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Volunteers brave the rain to help clean up the Rogue River

Volunteers brave the rain to help clean up the Rogue River

ROCKFORD, Mich.—Organizers of this year’s Rogue River cleanup say the effort was a success.

Despite the rain, more than 65 volunteers helped clear litter from a six mile stretch of the river.  Some team members canoed and kayaked on the river, screening for waste.  Others walked along the riverbank, picking up litter.

Organizers say some of the most interesting items volunteers dredged up included an old pipe and a deck that had been washed downstream.  They also found lots of fishing line, cigarette butts and plastic wrappers.

The cleanup was organized by the Kent Conservation District and Trout Unlimited, as part of the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative.  The Department of Environmental Quality funded the effort.   The City of Rockford, AAA Canoe Rental, Family Fare, Rockford Brewing Company and Rogue River rentals all donated items or services toward the event.

Calling all writers: Write Michigan Short Story Contest returns

Calling all writers: Write Michigan Short Story Contest returns
A competition that attracted nearly 600 Michigan writers in its inaugural year last year is underway.

The second annual Write Michigan Short Story Contest kicked off September 3.  Organizers have added a third age category to the contest, for writers 11 years and under.  The two other age groups are 12-17 and 18 and up.

Stories must be 3,000 words or less.   The entry deadline is November 20, 2013.   The entry fee is $10 for adults; children 17 and under are free.  The contest is open to Michigan residents only and all entries must be submitted online.  A public vote will decide the winner of the Readers’ Choice award; a panel of judges will pick the Judges’ Choice award recipient.   A public and panel vote will whittle down the contest to the top ten semi-finalists.  The winner in each age category will take home a $250 cash prize.

Three-county campaign to Take the Stairs kicks off September 3

Three-county campaign to Take the Stairs kicks off September 3

Organizations in Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon counties are teaming up this week to encourage people to take the stairs.

Take the Stairs Week runs September 3 through September 6.  The three-day campaign is meant to encourage people to become more physically active while saving energy.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, graphic designs promoting healthy behavior have been shown to motivate stair users; that’s why Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University created images for this campaign.  Free color signs are available at the Heart of West Michigan United Way for businesses and organizations with escalators or elevators.

Participating agencies include:

The American Institute of Architects, Grand Rapids Chapte

Officials break ground on new senior facility

Officials break ground on new senior facility

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—  A new senior living facility in Plainfield Township is taking shape.

Township leaders joined project managers Monday, August 19 to break ground on Boulder Creek Assisted Living.  The facility, located at 6070 Northland Dr.,  will feature 30 assisted living suites and 14 memory care suites. 

The 40,000 square foot facility is expected to open the summer of 2014.

Plainfield Township approves roadway name change

Plainfield Township approves roadway name change

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—A name change is in store for a Plainfield Township roadway.

During its regular meeting August 19, the Plainfield Township Board approved changing Richton Avenue NE  to Vista Springs Avenue NE, reflecting the fact that the roadway dead ends at Vista Springs-Northview Woods.  Van Andel Flikkema Chrysler Jeep, which is located on Richton Avenue NE, previously gave the name-change its blessing.

During Monday’s meeting, the township board also approved zoning for the expansion of Vista Springs-Northview Woods.  The addition to the facility’s memory care building will include 28-rooms containing 31 beds.

Plainfield Township approves social media moratorium

Plainfield Township approves social media moratorium

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.-- Plainfield Township's Facebook pages are going quiet, as the township develops guidelines for how social media should be used by its officials.

The township board Tuesday approved a temporary moratorium on township social media, after the township's technology committee voiced concern about a lack of policy regulating social media use and expectations.

Township Supervisor Jay Spencer says he hopes to have the township pages active again by the end of the year.

On Tuesday, the township board also approved allocating $15,000 of the budget for buying and installing spam filtering software, after an email contaning a virus blacklisted outgoing emails by township officials.

Funding deadline nears for communities impacted by flooding

Funding deadline nears for communities impacted by flooding

Communities impacted by the floods in April have less than a week to file their request for federal disaster money. 

In June, President Obama declared a major disaster in 16 Michigan counties, including Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon and Newaygo. The Small Business Association also issued a disaster declaration this summer.  Both declarations freed up federal assistance for homeowners, local governments and certain non-profits who were forced to clean up.  Homeowners and businesses had until Monday, August 12 to apply for assistance; city officials have until August 17.

The flooding caused $10 million in damage in Kent County alone.  Federal funding would help pay for debris removal and repairs to public property, roads and bridges.