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Caught Being Safe program launches statewide

Michigan State Police, local law enforcement and Michigan’s Field Neurosciences Institute have teamed up with McDonald’s of Michigan to once again launch “Caught Being Safe,” a statewide bicycle/scooter helmet safety program. Kids wearing helmets and “caught being safe” by participating law enforcement officials will treated to a free ice cream cone or Apple Dippers at McDonald’s. 

According to the Field Neurosciences Institute (of Michigan): “Caught Being Safe! has shown a significant increase in both helmet utilization and public awareness regarding the critical importance of wearing a bicycle helmet. This program has impacted not only children but adults as well.” 

My Town: Ford Airport awarded $3.8 million grant for safety upgrades

My Town: Ford Airport awarded $3.8 million grant for safety upgrades

KENTWOOD, Mich.—The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is getting millions of dollars for safety upgrades.

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced it is awarding a $3.8 million grant to the airport to purchase an aircraft rescue and fire fighting vehicle, rehabilitate runway lighting and build a deicing containment facility.

"Making sure passengers are able to travel to and from West Michigan is vital to the state’s economy," said Senator Debbie Stabenow. "This support will help ensure that the Gerald R. Ford International Airport can continue to keep people travelling safely and increase business activity to boost the economy."

“Airports are essential to tourism, economic development and cultural exchange,” Senator Carl Levin added. “This federal funding will ensure that a vital cog in the West Michigan economy keeps humming.”

My Town: FBI increases laser-pointing reward

My Town: FBI increases laser-pointing reward

KENTWOOD, Mich.-- The FBI has increased its reward for information leading to the arrests of people who point lasers at aircraft.

The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward as part of a national campaign to  raise awareness about the crime.  Last year, 3,960 laser strikes were reported to the FBI- an average of nearly 11 incidents per day.  Lasers can light up the cockpit and potentially blind pilots. Most laser strikes happen between 12 a.m. and 7 a.m.   

Last August, police confiscated a high-powered laser light from an 11-year-old Kentwood boy, after pilots reported a laser was pointed at their planes.  The boy denied any involvement.

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: Lake Drive construction means driving detours

My Town: Lake Drive construction means driving detours

KENTWOOD, Mich.—Construction season isn’t waiting for the snow to disappear.

Work is beginning on a half-mile section of Lake Drive, from the East Beltline to the East Grand Rapids border.  The project includes replacing asphalt and adding new curb, gutter and drive approaches.  Phase I work will focus on the eastbound lanes of Lake Drive now through May 23; crews will focus on the westbound lanes during Phase II of the project, which is expected to run May 27 through June 20.

Drivers should detour onto East Paris and take Burton to East Beltline during Phase I of the project; no detour will be necessary during Phase II, but drivers can expect slowdowns.

Kamminga and Roodvoets, Inc. will be handling the road project, which should be complete near the end of June.

My Town Kentwood: Lawmaker joins road crews to fill potholes

My Town Kentwood: Lawmaker joins road crews to fill potholes

KENTWOOD, Mich.— State Rep. Ken Yonker traded in his suit for an orange vest and jeans Tuesday, to help Kent County Road Commission crews repair potholes.

“We would all like to have pothole free roads to drive on but we don’t often think about the process to fixing the roads,” said Yonker (R-Caledonia). “I appreciated the opportunity to join the road commission to gain a hands-on experience in what it takes to fix a pothole.” 

Yonker’s hands-on approach was inspired by a state supplemental budget approved by lawmakers last month, to help repair roads hit hard by the harsh winter.  The additional funding includes $215 million for roads, with $115 million for priority projects and $100 million for maintenance.

Yonker represents District 72, which is comprised of Kentwood, Gaines Township, Wayland, Wayland Township, Leighton Township and Dorr Township.

My Town: Airport prepares for spring break travel surge

My Town: Airport prepares for spring break travel surge

KENTWOOD, Mich.—The Gerald R. Ford International Airport is preparing for packed parking lots and full facilities, as spring break travelers take to the air.

Now through April, the Transportation Security Administration expects longer security lines and is urging passengers to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to their departure time.  To speed up the process, the TSA also offers these tips: