Tag Archives: Mike McIntosh


Keep responsible Cannon government

Dear Editor,

Hi, my name is Karen Fiebig and I am writing because I do not like what I believe to be half-truths. Recently, a number of Cannon Township residents received a mailing from the opponents to the reelection of the majority of our Cannon Township Board. This mailing claimed that the majority of our Board voted down a motion to decrease our millage. Of course they did! It was the responsible thing to do. I know this because I was a trustee on the Cannon Township Board in the 1990s. I also know that the only millage that the Cannon Township Board has yearly discretionary control over is less than 1 mill (.83 mills). Even though this is a small amount per individual household, added together it makes a difference in our township budget. Responsible boards do not pass motions without empirical data and/or impact statements to show the effect on the budget. Check out the March 26, 2012 minutes on the Cannon website and while you are at it, please read more to prove how responsible our Board has been in contracting with the North Kent Sewer Authority (NKSA). Whole truths speak for themselves. Please vote for the majority of the standing Cannon Township Board in the Primary Election on Aug. 7, 2012. They deserve to be reelected for the many accomplishments they have made in our behalf and for responsibly and ethically representing us all. Thank you.

Karen Fiebig
Rockford resident

Reader questions EPA article

Dear Editor,

I would like to comment on some inaccuracies in the July 5’s front page article, “EPA turns tannery site back to Wolverine, MDEQ.”

Initially, it was reported that EPA was approached by only three concerned citizens. In fact, the Preliminary Assessment Petition that was sent to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was signed by 25 individuals, many of whom are leaders in our community, not just three. These signatories belonged to an organization of concerned citizens that currently consists of over 150 interested individuals. Additionally, the West Michigan Environmental Action Council, Kent Conservation District, and Clean Water Action share our concerns regarding documented impacts to groundwater, to soil and to the Rogue River Watershed, as related to the recent tannery demolition. These groups have substantive environmental backgrounds. Each of the groups have written a letters to the EPA in support of the petition. In sum, our concerns are not limited to just a few individuals.

Secondly, I am perplexed by Michael Young’s comment that it is “very good news” that state and federal authorities have found that the site has scored high enough to warrant further action under federal law… a site that is acting as the source of groundwater contamination, ongoing “discharges to the Rogue River,” and that has contaminant impacts to “surface and subsurface soils.” Importantly, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has determined that further “investigation and remediation” activities are required to address this contamination, not just further “investigation,” as implied in the article. Contaminants identified to date that must be cleaned up include significant levels of hexavalent chromium, mercury, lead, arsenic, ammonia, and cyanide. If there is any “good news,” it is that much of the contamination remains behind a fenced area, leaving exposures “only” to those who use the Rogue River and those “walkers and bikers” who use the recreational White Pine Trail along the river… individuals that potentially remain “at risk of direct contact to contaminated” media according to EPA.

Although no federal emergency removal action is being required at this time, this is presumably because the bulk of the contamination remains behind a fence and, as the noted by MDEQ, a significant portion of the contamination found to date has been already been removed. Unfortunately, as MDEQ also points out, the concentrations of contamination in the soils and construction debris “were never documented and confirmation samples were never collected” before the wastes were hauled away… a valid concern given that most of the impacted building materials were hauled to a non-hazardous construction waste facility, for potential re-use.

I also find it somewhat disingenuous that Mr. Young now says that cleanup authority actions were “formally requested” by the City. Rockford was told just two years that “there is no known contamination on the property,” and Rockford chose not to require site testing before demolition. Yet real concerns remain, which is why the EPA has not waived its authority over the investigation and remediation of the site. The EPA will periodically review the work being performed at the site, and “retain their enforcement authority.” MDEQ will be reporting to the EPA at least twice a year.

The contamination found to date, as well as that discovered during the ongoing investigation, can be addressed both quickly and safely, without impacting businesses and residents. As neighbors, we have the privilege and responsibility to make sure that this contamination is not ignored or otherwise left unaddressed. To that end, we appreciate all that EPA and MDEQ have done to address our concerns.

 Mike McIntosh
Rockford resident

Reader enjoys Cedarsapiens

Dear Editor,

I don’t know the names of the people at Rockford’s 93 West Division, but I sure know that I like them! You know where I mean. Just west of the Rogue River on the north side of the street stands their three shrub family members that they dress up and decorate to suit the holiday, weather, RHS pride, and all other occasions! I always turn my head as I pass to see them waving, wearing red white and blue, scarves and mittens, holding Easter baskets with flowers in their shrub hair, and so many other clever decorations.

The people there must have a great sense of humor and be a lot of fun! A big thank-you to them for always putting a smile on our faces!

Donna Danielson
Rockford resident


Rockford Area Historical Society News and Updates

Dear Editor,

The opportunity to improve our local museum by relocating it to the vacant Rockford Courthouse building has appealed to the giving spirit of many individuals and businesses not only in our area but also from other places. Pledges and donations have been received on a daily basis from all over the place. Many of those, but not all, donating have ties to our area and realize that the time is now to help improve our museum situation and to make a change that will affect our community in a positive way. We need a new museum!

I feel that it is important to emphasize that we need a better building to continue to do the job of preserving and presenting our history. A better, larger building will allow the display of things not available for display presently because of lack of space. A new museum will allow for easier public access to our displays and our research areas. Our new museum will have restrooms and storage space. Our new museum will be safer and public parking will be much easier. Please notice that everything mentioned so far has to do with the building improvements, but there is more.

We need to have a museum that is open on a regular basis. Our present museum is not open enough because volunteers (docents) are not always available. We try to have regular summer hours but sometimes volunteers are not able to fill all of the time slots. We are not open in the winter on a regular basis. We are open by appointment and volunteers handle that. Volunteers also open the museum for Rockford student tours and other group outings.

It is time to emphasize that our volunteers do a great job! We have had some hardworking museum directors who have donated their time and energy to run our museum. People like Katherine Mancell, Kathy Cornwell, Susie Fair, Char Guzin and present director, Pat Frye and her assistant Janet Matthews, have all been important in keeping our museum alive. They were not paid money for their efforts. All of the docents who worked with them over the years also were not paid. The directors and docents are not the reason we need a new museum. Their efforts are not the problem. Having a new museum is not a criticism of our present volunteer workers. We need more of them.

In order to have regular hours (probably about 20 a week) and to be open at least five days a week year round, our present plan is to hire at least one part-time director to be in charge of our operations. Volunteers would still be needed.

A special “Thanks” to Rockford resident and Grand Rapids Press columnist, Tom Rademacher, who will be selling and signing copies of his latest book, “Knocking on the Door” on Friday, Dec. 23, at Kimberly’s Boutique, 54 Courtland St., from 4 to 6 p.m., and at Great Northern Trading Company, 10 Squires St., from 6 to 8 p.m., with part of the proceeds going to North Kent Community Services and Rockford Area Museum. Please stop by and get your copy! Tom also will be doing a signing at the Rockford library in the spring.

Anyone with questions about our fundraising or desiring to get materials may contact me at (616) 866-0530.

Terry Konkle, President
Rockford Area Historical Society

Reply to Johnston letter

Dear Editor,

I would like to clarify a misstatement made by Mr. Johnston in his letter to the Squire published Dec. 1, 2011 (“Groups’ Tactics Questionable”), specifically, that the Central Rockford Neighborhood Association (CRNA) and the Concerned Citizens for Responsible Development (CCRD) are related.

They are not.

CRNA is a local Rockford neighborhood association. We were officially founded November 2009. We are a nonprofit with the State of Michigan. We have boundaries, bylaws, and even a by-line (“CRNA—Rockford’s Pretty Good Neighborhood Association”). We actively contribute to the community. We have done garlic mustard pulls on Rum Creek and the Rogue, have helped at the annual Rogue River Clean Up, and have collected food for Feeding America at the Farmers Market, among other things. We love Rockford, and our by-laws state this in so many words. Our by-laws are a public document; feel free to request a copy.

However, by early August 2010, about a month prior to the start of the tannery demolition, the CRNA had received a large number of inquiries and expressions of concern from its members regarding the lack of any environmental investigation or any significant environmental testing data taken at and around the Wolverine Worldwide tannery site. After determining that its by-laws did not support an active role in the oversight of the demolition process, and not wanting to polarize those members that sought more information and those that did not, CRNA officers elected to step away from the issue. Since that time, the CRNA has avoided any active role in the tannery demolition or redevelopment.

To address the concerns of local citizens, the Concerned Citizens for Responsible Development was founded in August 2010 as an independent entity, wholly unrelated to the CRNA. Although some CRNA members are also members of CCRD, the groups are very distinct, as are the membership rolls. Full disclosure—I am a member of both. CRNA broadly seeks to help make Rockford a better place to live, while the CCRD is focused specifically on the demolition, cleanup and redevelopment of the former Wolverine Worldwide tannery site. While both groups desire to see the health and welfare of our City, their focuses and goals are very different.

As to Mr. Johnston’s allegations that empirical sampling results and sworn historical accounts of activities at the tannery constitute “lies” and “misstatements,” or that historical river water samples prove that the tannery site is “uncontaminated,” I will leave it to the CCRD to respond… if it chooses to do so. I merely wanted to clarify Mr. Johnston’s own misstatement that the CCRD is a “sub-group” of the CRNA. It is not, and I’d encourage any resident of Rockford to find out for themselves by contacting our local neighborhood association. A community is defined by its citizens, and Rockford has been blessed with a large number of interested, active and diverse citizens. Contact me or any our officers, all local residents: Ken Phillips, vice president; Gail Mancewitz, secretary; or Erin Burke, treasurer. We would love to have you join us!

Mike McIntosh
President, CRNA

Take up City’s Offer to Hear Opinion on N. Main Development

Dear Editor:

Wolverine World Wide has announced the proposed closing of its tannery. Would you like to hear others’ ideas? Would you like to express your ideas? Are you interested in the future of Rockford and the potential redevelopment of the North Main Corridor from Courtland to the Shoe Depot?

Our City government wants to hear our input and get our ideas for Rockford’s future. An informal open house will be held in the City’s Council Chambers on Thursday, March 12 starting at 6 p.m. City staff and the City’s planning consultants will be there to listen.

The possible redevelopment of the North Main Corridor is something all Rockford citizens have a stake in. I hope to see you at the Council Chamber on March 12!

Mike McIntosh

Think Outside the Box

Dear Editor,

Many thanks to Mike McIntosh for his words of wisdom in the Rockford Squire regarding changes near the downtown area of Rockford with the closing of the tannery and possible rezoning of a portion of north Main Street. The Rockford Planning Commission certainly has many tough decisions to make as it shapes the future of our fair city.

My husband and I have lived close to downtown Rockford for 34 years. We have raised our children in Rockford and have always loved its small-town ambiance. Our children now walk their children through the city, on the trails, and to the shops in town. We absolutely love Rockford and have always tried to support the merchants of Rockford. I know that Planning Commission will do its best to ensure that Rockford will maintain its small-town character as it moves into the 21st century. It appears at times that the merchants and the residents often do not see eye-to-eye on the future development of the area near downtown Rockford. I find this curious; and I suspect that these conflicting desires weigh heavily on the minds of those on the Planning Commission.

Mr. McIntosh is correct that now is the opportune time for the Planning Commission to explore all the options and to think “outside the box” as it develops a vision for the future of Rockford. I support Mr. McIntosh’s request that the Planning Commission take the time to carefully review the Master Plan and examine the opportunities available, since decisions made now will shape the future of our town.


Linda Goossen