April 2021 Edition
Greetings from the Mayor's Office
This April finds us in a more optimistic and positive place than we were last month, let alone a year ago. Despite a recent increase in the cases of Covid-19, we are in such a better spot and I firmly believe the worst of the global pandemic is behind us.

Almost every year we usually see retirements from our long-time city employees and this year is no different. In early April, we recognized Chief Fire Inspector Phil McCormack and his 32 years of service to our City. Chief Inspector McCormack is a legacy member of our Fire Department and someone our community could count on to educate on fire prevention measures. While he will not take any credit for it, I believe our continued decrease in calls for fire service (down 24% year over year in 2020) is partially due to the prevention and education that Chief Inspector McCormack brought to our community. We wish him well in his retirement and thank him and his family for their service to our city.

From the other end of our public safety building we had two additional retirement announcements. After 35 years in law enforcement, including 33 here in Walker, Chief Greg Long has announced his retirement effective August 1. Chief Long has come to reshape and define the culture of what the Walker Police Department is known by in its professionalism, commitment to service, and community-minded approach.

In addition to Chief Long, we also recognize Deputy Chief Jason Howe and his more than 29 years of service to the City of Walker. Deputy Chief Howe has announced his retirement effective June 30. He has been integral in the growth and evolution of many areas of our department including our Special Response Team and Patrol Division. While there will be more recognition in the coming months for both Chief Long and Deputy Chief Howe, I believe it is appropriate to give both a victory lap enjoying some well-deserved accolades. Both have made an impact in our community making it one of the safest places in Michigan to live, work, and grow. The process for hiring their replacements is already under way and we plan to make that announcement sometime in mid to late June.

As you may have seen in the news media recently, it is 65 years to the month that the F5 tornado of April 1956 came through Standale and parts of Walker, levelling much of our city. From the horrific devastation that was left behind, these areas have once again become thriving districts and neighborhoods. I see a lot of what we faced these last 12 months as representative, and a little similar, of that disaster coming through our community. One thing that this history has taught us is that no matter the crisis or devastation, Walker has always risen back up.

I would challenge each of us to look around our community right now. Many parts of our lives are seeing some of that normalcy we crave start to come back, and I would expect this to accelerate in the coming weeks and months. I would ask each of you to join me in refusing to find anything but positivity in our community. We have so many great things going on and the decision to recognize them is on each of us.

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 sgilbert@walker.city

Marv Raap
First Ward Commissioner
(616) 318-0677 mraap@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
Coronavirus Disease Resources

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

2020 Returns Extended
Walker Income Tax returns for calendar year 2020 have been extended to June 1, 2021. First quarter estimated payments for 2021 have not been extended and are due April 30, 2021. Forms are available on our website.
The most common questions are answered on our website. Click here for FAQs.

Quarterly estimated payments can be paid by direct withdrawal from a bank account. Forms can be found by clicking on the link above. Please do not attach your 2021 quarterly estimated vouchers to your 2020 return. Also, check your bank account to make sure the amount you requested to pay has been withdrawn. It usually takes from 3 to 7 business days after the date you requested on the voucher. If you don’t see a withdrawal for the amount you requested, contact us at 616-791-6880.

Required attachments
All resident returns must have the following attachments:
  • All form W-2s
  • Page 1 of Federal Form 1040
Filers taking a credit for tax paid to another city:
  • Copy of page one of the other city(ies) return
If applicable:
  • Detailed list of employee business expenses
  • Federal Schedule C
  • Federal Schedule D, Forms 8949, 4797, 6252
  • Federal Schedule E, including Federal Schedule K-1 for all S corporations shown on Schedule E, if any
  • Copies of all forms 1099-R for taxpayers under age 65 and form 8915-E
  • If you have any questions, call 616-791-6880.
Unemployment and Federal Unemployment Exclusion
Unemployment compensation is not taxable for Walker purposes; therefore, the federal unemployment exclusion does not apply to the Walker return. Please make sure that the exclusion amount (up to $10,200 per taxpayer) that may be showing on line 8 of Federal Schedule 1 is not deducted on the Walker return as “Other Income/Loss.” If you have any questions, call 616-791-6880.

COVID Wage Allocation
If you are a resident of Walker and you worked in another city with an income tax (Grand Rapids, Ionia, Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, Lansing, etc.) in prior years, you may have a reduced credit for tax paid to another city in 2020. If you worked from home due to COVID-19 in 2020 and reduced the amount of wages on the other city return, you must also reduce the amount of wages used to calculate the credit. There is a worksheet on page 2 of the W-1040R resident return that will help with this calculation. You can also call us at 616-791-6880 if you need more information.

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 to avoid penalty and interest. Call us at 616-791-6866 if you have any questions.
Fire Department Updates

Rules for Open Burning with a Permit
In accordance with the Code of Ordinances for the City of Walker, Chapter 34 (Environment), Section 34-55
(Open Burning), listed below are the rules and regulations for the City’s Open Burning Policy:

Residential burning is allowed twice a year. The burning season begins on April 15th through May 15th and October 15th through November 15th. Burning permits are free and can be obtained online on our website. If you do not have an email account, please contact the Fire Office at 791-6840 and we will assist you with your burning permit.

If you do obtain a permit, the following rules will apply:
  • You may only burn on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays during the burning season.
  • The burning of leaves and grass clippings is prohibited.
  • You are only allowed to burn small twigs.
  • ABSOLUTELY NO COMMERCIAL BURNING (Contractors, businesses, clearing land, etc.)
  • Burning of garbage, rubbish or any other solid waste is also prohibited.
  • Open burning shall be supervised and kept under control by an adult who shall be present at the site of the fire at all times and until the fire is completely extinguished without smoldering.
  • Fire extinguishing equipment must be readily available at the site of the fire. A supply of water must be available in the immediate vicinity of the fire.
  • Open burning is not permitted within 50 feet of any building or overhead wires.
  • Open burning is not permitted in any public street.
  • Open burning is not permitted in ditches or drainage courses other than the burning of natural vegetation growing therein (with permission from the Fire Dept.)
  • No burning in trash barrels or other containers.
  • Burning is not allowed until sunrise and must be extinguished by sunset.
  • Materials to be burned must be dry and readily combustible. The fire must be small and no black smoke is permitted.
  • Burning is not allowed when the wind is over 20 mph.
  • You must renew your burning permit every spring.

Lastly, if the Fire Department is called to your address because of a complaint from smoke or odor from your fire, and if our responding fire officer determines that your burning is causing a health hazard or nuisance to your neighbors, you will be asked to extinguish your fire.
Police Department Updates
Easter Fun at Johnson Park!
The Walker Police Department partnered with the Kent County Sheriff’s Department to host an Easter Egg Hunt in Johnson Park on March 27th. The group hosted two sessions of little egg hunters on their search for one of the “Golden Eggs.” The special eggs came with a prize; an Officer or K-9 Officer home visit, a police department tour, or a gift bag from one of the departments. There were three prizes for each group.
It was great to get back into the community and enjoy interacting with the kids while they went on their hunt for the eggs. Thank you to all who signed up and participated in this event to welcome Spring 2021! Officer Harkema challenged his new little friend to get all the eggs that she could fit into her basket at the event. The weather cooperated and everyone had a great time!
Protect Your Home While On Vacation
Spring Break is the kickoff to vacation season!! Please remember that if you leave your home empty it can become a target. Be cautious of advertising your vacation on social media. Try not to make it obvious that you are gone for an extended period of time and consider; using timers for your lights and TV, stopping your mail delivery, planning your online shopping deliveries around your vacation, and having a neighbor tend to your lawn. Anything that you can do to make it less obvious that your home is vacant could save you trouble when you return from a relaxing week away. As always, travel safely and be aware of your surroundings. Take the proper health safety measures to ensure a safe and healthy travel experience.

As always, we appreciate the overwhelming community support for our department, and look forward to serving you in 2021!
Department of Public Works
Spring Clean-Up Days
We're happy to provide Spring Clean-Up Days for our residents this year. We realize there was a mistake in the dates in the annual City newsletter. The correct Clean-Up dates are May 6, 7, and 8. Questions? Call City of Walker Department of Public Works (616) 791-6854.
Adopt-A-Road
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.
April 22 is Earth Day, dedicated to celebrating the planet's environment and raising public awareness about pollution. Find useful ways to help protect and improve the natural resources of the Lower Grand River Watershed by following LGROW on Facebook.
City Clerk's Department

Passports
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.

Redistricting
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.
Walker's Double Down TIp Challenge
Restaurant workers continue providing great and safe service despite the unique challenges they face. We are encouraging our community to show our appreciation and support by joining Walker's Double Down Tip Challenge! For the month of April, when visiting Walker area businesses, we are encouraging everyone to leave double the normal tip that you would share.



Spring Hockey
To see how many teams we will have at the U10 Squirt Level and the U12 Pee Wee Level, Spring House Hockey Evaluation Skates will take place Wednesday April 14 from 5-6 pm for Squirt, and 6-7pm for Pee Wee. Please go to www.hawkhockey.net for information and registration. For questions or more information, reach out to Hockey Director,
Mike Fountain, at 
 
Tryouts for the Spring Travel Teams take place April 19. Visit www.hawkhockey.net for information & registration. Tryout skates cost $15.
Room Rentals
Looking for a room for a small Bridal or Baby Shower? Birthday Party, Graduation Party or Family Reunion? Walker Ice and Fitness has rooms to rent! Our cost is $50 for 2 hours of rental and $20 for each additional hour. We are following all CDC and MDHHS guidelines for capacity and gathering restrictions. *As of right now, indoor gatherings are limited to 25 people per room. Please call Mary Kay (616) 735-6113 for more information and reservations!

*Subject to change.
Recreation Department Highlights
Adult Softball
Registration Extended to April 19.

Team building, exercise, making new friends, whatever the reason our adult softball leagues are a perfect way to spend summer evenings! Have a local business sponsor your team! We have men’s, women’s, and coed leagues.


Games start the week of June 7, 2021 and are played Monday -Thursday evenings.
Adult Softball Umpires Needed
Click here to apply. You may also contact the Recreation Department:
Sharon Johnson at (616) 735-6115, sjohnson@walkericeandfitness.com or Michelle May at (616) 735-6118, mmay@walkericeandfitness.com.
soccer_kids_silly.jpg
Spring 2021 Soccer
We have over 400 kids registered this season for soccer!! Practices this week. First game will be April 24. Game schedules will be posted online soon. All players must wear shin guards.

Ages 4 -8 will be playing with a size 3 ball.
Ages 9-10 will be playing with a size 4 ball.
Ages 11-13 will be playing with a size 5 ball. More information can be found at www.recsoccer.info

Follow Walker Recreation Youth Soccer on Facebook! We are looking forward to another fun season with everyone!
Reserve any of our park facilities ONLINE at www.walkericeandfitness.com.
Contact Walker Parks & Rec for more information and pricing at 616-735-6286 or email sjohnson@walkericeandfitness.com or mmay@walkericeandfitness.com.
Chromebook Combos for Checkout
Kent District Library patrons 18 and older now have the opportunity to check out a Chromebook Combo. The Combo includes a

Chromebook and a Verizon Wifi Hotspot. This initiative is part of KDL’s strategy to help bridge the digital divide in Kent County.

The Chromebook Combos are available for overnight checkout at these KDL branches: Alpine Township, Byron Township, Comstock Park, East Grand Rapids, Grandville, Kentwood, Englehardt, Plainfield Township, Tyrone Township, Walker and Wyoming. These branches were selected based on their usage statistics of the Chromebooks when they were available for in-branch use. Chromebook Combos are due the next day before closing. Chromebook Combos can be placed on hold for pickup at their owning location only, and can be returned to a staff member in-branch or via Curbside Service.

According to the U.S. Census, 14% of Kent County households do not have broadband Internet. Last year, KDL added 800 Wi-Fi hotspots to help at-home students and workers during the pandemic. KDL also provides public-access PCs and free Wi-Fi at all 20 branch locations.
Now available to all patrons with your KDL library card! LinkedIn Learning gives you access to:
  • 16,000+ online courses in 7 languages.
  • Expert Instructors with real-world experience.
  • 60 new courses added each week!

Best of all, it's free! Don't miss out on this opportunity to learn a new skill or benefit your career.
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!
WALKER FIRE HOUSE CAFE
4101 Lake Michigan Drive Walker, MI 49534
Connect with us through our April Phone Activities!

BINGO
Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays w/ Sherri at 11am

Book Club
Wednesdays w/ Lora at 9:30am

Art Class with Lora
Fridays from 1:00-3:00pm.

Call Sherri at (616) 735-3240 for more information and for supplies!

Phone Pals: Call Sherri
at (616) 735-3240 and get connected to a fellow Walker Senior!

Questions? Contact Sherri Meines at (616) 735-3240 or by email.
April Birthdays!
Donald Shafer, 3rd
Dorothy Collins, 4th
Jeanne Benedict, 6th
Florence Goodgasell, 11th
Julie Bultena, 14th
Richard Burchett, 14th
Fran DeVries, 15th
Terry Kopp, 16th
Ed Vosota, 18th
Deb Bierema, 21st
Anna Marie Mcpherson, 24th
Charlies Flake, 29th