Friday, February 28, 2014

A Healthy Community - Kent County Health Department Looking for Your Input

Kent County is a diverse region with a variety of complexities that make it unique. We have rural communities, where farms dot the landscape.  There are exclusive, wealthy cities and townships, where upper class residents live.  There are suburban areas, filled with middle class families.   We have an urban core, which varies widely: professionals, young families, students, people living in poverty, and the homeless.
These people each voice a variety of concerns when it comes to health.  We know that health inequity exists; statistically, we see certain chronic illness is more common in specific racial or socioeconomic populations.  Access to quality, affordable health care is difficult to attain for many individuals in Kent County.  But there are so many factors that impact health, such as mental health care, availability of healthy foods, and oral health care.  Dynamics such as crime, lack of transportation, and educational obstacles add to this dilemma.  These must be addressed, but how?
Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnership, or MAPP is a nationally recognized community-wide-strategic planning process being used by Healthy Kent to improve health outcomes in Kent County.  Using this framework, our plan is to create a more comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) as a starting point in developing a Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). 
Local Health Departments are required to update their Community Health Needs Assessment every five years for state accreditation; hospitals must update theirs every three years, under requirements set by the IRS.  Healthy Kent and the Kent County Health Department will work with organizations once again in 2014 to meet both requirements.  The 2013-2014 Community Health Needs Assessment will include areas of Kent County, including Grand Rapids metro area, suburban and rural regions. 
MAPP is working to help communities improve health and quality of life.  To reach these goals, we must take a community-wide and community-driven approach to strategic planning.  Using the MAPP process, we believe we can help communities achieve optimal health.  We need to identify and use existing resources wisely.  We also must consider each community’s unique circumstances and needs, and form effective partnerships for strategic action.  The most successful efforts are those where people share a commitment to - and have a role in - the community’s health and overall well-being.
While the Kent County Health Department is organizing this new CHNA and CHIP in conjunction with public, private, and voluntary organizations, our goal is that the final product is completely led by the citizens of Kent County. Community ownership is the fundamental component of MAPP.  Because the community’s strengths, needs, and desires drive the process, MAPP provides the framework for creating a truly community-driven initiative.  Community participation leads to collective thinking and, ultimately, results in effective, sustainable solutions to complex problems.
There are unique concerns about access and health that can change based on urban, suburban, and rural lifestyles.  MAPP team leaders are meeting with residents and stakeholders in eight geographical regions around Kent County, to determine the greatest concerns in our diverse communities.  Meetings will last 1-2 hours, a meal will be provided, and each attendee will have a chance to win a $25 Meijer gift card.  Data gathered from previous surveys and studies will be presented, then community members will be asked to discuss health topics and share ideas on how the health issues can be improved.
If you would like to attend one of our community health forums and learn more about the CHNA process, please visit our website ( and RSVP to a meeting near you.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Healthy Kent

March 4th 2014
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Plainfield Township Branch KDL
2650 5 Mile Rd. NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
March 4th 2014
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Straight School Building (Multi-Purpose Room)
850 Chatham St. NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
March 6th 2014
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
3 Mile Community Center
1470 3 Mile Rd. NW
Walker, MI 49544
March 11th 2014
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Wyoming Branch KDL
3350 Michael Ave. SW
Wyoming, MI 49509
March 12th 2014
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Grandville Public School: High School Cafeteria
4700 Canal Ave. SW
Grandville, MI 49418
March 18th 2014
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Grandville Branch KDL
4055 Maple St. SW
Grandville, MI 49418
March 18th 2014
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Hope Network
755 36th St. SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49548
March 20th 2014
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Sparta Civic Center
75 N. Union St.
Sparta, MI 49345
March 25th 2014
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Caledonia Township KDL
6260 92nd St. SE
Caledonia, MI 49316
March 27th 2014
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Metro Health
14211 White Creek Road
Cedar Springs, MI 49319
March 31th 2014
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Krause Memorial Branch KDL
140 E. Bridge St.
Rockford,  MI 49341
April 1st 2014
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Tyrone Township Offices
28 E. Muskegon St.
Kent City, MI 49330
April 3rd 2014
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Byron Township Branch KDL
8191 Byron Center Ave. SW
Byron Center, MI 49315
April 14th 2014
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Englehardt Branch KDL
200 N. Monroe St.
Lowell, MI 49331
April 15th 2014
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Cascade Township Branch KDL
2870 Jacksmith Ave. SE
Grand Rapids,  MI 49546


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Busy Fire Chiefs address Comstock Park Rotary

Deputy Chief Jeremy Kelly (left)  and Chief Dave Klomparens
On Thursday, members of the Comstock Park Rotary had an opportunity to experience what firefighters do from the second they receive a call until the completion of an investigation of a structure fire.  Using a recent structure fire as an example, Alpine Township's Chief Dave Klomparens and Deputy Chief Jeremy Kelly reviewed the steps taken by the fire department, how decisions were derived at, and how conclusions were based on fact.
Dave Klomparens is the only full time Alpine Township employee and the Township heavily depends on its on-call personnel of about 30 volunteers, as well as on assistance from neighboring communities with whom it shares mutual aid.  Dave explained some of the difficulties a department can run into, in particular when fighting a structure fire where no public water or hydrant is available.  He explained the three main goals of firefighters, the first and foremost dealing with the safety of the occupants, the public and the firefighters.  The second goal is to safe the structure, but if that is not possible because it will jeopardize safety or the fire is out of control, then the third goal is to minimize the losses.
The club was fortunate to receive this presentation as twice the two officers were called out to respond to emergency calls. Fortunately there were other volunteers who also responded to these calls allowing them to be back in time to present their excellent program.
Alpine Township is very proud of its firefighters and the job they do.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pinky's Place Revisited

It's been a few months since Pinky's Place opened and Sunday afternoon was the perfect day for a visit.  The store is packed with vendors of antiques, home accents, collectibles. jewelry, and many handcrafted and artistic collectibles.

The featured vendor today was Sue Hans, with "Hans-On Design". She specializes in custom furniture finishes and is a distributor for CC Caldwell Paints, manufacturer of chalk and clay based paints.

Pinky and members of her family were on hand to dish out  free ice cream for the many patrons of the store.

Pinky’s Place is a unique Antique & Artisan Market located at 4790 Alpine Avenue NW in Comstock Park
Pinky’s Place features local artists and vendors displaying and selling their quality refurbished, recycled and distressed furniture & home decor, handmade crafts, art of all types, antiques, locally made farm products and a variety of other unique items. The store is fully stocked and has a waiting list for additional vendors.
The marketplace will also hold activities including: Create-N-Take Classes, Kids Amazing Art Day, Sunday-Sundaes, as well as various events and activities throughout the year. Pinky’s Place will be open 6 days per week, Tuesday – Sunday, 362 days a year.
The store id named after Deb Myszka's mother Bert “Pinky” Anderson who suffers from  Dementia.  The owners have also set up a non-profit corporation Pinky’s Palace which will provide resources, awareness, community support, fundraisers, events and much more for those impacted by Dementia. Fundraising opportunities (supported 100% through charitable gifts) will help assist families in need of respite care relief, transportation, medications, supplies and other related expenses associated with those suffering this disease.

Sue Hans, left) showing Anette Baron how to apply CC Caldwell's Chalk and Clay Paint to any furniture you want to refurnish.

Some international beauties looking on

Julie Bresko (left) Bert "Pinky Anderson and Deb Myszka 

More sisters

More family members supporting the cause

Sunday, February 16, 2014

State of Alpine Township - 2013

Residents and members of the Alpine Township Historical Committee were treated with a presentation by Alpine Township Supervisor Alex Arends as he presented a "State of the Township Address" at the Historical Committee's February program at the Community Building.  In addition to some pertinent and financial facts, Alex 's presentation included pictures of many of the local community activities and events that took place last year.

A copy of the presentation without a narrative is on PDF format here.  

Harold Thome. Pat Cederholm and Judy Ingersol overlooking a picture of the lobby at Applebee's

Dick Dunneback, Ruth Post, Kit Post, Bill Schweitzer and Alex Arends

Focus on the Community - Comstock Park Rotary

The Comstock Park Rotary has it's focus on the local community this month.  Last week's  
speaker was Deb Johnson, owner of Alpine Floral and Gift. This week the spotlight was on  the new $23 million industrial facility operated by Heeren Brothers Produce on 7 Mile Rd.. Representing the company at Thursday's meeting was Steve Hester, Director of Human Resources.  He discussed the general operations of the facility and how the company has a desire to be more intertwined with the local community.

Saturday morning, The Comstock Park Rotary held a special meeting to discuss direction and  plans for the upcoming years.  The meeting was held at the York Creek community building and facilitated by Glenn Miller with Farm Bureau Insurance. A delicious breakfast was prepared by Gayle Steffen and Sharon Steffens

Deb Johnson and Nancy Mulder

Brent Beuschel and Steve Hester

Gayle Steffen serving breakfast to Melody Butters and Frank Vietze

Some of those getting up early Saturday morning

Sharon Steffens, Dan Clark and Glenn Miller

Saturday, February 8, 2014

What our great grandchildren may see half a century from now when they look back fifty years

The Historical  Committee's January program that was postponed is now scheduled for Sunday, February 16, at 2:00 PM at the Alpine Township Community Building, 2015 7 Mile Road NW on the corner of Baumhoff Ave. NW.

Scheduled to speak is Alex Arends, Alpine Township Supervisor. Alex is prepared to give a brief report on the state of the Township. Known for bringing his camera wherever he goes, Alex plans to show a slide presentation featuring people and landscapes of Alpine Township and some of the many small town activities that occurred in and around the Township over the past year.  There is no charge for the program, and coffee and refreshments will be served.  

Meet Fancy Nancy

Does Fancy Nancy have friends?  Yes, according to all who showed up for a party in her honor Saturday at the Alpine Township Library.
Library manager Shaunna Burmeister reports that she and the kids who attended had a blast.  

Fancy Nancy, of course, is a character in a series of children's books written by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. Nancy loves to dress up and encourages others to do the same.  She loves everything fancy, including fancy words.

 Learn more about Nancy by checking out one or more of her books at the library.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Thank you, Jack Kline!

Jack Kline
The Alpine Firefighters Association held its Annual Awards Banquet and paid special tribute to one of Alpine's longest serving and most reliable "on-call" firefighters Jack Kline, who retired this month. The banquet was held at English Hills and was attended by members of the Firefighters Association, invited Township officials, spouses and and guests.  Also in attendance was retired Fire Chief Ron Christians.  The program was organized by Association President Jon Jenkins.  In addition to the special recognition of Jack Kline, Fire Chief Dave Klomparens and Deputy Chief Jeremy Kelly recognized all firefighters and a number of firemen for special contributions they made this year towards fire department programs. They included Brian Stalsonburg, Tim Schweizer, Jason Szotko, The program concluded with a few "oops" awards presented by Brian Stalsonburg. 

Retired Fire Chief Ron Christians

Township Trustee and Fire Department Liaison Jim May with wife Jackie

Township Treasurer Jim Townsend and wife Maureen

Firefighter Jason Szotko with plaque

Jack Kline and guest