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Road budgets broken by long, harsh West Michigan winter

Road budgets broken by long, harsh West Michigan winter

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich.—The West Michigan winter is carrying on, even though the Ottawa County Road Commission budget has dried up.

The road commission says $2.6 million was budgeted for winter-related work on roads, but more than $3.4 million has already been spent this year. The Michigan Department of Transportation has also had its budget blown by the extreme winter conditions.  MDOT had budgeted $1.3 million for winter maintenance of state highways in Ottawa County; so far it’s already spent more than $1.7 million.

The Ottawa County Road Commission will review its budget plan in April and likely cut back some planned road improvement projects and other maintenance activities to balanace the budget.

Residents asked to help tackle dangerous snow piles

Residents asked to help tackle dangerous snow piles

HOLLAND, Mich.—While higher temperatures may melt some of the snow, the City of Holland is hoping residents will also help eliminate snow dangers with the help of their shovels.

The city says it does not have enough manpower or equipment to clear every street corner of high snows, so community members are asked to help by shoveling up snow piles blocking visibility and move them several feet away, increasing visibility.  

Drivers are also asked to pull into driveways so they do not block sidewalks, and private plow operators should remove “windrows” that block sidewalks.  Property owners are also reminded to follow the city’s ordinance and clear their sidewalks. Residents and businesses are also encouraged to clear bus pick up areas.

More than 115 inches of snow have fallen in Holland this winter.

Dozens of West Michigan Schools awarded field trip grants

Dozens of West Michigan Schools awarded field trip grants

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—Nearly three dozen West Michigan schools are getting a financial boost to help students learn outside the traditional classroom.

The Michigan Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs recently awarded more than $55,000 grants to 147 schools as part of its Arts & Culture Trek “Bus Grant” program.  Each school received up to $500 to help cover transportation costs for an arts or culture-related field trip through May 31.

 "These grants subsidize field trips across the state and expose thousands of students to arts, science and humanities experiences that enrich classroom learning.  Many of these trips would not have been possible in a year where most schools are continuing to cope with significant budget cuts," says Marianne Dorais, executive director of Michigan Youth Arts.

This year’s recipients include:

  • Comstock STEM Academy (Kalamazoo)
  • Cooper Elementary (Kalamazoo)
  • Kalamazoo C

Ottawa County Road Commission closing in on maxing winter budget

Ottawa County Road Commission closing in on maxing winter budget

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich.—  Before this weekend’s storm,  the Ottawa County Road Commission says it was already over 70 percent through its budget for the entire winter season.

That budget pays for clearing, sanding and salting roads.  During a typical year, the County Road Commission will use about 20,000 to 25,000 tons of salt and 14,000 to 18,000 tons of sand, leading to a bill that can total $2 million- $3 million annually.  As of Jan. 10, 2014, the Ottawa County Road Commission already blew through $1.85 million of its $2.6 million budget.  The cost of salt isn’t helping; the Road Commission says the price per ton has nearly doubled since 2003.

During winter, the Ottawa County Road Commission operates 62 snow plows out of four garages located in Coopersville, Grand Haven Township, Hudsonville and Holland Township.  It can take the team up to three days to clear all Ottawa County roads after a typical snow storm.

 

Max Transit opens new facility in Holland

Max Transit opens new facility in Holland

HOLLAND, Mich.—The transit system Holland and Zeeland residents depend on is operating out of a new facility.

The head of the Michigan Department of Transportation helped cut the ribbon to MAX Transit’s new headquarters on October 4. 

“On behalf of Governor Rick Snyder and the state of Michigan, I'd like to say how proud we are of all your accomplishments. The MAX has come a long way from the ‘Dial-A-Ride’ service that started in 1974,” said MDOT Director Kirk Steudle.  “Your work ethic and positive attitude have made all of this a reality,” he continued.  “This facility that will not only serve customers better, it will improve employee morale and employee engagement.  That’s huge. That’s immeasurable.”

Should Ottawa County eliminate its road commission?

Should Ottawa County eliminate its road commission?

OTTAWA COUNTY, Mich.--  Ottawa County residents will have one last chance to weigh in on who should handle county roads Tuesday, August 13.

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners is considering taking over the responsibility of county roads and public utilities.  Michigan is the only state to still have road commissions.  Last month, the Board of Commissioners released nearly a year’s worth of research and findings by The Road Commission Task Force.  The task force’s three proposed plans include:

Deadline nears to register for the Holland/Zeeland Community Labor Day Truck Parade

Deadline nears to register for the Holland/Zeeland Community Labor Day Truck Parade

 

HOLLAND, Mich.-- Organizers of the Holland/Zeeland Community Labor Day Truck Parade invite local businesses to participate in the annual event, taking place September 2, 2013.

 

Criteria for participating in the parade is as follows: