Friday, January 31, 2014

Michigan Township Association Education Conference

Trustee Mike Wahlfield proudly displaying 
Alpine Township flag in the opening ceremonies
Alpine Township Officials and Board Members attended the Michigan Township's Association's Annual Education Conference this week at Traverse City. The conference was attended by State wide Township elected officials and guests and offered many educational topics and updates.  Next year's conference will be in Grand Rapids.

One of the highlights of the conference was our State Senator Mark Jansen being recognized as Legislator of the Year.  Michigan Township Association's Executive Director Larry Merrill praised Senator Mark Jansen and remarked that Senator Jansen's support for local government did not surface some of the time but was present consistently.  Exemplifying Senator Jansen's support for the local municipalities within his legislative boundaries was the fact that he took the time Thursday evening to find Alpine Township representatives among the more than 1,200 people in the audience.   We salute Senator Jansen for his support and his efforts to stay in touch with his local constituents.

Grand Traverse Bay

Grand Traverse Bay

Mike Wahlfield doing the honors for Alpine Township

Trustee Mike Wahlfield, Senator Jansen and Clerk Jean Wahlfield

Senator Mark Jansen and Township Supervisor Alex Arends

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Rotary Program in Comstock Park

Duane DeVries
Rain Barrel Guy

The Comstock Park Rotary had a number of visitors at Thursday's luncheon a the Swan Inn Restaurant.

Guest speaker was Duane DeVries, President of the Dwight Lydell Chapter of the Izaac Walton League.  Duane DeVries is affectionately nicknames "the Rain Barrel Guy".  In addition to having created lots of rain barrels, Duane is an expert at container gardening, using discarded pickle containers to house his many vegetable plants.  Duane was inducted into the Izaac Walton League Hall of Fame in 2010.  Founded in 1922, the Izaak Walton League is one of the nation's oldest and most respected conservation organizations. With a powerful grassroots network of more than 240 local chapters nationwide, the League takes a common-sense approach toward protecting our country's natural heritage and improving outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. We invite you to learn about our work and to join us in supporting important conservation initiatives in your community.
Also attending the meeting as a special guest was Al Bonney, Rotary District Governor Elect, who travelled from Traverse City to be with the group.  Introducing himself as the new Alpine Township/Comstock Park Community Policing Officer was Deputy Ryan Guernsey, whose assignment here began this month.  Previous to being assigned to Alpine Township, Ryan served as Community Policing Deputy at Large.  He is excited about being assigned here.
Rotary meets every Thursday at 12:10 at the Swan Inn Restaurant, 5182 Alpine Ave NW (M-37) in Comstock Park.  Persons interested in membership may attend or call 616-334-6687 for more information.  Website is
Nancy Mulder, Duane DeVries and Melissa Graveling

Duane DeVries with Bob Homan

District Governor Elect Al Bonney with President Elect Nancy Mulder

Community Policing Deputy Ryan Guernsey with Jackie Hernandez and Gayle Steffen

Monday, January 20, 2014

Presidential Proclamation - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


(Alpine Township Offices Are Open)
Each year, America sets aside a day to remember a giant of our Nation's history and a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement. During his lifelong struggle for justice and equality, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave mighty voice to the quiet hopes of millions, offered a redemptive path for oppressed and oppressors alike, and led a Nation to the mountaintop. Behind the bars of a Birmingham jail cell, he reminded us that "injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." On a hot summer day, under the shadow of the Great Emancipator, he challenged America to make good on its founding promise, and he called on every lover of freedom to walk alongside their brothers and sisters.
As we marked the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom last August, we noted the depth of courage and character assembled on the National Mall that day. We honored all who marched, bled, and died for civil rights. And we celebrated the great victories of the last half century -- civil rights and voting rights laws; new opportunities in the classroom and the workforce; a more fair and free America, not only for African Americans, but for us all.
We were also reminded that our journey is not complete. It is our task to build on the gains of past generations, from challenging new barriers to the vote to ensuring the scales of justice work equally for all people. And we must advance another cause central to both Dr. King's career and the Civil Rights Movement -- the dignity of good jobs, decent wages, quality education, and a fair deal. Because America's promise is not only the absence of oppression but also the presence of opportunity, we must make our Nation one where anyone willing to work hard is admitted into the ranks of a rising, thriving middle class.
Dr. King taught us that "an individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." In honor of this spirit, Americans across the country will come together for a day of service. By volunteering our time and energy, we can build stronger, healthier, more resilient communities. Today, let us put aside our narrow ambitions, lift up one another, and march a little closer to the Nation Dr. King envisioned.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 20, 2014, as the Martin Luther King, Jr., Federal Holiday. I encourage all Americans to observe this day with appropriate civic, community, and service projects in honor of Dr. King and to visit to find Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service projects across our country.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

York Creek Community Center Offers Opportunities for Service

Sparta Adult Education Staff Jennifer Grimm
and Brian Hackert
For Sparta Community Education, the new York Creek Community Center is the ideal place to host ESL(English as a Second Language) for adults wishing to learn English.  This Saturday afternoon, numerous York Creek residents had the opportunity to sign up for upcoming classes there, as well as classes to help gain residents their GED (General Education Development Test). 
Sparta Community Education was one of a number of churches and community service organizations that took advantage of the Grand Opening of the York Creek Community Building to create awareness about their programs.  Also present were representatives of TLC, the organization that offers church services every Sunday at 5:00, and an opportunity for fellowship and counseling, Comstock Park Schools, and Alpine Township. which provided a slide show about the numerous neighborhood activities that transpired over the past year.
Special guests included Mr. and Mrs. Paul Land and other staff members of Land  and Co. For more information on how Land and Company interacts with the community, go to

Jennifer and Kim

Jennifer, Hope and Jackie

Maranatha Church acquainting residents with some of their programs

Alpine Township Planning Commission member Mike O'Malley (r) learning about  Family Outreach

A festive Sign on the Door

Missi McPherson and Gregoria Martin with Comstock Park Schools

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Land and grandson

One of the visiting families


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Planning for the Future

Sue Becker, Planning Director
Members of the Alpine Township Planning Commission met with the Alpine Township Board Members late into the evening Monday night as part of a dialog discussing revisions and updates to the Township Master Plan.  The meeting was facilitated by Alpine Township Planning Director Sue Becker.  It is anticipated that the Master Plan will be finalized later this year after more analysis and community input.  One thing is already certain and that is that both entities as well as the public wish for the Township to retain its agricultural heritage.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Caring Community

Melody Butters with Independent Bank 
Members of the Comstock Park Community Outreach Coalition met Tuesday  morning at the Salvation Army's Little Pine Island Camp to review goals and accomplishments for 2013 and to fine tune goals for 2014.  The group will met again in February at the new York Creek Community Building.

The Comstock Park Community Outreach Coalition is a collaboration of business, government, schools, businesses and service organizations of which Alpine Township is a participating member.  Its purpose is to empower people to improve the quality of lives and its mission is to match community needs to available resources.  @013 priorities consisted of  At risk youth , the growing number of senior citizens, and embracing our growing Hispanic population. More information is available at its website

Some of the participants in Tuesday's goal setting session

Missi McPherson, Comstock Park Schools, Curtis Britcher, Little Pine Island Park, and Jennifer Grimm, Sparta Adult Education in discussion  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Enhanced Fitness Class for Senior Adults Draws Attention

Julie Ebenstein
Senior Neighbors offered it's first Fitness Class in Comstock Park and the community responded.  Seventeen senior adults showed up this morning for an open house and first fitness session.  The group will continue meet at 10:00 A.M. Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at Greenridge Elementary School, 3825 Oakridge Ave NW, Comstock Park.  Comstock Park Schools administration was very gracious in  allowing the building to be used for this community event and is encouraging more participation.  Senior Neighbors brought their program to Comstock Park after collaborating with the Comstock Park Community Outreach.  Participants enjoyed the first session and also had the opportunity to connect with other seniors in the area.  According to Julie Lake, Program Coordinator with Senior Neighbors, many first attempts at bringing the program to local communities result in perhaps half a dozen participants but when the word gets out will quickly fill to capacity.  Instructor Julie Ebenstein was very excited about the great turnout and is looking for more people to join the group. Come when you can!

Some of the health minded participants

Monday, January 6, 2014

Alpine Township Firefighters Plead - Please Clear Your Fire Hydrants

That fire hydrant  near you is there to save  the lives and property of you, your family or your neighbors'. Please help keep it accessible   Time is of element when fighting fire.  Adopt a Fire Hydrant for 2014

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Free ESL and GED Classes Offered at York Creek Community Center

Do you know anyone who could benefit from learning English as a Second Language or completing their GED requirements?

Sparta Adult Education is offering free classes for English as a Second Language and/or GED 2014 (General Education Development test.  These programs are tailored to meet individual needs.  Classes are offered at Peace Lutheran Church, 1225 12 Mile Rd. in Sparta on Monday and Wednesdays 3:30 PM-6:30 PM and at Sparta Middle School, 480 State St, Monday through Thursdays 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM.

Classes are now also being offered in Comstock Park at the new York Creek Community Center, 2999 Alpenhorn NW, (behind 5/3 Bank) Classes  are scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM, and Mondays ans Wednesdays 5:30 PM - 8:30 PM.

Anyone living in Sparta,Kenowa Hills or Comstock Park School districts  may qualify.  Open enrollment.  Call 616-887-7321 for enrollment information.

Spread the word!

Senior Neighbors Offers Enhance Fitness to Alpine Township and Comstock Park Senior Adults

Senior Neighbors of West Michigan is offering Enhance Fitness Classes in Comstock Park. Classes will begin Monday January 13 at 10:00 at Greenridge Elementary School, 3825 Oakridge NW in Comstock Park.  

This is a fun and safe exercise class designed for older adults to improve strength and balance, and keep you healthy!

Classes are Monday,Wednesdays ad Fridays at 10:00 AM.  Come when you can.

Cost is free but donations of $2 per class are accepted.  Classes are funded, in part, by the Kent County Senior Millage.

Come on in for an open house on Monday January 13, at 10:00 AM for prizes, refreshments and fun. Please help pass the word!

Need more information?  Call Julie Lake at (616) 233-0283

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Out with the Old and In with the New

Just hours before the year ended, owners of the property adjacent to the Meijer Thrifty Outlet store demolished the automotive and retail outlets that were built on that parcel .  Plans for the empty lot are not known but in the meantime patrons of the Thrifty Outlet Store at 4677 Alpine Ave N.W. will be happy that they have more opportunity to park closer to the front door.