web analytics

Tag Archive | "Gross"

Yard waste burns out of control


The Cedar Springs Fire Department works to put out any hotspots after a grassfire at this home on 18 Mile in Nelson Township Tuesday. Post photo by J. Reed.

It’s wildfire season in Michigan

The Cedar Springs Fire Department responded to their first grass fire of the season Tuesday, April 12, shortly after 6 p.m. in Nelson Township.
The call came in saying that the backyard and side yard were burning at 5316 18 Mile Rd, just west of Ritchie.
According to Cedar Springs Fire Chief Jerry Gross, the homeowner was burning yard waste that got out control. There was no burn permit registered to the residence.
“It’s just dry enough, and not yet green enough, that conditions are right for this to happen,” said Chief Gross. “We were lucky that the wind was in our favor.”
Then on Wednesday, April 13, Solon Township, Cedar Springs, and Sand Lake Fire Departments all fought a fire on Algoma, between 20 and 21 Mile. That call came in about 2:15, saying that a truck, trailer with a propane tank, RV, and the grass was all on fire and spreading. The departments got it under control quickly, but it was close to press time, and Solon Deputy Fire Chief Brian VanderLaan did not yet have details on how the fire started.
Grass fires were popping up all over Kent County Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Department of Natural Resources issued a bulletin last week about the danger of wildfires right now. “Spring is wildfire season in Michigan,” said Paul Kollmeyer, DNR’s fire prevention specialist based in Cadillac. “Dead grass and other vegetation are exposed when the snow melts, and quickly dry under windy warm conditions creating a tinder fuel that easily ignites. This dead vegetation, coupled with a lack of moisture, creates a perfect mix for high wildfire danger.”
The long range forecast models for Michigan show expected average temperatures and rainfall for Michigan this spring, he noted.
“It is always a day-to-day situation during spring fire season in Michigan,” Kollmeyer said. “Even if we have average temperatures and rainfall, there will always be several dry, windy days that cause problems if a fire happens to start in the right place at the right time.”
The DNR reminds Michigan citizens to use extreme caution with fire this spring, especially when doing yard or property cleanup work, or if enjoying a spring camping or hunting trip. Several significant wildfires in the past few years were started by these human activities. Consider composting or mulching brush and yard waste. Michigan State University County Extension offices, local garden clubs or local waste reduction authorities, are all good sources for information on composting.
“This year is another critical year for us in terms of wildfire suppression,” said DNR Director Rodney Stokes. “Weather conditions, historic low number of active fire officers and more people getting outdoors, all combine to make springtime in Michigan dangerous for wildfires. We need the public’s help to prevent wildfires, and urge everyone to do their part by using extreme caution when burning brush, leaves or enjoying a campfire.”
Kollmeyer reminds residents that burning brush legally in the state of Michigan requires a burn permit. In southern Michigan, burn permits and information on burning can be obtained from local fire departments and township offices.
Spring outdoor activities many times include cooking and campfires. Without proper precaution, fires can escape, causing a wildfire. The following tips can help prevent a fire from escaping:
•    Keep campfires small, and do not leave before they are extinguished.
•    Clear away flammable material surrounding the fire so it cannot ignite dry vegetation.
•    Be sure and douse with plenty of water, stir, and add more water until everything is wet.
•    Turn over unburned pieces and wet the underside.
•    Do not just cover a campfire with soil; it could smolder and remain hot for hours and then come back to life when everyone is gone.
For more information on wildfire prevention in Michigan, go to www.michigan.gov/dnr-fire.

Posted in NewsComments Off

Local Taxidermist places in competition


Local taxidermist Terry Gross of TAGS Taxidermy in Cedar Springs took second place in the professional division for white tail deer at the Ultimate Sport Show in Grand Rapids on March 20, 2011. The show is the Michigan Taxidermist Association competition and display show.
Terry went to the American Institute of Taxidermist School in Wisconsin.
Congratulations, Terry!

Posted in OutdoorsComments Off

Pie in the face for a good cause


Family Fare employee Barb Gross gives store director Don Fetrow a pie-in-the face.

What does a pie in the face and building a house have in common? The employees at the Family Fare in Cedar Springs have the answer to that: $1,671.

That’s how much money they raised recently while selling medallions for Habitat for Humanity. And it was a high enough amount for Store Director Don Fetrow to get a whipped cream pie in the face.

The employees were split into two teams, and the team who raised the most money would get to do the pie in the face. They were challenged to surpass last year’s total, and sell at least $1,000. “They did that the first week,” said Fetrow, who good-naturedly wiped off the whipped cream. “It went well.”

Barb Gross was the team-leader for the winning team, and got to do the honors. She also received $25 for her winning effort.

The money raised will stay in the Kent County area.

Posted in Arts & EntertainmentComments Off

Burnin’ down the house!



By Judy Reed

Six area fire departments got a chance to sharpen their firefighting skills Sunday when the Cedar Springs Fire Department hosted a controlled burn at an old house on Pine Street.

The house, located west of the Wesco Station, was donated by the Verduin family for the practice burn. Cedar Springs Fire Chief Jerry Gross said that one of the owners, Todd VerDuin, a Cedar Springs graduate, is a firefighter in Ionia. “He’s well aware of the help that the practice burn is to local fire departments,” said Gross.

Gross said the 37 firefighters from Cedar Springs, Solon, Sand Lake, Courtland, Algoma, and Alpine participated in the burn of the two-story house and several outbuildings. He noted that one of the things they do inside is note the structural weaknesses of a dwelling and how it changes during a fire. He said that this particular home was an older home, without any fire stops in the walls. “The walls were wide open, like an open shell where the fire runs right through the walls,” he explained. “So it went up pretty quickly.”

They started the burn early Sunday morning about 7:45 a.m. and cleared the scene about 2:30 p.m. “I think it went well,” remarked Gross. “It gave us practice and gave the opportunity for some council members and city employees to see first hand what we do.”

Photos by L. VanderLaan

Posted in Featured, NewsComments (1)