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My Town: Prepare for disaster by making a life-saving donation

My Town: Prepare for disaster by making a life-saving donation

---NEWS RELEASE---

LANSING, Mich.—The American Red Cross is among a coalition of organizations encouraging Americans to observe National Preparedness Month this September by doing simple things that make a difference when every second counts.

The Red Cross recommends three things most everyone can do to prepare for disasters or other emergencies: Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed.

“The beauty is, those steps can be taken in advance, helping most everyone to be prepared,” said Todd Kulman, Communications Manager for the Great Lakes Blood Services Region of the American Red Cross.

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: Ford Airport honored for response to brutal winter

My Town: Ford Airport honored for response to brutal winter

KENTWOOD, Mich.--  Winter is long behind us, but the Gerald R. Ford International Airport is being honored for how it handled the brutal conditions.

The airport was recently awarded the Balchen/Post Award for Outstanding Achievement in Airport Snow & Ice Control.  The award was presented during the International Aviation Snow Symposium.  The Ford Airport won the small category, which is for airports that have less than 100,000 scheduled take-offs and landings each year.

“We all know how challenging this past winter was for our staff and that meant additional work and long hours making sure our airfield and operations were safe and secure,” said GFIA Executive Director Brian Ryks. “This is a tremendous achievement for our staff, and I cannot say enough about the hard working airport operations and field maintenance crews who are the recipients of this award.  We are very proud to be recognized as the best among our peers.”

My Town: Forest Hills Schools using technology to combat snow days

My Town: Forest Hills Schools using technology to combat snow days

FOREST HILLS, Mich.—As many West Michigan schools are preparing to extend their academic calendar into June because of snow days, one district is combating a longer school year with the help of technology.

Anticipating snow days, language arts teacher Kris Schrotenboer recorded two weeks of lessons at the beginning of the semester with Michigan-made TechSmith Relay.  Shrotenboer even recorded some of her lessons on a smart phone at her kitchen table.   The 20-year veteran teacher then assigned students to watch videos on snow days, keeping her lesson plan on track.  Schrotenboer says her some of her students loved spending a little of their snow day on schoolwork, so they don’t have to cram later on.

Extreme winter conditions cut into blood donations

Extreme winter conditions cut into blood donations

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The recent winter storms and extremely cold temperatures are taking a toll on donations to the American Red Cross.

The organization says more than 7070 blood drives were cancelled last month because of the weather—leading to a loss of more than 25,000 blood and platelet donations. On average, the Red Cross must collect about 15,000 pints of blood each day to supply medical centers. 

“While thousands of people from across the country responded to the call for blood and platelet donations issued by the Red Cross in January, there continues to be an urgent need for blood donors with type O, especially type O negative,” said Todd Kulman, communications program manager for the Great Lakes Blood Services Region.

Kulman says the recent uptick in cold and flu cases is also taking a toll on blood donations.   Community members are encouraged to donate blood at one of the following drives:

  • Feb. 4, 12 p.m.

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.

Thornapple River is over its banks

Thornapple River is over its banks

CASCADE, MI - The Thornapple River is very close to minor flood stage at Caledonia.  The river level at 8am this morning was 9.85 feet, while minor flood stage is 10 feet.  The river is expected to crest at 12.8 feet in Caledonia this weekend, which is considered moderate flood stage.  The record in Caledonia is 14.4 feet.

The water is roaring through the Cascade Dam this morning.  The river is over its banks at Tassel Park in downtown Cascade.  The water is rushing under the deck of one house along the Thornapple River just below the Cascade Dam.  One local rain gauge shows four inches of rain has fallen in the Cascade area since yesterday.