Our network

News

My Town: Thirteen local lawmakers post perfect voting record for 2014

My Town: Thirteen local lawmakers post perfect voting record for 2014

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Mark Jansen tops the list of West Michigan lawmakers who missed the most votes this year, according to the Missed Votes Report compiled by Jack McHugh, editor of MichiganVotes.org.

Jansen missed 46 votes between January and December of this year. The District 28 Republican represents a large portion of Kent County, including Ada, Algoma, Alpine, Cannon, Courtland, Grand Rapids and Plainfield townships, as well as East Grand Rapids, Rockford, Walker and Wyoming.

State Rep. Jon Bumstead, who represents Newaygo, Lake and Oceana counties, had the most missed votes among West Michigan lawmakers in the House, with 21 this year.  

Three senators and three representatives missed 50 or more votes this year.  The top offenders were Rep. John Olumba of Detroit, with 233 missed votes, and Sen. Bert Johnson of Detroit, with 187 missed votes.

Fire put out at Cascade Die Casting in Sparta


SPARTA, Mich. (WZZM) -- Firefighters have responded to flames at a Sparta business.

The flames at Cascade Die Casting Group, Inc., 9983 Sparta Ave., were reported around 4pm Thursday, when a dust collector caught fire and workers evacuated.

Multiple fire departments were dispatched to the scene, but by about 4:15pm some were called off as firefighters already on the scene made progress against the flames.

Authorities closed Sparta Ave. north of M-37 while fighting the fire. By 4:30pm, the northbound side of the road was open again. At that point, firefighters said the fire was out and they were checking for hot spots. Workers also returned to their jobs. Sparta Ave. is entirely open again at this point.

My Town: Algoma Township Supervisor announces resignation

My Town: Algoma Township Supervisor announces resignation

ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Algoma Township officials will soon begin their search for a new township supervisor.

 

Supervisor Dennis Hoemke submitted his letter of resignation to the board earlier this month.  He plans to retire March 31, 2015.  

 

The Township Board voted to wait until its January meeting to decide how to appoint a new supervisor.  Hoemke is recommending Deputy Supervisor/Board Trustee Nancy Clary take over the post, and the board then appoint someone to fill her current office.  All township positions would then be up for re-election during the general election in 2016.

Kent ISD superintendent announces retirement

Kent ISD superintendent announces retirement


GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)—After more than three decades helping to educate hundreds of thousands of children, the superintendent of Kent Intermediate School District is leaving his post.

Tuesday, Kevin Konarska announced his plans to retire at the end of the school year. Konarska has worked for Kent ISD for nine years, helping the agency navigate through the Great Recession and deep funding cuts by the state, all while opening new education programs and a laboratory school.

"It will be very hard to see Kevin leave," Board President Claudia Bajema said in a news release to WZZM 13. "He has made such a difference in the schools we serve and in the opportunities available to the more than 100,000 students throughout our service region."

My Town Sparta: Newly-approved budget includes funding for village upgrades

My Town Sparta: Newly-approved budget includes funding for village upgrades

SPARTA, Mich.—While the federal government is trying once again to beat the clock and come up with a budget, the Village of Sparta already has its financial plan in place.

Village council members this week approved the budget for the 2015 fiscal year.  The budget includes funding for capital projects, including $15,000 to reface the band shell at Rogers Park, $8,000 for a new village website, $40,000 to upgrade traffic signals at W. Gardner Street and S. State Street, and $45,000 for facade improvements downtown.

Village Manager Julius Suchy expects the general fund to bring in approximately $1.6 million in revenue during the 2015 fiscal year, with property taxes slightly higher than the previous year and state revenue sharing increasing approximately 2.7 percent. Lower health care costs for employees and a bond that’s been paid off will also help keep the village avoid the red ink.  

My Town Sparta: Eyesores eliminated for restaurant's expansion

My Town Sparta: Eyesores eliminated for restaurant's expansion

SPARTA, Mich.-- An eyesore in downtown Sparta is no longer.

Crews are demolishing two dilapidated buildings on East Division Street to make room for the expansion of Downtown Trini's and Margarita Joe's Restaurant.  The project includes adding outdoor patio seating, a new fascade, a larger kitchen and restroom and more indoor seating.  The restaurant will retain its Mexican fiesta vibe.

“We’ve been honored to be part of the Sparta community for 20 years.  It’s been an opportunity and a blessing and we are looking forward to many more,” said brothers Joe and Trini Paiz, who own the restaurant.   

My Town Sparta: Village debates future of rodeo grounds

My Town Sparta: Village debates future of rodeo grounds

SPARTA, Mich.—Village council members are trying to determine the future of the Sparta Rodeo grounds.

Village Manager Julius Suchy says the village bought the land last year for $755,000.  Since then, village officials have been trying to figure out what to do with the 122 acres. In August, the village rented out the property to the organizers of Sparta Rodeo;  a model plane club has also been using the property.

Suchy says the council wants to consider commercial and industrial development options for the land. Suchy also plans to bring in two real estate representatives to present proposals for putting the property on the market.