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Archive | May, 2020

City breaks ground on new fire station

City of Cedar Springs welcomes construction of new community asset

Representatives from the City of Cedar Springs, the Cedar Springs Fire Department, Orion Construction and others broke ground last week on the new fire station. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

It’s been a long time coming, but the City of Cedar Springs and Orion Construction finally broke ground last week on a new fire station in downtown Cedar Springs. 

The groundbreaking ceremony was held at 38 N 2nd St last Thursday, May 21. The fire station will be built on the site that once housed the old library on the corner of Cherry and 2nd, and the old Community building, on the corner of Elm and Cherry. Both have been torn down.

“Today we put shovels in the earth to break ground on a new fire station that will be a much needed tool in the arsenal of our firefighters to be utilized in protecting both the hearts and homes of the people of Cedar Springs,” said Mayor Pro Tem Pam Conley, prior to the groundbreaking. “As our firefighters are the people running into the buildings, the rest of us are running out. We are proud of a community that understands the need for proper facility to provide this heartfelt service to the citizens.”

The new fire station will provide added space and equipment necessary to service a growing Cedar Springs population. The Cedar Springs Fire Department serves a 16 square mile area, including the City of Cedar Springs and parts of Nelson Township, and approximately 5,600 residents. The Cedar Springs Fire Department is a fully volunteer/paid on-call fire department providing fire suppression, emergency medical services, rescue and other services. The department is comprised of 20 firefighters and medical first responders.

What will it cost?

The Cedar Springs City Council approved placing a proposal for the new fire station on the ballot for the   November 2018 election. The proposal passed and provided the necessary financing through a millage and tax bond not to exceed $3,115,000, which will pay for site improvements, build design and construction, as well as additional equipment, vehicles and other related expenses for the fire department.

“The voters have entrusted the city to use their money wisely to build a new fire station that will propel us into the future. The current fire station has been in place for 40 years at this point, and we’re looking to build a facility that will last for the next 40-plus years,” said City Manager Mike Womack. “With any project we undertake here in the city, we are very cognizant of the costs involved. We thank the citizens for entrusting us with their money and we will use it to the best of our ability. Not only is Orion Construction providing us the best bang for our buck, but we were also able to secure an incredibly low interest rate on the bond issuance that is going to save a ton on interest as well.”

According to Womack, citizens approved a 15-year option with an estimated $4,013,850 payback on the $3,115,000 loan. But since the interest rate was only 1.35 percent, they now only expect to have to pay back $3,454,816. 

“That is a savings of $559,034 over the original 15-year projection,” Womack told the Post. “That accounts for an estimated $37,000 reduction in each yearly payment that the City has to make on the bond payback.  For the citizens, it translates into a reduction from the original estimated 3.4 mills tax increase that was approved by voters down to only about 2.59 mills in the first year (it’s technically a variable rate but we don’t expect it to change much from year to year). With all of the economic development going on in the City, that number could go down even more as more businesses come to town.” 

“I am happy that we waited until the optimal time to issue to the bond because even though the project was a little delayed in starting, it will strongly benefit the taxpayers in the long run,” he added.

A rendering of the new fire station. Photo courtesy of Orion Construction, developed and provided to Orion by Hubbell, Roth & ClarkInc.

What will the new fire station have?

The new 10,000 square foot fire station will be triple the size of the existing facility, providing much-needed space for meeting, training, and equipment storage. It will also be compliant with new federal standards and local code.

“We have equipment stored off site that we’ll be able to bring back on-site, and we’ll have a meeting room big enough to hold meetings without having to pull trucks out of the apparatus bays,” said Cedar Springs Fire Chief, Marty Fraser. “The new station will give us room to expand with new and updated equipment to serve the community as the need grows in the future. It will be a great asset to the community and something we can all be proud of.”

The new fire station features a nearly 7,000 square foot pre-engineered metal building for the apparatus area with four vehicle bays for fire engines, as well as storage areas for cleaning and storing gear, as well as a hose tower.  Directly adjacent to the apparatus bays is a 3,300 square foot office area with a 60-person meeting room, full kitchen, laundry room, office and storage areas, two full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms.

“We’re proud to be a partner with the Cedar Springs community and work with them to create a new home for the Cedar Springs Fire Department,” said Roger Rehkopf, President of Orion Construction. “The new facility will provide necessary updates and adequate room and resources for the firefighters to best serve their community and keep them safe.”

Orion Construction is serving as the general contractor. Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc. is providing all architectural and engineering services, construction engineering, and oversight of the project.

Construction is estimated to begin in the next couple of weeks and be complete by April or May of 2021.

Construction Engineering and Oversight of the project

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Child rescued from Rogue River

Plainfield Fire warns against anyone getting out on the Rogue River in recent conditions, and said they need assistance from neighboring townships (such as Cannon Twp above) on water rescues. This photo is not related to the child rescue but shows the swiftness of the river. Facebook photo from Plainfield Professional Fire Fighter’s Union Local 3890.

A three-year-old boy was rescued from the Rogue River last Sunday, thanks to some good Samaritans.

According to the Plainfield Fire Department, they were dispatched to a water rescue on the Rogue River, near the Childsdale dam, shortly after 5 p.m. on May 24. The boy had been kayaking with his water when their kayak overturned and they became separated

Austin Angell of Grandville and Halie Peters of Cedar Springs found the missing kayak about an eighth of a mile downriver. The kayak was flipped over, and the boy was trapped underneath it. They turned it upright and rescued the child, who was tangled in some webbing. To their surprise, the child was alert and uninjured. 

“If it wasn’t for their quick actions, the outcome would have been much worse,” wrote the Plainfield Professional Fire Fighter’s Union Local 3890 on their Facebook page. “PFD would like to commend Austin and Halie for their actions. Their willingness to take action saved the child’s life.”

They also said they discourage anyone from boating on the river. “The water is moving very fast and conditions are unpredictable.”

They noted in an earlier post about river conditions that they do not have a water craft and require assistance from neighboring agencies, such as Cannon Township Fire, on water rescues.

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Mom withdraws plea in infant’s death

Tatiana Fusari

By Judy Reed

A Solon Township woman who was awaiting sentencing for second degree murder in the death of her baby girl has withdrawn her plea and will now face the original charges of one count of homicide-felony murder and one count of first-degree child abuse.

Tatiana Elena Fusari, 29, pleaded no contest to second-degree murder and second-degree child abuse in January, after her husband, Seth Welch, 29, was convicted on the first-degree murder and child abuse charges. Those charges carry a sentence of mandatory life in prison. Fusari’s plea carried a minimum of 25 years.

Fusari’s attorney had originally offered a defense showing she was under duress when the crime occurred, but the judge said it could not be used to defend against the underlying felony–first-degree child abuse—and in the end she agreed to the plea bargain of second-degree murder. However, she was given approval by another judge last Friday to withdraw her plea due to a recent Michigan Supreme Court ruling on duress. 

In Michigan vs. Reichard, the Michigan Supreme Court held that duress could be asserted as an affirmative defense to murder if it was a defense to the underlying felony. The opinion is dated March 30, 2020.

Fusari claims Welch abused her physically, mentally and emotionally, leaving her unable to care for their 10-month-old daughter Mary. 

The move is a big gamble for Fusari, because now that she has withdrawn her second-degree murder plea, she will face the original first-degree murder and child abuse charges and risk mandatory life in prison without parole if convicted.

The couple found their baby dead in her crib on Thursday, August 2, 2018, and called authorities at 12:06 p.m. to their home at 16509 Algoma Avenue, known by many in the community as Blackacre Farm. The baby was pronounced dead at the scene.

An officer at the scene reported that the baby’s eyes and cheeks were sunken into her head and her muscles were so weak she could not crawl or lift her head. 

Fusari had said she had fed the baby before going to work at her second shift job. 

In a conversation with the dispatcher, Seth Welch said that they had put Mary to bed at 3 p.m. and found her dead at 10 a.m. the next morning—after 19 hours in her crib. He then waited two hours before calling 911. He said that he had waited before calling 911 because he didn’t know what to do and had called his lawyer first. According to the prosecutor, Welch called his parents, texted someone about selling a goat, and googled why a rapper was kidnapped before he called 911. 

When the dispatcher asked how he was holding up, Welch said, “You know, just another day. It is what it is.” 

They reportedly told investigators they just thought the baby was skinny, like her older sister had been. They had never taken Mary to a doctor because Welch said they didn’t trust them after being reported to CPS by one they disagreed with over the care of their oldest daughter.

An autopsy revealed the cause of death was ruled as malnutrition/dehydration due to neglect on the part of the adult caregivers. The pathologist said he found no metabolic diseases or parasites that would keep her from absorbing nutrients.

Police testified that during the investigation, Welch said his daughter’s death was part of natural selection, and he also told them he wasn’t losing any sleep over it.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office said they had only responded to the home once before on a matter unrelated to child welfare. 

The other two children were removed from the home and placed with grandparents, and a third child, that Fusari had while in jail, was placed with another family.

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Teen charged in father’s death

An 18-year-old Kent City man has been charged in the shooting death of his father.

Silas Edward Potter

At about 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 20, deputies from the Kent County Sheriff’s Office responded to a residence on Kent St, south of E. Muskegon St, in the Village of Kent City, on a report that a person had been shot. When officers arrived, they found a man deceased. He was identified as Phillip Neale Potter, 61.

A witness saw a vehicle leaving the scene, and police later arrested Silas Edward Potter, 18, the son of the deceased, in a traffic stop.

On Thursday, May 21, the Kent County Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Phillip Potter and ruled his death a homicide.

Silas Potter was arraigned in 63rd District Court on Friday, May 21, on charges of open murder and felony firearm in the shooting. Bond was set at $1 million cash/surety. He is currently lodged in the Kent County jail.

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Deputy to honor fallen officers with third run across Michigan

Matt Garbarino, reserve deputy from Kent County Sheriff’s Office, will run 100 miles in 24 hours on June 18

For a third consecutive year, reserve deputy Matt Garbarino will be taking his passion for fitness on the road to continue the journey he started in 2018. Once again, he will be running to honor law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty in the state of Michigan.

The initiative, called Run Across Michigan, will be a solo run that spans 100 miles in just 24 hours. The journey begins in the town of Ashton and concludes just south of Grand Rapids in Gaines Township. The 2020 run had some grand plans that became unrealistic after the coronavirus hit the United States.

“We had some big plans this year, with police escorts, an open-to-the-public fun run at the end of the route and an end of run celebration,” Garbarino said. “But COVID-19 has impacted all of us. This year, it seemed right to run on my own to be mindful of public health and valuable police resources.”

To further raise awareness for his cause, Matt will run all 100 miles with a thin blue line flag. This flag is unique because friends and families of fallen officers have requested their loved one’s names be displayed in their honor. Fundraising efforts will be directed to MI-COPS (Michigan Concerns of Police Survivors), a charity that provides resources to assist the surviving families of law enforcement killed in the line of duty.

Since records have been kept in Michigan, there have been close to 600 line of duty deaths. The names of these men and women are engraved on the monument at the Michigan Fallen Heroes Memorial in Pontiac. 

“Matt’s efforts mean so much to the Fallen Heroes’ survivors and he is a fine ambassador of our agency and law enforcement in general,” said Michelle LaJoye-Young, Kent County Sheriff. “When he approached us for a third run this year, we were happy to give him our support once again.”

To learn more about Run Across Michigan 2020, visit runacrossmi.com and join the passionate community on the Run Across Michigan Facebook page.

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Everything’s coming up flowers

This metal sculpture was made by Chris Powell.

Have you noticed some larger than life flowers around the area? 

There is one on the front lawn at the Cedar Springs  Post and a few more at the Cedar Springs Brewing Company. All turned up mysteriously on Mother’s Day.

According to Brynadette Powell, they are the craft of her father, Chris Powell, of Cedar Springs. “My dad started getting bored with retirement. He picked up a plasma cutter and has been making these beautiful flowers and other pieces,” she explained.

She said that her dad picks up various forms of scrap and recycles the material into the works of art. For instance, the flower at the Post was made from an old propane tank. She said he has made other types of pieces, including a sunfish, windchimes, a lightning rod, etc. 

She said many are on display at Pro Auto Works on Northland Drive. All of his sculptures are for sale. If anyone is interested in one of them, call Carl Straub at Pro Auto Works at 696-8863.

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Expanded Work Share program helps employers bring back workers

And restart their operations 

LANSING, MICH. As Michigan businesses begin to reopen, employers are urged to utilize the State’s Work Share program which helps employers experiencing economic pain due to COVID-19 retain their workforce and bring back employees from lay-off as they restart their businesses.  

“As we begin the safe reengagement of our economy, our job providers can use Work Share to save money and help more people return to work faster,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “The program can give business owners the resources needed to retain or bring back employees as their customer and business capacity ramps back up. As we continue to phase in sectors of our economy, we must continue to do our part on behalf of the heroes on the front lines of this crisis, including our medical workers, first responders, and other essential workers who are putting their lives on the lines for us every day. We will get through this together.” 

Work Share allows employers to bring employees back from unemployment with reduced hours while employees collect partial unemployment benefits to make up for the lost wages. Job providers can also utilize the flexible program to retain their skilled workforce and avoid layoffs when revenues decline.  

Under the program, a worker receives a reduced salary from an employer, but is given a percent of their state benefits plus the additional $600 federal payment in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) through CARES Act through July 2020. The entire Work Share program is federally funded through the rest of the year. 

The governor’s recent Executive Order offers employers greater flexibility as they restart their business and bring employees back from unemployment by allowing most employers to qualify for the program. Employers who need to reduce hours and wages by 10 percent to 60 percent can enroll employees in the program. 

“Work Share offers employers solutions to fit their specific business needs by allowing multiple plans with different reduction levels and the ability to choose how many of their workers will participate,” Dept. of Labor and Economic Opportunity Director Jeff Donofrio said. “The program is great for workers too. For the next two months, the federal government provides an extra $600 to employees on workshare providing wage replacement and incentives to return to work from unemployment. The federally funded program also helps workers by preserving the State’s Unemployment Trust Fund to keep their safety net solvent.”  

Work Share serves as a great incentive for employees to return to work. While employees bring their worker back at a reduced rate, the employees could earn more than if they stay on unemployment. The program offers many options for employers, allowing multiple plans and the option to choose which employees participate in each plan. Employers can create a plan or plans that fit their specific needs with hours reduced by as little as 10 percent and as much as 60 percent. There is only a minimum of two employees per plan, plans can be approved for up to a year and can be ended at any time without penalty. Nearly 700 Michigan employers are already participating in more than 1,700 Work Share plans. 

“Small businesses across Michigan have found the Work Share program to be a tremendous tool to help them restart their business at a reduced capacity,” said Small Business Association President Brian Calley. “Employers navigating operational issues with the reopening of the economy are urged to explore and understand the flexible options available.” 

How it Works 

A worker’s weekly wages are $1,000, yet the employer needs to reduce their salary/hours by 30 percent. Under Work Share, their weekly salary would be $700 ($1,000 – 30 percent = $700). Plus 30 percent of their state unemployment benefits ($362 maximum x .30 = $108), plus the additional $600 federal PUA payment July 2020. With Work Share, the employee would earn $1,408/week through July 2020 vs. $962 without the program. 

Employers can visit Michigan.gov/WorkShare for a tutorial on how to sign up, FAQs and other resources to participate in the program.

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Governor Whitmer extends stay at home order

Last Friday, May 22, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-100 to extend Michigan’s Safer at Home order until June 12, 2020. She also extended the temporary closure of certain places of public accommodation such as theaters, gyms, restaurants and casinos. 

The governor also signed Executive Order 2020-99 to extend the state of emergency declaration related to the COVID-19 pandemic, which was upheld by Judge Cynthia Stephens on May 21, 2020. According to a press release from the Governor’s office, cases of COVID-19 in some counties in Western and Mid-Michigan are now doubling approximately every 10 days. “To continue to protect Michigan families from both the public health and economic impacts of the virus, and to lower the chance of a second wave, the governor’s emergency declaration is extended until June 19, 2020,” it said. 

“While the data shows that we are making progress, we are not out of the woods yet. If we’re going to lower the chance of a second wave and continue to protect our neighbors and loved ones from the spread of this virus, we must continue to do our part by staying safer at home,” said Whitmer. “If we open too soon, thousands more could die and our hospitals will get overwhelmed.  While we finally have more protective equipment like masks, we can’t run the risk of running low again. We owe it to the real heroes on the front lines of this crisis—our first responders, health care workers, and critical workers putting their lives on the line every day—to do what we can ourselves to stop the spread of the virus.” 

 Executive Order 2020-100 also clarifies and, as necessary, extends the duration of a number of previous executive orders. The extended orders cover protections for workers who stay home and stay safe when they or their close contacts are sick, restoring water service to those whose water has been shut off, the affirmation of non-discrimination policies in the provision of COVID-19 care, and more. 

“All of us know the importance of getting people back to work and the economy moving again,” said Governor Whitmer. “We’ve already loosened some restrictions on construction, manufacturing, landscaping, retail, and more. But the worst thing we can do is open up in a way that causes a second wave of infections and death, puts health care workers at further risk, and wipes out all the progress we’ve made.” 

Last week the Governor also signed executive order 2020-96 to reopen retail businesses and auto dealerships by appointment statewide on Tuesday, May 26, as part of her MI Safe Start plan. Effective on Friday, May 29, the governor also lifted the requirement that health care providers delay some nonessential medical, dental, and veterinary procedures statewide. And the governor also authorized small gatherings of 10 people or less starting immediately, as long as participants practice social distancing. 

 Businesses that the governor has authorized to reopen must provide COVID-19 training to workers that covers, at a minimum, workplace infection-control practices, the proper use of PPE, steps workers must take to notify the business or operation of any symptoms of COVID-19 or a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19, and how to report unsafe working conditions.   

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Two hurt in crash on US-131

Troopers from the Michigan State Police Rockford Post are investigating a single vehicle crash that occurred on northbound US-131 south of West River Drive at approximately 6:45 p.m. on Thursday, May 21.

According to police, a 2003 Ford Fusion driven by a 23-year-old Cedar Springs woman, exited the roadway, struck a guardrail, then spun back into the lanes of travel. Upon arrival, the passenger was unresponsive, but regained consciousness while being treated on-scene.  The 24-year-old passenger from Cedar Springs was transported to Spectrum-Butterworth Hospital with serious injuries.  The driver was transported with non-life-threatening injuries.

Northbound US-131 was shut down to one lane while troopers investigated the scene.  Troopers were assisted at the scene by the Plainfield Township Fire Department. The incident remains under investigation and the names of the victims had not yet been released at press time.

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Recall: Healthy Choice chicken and turkey bowl products

Small rocks may be in the bowls

WASHINGTON, May 22, 2020: Conagra Brands, Inc., Russellville, Ark. and Marshall, Mo. establishments, are recalling approximately 276,872 pounds of not ready-to-eat chicken and turkey bowl products because the products may contain extraneous material, specifically small rocks, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced.

The scope of this recall has been expanded to include Healthy Choice Power Bowls Chicken Feta & Farro Bowls, Healthy Choice Power Bowls Unwrapped Burrito Scramble Power Bowls, and Healthy Choice Power Bowls Turkey Sausage & Egg Scramble Power Bowls produced on various dates. The products were produced at two different establishments.

The following additional products are subject to recall:

  • 9.5-oz cartons containing Healthy Choice POWER BOWLS Chicken Feta & Farro, with lot code 5006006620 and best by date of DEC 01 2020. The product bears establishment number P-115 on the side panel adjacent to the lot code.
  • 7.2-oz cartons containing Heathy Choice POWER BOWLS Unwrapped Burrito Scramble with UPC 7265500082, lot code 5009002920 and best if used by date of OCT 25 2020. The product bears establishment number P9 on the side panel adjacent to the lot code.
  • 7.2-oz cartons containing Healthy Choice POWER BOWLS Turkey Sausage & Egg White Scramble with UPC 7265500081, lot code of 5009003020 and a best if used by date of OCT 26 2020 on the label. The product bears establishment number P9 on the side panel adjacent to the lot code.
  • 204-gram cartons containing Healthy Choice POWER BOWLS BOILS NERGIE PETIT DEJEUNER TOUTE JOURNEE Turkey Sausage & Egg White Scramble with UPC 7265500202, lot code of 5009003020 and a best if used by date of OCT 26 2020 on the label. The product bears establishment number EST P9 on the side panel adjacent to the lot code.
  • 204-gram cartons containing Heathy Choice POWER BOWLS BOILS NERGIE PETIT DEJEUNER TOUTE JOURNEE Unwrapped Burrito Scramble with UPC 7265500203, lot code 5009002920 and best if used by date of OCT 25 2020. The product bears establishment number EST P9 on the side panel adjacent to the lot code.

On April 10, 2020, Conagra Brands, Inc., recalled approximately 130,763 pounds of not ready-to-eat chicken bowl products produced on Jan. 23, 2020. The products bear establishment number EST P115 inside the USDA Mark of inspection.

  • 9.5-oz. cartons containing Healthy Choice POWER BOWLS Chicken Feta & Farro with lot code 5006002320, UPC code 072655001800 and a best by date of 10/19/2020 on the label.
  • 9.5-oz. cartons containing Healthy Choice POWER BOWLS Chicken Feta & Farro, BOILS NERGIE Poulet feta et peautre with lot code 5006002320, UPC code 072655003026 and a best by date of 10/19/2020 on the label.

These items were shipped to retail locations nationwide and exported to Canada.

The problem was discovered when the firm received additional consumer complaints about rocks being in the products and the firm then notified FSIS of the issue.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ freezers. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Conagra Brands Consumer Care at 1-800-672-8240 or at Consumer.Care@conagra.com.

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Township cleanups

As the weather warms up and residents begin to spring clean, some municipalities are offering drop off sites to help get rid of the clutter. Check out the list below to see if it’s offered in your area.

Courtland: Spring Clean-Up will be held on June 5-6 at the usual location behind Fire Station #1, 7450 14 Mile Rd. Enter off Berrigan Ave. Hours for both days are from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Appliances, mattresses, and box spring are also accepted at no charge. No paints, liquids, tires, or TVs.

Nelson Township/Village of Sand Lake: Spring cleanup will be held Saturday, May 30 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at 5th and Cherry Streets, near the water tower in Sand Lake.  Nelson Township identification required. No liquids, no hazardous waste (no paint, oil, fuel, gasoline etc.) Latex paint may be dumped only if it’s hardened. No brush or yard waste, no cement, no batteries, no refrigerants.

All tires must be cut in four pieces.

Pierson, Reynolds Townships and Village of Howard City: Spring cleanup will be held on Saturday, May 30 from 8 a.m to 12 p.m. at the Central Sanitary Landfill, 21545 W. Cannonsville Rd, Pierson. Visit www.piersontwp.org for more information.

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Flat Smokey aims to raise fire safety awareness

Smokey Bear has been an iconic forest and fire safety figure for 75 years. As Michigan heads toward the hot summer weather and increased fire danger, the DNR is offering Flat Smokey—inspired by the “Flat Stanley” children’s books—a downloadable template that kids can print, color and share. They can take pictures with Flat Smokey, showing friends and family practicing fire safety, and share with the hasthags #FlatSmokey and #PreventWildfires.

With warmer temperatures and increased fire danger, the DNR is getting a little help from a familiar face to boost the publics fire safety smarts: Smokey Bear. But the department is sharing the 75-year-old icon in a new way—Flat Smokey!

Flat Smokey is inspired by the Flat Stanley children’s book series. In the books, a young boy is squashed flat by a falling bulletin board while sleeping, but he makes the best of his flatness and enjoys new adventures that include sliding under doors, flying as a kite and traveling cross-country in an envelope to visit friends.

Kids can experience Smokey in a different way, too. They can download the Flat Smokey at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/flat_smokey_final_681558_7.pdf?utm_campaign=news+digest+may2020+week4&utm_medium=digest&utm_source=govdelivery, print it on stiff paper like cardstock (or paste onto cardboard) and color. Take pictures and videos of family and friends practicing fire safety with cookouts, campfires, fireworks and more, and then share using the hashtags #FlatSmokey and #PreventWildfires. Share the fire safety fun by sending Flat Smokey in the mail to someone else.

Nine out of 10 wildfires in Michigan are caused by people. Taking simple precautions and using effective fire safety practices can save lives and protect property, wildlife and the environment. When burning, always have a water source, shovel and metal bucket nearby, never leave a fire unattended, and always thoroughly douse a fire until it is extinguished.

Get fire safety tips at Michigan.gov/PreventWildfires

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