Saturday, February 27, 2010

Protect Your Identity

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, and other personal identification can net criminals thousands of dollars in a very short period of time.

While the financial loss incurred by this type of crime is not always incurred by the consumer, it can significantly traumatize them, and take them months if not years to restore their credit and good name, and may keep them from being able to cash checks, obtain loans, or even rent an apartment or obtain utilities.

The Comstock Park Post Office is inviting all Comstock Park residents to bring their sensitive douments and records to the local Post Office at 3913 Leland Ave NE, Comstock Park. Your documents will be shredded while you watch, courtesy of the United States Postal Service and West Michigan Document Shredding of Jenison.

Friday, March 12, 2010, 11:00 am - 1:00 PM.


You can minimize the risk of being victimized by taking the following steps:

1. Never leave your purse or wallet unattended, at work, at restaurants, at health fitness clubs, in your shopping cart, at church, at parties. Never leave your purse or wallet in open view in your car, even when locked.

2. Destroy all checks immediately when you close a checking account. Destroy or keep in a secure place, any courtesy checks that your bank or credit card company may mail you. Shred all financial offers, statements, etc.

3. Reconcile your check and credit card statements in a timely fashion and immediately challenge any purchases you did not make.

4. Limit the number of credit cards you have, and cancel inactive accounts.

5 Never give any credit card, bank, or social security or other personal information to anyone over the telephone or on the internet.

6. Minimize exposure of your social security and credit card numbers. If you are asked for your social security number by a business (i.e. doctor's office) and they already have that number on file, refuse to write it down somewhere again.

7. Safeguard your credit and debit and ATM card receipts and shred them before disposing of them. (Most places of business now will print only the last four digits of your card number, as now required by law)

8. Scrutinize your utility and subscription bills to make sure the charges are yours.

9. Memorize your passwords and personal identification (PIN) numbers. Keep your PIN numbers somewhere that only you know about, anywhere but with your credit cards. Don’t give out your PIN. Identity theft is often traced back to family members. You may be held liable if the financial institution can show negligence on your part.

10. Keep a list of, or photocopy all credit and identification cards you carry with you, including front and back, so that you can quickly call the issuers to inform them about missing or stolen cards. Keep the list or copies in safe place.

11. Regularly request a copy of your credit report. You are allowed one free report per year, so with three different credit reporting agencies, you could get one free report every four months.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid started on the Internet, much like a diary or a journal. Since the first book that was released on line, at least five books have been published in print, and next week the movie "Wimpy Gets Real" will be released. Kids love reading the books and many youth aged 6 and up came to the KDL Alpine Township Library for fun and games all with the theme of the Wimpy Kid. Kids had the opportunity to win a book, shirt, sweater and other prizes by completing a number of projects.
Picking beads off the ground was not a planned activity but it was fun anyway.

Creating and decorating personal journals was one of the many activities the children enjoyed.
Greg sharing a moment with one of the many attendees.


Alpine Township Hall was again the location for a meeting on Good Agricultural Practices conducted by MACMA, (Michigan Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Association). MACMA is a voluntary membership association made up of over 700 apple growers. This is the second meeting in front of a full house and a third is scheduled for March 11, 2010.

Dawn Drake with MACMA (in center), welcoming a guest

For more information, please contact Dawn Drake at

Stop, Drop and Roll

Stop Drop and Roll. it is a single released by New Zealand hip hop artist, Mareko in 2003. It is also something preschoolers learned to do Tuesday morning at the Alpine Township Library program. Library Manager Laura Weld and Fire Chief Ron Christians were on hand to conduct the program and the children also had the opportunity to get familiar with the fire truck.

Stop Drop and Roll is the response fire personnel teach people to do if their clothing catches on fire. While children are usually tought this at school, nobody is too young to learn, and you can teach your children at home too.
1. Explain to your child you are going to go over some fire safety lessons, and that you are going to teach them what to do if their clothes ever catch fire
2. Teach your child that Stop, Drop and Roll can save their lives if their clothes ever catch on fire.
3. Tell your child that if their clothes ever catch on fire they need to stop whatever they are doing and drop to the ground.
4. Demonstrate to your child how to drop and then roll.
5. Teach your child to cover his mouth and nose while rolling, to protect his airways from damage
6. Practice Stop, Drop and Roll at home with your child. Tell them that if they see anyone else's clothes catch fire, to yell "Stop, Drop and Roll" and to find an adult and call 911.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Abuse of Rx Drugs

Abuse of Prescription Drugs is more and more prevalent. Learn why teens abuse Rx drugs more than almost all illegal drugs combined. Find out which drug use is 23% down and which is rising drastically. Learn more about the signs and symptoms of abuse. Learn why 1 of 3 teens reports having a friend who abuses Rx drugs.

Be part of a nationwide campaign to educate parents across America.

Bring your unused and expired prescription drugs for disposal. (They should not be flushed down the drain)

Feb 22 - 26 8:00 - 5:00pm
Kent County Sheriff's Office
701 Ball Ave NE GR, MI

Feb 22 - 26 8:30-4:30pm
Kent County Sheriff's Office
790 17 Mile Road NW Kent City, MI

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Assistance with Tax Returns

Kent County Tax Credit Coalition announces Super Saturdays
Free Tax Preparation and E-filing
February 20th and February 27th, 2010

Volunteers will prepare and e-file your 2009 tax return free of charge if your family income is $48, 279 or less!

Saturday, February 20th, 2010 from 9 am to noon:
Steepletown Ministries
671 Davis Ave. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

Saturday, February 27th, 2010 from 9 am to noon:

North Kent Service Center
10075 Northland Dr. NE
Rockford, MI 49341

Please bring these documents with you on Super Saturday:

Social Security card for each family member and picture Id for adults W-2 form for all jobs worked the previous year
1099 forms for other income, including employment
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) letter
Copy of your last year’s return (if available)
Last year’s heating bills (11/2008 -11/2009)

Proof of rent or mortgage and property tax payments

Childcare provider’s name, address, and federal tax ID number

Blank, voided check (to set up direct deposit of your refund)

Any other tax-related letters or documents you have received (including letters from IRS)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good Agricultural Practices

Alpine Township Hall was the venue for a session on Good Agricultural Practices. (GAP)

Representatives from the agricultural community gathered here to learn more about issues that growers face when tackling food safety certification. The program, sponsored by Michigan State Extension Services will be repeated here next week.

York Creek Teams Up

Paul Land(right) from Land & Company, passing on the key to the donated York Creek unit to the representative of the American Red Cross while representatives from CORT and Arrow Restorations look on.

February 17, 2010, 6:56PM, By Aaron Ogg | The Grand Rapids Press

ALPINE TOWNSHIP -- Land & Co., the Wyoming-based owner of 20 West Michigan rental communities, has donated two apartments to the American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids to house disaster victims.

The dwellings at York Creek Apartments, 650 York Creek Drive NW and Woodfield Apartments, 6111 Woodfield Drive SE, will be available to those displaced by house fires or other emergencies for at least six months, Land & Co. spokesman Craig Clark said.

CORT, a Fairfax, Va.-based furniture rental firm, and Arrow Restoration, 311 28th St. SE, donated furnishings and cleaning services.

The apartments, which typically each rent for $600 a month, are expected to save the Red Cross $5,000 that would have been paid for motel rentals.

Clark said the donation was planned several months ago, and is unrelated to a special York Creek police and fire tax proposal discussed by Alpine Township officials earlier this week

Members of Land & Co management team

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

IHOP Fundraiser

GRAND RAPIDS -- Free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes are being offered at local IHOP restaurants from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23.
The local celebration of National Pancake Day is designed to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, and those ordering the free pancakes will be asked to support the cause.
Alpine Township's IHOP is located at 3796 Alpine Ave. NW, Comstock Park; and there ar several other IHOP locations offering the same.

Details are online at
E-mail Julia Bauer:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Photo by Ladyheart used with permission

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dragon Dancing at the Library

In the preschool picture book Dragon Dancing, by Carole Lexa Schaefer and illustrated by Pierre Morgan, young children show us the wonder and fun of learning. After reading a book about dragons with their teacher, these inventive preschoolers decide to make their own dragon out of colored paper, yarn, feathers, and . . . themselves! Soon they're out the door, onto the playground, and into another world--the world of imagination. Becoming a magnificent dragon, the children dance over snowy mountains, through tall forests, and into whispery meadows, before returning to school for a wonderful birthday treat.
At the Alpine Township KDL Library, pre-schoolers did just that, making their own dragon outfits and travelling in the world of imagination. They even created their own firecrackers, also known as bubble wrap.

The kids thoroughly enjoyed the activities

The bubble wrap served well as a substitute for chinese firecrackers

Library Manager Laura Wells with one of the props.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Alpine Twp Telephone Communications

The staff at the AlpineTownship Hall was excited to get new telephones installed this week. The old telephone system has served the Township well in the past but was so old that the only known service agent had retired and the system was no longer supported locally. The Township purchased a Toshiba telephone system from Central Interconnect.

Donna Vining (l), familiarizing Deputy Clerk Erin Randall with the new phone system

Scott Vogel. a technician for Central Interconnect connecting all the right wires (we hope)

Sandy Oostdyk, Telecom Design Engineer programming the phone system

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Smaller Government is More Efficient, Less Expensive

For Immediate Release Contact:
February 1, 2010 David Bertram
MTA Office: 517.321.6467
C: 517.927.4314
Michigan Townships Association:
Smaller Government is More Efficient and Less Expensive
Lansing, Mich. — The Michigan Townships Association (MTA) today released a study showing that smaller government is more efficient and saves taxpayer dollars.
While a few interest groups are advocating for the consolidation of local governments as a way to reduce the cost of government, the MTA study shows the results of such consolidations would be the exact opposite. The MTA found that creating bigger governments would not save money or improve efficiencies.
“Making smaller governments into bigger governments will most certainly drive the cost of government up, not down,” said G. Lawrence Merrill, MTA Executive Director. “Simply combining local government or local government services does not result in cost savings unless the service consolidation allows for reducing staffing levels or eliminating major capital purchases – and these opportunities cannot be assumed.”
“Making bigger governments to reduce costs is an often repeated falsehood,” added Merrill.
“When you compare Michigan to other states with similar populations, density, climate and character, Michigan actually has far fewer local governments. Michigan ranks 33rd in the number of local governments per capita, and 29th in the average population per jurisdiction.”
Consolidation is extraordinarily complicated In addition to creating inefficient government, the consolidation process is time consuming, expensive, complicated and would take five or more years to even develop. A consolidation effort would include:
• Melding different tax rates
• Connecting separate infrastructure systems
• Resolving different levels of debt
• Rectifying two or more incompatible administrative systems
• Unifying compensation systems and personnel policies
• Standardizing ordinances
Most efficient form of government
Michigan’s 1,240 townships, which comprise more than 96 percent of Michigan’s land area and over half of the state’s population, already perform very efficiently compared to local governments in other states.
One of the advantages of operating with a smaller government is the ability to provide services more efficiently with less staff. The majority of Michigan townships are managed by part time staff. Based on a 2008 MTA survey, townships reported the following:
• 30% operate full time
• 70% operate part time (40% of which have no office staff)
• 22% of townships have unions
In addition, Michigan townships continue to look for cooperative arrangements to provide more efficient services. Cooperative fire protection is provided by nearly 48 percent of townships, according to the 2008 MTA survey. Many others buy and sell fire protection for a part of their geographic areas. Michigan ranks 37 out of fifty states in per capita expenditures for fire protection. This demonstrates that Michigan townships are providing emergency services
efficiently and affordably.
Of the townships that provide local law enforcement, three-quarters do so through contracts with other governmental entities.
“In these difficult times, township governments across the state continue to seize opportunities to provide and share services that provide taxpayers with smart savings,” said Merrill.
The MTA advocates reform efforts in Michigan at the local government level focused on
regional economic development strategies that leverage regional assets and utilize placemaking tactics to:
• Attract knowledge-based industries
• Develop regional infrastructure necessary to attract new Economy jobs
• Promote entrepreneurship and diversity
• Develop value-added agriculture using 21st-century technologies
“Michigan needs its state government to be the essential catalyst to foster more regional collaboration,” said Merrill. “The most important reform involving local governments that state government could undertake that would revitalize the Michigan economy is to create regional consortiums to make Michigan attractive to New Economy employers.”
To review the complete White Papers: Reforming Michigan’s Local Government, please visit the MTA website at or download directly from here.