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OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

Michigan, our great state. Whether we realize it or not, we really do have a great state.

Granted, we had an unusual winter this past year but then again, have you ever seen the grass and trees so green before? Even people returning from Florida this year have commented about everything being so green!

Despite all of the good things, I still hear people complain about it either being too cool, too cloudy, too hot, etc. To those people I say, maybe it’s time for you to move to a perfect climate, wherever that may be.

I love Michigan and all it has to offer. We have the Great Lakes, a treasure on their own. I used to have an older friend, Bill Hickey, who had apple orchards.

He told me, “You will never, ever find an apple as snappy when you bite into it as a Michigan apple in the fall, because of the Great Lakes.” 

My Town: Taste of East Grand Rapids returns

My Town: Taste of East Grand Rapids returns

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--  Get a “Taste of East Grand Rapids” when the festival for foodies returns for its fifth year next month.

The family-friendly event will take over the streets of Gaslight Village Thursday, Aug. 21 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Visitors may sample food from nine area restaurants, including Olive’s, Big Bob’s, Ramona’s Table, Derby Station, Jersey Junction, Olga’s Kitchen, Mary Ann’s Chocolates, Foo Yen and Osta’s.  This year’s event also includes live music and a free Kid’s Fun Zone featuring inflatables, face painting, air brush tattoos, a magician, crafts and more.  Mangy Gaslight Village shops will also be featuring sidewalks sales.

Taste of East Grand Rapids is presented by the Gaslight Village Business Association.  Proceeds from the event will go to Susan G. Komen of West Michigan.

EGR officials: Remember the rules for signs

EGR officials: Remember the rules for signs

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—With garage sale season here and an election scheduled for Aug. 5, city officials are reminding residents about the rules of yard signs.

According to the city ordinance, all yard signs must be placed on private property and may not be set up on city or school property without permission.  Yard signs also cannot be staked in the strip of grass between a street and sidewalk, which is a city right-of-way.  The city also asks residents to make sure signs do not obstruct the vision of drivers or pedestrians.

Any signs placed on city property will be removed by city workers.

My Town EGR: Bicycle thefts lead to alert from officers

My Town EGR: Bicycle thefts lead to alert from officers

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— Lock up your bicycles; that’s the warning from East Grand Rapids public safety officers, after a string of thefts in the area.

Officers say more than 20 bicycles have been reported stolen since the end of May.  Most of the thefts took place during daytime, and all of the bicycles were unlocked.  The thieves targeted bicycles in front of businesses, on racks at schools and the library, as well as front yards, side yards and open garages.

Officers encourage families to keep their garage and service doors locked to protect property, including bicycles.  Residents can also register their bicycles with the city for free, so their property can be returned if found.  To register a bicycle, bring it to the public safety department, 770 Lakeside Drive, during regular business hours.

Local athlete preparing for triathlon world championship


EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WZZM) -- Courtney Jones. Don't recognize the name? That's soon to change, especially when you consider the rate she's moving up the national rankings as a triathlete.

The Fremont native and recent Grand Valley State graduate, has qualified for the "World Triathlon Championship" next month in Edmonton, Alberta Canada, where she will compete against the world's best in her age group.

"I'm a little crazy," said Jones, before she dove into the pool at East Grand Rapids High School to practice Tuesday morning.

Jones says her interest in becoming a triathlete started seven years ago when she was a junior at Fremont High School.

My Town EGR: City council approves tighter restrictions on panhandling

My Town EGR: City council approves tighter restrictions on panhandling

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.— New restrictions on panhandling will take effect in East Grand Rapids Aug. 1.

City Manager Brian Donovan says the city commission narrowly approved an amendment to the East Grand Rapids’ panhandling ordinance by a 3-2 vote Monday night.

The approved amendment is less restrictive than the version council members first heard, which was fashioned after the city of Kentwood’s panhandling ordinance. The changes include removing a clause that would have banned soliciting people waiting in lines to enter buildings and within 15 feet of building entrances.  City attorneys say those clauses would have potentially infringed on the right to free speech on sidewalks, since many buildings in East Grand Rapids are within 15 feet of sidewalks, and lines at events often extend to sidewalks. 

Under the approved amendment, soliciting donations are prohibited in the following situations:

My Town EGR: Lakeside Drive construction enters new phase

My Town EGR: Lakeside Drive construction enters new phase

EAST GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Work on Lakeside Drive enters a new phase Monday.

Crews contracted by the Michigan Department of Transportation will be resurfacing the street and replacing the sidewalks.  Lakeside Drive will remain closed to through traffic.  Those visiting businesses within the construction zone should expect one-way, northbound traffic from Wealthy to Greenwood.  No parking will be allowed in that area, and the boat launch will be closed on weekdays. Phase two construction is expected to be finished on Oct. 4, weather permitting.

Construction on Lakeside Drive began April 28 with crews tearing up the road to replace the waterline.  That first phase of construction wrapped up several weeks ago.  The second stage of work was delayed due to a different work contract with the state.