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Tag Archive | "Algoma Township"

Bridge recognized as historic, one-of-a-kind


N-Bridge-New

By Beth Altena, Rockford Squire

 

Did you know that the Pine Island Drive Bridge, just north of the Pine Island and Ten Mile Road intersection, in Algoma Township, is the only one of its kind in the country? Built 90 years ago, the bridge has never been more beautiful. It underwent a lengthy restoration, and was recently recognized by the State of Michigan with a historic marker detailing its unique qualities.

Julie Sjogren, of Algoma Township, described the long process of recognizing the bridge among the state’s historic landmarks, a process begun in 2006 with the help of Tom Byl, with the Kent County Road Commission. Sjogren spoke at the dedication on Friday, October 17, at the site of the marker, before its unveiling, and practically in the shadow of the bridge it references.

N-Bridge-signAlgoma Township Deputy Supervisor Nancy Clary was the next speaker at the event, addressing a crowd of onlookers and news cameras. “This bridge has always been the jewel and crown of Algoma Township and its never shined brighter than it does since it was restored.”

James Carr spoke about the research he undertook to better recall the bridge’s history. “History means so much more when it is local,” he stated. Construction for the bridge began in 1922, and the county still has copies of the original plans. He said he looked to find his father’s initials on the project because at that time his dad was director of the road commission. “Many individuals had a hand in making this happen,” he said.

David Groenleer, P.E. Vice Chairman for the Kent County Board of Road Commissioners spoke next. He said the bridge was completed in 1924. “If you look at the plaque on the bridge, you’ll see Townsend, Johnson and Ramsdell. Townsend was Warren Townsend of Townsend Park.” Johnson was another notable public servant, recognized by the park in his name in Grand Rapids. Ramsdell, although lacking a park in his name, is the individual after which Ramsdell Road is called.

“I thought that was pretty neat, those three guys were pretty important to this area.” He also recognized another local of note, Otto Hess. “Otto was the driving force behind the organization of the Road Commission,” Groenleer stated. He said the road commission was organized in 1911. Hess was later recognized by the State of Michigan for his implementation of many of our lovely roadside parks.

Groenleer said he can picture Hess at his former place of work, sitting, tie loose, undoubtedly with a cigar in his mouth. Back in those days, Hess had some options when a new bridge was needed, and at the time, a replacement to the old 14-foot-wide steel truss bridge was needed.

N-Bridge-Old“This was a state reward bridge, where the state designed it and paid half,” Groenleer described. He said Hess was reluctant to put in another steel bridge because he had just paid $5,000 to repair the North Park steel bridge. That bridge, finally replaced with the current bridge in the 1980s, was a segmented steel bridge. When it was replaced in the 80s, one of the conditions was that a section of it be preserved. That one section from the original seven or eight, is now in Riverside Park.

“They floated the section down, but what you might not know, is that when they got it where they were supposed to, they pushed a spike into the riverbottom to stop it but it just kept going.”

Hess knew that if he put in another steel bridge, he was going to continue to see maintenance costs, so he considered the concrete camel back bridge design, similar to one in Ada, which is now gone. Another Michigan camelback bridge can be seen from I-96 near Nunica.

The Pine Island Bridge, however, is unlike either of its Michigan cousins because of the unique braces across the top, joining it all the way around. The low banks of the Rogue River under the bridge required an additional structural component, to keep the bridge from failing if the river floods it.

In this respect the Pine Island Bridge is unique from any other camelback bridge in the entire United States, a structure both beautiful, but built for purpose.

“The concrete was shipped by rail from Englishville,” Groenleer said. “A lot of towns have gone away but this one is still there if you want to look it up on a map.”

Groenleer quoted the Grand Rapids Press at the time the bridge was built. It read: “The Algoma/Solon Road bridge will last indefinitely.” He said he looked in Webster’s Dictionary for a definition of indefinitely and failed to find one. “Well, for sure we know indefinitely means at least ninety years.”

“Now in 2014 for ten times the cost of the 1920 construction it has been renovated.” He praised the contractor and noted some details. The concrete was cleaned with baking soda blasts to remove graffiti and grime. He said damage to the superstructure, such as chipping and pitting, was hand-repaired with epoxy seal silicone and the rail on the northwest corner was replaced.

He credited the Kent County Road Commission and staff, specifically Wayne Harroll for “all their efforts on this historic structure that is also an important transportation structure.”

Larry Wagenaar, Michigan Historical Commissioner, had the honor of unveiling the historic designation marker for the bridge. “I am here wearing three hats,” he stated. First he was present for the State of Michigan on behalf of the Historic Commission. Second, he is the Executive Director for the nonprofit Historic Society of Michigan. Finally, he stated, he was there as a resident of Kent County, specifically Ada, which lost its own camelback bridge.

“This is a unique span of 100 feet and is the only one like it in the country. I hope it stands another 90 years, gets restored again and stands another 90 years,” he said.

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Spring cleanups start soon


By Judy Reed

 

SPR-Spring-clean-upsAs 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 when it’s offered in your area.

Algoma Township: Spring cleanup days are Wednesday, April 23, through Saturday, April 26. Dumpsters will be available at the township hall at 10531 Algoma Ave. Hours will be Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m to 3 p.m. No shovel offs or loose trash allowed. No liquids, no hazardous waste (no paint, oil, fuel, gasoline etc.) No brush or yard waste, no cement.

All tires must be cut in half, propane and fuel oil tanks must be cut in half. Fencing must be folded or rolled up. Barrels must have one end open or be full of holes. Will also collect E-Waste at the same location (cell phones, computers, TVs, stereos, speakers, etc.). Call the township for more info 866-1583.

City of Cedar Springs: The city will collect E-waste on Saturday, April 26, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., during the Earth Day cleanup. A dumpster will be located behind City Hall and manned by Rotarians. Bring all your electronic waste for disposal such as computers, monitors, keyboards, cell phones, radios, stereos, laptops, VCRs, TVs, modems, power cords, etc. Almost any electronic item, working or non-working, with a cord or battery, will be accepted. Computer hard drives will be wiped and destroyed.

The annual brush pickup will be Monday, April 28. Please have brush out by 6:00 a.m. and neatly stacked as close to the curb as possible. No brush larger than six inches, tree removals or stumps will be picked up. They will make one pass through town.

There is no longer a spring trash cleanup date. Check with your waste hauler for pickup.

Also note that the city will be flushing City hydrants on April 25. To avoid staining laundry, allow water to run until clear before washing white or light colored clothing.

Courtland Township: No spring cleanup, they have a fall cleanup in September.

Nelson Township/Sand Lake: Spring cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, June 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 5th and Cherry Streets, near the water tower in Sand Lake. We accept appliances, sheet metal, auto parts and engines (liquid drained), aluminum and copper wire, fencing (flattened and folded), mattresses, furniture, carpeting, clothing, glass, etc. No garbage please. No hazardous or toxic waste. No yard clippings or brush. No shovel offs of shingles and drywall. Will also collect E-Waste and metal at the same location. Please call the township for more info at 636-5332.

Sand Lake: Sand Lake will have a brush only pickup April 17-25. Pile brush along side of the road. See Nelson Township (above) for regular spring cleanup.

Solon Township: Spring cleanup dates have been set for two consecutive Saturdays, May 3 and May 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 15185 Algoma. One 5×8 trailer with 48-inch sides or one pickup box per household. All items should be boxed or bagged, 45 pounds maximum. Tires must be cut in four pieces, car or light truck only, limit four. Appliances such as washers, dryers, etc. will be accepted, but not appliances that used Freon  or other toxic chemicals. Call township for more info at 696-1718.

Spencer Township: Call township for info at 984-0035.

 

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Algoma Township Historical Society


April annual meeting

 

Saturday, April 19, 2014, will be the Algoma Township Historical Society Annual Meeting. It will be held at 2:00 p.m. at the Chalmers’ School building on the Southwest corner of Fonger St and Pine Island Dr.

They will have Election of Officers to elect a Secretary and Treasurer. If you are interested in serving on the Board of Directors please contact Julie at 866-1583 so she can put your name on the ballot. Planning meetings are the first Thursday of each month at Chalmers’ at 9:00 am.

They will show a movie on the Michigan White Pine Era and try to utilize the 16 MM movie projector that was donated by the Eileen (Munn) and Gordon Bitely family.  The projector was Eileen’s parents, Betty & Merrill Munn.

The ATHS is looking to publish a book on Algoma Township. Your input will be greatly appreciated and they will be categorizing and getting information on the contents for this book at this meeting, so that during the year they will be able to put the contents together for publication.

“This book will be a great way to share the history of our township and to preserve those events, activities and people for generations to come,” said Julie Sjogren.

 

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Drowned diver at dam a false alarm


Dozens of first responders help in search

Algoma Township rescue dive team officers search the waters of the Rogue River for a diver suspected of drowning after failing to surface for more than an hour. A visitor to the dam called 911 after suspecting the diver had run into trouble. Photo by B. Altena.

Algoma Township rescue dive team officers search the waters of the Rogue River for a diver suspected of drowning after failing to surface for more than an hour. A visitor to the dam called 911 after suspecting the diver had run into trouble. Photo by B. Altena.

By Beth Altena

 

Rockford Police and fire, Algoma Fire and Rescue with their inflatable rescue boat, the Kent County Sheriff Dive team, the Kent County Sheriff motorized emergency rescue boat and Rockford Ambulance were all on the scene Tuesday, July 9 for a possible drowning at the Rockford dam.

According to Rockford Police Chief Dave Jones, a visitor to the dam called 911 after observing that a scuba diver had been under the water without coming up for over an hour. They had seen the diver drop a snorkel on to the dam and then go back underwater.

With over a dozen first responders and more than half a dozen rescue vehicles on the scene, the Algoma Township dive team, attached to shore by ropes, searched the water without success. Kent County Sheriff Deputy and rescue diver Don Hamilton prepared his scuba gear and rescue equipment with the assistance of other officers.

Hamilton had begun a search of the water under the dam when the diver returned to the surface near where he had placed his snorkel over an hour before. Chief Jones said that he believed the man was not following safety practices for diving. Hamilton called the man’s behavior “very unsafe.”
A group of residents had gathered at the dam watching rescue efforts. The diver, upon coming out of the water, seemed unaware of the efforts made on his behalf. He stayed in the water for awhile, telling rescue officers he needed some time to “get his land legs back.”

Hamilton said the individual broke many safety rules of scuba diving and that he had personally seen the man in the water at 2 p.m. when Hamilton was driving downtown.

Hamilton said divers are required to dive within 100 feet of a flag so boaters are aware of their presence. “If you drag a flag above you, it makes it really easy for us to find you if we suspect a problem,” he explained. Hamilton said rescuers and observers at the dam noticed no air bubbles indicating a diver’s breathing. “That’s what really made me believe this was a very bad situation,” he stated. However, after talking with the diver, he explained that the diver had been coming up for air, but under the dam spillway where he couldn’t be seen. He also was diving under the spillway while he was in the water so air bubbles were not visible. He noted that it is also very unsafe to dive alone and not an accepted practice.

Hamilton said the diver was not issued a ticket but received a severe talking to by authorities. He said the man seemed to think he had done nothing wrong. “This goes to the bill State Representative Pete MacGregor is trying to get passed where departments can recoup the cost of rescues when people are being stupid,” he said.

“Stupid is the best way to describe it, like kayaking in the river when there are record high levels of water.” Hamilton said he made several rescues during this spring’s flood, where people believed they were good enough kayakers to take on the flooded Grand River.

“You just never know what’s in the river in that kind of a situation,” Hamilton said. He also noted the Tuesday rescue is not the first where the outcome was lucky. In March 13, 1991 a boy fell into the Rogue River at the dam and was underwater for 37 minutes. The water was cold enough that it slowed his body function and when he was revived he suffered no permanent damage. “I just ran into that guy fishing in the river the other day,” Hamilton said.

 

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Home destroyed in fire


Fire ripped through this home in Algoma Township Monday. Post photos by J. Reed.

Fire ripped through this home in Algoma Township Monday. Post photos by J. Reed.

N-Fire2Six area fire departments were called to the scene of a house fire in northern Kent County Monday.

Algoma Township Fire responded to the scene on Friendly Ln, a private drive off 15 Mile, between Hoskins and Algoma, shortly before noon Monday, April 1. “It was gone before we got here,” said a fire official on scene.

The home was set back in the woods and water needed to be brought in on tankers.

Assisting fire departments included Cedar Springs, Courtland, Kent City, Sand Lake, and Solon.

No injuries were reported, and everyone got out safely. At press time Wednesday, there was no word yet from Algoma Fire on the cause of the blaze.

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Spring cleanups start soon


By Judy Reed

 

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 when it’s offered in your area.

Algoma Township: Spring cleanup days are Wednesday, April 25, through Saturday, April 28. Dumpsters will be available at the township hall at 10531 Algoma Ave. Hours will be Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, 8 a.m to 3 p.m. No shovel offs or loose trash allowed. No liquids, no hazardous waste (no paint, oil, fuel, gasoline etc.) No brush or yard waste, no cement.

All tires must be cut in half, propane and fuel oil tanks must be cut in half. Fencing must be folded or rolled up. Barrels must have one end open or be full of holes. Will also collect E-Waste at the same location (cell phones, computers, TVs, stereos, speakers, etc.). Call the township for more info 866-1583.

City of Cedar Springs: The city will collect E-waste on Saturday, April 28, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., during the Earth Day cleanup. A dumpster will be located behind City Hall. Bring all your electronic waste for disposal such as computers, monitors, keyboards, cell phones, radios, stereos, laptops, VCRs, modems, power cords, etc. The trailer will be there until 3 p.m. No TVs or big box appliances will be accepted. TVs may be brought to Comprenew at 629 Ionia SW in Grand Rapids for recycling. A fee will be charged per TV.

The annual brush pickup will be Monday April 30 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please have brush out by 6:00 a.m. and neatly stacked as close to the curb as possible. No brush larger than six inches, tree removals or stumps will be picked up. They will make one pass through town. Final fall pickup is September 24. There is no longer a spring trash cleanup date, since Duncan Disposal, the city’s preferred waste hauler, does that for residents.

The Department of Public Works will be flushing the City’s hydrants on Friday, April 27, 2012 and September 21, 2012. In most cases, hydrants are flushed during the night-time when water demand is at its lowest

Please remember to let your faucet run clear before doing any white or light colored laundry to avoid staining your laundry. Please contact DPW Director Roger Belknap at 616.696.1330 X 108 should you have any questions.

Courtland Township: No spring cleanup, they have a fall cleanup.

Nelson Township/Sand Lake: Spring cleanup days are Friday, June 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, June 23, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Residents should bring trash to the water tower in Sand Lake. New this year is a charge of $15 for mattresses and $15 for box springs. Proof of residency required with a tax bill or voter registration AND a driver’s license. Will also collect E-Waste at the same location. Please call the township for more info at 636-5332.

Oakfield Township: No cleanup scheduled.

Sand Lake: See Nelson Township.

Solon Township: Spring cleanup dates have been set for two consecutive Saturdays, May 5 and May 12, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the old horse farm, 15185 Algoma. Proof of residency required. Must be residents—not just landowners. One 5×8 trailer with 48-inch sides or one pickup box per household. All items should be boxed or bagged, 45 pounds maximum. Tires must be cut in four pieces, car or light truck only, limit four. Appliances such as washers, dryers, etc. will be accepted, but not appliances that used Freon. Call township for more info  at 696-1718.

Spencer Township: Call township for info at 984-0035.

 

 

 

 

 

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Police investigate home invasions


Kent County Sheriff Deputies are investigating a series of home invasions that took place in Algoma Township last Thursday during daylight hours.
According to police, the crimes took place on Thursday, November 17, between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. They occurred in the 12600 block of White Creek Ave, 11300 block of Summit Ave and 8400 block of Wolven Ave.
Police said that the owner of the Wolven home interrupted suspects at approximately 11:30 a.m. The suspects said they were looking for a construction company. They are described as 2 black males with no facial hair, medium build, approximately 6 feet tall. The vehicle is described as a dull red compact car.
Items stolen from the homes include coins, cash, electronics and jewelry.
Police said remind residents to keep all exterior door and windows locked, including the exterior doors of your garage.
If you have any information or if you observe any suspicious activity, contact the Kent
County Sheriff’s Department at 632-6100.

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Two injured in Algoma crash


Two people were seriously injured in this crash at 13 Mile and Edgerton last week. Photo from WZZM13.com.

A Greenville resident and a Howard City man were both hospitalized last Friday morning after their vehicles collided in Algoma Township.
According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, Jonathan Sutton, 38, of Howard City, was traveling southbound on Edgerton about 6:38 a.m. Friday, September 16, in a 2009 Chevy Silverado, when he ran the stop sign at 13 Mile Road and collided with a a 2003 Chevrolet Impala traveling westbound on 13 Mile.
Both drivers were seriously injured. Sutton, who was seat-belted, suffered serious internal injuries. The driver of the Impala, a 42-year-old Greenville resident, was not seat-belted and suffered critical injuries.

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Crash sends four to hospital


A head-on accident in Algoma Township Tuesday afternoon sent a Wyoming family, including an infant, to the hospital.

According to Kent County Sheriff Deputy Jason VanDyke, the family was driving a blue escort southbound on Algoma Avenue about 4 p.m., after visiting their parents in the Cedar Springs area, when a northbound GMC Jimmy, driven by a Cedar Springs woman, tried to turn west (left) into a driveway and two cars collided head-on.

The front seat passenger in the escort, a woman, was pinned inside and had to be extricated. She and the other three passengers, including a child in a car seat, sustained injuries and were transported to the hospital. The driver of the GMC Jimmy was not transported.

Deputy VanDyke said he does not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Both Algoma and Courtland Fire Departments assisted at the scene.

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Christmas day fire destroys home


This Algoma Township home was destroyed by fire Christmas Day. Post photo by J. Reed.

Christmas Day took a tragic turn for one northern Kent County family after their home was destroyed by fire Saturday evening.

Firefighters responded to the 4100 block of Ives Farm Lane, (a subdivision off White Creek just north of Russell Road) just after 7:14 p.m. When firefighters arrived, it was fully engulfed.

Several fire departments fought the blaze, including Algoma, Courtland, Solon and Cedar Springs, who was set up as a pumping station at the Cedar Springs Middle School.

According to Algoma Fire Captain Roger VanderKlipp, the  family of four (2 adults and two children) got out safely, along with guests they had over at the time. He said that one of the children slept downstairs, and that they were able to get some of his clothing out. Several Christmas presents were also stacked in front of the home in the driveway.

The family was staying with neighbors overnight and the Red Cross had been called in.

According to Algoma Fire Chief Steve Johnson, the fire appears to have started from discarded ashes from a  charcoal grill. The family had grilled the previous day, and the ashes had been stored in the garage, where they ignited. “Ashes can stay hot for three or four days down inside of them,” noted Johnson.

The Post reached the homeowner, Norman Galang, on Monday. He said they are currently staying with family. “Everyone is doing great, and no one was hurt,” he said. “We are in much better spirits now.” The Galangs have a 7-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.

Anyone interested in helping the Galangs can email Norman at galangn@gmail.com for specific needs.

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