October 2021 Edition
Greetings from the Mayor's Office
As I write my thoughts for the October newsletter, I am excited after seeing our community come together during Pumpkin Bash over the weekend. And, I look forward to what our City staff has planned for the upcoming Winter Fest in early December. Much of the spirit of family-friendly community events is back in Walker! I am also excited to announce that this year will bring about the first ever Veterans Day Parade down Remembrance Road in November. Please continue to follow our social media pages for updates to these and other events.

As I share in most monthly newsletters, our industrial growth of new businesses and expansions shows no signs of slowing down. Just last week brought exciting news in the sale of the former Grand Rapids Press/MLive building in the Northridge industrial area next to I-96. Because of its unique design and function, many of us thought the property would sit vacant for a while. But the remaining printing equipment was removed last December, so to have this building go on the the market, sell, and become occupied in less than a year is significant. The functionality of the buildings is well suited for new owners, Lee Industrial Contracting. Lee is headquartered in Pontiac, Michigan, and has plans to add approximately 50 employees to the new Walker location over the next two years. I have had a chance to work on bringing this project to fruition and can assure you that Lee will be a great fit for our community.

Down the road on Fruit Ridge Avenue, Irwin Seating announced a 60,000 square foot expansion with approximately 15 new jobs. Irwin has occupied this location on Fruit Ridge since 1968 and has continually been one of the model businesses in our City and West Michigan. I love visiting another city, state, or country and finding out the comfortable seat I am sitting on was made in Walker, Michigan. We are excited to help support their continued success and thank the Irwin family for their ongoing investment in our community.

Switching gears, our frustration with the delays in the Kinney Avenue project has been felt by our residents and businesses, and I know our City staff has taken the brunt of this. We have all felt the inconvenience and there are not a lot of words for the continued delays. As a leader, I believe it is important to fully back our City staff and share they have done everything they can to drive some urgency with the contractors. The delays are unacceptable, and we have learned lessons when it comes to awarding future project bids. Yet, I know the final project, which is days from being completed, will be enjoyed by so many. After doing a walkthrough myself the other day, it is obvious the benefit for our residents and others to be able to safely walk, ride, and drive on what was once a dangerous stretch of road will put the memory of the project delays behind us.

During our last September City Commission meeting, we approved the second phase of Summerbrooke Estates, which is located south of Leonard just east of Kinney. This phase is for 22 additional single family housing units. In addition, review of the final site plans for Waterford Village on Lake Michigan Drive, as well as the English Hills Development off Four Mile Road, is nearly complete. All these projects combined will add close to 900 housing units at a critical time in our City. The new housing helps address our community needs as well as bring more opportunity for others to come live, work, and grow in Walker.

As always, thank you for making the choice to call Walker home.
Mayor Gary L. Carey, Jr.
Contact Your Commissioners
Mayor Gary Carey, Jr.
(616) 292-1715

Steven Gilbert
Mayor Pro Tem
First Ward Commissioner
(616) 828-7763 sgilbert@walker.city

Thom Burke
First Ward Commissioner
(619) 379-6036 tburke@walker.city

Roxanne Deschaine
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 885-4191 rdeschaine@walker.city
Carol Glanville
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 443-9313 cglanville@walker.city

Elaina Huizenga-Chase
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 334-1900 echase@walker.city

Melaine Grooters
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 690-1719 mgrooters@walker.city
Thank you to everyone who came out to make this year's Pumpkin Bash so memorable!
Families enjoying Pumpkin Bash 2021
Overhead view of Pumpkin Bash 2021
Ground view of Pumpkin Bash 2021
Community Development News

The Community Development Department acts as liaisons between the applicants and either the Planning Commission, or Zoning Board of Appeals. They write reports that provide these public bodies with background, history, and standards of approval for each case, along with a recommendation of approval, denial or tabling of an agenda item. 
 
The Zoning Board of Appeals hears appeals from the zoning ordinance when there is a hardship in carrying out the strict letter of the ordinance. They also hear appeals of orders or determinations made by the Zoning Enforcement Specialist or Zoning Administrator. The ZBA will also provide interpretations of the zoning ordinance text if the need arises. 
 
The Planning Commission hears proposals for development in commercial, industrial and residential zoning districts. The zoning ordinance and Walker 2020 Master Plan serve as guides for decision making. Depending on the project type, the City Commission may have the final approval, while the Planning Commission makes a recommendation. 
 
Stay Informed
If you would like to stay up-to-date about the items that are added to these agendas, subscribe to “e-updates” through our CivicWeb Meetings Portal. By doing so, you will receive an email notification each time your chosen commission, board or committee publishes an agenda. Online agendas contain links to the documents for agenda items that the commission, board or committee will be reviewing. Be the first to know when development is being proposed or even discussed at Walker’s public meetings. 
 
If you are not able to attend a public meeting in which you have interest, you can also watch the meeting live or at a later date by clicking the “video” button at the top of each agenda! 
 
Clerk's Department Updates

Election News
November 2, 2021 is the special General Election to fill the vacant seat for the 28th District Senate. Before we know it, we will be rolling into the 2022 Elections, which will include the Michigan House, Senate, all Congressional seats, Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State and Walker City Elections of Mayor and a Commissioner from each Ward.

Make a difference in your community and apply to be an Election Inspector! The City Clerk’s Office is looking for outgoing, friendly individuals to work at precincts on election days.
If you have Microsoft Windows knowledge and can commit to working each election day from 6:30 am – 9:00 pm, we need you! Join your family, friends, and neighbors on the front lines of democracy and exercise your civic duty by applying to be an Election Inspector today!

Please email Sarah Bydalek, Walker City Clerk at sbydalek@walker.city
Passports
The Walker City Clerk's Office is an official passport acceptance agency. You can have your passport photo taken here and apply for your passport! No appointment is necessary during the following passport hours:

Mondays – Thursdays: 7:30 am – 4:00 pm
Fridays: 7:30 am – 11:00 am.

Please call (616) 791-6865 prior to coming to confirm a processing agent is available and that you have all the proper paperwork with you, including checks for payment.
Please note: Passports are currently taking longer than usual to process. Please allow at least 16 weeks for your passport to be processed and mailed to you. If you need your passport expedited, processing time is 8-12 weeks.
Income Tax Department Updates

Due Dates
Fourth quarter estimated payments for calendar year 2021 are due January 31, 2022. Forms are available on our website.

Forgotten Returns
If you have past years of Walker returns that you have forgotten to file, contact the Tax Department immediately at 616-791-6880. If you file prior year returns and pay the tax and interest due, you may request a waiver of penalty. If the tax department contacts you first regarding unfiled returns, you will not be eligible for a waiver of penalty. Just like last fall, we are electronically matching State of Michigan returns filed from a Walker resident address with Walker returns filed. If you have forgotten to file Walker returns from prior years, now is the time to get that cleared up before the letters go out from this matching program.

Questions?
If you are not sure if you need to file Walker Income Tax returns, the most common questions are answered on our website. You can also call us at (616) 791-6880.
Police Department Updates
Never Forget #355
October 13, 2021 marks the 10 year anniversary of the End of Watch for Walker Police Officer, Trevor Slot. The Department will hold the annual ceremony to remember his life and honor his sacrifice to the community.
The ceremony will take place October 16, 2021 at 10am at the Walker Police and Fire Memorial, located at the corner of Wilson Ave. NW and Remembrance Rd. NW. In case of inclement weather, the ceremony will be moved inside the Police Department's secure cruiser garage.
We encourage area law enforcement agencies, Walker residents - and anyone from the community who wishes to join Trevor’s family, friends and co-workers - to attend the ceremony.
Crisis Intervention Team Training
Members of the Walker Police Department will be attending the Kent County Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training in October. This training is a countywide training that focuses on de-escalation, mental health related incidents, as well as officer mental health and wellness.
Since 2017, law enforcement agencies in Kent County have teamed up with local hospitals and mental health professionals to present area officers with the local road map to mental health treatment and techniques on de-escalation. This has given hundreds of local police officers, federal officers, and security professional the opportunity to fine tune their skills and learn the best ways to help individuals in crisis get the help they need.
The training is a 40 hour course with lecture, panel discussions and scenario-based training hosted this fall at Calvary Church. It's facilitated by members of several local agencies, Network 180, Pine Rest, Forest View and Mercy Health.
Fire Department Updates

kids_trick.jpg
Halloween Fire Safety Tips
  • When choosing a costume, stay away from long trailing fabric. If your child is wearing a mask, make sure the eye holes are large enough so he or she can see out.
  • Provide children with flashlights to carry for lighting or glow sticks as part of their costume.
  • Dried flowers, cornstalks and crepe paper catch fire easily. Keep all decorations away from open flames and other heat sources like light bulbs and heaters.
  • Use a battery-operated candle or glow stick in jack-o-lanterns. If you use a real candle, use extreme caution. Make sure children are watched at all times when candles are lit. When lighting candles inside jack-o-lanterns, use long, fireplace-style matches or a utility lighter. Be sure to place lit pumpkins well away from anything that can burn and far enough out of the way of trick-or-treaters, doorsteps, walkways, and yards.
  • Remember to keep exits clear of decorations, so nothing blocks escape routes.
  • Make sure all smoke alarms in the home are working.
  • Tell children to stay away from open flames including jack-o-lanterns with candles in them. Be sure they know how to stop, drop and roll if their clothing catches fire. (Have them practice stopping immediately, dropping to the ground, covering their face with hands, and rolling over and over to put the flames out.)
  • Did you know decorations are the first thing to ignite in roughly 800 reported home fires each year? More than one-third of these fires were started by a candle.
Information provided by the National Fire Protection Association.
Carbon Monoxide Safety
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas. It has no odor but it is poisonous. It can make a person feel sick and can be deadly. Heating and cooking devices that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide.

CO Alarms
  • CO alarms should be installed outside each sleeping area. Install alarms on every level of the home. It is best to use interconnected alarms because when one alarm sounds, all CO alarms in the home sound. If interconnecting is not feasible, battery operated CO detectors are still very effective.
  • Follow the instructions on the package to properly install the CO alarm. CO alarms should be replaced every 10 years, so it is a good idea to mark the date on your alarm so you know when it was installed.
  • Test CO alarms at least once a month.
  • Replace CO alarms according to the instructions on the package.
  • Know the sounds the CO alarm makes. The alarm will sound if CO is detected. It will make a different sound if the battery is low or if it is time to get a new CO alarm.
  • If the battery is low, replace it.
  • If the CO alarm sounds, you must get fresh air. Move outdoors or by an open window or near an open door. Make sure everyone in the home gets to fresh air. Call the Fire Department from a fresh air location. Stay there until help arrives.

Prevent CO Poisoning
  • When warming a vehicle, move it out of the garage. Do not run a fueled engine indoors even if garage doors are open. Make sure the exhaust pipe of a running vehicle is not blocked. Clear snow away.
  • During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.
  • Clear all debris from dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace vents.
  • A generator should only be used outdoors. Use in a well-ventilated location away from windows, doors, and vent openings.
  • Gas or charcoal grills can produce CO. Only use them outside.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys inspected by a professional every year before cold weather sets in.
  • Open the damper when using a fireplace for adequate ventilation.
  • Never use your oven or stove to heat your home.
Engineering Department Updates

The City of Walker is adding a new right turn lane on northbound Fruit Ridge Avenue at Northridge Drive, and installing a new traffic signal. The turn lane construction began September 20 and is expected to take approximately four weeks to finish. The traffic signal will not be installed until November. More details - including the detour - is explained here.

Curious about the construction projects near your home or on your daily commute in Walker? The Construction Map on the City's website now shows private development throughout the City.
Walker Ice and Fitness News
Click the image above to access your child's schedule!
Click the image above to learn more and to register your child!
Cross Ice Program
Registration for the 2021-22 season is now available!

Cross Ice runs from October 9, 2021 - March 5, 2022.

Late signing up? No problem! Kids are always welcome, and we can prorate for the remaining sessions! Contact Mike Fountain with any questions at (616) 735-6286 or mfountain@walkericeandfitness.com.

Download a copy of the registration form from our website and drop it off at the WIFC, or stop by and pick one up!
Write Michigan Short Story Contest
Open to Michigan residents of all ages! Reglas del concurso en español
The Write Michigan Short Story Contest is a short-story competition. The contest is presented by Kent District Library in Kent County, Michigan, and Schuler Books in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Adults pay a $10 entry fee. There are three cash prizes awarded in each category. Judges will award one writer a slot in Johnathan Rand’s 2022 Author Quest writing camp for kids ages 10-13. For more information, visit Write Michigan.
Stump the Librarian
join us every other Wednesday to learn a little more about what’s up with the world around us and see if we get stumped by listener questions. You can submit your own stumper of a question to kdl.org/stump. Don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast via stumpthelibrarian.podbean.com/ or wherever you prefer to listen, so you never miss an episode. You can also reach us with your questions or fan mail at Stumpthelibrarian@kdl.org.
Fall Events
KDL will be offering a combination of virtual and in-person fall programming! In-person programming will be outdoors while the weather is nice, and will move indoors as it gets colder. Visit our Events page for more information.

Our featured event is... Baby Time!
Mondays, September 13 – November 15
10:00 a.m.

Delight and engage your baby with songs, a story and playtime. Get to know other families and help your baby develop listening and language skills. For babies from birth to 18 months with a caregiver.
Thank you to those who came out over the weekend for the return of our Walker Pumpkin Bash!! It was wonderful to see our community kick off the fall season together! We couldn't have done it without our amazing sponsors: Blain's Farm & Fleet, Consumers Credit Union, Mol Belting Systems, Walker Harbor Church, HB Fuller, Schmitt's Animal Hospital, Yorkshire & Stonebridge Assisted Living, Rodenhouse Body Shop, The Vine Church, Noordyk Business Equipment, Chowhound Pet Supplies, Palmer Service Inc., Wilderness Expressions Consumers Energy, Custom Profile, Charter Spectrum, and the Office of the Mayor, Gary Carey Jr!
Standale Scarecrow Contest
We're excited to kick off another year of our Standale Scarecrow Contest! Look for the fun creations from our Walker area businesses, churches and organizations beginning Monday, October 18, along Lake Michigan Drive! Voting begins that day and on the City of Walker's Facebook Page.If your Walker area business has yet to sign up, do so right now!
American Legion Post 1111 The post is gearing up for a number of events. This month, we will be at the Pumpkin Bash and will have a table for kids to come and make cards for troops to send in our care packages. Our boxes will go to local soldiers deployed in Okinawa, Japan.
On November 6th, American Legion Post 1111 and the City of Walker will be putting on a Veterans Day Parade. The route will begin at Sobie Meats and head up Remembrance Rd. If your organization would like to participate please visit our webpage for more information and registration. 
On November 9th, the American Legion Post 1111 will be conducting our BIG GIVE donation drive at Walker Ice and Fitness Center. This is the last day for us to reach our goals to be able to send 1,111 complete care packages overseas. The drive-thru donation event will be from 3-7pm. For more information or to sign up to volunteer, please click here
Lastly we leave you with some exciting news! Post 1111 has started its Sons of The American Legion squadron AND an Auxiliary Unit. If a family member of yours has served, chances are you ARE eligible to join the American Legion. We ask that yo\]u consider uniting with us to support the great community of Walker. For membership information please contact us at (231) 629-1274. 

Commander Jena Wilmers 
American Legion Post 1111 (Walker, MI)
(231) 629-1274
Friends of Walker Trails News
Are you following the Friends of Walker Trails on Facebook? Follow along for updates and news on our lengthy network of trails right here in Walker!