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My Town: Alpine Township to stick with residential farm animal rule

My Town: Alpine Township to stick with residential farm animal rule

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich.—Alpine Township's rules about residential farm animals will remain unchanged for now.

Last week, the planning commission decided to keep its livestock-to-land ratio rule the same.  The ordinance came under question after Michael and Jamie Velting sent a letter to the township, asking for a change so they can raise more chickens to produce enough eggs for their family of seven.  The couple said based on the current ordinance, which allows only one farm animal per acre of property, they can only raise two chickens.  The Veltings said they do not understand how the space, housing and upkeep for two chickens can compare to larger livestock, like horses and cows; that’s why they were asking the township to increase the number of chickens allowed on residential property.

Planning Director Sue Becker says it's unclear if or when the issue will come up again, but it's not on the planning commission's agenda for next month.

My Town: 'Battle of the Buildings' underway in West Michigan

My Town: 'Battle of the Buildings' underway in West Michigan

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.— A ‘Battle of the Buildings’ is underway in West Michigan, and the winner gets to keep more of their money.

The U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan says more than 14 Grand Rapids area businesses have signed up for the competition to reduce energy usage.  Participants include Steelcase and Spectrum Health, JSJ Corporation in Grand Haven; Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids, Steelcase in Kentwood; The Grand Rapids Art Museum; Kent Intermediate School District; Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park; Aquinas College; Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo; the Muskegon County Hall of Justice and Metro Health Hospital in Wyoming.

This is the second year for the Battle of the Buildings.  For more information, including how to sign up your business, visit the campaign website here.

My Town: Alpine Township to consider changing residential farm animal rule

My Town: Alpine Township to consider changing residential farm animal rule

ALPINE TOWNSHIP, Mich.—The Alpine Township Planning Commission Thursday night will consider changing its rules when it comes to allowing farm animals in residential areas.

In a letter sent to the township, Michael and Jamie Velting are calling for a change to the township ordinance so they can raise more chickens to produce enough eggs for their family of seven.  The couple says based on the current ordinance, which allows only one farm animal per acre of property, they can only raise two chickens.  The Veltings say they do not understand how the space, housing and upkeep for two chickens can compare to larger livestock, like horses and cows; that’s why the couple is asking the township to raise the ratio of chickens to property size.

The planning commission will take up the issue in a work session during Thursday’s meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m.   

My Town: DNR awards more than $4 million in grants for projects battling invasive species

My Town: DNR awards more than $4 million in grants for projects battling invasive species

---NEWS RELEASE—

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has announced the award of 20 grant projects totaling more than $4 million, under the Michigan Invasive Species Grant Program. 

The grant program is central to Michigan’s new invasive species initiative, which brings a multi-department, comprehensive approach to the ongoing problem of harmful, non-native invaders such as the Asian carp. The initiative enlists the expertise of the state departments of Natural Resources, Environmental Quality and Agriculture and Rural Development.

Projects funded in this round of grants include plans to:

My Town: TV recycling no longer free in Kent County beginning Feb. 16

My Town: TV recycling no longer free in Kent County beginning Feb. 16

----NEWS RELEASE---

GRAND RAPIDS – It seems most households now have flat-screen televisions these days, but many people may still have an older Cathode Ray Tube (CRT) television in their home. Kent County Department of Public Works (DPW) has collected 5.6 million pounds of electronics, including televisions, since 2001, without charging residents a fee. These items are processed by a third-party recycler. CRT televisions contains approximately 5-10 pounds of lead, a toxic component for our environment that can cause a variety of health issues. Due to the increasing cost of recycling televisions, Kent County DPW will begin charging a recycling fee starting February 16.

My Town: Battle of the Buildings energy reduction competition expands for second year

My Town: Battle of the Buildings energy reduction competition expands for second year

Registration is officially open for Michigan commercial and industrial buildings of all sizes interested in joining the U.S. Green Building Council of West Michigan's (USGBCWM) second annual Battle of the Buildings competition. The statewide competition is an expansion of the Battle of the Buildings that started in West Michigan last year.

Battle of the Buildings is an awards and recognition program for energy use reduction. The competition is a way to encourage energy-efficient practices in buildings across the state of Michigan and to instill a spirit of friendly competition among the area’s building owners and operators. Steelcase, Western Michigan University and Nichols have already committed for the 2015 competition totaling over 3,000,000 sq. feet.

My Town: 12 tips to stay safe in this extreme cold

My Town: 12 tips to stay safe in this extreme cold

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division are sharing their top tips to stay safe in this extreme cold.

"As we saw last winter, these arctic blasts can create hazardous situations," said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. "Citizens are encouraged to monitor local weather reports and follow the appropriate steps to stay safe during these extremely cold and potentially life-threatening temperatures."

Exposure to these subzero temperatures could potentially cause frostbite and hypothermia, as well as create hazardous driving conditions.

To stay safe during cold weather: