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Published: Wednesday, 10/19/2005

Springfield Township: Five candidates seek two seats

BY MIKE JONES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Five candidates, including one write-in, are seeking the two seats open on the Springfield Township board of trustees.

Bob Bethel, 48, an incumbent, said he is running for re-election, because there are still things he would like to see accomplished in the township.

Park land has been added during his first four years, but he said there is a need for more to take care of the growing township's population.

Mr. Bethel, employee relations manager at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, pointed to the completed master plan as an important accomplishment and added that now the zoning code needs to be updated so it is coordinated with the plan.

Kevin Cummings, 40, said he is interested in the continuing growth of the township and favors it occurring in a controlled manner.

He said that although some people seek a restraint in growth, "that's not always the best thing."

Mr. Cummings is a production checker for Ford Motor Co. in Milan, Mich., and a member of the National Guard. He is also a substitute teacher for Springfield Local Schools and periodically writes for suburban newspapers.

"I like to stay busy," he said, noting that he is taking courses now in sports management. He has a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University and a master's degree in business administration from Baker College in Flint, Mich.

He would like to see opportunities for active and passive recreation expanded in the township.

Henry Schuster, 48, is retired from the former Chrysler Corp., and said he wants to echo the voice of the people rather than act on his own separate agenda.

He said there was only one public meeting at which it was decided that Holland would close its volunteer fire department and that the township would take over fire protection.

He said the decision was "rash" and that the public wasn't give sufficient time to voice opinions.

He questioned the balance between residential and commercial development in the township.

Mr. Schuster said trustees should keep a balance so the tax base is sufficient to support the schools.

Marylin Yoder is also seeking re-election to a post that keeps her involved in what she says is "the oldest and best form of government." Mrs. Yoder said she is pleased with the addition of park land by the trustees and the passage of the master plan for development of the township. She said the plan is a good tool for keeping a balance in the community of residential, industrial, and commercial development.

Mrs. Yoder had been a Springfield Township trustee for more than 20 years before losing the post in 1993. She resumed the job when she was the top vote getter four years ago.

Thomas Anderson, 62, said he's running for the office of trustee in part because he objects to changes in zoning approved by the trustees which he said are reducing the amount of township land set aside for agricultural purposes.

He added that he doubts that the actions taken by trustees for those zoning changes have been done appropriately. Mr. Anderson, who is running as a write-in candidate, is opposed to the recent takeover by the township of fire and rescue operations in the village of Holland, saying it will place an unnessary burden on township firefighters..

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