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My Town: Congressional candidates to hold public forums

My Town: Congressional candidates to hold public forums

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Two men running to represent West Michigan in Congress have agreed to hold public forums.

Congressman Justin Amash and his Democratic contender, businessman Bob Goodrich met over coffee in Eastown Aug. 15.  During the brief meeting, both candidates discussed ideas on how best to keep the race for the 3rd Congressional seat civil.

Amash beat East Grand Rapids businessman Brian Ellis by roughly a 14-percent margin during August’s primary. Voters will decide if Amash will continue to represent them during the general election Nov. 4.  The Third Congressional District of Michigan includes the areas of  Grand Rapids, Cascade Township, Alpine Township, East Grand Rapids, Belding, Lowell, Plainfield Township, Rockford and Sparta.

Inside the August Primary: The close calls and votes cast

Inside the August Primary: The close calls and votes cast

LANSING, Mich.-- Fewer voters cast their ballots Tuesday than when Governor Rick Snyder was elected.

That's according to Fred Woodhams, spokesman for the Secretary of State's Office.  Woodhams says 1.3 million Michiganders visited the polls during the primary, accounting for approximately 20.3 percent of active voters. Active voters are defined by the Secretary of State as people who have voted within the last six years. Woodhams says approximately 17.9 percent of registered Michigan voters cast a ballot Tuesday, but that number may be skewed because people who have moved out of the state may still be registered to vote in Michigan.

My Town: Voters to decide key issues during Aug. 5 election

My Town: Voters to decide key issues during Aug. 5 election

Voters across West Michigan are expected to head to the polls Tuesday, Aug. 5 to decide some key issues and races.

Proposal 1 would alter Michigan’s tax infrastructure by eliminating equipment taxes for businesses that already pay taxes every year.  A portion of sales tax revenue that goes to the state treasury would be reallocated to local governments to cover the tax revenue loss.  Plainfield Township Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden says the ballot measure would make Michigan more economically competitive with other states.

My Town Sparta: Freehand Band takes the stage for free performance July 23

My Town Sparta: Freehand Band takes the stage for free performance July 23

SPARTA, Mich.—Sparta Town & Country Days is over, but the village isn't done celebrating summer. 

Concerts in Roger’s Park will return this Wednesday, July 23 when Freehand Band takes the stage at 6:30 p.m. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and blankets for the free performance, sponsored by Independent Bank and the Downtown Development Authority. The Sparta 4H Club will also be serving up taco salad, chips-n-cheese, deluxe nachos and ice cream floats.

Concerts in Roger’s Park run through Aug. 20. 

My Town: Health phone survey in Kent County largest of its kind in the world

My Town: Health phone survey in Kent County largest of its kind in the world

GRAND RAPIDS – Starting this week, people in Kent County will be receiving letters and phone calls asking families to take part in the 2014 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

This health survey is the largest-conducted telephone survey in the world. The survey will help the KCHD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to track critical health issues, as well as creating and evaluating public health programs in Kent County. Issues and Answers, a phone marketing research firm, will be conducting the survey on behalf of the Kent County Health Department (KCHD).

My Town: Committee to review judicial candidates for 63rd District Court

My Town: Committee to review judicial candidates for 63rd District Court

ROCKFORD, Mich.—A review committee with the Grand Rapids Bar Association is inviting candidates for the 63rd District Court seat to take part in their review process.

The judicial candidate review committee is already beginning its confidential evaluation process of the candidates.  Six people are on the ballot for the seat, currently held by Judge Steven Servaas.  The 15 member committee expects to wrap up its reviews and issue ratings ahead of the Aug. 5 primary election.

All communications intended for the committee should be mailed to Kimberly Coleman, Executive Director, Grand Rapids Bar Association, 161 Ottawa NW, Suite 203-B, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

Michigan’s 63rd District represents a large swath of Kent County, including Sparta, Plainfield Township, Alpine Township, Ada, Lowell, Rockford and East Grand Rapids.

My Town: Meet the new village manager

My Town: Meet the new village manager

SPARTA, Mich.--  Sparta's new village manager is celebrating his second week on the job.

Julius Suchy says he's extremely excited about moving back to West Michigan.  Suchy has a wife, Lauren and 5-month-old daughter, Leah.

"We are looking forward to becoming part of the Sparta community and I look forward to working with the Village Council, business community and citizens to make Sparta an even better community than it already is," adds Suchy.

Suchy says he has an open door policy; anyone is welcome to introduce themselves and share their concerns by visiting him at the village hall.

According to the Michigan Municipal League’s website, Suchy most recently served as the Dundee village manager from Sept. 2011 to April 2014.  He also previously worked as city manager in Vassar and zoning administrator in Big Rapids.

Suchy replaces Martin Super, who resigned in March to focus on his family’s business in southwest Michigan.