenues went from less than $100,000 to over $1.6 million. I understand how to live on a budget.
3. Not available.
4. I have only missed one meeting as a township trustee in seven years. I’ve never missed a meeting of the Telephone Board and I attend most MTA meetings to stay up on current events.
5. Not available.
6. I think the most important issue in Montcalm is the lack of funds and I would take a good look at how and what we are spending our funds on now. A large percentage of our population is having a tough time paying for the essentials in life and can’t afford any more assessments.
7. I would like to see Montcalm County get back to a position where we are not struggling to make ends meet and make some real strides towards getting some industry here and create some badly needed jobs.
1. Roger Caris, 65, Richland Township.
2. Health care and retirement specialist.
3. Graduate of Vestaburg Community Schools in 1965, U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., in 1969, MA from The American University in Washington D.C. in 1979.
4. I have 43 years experience in both the public and private sectors.
5. I have served eight terms as a county commissioner in Montcalm County.
6. Finances, jobs and the county image. Finances — continue to take a conservative approach to county finances, insuring that we are looking beyond the current budget. Jobs — continue to make decisions that encourage businesses to relocate to Montcalm County and that will encourage current businesses to expand their operations. County image — continue to make decisions that will get the word out that Montcalm County is a great place to live, work and play.
7. Continue to be a team player on the board, insuring that we are doing the right things for all our constituents and county employees.
1. Steven DeWitt, 43, Pine Township.
2. Chief of police, village of Howard City.
3. Bachelor of science degree with 3.85 GPA.
4. Above all, common sense and practical experience. Leadership proven in critical incidents. A 22-year public employee experienced in local government. Membership in 10 groups and associations.
5. My experiences, strong common sense and practical abilities. My promise to never forget who pays the bills for every decision made in Stanton.
6. The budget crisis facing the county. The lagging economy of Montcalm County. The lack of public participation in government. 1. View the budget with a practical approach for smaller government, while keeping the public’s safety a top priority. Offering incentives for early retirement to the most senior county employees. 2. Aggressively market to industry the qualified work force available, the easy access to major highways, and potential tax benefits. 3. Address the lack of public participation by making government more transparent by the on line access of the County budget, investigate changing the time of meetings to suit the working taxpayer first, and encouraging average citizens to run for office.
7. Attract industry by marketing our county assets, encourage sound long term financial decisions, require any cuts to staff or wages to be first taken by leadership.
1. Thomas M. Porter, 66, Coral, Maple Valley Township.
2. Retired, representing District 5 as the county commissioner.
3. Attended high school/ college in Pennsylvania, graduate of Officer Candidate School/Army, Life Mastery University graduate and Montcalm Leadership graduate.
4. Problem solving skills — worked for numerous businesses in solving production problems with solutions that fit into their budget and increased success. Budget problems — ran own business had numerous budget issues. I understand the stress and need to make it work. Dedication to community — served the community, å12 years on the Maple Valley Planning Commission, 15 years Property Tax Review Board. Solutions for the good of everyone — on the Tax Review Board I’ve advocated and succeed in getting the township board to exceed the minimum federal requirement to allow poverty tax relief for the township.
5. Lived in Montcalm for 38 years, run a small business, 15 years helping my community. This is my home and I will go/do whatever it takes to improve it.
6. Learn more about resources/grants — our county needs additional funds. Deserted business — clean them up and turn them into useful sites. Health Services — do more to get information out about what is available.
7. Learn, share, help and improve the quality of life in Montcalm County.
Trustee (2 positions)
1. John W. Anderson, 65, Belvidere Township since 1971.
2. Self-employed Killer Bee Printing
4. Over 41 years of business ownership experience. Over 30 years of various boards … most recently as president of Heart of Montcalm Chamber.
5. I believe my business and prior board experience.
6. I have no agenda, except to work with the board as a team to make our township a better place to live and work.
7. Only to work to help serve the best interest of the Belvidere Township community.
1. Nola Kirk, 67, Belvidere Township.
3. 12th grade diploma, life experience.
4. I think I have common sense.
5. I wouldn’t presume to know what sets me apart from other opponents. I am me.
6. Ideally, it would be a wonderful thing if Belvidere Township could have an atmosphere to allow our old businesses and maybe even new business to come here and grow that will allow our local residents or beyond a chance at a job close to home.
7. I want to learn the how the process works. What comes before them to be decided on. I will ask questions and debate.
Darlene Beardslee did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Bloomer Township Board
Karen Crouse did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Colleen Schneider did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Trustee (2 positions)
1. Tara Chapko, 48, Bloomer Township.
2. My husband Brian Chapko and I own and operate a dairy farm and we also own and I operate Stone House Treasures in Crystal.
3. Graduate of Fulton High School.
4. I have been and am active in several organizations (Crystal Chamber, Central Michigan Sportsman Club, Bloomer Cemetery Committee, etc.) and understand the importance of listening to the public I represent and gathering information to make an informed vote.
5. I attend township meetings regularly and stay abreast of any issues and concerns facing our township.
6. I feel the township needs to be represented by individuals who are willing to do the best they can for the whole township and not be just a leader. I will be someone who investigates and is willing to consider all sides of an issue and apply common sense to what will best serve our community.
7. To continue to grow stronger and better in these tough economic times. I will be a voice for those who need to be heard. I want to give back to our community, which has been my home for so long.
1. Raymond Crouse, 73, Bloomer Township.
2. Retired teacher and farmer.
3. High school, bachelor’s degree in education, master’s degree in education.
4. I have served on several boards.
5. Age and experience.
6. Upkeep of our road system.
7. Serve the residents of Bloomer Township and help resolve their concerns.
1. Holly Keiffer, 43, Carson City, Bloomer Township.
2. Harvey’s Farm Retail-Garden Center.
3. Graduated from Carson City-Crystal High School, attend Lansing Community College.
4. I have served on the Bloomer Township Board of Appeals for 14 years.
5. I have a passion to become more involved and learn more about the governing of our township. I’m raising three kids in this township and I have their future and best interest at heart.
6. I don’t have any concerns. I think Bloomer Township is a great place to live/raise a family. I feel that it is important that we stay progressive.
7. I would like to see Bloomer Township and the City of Carson City work together more in regards to our fire department and pursue grants for parks and recreation.
Dan Ryan did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Bushnell Township Board
1. Louise Belyou, 66, Fenwick, Bushnell Township.
2. Retired public school employee, current secretary for Fenwick Circuit United Methodist Church.
3. High school graduate of Sheridan Rural Agricultural School.
4. When I was employed as a data processor at Central Montcalm Public School, I was responsible for keeping the voter registration books current for school elections with information received from township clerks. I have also served as an election inspector.
5. I have lived my whole life in the area and have known many of the residents for years.
6. I feel that our township is operating well with the current leadership. This should continue as the incumbents are again running.
7. It is my desire to continue the high level of professionalism demonstrated by the current Clerk Phoebe Wilson. I would like the opportunity to serve and give back to my community.
1. Connie Lynn Kelsey, 51, Bushnell Township.
2. Vickeryville community volunteer and homemaker.
3. Graduated from Carson City-Crystal High School in 1979; Montcalm Community College in 1981 with an associate’s degree in applied arts and sciences.
4. Being organized, focused on details, computer literate and cooperative have allowed me to be an asset in Vickeryville and the surrounding communities. I am also serving Bushnell Township as an election inspector.
5. I have lived in Bushnell Township for the past 20 years volunteering in numerous school, community and church activities. I am an honest, everyday woman promising to represent the everyday person in Bushnell Township. I am willing, ready, and able to serve you.
6. As the township clerk, I would move Bushnell Township into the electronic trend. I would do this by posting township meeting minutes onto the Montcalm County website.
7. I feel very strongly about the future development of Bushnell Township. I promise to promote and represent Bushnell Township with confidence and loyalty.
Crystal Township Board
1. Ted J. Padgett, 40, Crystal Township.
2. Self-employed sign maker.
3. 1 1/2 years college, including socioeconomic courses.
4. Current treasurer of Crystal Area Chamber of Commerce. I have a good understanding of balance sheets, able to make timely deposits and give detailed reports. Would also make myself available to discuss and explain any questions or concerns our community members may have.
5. I’ve been active in the community for 20 years. Have attended township meetings on a regular basis.
6. The detachment of the board with the public. Listen to the public. Make fair and timely decisions.
7. Stop wasteful spending. Fix the roads and streets. Be transparent so the gap between the board and community can be bridged.
1. Kristine (Lance) Stewart, 34, Crystal Township.
2. Principal, Maple Valley Pathways Academy.
3. Bachelor of science in science degree in mathematics education from Huntington University; currently working on my master’s degree in school leadership from Central Michigan University.
4. Experience working with the current treasurer, degree in mathematics, experience use and working with technology.
5. I have experience working with the treasurer which gives me a strong knowledge base going into the position. Also the current deputy treasurer will continue in her position. She has wealth of knowledge and experience, this will help to assure that the transition is smooth.
6. I have lived in Crystal Township for over 27 years. I believe that Crystal Township is a great place to live and raise a family. I want to make sure that even in these tough economic times that this community continues to be a great place. As revenue sharing by the state is on a decline, funds that the township as to operate are also decline, if elected I will make sure that we keep essential services.
7. I want to make sure that Crystal Township continues to be a great place to live, as well as to visit. During my time as treasurer, I want to make sure that we continue to be a great community.
Trustee (2 positions)
Jason Anderson did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
1. Curt McCracken, 51, Crystal Township.
2. Self-employed dairy farmer and cash crop,
3. Graduate of Carson City-Crystal High School.
4. I have four years experience and never have missed a meeting. Other qualifications that I have are hard working, leadership, dedication and a good listener.
5. I have acquired management and leadership skills through running my own business the last 30 years. I am a member of MMPA, Farm Bureau and Michigan Farmers Union. I have also participated in the Crystal Township’s Sheriff’s Committee and Zoning Committee.
6. My main concern is to maintain a township that people want to live in and visit. I will consider the well being of the township in every decision I make.
7. I would like to get our community rooms rented out in our Community Center.
1. Jeremiah Stone, 78, Crystal Township.
2. Retired personnel and labor relations director
3. Ithaca High School, BA in economics from Michigan State University.
4. 21 years service in county, city and township governments. Consultant to numerous local governments in lower and upper peninsula..
5. During my service on the Crystal Township Board since 2008, we have accomplished several major improvements: Sewer system review and in-house updates with large cost savings; open public bidding of major purchases; planned revision of existing fire millage to fund necessary fire department building improvements; bike-walk path planning and completion; acquisition of former elementary school for Crystal Community Center for $1 ; finalized plans to relocate local Head Start program to improved location at Crystal Community Center; opened discussions with library board regarding moving Crystal library to expanded space in Crystal Community Center.
6. We need to continue our efforts to control costs in our attempt to meet the needs of everyone in the township community in a fair, logical and financially responsible manner.
7. If I am re-elected I will thoughtfully consider suggestions and comments from all township taxpayers, continue to question purchases and expenditures, and use common sense in all matters faced by the board.
Home Township Board
1. Rick McCune, 65, Home Township.
3. 12th grade.
4. I have served on the township board for one term as a trustee. I have been involved on the Planning Commission and Zoning Board over past years.
5. I am not influenced by outside sources easily. If there is a problem, address it and fix it.
6. Our roads are badly deteriorating. Not enough money available. Need new sources of revenue or different way of supporting infrastructure.
7. I would like to see more people attend township meetings. It is hard to address issues if they are not put in front of the board.
Chris Irwin did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Bud Longnecker did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Maple Valley Township Board
Trustee (2 positions)
1. Lee Frandsen, 59, Maple Valley Township.
3. High school graduate.
4. Lifelong resident of Maple Valley Township, know most of the people and what’s best for the township.
5. Have lived here longer and know a lot of history about the township.
6. Keep property taxes in check, control spending, try to honor and respect property rights and try to maintain a rural heritage.
7. The chance to address my concerns and to get policies that would benefit them and do my job so that those who voted for me would have no regrets.
1. Barbara Neal-Ward, 78, Trufant.
2. Currently selling real estate for Coldwell-Banker (my 40th year).
3. MSU graduate
4. Have served on many boards over the years in a leadership capacity. I currently am serving my 19th year on the Maple Valley Township Planning Commission, serving on the advisory council of the Commission on Aging, the legislative committee for Senior Advocates, GOP executive board, precinct delegate and take time out to play the piano for Alzheimer patients.
5. When getting together with folks, to set goals and get things done.
6. want our township to become an area that folks desire to live in and be proud of.
7. To improve and spruce up our business districts, seeking a grant to assist in that effort (streetscaping trees, plants, lighting, storefronts and parking.
1. John Schwandt, 42, Trufant, Maple Valley Township.
2. Owner of Maple Valley Market and Stump’s Pizzeria and Diner.
3. Graduate of Lakeview High School, Michigan State University’s ag tech program in dairy science.
4. I have lived in the township all my life. I see many people throughout the day and hear many opinions and ideas from the residents of the township. I share their opinion for the most part and would like to be able to represent them at township meetings.
5. I own a business here in the township and I can readily be reached most days for help or information.
6. Our township is not wealthy by any means and we need to be careful and thrifty, but also cover the needs of the people.
7. Improve roads and provide reliable help to the people of Maple Valley Township.
Montcalm Township Board
1. Tracey Keeny, 49 Gowen, Montcalm Township.
2. I am currently working for Robert Half International
3. Bachelor’s in business administration and MBA in business administration with a concentration in strategic management.
4. I started working for my dad’s accounting firm at 15 posting receipts for the blueberry growers in West Michigan. Since then, I have progressively moved up in my roles within organizations. For the last 10 I have worked as a financial controller. I am more qualified and experienced for this role as township treasurer.
5. My years of experience, my educations, my interpersonal skills such as: I am a very effective communicator and listener. I have many years of experience in establishing and maintaining banking contacts. I am ethical and have the skills necessary to manage adversity and conflict.
6. The main concern is making sure tax bills are accurate, on time, and deposits are timely and in compliance with the Treasury Department. I am extremely detail orientated and will make sure that nothing leaves my office that is not correct.
7. I would like to be able to assist the township supervisor in bringing the discord that has plagued our township to a peaceful end.
1. Rosemary Hyde, 54, Montcalm Township.
2. Owner of Cottage Porch Gift Shoppe, current Montcalm Township treasurer.
3. Greenville High School graduate.
4. Over 25 years accounting experience, current Montcalm Township treasurer since December 2011. Trained on BS&A tax software. Enjoy working with residents and take very seriously the job of treasurer.
5. Since elected as Montcalm Township treasurer, I’ve brought technology (barcode scanner, networked computers), transparency and accountability to the treasurer’s office. Have proven that I’m trustworthy, hardworking and dedicated. Worked through tax season balanced with county. Lifetime resident of Montcalm Township and served on their Board of Review for 10 years, Planning Commission for eight years. Have regularly attended township meetings for years. Have an excellent working relationship with township board members and residents. I am the most qualified and experienced.
6. Witnessed many positive changes since I’ve been in office and I’d like to see them continue. It’s wonderful to have everyone working in harmony and I’ll do my best to see the positive atmosphere continues.
7. Continue to have regular township office hours and be available by phone anytime. Make all deposits/disbursements in a timely manner and maintain high accounting standards. Strive to see the township continue to move forward in a positive manner and see that everyone is treated with respect.
Pine Township Board
1. Marla Sprague, 64, Pine Township.
2. Retired from GTE (Verizon) after 30 years of service. Currently work for H&R Block in Greenville as a tax preparer during tax season.
3. Graduated from Ithaca High School, attended Alma College, Montcalm Community College and Mid-Michigan Community College.
4. I have an extensive background in working with computers, the programs of Quicken, Excel, Microsoft Word, and many more. I am people oriented and work well in groups and alone. I have been on a credit union board for over 30 years serving in the capacity of secretary of the board and its board president.
5. Not knowing my opponent, I’m not sure what sets me apart from her. But I will try to maintain a sense of professionalism and cooperation with the other board members and the citizens of Pine Township.
6. My main concern for the township is to try to replace the amount of experience and expertise that is leaving the board with this election.
7. I would like the maintain the records for the township in a timely and accurate manner.
1. Roberta “Bobby” Yaw, 66, Pine Township
2. I am employed on the Pine Township Board of Review.
3. I attended Big Rapids Public Schools.
4. I have been a resident of Pine Township for 40 years, served three years on the Board of Review and kept books for my husband’s self-employed business for 20 years.
5. See above.
6. Preserving the integrity and way of life we all enjoy is my main concern. I would address the issue by listening to the people’s concerns and needs, follow my conscience, obey our Constitution and laws, making sure to treat each issue with honest and fairness.
7. Fulfill the clerk’s duties to the best of my ability and help this township grow and
Pine Township Board
1. Cynthia Holliday, age unavailable, Pine Township.
2. Owner and operator of Holliday Salon & Tanning Co.
3. Jenison High School graduate 1983; Ottawa Area Vocational Center 1983 (cosmetology license); Grand Rapids Community College 1986 (associate’s in applied arts and sciences (criminal justice major); Davenport College 1987 (First Responder certification); Saginaw Valley Community College 1990 (MLEOTC certification).
4. Owned and operated two successful business for a total of 13 years. Maintained books and bank accounts for both businesses without discrepancy.
5. I hope to be an asset as an honest and helpful member of the township board and to provide accurate accountability for the community.
6. My main concern is that township funds are used to the best of the communities needs and taxes are paid and recorded accurately.
7. To serve the people of the township, by fulfilling my job requirements to the best of my ability.
1. Ruth A. Johnson, 74, Pine Township.
2. I am a retired elementary teacher.
3. I have a BS degree plus many other hours. I taught school for about 35 years.
4. I enjoy working with people and have done that all my life while teaching. I enjoy helping people who need help with their taxes.
5. I have been the Pine Township treasurer for eight years.
6. My main concern is to keep our township a great place to live and raise our children.
7. I am also the one in the township that keeps track of the cemetery, selling lots, keeping records, making maps and helping with improvements.
Reynolds Township Board
Daniel Fisk did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
1. Keith Grannis, 62, Reynolds Township.
2. Retired from Tri County High School. Employed by Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services as a MFR and squad lt. for Rescues 27 and 29. Assistant fire chief for Howard City. Owner/operator Zellie’s Opry House and Guyan Enterprises of Howard City.
3. Graduate of Tri County High School, Ferris State University BS degree, Central Michigan University master’s of business education.
4. Current supervisor for Reynolds Township, Howard City Village Council eight years, Howard City DDA four years; president of Tri County Education Association, TCEA Negotiation Team eight years; co-head negotiator four years; taught /coached at Tri County High School (varsity level) 25+ years.
5. My education, public service, work experience in the educational arena, owning two successful businesses and working on numerous community boards sets me apart from my opponent.
6. Zoning regulations are law. Enforcement is necessary to create a safe environment and encourage business activity within the township. Continue to follow the law fairly and consistently for all citizens, not just a favored few.
7. Reduce township expenses, remain on cutting edge of technology, leadership, and services to residents, continue making road improvements. Govern with vision, fairness and dedication.
1. Tina Porzondek, 43, Reynolds Township.
2. Reynolds Township clerk for six years.
3. High school graduate, certified para-educator, State of Michigan accredited clerk and election official, Michigan Township Governance Academy Scholarship graduate
4. I previously served separately as deputy clerk, deputy treasurer and deputy zoning administrator. I have a strong awareness and understanding of state and federal statutes which regulate township government. Annual audit of township and library accounts are above standard. I evaluate and improve election administration continuously.
5. I have a proven track record of providing excellent service while staying within a limited budget. I’m experienced in government operations and committed to working as a diligent public servant. I serve my community in and out of my office. My husband and I raised our children in Reynolds Township. I know and listen to my constituents. Most importantly, I vote.
6. A main concern for me is to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the residents. I strive for responsible budgeting and seek out creative solutions to avoid any reductions to fire/safety and infrastructure improvements.
7. I will continue to find opportunities to work together with our county, village and school district to share resources and make improvements to our community.
Robin Sholty did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
1. Roger Stedman, 65, Reynolds Township.
2. Reynolds Township treasurer.
3. Cedar Springs High School and R.E.T.S Electronics School graduate and attended Central Michigan University.
4. I have the knowledge and dedication to ensure the township is fiscally sound and financially responsible as I have for 9 1/2 years, according to the township auditor. Out of 1,240 treasurers in Michigan, I am one of only 16 to graduate from the Michigan Township Governance Academy. I find ways to save taxpayers money even if it means taking on unpaid additional duties, for instance, by printing tax bills myself ($7,000/year saved) and maintaining township computer systems and website. By finding a county error I was able to save fire and safety many thousands of dollars.
5. My meeting attendance is over 96 percent. I have never seen my opponent at a meeting. My continuing education keeps me current with ever changing laws that township officials must follow. I have a proven track record as an excellent township treasurer.
6. Finances. It’s always difficult to keep millage rates low while providing necessary services but that has been achieved and will continue.
7. Improve our roads and information systems. Implement a “buy local” campaign.
Jan Stevens did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
Trustee (2 positions)
Aaron Kindel did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
1. Lee Olsen, 50, Reynolds Township.
2. Maintenance at Pilgrim Manor.
3. Associates in business from Grand Rapids Community College, courses in facilities management from Grand Valley University, courses in HVAC from Grand Rapids Community College, classes at Montcalm Community College for township and leadership.
4. 8-plus years experience as a trustee and longtime resident of township. Born and raised here. Grandparents and parents owned and operated Olsen Knife Co. I returned as an adult and have raised my family here.
5. Experience and willingness to stand alone on decisions when they are unpopular but right.
6. Continue to treat all citizens fairly regardless of standing in community.
7. Continue to improve township, cutting cost to residents, and to build stronger relations and cooperation with village and local governments.
Willet Smith did not return a questionnaire seeking comment.
1. Ann Yanke, 70, Reynolds Township.
2. I graduated from Howard City Schools and Davenport University with a secretarial degree.
3. I am retired after 30 years at Independent Bank.
4. I have served eight years on both the Reynolds Township Library Board and the Reynolds Township Board, taking advantage of many continuing education classes and seminars. I am an active member of Bethel Lutheran Church. I also volunteer for our local Helping Hands.
5. I feel my trustworthiness, honesty and concern for the township and community sets me apart from my opponents.
6. One of my concerns for our township is that consistency, fairness and adherence to the laws and ordinances be administrated in a fair and prudent manner, as they have been in the past. We must be careful to make decisions based on the township’s ordinances.
7. Reynolds Township has enjoyed many years of tremendous growth and great leadership. I would hope that during the next four years, all township board members will work together to ensure the township’s prosperity now and in the future.
Sidney Township Board
1. Terry Peterman, 60, Sidney Township.
3. 12th grade education.
4. 24 years of experience with the township, 17 years as supervisor.
5. 24 years of experience.
6. We have longtime residents who expect the same core family values for the Sidney area, so I plan to continue that.
7. Keep Sidney running smoothly on the right track.
1. Bob Thomas, age unavailable, Sidney Township.
2. Worked at Gibson’s in Greenville from 1967 to 2005, 16 years as an hourly employee and 22 years as a fabrication supervisor.
3. Graduated from Big Rapids High School in 1962, served in the Michigan National Guard 126th Infantry in Big Rapids from 1961 to 1967, received an honorable discharge, associate’s degree in business from Montcalm Community College.
4. I have lived in Sidney Township since July 2000.
5. No answer.
6. The safety of Sidney Township residents, road repairs, helping support the fire departments that support our township, fair property taxes, keeping our children safe, crime watch.
7. If I don’t know the answer to a question or concern, I will find the answer and get back to you.
Winfield Township Board
1. Michael Gommesen, 54, Winfield Township.
2. I worked nearly 35 years for Knoll Inc. in Grand Rapids. I am currently a senior financial analyst.
3. I have a bachelor of science in accounting from Aquinas College. I graduated magna cum laude. I have the CMA credentials from the Institute of Management Accountants and maintain it with 30 CPE units of education each year.
4. I would bring professionalism and service to the board. I am a certified accountant in management. I have been treasurer for the Montcalm County 4-H Fair Association for the past several years. I handled financial transactions for the new fairgrounds and buildings. I am president of the Board of Trustees for our church and work with the treasurer to produce monthly reports. I also serve as a deacon.
5. I have experience dealing with finances at church to handling over $1 million in fair expenditures for the fairgrounds and working in the finance department of a multi-million dollar public corporation. I would be an independent check on the clerk’s financial transactions.
6. There has been a lot of inward focus on personal interest on the board rather than serving the public. I bring a fresh, independent, professional focus.
7. I would like to bring confidence to the people that the board is here to serve them and make Winfield Township a great place to live. I hope to bring respectability and a fresh approach. I am a hard worker and will seek opportunities for our local government to serve residents. My vision for our township is to stay rural, but also show respect for areas like Indian Lake.
1. Catherine R. Killinger, age unavailable, Winfield Township.
2. Current treasurer for Winfield Township Board.
3. Graduated from Lakeview High School in 1961. I attended Spring Arbor College, Central Michigan University and Montcalm Community College. My first love was music, but I majored in math, also taking accounting.
4. This continues to be my home, and I consider the community here in Winfield Township to be my friends.
5. I’ve enjoyed serving the people of Winfield Township for the past year after the passing of my husband. It is important to me to fill the treasurer’s position as an honest citizen of my community. I return calls.
6. No answer.
7. No answer.