Monthly e-Newsletter |March 2020 Edition
Greetings from the Mayor's Office!
Just this past week the State of the City update was delivered to city staff, business leaders, vendors, and other local governmental partners. The theme was centered around “Building our Legacy, a Decade at a Time.” The road traveled from the years of the Great Recession until now is quite remarkable. Some cities have yet to recover from that time period and to have Walker in our current position of strength, growth and development is indeed special. I have shared some pictures from the event to my Facebook page that you are welcome to check out. Also, in the next week we will be posting a short two-minute video shared at the event to our City Facebook page. The video highlights the journey that Walker has taken in the last decade.

We shared the exciting full and part-time job news of 34% growth over this last decade. That is a significant number as ten years ago there were some painful times in all communities and jobs that were lost. Knowing we have high expectations from our residents regarding our levels of service, those job growth numbers are critical to us in meeting our community’s expectations for police, fire, local roads, parks and many other services. In the speech, we also welcomed new businesses to Walker who are bringing hundreds, actually over a thousand new jobs to our city. So, for the current state of the city we are in a position of strength that allows us to deliver on those expected services and continue to pay down our long-term debt.

I shared announcements on some of our new programs that revolve around developing our future leaders in our city, leveraging community leadership to impact others, as well as the creation of a new business district. That new business district is what many referred to as the Remembrance Road corridor. Leveraging the resources of our updated Master Plan that will be released this spring, along with support of many existing businesses in that stretch we have formed the new City Central District. Over this past few years, many of these businesses have invested tens of thousands of dollars into renovations to their businesses. Knowing that has not always been a high destination area, we have made it a priority to help them out. Look for more news on this in the coming months. Continuing that support for our business community, we announced a strategic partnership with the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. We have already begun our efforts in leveraging their resources to help our business community out. These both show that we are aligned to the needs of our businesses and have been listening to them.

The next area touched on developing our future leaders. Because we will start to see accelerated turnover in community servants and leaders in the coming years, we need to ensure the sustainability of the growth of our community. So, the announcement of our ‘NxGen’ Leadership Program and the Mayors Youth Advisory Commission will help us to develop younger leaders starting in their teens and mentor through early adulthood in the skills of critical thinking, policy making, and strategic planning just to name a few. Specifics on these new programs will be shared on the City’s Facebook page in the spring months for residents to learn about and apply.

We are also going to leverage our existing leaders in the community in the formation of the new Walker Community Leaders Group . I have already started to reach out to leaders in our city to meet quarterly and identify and solve problems in our community. I have seen a similar model in place in another local city and know firsthand this group make a difference because of their connections and resources which can be leveraged to help others.

In closing, in my State of the City speech, I asked the attendees if they remembered only one thing from the message, it is that Walker is a great place to live, work, and grow. Thank you for choosing to call Walker home.

Gary L. Carey, Jr.
Mayor
March 10: Presidential Primary Election Day *Clerk's Office open 7:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
March 13: Mobility for All Open House - Walker at 8:30 a.m., Walker City Hall
April 1: Business Safety & Security Lunch & Learn with Walker PD at 11 a.m., 3 Mile Project April 4: Annual Easter Egg Hunt at 11 a.m. sharp, Walker Ice & Fitness Center
May 25: Annual Memorial Day Parade at Noon, Downtown Standale at Lake Michigan Drive
You can find more event details in the articles below, by following us on Facebook or by sending us an email! !!!
We are seeking a Payroll / Benefits Specialist at the City of Walker.

Apply before Monday, March 23. An application and job description can be found on our website .
The Rapid needs your input to help shape the future of public transportation in our community! 

Make your voice heard by coming to the Mobility For All Open House .

March 13, 2020
8:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.
Walker City Hall
(4243 Remembrance Rd NW)

If you can't make the open house, please consider taking the Mobility for All Survey online.
Walker Ave and Coopersville & Marne Railway Improvements
Walker Avenue will be closed at Waldorf Street to the north and the Bissell driveway to the south, starting April 1 until mid–August.

Tree clearing has started on the project generally in areas that will not impact Walker Avenue.
Access to all businesses will be maintained throughout construction.

A detour will be posted using Three Mile Road, Alpine Avenue and Leonard Street for all truck traffic. Please note that Bristol Avenue has a low clearance bridge south of Waldorf Street.

Feel free to call Prein&Newhof Project Manager Jason Washler at (616) 432-6739 if you have questions or concerns.
Check your Facts! Coronavirus Disease
hand-washing.jpg
Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's  website  for credible information regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus). 

We have added a quick link to the CDC's website under the residents tab on our website.

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.
Be Counted Walker | Census 2020
An accurate census ensures Michigan's voices are heard and our vulnerable populations receive needed assistance.

Over 130 federal programs use census data to allocate more than $675 billion each year to households, towns, cities and states throughout the nation. An inaccurate count would impact funding for programs that support our state’s most vulnerable populations.

An undercount could also lead to decreased representation at the federal level, decreasing Michigan’s voice in Washington. Michigan is at risk of losing another congressional seat and a reduction of electoral college votes.

Learn more at becounterwestmi.org
Walker Fire Department: Department Alerts
OUTDOOR WARNING SIRENS

The City of Walker has eight outdoor warning sirens located throughout the City. The sirens are tested on the first Friday of each month at 12:00 noon from April through October. The sirens sound off and rotate for three minutes during the test. During the spring and summer months these sirens are used to alert the residents in Walker who may be outdoors of the potential for severe weather (tornados, high winds) that may be eminent within Kent County and the City of Walker.

Currently, the Kent County Sherriff’s Department Dispatch sets off the sirens when they receive information from the National Weather Service. If the possibility of a high wind warning (winds over 70 mph) or a tornado warning is issued, the sirens will be activated. The sirens, once activated, will sound for three minutes and be followed every 10 to 15 minutes until the warning is canceled. If the sirens are activated other than on the first Friday at noon, please check your smart phone, computer or turn on your television for more weather information.
Walker Police Department: Department News
Please attend our Business Safety & Security “Lunch and Learn ” on April 1, 2020. The event is 11 am-1 pm at 3 Mile Project on Walkent. This event is FREE, and lunch will be provided. The US Secret Service will be presenting again on counterfeit currency, and Officer Harkema will be presenting on common business scams and other safety considerations for businesses. For logistical purposes, please RSVP to mharkema@walker.city . Check out City of Walker Police Department on Facebook for more information. 

Please remember if you are involved in a crash and cannot report it at the time of the crash, to collect all necessary information before coming to the police department later. For a proper crash report, Officers need contact information for all involved parties, the make & models of the involved vehicles, license plate numbers, and the correct location. 

As spring approaches, we begin to get requests for ride alongs. We typically do NOT allow ride alongs unless you are involved in a police academy or other law enforcement activity. We will also be training two new officers soon, which cuts down on the time we have to allow ride alongs. We thank you for your understanding.

As always, keep on with our daily posts on Facebook by liking & following “City of Walker Police Department.”  
Clerk's Department Updates
Did you know…. Anyone can vote via an absentee ballot since 18-3 passing in 2018.

Everyone can vote via an absentee ballot (by mail) if you have not contacted us to be put on our automatic permanent absentee application mailing list please email us at elections@walker.city .

If you have any questions pertaining to any of this information, don’t hesitate to call us at 616-791-6865 or email sbydalek@walker.city

2020 Election Dates:
Tuesday, March 10, 2020 Presidential Primary
Tuesday, May 5, 2020 Possible Election Date
Tuesday, August 4, 2020 Primary Election Date
Tuesday, November 3, 2020 General Election Date
You can apply for a passport in the Clerk’s Office.  No appointments are 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 6 weeks for your passport to be processed and mailed to you.
The Secretary of State’s office is rolling out the new REAL ID driver’s license, which will be required after October 2020 , to fly domestically. You will need visit the Secretary of State office to convert your current driver’s license to a REAL ID driver’s license.

You will be required to take your original birth certificate and any certified name change documents, such as your marriage license or court order with you to apply.
Winter Facility Hours:
Monday - Friday: 5 am-10 pm
Saturday - Sunday: 7 am-8 pm
       
Spring Break Open Skate

The Walker Ice and Fitness Center offers public skating throughout the week, so if you’re staying home this Spring Break, stop in for Open Skate or Drop In Hockey.

Our regular Open Skate Hours are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 12-1:50p.m. Open skate is $3 for students (18 & under) and seniors (55 and over). For everyone else, the cost is $4. Skate rentals are $3 per person.

Drop In Hockey Hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12-1:50 p.m. Full equipment is required for Drop In Hockey and the cost is $8 per person.

For our full schedule for Spring Break, w ww.walkericeandfitness.com
Hawk Spring House Hockey evaluation skates are taking place for Squirt (2010-11) and PeeWee (2008-09) on Wednesday, March 25:

  • Squirt: 6-7 p.m.
  • PeeWee: 7-8 p.m.

For additional information visit hawkhockey.net
Youth Soccer Coaches WANTED!!!

  • Such a rewarding experience for both you and your child
  • Receive a $20 refund
  • Pick your day/time of practice

Contact the Recreation Dept. ASAP at 616-735-6286.
IMPORTANT DATES FOR YOUTH SOCCER PARENTS & COACHES
           
Tuesday, March 24: Coach meeting for 4, 5, 6 yr. olds
Wednesday, March 25: Coach meeting for 7, 8, 9, 10, 11-13 yr. olds
Thursday, April 2: Coaches must contact players by this date. 
Week of April 13: Practices begin.
April 20 & April 21:Team and individual pictures. 
Saturday, April 25: Season begins.
Saturday, May 23: No Games (Memorial Day Weekend)
Saturday, June 6: Season ends.
Adult Softball
“Take it one pitch at a time and one day at a time”

Don’t forget about our adult softball leagues! Have a local business sponsor a team and get out and have a great time! We have men’s, women’s and coed leagues. Registrations DUE APRIL 11th. Games start the week of June 1, 2020 and are played Monday – Thursday evenings.

NEW THIS SEASON- No more individual nonresident fees! Only $400 flat fee for registering a team!

“Life will always throw you curves, just keep fouling them off,
the right pitch will come and when it does be prepared to run the bases”
Spring Programming at KDL
It is now March and that means an all new programming season at KDL. Usher in Spring with some of our programs. Get your Garden Ready, Enter our Write Michigan teen poetry contest; learn about trends in the future of work and much much more. To view all the exciting things happening this Spring at KDL view our Spring Kaleidoscope.
We launched Mission: Read one year ago. So far over 3,000 kids have taken the challenge at KDL. Are you next?

The Mission is to help children fall in love with reading and pass new Michigan reading proficiency requirements.

The Read by Grade Three law requires that all students in kindergarten through third grade are tested three times each school year. Schools will help students who are not reading at their grade level. Teachers will give parents an Individualized Reading Improvement Plan (IRIP) and a Read at Home Plan. The IRIP includes five different reading skills:

Phonemic awareness (sounds)
Phonics (letters)
Fluency (reading smoothly)
Vocabulary (knowing words and their meanings)
Comprehension (understanding stories)

At the end of third grade, all students will be tested with the M-Step reading assessment. If their score is too low, they may not move to the fourth grade.

Stop in the library today to learn more. 
This months highlighted database:

Research fitness, nutrition, diabetes, ageing, women’s health, children’s health and more with this online resource.

This rich collection of consumer health information provides access to full-text consumer health magazines and reference books. It also includes searchable full text for current health pamphlets.

Access this database via KDL.org than click Learn and Research on the lefthand side of the websiete and choose Health from the drop down menu and click on Health Source: Consumer Edition
Reoccurring Regular Programs

Toddler Time
Mondays, March 2 – May 4
9:45 A.M.to 10:35 A.M.& 10:45 A.M.to 11:30 A.M.
Nurture your toddler's love of books through music, movement and stories while helping to develop their language, motor and social skills.

Baby Playgroup
Thursdays, March 5 – May 7
9:30 a.m.to 10:15 A.M.
Get to know other families and help your baby develop listening skills while you gather and play. We provide the space and variety of sensory and play activities. Each play group also includes 15 minutes of stories, rhymes and songs. For babies from birth to 18 months with a caregiver, older sibling welcome.

Family Storytime
Mondays, March 2 – May 4
6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays, March 5 – May 7
10:30 a.m to 11:30 a.m.
Read and sing together. Enjoy stories, music, movement and rhymes that develop early literacy skills and encourage everyone in the family to share their love of reading.

Rhyme Time Music and Movement
Fridays, March 6 – May 8
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Move and groove together with action rhymes, songs, games and hands-on musical activities that will help children develop motor, listening and literacy skills.

Adult Book Discussion
Tuesday, March 10
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Join us for a fun, informal book discussion. This month's selection is Girl Waits with Gun by Amy Stewart.
Tuesday, April 14
10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Join us for a fun, informal book discussion. This month's selection is My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrick Bachman.


Special Library Events

Grow Your Mind - Grow Your Garden
During the month of April, pick up a Grow Your Mind, Grow Your Garden entry form to read and track two books. Return the form to the library to receive a voucher for a packet of seeds from our sponsor located across the street. You'll also be entered in a drawing for one of two grand prizes: a hanging flower basket or potted flowers! Entry form due no later than Thursday, April 30, 8:00 PM. One entry per person must be age 18 or older. Sponsored by Rylee's ACE Hardware, 4300 Remembrance Rd.

Cast on Bind off- knitting
Thursday, March 17
6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Pre-registration is required. When the waitlist is full, the registration buttons disappear because registration is closed. Join us for an informative and fun class in knitting! Beginners and confident beginners are welcome. All supplies will be included. Attendees will learn the basics of knitting, plus extra tips will be shared.

KDL Lab Experience: Let's Make Slime!
Friday, April 3,
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Learn how to make your own slime to take home!

KDL Lab Experience: Super Cool Spy School
Monday, April 16,
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Grab your trench coat and magnifying glass, it’s time to solve a mystery and sharpen up on your sleuthing skills at the library! Join us at the library to see if you can crack the code and solve the case.
Friends of Walker Trails News
The Friends of Walker Trails has a new Facebook page, follow along for updates and news on our lengthy network of trails right here in Walker!
Walker Firehouse Cafe / Senior Neighbors
At Walker Firehouse Cafe, we pride ourselves in being a social, welcoming location for seniors to connect and embrace life with other older adults in our community. Enjoy a cup of coffee or even a snack. Meet new friends as you play bingo, enjoy music, learn a new craft or play cards. Guests are always welcomed!

Hours: Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 9:00 am-2 pm
Lunch is served at Noon.

Cost: $3.50 for guests under 60.
*Suggested donation of $2.75 for guests 60+.

Location: Walker Firehouse Cafe
4101 Lake Michigan Drive
Located on the 2nd Floor in the Community Room

Questions? Contact Sherri Meines at 616-735-3240 or by email.
Created by the Walker Youth Commission (2018) and adopted by the City Commissioners, this exciting video highlights the main attractions of the City of Walker, from Millennium Park to beautiful neighborhoods. This video was presented to the Walker community and soon-to-be citizens on how Walker is such a great place to live, work, and grow.