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Bring your prized buck to Sparta's inaugural Buck Pole Nov. 16

Bring your prized buck to Sparta's inaugural Buck Pole Nov. 16

SPARTA, Mich.—An event celebrating hunting will make its debut in downtown Sparta Saturday, November 16.

Hunters are invited to bring their bucks for judging during the inaugural Buck Pole, which starts at 5 p.m. The entry fee is $10 and each buck will be judged based on weight, inside measurement and number of points. The winners will be announced at 8 p.m.  The top prizes include a taxidermy mounting package, valued at $500 and a $100 gift card to Sparta Sport Shop. There will also be an Antler Shed Contest, with prizes going to the top entries.

The Buck Pole will also feature a variety of family friendly events, including venison chili tasting, children’s activities and a community campfire. Visitors are encouraged to dress up in their favorite camouflage or blaze orange outfit. 

Kent County honors cleanest restaurants with Food Safety Awards

Kent County honors cleanest restaurants with Food Safety Awards

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Where are the safest places to eat in Kent County?

The county health department is answering that question with the 2013 Food Safety Awards.   The agency whittled down the list of 1,654 eligible restaurants to just 269 facilities, based on routine restaurant and food service inspections over the past year.  Under the county’s criteria, restaurants that earn the award must have a certified food safety manager, no confirmed violations of the Michigan Smoke Free Law and no confirmed foodborne illness outbreaks during the year.

Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall now moves library visitors

Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall now moves library visitors

SPARTA, Mich.—The Vietnam Memorial Moving Wall has left Sparta, but its memories remain.

Seven photographers with the Sparta Camera Club captured images of the wall as it visited the village August 29 through September 2.  The group then put those photos together for a display now open to the public at the Sparta Carnegie Township Library.

The collection of 46 images is posted on the library’s east wall.  Camera Club President Brenda Christensen says the display will likely remain up through the end of the month.  She says the group is also planning to do something special with the display for local veterans.

Visitors can look through the images during the library’s regular business hours, which are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Crews rush to finish Rogers Park parking lot before winter

Crews rush to finish Rogers Park parking lot before winter

SPARTA, Mich.—A new parking lot is taking shape at Rogers Park. 

Construction crews are rushing to finish the lot along State Street before winter sets in.  .  Earlier this week, Downtown Development Authority Director Elizabeth Morse said the project is about half-way finished. Workers still need to pour the blacktop.

Before construction on the parking lot could start, village officials had to pass a resolution, since State Street is owned by the county.

When to trick-or-treat in your community

 When to trick-or-treat in your community

Halloween is Thursday, and many communities have set times for children to trick-or-treat.

Although the weather may not be pleasant, children are encouraged to visit homes and businesses at the following times:  

Ada Township

  • No designated time
  • Fire station #1 trick or treating: October 31,  6 p.m. - 9 p.m.

Alpine Township

  • October 31 until dark/candy runs out

Belding

  • October 31, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Halloween Open House: October 31, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the fire station

Cannon Township

  • No set time; fire department will hand out treats October 31, 6 p.m.-8 p.m.

Cascade Township

  • October 31, 5:30 p.m. -8:30 p.m.

CORRECTION: Empty downtown lot to soon house new business

CORRECTION: Empty downtown lot to soon house new business

SPARTA, Mich. – An empty property in downtown Sparta will soon be transformed into a business complex.

A small driveway on the lot located at 313 S. State St. was previously owned by the village, with the thought that a public road may have been needed there.  Sparta officials say the driveway was abandoned by the village, but the county has no record of it, so the village had to formally re-abandon the driveway on paper so it could be taken over by the adjacent property owner for construction to proceed.

A dental or orthodontist office will be the first business to open in the space.  Developers also plan to create additional office space for other businesses.  

WZZM 13 My Town apologizes for confusion caused by incorrect information regarding the right of way issue.

Habitat for Humanity eyes empty lots in Sparta

Habitat for Humanity eyes empty lots in Sparta

SPARTA, Mich.—A lot that’s been an eyesore for years may soon be home to a new house.

The village is working on a deal with Habitat for Humanity to build a new home at 102 Martindale St.  The lot used to contain a vacant home, but Village Manager Martin Super says it was condemned and demolished two years ago. 

Habitat for Humanity is also interested in adding three more homes on Loomis Street, in addition to the three homes the organization already built in that neighborhood.  The new homes would be located on two existing lots—one is an old village right-of-way, the other is privately owned. 

Super says the new homes would help drive down water and sewer bills for all residents, in addition to increasing property values.  Super says demand for homes in Sparta is increasing; houses that took years to sell during the recession are now being bought in two to three months.