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Interested in serving on a Kent County board or committee?

 

The Kent County Board of Commissioners is seeking citizens interested in serving the community through appointment to various boards, commissions, and committees. Any Kent County resident may apply by completing an online application form via the County’s website at www.accessKent.com/boardappointments. Resumes and cover letters are encouraged and may be attached. All citizens are urged to apply. The application deadline is September 30, 2015.

Listed below are the boards, commissions, and committees that have citizen openings terms effective January 1, 2016 (unless otherwise noted):

  • Agricultural Preservation Board (1 agricultural interest and 1 conservation representative)
  • Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan – Advisory Council
  • Area Agency on Aging of Western Michigan – Board of Directors
  • City/County Building Authority
  • Community Corrections Advisory Board (1 media relations representative)
  • Community Health Advisory Committee (1 Community-based organization representative, 1 healthcare provider, and 1 At-Large member)
  • Community Mental Health Authority Board (term begins April 1, 2016)
  • County Building Authority
  • Friend of the Court Citizen’s Advisory Committee (1 child advocate representative and 1 family law attorney)
  • Gerald R. Ford International Airport Board
  • Housing Commission
  • Jury Commission
  • Kent County Family & Children’s Coordinating Council (2 private funding organization representatives and 2 private agency representatives)
  • Kent District Library Board (Region 2 – resident of Algoma, Cannon, Courtland, Grattan Township and the City of Rockford; and Region 6 – Resident of Caledonia and Gaines Township and City of Kentwood); Applicants must live in Region 2 or 6.
  • Kent Hospital Finance Authority
  • Lakeshore Regional Partners Substance Abuse Oversight Policy Board
  • Millennium Park Architectural Advisory Review Board (1 business community representative)
  • Officers’ Compensation Commission
  • Remonumentation Peer Review Group (3 openings – must be a Professional Surveyor)
  • Veterans’ Affairs Committee (Applicant must be a Veteran of the Armed Forces. Please indicate on application which war/conflict served in.)

Questions for those interested in applying may be directed to Conni Mutchler in the Board of Commissioners Office at 616.632.7580.

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Police search for missing teen

Joanna Henry has been missing from her Cannon Township home since August 7.

The Kent County Sheriff Department is asking for the public’s help to find a missing Cannon Township teen.

Joanna Renee Henry, 16, left her home in Cannon Township on Friday, August 7, 2015 between 3:45 p.m. and 5:41 p.m. She is described as a white female, 16 years old, 5’10”, 190 pounds, medium length blond hair, hazel eyes, a tattoo of “Faith” on the left side of her rib cage, and a tattoo of a cross on her right pinky.

Police said that Joanna has run away in the past, but has never been gone for this long. They do not believe foul play is involved, but said she suffers from bi-polar/depression and is possibly without her medication.

Any person intentionally harboring a juvenile runaway could potentially face a misdemeanor charge with a penalty of 1 Year and/or $500 fine (MCL 722.151).

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kent County Sheriff Department at 616-632-6357 or Silent Observer at 616-774-2345.

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Fly on 1920s “Tin Goose” at fly-in 

This 1928 Ford Tri-Motor airliner is on tour through the Midwest and will be at the Sparta Airport Thursday, August 13 through Saturday, August 15.

This 1928 Ford Tri-Motor airliner is on tour through the Midwest and will be at the Sparta Airport Thursday, August 13 through Saturday, August 15.

At Sparta Airport this weekend

This airliner, which was once considered luxurious commercial airline travel, will seat 10.

This airliner, which was once considered luxurious commercial airline travel, will seat 10.

Take a ride over to the Sparta Airport this weekend for the Great Lakes Aviators Build Off and Fly-in, and check out the 1928 Ford Tri-Motor airliner. Or, you can book a ride and soar in it through the wild blue yonder!

The Ford Tri-Motor, or the “Tin Goose,” was first built by the Ford Motor Company in the late 1920s, and was the world’s first mass-produced airliner. During the Ford Tri-Motor Tour hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), passengers will travel back to the early days of what was considered luxurious commercial air travel.

This Ford Tri-Motor, owned by the Liberty Aviation Museum in Port Clinton, Ohio, and flown on tour through a lease agreement with EAA, was constructed in 1928. It has an intriguing history, with roles ranging from service as airliner over the Grand Canyon in the 1930s and later in Honduras, to a showpiece as part of the legendary Harrah’s auto and aircraft collection in Nevada.

After a long period as a museum showpiece, the aircraft was purchased by the Liberty Aviation Museum in 2014 and restored to flight status.

The Fly-in is Thursday, August 13, Friday, August 14, and Saturday, August 15. Admission to the Sparta Airport is free. There are Tri-Motor flights each day, and other activities. (Click here to see ad for more info.)

This Tri-Motor can carry up to 10 passengers at a time, and every seat has a window. Passengers are encouraged to bring a camera to record and share this experience. Tickets purchased in advance are $70 for adults; walk up tickets are $75 and $50 for children 17 years old and under. Book in advance at www.flytheford.org or call 1-877-952-5395.

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Man injured in motorcycle crash

A Cedar Springs man suffered life-threatening injuries Tuesday, when his motorcycle collided with a car in Algoma Township.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred about 4:43 p.m. Tuesday, August 11, on Pine Island Drive, at Indian Lakes Road. Their investigation determined that Paige Marie Towery, 24, of Algoma Township, was driving a 2000 black Pontiac Grand Prix north on Pine Island Dr., and signaled to make a left hand turn onto Indian Lakes Road.

Jarrod Lee Welch, 43, of Solon Township, was driving behind Towery, on a black 2002 Honda motorcycle and attempted to pass Towery’s vehicle as she began to make the turn. He struck the rear of her vehicle and was thrown from his motorcycle. He was not wearing a helmet, and suffered life-threatening injuries as a result of the accident. He was transported by Rockford Ambulance to Spectrum Downtown Hospital.

Police said that alcohol may have been a contributing factor in the accident, which remains under investigation.

Algoma Fire and Rescue, Rockford Ambulance, and the Kent County Road Commission all assised at the scene.

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Rain Barrel Workshop at Morley Park

This photo was taken at a rain barrel workshop in Rockford.  Cedar Springs residents now have a chance to make their own.

This photo was taken at a rain barrel workshop in Rockford.
Cedar Springs residents now have a chance to make their own.

Would you like to save money by reducing your water bill? Would you like to help protect the Great Lakes by something you can do at home? Then don’t miss out on Cedar Springs’ first ever rain barrel workshop, September 11, at 6 p.m. at Morley Park.

Trout Unlimited has been conducting rain barrel workshops in the Rogue River watershed since 2013, successfully distributing 131 barrels to the local community. Trout Unlimited’s Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative is teaming up with the Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council to host an outdoor rain barrel workshop for the citizens of Cedar Springs and everyone who would like to save water at home.

A rain barrel is a system that collects and stores stormwater (the leading source of water pollution in West Michigan) from your roof that would otherwise enter the storm drains and empty directly into local waterways untreated. The average rain barrel will keep 1,815 gallons of stormwater out of our lakes and rivers each year. Saving water not only helps protect the environment, it saves you money and energy. A rain barrel collects water and stores it for when you need it most—during periods of drought—to water plants, your garden, or wash your car. Additionally, rainwater is naturally soft and devoid of minerals, chlorine and other chemicals found in city water, so it is a better alternative for your plants.

The workshop will be held on Friday, September 11, at 6:00 p.m. at Morley Park (17 Mile and Northland Drive). The workshop includes everything you need to set up your barrel and takes around 45 minutes. Rain barrels are $30 a piece and you must sign-up for a workshop at rainbarrels.wmeac.org.

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ChoiceOne Bank remodels Cedar Springs Branch Office

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ChoiceOne Bank officially announced the completion of its remodeled Cedar Springs branch office with a ribbon cutting ceremony on July 24.

“We are pleased to provide a more open and convenient layout for our customers,” said Kelly Potes, President of ChoiceOne Bank. “The new design is also consistent with the look of our other ChoiceOne branch offices in the communities we serve.”

The Cedar Springs branch, located at 4170 17 Mile Rd NE, now features a more visually appealing office that is consistent with other ChoiceOne Bank locations from Fremont to Rockford. The remodeled facility offers greater convenience, including a more open branch lobby area and a repaved parking lot.

The project was completed in a manner to ensure little disruption to business during the remodeling, and allowed the bank to maintain full operation throughout the process.

“As the local community bank, it’s important to have a strong and consistent presence in the communities we serve,” said Potes. “We are very pleased with these renovations and thank our customers for their patience during this remodeling project. We invite all to stop by for a visit. We improved our branch office so we can better serve the Cedar Springs community.”

This is a paid advertisement.

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Post travels out west

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N-Post-travels-out-west2-OvokaitysTom and Donna Ovokaitys and their four children—Breeann, Kayla, Ellie, and Jared—recently took a 10-day family vacation together out west, traveling 4,200 miles in a rental van. And the Post traveled with them!

“We started the sight seeing in Colorado with a Cog Railway trip to Pike’s Peak and then hiking around Garden of the gods,” said Donna. “We learned of the Colorado incline (one mile straight up the side of Pikes Peak) and Breeann could not resist! She made it in 29:28 and had sore muscles the next day to prove it.” They visited Great Sand Dunes National Park, then headed to Mesa Verde where Donna needed to deal with her fear of untethered heights and small enclosed places, while walking around  Balcony House and Cliff Palace. “This ended up being my highlight!” she said. They then went to Four Corners National Monument where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah all meet. Close by was the beautiful Painted Desert and Petrified Forest, where some of the family were wondering at first “where is the forest?”

“Our next stop was at the Grand Canyon, where the views were fabulous and we learned not to blindly trust the GPS to navigate the way out of the park,” continued Donna. “We did not drive into the Grand Canyon on a 2 track!” They then visited Hoover Dam, where the temperature was 103 and theyall agreed that they love Michigan weather. Their final stop was to go White Water Rafting on Clear Creek in Colorado.

“None of us had ever gone rafting prior to this event, but there were no beginner rapids for us to experience as a result of the snow melt being extreme at that time of the year,” explained Donna. “So, we went for a ride on class 3 and 4 rapids in 36 degree water. This was, hands down, the family favorite. It was only about a 45-minute trip, but there was a new thrill every other second!”

After that they started the long trip home. “We were all tired and ready to end the vacation, but the memories will be with us forever,” she said.

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“Forgotten War” veterans honored 

A veteran is presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency during the Korean War Commemorative Ceremony, at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans last month. The event honored 69 residents of the home for their service during the Korean War.

A veteran is presented with a certificate of appreciation from the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency during the Korean War Commemorative Ceremony, at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans last month. The event honored 69 residents of the home for their service during the Korean War.

Korean War Commemorative Ceremony recognizes service 

When Walter Towns enlisted in the Marine Corps as an 18-year-old fresh out of high school, he dreamt of someday having a family, a home, a car and a job. He served in Korea for only six months—from March to September 1951—but twice those dreams were put in jeopardy when Towns was wounded by the enemy.

Towns, the recipient of two Purple Hearts, was one of 69 residents of the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans honored recently for their service during the Korean War.

“I don’t talk about my service much because most people forget about the Korean War,” Towns said. “But the bullets they shot in Korea were just as real as anywhere else. I was fortunate to serve a great country and take care of others while I was in Korea, and I was fortunate to get all the things I’d dreamt about once I got home.”

The Korean War Commemorative Ceremony recognized Korean War veterans living at GRHV and thanked them for their role in defending democracy and freedom in South Korea. During the ceremony, each resident received a certificate of appreciation for his service, while Towns and the 21 other residents who served in Korea were also awarded the Korean Ambassador for Peace medal by Jae-woong Lee, deputy consul general of the Korean Consulate General in Chicago.

Often referred to as the “Forgotten War,” the Korean War began less than a decade after World War II. Hostilities took place from June 27, 1950—two  days after North Korea invaded South

Korea—until July 27, 1953, when the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed. Following the armistice, many American troops remained in South Korea to help alleviate the uneasy peace.

“Whether they were stationed in Korea, Europe or in another theater, our Korean War veterans answered the call to serve the same as every other soldier,” said Jeff Barnes, director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. “More than 60 years ago, these men and women were asked to put their civilian lives on hold and protect the people of South Korea. Today, we thanked them for that service and let them know that no veteran should be forgotten.”

During the Korean War, 6.8 million American men and women served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Of those, 1,456 Michiganders lost their lives. Michigan is home to nearly 65,000 Korean War veterans.

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Northern Strike 2015 concludes 

A Joint Terminal Attack Controller assigned to the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron, Tactical Air Control Party, Syracuse, N.Y., observes the field before calling in close air support during a combined live fire exercise as part of Northern Strike 15, July 20, 2015. NS 15 is an annual training exercise on CGJMTC that assesses joint air-to-ground capability and involves hundreds of military personnel from 20 different states, as well as Canada, Latvia, Poland and Australia. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Seth LaCount/Released)

A Joint Terminal Attack Controller assigned to the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron, Tactical Air Control Party, Syracuse, N.Y., observes the field before calling in close air support during a combined live fire exercise as part of Northern Strike 15, July 20, 2015. NS 15 is an annual training exercise on CGJMTC that assesses joint air-to-ground capability and involves hundreds of military personnel from 20 different states, as well as Canada, Latvia, Poland and Australia. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Seth LaCount/Released)

A UH-60 Black Hawk transports 125th Infantry Regiment A Company Detroit, Michigan on a training mission on July 23, 2015 during Exercise Northern Strike 2015 at Grayling Air Gunnery Range in Grayling, Michigan. Exercise Northern Strike 2015 is a joint multi-national combined arms training exercise conducted in Michigan. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

A UH-60 Black Hawk transports 125th Infantry Regiment A Company Detroit, Michigan on a training mission on July 23, 2015 during Exercise Northern Strike 2015 at Grayling Air Gunnery Range in Grayling, Michigan. Exercise Northern Strike 2015 is a joint multi-national combined arms training exercise conducted in Michigan. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Scott Thompson/released)

Record setting combat exercise sets stage for Northern Strike 2016 

Exercise Northern Strike 15, a major combat training exercise that brings ground and air combat units from four coalition countries and more than 20 states to training locations in Grayling, Alpena and Rogers City came to a close last weekend with a number of milestones achieved during the exercise which ran from July 13 to August 1.

Lt. Col. Matt Trumble, director of the exercise, identified some of the specific achievements for this year. “We had more out of state and out of country participants this year than we’ve ever had,” said Trumble. “2015 also saw the largest number of aircraft supporting the exercise, both types of aircraft and raw number of sorties flown.”

Northern Strike served as the primary combat training exercise for most members of the Michigan National Guard. The base scenario involved alerting a unit and having the soldiers report to the armory for equipment upload and movement to Alpena via C-130 Hercules, a military transport airplane. From Alpena the Soldiers would be transported via helicopter to Camp Grayling to assault an objective.

It was during this assault phase of the training where the complexity of the exercise was highlighted by all the combat capabilities working together. Mortars and artillery would initiate the attack from kilometers away as aerial platforms like the A-10 Thunderbolt “Warthog” and AH-64 Apache helicopters would come in immediately after and target the objective with 30 mm canon rounds, 2.75 inch rockets and 500 pound bombs.

“Seeing everything together at one time on one objective was amazing,” said 2nd Lt. Randy Jozwiak, a platoon leader in Bravo Troop, 126 Cavalry, experiencing his first Northern Strike exercise. “Experiencing the exercise up and close and personal makes you acutely aware of America’s ability to put anyone wishing us ill will in the hurt locker in no time,” Jozwiak concluded.

“This year’s exercise has exceeded every expectation I had coming in”, said Maj. Justin Bierens, of the Michigan Guard’s 63rd Troop Command and senior member of the Northern Strike 15 planning staff. “We have demonstrated the ability to coordinate from theater level assets down to the platoons on the ground. I come into every Northern Strike expecting an improvement from the previous year, this year feels like we have advanced five years since last year.”

Planning has already begun for Northern Strike 2016, scheduled to take place from August 1-20 on Camp Grayling, Alpena CRTC and Rogers City.

“In addition to exceeding the metrics achieved this year,” said Lt. Col. Ryan Connelly, deputy operations officer for the Michigan Guard, “we are planning to conduct night operations, which represents the pinnacle of training challenge.”

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Use caution with door-to-door meat sales

 

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is urging consumers to use caution when purchasing meat or poultry from a door-to-door salesperson, and to make sure the products come from a reputable, approved source.

“Although door-to-door meat sales can offer the ease of being able to shop at home, these types of transactions can also provide an opportunity for some bad actors to take advantage of their customers,” said MDARD Director Jamie Clover Adams. “Consumers should always do their homework before making a purchase, to safeguard their health and their pocketbooks.”

Consumers should follow these tips when buying meat or poultry from a door-to-door salesperson:

  • Be an informed buyer. Know exactly what you are buying and from whom.
  • Make sure all receipts and accompanying documentation are complete and include the seller’s name and address; keep a copy for your records.
  • Never buy meat from an unrefrigerated vehicle or from the trunk of a car.
  • All food must come from an approved source; have the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) seal of inspection; and include a complete and intact label identifying the product and cut of meat, lists all ingredients, and provides the net weight of the product.
  • An MDARD issued decal must be conspicuously displayed on each side of the vehicle so as to be visible when in transit and while serving the public. Decals are issued each licensing year in different colors – BLUE for 2015.
  • The name and address of the business must be affixed to the exterior side of the vehicle in letters not less than 3” high x 3/8” wide and in colors contrasting the background color of the vehicle.
  • Many communities require a vendor’s permit to operate door to door. This is a business license and is not a replacement for the required MDARD mobile food establishment license.
  • Call your local Better Business Bureau to see if you are doing business with a reputable firm.
  • Door-to-door meat sales are also regulated by the Michigan Home Solicitation Sales Act, Public Act 227 of 1971, which outlines your rights as a buyer and your right to cancel the sale and return the product within three business days. Details of this law can be found at http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-Act-227-of-1971.

For more information and tips regarding door-to-door meat sales, visit USDA’s website at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/door-to-door-meat-sales/ct_index, call USDA’s toll-free Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854, or contact MDARD’s Food and Dairy Division at 800-292-3939.

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