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My Town: Two state construction projects recognized nationally

My Town: Two state construction projects recognized nationally

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (MDOT)-- The Michigan Department of Transportation's M-231 bridge over Little Robinson Creek in Ottawa County, and the city of Grand Rapids' Plainfield Avenue reconstruction project have been selected by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) as winners in the 2014 America's Transportation Awards competition.

The awards were presented today at the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials (MAASTO) regional conference in Indianapolis. The competition was created in 2008 with the support of AAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to acknowledge the performance of state departments of transportation that are leading the way in bringing high value for the public's investment. Projects nominated in this competition are making communities stronger, our economy more efficient and our quality of life better.  

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

OPINION: Michigan, Our Great State

Michigan, our great state. Whether we realize it or not, we really do have a great state.

Granted, we had an unusual winter this past year but then again, have you ever seen the grass and trees so green before? Even people returning from Florida this year have commented about everything being so green!

Despite all of the good things, I still hear people complain about it either being too cool, too cloudy, too hot, etc. To those people I say, maybe it’s time for you to move to a perfect climate, wherever that may be.

I love Michigan and all it has to offer. We have the Great Lakes, a treasure on their own. I used to have an older friend, Bill Hickey, who had apple orchards.

He told me, “You will never, ever find an apple as snappy when you bite into it as a Michigan apple in the fall, because of the Great Lakes.” 

My Town: Goats on the loose at Eastmanville Bayou

My Town: Goats on the loose at Eastmanville Bayou

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich—Visitors to Eastmanville Bayou will encounter the county’s new set of four-legged landscapers.

The Ottawa County Parks and Recreation Department says a herd of grazing goats has been released at the bayou to begin its work reducing invasive species.  Visitors are welcome to watch the goats at work, but should remain clear of the electric fence surrounding them and not pet the goats.  Plant oils from the poison ivy and other invasive plants the goats are munching on could be on the goats’ coats, making them transferrable to humans.

The goats are also being used at Bur Oak Landing in Coopersville and Riverside Park in Grand Haven. 

My Town Grand Haven: Native plant presentation May 28

My Town Grand Haven: Native plant presentation May 28

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.-- The Ottawa Conservation District in Grand Haven is hosting a special presentation on native plants, given by Designs By Nature owner Vern Stephens..

The informative session will take place Wednesday, May 28 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Nature Education Center at Hemlock Crossings County Park, located at 8115 West Olive Road in West Olive.

A native plant sale will immediately follow the presentation.  Visit www.ottawacd.org for a description of most available plants.

For more information, call (616) 846-8770, Ex. 122.

My Town: Students improve community during Junior Day of Caring

My Town: Students improve community during Junior Day of Caring

GRAND HAVEN, Mich.—Dozens of parks and local organizations are a lot cleaner, thanks to the hard work of nearly 1,000 middle school student volunteers.

On May 2, eighth grade students from Lakeshore Middle School spent the morning volunteering at 30 local nonprofit organizations and parks, cleaning, landscaping organizing and sorting.  Other students spent time painting nails and playing games with the elderly, as part of the Greater Ottawa County United Way’s Junior Day of Caring.

Sixth grade students from White Pines Middle School did their part late last month, clearing invasive plants and picking up garbage at Ottawa County parks.  Overall, the students donated 1,950 hours of their time.

"It is incredible to see these kids working together to make a difference. This event has a powerful impact on our community and on the students themselves," said Shannon Morton, United Way’s director of volunteerism.

My Town: Four-legged landscapers coming to Ottawa County parks

My Town: Four-legged landscapers coming to Ottawa County parks

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.--  Three Ottawa County parks will welcome some four-legged landscapers next month.

The Ottawa County Parks Department is bringing in goats to combat invasive plant species.  The goats will be released at Bur Oak Landing in Coopersville, Eastmanville Bayou in Allendale and Riverside Park in Grand Haven in May.  Parks officials say eating plants instead of grain is healthier for goats, and the animals like to eat graze on woody, shrub-like plants including poison ivy, which is in abundance at the parks. The Ottawa County Parks Department says repeated use of grazing goats has been shown to eliminate 90 percent of invasive, woody plants over three years.

My Town: Friends of the North Bank Trail to pursue trail building grant

My Town: Friends of the North Bank Trail to pursue trail building grant

CROCKERY TOWNSHIP, Mich.—  A group supporting a new trail connecting Spring Lake to Coopersville is moving forward with its grant request.

On Tuesday, Friends of the North Bank Trail released this map on Facebook, showing where the proposed 18-mile pathway would be created. The North Bank Trail would connect the Spring Lake Bike Path to the east end of the Musketawa Trail. 

Crockery Township recently sought support from Coopersville, Walker and other nearby communities to apply for a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund for Phase 2 of the trail.