Friday, March 30, 2012



Alpine Township is looking for an individual to perform a variety of office tasks.
Main job responsibilities are working with voter files and accounts payable. The position is full time 32-40 hours per week with benefits.
Candidates to possess general office skills as well as adapt to a variety of software programs including but not limited to spreadsheets, word processing, and accounting software. The candidate will need to interact with the public. The job includes working two nights per month and extra hours during election time.  Additional job responsibilities may be assigned.

Submit resume and contact information to:

Jean Wahlfield, Clerk
Alpine Township
5255 Alpine Avenue NW
Comstock Park, MI. 49321

Phone: (616) 784-1262
Fax:     (616) 784-1234

Famous Places in Alpine Township

One of the famous landmarks in Alpine Township is Party World, 5568 Alpine Ave. Since 2007 it has produced 6 lottery winners, including one worth $57 million dollars. Needless to say, with a  lottery ticket at stake that could be worth as much as $640 million, people from miles away were lined up and parked along Alpine Ave (M-37) waiting to purchase that winning ticket at the hottest place in Michigan, Party World

People were parked along M-37

A member of the Knights of Columbus took advantage of the heavy traffic as he was soliciting money to help mentally impaired citizens

Alpine Township Harvester - Sneak Preview

Be the first to preview the Spring 2012 edition of the Alpine Township Harvester scheduled to hit the mailboxes the week following Easter.  Download here.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Field Trip to the Alpine Townhip Library

First grade students from Holy Trinity School in Comstock Park were treated to a field trip to the Alpine Township Library this Wednesday.  The students received their library cards and while there, had the opportunity to participate in some of the craft activities other pre-schoolers participated in Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Zoo Time at the Alpine Township Library

Pre schoolers who visited the Alpine Township Branch of the KDL Library on Tuesday did art and crafts as they learned about the animal kingdom.  The favorite of all was the construction of a paper parrot which many of the kids proudly displayed on their shoulder.  The children received an unexpected surprise when Kent County Community Policing Officer Deputy Nate Ertle stopped by and provided all the children with an easter bunny.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Manager of Alpine Meadows Mobile Village Praised by Law Enforcement

Following are excerpts from a letter written by  Kent County Sheriff Deputy Nate Ertle recognizing Alpine Meadows Mobile Village Manager Dawon Hamblin.   Alpine Meadows Mobile Village reduced the number of  complaints requiring a response significantly over the past two years.
“I am writing to express my appreciation for the work that Dawn Hamblin has done at the Alpine Meadows community.  I have worked with Alpine Township through the Kent County Sheriff’s Department for the last several years to reduce calls for service and improve communication with multi-unit housing developments in Alpine.

Since Dawn has become the manager (of Alpine Meadows Mobile Village at 3800 Fruitridge NW)  I have noticed a positive change in the community.  The residents that are involved in the Neighborhood Watch program have made positive comments about their quality of life concerns being addressed and  having  Dawn follow up on concerns before they become an issue that the Sheriff’s Department has to respond to.”

“I appreciate the work that Dawn has done for this community and wanted to let you know that you, (Sun Communities) have a wonderful employee that obviously cares about improving Alpine Meadows."

Dawn Hamlin

Oil and Gas Leasing Draws Land Owners Attention

Alpine Township was a busy place Monday night as over 80  people attended a meeting at the Township Hall  sponsored by the Michigan Farm Bureau and Michigan State University Extension Service.  What brought so many people out to the meeting was the topic:  Oil and Gas Leasing and Hydraulic Fracturing.  Presenters made the audience aware of the dos and don'ts of leasing and explained hydraulic fracturing.  Many formations in Michigan could not produce economically viable volumes of natural gas without the use of hydraulic fracturing, according to information provided by the Michigan Oil and Gas Producers Educational Foundation.

Jason Jaekel, West Regional Representative for the Michigan Farm Bureau introduces Mike Shelton (on the right),  a Geologist with the Kalamazoo District Office of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ)

Attendance was high as was the interest of the audience

Less than half a mile away, area Fire Chiefs were meeting at the Alpine Township Fire Station #1 for their monthly meeting.

Blossoms in March

These fruit trees along 6 Mile Road in Comstock Park are blooming about a month ahead of schedule due to the warm temperatures.  Alpine Township farmers are holding their fingers crossed praying that the early blossoms will survive the cold nights of yesterday and tomorrow.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Impatient Buds and Blossoms

March 23, 2012.  Record warm temperatures. Buds and blossoms are impatient, daring Winter to be in full retreat.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Fruit Ridge, History and Promotion

As part of the commemoration of Women's History Month, The Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council sponsored a presentation Thursday night titled "Women of the Ridge: Handling the Business and Politics of West Michigan Agriculture". The event was held at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.  Participating in the program as honored guests were Sharon Steffens and JoAnne Thome, two of the 1972 leaders known as the "Fearsome Foursome." Steffens was elected the first national coordinator of the American Agri Women organization, a coalition formed in 1974 of farm women and farm women's organizations. The Thome family name is well known on The Ridge as well for its successful farming enterprise. Joining them were Ginny Ebers, Pat Rasch Cederholm and her sister Mary Rasch Alt, all Alpine Township women.

Women of the Ridge, JoAnne Thome, Sharon Steffens, Pat Cederholm, Ginny Ebers.  Photo by MaryRasch Alt 
Meanwhile, other members of the Ridge Economic Agricultural Partners were meeting at the Alpine Township Hall Thursday evening about promotional opportunities offered via the Internet.  Bruce Barker of the West Michigan Tourism Association discussed a new Agri Tourism promotional program called "FIND YOUR FLAVOR" which promotes farm stands or shops, U-pick orchards, on-farm tours and classes, festivals, Christmas tree farms, wineries or the dozens of other options.  REAP members were provided with an opportunity to join the West Michigan Tourism Association at a special rate, and an offer to have a website developed by REAP supporter Jonathan Mast, founder and chief strategist at Valorous Circle. There was also a presentation by the director of the Sparta Downtown Development Association Elizabeth Morse-Gorski aided by intern Katherine Russell, who developed a new website promoting the Ridge.  On the Fruit Ridge is dedicated to bringing together the farm markets, the events and festivals, and all the activities held just northwest of Grand Rapids, Michigan  It hopes to bring travelers to this site so they can be linked to other sites regarding activities and events they might be interested in (that they may not have ever gone to otherwise).  Alpine Township is proud of its agricultural heritage and its continued positive impact on our community. 

Bruce Barker

Elizabeth Morse-Gorski and Katherine Russell

Promoting the Ridge

REAP President Joe Klein (left)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bill Steffen recognized as "Paul Harris Fellow" by Rotary

Channel 8 Meteorologist Bill Steffens was honored and recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow by West Michigan Rotarians Tuesday evening.

The recognition is often given to Rotarians but can be bestowed upon anyone that has done community service type work over a long period of time, outside of their professions. Rotary International’s highest honor is to be recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow.
To be nominated, the recipient,  must be considered a person of high moral character and principles. He or she must have initiated fine community works, projects and programs over a long time frame and must have positive impact on the lives of those in the local or world community.  Bills wife Gayle is a Comstock Park Rotarian.  They reside in Alpine Township.

The award was presented at the annual Interclub meeting of ten Rotaries held this year at the Meijer Garden and hosted by the Sparta Rotary which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year.  Bill was the main speaker at the event and acquainted the audience with a history of the weather,and weather patterns.  His presentation was filled with information, humor and nostalgia.  In addition to the  Interclub program, Rotary members enjoyed the opportunity to see the butterflies flutter in the adjacent room at the Meijer Garden.
Gayle and Bill Steffen,Comstock Park  and Assistant Governor Violet Rohrer, Sparta

Dana Quick and Dawn Swafford, Comstock Park, Amanda Heydon Gerhardt, Cedar Springs

Erin and Brett  Beuschel, Marilyn Arends, Comstock Park

Sharon Steffens, Comstock Park

Everybody enjoyed the butterflies

Steven Flohr, President of the Lowell Rotary arrived alone but was seen leaving with the much coveted Duck (not) presented to the Rotary with the smallest percentage of attendance at the annual Interclub meeting.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Taking a Moment to Reflect

Mill Creek Middle School student and Alpine Township resident Jonathan Funches passed away last week from respiratory failure.  He was 15 years old.  Jonathan was a quadriplegic, the result of a car accident that occurred when he was 18 months old. According to the Grand Rapids Press, his foster brother described him as   generous and energetic. He enjoyed reading, creating science projects, going to the movies, was outgoing and always interested in the people he met. He was a boy scout, a junior officer with the Wyoming Police Department and participated in the honor guard of the American Legion, according to his foster brother Jonathan Boarts.
Jonathan had hopes of starting high school, completing college and working with the Wyoming Michigan Police Department's K9 division, according to Maria Amante, a reporter for MLive. 
Jonathan was an inspiration for many.  In 2009 his friend and neighbor Alec Ockaskis wrote an essay for the Knights of Columbus contest entitled: "Who I look up to and why" and named Jon Funches as the person he admired most.  This led to a story in the Grand Rapids Press by Tom Rademacher.  Both Tom's article and Alec's essay are worth sharing, and give us the opportunity to reflect.

They're too busy playing baseball, building a tree house, being 12. But then along comes an essay by a kid from Comstock Park named Alec Ockaskis, who was asked to write on the topic "Who I Look Up To and Why." He could have picked a sports icon. Movie star. TV idol.
Instead, he picked the kid across the street from where he lives, a kid named Jonathan Funches, a 12-year-old boy who lives his life with quadriplegia.

The essay took first place statewide in a Knights of Columbus contest for middle-schoolers. But it originated in a mild dispute.
"My dad said, 'I don't think that's a role model' and argued with my mom that I wouldn't want to be a quadriplegic."
"We were arguing," acknowledged Alec's mom, Kathy, but was quick to point out that good things usually happen when she mixes it up with husband Todd.
While they were still discussing Alec's premise, he walked off and began to type. And he came up with this as a first paragraph:
"There are many types of role models. The ones that you want to be just like, the ones that help you when you are down, and last and certainly not least, the role models who teach you to appreciate life and persevere."
Alec went on to write that "A neighbor of mine, Jonathan, is a role model of the third kind. ... He cannot participate in many activities that a normal boy would love. ... However, what I admire about him is that he participates in everything he can."
Jonathan and Alec live in Comstock Park, but go to different schools. Alec is in sixth grade at Assumption Catholic Elementary in Belmont, and Jonathan attends Comstock Park's Pine Island Elementary.
Living across the street from one another gives them common ground -- they also go to the same church -- and part of Alec's essay deals with a time he visited Jonathan to play.
"What should be in a boy's bedroom?" Alec wrote. "Sports trophies, books and posters of a kid's favorite baseball team — or a small hospital room filled with feeding tubes, an oxygen respirator, and a full-time nurse?"
Despite Alec's comparatively bleak portrayal of Jonathan's digs, he points out in his essay that his neighbor has a zest for their church service. "I see him actively participating, wanting to hold a book and sing along," wrote Alec.
Alec wrote his essay as part of a larger assignment given to all 39 students in grades 6-8 at Assumption by language arts instructor Hazel Bowlin. Alec's mother said she helped her son with some transitions, but he told the story.
"It was a standout in my mind," teacher Bowlin said, "especially the insightfulness and originality in seeing a role model in a kid in a wheelchair."
Alex told me that he sees through Jonathan's disability: "I'll feel the Holy Spirit in my heart, and I see past his appearance. After I played with him, I could see he was just another regular kid. He just couldn't do as many things."
Jonathan, who was struck by a car when he was 17 months old is unable to move, except for his head to the right "and a little bit to the left," says his foster mother, Tina Boarts.
Jonathan breathes with a ventilator, is fed through a tube, and requires nursing care around the clock, seven days a week.
Alec's essay could not have come at a better time, Tina said, sharing that Jonathan sometimes has trouble understanding why he was singled out to be unable to run and play with other kids his age.
"It's real tough for him," said Tina, "an ongoing struggle. Just last night, he was asking (husband) Ed when he's going to make him a time machine, so he can go back and meet Jesus. He's got an awful lot of questions, like 'Why did God want me to be this way?'"
Alec's essay "will reinforce everything we have been trying to tell Jonathan about people looking up to him, for his patience and how he tries so hard without giving up," she said.
When Tina surprised Jonathan by reading Alec's essay to him on Thursday, Jonathan was in awe, and told his foster mom that "It was fantastic that he wrote about me. It makes me feel good that everybody cares about me."
Tina herself was no less impressed by her young neighbor's work. "It just blew me out of the water," she said. "I mean, holy cow, this kid just had me."
So much so, that Jonathan noticed her reacting in a way he'd not expected. "Mom," he told her, his face rising to meet hers, "your eyes are blinking."

Here is the Knights of Columbus winning essay by then 12-year-old Alex Ockaskis of Comstock Park, about his neighbor and friend Jonathan Funches:

There are many types of role models. The ones that you want to be just like, the ones that help you when you are down, and last and certainly not least, the role models who teach you to appreciate life and persevere.
A neighbor of mine, Jonathan, is a role model of the third kind. Jonathan is a quadriplegic boy who is the same age as me. He cannot participate in many activities that a normal boy would love. However, what I admire about him is that he participates in everything he can.
What should be in a boy's bedroom? Sport trophies, books and posters of a kid's favorite baseball team -- or a small hospital room filled with feeding tubes, an oxygen respirator, and a full-time nurse? What I discovered when I visited Jonathan to play and cheer him up, was a room set up like a hospital. Everything was so boring in that small room with grey walls and a hospital bed. I set up an exciting track using Hot Wheels cars. I tried to get him involved, however he could only look at the cars I put on his tray. When I left, I felt bad for the things he couldn't do, but then I realized he celebrated what he could do. What amazed me is that even though he could not handle the cars himself, he just smiled and laughed just by watching me have fun.
Even though I switched schools and no longer go to the same school as Jonathan, I thought I would not see him as often. However, he goes to the same church on Sundays as I do. I see him actively participating, wanting to hold a book and sing along. What impresses me is that he sings and participates more than anyone in the Children's Liturgy of the Word. His spirituality and faith makes me appreciate how determined and devoted he is to worship God. Jonathan teaches me that with God all things are wonderful and to appreciate my life fully.
On a warm spring afternoon, I saw Jonathan in his wheelchair at the end of his foster family's driveway. He has learned to appreciate even the simple things like fresh air. I was on my way to a soccer game, and I thought how God has blessed me with the ability to run. When I am on the soccer field, I will play my very best because people like Jonathan teach us to use our potential even when things are challenging.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Position Available - Fire Chief
Alpine Township is seeking an experienced individual with proven leadership and management skills to serve as full-time Fire Chief.
The Alpine Township Fire Department currently has 30 on-call firefighters, three fire stations, and responds to approximately 1,000 fire and medical calls annually. The Township is seeking a Fire Chief who operates in an open, approachable and collaborative manner. A successful candidate will not only demonstrate experience in Fire Operations and familiarity with the use of current data-driven and predictive fire and emergency management techniques, but also be able to mentor and coach others in their most effective uses to ensure that the Department is prepared at all times to respond to fires and other emergency operations. A strong candidate will have substantial municipal fire service experience, including at least four years of experience at the command level. An Associate’s degree in Public Administration, Fire Science, Emergency Management, or a closely related field of study is desirable. Michigan Fire Fighter I and FireFighter II certification is mandatory.
This position pays $50,000 annually plus benefits.
Interested candidates will attach their resume (along with references) to an e-mail and send it to
Alpine Township Supervisor Alex Arends at no later then April 6, 2012.
Alpine Township is an equal opportunity employer.
2255 Alpine Avenue, N.W., Comstock Park, Michigan 49321 – Phone: (616) 784-1890 – Fax: (616) 784-1234 –

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fabrics through the Ages

Julia Daniels was a big hit at the March Historical Open House on Sun., March 18th with her historic look at "Fabric thru the Ages". Here Julia talks with Ruth and Kit Post about the different clothing items she has made by weaving the materials first.
Julie Daniels (left), Ruth Post and Kit Post

Julie has her own history in Alpine and Wright Townships. She is a descendant of Henry Courtade,Anthony Armock, Joseph Kluting, John Krupp, Jacob Vogel, Anthony Rusche and John Platte.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Thank You Naomi Henderson

When Alpine Township Clerk Jean Wahlfield needed clerical assistance during the Presidential Primary Election period, she was very fortunate to find Naomi Henderson available to assist her.  Naomi is no stranger to Alpine Township, having served an internship at the Fire Department in the past.  Naomi's last day was this Friday.  The flowers and home crafted Thank You card were from Naomi for Jean.  It read: "Jean, Thank you for this opportunity to work with you.  I have truly enjoyed it.  Thanks again."

Jean and the entire Alpine Township Staff likes to also say thank you to Naomi for providing us the opportunity to work with her,  We all truly enjoyed it too.  Thank you so much.

Naomi is looking forward to the opportunity to assist with upcoming elections.

Naomi Henderson (left) with Alpine Township Clerk Jean Wahlfield

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Comstock Park Rotary and Comstock Park Lions - Community Partners

David Buth
Guest Speaker at today's meeting of the Comstock Park Rotary Club was David Buth, who in 2008 founded a non profit organization called Summer Journeys. His vision was to help students understand, interact with, and value communities. Through place-based, field-based, expeditionary educational programs, he and his partners provide students with unforgettable experiences in a close-knit community of their peers.  This coming summer David hopes to take 32 students from 11 Grand Rapids area schools on a journey that wil bring them closer to nature and includes unforgettable experiences like climbing Harney Peak at sunset, touring Jewel Cave, hiking in Grand Teton National Park, working with Teton Science Schools, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, The National Park Service, veteran Yellowstone Rangers, wolf and bear ecologists, and many more are almost as memorable as the lasting friendships that are formed.
Charter member Martin Buth was proud to be able to introduce his grandson

Also a guest at the meeting was Howard Myerson, a life long outdoors enthusiast and outdoor columnist for MLive Media Group.

The Comstock Park Lions meanwhile participated in the Rockford Lions Annual Chili Cook-Off. This year, award winning chili was prepared by Alpine Township's Mike and Barb Cote. A number of Comstock Park Lions Club members and supporters were on hand for the event.

Mike Cote

Terri VandenBos (left) with Nan and Jim Wheeler

Kathleen and Herm Seattler from Alpine Township enjoying the activities

Winner of Best Chili Award was Jan Strauss, (left) Rockford Lions

Local Author Visits Alpine Township Library

Jennifer Armitrout
Alpine Township library patrons, aspiring authors, die hard fans and friends had the opportunity to meet and talk with Jennifer Armitrout, a successful local author Wednesday night.  Jennifer Armintrout was born in 1980. Her debut novel, Blood Ties Book One: The Turning made the USA Today Bestsellers list in 2006. She has written a number of books since then, including a series of adult romance novels under the pen name of Abigail Barnette.  Visitors were treated to refreshments, the opportunity to get autographed copies of Jennier's books, and a chance to sit down with her and talk about a career in writing.

Jennifer Armitrout with long time and  new found friends and fans at the Alpine Township Hall

Monday, March 5, 2012

Aquinas Student Jennifer Baker Studies Local Government

Jennifer Baker
Alpine Township was able to welcome a special visitor today.  Jennifer Baker, a graduate of Comstock Park High School and a junior at Aquinas College is required to do 10 hours of experimental learning about local government for her Community Sociology class.  Jennifer spent most of the day shadowing and meeting with Township Supervisor Alex Arends, Township Clerk Jean Wahlfield, and Township Planner Sue Thomas.  The activities included reviewing the township masterplan, the budget, water and sewer improvements and public safety. She also reviewed Township communication tools such as the newsletter, Facebook, the Township's website, and this blog.  Before she left for the day, she was able to get in some tough questions about what community means to government officials, and future growth of the Township. The entire Township staff enjoyed the pleasant diversion away from every day activities.  Jennifer, an Alpine Township resident, demonstated assurance that our next generation will be left in very capable hands.

Friday, March 2, 2012

If You See Something, Say Something

If You See Something, Say Something”  is a campaign that Homeland Security rolled out and is being picked up across the country.  Not unlike "Eyes and Ears" or "Neighborhood Watch", the program relies of citizens to observe and report anything suspicious. 

The Department of Homeland Security has found a number of partners in bringing this program to the general public, including the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the National Football League, and Walmart.  Walmart was the first national retailer to partner with Secretary Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security in the  campaign. The urged their customers and associates to join them.

Beginning last December, nearly 600 Walmart stores equipped with checkout video screens began airing a public service announcement from Secretary Napolitano, urging people to take an active role in ensuring the safety and security of our nation and our communities

The program was immediately adopted by the city of New York and its Transit Authority and that helped avoid what could have been very tragic incidents.  Critics, however, feel that the program results in many unwarranted tips that are the result of phobias. 

Michael Moll, Protective Security Advisor of the Field Operations Branch, Office of Infrastructure Protection, Department of Homeland Security was in Rockford, Michigan today and introduced this program to about 50 members and guests of the Crime Prevention Association of Michigan.  In Alpine Township, residents are encouraged to call the Kent County Sheriff's Department (911) anytime they observe suspicious behavior or situations that could lead to injury, loss of life or property. For local crime prevention tips, please go to Safe Neigbors

Homeland Security's Mike Moll (left) with Alpine Township Community Policing Officer, Kent County Deputy Nate Ertle

Crime Prevention Specialists and Community Policing Officers from across Michigan attended the meeting