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Tag Archive | "Rob VerHeulen"

Kent County getting additional money for road repairs

No tax or fee increases required for extra funding

 Cedar Springs will be one of several cities and villages receiving more funding for road repairs.

According to Rep. Rob VerHeulen’s office, Kent County—along with many of its local communities—will receive more money than previously expected for road repairs through a new state law.

The additional money comes without raising taxes or fees.

“Roads in many areas of Michigan obviously need a lot of work, especially with all of the potholes appearing after the freeze-and-thaw season,” VerHeulen said after the funding was signed into law this week. “More help is on the way with this extra money.”

An additional $175 million in transportation funding will be allocated statewide on top of what was previously expected. Much of the money is headed directly to counties, cities and villages for road preservation and construction.

Kent County’s road commission will get an estimated $3.34 million in additional funds. Cities and villages receive extra money on top of that including Casnovia ($3,938), Cedar Springs ($23,936), Grandville ($113,579), Kent City ($8,461), Rockford ($35,798), Sparta $26,939) and Walker ($180,740).

The money is already available because various state departments did not spend as much as originally projected during a previous budget cycle. That’s why no budget cuts or additional fees or taxes are required for the investment.

The extra money comes in addition to record-level road funding provided by previous long-term reforms. The state also has strengthened its warranty system designed to make sure new and refurbished roads will last longer.

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March was National Reading Month

Second grade students Issabell Barr and Leda Gitchel reading with flashlights during Camp Out Day.

Second grade students Issabell Barr and Leda Gitchel reading with flashlights during Camp Out Day.

In the CTA Elementary, we celebrated reading all month long in March! Our celebrations included:  dressing up for Beach Day, “camping out” in our classrooms, having special visitors share their favorite books, and having a grand Battle of the Books showdown for students in grades third through sixth!

Beach Day occurred on the wettest day of the month, so all activities were forced indoors. Students took it all in stride though and still donned their sunglasses while reading their favorite books on beach towels. We at CTA don’t allow a little rain to bring us down!

The Hard Covers team (L to R):  Sage Sidlauskas, Jack Fulkerson, Kate Norman (5th Grade teacher), Kylee Turoski, Austin Fisk and Ethan Slock.

The Hard Covers team (L to R): Sage Sidlauskas, Jack Fulkerson, Kate Norman (5th Grade teacher), Kylee Turoski, Austin Fisk and Ethan Slock.

Camp Out day was a very cool day, too! We had many students bring in their favorite camp-out flashlight to read as though we were under the stars! Classrooms were pitch-black dark, except for the glowing of the flashlights. You could hear a pin drop throughout the halls except for an occasional “This is so cool!”

We had a few very special visitors throughout the month of March. On March 11, we had the Red Flannel Queen and Court come and read their favorite story books. Then, on March 25, the very busy State Representative Rob VerHeulen visited our school to share one of his favorite books, Duck for President!, with the students. Thank you Representative VerHeulen for your very informative visit!

State Representative Rob VerHeulen read to Kindergarten and First grade students during National Reading Month.

State Representative Rob VerHeulen read to Kindergarten and First grade students during National Reading Month.

As the end of National Reading Month drew to a close, we celebrated by having a Battle of a Books competition. Mrs. Norman, the fifth grade teacher at CTA, worked endlessly to make the battle a huge success. Five teams – The Book Hoarders, The Readinators, The Book Wizards, The Hard Covers, and The Book Dominators – went head-to-head to answer really tough questions about pre-selected books. The battle lasted seven rounds and ended with a tie breaking question, pushing The Hard Covers forward with the win; The Book Dominators came away with the second place win!

It was another great Reading Month at CTA! We can’t wait to see what next year’s celebration brings.

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Ten-foot wooden horse spotted downtown

This carved wooden horse made a pit-stop at the Post Friday after leaving Cedar Café. Post photo by J. Reed.

This carved wooden horse made a pit-stop at the Post Friday after leaving Cedar Café. Post photo by J. Reed.

If you drove by the corner of Main and Elm Street last Friday, December 5, and thought you saw a 10-foot tall wooden horse, it wasn’t your imagination.

The carved wooden horse is a mascot of the “Citizen Cavalry,” rallying against any attempt by state legislators to alter the term limits voters enacted in 1992.

“It takes a big horse to scare away lame ducks,” said Scott Tillman, state coordinator for Don’t Touch Term Limits! “We’ve formed a citizen cavalry to remind politicians like Rob VerHeulen and Lisa Lyons that they answer to the people on term limits, not the other way around. Term limits were introduced by citizens not politicians. It’s time these two representatives got on the record, letting the people of their districts know if they plan to vote against the citizens and lengthen their own term limits.”

The ten-foot horse made stops in Rockford, Cedar Springs, and Greenville.

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Change in VerHeulen’s September office hours



State Rep. Rob VerHeulen, R-Walker, invites constituents to meet for office hours in Sparta and Walker during September. Please note there is a change in when he will hold office hours in Sparta.

Office hours will take place:

• In Sparta on Friday, Sept. 12 at Maxine’s Family Restaurant located at 370 N. State St., from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

• In Walker on Saturday, Sept. 27 at Pop’s Restaurant located at 1339 Walker Village Dr. NW, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

“Meeting with residents during office hours is a great opportunity to be able to bring local thoughts and opinions with me to Lansing,” said VerHeulen. “Being able to talk one on one with residents gives me insight on what residents would like to see for the future of our state.”

If residents are unable to attend Rep. VerHeulen’s office hours, feel free to contact his Lansing office at (517) 373-8900 or email RobVerHeulen@house.mi.gov.


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Investing in roads

An investment we cannot afford to ignore 


Rob VerHeulen

Rob VerHeulen

By state Rep. Rob VerHeulen, 74th Distrtict

In his 2014 State of the State address, Gov. Rick Snyder laid out an impressive list of accomplishments made over the last three years. I share his enthusiasm and have supported many of his measures since I took office just over a year ago. However, one of his priorities remains unfinished and must be addressed: the condition of our roads.

A national transportation research group, TRIP, recently released a new study which placed the cost of deficient roads at $7.7 billion annually. The costs result from higher operating costs, traffic crashes, congestion and safety issues. The study also noted nearly 27 percent of Michigan bridges show significant deterioration or are currently not meeting safety standards.

According to the study, the average driver in Grand Rapids pays $327 per year in additional maintenance costs from tire alignments, flat tires, bent wheels or auto crashes. Virtually every expert agrees that failure to preserve our roads will lead to much higher costs in the future. Gov. Snyder uses the example of oil; you might be able to skip an occasional oil change without damage, but if you fail to perform routine maintenance on your vehicle the ultimate cost will be much higher.

The condition of our roads will also impact our ability to attract and retain jobs in Michigan. A recent survey of Michigan businesses suggest that employers look at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to grow their business. If we fail to address this problem soon, we may see Michigan’s best in the nation job growth rate drop as employers look elsewhere.

Michigan invests less per capita in its roads than its neighbors. The per capita investment in our roads is $174 per person compared to $187 in Indiana, $231 in Wisconsin, and $235 in Ohio and Illinois. Part of the lack of funding is that our 19 cent per gallon gas tax does not provide the revenue that it did historically. This tax is an excise tax based on each gallon of gas sold and is not based on the price of gas. Revenue from the gas tax peaked in 2001-2002 and has declined

each year thereafter. While it is a good thing that we are consuming less fuel due to increased fuel efficiency, increased use of public transit and other factors, this has created a funding issue for our roads.

In the current fiscal year, the Legislature was able to identify more than $250 million in increased investment from the General Fund. Last month the Michigan Department of Transportation announced road projects across the state. With the economy recovering and a “surplus” predicted for the next fiscal year, I am hopeful that we will be able to invest an even greater amount in our roads. However, it is estimated that we need to invest an excess of $1 billion to maintain our roads.

Michigan has many competing interests for its limited funds. Education, human services, community health, corrections, and natural resources are all important and compete for state appropriations. All benefit from making road funding a priority and one that returns value. Moody’s recently suggested that every additional dollar spent on infrastructure generates a $1.44 increase in gross domestic product.

When I met with groups of constituents I took a poll on how many believe we need to invest more in roads. The overwhelming majority say invest more. The challenge comes in finding the best method to fund our roads over the next decade and beyond. I will continue to advocate for making road funding a top priority and encourage all Michiganders to remind me and my colleagues that roads impact everyone in Michigan and are critical to our future success.

The 74th District encompasses the cities of Walker, Grandville, Rockford and Cedar Springs, as well as Solon, Tyrone, Sparta, Algoma and Alpine townships.

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Rep. VerHeulen to hold office hours in Sparta

State Rep. Rob VerHeulen, R-Walker, announced he will be available to meet with constituents for office hours in November.

Office hours will take place in Grandville on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Rainbow Grill, 4158 Chicago Dr. SW, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and in Sparta on Saturday, Nov. 23 at Maxine’s Family Restaurant, 370 N State St. from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

“I always look forward to my office hours each month,” VerHeulen said. “It gives me an opportunity to leave the office and meet residents in person.”

If residents are unable to attend Rep. VerHeulen’s office hours, feel free to contact his Lansing office for more information at (517) 373-8900 or email RobVerHeulen@house.mi.gov.

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