Our network

Public Spaces

Senator Jansen decides against congressional run

Senator Jansen decides against congressional run

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—  Republican Senator Mark Jansen says he will not join the race for Congressman Justin Amash’s seat next year.

“I have decided at this time my focus will continue to help Michigan find the road to recovery, from Grand Rapids to Detroit to the Upper Peninsula to our lake shores,” Jansen said. ”Right now I really feel the call to continue helping Michigan’s recovery as my Senate term ends in 13 short months.”

Jansen says he has been “strongly encouraged” to run for the 3rd Congressional District seat for the past two years.  He believes people want the same level of reform achieved in Michigan to happen in Washington.

Jansen represents the northern portion of Kent County.  The U.S. 3rd Congressional District includes Belding, Rockford, Lowell, East Grand Rapids, Walker, Ada and Cascade, Alpine Township, Sparta, Plainfield Township and all of Grand Rapids.

Expect traffic tie-ups as crews work on new signals

Expect traffic tie-ups as crews work on new signals

LOWELL, Mich. – New traffic lights in downtown Lowell are leading some driving detours.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says there will be intermittent lane closures on Main Street at Hudson Street as crews work on the turn signals.  The work will run through 3 p.m. Friday and start up again Monday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The final traffic pole for the new lights was installed this week.  The city’s Facebook page says the lights were a long time coming, and should lead to shorter waits at the intersection.

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.

Voters approve tax increase for Lowell Area Schools

Voters approve tax increase for Lowell Area Schools

LOWELL, Mich.—Lowell Area Schools will get funding to help build and repair its schools.

Tuesday night, voters approved a seven year millage increase to create a sinking fund for the district.  The property tax increase will not exceed 1 mill ($1 per $1,000 taxable value.)  The millage is expected to generate $740,920 in annual tax revenue for the district when it takes effect in 2014.

In the City of Lowell, it was a narrow vote for two proposals.  Proposal I passed by 25 votes, designating that elected city officials will remain in office until the first regular meeting of the city council in January.   Proposal II, which would set the same term rules for people appointed to fill an elected position, failed by just nine votes. 

Lowell names new police chief

Lowell names new police chief

LOWELL, Mich.—Lowell has a new chief of police.

Officer Steve Bukala will take over the post this week, as Police Chief Barry Getzen retires.  According to the Lowell Ledger, Bukala served as acting police chief after James Hinton stepped down and before Getzen could take office in May 2011.

Bukala has been a part of the police force and an active member of the community for nearly 20 years.

Lowell says goodbye to police chief, council member

Lowell says goodbye to police chief, council member

LOWELL, Mich.— The community is invited to say goodbye to a man who has protected Michigan for more than three decades.

Police Chief Barry Getzen is retiring.  Getzen took over as city police chief in May 2011, after 31 years of service with the Michigan State Police.  Getzen and his family have lived in the Lowell area since 1995.

The community will also say goodbye Andrew Schrauben, whose term as a city council member is ending.

The farewell event will take place Monday November 4, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Grand River Room at City Hall.  Cookies and punch will be available. For more information, call (616) 897-8457.

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


  • 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.