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Algoma Township sign ordinance amendment up for public discussion Oct. 15

Algoma Township sign ordinance amendment up for public discussion Oct. 15

ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich.—An amendment to Algoma Township’s sign ordinance will be up for public discussion later this month.

Township officials say the amendment is meant to make the sign ordinance more uniform and readable, as well as easier to find and understand.  Supervisor Dennis Hoemke says nothing in the ordinance will be drastically changed.

The Algoma Township Planning Commission is expected to vote on the proposed amendment after a public hearing and discussion October 15.  The planning commission meeting begins at 7 p.m.  

Project to bring new homes and jobs to Sparta

Project to bring new homes and jobs to Sparta

SPARTA, Mich. (WZZM) -- There's some good news coming to a Sparta neighborhood. 

A housing project there will create dozens of new homes and jobs.The builder, Rockford based Sable Homes, is celebrating with a groundbreaking at 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

"The neighbors here are really excited to see newer homes that is definitely going to improve their values. This portion of town is one of the nicer sides. It is still very affordable but there is a lot of home ownership pride," said Sable Homes President John Bitely.

Sable Homes will put up 20 new homes in an existing neighborhood located in the downtown area near the intersections of North Union and Grove and North Union and Alma. The new neighborhood, which is the former site of Sparta's Central School, is being called Central Town Square.

Meijer partners with Priority Health to help as open enrollment for health insurance begins

Meijer partners with Priority Health to help as open enrollment for health insurance begins

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Meijer) – Meijer, the Grand Rapids, Mich.-based supercenter chain, announced today that it is partnering with Priority Health, Michigan's leading health plan, to raise awareness and help customers obtain information regarding their options as open enrollment for health insurance begins under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

The Michigan-based entities have unveiled a Health Reform and You! website at http://www.meijer.com/aca and are also providing informational brochures for customers at 203 Meijer pharmacy locations in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.

Apples- from bust to boon

Apples- from bust to boon

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Michigan State University) --- This year’s Michigan apple crop runneth over.

 Last year’s crop was decimated by late frosts, and the feeble harvest yielded a mere 2.7 million bushels for growers. This year, however, is shaping up to be a record year, projected to top 30 million bushels.

“This year is a limb-busting crop; some of our branches are so full with apples that they snap with a little help from the wind,” said Adam Dietrich, Michigan State University graduate and grower at Leo Dietrich and Sons, based in Conklin, Mich. “A single tree from 2013 is producing more than an 8-acre block of trees did in 2012.”

The overabundance of apples is welcomed, but it presents its own set of challenges.

Former school site to be transformed into new neighborhood

Former school site to be transformed into new neighborhood

SPARTA, Mich.—  What was once home to Sparta’s Central School will soon be transformed into a new neighborhood.

Rockford-based Sable Homes will break ground on “Central Town Square” at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, October 2. The development’s name is derived from the former Central School.  The 20-home neighborhood will be located along North Union, between Grove and Alma. 

Construction on Central Town Square is expected to create more than 60 temporary jobs.  Crews will begin by building three new homes immediately.

Tough work: Apple picking is "an art form"

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- We're now about three weeks into the apple harvest, but the Michigan Apple Committee reports labor is down about 20 percent this year and farmers in Alpine Township and Sparta say they're feeling the pain.

But Amy Irish-Brown, a Michigan State University educator, and Gretchen Mensing with the Michigan Apple Committee both say they're confident the state's crop will get picked; growers will just have to work harder to get it done.

But May has his doubts and stands to lose $100,000 this season. He has nine workers but still needs nine more. Many people assume if you need work, than just pick apples.

But the job is more difficult than you may think, so WZZM 13 sent reporter Stacia Kalinoski out into May's orchard to show what the work is really life.

We start with two bins and two different apple pickers. Felipe Jaramillo has already filled his bin three times in 3.5 hours. That's 70 bags of apples.

9-year-old boy injured in bike-truck collision

TYRONE TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WZZM) -- Kent County deputies say a boy suffered facial and head injuries when he collided with a truck.

The accident happened around 6:30 p.m. Monday in the 1500 block of Black Hills South Drive NW in Tyrone Township.

According to deputies, the nine-year-old boy was riding his bike without a helmet in the private development, and failed to stop before wheeling into the path of the truck.

An ambulance crew took the child to Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.  There is no update on his condition.

The accident is still under investigation.