May 2021 Edition
Greetings from the Mayor's Office
Our May Newsletter was delayed in coming out due to two major announcements that I believe were important enough to hold off sending until now. First off, with great pride and excitement, I am pleased to share that at our May 10 meeting, the City Commission unanimously approved promoting Captain Keith Mankel to become our new Chief of Police.

Keith has been an exemplary leader for quite some time with our City and specifically within our Police Department. The different roles he has held for the last 28 years position him well to adapt our department to the changes in law enforcement. He is incredibly deserving of the honor of leading our agency from the top and I believe - because he has been leading by example for so long - that this will be a smooth transition for all of us.

Keith has been a solid anchor in our day to day operations and is well respected by our City Commission, City staff, and our local law enforcement agencies. I have also had several experiences during critical incidents with Keith in my role as a Mayor and City Commissioner that clearly demonstrated his ability to effectively lead through crisis. So, in summary, while Chief Long is leaving some big shoes to fill, I have no doubt that we have chosen the right person to lead our police department.

The second bit of exciting news to share is that we have decided we can hold our Memorial Day parade in Walker this year. Our reverse in course is very representative of the fluid year that we have had with the Covid-19 pandemic. The decision was based on our expert medical guidance from the Kent County Health Department, as well as the incredible job we have done in Walker with our vaccine participation. Our city has been an area leader in our percentage levels of people who have chosen to take at least one dose of the vaccines. Additionally, our downward trend in cases and severity gave us the confidence we needed to reinstate the parade.

However, it will look and feel different this year. To safely follow the appropriate pandemic protocols, we will not be allowing people to walk in the parade. This means that all parade participants will be in their vehicles. This also means that candy and other items that are shared with parade watchers will not be done this year. Instead, we are asking people to hit the reset button of what the holiday means as a solemn day of honoring those who died in active military service and enjoy our veterans and parade vehicles as they pass by.

Also, in a bit of safety and symbolism, we have moved the parade route to Remembrance Road. By starting at the City Central complex (City Hall and the Walker Ice and Fitness Center) and traveling eastbound to the end at Walker Village Drive (right by Sobie’s) we are able to nearly double the parade route to allow people to safely spread out. The symbolism of moving to Remembrance Road is not lost on any of us as that road was named after our World War I veterans.

As always, thank you for making the choice to call Walker home.

Mayor Gary L. Carey, Jr
Contact your Elected Officials
Mayor Gary Carey, Jr.
(616) 292-1715

Steven Gilbert
Mayor Pro Tem
First Ward Commissioner
(616) 828-7763 [email protected]

Marv Raap
First Ward Commissioner
(616) 318-0677 [email protected]

Roxanne Deschaine
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 885-4191 [email protected]

Carol Glanville
Second Ward Commissioner
(616) 443-9313 [email protected]

Elaina Huizenga-Chase
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 334-1900 [email protected]

Melaine Grooters
Third Ward Commissioner
(616) 690-1719 [email protected]
Coronavirus Disease Resources
All Michigan residents age 16 and up are now eligible for the vaccine. Go to to register.

For frequently asked questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, please click here.

We also encourage you to like and follow the Kent County Health Department and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Facebook for helpful tips and reliable COVID-19 updates on a county and state level.
Income Tax Department Updates

Do You Need Help?
Walker Income Tax returns for calendar year 2020 are due June 1, 2021. Forms are available on our website. The most common questions are answered on our FAQ page. We will be happy to prepare your Walker return free of charge. Appointments are strongly encouraged for returns prepared in person at the counter so that we can keep lines to a minimum. Call 616-791-6880 or email [email protected] for an appointment and instructions on what to bring. Appointments are available from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Fridays. We are unable to schedule appointments on the due date of the return which is June 1, 2021.

E-Filed Returns
Did you e-file your 2020 return and it showed that you had a balance due? You may have received an assessment from the Income Tax Department or have a voucher from your tax preparer that shows the amount you owe. All tax due must be postmarked or paid online by June 1, 2021 in order to avoid penalty and interest. Call us at 616-791-6866 if you have any questions.

Please make sure that your W-2 forms showing Walker withholding are attached to your returns. Many returns are missing the W-2 forms this year. Missing W-2 forms will delay the processing of your refund.
Fire Department Updates

Memorial Day Celebration
The City of Walker Fire Department urges you to use caution when using fireworks as part of your Memorial Day celebration. Public Act 256 of the State of Michigan allows for the use of consumer fireworks. Use of fireworks in Walker is regulated by Section 38-16 of the City Ordinance.

Some of the highlights of the State law and City ordinance are as follows:
  • The use of fireworks for the Memorial Day holiday is allowed on Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day after 11:00 am until 11:45 pm.
  • Fireworks cannot be set off after Memorial Day (May 31, 2021).
  • You must be 18 years or older to purchase consumer fireworks.
  • Use of consumer fireworks while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances is illegal.
  • Setting off fireworks on public property, in the street, school property, church property, or any other person’s property without permission, is prohibited.

Please be aware of your neighbors, and the effect that your fireworks use has on them. The Walker Fire Department would prefer that you leave fireworks displays to the professionals and simply enjoy from a distance. But, if you choose to set off fireworks as part of your celebration, please use extreme caution.
Ash Disposal
Many residents are spending time outdoors, enjoying the warmer weather and having barbecues. It’s very important that you take the time to allow the ashes from grills – as well as any fireplaces or fire pits – to cool down completely before you properly dispose of them. Hot ashes that are not correctly cooled and disposed are extremely significant fire hazards, especially during hot, dry weather conditions. Ashes thrown into a trash container are capable of starting fires.

Improper disposal of ashes or hot coals from fireplaces, grills or mobile fireplaces designed for decks or patios has become a common cause of many recent fires. Embers often concealed in what appears to be cold ashes, can remain hot enough to rekindle a fire for several days. We want residents to enjoy their fireplaces and grills but to always dispose of the ashes wisely.

Fire Department officials remind residents to:
  • Allow ashes and coals to cool in place for several days.
  • When it’s time to dispose of the ashes, transfer them to a metal container and wet them down. Only use an approved metal ash bucket that has a tight fitting metal lid.
  • Store the metal container outside away from structures, decks, fences, wood piles, or other combustible materials
  • Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up ashes.
  • Never dump ashes into a plastic container, cardboard box, bag, or in any place where combustible fluids or fumes are present.
  • Don’t dump ashes outside on a windy day. The wind can whip up what may have seemed like cool embers, making them fiery hot and sending them traveling to nearby combustibles.
  • Always have working smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly.

*This article was edited from an article written by a staff writer with the MYMC Media in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Police Department Updates
May is Motorcycle
Awareness Month
The weather is warming up and that means that motorcycles are going to be joining the Michigan roadways once again. Motorcycles are not as easy to see on the road and it is important to slow down and look twice before turning or pulling out onto the roadway. Riders should also ride with caution by obeying the speed limits and avoiding sudden lane changes to get through traffic faster. Along with motorcycles, the streets and roadways will be busier with bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Focus on driving without distractions so that everyone can use the roads safely. The Walker Police Department speed board will be out and around the city now that the weather is warmer. We have certain locations that we must monitor for the Traffic Committee and we also take requests from citizens. If you request a speed board, please keep in mind that we only have one to use and we will be placing it around the city based on need and logistics. 
Crisis Intervention Team Training
Members of the Walker Police Department joined with other metro Kent County Police Departments for Crisis Intervention Team Training (CIT) at the end of April at Calvary Church. The 40-hour training was facilitated by Sergeant Heugel from Walker PD and is a week-long class covering the topics of mental illness/crisis detection, de-escalation, career mental health, and live scenario-based training. The training is taught by Psychiatrists and Clinicians who focus on mental illness and health alongside CIT trained Law Enforcement Officers with more than 20 years on the job. CIT training has been held twice a year in Kent County since 2017, with the exception of 2020. To date, more than 250 officers in the metro Kent County area have been trained. 

As always, keep up with our daily posts on Facebook by liking & following “City of Walker Police Department" on Facebook!
Kinney Avenue Project Update
This summer the City of Walker will be reconstructing Kinney Avenue from Three Mile Road south to Waldorf Avenue. This half mile section of roadway will be closed to through traffic. Access will be maintained for existing driveways along this section, but delays should be expected. If you live or work along this improvement, please plan extra time.
You may already notice that a significant amount of work has been done to relocate existing utilities. This was done in preparation of the early June start of the City’s portion of the project. Activity will continue throughout the summer with a targeted completion date of September 3. Upon project completion, the roadway will include a three lane cross section with concrete curb and a center turn lane. You will also notice a continuous sidewalk on the west side and a non-motorized trail along the east side of the road.
The official project detour will be west to Wilson Avenue and Remembrance Road. If you are traveling northbound on Kinney, you will be encouraged to detour at Remembrance Road to avoid entering the construction zone. Please don’t enter the construction zone unless your destination is within the project limits. You can be ticketed for driving through the active zone and, worse yet, potentially put essential workers at risk. Let’s keep these hard-working employees safe.
We are excited about this long overdue enhancement. We thank you in advance for your patience as the City and the construction team works to safely complete this regionally significant project.
The City of Walker wants to work together with your group to Adopt-A-Road. The purpose is to involve our community in keeping our local roads clean, safe and attractive. Your group can adopt as little as one mile and as many as four miles! Click here for an application.
Protect Our Watershed
As many of us work to get our lawns and gardens set for the new season, the Lower Grand River Watershed reminds us not to over fertilize. Doing so can pollute lodal waterways and cause harmful algae blooms. You can find more useful ways to protect our watershed year-round by going to
City Clerk's Department

You can apply for a passport in the Clerk’s Office. No appointment necessary during Passport Office Hours, which are Monday – Thursday from 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM and Friday from 7:30 AM – 11:00 AM. Visit our website for details on passport requirements. Passports are currently taking longer than usual to process, please allow at least 8-12 weeks for your passport to be processed and mailed to you.

Every 10 years, following the census, states must redraw their political lines based on population in a process known as reapportionment. The party actively in charge of state government is responsible for redrawing the lines according to the governing acts. By November 1, 2021, the final maps must be adopted by the Commission and will become law on December 31, 2021. These new district lines will affect several members of the House, Senate, and Congress. Candidates will learn of their new districts in late 2021 and will need to quickly move to campaigning for the 2022 Election.

Election News
A Special Primary and Special Election have been called by the Governor for the 28th District of the Michigan Senate. This election call is issued for the purpose of filling a vacancy that exists in the Senate caused by the election of Senator Peter MacGregor as the Kent County Treasurer.

August 3, 2021 Special Primary Election Date
November 2, 2021 Special Election Date

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.
Senior Fit Walking Club

Our Senior Fit Walking Club returns this summer! Join us every Thursday at 9am from June 10 through August 19 for a walk through Walker’s beautiful City Central Park with the WIFC Trainers! All are welcome, simply check-in at the WIFC Front Desk before walking. Members who join us 10 times during the season will earn a free T-Shirt! Plus, chances to win other prizes!
From the Ice Rink
Our Cross Ice program is perfect for kids ages 5-13 who want to develop their hockey skills! The next full Cross Ice season will begin in October 2021 and registrations will be available later this summer. Coach Mike will also be running Cross Ice and Mite-level drop-in skill skates this summer. No previous hockey experience is needed. Players just need to have basic skating ability and we will take it from there!

At WIFC, players get to progress at their own pace and the emphasis of Cross Ice is on making hockey fun! If you have questions about Skill Skates or the Cross Ice Program, please reach out to Coach Mike at [email protected]. If you have questions about registrations, please email [email protected].
Reserve any of our park facilities ONLINE at
Contact Walker Parks & Rec for more information and pricing at 616-735-6286 or email [email protected] or [email protected].
KDL Cruisers
The 2021 KDL Cruiser season is nearly here! GR Bikes dropped bicycles off at the Walker branch the first week of May and should be available for checkout by the second week of May. Each KDL Cruiser comes with a basket, a bike lock and key. All bikes will have a diagonal, step-through crossbar.

KDL Cruisers can be checked out to anyone age 18 or older with a photo ID and library card from KDL, Grand Rapids Public Library, or the Lakeland Library Cooperative. You'll be asked to sign a Bicycle Borrowing Agreement acknowledging financial responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged equipment. Adults will be allowed to sign waivers for children as long as the adult accompanies the children on the ride.

Bikes are due back by closing of the branch's next business day. Overdue fees are $20/day. Although Michigan law doesn't require bicyclists to wear a helmet, the library strongly recommends customers bring their own.

We'd love to see what adventures you take our KDL Cruisers on! Please share your photos with us by tagging us, @KDLibrary, and using the hashtag #KDLCruisers.
Friends of Walker Trails News
The Friends of Walker Trails has a Facebook page! Follow along for updates and news on our lengthy network of trails right here in Walker!
4101 Lake Michigan Drive Walker, MI 49534
Connect with us through our May Phone Activities!

Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays at 11am

Book Club
Wednesdays w/ Lora at 9:30am

Let's Walk Outside Together
Fridays 9:30-12:30pm

Art Class with Lora
Fridays from 1:00 - 2:30 pm.
Call Sherri at (616) 735-3240 for more information and for supplies!

Questions? Contact Sherri Meines at (616) 735-3240 or by email.
Offsite Outdoor Activity Wednesday, May 26
Bring your own lunch and outdoor chair and get ready to enjoy some fun activities! Please make sure to bring a mask so we can safely enjoy each other's company.

Time: 11am - 3pm
Location: Christian Reformed Conference Grounds (Campground) 12253 Lakeshore Drive
Grand Haven, Michigan 49417

If you enjoy camping or staying in a cottage, please feel free to make your own reservation. (Lodging is done on your own and not affiliated with Senior Neighbors.) You may call (616) 842-4478.
May Birthdays!
Robert Mitchell - May 3
Gail Hallas - May 9
Paul Platz - May 11
Carol Bulgarella - May 13
Shirley Jacobson - May 13
Judi Smith - May 15
Gordy Zielinski - May 19
Barb Collins - May 26
Marty Eerdmans - May 27
Louis Larson - May 27