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Tag Archive | "Oakfield Township"

Four townships partner on 16 Mile Road construction


16 Mile Road, west of Keller Avenue: Two miles of newly constructed road, from Pine Lake Avenue to Keller Avenue. The third mile, between Keller Avenue and Harvard Avenue, will be complete in October 2018.

Where four townships meet: 16 Mile Road and Keller Avenue. Pictured (left to right) Patrick Malone, Commissioner, KCRC; John Wood, Trustee, Spencer; Sharon Fase, Trustee, Spencer; Lisa Wright, Clerk, Spencer; Catherine Knapp, Deputy Treasurer, Spencer; Jeff Knapp, Supervisor, Spencer; Mike Krygier, Supervisor, Courtland; Tom Hoskins, Resident, Courtland; Laura Hoffman, Clerk, Nelson; Maureen Mahoney, Trustee, Nelson; Robyn Britton, Supervisor, Nelson; Jerry Byrne, Deputy Managing Director, KCRC.

By Maura Lamoreaux, Kent County Road Commission

The Kent County Road Commission’s multi-year, three-mile-long, gravel-to-pavement construction project on 16 Mile Road, from Pine Lake Avenue to Harvard Avenue, readies for completion this summer. This is largely due to the collaborative effort among the townships of Courtland, Oakfield, Nelson and Spencer. The funding needed to transform the three miles of gravel road to pavement required a united effort from these neighboring communities because, as a borderline road, 16 Mile Road falls within each of the townships, which sit to its north and south.  

Generally, the financing of a borderline road improvement project can be tricky to secure because of the road’s physical divide among townships. Agreements made by townships prior to January 1931 sought to alleviate this type of confusion by assigning construction—and therefore, financial—responsibilities to one of the adjoining townships. As per the agreement, the identified township would be responsible for 100 percent of the local share of a borderline road project despite two townships sharing the border.

Assuming full responsibility for the local share of a road project, for which only half of the road resides in the township’s own jurisdiction, can be a tough sell. Given budgetary constraints, why finance a borderline road project when another improvement project resides fully within the township’s limits? Conversely, why would a township that is not assigned construction responsibility feel compelled to support a borderline road project financially?

In the case of 16 Mile Road, the road’s high-volume use helped to sway the four townships to partner in financing the three miles of work, despite the recorded assignment of construction responsibility. Ultimately, each township decided that the project was in their residents’ best interest because it provided a new, and in-demand, pavement-to-pavement connection.

“The traffic counts helped demonstrate how important 16 Mile was to the residents who live in this area. Once the project was considered a win for everyone, it became a matter of the townships discussing how to collaborate financially in order to complete construction,” said Jerry Byrne, KCRC’s Deputy Managing Director of Operations.

The funding of local road projects like 16 Mile Road is cost shared between the township and KCRC. For gravel-to-pavement construction, this equates to 45 percent of the funding coming from the road commission, 55 percent from the township. 

Although construction started on the first mile of the 16 Mile Road project in 2015, the conversation about the project began between KCRC and township officials in 2011. After these initial discussions, representatives from KCRC hosted multiple informational meetings for township residents, during which questions could be raised and issues discussed.

“That first meeting, we packed the house, and it was in January with really bad weather! So that was a good sign,” said Courtland Township resident Tom Hoskins, who lives on 16 Mile Road. 

Public Hearings held by KCRC’s Board then followed, preceding each mile of construction. Year after year, an overwhelming number of residents demonstrated their support by attending the hearings or writing to the Board in advance of the vote, to urge the commissioners’ approval.

“One of our township officials joked that the road commission’s parking lot was so full for the meeting, he couldn’t find a space,” said Hoskins.

In 2015, the first mile of the project began between Pine Lake Avenue and Tisdel Avenue, and the second mile, between Tisdel Avenue and Keller Avenue, followed in 2016. The local share of the two-mile stretch was funded by its bordering townships, Courtland and Nelson. In 2018, construction began on the final mile of the project, between Keller Avenue and Harvard Avenue, with the local share funded by the bordering townships of Oakfield and Spencer.

“We are happy to see the entire stretch completed and thank everyone for the cooperation,” said Greg Dean, Oakfield Township Supervisor.

“As we enter the third and final phase of this joint project, I have enjoyed the cooperative spirit of Nelson, Courtland and Oakfield Townships in making this project reality. A special thank you to the road commission for keeping us well informed and to the residents for their patience in enduring the construction activity,” said Jeff Knapp, Spencer Township Supervisor.
Resident support remains high, exemplified by the community-wide street parties thrown after each mile is completed. 

 “We’re very happy,” said Hoskins. “Some people have even purchased new cars!”

“This project has become a labor of love for each of the communities, and it exemplifies what can be accomplished when the road commission and townships partner and collaborate for the benefit of the residents we serve,” said Steve Warren, KCRC’s Managing Director. 

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Fire guts garage, roof in Oakfield Township


This photo shows the garage fully involved. Photo by Oliver Johnson.

By Judy Reed

A battery charger attached to a truck was reportedly the cause of a fire that cost an Oakfield Township family their home last weekend. 

According to Oakfield Township Fire Chief Sam Peterson, two people were eating dinner Saturday evening at their home at 12806 Podunk Avenue, just north of McClain, when they heard an explosion. “They looked outside but didn’t see anything, and thought maybe it was the neighbors shooting off firecrackers. Then later they heard a second explosion, and looked out and saw the garage fully involved,” explained Peterson.

Oakfield Fire Department was dispatched to the home at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 31, with mutual aid from Spencer Township. They also called on Grattan and Courtland Township Fire to assist.

When they arrived, Peterson said the garage was fully involved, and the fire had gotten into the roof structure of the house as well. “We were able to keep it in the roof area of the house, but the rest of house had smoke and water damage from us trying to get the fire in the roof out,” he said.

He estimated about $300,000 worth of damage to the structure and contents. 

Their investigation showed that a battery charger attached to a truck in the garage had sparked, setting off the explosion.

The Nummer family escaped safely with their dog. Their children were not home at the time.

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Fire burns home in Oakfield Township


This home on Morgan Mills Rd in Oakfield Township was the scene of a fire Monday, October 2. Post photo by Judy Reed.

by Judy Reed

A 13-year-old Oakfield Township youth called 911 Monday after a fire started on his home’s back deck.

According to Oakfield Fire Chief Sam Peterson, they were dispatched at 3:31 p.m. on Monday, October 2, to 12700 Morgan Mills Rd, just south of MacClain, with automatic aid from Spencer Township.

Peterson said that when they arrived, flames were coming up the back of the house and across the roof. The boy was outside but the family’s cat was still inside, which a firefighter carried to safety.

Three other fire departments were also called in to help Oakfield and Spencer fight the blaze: Grattan, Courtland, and Greenville.

“We had it out by the hour mark on the radio,” said Peterson, “and we cleared about 7:14 p.m.”

Five fire departments battled the blaze at a home on Morgan Mills Rd Monday. Post photo by Judy Reed.

The home, which belongs to the Beyer family, is a bi-level with vaulted ceilings. Peterson said those types of ceilings aren’t great in a fire. “It just took the roof, and the rear wall is pretty damaged,” he said, with water and smoke damage throughout. He noted that it was probably partially savable, and the homeowners do have insurance.

The cause of the fire is not yet determined, and a fire investigator will be visiting to help determine the cause.

Post photo by Judy Reed.

Firefighters on the scene of a fire on Morgan Mills Rd. Post photo b Judy Reed.

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Sheriff Department crime stats


Kent-County-Sheriff-logo

The Kent County Sheriff Department has issued their crime statistics for the year for the cities and townships they patrol.  Over the next few weeks, we will be sharing some of those statistics. Below are some statistics from three of the cities/townships in our area.

Algoma Township: Population: 9,932. Had 1,493 dispatched calls, 320 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for broadcast to area police (832); suspicious conditions/noise/subject (193); assists (189); traffic crash-property damage (180) and alarms (160). The top five criminal offenses were obstructing justice (29); domestic simple assault (25); intimidation/stalking (25); driving law violations (23); OUIL or OUID (20). The highest number of calls occur on Friday; the peak time of day is 5 p.m. The hotspots for service calls are areas of US131.

Courtland Township: Population: 7,678. Had 829 dispatched calls, 143 traffic stops. The top five dispatched calls were for suspicious condition/noise/subject (104); assists (93); traffic crash-property damage (65); alarms (60); broadcasts (38).  The top five criminal offenses: domestic simple assault (16); obstructing justice (16); intimidation/stalking (14); damage to property (10); driving law violations (10). The highest number of calls occurs on Monday, with 9 p.m. being the peak time for calls. The hotspot for service calls is in the area around Peninsula, Eva, Orun and 11 Mile Rd.

Oakfield Township: Population 5,782. Had 707 dispatched calls, 91 traffic stops.

The top five dispatched calls were for assists (72); suspicious condition/noise/subject (62); alarms (48); domestic argument-no assault (45); traffic crash-property damage (39). The top five criminal offenses were domestic simple assault (17); violation of controlled substance (14); OUIL or OUID (10); intimidation/stalking (9). The highest number of calls occurs on Saturday, with 4-5 p.m. being the peak time of day. The hotspot for calls is in the area surrounding 14 Mile, Old 14 Mile and Lincoln Lake.

Next week we’ll review Spencer, Sparta, and Tyrone Townships.

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One injured in five-car crash


Photo from WOODTV.com

Photo from WOODTV.com

Photo from WOODTV.com

Photo from WOODTV.com

A five-car crash in Oakfield Township Sunday evening reportedly sent one person to the hospital.

The crash occurred around 8:40 p.m. Sunday evening, on 14 Mile Road, near Podunk. The Oakfield Fire Department told WOODTV that the initial report was that one of the drivers crossed the centerline.

One person was extricated from a vehicle and sent to the hospital. The road was closed in both directions while crews cleaned up. It reopened around 10:30 p.m.

No other information was available at press time.

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Deputy’s car hit by impaired driver


 

A Kent County Sheriff Deputy was investigating a hit and run in Oakfield Township when his car was struck by another vehicle on Sunday, November 20.

The deputy, who was not named, was investigating a hit and run on Podunk, south of 14 Mile about 3:54 a.m. He was seated in his patrol car, a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, when a 2005 Buick Lacrosse headed southbound ran the stop sign and struck the deputy’s vehicle.

The was transported to Spectrum Butterworth by Rockford Ambulance with non-life threatening injuries and released a short time later.

The driver of the Lacrosse, a 20-year-old Belding man, was also transported by Rockford Ambulance to Butterworth with non-life threatening injuries.

Alcohol and speed are believed to be factors in the crash.

The crash is under investigation by the Michigan State Police.

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Fire sends nine to hospital


A firefighter breaks a window at the scene of a fire at the corner of 14 Mile and Podunk, in Oakfield Township, on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Photo by J. Reed.

A firefighter breaks a window at the scene of a fire at the corner of 14 Mile and Podunk, in Oakfield Township, on Tuesday, July 19, 2016. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Firefighters at the scene of a fire on 14 Mile and Podunk on July 19, 2016. Photo by J. Reed.

Firefighters at the scene of a fire on 14 Mile and Podunk on July 19, 2016. Photo by J. Reed.

A fire that broke out in an Oakfield Township home Tuesday morning sent nine people to the hospital, including six children.

Fire departments were dispatched at 10:34 a.m. July 19, to a house on the northwest corner of 14 Mile and Podunk. According to Carl Rood, a witness at the scene, he was in the basement when he heard people hollering. But he said he had his music on, and it wasn’t unusual for the kids to be hollering. A few minutes later, his dad, Don Rood, was yelling at him through his window that the house was on fire. When he got outside, he saw several of the children on the roof.

“I had to get a ladder to help them down,” said Rood, who also said that one of them jumped out the window. He said that some passersby also stopped to help.

According to Oakfield Deputy Fire Chief Trachet, when they arrived on scene some of the children were on the roof above the porch on the west side of the house. “The bedroom window opened above it. We were setting up to push water out while they were getting the kids down,” he said.

Trachet explained that the nine people were sent to the hospital to be checked out because they were covered in soot, which carries carcinogens. “We just wanted them to get checked out,” he said.

Trachet also said that one of the passersby went above and beyond the call of duty when she helped out the family. “One young lady, Jennifer Brunges, was key in getting people out. She carried one of the homeowners out, kept the children safe, washed their faces, and even gave the ambulance two car seats from her own car. She then followed them down to the hospital. That young lady was a hero, and I don’t use that word too often,” remarked Trachet. “She saw smoke, saw people trying to get down, and went to help. Someone who is willing to follow the ambulance down to the hospital to make sure they are all ok is somebody special.”

Besides Oakfield, Courtland, Spencer, Montcalm, Cannon, Algoma, and Grattan Township Fire Departments were all on scene to fight the fire. The Kent County Sheriff Department was also on scene to assist.

Trachet explained that there were so many fire departments on scene because during the day volunteer firefighters are working day jobs. “It’s tough. Each department came with two or three firefighters,” he remarked.

The firefighters had the fire extinguished within about 80 to 85 minutes, but stayed on scene for several hours to make sure there were no hot spots. They cleared the scene at 3:53 p.m.

Trachet said the damage to the home was extensive.

While they have some preliminary ideas on how and where the fire started, Trachet noted that it’s still under investigation. A state investigator from the Michigan State Police Fire Marshal’s office will be investigating the fire this week.

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Two crashes in Oakfield Township


 

One involved firefighter from out of county department

There were two crashes in Oakfield Township, in the early morning hours of Thursday, July 7, and the second crash involved a firefighter from an out of county department that had self-dispatched to the first scene.

According to the Michigan State Police and Oakfield Fire Department Chief Sam Peterson, the first crash occurred at 1:15 a.m. at 14 Mile and Wabasis. Jennifer Cribs, 22, of Aurora, Colorado, was northbound on Wabasis, when she failed to stop at the stop sign at 14 Mile and was struck by an eastbound pickup truck driven by Daniel Heath, 30, of Greenville.

The woman was flown to Butterworth Hospital by AeroMed with serious injuries, and the man was sent to the hospital by ambulance.

While both Oakfield and Spencer Township Fire worked on the first scene, another crash report came in at 2:30 a.m. and involved a firefighter west of the scene of the first accident, in front of the Halfway Restaurant.

Police said that Joshua Crandall, 35, of Greenville, was driving eastbound on 14 Mile, and hit an unattended firefighter’s vehicle that was blocking eastbound traffic on 14 Mile, in front of the Halfway Restaurant. Police said that Crandall suffered minor injuries, and that alcohol was involved.

However, according to Oakfield Chief Sam Peterson, when they and Spencer Township arrived on scene, they found that the firefighter was not one of theirs. “It was discovered that the firefighter was from an out of county department, and had self-dispatched to the scene, skirting the incident command system,” said Peterson. “He was in a spot where we would not have had a (road) closure, and he was not visible by our command staff or working staff. Both departments worked quickly, effectively, and safely to secure both scenes, and treat patients at both scenes until care could be turned over to advanced life support.”

“At Oakfield Township Fire Department we work to keep scenes safe and patients safe and it is important to be vigilant around emergency scenes,” continued Peterson. “It also is important to know that we have the training and experience to be able to do so in a controlled and safe manner, and self-dispatching is never safe, as well as goes against incident command protocols. Here at Oakfield Township Fire we work hard to keep our township safe and will continue to do so. We have a great team that is ready to serve and protect the community 24 hours a day, and we will not let this incident set us back as a department.”

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Fire destroys family home


N-Fire-Oakfield

This home caught fire Saturday morning. Photo from woodtv.com

 

Lightning struck an Oakfield Township home Saturday morning, July 18, sparking a blaze that destroyed the home.

The fire occurred shortly before 12 p.m. on Crawford Lake Trail, in the area of Wabasis and 15 Mile.

The homeowners, Craig and Lori Reppert were not there at the time, but reportedly received a call from a neighbor letting them know. A kitten died in the fire.

The family is currently staying in a hotel. A Gofundme page has been set up for them. If you’d like to help, you can visit it at: http://www.gofundme.com/reppertvanderslik.

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Gowen woman dies in accident


 

 

Police identified icy road conditions as a factor in a car accident that killed a Gowen woman Sunday.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they were called to the scene of a one-car accident on Sunday, January 18, in Oakfield Township. Police determined that Debbie Lee Rauch, 56, of Gowen, was traveling southbound on Lincoln Lake, about 7:42 a.m., in a Jeep Wrangler, when she attempted to pass another vehicle. She then lost control of the Jeep, which left the road and struck a tree. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police determined the icy roads were a factor and alcohol was not involved.

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