Saturday, February 26, 2011

Now Open - Habitat for Humanity - ReStore

A special ceremony took place this morning at the location of the ReStore store brought to our community by Habitat for Humanity of Kent County.  Instead of a typical ribbon cutting ceremony, the staff and directors conducted a dedication ceremony with invited guests, customers, and many volunteers.  The store was dedicated in a christian tradition to the glory of God.  Present at the ceremony were Mary Buikema, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity, Tom Hyde, Director of ReStore, and a special message was delivered by Pastor Ken Benson, who brought ReStore to Michigan after seeing successful stores in other states.  The new store is located at 5920 Alpine Ave. NW, adjacent to the Meijer Gas Station at Alpine Ave. and 7 Mile Rd. NW. The store will be managed by Elvira Torres who invites you to visit.  You can call (616) 647-9292.  The store will be referred to as ReStore North, as another store serves the south side of Greater Grand Rapids.  By purchasing low cost affordable home improvement items, you assist Habitat for Humanity of Kent County in its mission to construct safe and affordable housing for families throughout Kent County.  You also become an environmental stewards by actively recycling and reusing home improvement products and building supplies.

Plenty of enthusiastic people were on hand for the opening ceremony.  There were free donuts and coffee and lunch was brought in bt one of the sponsors. Little Ceasars Pizza. Also helping in sponsoring events for the day were Tom's Donuts, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, and GRIP.

Tom Hyde, Director of Kent County ReStore

Habitat for Humanity of Kent County Executive Director Mary Buikema, Store Manager Elvira Torres, and Pastor Ken Benson

Friday, February 25, 2011

Now Open - Le Kabob -Mediterranean Dishes

On Monday. Alpine Township's newest restaurant, Le Kabob, opened its doors to the public. The restaurant at 4022 Alpine Ave. NW features delicious Mediterranean dishes that is sure to attract food lovers from throughout West Michigan. Restaurant owner Ali was very happy with the number of customers he was able to serve this first week. You will be able to get more information from the website when it becomes available next week. Call (616) 647-9722 for more information.
Restauranteur Ali (in red shirt) greeting some local Alpine Township diners
Restauranteur Ali with head chef and other kitchen staff

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lego Family Block Party

The Alpine Township Library hosted it's second Lego Family Block party of the year today.  The library provided the Lego blocks, the parents brought their supervision skills, and the kids brought their creative skills as everybody had a wonderful time.  More Lego Family Block parties are scheduled for Saturday March 12 and Satuday April 9th, both beginning at 10:00 in the morning.  Come join the fun!

 These pictures need few words

Thursday, February 17, 2011

English as a second language

Some of the Alpine Elementary students with staff from Kenowa Hills schools  and the KDL library

It was a busy evening at the Alpine Township Library Wednesday as nearly 30 Alpine Elementary School children and parents visited to learn all about the services offered..  For many, it was the first time they set foot in a library and they were amazed that they could borrow books and music and movies, or use computers at no charge.

The program was sponsored by Alpine Elementary School specifically for student who use English as a second language.  Many families signed up and while the library has a good selection of books in Spanish, most of the books signed out  by the students were in English.  "How many books can I take out at a time?"  one of the students asked.  "As many as your mother lets you." was the reply from the head librarian.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Coming Soon: Fine Mediterranean Cuisine - Le Kabob

Many of us were disheartened when the Thai Food Restaurant at 4022 Alpine Ave NW closed its doors this winter.  It did not take long, however, for a new tenant to sign a lease and within the next few weeks, Alpine Township will feature it's first restaurant serving Mediterranean dishes.  "Le kabob" as the new restaurant is called, will offer full entrees, combos, sandwiches as well as healthy drinks.  Sandwiches run around $3.99 and entrees range from $10.99 to $16.00.  Restaurant manager Ali helped operate a "Le Kabob" restaurant in Lake Orion, Michigan of which he is a part owner, and  he was excited to move his family to West Michigan and begin another venture. The restaurant will be opening soon, as will its website at

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Local columnist, author and outdoors enthusiast addresses Rotary

It was a bit of a homecoming as Ed Gilbert was the guest speaker at the Comstock Park Rotary Club meeting today. The 77 years old Comstock Park resident is a former club member who is well known for his column on outdoor life which is published in 4 newspapers.  Ed acknowledged having written over 5,500 columns over the years, and discussed his book: “A Brown Trout Bicycle: Once Upon the Woods and Water.”  Ed shared a few of his heartwarming stories and poems from the collection of stories that make up the book.

Doug Gordon, Bernie Spruit, Ed Gilbert and Dick Woodward getting reacquainted

Ed Gilbert's book, A Brown Trout Bicycle is a collection of short stories about his outdoors experienciences.  The book is available at AMAZON

Preparing for Comstock Park Schools Special Election

Alpine Township employee Gary Campbell assisted Clerk Jean Wahlfield and Deputy Clerk Erin Randall in validating the voting machines that will be used in the special election scheduled for Tuesday February 22 in the Comstock Park School District.  Voting will take place at the precincts where regular elections are held.  On the ballot are two bonding proposals.

Ballot language can be found here.

Alpine Township Building Inspector Gary Campbell and Deputy Clerk Erin Randall

Alpine Township Hosts GAP Meeting

Farmers who wanted to receive updates on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) gathered at Alpine Township this morning for a program sponsored by Michigan State University Extension Service.  It's all about Food Safety. 

According to MSU Extension Service, Agrifood safety ensures to buyers that food producers have thought about how their actions impact the safety of the food they grow.  

Another session is scheduled for next week.

The attendees included many faces familiar to Alpine Township residents

Saturday, February 5, 2011


As much as sensational stories grab the headlines, it is important that these are  balanced with good stories in the community.  Such was the story about the good Samaritan  Rafael Gonzalez-Velazquez who with his son took in who he thought to be a homeless man.  It turned out that the elderly gentleman they opened their home for had Alzheimer's Disease and could well have wandered off the road to die in the bitter cold.  So will the story about a life saved cancel out the bad publicity about a life taken in the York Creek community in 2008? 
The quality of life of the residents in the York Creek community continues to improve. Much of the credit for this should go to the management.  Maintenance of the premises is vastly improved, both outside as well as inside the complex.  Prospective tenants are carefully screened and eviction of policy violators and criminals is enforced to the maximum.
Credit also goes to our schools, churches, community service organizations and agencies, and the leadership and guidance provided by them. 

Dan Clark
About a year ago, Dan Clark, owner of Clark Nurseries and an active member of Lake Bella Vista Church and the Comstock Park Rotary Club contacted a few local pastors with social concerns for the residents in and near York Creek..  This soon turned into an organization unofficially named "COMSTOCK PARK COMMUNITY OUTREACH" with representation from about 25 different organizations, churches and agencies. Helping this loosely knit group  are two great organizers, Missi McPherson, Comstock Park Schools, and Liz Ploughman, York Creek Apartments.

Missi McPherson
Liz Ploughman
Schools and community service agencies have been able to take advantage of York Creek making two apartments available for their use.  Numerous classes, informational meetings and programs have been brought to the complex.  Some nights see numerous programs going on at once.  Teen Zone is one of such programs.  Wedgwood Christian Services, Arbor Circle, and the YMCA are just a few of the agencies offering programs. The YMCA is also offering swimming classes at nearby Alpenhorn Apartments with available scholarships, babysitting classes at York Creek, and plans to have a softball league this spring at the Alpine Township Sports Complex.  Several churches have been providing youth programs at York Creek.  Wedgwood Christian Services offered a well attended "Movies at the Park" at Dwight Lydell Park.  The Comstock Park Rotary partnered with Amway, Kaboom and York Creek to build the wonderful playground at York Creek that is open to the public. Alpine Township is continuing to provide more sidewalk on Alpenhorn to make foot travel safer and more convenient, with better access to Alpine Ave, Lamoreaux  Ave, and Dwight Lydel Park. York Creek management has offered to extend sidewalks even further.  According to the Sheriff's office, York Creek management is quick to report any signs of criminal activity and  the sheriff's department is swift to respond.  The results are a  reduction in crime and such progress should be celebrated.
It is quite evident that York Creek is a vibrant part of the Alpine Township community.  Our community is great because of the united leadership provided by churches, service organizations, schools, businesses, neighborhood associations and local government.
lHere are some additional programs sponsored through Comstock Park Schools at York Creek
Camp Blodgett – After School Program
lArbor Circle – After School Program
lMaranatha Bible Church – Adult ESL Classes, After School Program, Women’s Bible Study
lWedgwood Christian Services – 6-12 Grade Programs and Summer Programs
lSummer ESL Tutoring Program 
lYMCA Healthy Living Programs
lSummer Reading Programs

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Amateur Radio the Topic of Comstock Park Rotary Meeting

Long time Comstock Park resident and former Comstock Park School high school teacher Tom Updike enlightened the Rotary members by sharing his enthusiasm of HAM Radio. Tom brought a radio with him and shared his hobby and talked about the many experiences and friends that he gained over the past years. Next week's speaker is Ed Gilbert, a long time Comstock Park resident and columnist.   

Tom Updike

Tom Updike was the guest of Pastor Dick Woodward

Guests and prospective new member Greg Mahalick, new local agent for Farm Bureau Insurance, 6525 Alpine NW greets Amal Haddad, Manager of Sam's Club 6359, 3901 Alpine Ave, another guest and prospective member.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Alpine Township Blizzard of 2011

What is driveway or street and what is not?  This half buried lantern isn't much of a guide

 Alpine Township experienced the Blizzard of 2011 along with its neighbors.  There was lots of snow and cold temperatures, and the Township office would probably have been closed except for a few brave employees with four wheel drive, and a Township Treasurer who drives in by bicycle.  Treasurer Jim Townsend has been biking it to work every day for the past year and he did not want to see his string of continuous days terminated because of a little snow.  Fortunately he lives relatively close to the office and witnesses report that he pushed, not rode his bike in this morning.  Jim is an enthusiastic biker who got over a hundred miles in even this past month.

Gary Potter digging out Alpine Township Hall

With snow in places  reaching the top of the wheel Wednesday morning, biking into work could not have been a picnic.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Meetings Scheduled Tuesday February 8 Regarding Water Main Improvements

This summer Alpine Township will be working in conjunction with the Plainfield Water Department to replace 50-year old water mains in the following streets:
• Westshire Drive (Alpine Avenue to Westgate Drive)
• Westgate Drive (Lamoreaux Drive to Westnedge Avenue)
• Lantern Drive (Westgate Drive to Stoney Creek Drive)
• Brandywyne Drive (Lantern Drive to Stoney Creek Drive)
• Stoney Creek Drive (Lamoreaux Drive to Lantern Drive)

A meeting and open house have been scheduled for Tuesday, February 8th at the Comstock Park High School Cafeteria, 150 6 Mile Road NW. Official presentations are scheduled for 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., with plenty of time in between and after to ask questions and view the proposed plans. You are encouraged to attend.

We have limited the contractor to only having two roads under construction at any one time to maximize the access to homes for residents, as well as emergency vehicles. The Contractor will coordinate his activities with the Comstock Park Public Schools, who will send letters out to the parents if the bus schedules are impacted in any way.

The Contractor is anticipated to begin work around May 2, 2011, working 7 A.M. to 5 P.M. on weekdays and possibly Saturdays. Water main construction and street replacement, along with final restoration, are scheduled to be completed by September 1, 2011. During construction there will be road closures that will slow traffic through the project area. Detours will be clearly marked. The Contractor is required to coordinate any required driveway closures with you to minimize inconvenience. Emergency vehicle access to your home will be maintained at all times. We do not wish to understate the disruption that this project will involve, and we ask for your patience and understanding as we work diligently to complete the project.

The water main will be installed 25 feet from the centerline of the roads and will be about 5½ feet to 7 feet deep. Some trees and bushes within the right-of-way will be removed. If you have a sprinkler system in the right-of-way that is not permitted by the Kent County Road Commission, it may be removed during construction and not be replaced. Other structures and landscaping in the right-of-way will not be replaced if deemed a traffic hazard by the Road Commission. You should move anything you would like to save and relocate it outside of the right-of-way before construction.

Water services will be constructed to the existing shut-off valve at the road right-of-way line for each property. The existing shut-off valve will be replaced with a new shut-off valve. The first 15 or so homes on Westgate Drive, north of Lamoreaux Drive will have a temporary PVC water main serving them, since the existing water main is not under the road and will need to be removed to make room for the new water main.


As part of the water main replacement project, Alpine Township is responding to homeowners’ requests for higher water pressures in the neighborhood. To accomplish this, Westgate Drive will require two new water mains.

Residents need to be aware that most homes in the area will see pressures increase from the 40-60 psi range to 70-100 psi. Some homes at lower elevations (e.g., near Strawberry Creek) may see pressures as high as 110+ psi, so they will require a pressure-reducing valve (PRV) installed in their basement on the incoming water service. The PRV will reduce the pressure from the water main to prevent damage to household appliances and plumbing fixtures.

The Township will be providing free of charge a PRV to those homeowners, if requested, who will have 100 psi pressures or greater. Eligible home locations are as follows:

• Stoney Creek Drive (Lamoreaux Drive to 2 or 3 homes north of Brookgate Drive)

• Brookgate Drive (4 homes west of Stoney Creek Drive to Stoney Creek Drive)

• Lantern Drive (187 Lantern Drive east to Stoney Creek Drive)

• Brandywyne Drive (194 Brandywyne Drive east to Stoney Creek Drive)

The homeowner will be responsible for hiring a plumber to install the PRV. We estimate that the cost for a plumber will be in the $100-$200 range. We ask that all homeowners who receive a PRV have it installed by August 1, 2011. When the water department opens the high pressure valves on the system, these homes will be protected by their PRV valves. Although there is no express or implied warranty, we believe that taking these measures is the prudent thing to do and should provide the protection desired. You are welcome to consult your plumber to verify this.

If you have any further questions or concerns regarding the project, or have specific special needs please contact Jim Kirkwood at Prein&Newhof (364-8491).