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Conservation group wants to clean up remnants of Childsdale Dam

Conservation group wants to clean up remnants of Childsdale Dam

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.—An environmental group is asking for township support to clean up the remnants of an old dam.

In September 1986, storms dumped up to 13 inches of rain on West Michigan, leading to rising floodwaters that destroyed three dams, including the Childsdale dam.  The dam south of Rockford gave way at 2:15 a.m. on Sept. 12, sending flood waters and chunks of concrete down the Rogue River toward the village of Belmont. The dam was never rebuilt, but some of the debris remains in the river.

Now, nearly 28 years later, the Schrems West Michigan chapter of Trout Unlimited wants to clean up remaining dam debris in the Rogue River and improve the habitat for fish and wildlife.  Josh Zuiderveen of Streamworks, LLC presented the proposed project to the Plainfield Township Board Tuesday, Feb.

Cannon Township eyes improvements to Bostwick Lake Park

Cannon Township eyes improvements to Bostwick Lake Park

CANNON TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Cannon Township will apply for a grant to improve Bostwick Lake Park.

During its regular meeting Jan. 13, the Township Board approved applying for a $45,000 grant to improve accessibility and add parking, decking and shrubs and flowers to the grounds.  The project would also include modifying the staircase leading to the park so there are switchbacks.  Township Supervisor Steve Grimm says the switchbacks would improve safety, since the current straight staircase could lead to a long fall.

The entire project is expected to cost between $90,000 and $95,000.  The remaining expense will be split between the Township’s recreation and general funds.  If the grant is approved, work would likely start in 2015.

Cannon Township extends ban on fracking

Cannon Township extends ban on fracking

CANNON TOWNSHIP, Mich.--  Cannon Township’s moratorium on fracking will remain in place for now.

During its regular meeting Jan. 13, the Township Board approved extending the ban on hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, for a period not exceeding six months.  The moratorium will remain in place for that time or until amendments are passed to current ordinances, limiting fracking within the township.

Township Supervisor Steve Grimm says the fracking moratorium took effect last May.  He believes the measure may be the first fracking moratorium in the state that legally abides by state law.

Grimm says the township took on the fracking issue after being approached by conservationists concerned about how the process could impact area aquifers.  Grimm says the township has so far faced no opposition.

Honor Society members help community recycle Christmas trees

Honor Society members help community recycle Christmas trees

CANNON TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Members of the Rockford High School Honor Society are getting ready to brave the cold to haul community Christmas trees.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, the group will be helping residents unload their Christmas trees for recycling.  Donations are encouraged, with proceeds going to the Honors Society. 

Cannon Township will be accepting Christmas trees for recycling until 3 p.m. on Jan. 13 at the Cannon Township Center, located at 6878 Belding Rd. NE.  Trees can be dropped into the dumpster located in the west side parking lot at any time.  Residents are asked to remove all wire, tinsel and decorations before recycling.  No wreaths will be accepted.

New bike path to cut through Grand Rapids

New bike path to cut through Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A new bike path will soon take shape in Grand Rapids.

The city is getting a $618,514 grant from the Michigan Department of Transportation to create the Seward Avenue Bikeway.  The 3.5 mile bike route will cut through the heart of Grand Rapids and connect nearly 190 miles of regional trails, including the White Pine Trail, Oxford Street Trail and Kent Trails. The path will run along Seward Avenue from Wealthy Street to the Riverside Park trailhead and include a bike shelter, bike lockers, bike signs and signals and an upgraded pedestrian bridge over Indian Mill Creek at Broadway Avenue.

The project is expected to cost just over $1 million.  Additional funding will come from the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Bikes Belong and Freewheeler Bike Shop.  The city commission will recognize all financial supporters during its meeting at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.    

Irwin Seating helps to connect the dots

Irwin Seating helps to connect the dots

Earl Irwin smiles when he walks a section of the bike/walking trail west of Irwin Seating, located near Four Mile Rd NW & Fruitridge Ave NW.

Not too long ago, Irwin donated land to help with the nearly completed connection of the Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail, the Musketawa Trail in Ottawa County and the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail in Kent County. Irwin Seating has also dedicated a parking lot on the north side of Irwin Seating as a Trail Head for people using the trails and a place to park their vehicles while on the trails.

What use to be a wood chip trail for employees to walk has now become a trail for everyone to use, according to Irwin. The former trail was built to encourage Irwin Seating employees to take advantage of a walk on their breaks, lunch hour or after work.

Through the efforts and private donations such as this, all these trails are available to the public to use and enjoy.

Help Rogue River while enjoying beer during 'Barrels and Brews' Nov. 6

Help Rogue River while enjoying beer during 'Barrels and Brews' Nov. 6

ROCKFORD, Mich.—  Enjoy some beer while helping protect the Rogue River during the final “Barrels and Brews” session on November 6.

Visitors to the Rockford Brewing Company can learn how to make a rain barrel during this 45 minute workshop, which begins at 6:30 p.m.   Rain barrels are $25 each and workshop attendance is required.  To sign up for the workshop, visit rainbarrels.wmeac.org.

A rain barrel collects and stores storm water from your roof that would otherwise be lost to runoff.  Storm water is the leading source of water pollution in West Michigan.

A rain barrel also saves homeowners money and energy, storing water for gardens during periods of drought.

Barrels and Brews is made possible by $5,000 in funding from Rockford Area Community Endowment to Trout Unlimited.  The West Michigan Environmental Action Council is partnering with Trout U