by JUDY REED It’s been around for almost 38 years, serving the northern Kent county community—from 6 mile north to the county line—with food, shelter, utilities support, clothing, counseling and more. Technically known as the Rockford community services center, it began being called the North Kent service center sometime in the 1980s. However, effective October 1, the center changed its name to North Kent Community Services. “We wanted to put ‘community’ back in our name to better reflect what we do,” said executive director Sandy Waite. “We are blessed to have the opportunity to help our neighbors in need in northern Kent County, but we also want to emphasize that we are a part of the local communities in which we serve. We want our influence to extend well beyond the walls of our facility.” As part of the name change, NKCS unveiled a new identity, with a new logo that reflects its heritage and mission, said Waite. “We believe our new identity highlights our ongoing mission to love our neighbor. We are blessed to be able to do so.” Their hours will remain the same, open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The donation area will be open, however.
by JUDY REED Residents who love to shop the farmer’s markets during growing season will have a new place to check out come May 8. Solon Township will sponsor a farmer’s market and craft sale at the old horse farm at 15185 Algoma Avenue every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning May 8 and running through September. The township bought the property almost a year ago after it was foreclosed on. But they didn’t have the funds this year to renovate it for a township hall or fire barn. “We’ve been talking about how we could use it, and we thought it would be nice to have something close by like this for residents,” explained Linda Badgerow, administrative assistant at the township. Solon is offering the use of the barn at no charge to vendors and will provide tables if needed. And since the market will be held inside, the sale will go on rain or shine. The township has been advertising for vendors and Badgerow said that the response has been good. Stands will be on a first come basis. For more info, contact her at (616) 696-1718 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
by JUDY REED When the old Algoma Baptist Church was torn down in 2004, some may have thought it would be forever forgotten. But the township, in conjunction with the Algoma Township Historical Society, has made sure that won’t happen. On Memorial Day, the township will dedicate a new Memorial Park on the site of the old church on Grange Ave., south of 13 Mile. The park, just under a half-acre, will commemorate veterans with a special monument, and the old church with the bell from the original building. “We didn’t want to lose the history of the church,” noted Julie Sjogren, president of the Algoma Historical Society. The Swedish Baptist church was organized in 1903 and first met in a house in Sparta. In 1910, it moved to Algoma Township on Grange, and held services in the church building owned by the United Brethren church. The name was later changed to Algoma Baptist. In 1968, they purchased 20 acres across the street and built the existing building. In 1999, the old church building and property was donated to Algoma Township with hopes it could be restored. “We hoped to get a historical designation through the state but couldn’t because it had been added on to so many times,” explained Devin Bigney, with Algoma Township. She said it would have cost $100,000 to bring it back to its original state, and the township didn’t have the funds. So in 2004, with the building unsafe to inhabit, they demolished it. But the current church saved the bell and gave it to the township. “We came up with the idea to memorialize both the veterans and the church at the same time,’ said Julie. The street side of the seven-foot monument will memorialize the church with the bell, and veteran brick courtyard side of the monument will memorialize veterans, living or deceased. They have been selling engraved bricks to help raise money ‘for the project since 2003. Theyve sold about 110 of them at $50 a piece, and there is room for more. The veterans do not have to be from this area. The monument itself costs about $23,000. As of this writing, they are about $8,000 short of meeting their goal. They will take monetary donations […]
by JUDY REED Pair planned to release animal into the wild The owners of a private deer farm in Algoma Township have been arrested and charged with violating the Chronic Wasting Disease quarantine order issued by the Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) last summer. The MDA and Department fo Natural Resources (DNR) announced last August that a three-year-old white-tailed doe from a privately owned facility in Rockford had tested positive for Chronic Wasting Disease, a neurological brain and nervous system disease found in deer, elk and moose. It is the state’s first case. According to Mary Detloff, of the DNR, James and Brian Schuiteman, owners of J&B Whitetails, where the original deer was found, attempted to move a male deer from the facility on August 23, the day after the quarantine was issued. At approximately midnight, DNR Conservation Officers David Rodgers and Michael Mshar observed two people enter the quarantined facility with flashlights and a tranquilizer gun. The officers watched the men single out a specific deer and tranquilize it. They then loaded it into an enclosed trailer and towed it from the property, where officers conducted a traffic stop to detain the suspects. Officers determined a live male white-tailed deer was in the trailer, with identification tags removed. Upon questioning the suspects, the officers learned it was the men’s intent to release the buck into the wild. Officers returned the animal to the facility, where it was euthanized and immediately transported to the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health at Michigan State University for testing. The deer tested negative for CWD. All 40 of the remaining deer at the farm were also shot and killed, then tested for the disease. All the test results came back negative. Four other deer that had been moved to farms in Montcalm and Osceola counties also tested negative for the disease. James Arthur Schuiteman, 52, and Brian Lee Schuiteman, 24, were arraigned in Rockford’s 63rd District Court, and charged with violating Michigan’s Animal Industry Act for movement of an animal in violation of the quarantine placed on their facility by MDA. This is a felony charge carrying a penalty of $1,000 to $5,000 in fines and imprisonment of up to five years. Both men waived their right […]