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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.

My Town Coopersville: Heavy snow likely to blame for roof collapse on fair grounds

My Town Coopersville: Heavy snow likely to blame for roof collapse on fair grounds

MARNE, Mich.-- Heavy snow is likely to blame for a roof collapse at the Berlin Fair Grounds.

Kathy Perrin, a member of the 4H Club says she drove past the beef barn Wednesday, Feb. 19 and noticed the roof had collapsed.  WZZM 13 has left messages at the Berlin Fair office for additional information about the roof collapse.

The Berlin Fair Grounds is located at 2008 Berlin Fair Dr. in Marne.  The venue is home to the Berlin Fair, which is scheduled for June 16 through June 20, 2014.

Where does all the snow go?

Where does all the snow go?

COOPERSVILLE, Mich.—This winter is nearing another record for snowfall; so where does all that snow go?

In Coopersville, just look to Vets Park.  City Manager Steven Patrick says the city has given local businesses the green light to bring their snow to the park, where it will be stored until the warm weather returns and makes it melt.  Hauling snow to the open area helps eliminate potentially dangerous snowbanks on the edges of roadways, which can block drivers’ sight.  It also provides more space on roads and parking lots, which have shrunk as the piles have grown.

Patrick says dropping off snow at the park has been the practice of the city for years, so if residents see vehicles hauling snow into the park, rest assured that the city has given its approval. 

Water main break delays classes in Coopersville

Water main break delays classes in Coopersville

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. --  Classes are back in session at Coopersville Area Public Schools after a water main break forced a two-hour delay by the district.

The break in the line happened around 2:15 a.m. on East Street in Coopersville.  Crews have since repaired the break.  It's unclear what led to the problem, but the extreme winter weather has been blamed for similar problems in other communities.

The water main break also led to a two hour delay at Saint Joseph’s Catholic School in Conklin.

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.

 

Apples- from bust to boon

Apples- from bust to boon

EAST LANSING, Mich. (Michigan State University) --- This year’s Michigan apple crop runneth over.

 Last year’s crop was decimated by late frosts, and the feeble harvest yielded a mere 2.7 million bushels for growers. This year, however, is shaping up to be a record year, projected to top 30 million bushels.

“This year is a limb-busting crop; some of our branches are so full with apples that they snap with a little help from the wind,” said Adam Dietrich, Michigan State University graduate and grower at Leo Dietrich and Sons, based in Conklin, Mich. “A single tree from 2013 is producing more than an 8-acre block of trees did in 2012.”

The overabundance of apples is welcomed, but it presents its own set of challenges.

Funding deadline nears for communities impacted by flooding

Funding deadline nears for communities impacted by flooding

Communities impacted by the floods in April have less than a week to file their request for federal disaster money. 

In June, President Obama declared a major disaster in 16 Michigan counties, including Allegan, Ionia, Kent, Ottawa and Muskegon and Newaygo. The Small Business Association also issued a disaster declaration this summer.  Both declarations freed up federal assistance for homeowners, local governments and certain non-profits who were forced to clean up.  Homeowners and businesses had until Monday, August 12 to apply for assistance; city officials have until August 17.

The flooding caused $10 million in damage in Kent County alone.  Federal funding would help pay for debris removal and repairs to public property, roads and bridges.