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Tag Archive | "Consumer’s Energy"

State Police personnel deploy to Philadelphia to prepare for Hurricane Florence Response 


The hurricane is weakening as it approaches, and meteorologists at Accuweather.com believe that it may linger on the coastline. “As this happens, coastal areas will be bombarded with torrential rain, high winds, coastal erosion and storm surge, not for a few hours, but possibly for a couple of days. Photo from Accuweather.com.

Gov. Rick Snyder today announced that the state of Michigan is deploying a Michigan State Police (MSP) staff member to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region III regional response coordination center in Philadelphia to provide support as an Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) liaison between state and federal agencies. The deployment is occurring as a result of a request made for out-of-state support through the National Emergency Management Agency. 

“Our thoughts are with those bracing for Hurricane Florence’s landfall on the east coast,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “We’re pleased to respond to the call and provide emergency assistance to our eastern neighbors as they prepare for this intensifying storm.” 

As an EMAC liaison, the MSP personnel will gather and share resource request information with EMAC participating states and federal partners such as the FEMA, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Emergency Communications and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 

 “As the EMAC national coordinating state, our role is to closely track all resource requests coming from the east coast and work with our partnering states to fill any needs,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, Director of the MSP and State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security. “Our staff is well trained and ready to help wherever there is a need.” 

The EMAC is an all hazards/all disciplines mutual aid compact between the states to provide consistent and coordinated response to emergencies and disasters across the nation. All costs associated with deploying resources under EMAC are paid for by the requesting state. 

Michigan has served as the EMAC national coordinating state since March 2018. In this role, the state is responsible for coordinating the deployment of resources such as personnel and equipment to member states for all emergencies or disasters in the nation. 

Since joining EMAC in 2002, Michigan has sent resources out-of-state several times, including response efforts for Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana in 2005, severe flooding in Minnesota in 2009, Hurricane Irene in New York in 2011, Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey in 2012, Hurricane Irma in Florida in 2017 and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017.

Consumers Energy is also ready to send assistance to help with the predicted one million power outages Florence could inflict. In late August, Consumers Energy received restoration help from more than 300 electric workers in Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and other parts of Michigan after a series of storms over a week’s time knocked out power to more than 270,000 customers.

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School board appoints new member


Trent Gilmore

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education interviewed five candidates Tuesday evening for the open board seat left by the recent resignation of secretary Brook Nichols.

The board took applications until Tuesday morning. The five who were interviewed included Tony Owens, Paul Stark, Mistie Bowser, Trent Gilmore, and James Halstead. The board then discussed the candidates and voted to offer the position to Gilmore.

Gilmore lives with his wife and children in Algoma Township. Two attend Cedar Springs Public Schools and another will start in a couple of years, according to his biography on the school’s website. Gilmore said his wife grew up in Cedar Springs and graduated from Cedar Springs Public Schools. He also said he grew up in an educational household because both his parents were teachers, and his father-in-law is also a teacher.

Gilmore works for Consumers Energy as Director of Revenue Operations. He is also experienced in labor relations, having managed in a union environment. 

The board liked several things about him—the focus on students; that he seemed well-rounded; had expertise in financial matters; and good decision-making skills.

“I have a strong desire to help provide the best for the schools,” said Gilmore. “Quality education is the key to our children’s future. I wanted to help ensure a quality educational environment and opportunity for my kids and all the children in the Cedar Springs school district.”

He also said he would be willing to run as a write-in in the November election.

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Cost of energy to cook Thanksgiving meal


 

Are you cooking Thanksgiving dinner at your house this year? Consumers Energy says that the cost of the energy it takes to cook a traditional Thanksgiving feast is less than $2. That value includes the energy—either natural gas or electricity—for roasting the stuffed 18-pound turkey at the center of the table and for simmering or baking enough side dishes and dessert to serve 12 hungry guests.

Customers can increase their energy value even more by using a roasting bag to cut in half the time it takes to cook a turkey, combining several dishes when baking, and keeping the oven door closed. Other tips to trim holiday energy costs are at www.ConsumersEnergy.com/myhome.

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Distribution wire burns, causes power outage


Scorched pavement in the Family Farm and Home parking lot.

Burn damage to the concrete from the downed electrical wire.

Yellow tape reading “high voltage” cordoning off the scene.

By Judy Reed

Arcing and sparking. Burned wire. Scorched concrete and asphalt. Yellow tape reading “high voltage” cordoning off the scene. That was the scene at Family Farm Home on Tuesday morning after a power line came down in the parking lot at 11:20 a.m. in front of the store and knocked out power to almost 5,600 customers in the greater Cedar Springs area.

A couple of readers said it looked like a fireworks display. Kent County Sheriff Deputy Todd Frank said it sounded like someone welding. He was sitting in his patrol car typing up a crash report that had occurred on 17 Mile near Independent Bank when he heard the sound. “I thought, ‘who the heck would be welding over there?’” he said. “I quickly drove over and saw the arcing and sparking, and the wire falling down.”

Deputy Frank said that the wire came down into the plants in the front of the building and burned holes in the concrete.

“It’s lucky no one got hurt. There were people coming out of the store,” he explained. “It’s a good thing I was here. Some people wanted to drive over the wires to leave. We had people exit through the back of the store.”

Both the CS Fire Department and Consumers Energy responded to the scene.

According to Roger Morgenstern, with Consumers Energy, a distribution wire came down and burned up. “The substation knew something was wrong and did its job and tripped off,” he explained. “We’re still investigating but it may have been the improper operation of equipment connecting the (higher voltage) substation to the downstream distribution wires that you saw burned up,” he told the Post.

Morgenstern said that 4,121 customers were restored at 12:59 p.m. after the problem was found. The remaining 1,472 customers, mostly west of White Creek, were restored by 2:09 p.m., after a new wire was put up.

This was the third widespread power outage in the area since March that was not due to a storm. On March 6, a turkey flew into a power line near Algoma Ave, and in the beginning of May, a squirrel got into the Cedar Springs substation and caused an outage.

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An unsightly mess


 

Shaner Ave. (Nelson Township) between 17 and 18 Mile Roads has recently been turned into an unsightly mess. The mess is not only in the ditches along the road, but also left on the properties of current residents. Consumers Energy and the Kent County Road Commission came through with heavy equipment and cut a long wide path of trees and brush. This ugly defacing of Shaner was done most recklessly and without regard for the properties on which their work was done. Several property owners have lost large trees, which now lay on their properties in large hunks or piles. Heavy equipment was used to mow down brush and topple trees. In some of the areas where work was done, a lot of debris was left. Tree trunks and uprooted trees lay on the wide swath of loose and lumpy mounds of water-soaked soil that was also dug up. Pieces of shredded brush lay on the narrow shoulder of the road, being a hazard for bikers, walker, and joggers. Ditches were damaged where the heavy equipment went on and off the road, which will result in water backing up into residents’ yards when it rains, if the ditches aren’t repaired. This all was done to accommodate the development project, White Pine Ridge, now in progress on Shaner and 18 Mile Roads. We residents on Shaner appear to have to deal with the ugly side of progress at work. In the beginning, Nelson Township officials appeared to believe that the condominium development would give something back to the community. So far it has only been costly for the Township, particularly in attorney’s fees. This is only the beginning of many adverse effects that the development will have on residents along Shaner and 18 Mile Roads. I ask: will it be progress or progressive devastation to a peaceful quiet and uncrowded rural community?

Mary Stidham, Nelson Township

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High winds blow across state


Jeannie Larsen sent us this photo of a tree that was blown down Wednesday and blocked Myers Lake Rd, near Pringle, in Nelson Township (near Sand Lake).

Jeannie Larsen sent us this photo of a tree that was blown down Wednesday and blocked Myers Lake Rd, near Pringle, in Nelson Township (near Sand Lake).

Firefighters, police, and other first responders were kept busy Wednesday as high winds swept across the area, toppling trees and taking down telephone poles and electrical wires. There were various reports of trees blocking the roadway, falling through roofs, electrical wires down, and sporadic brush fires.

Power outages were also a big problem for many in the area. Power went off early in the day for many residents (about 10:30 a.m.). At 5 p.m., 38,000 in Kent County were without power, and 210,000 statewide. Consumers Energy said that harder hit areas may not have power back until late Saturday.

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Lightning strikes transformer


Lightning struck a transformer at S. Main and South Street Friday morning, February 24.

Lightning struck a transformer at S. Main and South Street Friday morning, February 24.

A piece of transformer on the ground after the lightning strike. Courtesy photo.

A piece of transformer on the ground after the lightning strike. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

A lightning strike on Friday morning, February 24, was a narrow miss for a woman and her sister and left a handful of residents without power for about 25 minutes.

According to the woman, N. Green, she and her sister were driving back home to Cedar Springs and ran into a storm front that included lightning and downpours on M57. When they started to turn on to South Street off S. Main St. (where the self car wash is located) they heard a deafening boom that she said left their ears ringing. “The van was then covered with electric arcs which looked like fireworks raining down on us,” she said.

They pulled into the car-wash parking lot and saw the transformer on the utility pole was still smoking from the strike, although the rain put it out quickly. “We were directly next to the utility pole that was hit, driving on South St., which is a gravel road, then full of puddles, and so very blessed that the tires beneath us, grounded us against the electric arcs!” she said. “We were fine, though the van showed some markings.”

Green said the car wash still had power, but when they arrived home, a short distance away, they did not have power, nor did their neighbors.

Green said she called Consumers Energy to report it.

“I was impressed with how quickly they got the power back on,” she said.

According to Roger Morgenstern, spokesman for Consumers Energy, lightning struck a transformer (the cylindrical piece of equipment on a pole that reduces voltage before its sent to customers) and power was out between 9:19 a.m. and 9:44 a.m. for less than 20 customers.

Morganstern said what Green saw raining down like fireworks was likely sparks from the transformer fire instead of actual electrical arcs. However, if the car had become entangled in a downed power line, the rubber tires would’ve helped stop the flow of electricity.

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Power outage gives kids a day off


 

A blown fuse in a Consumers Energy tower early Tuesday morning gave kids in Cedar Springs an early Christmas present—a day off of school.

The electricity went off about 7:10 a.m. on Tuesday, December 15. According to Roger Morgenstern, of Consumers Energy, the outage affected about 507 customers, including the Cedar Springs Public Schools campus.

Citing a long-term power outage, the Cedar Springs Public School district cancelled classes for the day, and returned students home on buses.

“At the time, we estimated restoration at about 10:30 a.m., because we were not sure what potential for damage may have been done,” explained Morgenstern.

Power was restored at 8:45 a.m.

“Sometimes it’s an animal or a tree limb that causes the outage. But we didn’t find anything. It was just a fuse that blew, so we put one back in and it restored power,” said Morgenstern.

He said the tower is located in the 14000 block of Myers Lake Ave.

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Youth waterfowl hunts 


Bring a young hunter to one of Michigan’s seven managed waterfowl hunt areas in October and November for a memorable hunting experience.

Bring a young hunter to one of Michigan’s seven managed waterfowl hunt areas in October and November for a memorable hunting experience.

The Department of Natural Resources encourages waterfowl hunters to bring a young hunter to one of Michigan’s managed waterfowl hunt areas in October and November for a memorable hunting experience. Hunters can choose from several dates and locations. Parties with at least one youth hunter will be given priority in the draw at all seven managed waterfowl hunt areas:

Oct. 24 – Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area (afternoon hunt only) in Pinconning

Oct. 31 – Muskegon County Wastewater (morning and afternoon hunts) in Twin Lake

Oct. 31 – Fish Point State Wildlife Area (afternoon hunt only) in Unionville

Oct. 31 – Fennville Farm Unit of the Allegan State Game Area (morning hunt only) in Fennville

Nov. 7 – Shiawassee River State Game Area (afternoon hunt only) in St. Charles

Nov. 8 – Pointe Mouillee State Game Area (morning hunt only) in Rockwood

Nov. 13 – Harsens Island Managed Hunt Area (afternoon hunt only) on Harsens Island

Drawings for the youth morning hunts will occur at 5:30 a.m. Drawings for the youth afternoon hunts will take place at 11 a.m. (11:30 a.m. at Harsens Island).

Youth priority drawings are available for hunting parties with at least one youth (age 16 or younger) and up to two adults (maximum party size is four). All youth participating in these priority hunts must be properly licensed to hunt. Youth hunters 9 years old and younger must be accompanied by a qualified Mentored Youth Hunting Program mentor.

For more information about hunting at the DNR’s managed waterfowl hunt areas, visit www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders.

The Wetland Wonders Challenge, sponsored by Consumers Energy, runs until Jan. 31, 2016. Youth and adult hunters that hunt at three managed waterfowl hunt areas can be entered in the contest. Hunt at more than three areas for additional contest entries. Seven winners will be chosen to win ultimate waterfowl hunting prize packages valued at $1,500, including a “golden ticket” that’s good for one first-choice pick at a managed waterfowl hunt area for the 2016-17 season (non-reserved). See www.michigan.gov/wetlandwonders for contest terms and conditions.

The Wetland Wonders Challenge is part of the Michigan Waterfowl Legacy, which is a 10-year, cooperative partnership to restore, conserve and celebrate Michigan’s waterfowl, wetland and waterfowl hunting community. The initiative is a “call to action” to honor yesterday, engage today and build for tomorrow. To learn more, visit www.michigan.gov/mwl or look for Michigan Waterfowl Legacy on Facebook.

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Spring takes area by storm


 

The Cedar Springs Post took a direct hit when winds blown in by a fierce spring-turned-winter storm ripped through our area last Saturday.

Owner and Publisher Lois Allen received several calls at her home about it. “The Post is under attack!” said one caller. And indeed, the Post was in the path of destruction as the high winds lifted the roof of Len Allington’s brick building on the corner of Main and Maple Streets and sent it airborne across the alley between the buildings. It landed on top of the Post, wrapped around a utility pole and entangled in electrical wires.

Consumer’s Energy cut the wires on Sunday and left the scene, leaving three businesses and several apartments without power until Tuesday afternoon.

“The more you depend on technology, the more helpless you become when it fails,” said Allen. “You can quote me on that.”

What many people thought was a tornado turned out to be straight line winds. The first storm rolled into our area at about 4:30 p.m. and was followed by several others throughout the night.  The National Weather Service said damage across West Michigan was consistent with winds gusting 75 to 85 mph, and lasted 3-5 minutes. The winds were equivalent to an EF-0 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.

The winds blew in, and hail rained down, damaging cars, mobile homes, and other outside objects. The size ranged from a dime to a quarter. Some mobile homes were pelted with hundreds of holes. It covered the ground to a depth that looked like snow.

Trees were ripped out of the ground or broken all across the area—Sand Lake, Cedar Springs, Sparta, Kent City, and surrounding townships. The wind even blew the roof off of the gymnasium at Kent City.

In the aftermath of the storm, rivers and creeks were swollen and many areas are still under a flood watch.

Thanks to the many readers who sent us your storm photos!

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