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My Town Sparta: Council divvies up community grants

My Town Sparta: Council divvies up community grants

SPARTA, Mich.—Two organizations helping seniors and parents in need are getting a boost from the Village of Sparta.

During their regular meeting Monday night, council members approved allocating $12,500 of its Community Development Block Grant to Senior Neighbors, which helps 4,000 older Kent County adults remain independent and healthy. Village Manager Julius Suchy says the remaining $4,000 will go to Arbor Circle, which provides mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and family development programs to the community.

My Town: Judge Redford leaving 17th Circuit Court

My Town: Judge Redford leaving 17th Circuit Court

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The search is on for a new judge to preside over Michigan’s 17th Circuit Court in Kent County.

Chief Judge Robert Redford is leaving his post to become the chief legal counsel for the governor’s executive office.  Governor Snyder chose Redford to replace Judge Mike Gadola, who was recently appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals. 

Snyder also named Rep. John Walsh his director of strategy.

“It’s essential to have such talented individuals who have a passion for helping the people of our state and the vision and expertise to craft policy and build relationships that will help us accelerate our state’s dramatic comeback and work to keep moving Michigan forward,” Snyder said. “I know I’ve found the right people in Rep. Walsh and Judge Redford.”

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.

My Town Sparta: Christmas story comes alive at Ballard Church

My Town Sparta: Christmas story comes alive at Ballard Church

SPARTA, Mich.-- The Christmas story is coming alive right outside Ballard Church.

The Church's "Living Nativity" is on display from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. nightly through Wednesday, Dec. 24.  The nativity is complete with the church's own version of the holy family, shepherds, live animals, wise men and more.

Ballard Church of Christ is located at 1633 10 Mile Road near Sparta.  For more information, call (616) 887-7311 or visit www.ballardcrc.org.

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.

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: Former village clerk retires from retirement

My Town Sparta: Former village clerk retires from retirement

SPARTA, Mich.— Greta Heugel just can’t quit working.

The 90-year-old, who retired from her position as village clerk in May, is back at it—this time as Sparta’s deputy clerk.  Village Clerk Pam Buchanan says Heugel’s role is to fill in for her, recording meetings Buchanan cannot attend.  It’s a role-switch inside the clerk’s office; Buchanan previously served as deputy clerk under Heugel. 

Heugel began serving as village clerk at 72, an age when most people have already retired.

"I have retired more than once. I retired first at 63, but it didn't stick," Heugel told WZZM 13 earlier this year.

MORE: Sparta village clerk decides to retire at 90

Buchanan was officially sworn in as village clerk last month.  As a formality, the Village passed a resolution appointing her to the position Monday night.