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My Town: Be mindful of your health during storm cleanup

My Town: Be mindful of your health during storm cleanup

WYOMING, Mich.—If you plan to spend the weekend cleaning up damage from Sunday night’s tornadoes and storms, the American Heart Association wants you to be mindful of your health.

Cleaning up storm damage can be physically taxing, leading to a higher risk of heart attack.  Residents should take plenty of breaks, carry smaller loads and drink plenty of water.  The American Heart Association says most importantly, residents should listen to their bodies. 

The warning signs of a heart attack include:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest that last for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck and arms.
  • Chest discomfort with light-headedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.

People who experience the warning signs of a heart attack should stop what they’re doing immediately and call 911.

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 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: Plainfield Township prepares for potential spring flooding

My Town: Plainfield Township prepares for potential spring flooding

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, MIch. (Plainfield Charter Township) --- Are you prepared for a flood?

With both the Rogue River and the Grand River winding through Plainfield Township, floodplain residents have been dealing with spring flooding as long as they’ve lived in the township. 

Spring 2013 was a challenge with major flooding on both rivers.  This year, Plainfield Township officials Peter Elam, Rick Solle and Township Superintendent Cameron Van Wyngarden met with residents from the Riverbank, Willow, Konkle and Abrigador floodplains to discuss concerns and a game plan.  Representatives from Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, Kent County Emergency Management, the Plainfield Township Fire Department, NOAA, the Kent County Road Commission, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Kent County Health Department also attended.

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.