Letters to the Editor – June 18, 2009

Letter to the Grand Rapids Press on sewer dedication

Dear Mr. Lloyd,

How is it the Grand Rapids Press completely missed the most important infrastructure news event of the decade?

As the culmination of the area’s most political and controversial topic over the past 10 years, the dedication of the PARCC Side Clean Water Plant in Plainfield Township should have warranted Metro Section front page coverage-at least!

Next time you or one of your reporters (Paul Kopenkosky, in particular) travels along Coit Avenue between Woodworth and Hunsberger, keep a sharp eye out for a “flying pig” weather vane on top of an attractive state-of-the-art farmhouse. I’ll let you determine “the rest of the story.”

Respectfully,

 Dennis R. Cole, P.E.

Reader criticizes local news coverage

 Dear Editor,

For years I have enjoyed the local coverage Rockford receives from its two newspapers. I read them both thoroughly and feel I get pretty good reporting on local issues.

Unfortunately two recent local matters have been handled poorly by everyone concerned. First, is the recent school election. We had a miserable turnout. I suppose it might be excused since there was no contested race or issue. That really misses the point. I have no other news media that is concerned about Rockford. When a school board race is uncontested it can be that the public is just that satisfied, which is very likely given the great job our school board does. But, in this case neither local paper gave any advance notice of the election that might have created interest by other candidates. You have a duty to create interest and to chastise this community when we don’t respond.

You have a done neither and we are just lucky that good people continue to be willing to serve. Please reevaluate your role as a “community conscience” and help create a more dynamic atmosphere for elections.

Secondly, I have been thrilled like other residents to witness the eagles. They stir us so with their majesty, but every expert has warned that too much attention will drive them away from us. Your coverage has not only increased the traffic safety risk, it has also created constant crowds. Hopefully, the eagles will ignore us, but if they don’t you must assume a large share of responsibility.

Please reconsider your responsibilities and help us be the best citizens we can be.

Neil C. Blakeslee

 Editor’s Response: I agree with Mr. Blakeslee that newspapers play an important role in the community, but have to disagree that we dropped the ball on failing to publish news about an uncontested school board race. It is always difficult to decide what we are able to run and what we don’t have room for in each week’s edition. Everyone who contributes a Locks for Love or Scouting article hopes we are able to print their piece, plus we take the time to cover more traditional news. If something has to be left out, I’d say an uncontested election has a pretty low priority. However, I’m happy to hear a different opinion and respect it.

As for the eagles, that was a tough call. Do we not tell readers about them in fear that someone may not act responsibly? It sounds like you went, is this one of those cases where it’s okay for you to go, but you don’t want other people to know about it? We use a lot of discretion in our business, but I thought sharing the eagles was the right thing to do.

The point is moot anyhow, since the irresponsible ten percent have ruined it for the rest of us. As you may have heard, Township Supervisor Greg Dean is banning the public from standing and watching the eagles because of safety concerns. Dean said he isn’t willing to take the chance that someone will get hurt in the road when there are too many people to stay on the shoulder. Perhaps it’s for the best, but it is too bad.

Best regards,

Beth Altena, Editor

 Wallet story is uplifting

Dear Editor,

I was driving my child to a friend’s house to play this afternoon about four miles away. Before leaving our home, I was unaware that a neighbor boy had placed his wallet on my back bumper while my car was parked in my garage. 

We drove out of our friendly neighborhood onto 10 Mile Road and down about three or four miles to my son’s friend’s house.  A car pulled in behind me that had been following me to this destination. A nice lady got out of the car to tell me that a wallet had fallen out of my car about three miles back when I turned onto 10 Mile Road.  I thanked her but said that couldn’t have been ours, not knowing our neighbor put his wallet on my bumper.  I returned the way I came and indeed saw the wallet in the road.  I stopped up the street and walked back to get it hoping to solve the mystery of who’s wallet was in the road.  I picked up a ten dollar bill in the grass on the side of the road by the wallet which had fallen and walked in the middle of 10 Mile and retrieved the brown leather wallet. I looked inside it and realized it belonged to our 14-year-old neighbor. I knew he would be happy that I found it.

The story gets better yet. While I was picking it up in the road a kind lady across the street came out and said she also found money flying out of the car (or wallet) and had it on her counter hoping that the person would come back and retrieve it.  She had collect $23 that flew out in $1 and $5 dollar bills.  It is so nice to have honest, friendly, caring people helping each other out.

This is why I am so happy to live in the town of Rockford where complete strangers are so honest and helpful to each other.  Rockford has been a great place to live and it is because of the kind people that live here.  Thanks to the woman who alerted me to the fallen wallet and thanks to the sweet lady who returned the flying money.  You both make Rockford a great place to live!

Reader believes crash report was botched

Judy Reed,

Regarding your article about the crash at Tefft and 13 Mile Road. The lady that died ended up in our back yard. If Rockford and Cedar Springs Police assisted at the scene they must be invisible because the only Law Enforcement on the scene was the Kent County Sheriff. Also, the Ford ended up against the west side of the power pole making it impossible for it to have rolled. The Ford was going west bound when it hit the Buick. It would have been physically impossible for it to of ended up tight against the west side of
the pole if it was rolling to the west after impact. It would have had to spin around to end up where it did, not rolled.

Also, I do not believe that Ms. Squires ran the stop sign. She most likely stopped, looked to the east and did not see the Ford coming as it was below the hill. West bound vehicles disappear at the bottom of the hill prior to the Tefft intersection for several seconds before cresting the hill. There is a caution sign as you approach the intersection (as you travel west on 13 Mile Road) dropping the speed to 45 MPH. I have tested the distance from the crest of the hill to the intersection. Even at 55 MPH while under hard braking, you can stop before entering the intersection.

Looking at the damage on both vehicles and how far into our back yard the Buick was pushed, the Ford Expedition had to been traveling well over the posted 45 MPH or even 55 MPH. The Ford had to be going 70 plus, and I have seen plenty of vehicles traveling that fast through here in the past five years that we have lived here. The accident investigation ability of the Kent County Sheriff leaves much to be desired and this is proof.

Ms. Squires family may be thinking that she caused the accident as the Police have stated, but I disagree and the evidence proves that the Sheriff made quick work of this accident investigation and blamed the one person that is unable to defend herself. According to State Law, the Ford did not have the right-of-way if it was speeding. All indications point that it was therefore the Fords driver that was at fault at this accident.

Sincerely,

Gordon Wilcox

 

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Comments

  1. Carlton M. Witt says:

    Dear Editor:

    Having read Neil C. Blakeslee’s recent letter in which he took you to task for paying too little attention to one issue and too much to another, I disagree with his assertion that local newspapers “have a duty to create interest and to chastise this community when we don’t respond.”

    With regard to news, a newspaper’s sole duty is to report accurate facts in a timely manner. It is the voters’ responsibility to take interest, develop and exercise critical thinking skills in order to assimilate information from many different sources, and reach their own conclusions. It is not the newspaper’s job to spoon-feed opinions to their readers – in fact, such action damages the credibility of the paper unless it comes in the form of a clearly labeled editorial.

    Citizens who feel a need to chastise the community are free to do so, but chastising a newspaper for remaining within the bounds of good journalism seems a bit off base.

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