Summer 2007 City of Walker Police Department
Table of Contents The Police Department recently upgraded our traffic services and replaced our old
Police & City Manager .......1 speed board with a new, solar powered speed board. The new system is a simpler
and more economic version of our past speed board. The most appealing feature of
Mayoral Message ..............2 the speed board is that it is equipped with directional radar. The old technology had a
radar unit that would measure speed of vehicles traveling both toward and away from
City Commission ................2 the speed board display. The new technology only measures the speed of the vehicles
traveling toward the speed board display and shows only the speed of that vehicle.
City Services ......................2 What you see on the display should match your speedometer. You should be seeing
the new speed board around town where we are experiencing traffic issues.
Fire Department ................3 Please be aware that if there is a speed board there will be an officer close by. We
are intent on educating the public to pay close attention to their speed through our
Police Department .............4 neighborhoods. This educational process is two pronged. First we would like you to
be aware of your speed by providing that information to you in the form of the speed
Police & DPW ....................5 board. The second prong is much less popular. We will assign a police officer to
conduct traffic enforcement on the heels of the speed board. Our officers are always
mindful of enforcing the traffic laws during their tour of duty each day. We will focus
Recreation Dept .................6
that effort in locations where the concern for traffic has been brought to our attention
and traffic enforcement and/or the speed board has been requested.
Requests for a speed board or traffic enforcement should be directed to the Sergeant
Treasurer ...........................7 on duty. The Sergeant can be reached through the dispatch office at 453-5441. Please
be specific on your requests. Many traffic issues are time specific. Rush hours in the
Income Tax ........................8 morning and in the afternoon tend to be the most problematic. If the complaint is due
to a specific individual please allow our officers to make contact with that individual.
People react in unpredictable ways when confronted about their behavior. We are
Clerk’s Department ............9
in a much better position to address these issues rather than taking it into your own
hands. Remember, drive safe and slow down, especially when the roads get wet and
Engineering Department ....9
have a safe and happy summer!
Engineering Cont .............10
From the City Manager
Planning Department ........11 LITTER COMPLAINTS
Now that the snow has melted, and spring and summer winds begin to blow, the City
“Your” Newsletter .............12 is receiving complaints about old newspapers and general litter laying about in our
streets and neighborhoods. The City would like to remind residents to remove any
Meeting Dates & Times ....12 unwanted advertisements and papers from your mail and press boxes and dispose of
them in an appropriate waste container. We appreciate your efforts to help keep our
Board Appointments.........12 City neat and clean!
Dear Citizens of Walker,
Best wishes from your City Commission. CITY HALL
Much of the news about state and local 453-6311
government in Michigan is troubling. We hear MAYOR
about the budget crisis, jobs leaving our state, Rob VerHeulen - 791-6860 Office; 453-2201 Home
and the inability of state and local government email@example.com
to provide the basis services that are needed to FIRST WARD COMMISSIONERS:
maintain our quality of life. The partisan debate Al Parent - 784-2860; firstname.lastname@example.org
over tax increases and spending cuts appears to Dan Kent - 784-5591; email@example.com
go on and on and on.
SECOND WARD COMMISSIONERS:
I want to share some good news. This news relates to the willingness Barbara Holt - 784-5327; firstname.lastname@example.org
of you, the citizens of Walker, to do something to make this a better Chuck Deschaine - 453-4032; email@example.com
community. While this news was not reported in the Grand Rapids Press THIRD WARD COMMISSIONERS:
or by the radio and television stations, it is worthy of recognition. Cynthia Stek - 791-9381; firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday, May 5, the Walker Lions Club conducted a white cane Steven Versluis - 791-9247; email@example.com
campaign. Sixteen Walker Lions went to three locations and provided
an opportunity for Walker residents to contribute to the blind and visually City Services:
impaired in our community. The public response was incredible. CLERK’S OFFICE
$1,081.95 was raised through this effort. It came in the form of loose Hours: M-F -- 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Sandra A. Wisniewski, CMC
change, dollar bills, fives, tens and an occasional twenty. (In addition, Phone: 791-6865 -- firstname.lastname@example.org
one Australian coin, one Mexican coin, and a car wash token were
contributed to the cause. The car wash token will be auctioned off at the TREASURER’S OFFICE
Dan DeVries, Treasurer
next Lions Club meeting). Phone: 791-6861 -- email@example.com
It was a wonderful thing to see the willingness of the Lions to invest their ASSESSOR’S OFFICE
Saturday for this cause and the overwhelming response of the public to Kelly Smith, Assessor
this important need in our community. Phone: 791-6862 -- firstname.lastname@example.org
On the same day, Walker Clean Up Days was going full steam ahead. BUILDING/ZONING DEPARTMENT
Jeff Nelson, Building Official
The Department of Public Works accepted over 200,000 pounds of non- Phone: 791-6858 -- email@example.com
recyclable trash. Various wood products totaling over 250,000 pounds
were received and will be recycled into wood chips. An additional CITY MANAGER
80,000 pounds of steel scrap was received for recycling. 306 tires (a Phone: 791-6859 -- firstname.lastname@example.org
breeding ground for mosquitoes) were turned in for recycling. A couple
of weeks before, a resident called me and expressed a concern that we DISTRICT COURT - 59TH
Hours: M-F -- 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m
should not allow the city to become untidy. I responded that it is hard to Judge Peter P. Versluis -- Phone: 453-5765
address this by way of enforcement and that our first line of defense is
residents who care about their neighborhoods and our community. ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT
Scott C. Conners, P.E., City Engineer
The response during Clean Up Days tells me that our residents are Phone: 791-6792 -- email@example.com
concerned about keeping our city beautiful. I encourage each resident to FINANCE DEPARTMENT
do what they can to keep our yards, business premises, and parks clean. Cindy Mielke, Finance Manager
While we have ordinances that allow us to take enforcement action in Phone: 791-6799 -- firstname.lastname@example.org
flagrant cases, it is so much more effective if each of us does our part. FIRE DEPARTMENT
Fire Chief: William Schmidt
These two events demonstrate an important fact. The quality of life that Phone: 791-6840 -- email@example.com
we enjoy is not dependent on the efforts of government in Walker or
in Lansing. It depends on the willingness of each of us. The City can INCOME TAX DEPARTMENT
Julie Blok, Income Tax Director
and will organize events such as Clean Up Days and the Adopt A Road Phone: 791-6866 -- firstname.lastname@example.org
program, but the success of these programs depends on all of us. Each
time you cut your lawn or pick up litter you are contributing to the health RECREATION DEPARTMENT
Marcy Kneibel, Recreation Director
of our community. Phone: 791-6890 -- email@example.com
On one Saturday in May, hundreds of Walker residents demonstrated PLANNING DEPARTMENT
their willingness to make this a better community. On behalf of your Frank Wash, Planning Director
City Commission, I extend our thanks and appreciation. Phone: 791-6787 -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Best regards, Catherine Garcia-Lindstrom, Police Chief
Rob VerHeulen, Mayor
PUBLIC WORKS OFFICE
City of Walker Mark Koning, DPW Director
Phone: 791-6854 -- email@example.com: or
City of Walker Fire Department
EVEN “LEGAL” FIREWORKS ARE DANGEROUS
Summer is here and the Fourth of July holiday is right around the corner along with family get togethers and picnics. A
big part of the holiday celebration is the use and viewing of fireworks.
Michigan law allows the use of what are now referred to as “consumer fireworks” (formerly knows as “common” or Class
C fireworks). As a promotional technique, their advocates have labeled the fireworks allowed under this classification
“safe and sane” fireworks. “Safe and sane” fireworks include devices such as sparklers, fountains, snakes, party poppers,
and ground spinners. Laws based on this approach allow considerable private use of fireworks, but exclude any explosive
type devices that lift off the ground and/or produce a loud bang.
“Safe and sane” fireworks are neither. When things go wrong with fireworks, they typically go very wrong very fast—far
faster than any fire protection provisions can reliably respond. Fireworks are a classic attractive nuisance for children. If
children are present to watch, they will be tempted to touch. Children can move too fast and be badly hurt too quickly if
they are close to fireworks, as they inevitably are at home fireworks displays.
In 2004, 9,600 fireworks related injuries were treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Five out of six (85%) emergency
room fireworks injuries involved fireworks that Federal regulations permit consumers to use. In 2003, an estimated 2,300
reported structure or vehicle fires were started by fireworks. These fires resulted in five reported civilian deaths, 60
civilian injuries, and $58 million in direct property damage.
Many states still permit untrained citizens to purchase and use fireworks—objects designed to explode, throw off showers
of hot sparks, or reach surface temperatures as high as 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The thousands of serious injuries and
extensive property loss nearly all arise from this misguided activity, rather than the only acceptably safe way to enjoy
fireworks, which is in public fireworks displays conducted by professionals in accordance with applicable codes and
OPEN BURNING ORDINANCE
The following changes have been made to the City of Walker’s Open Burning Ordinance. The revised ordinance was adopted
November 27, 2006. Effective immediately:
• Fire rings are allowed in residential areas without a permit. However they must comply with the following criteria:
1. The fire ring is used only for the burning of clean wood or other solid fuel and is not used for the burning of any waste materials
or other materials including, but not limited to, garbage, rubbish, trash, grass clippings, leaves, and paper. NOTE: Clean wood
means natural wood that has not been painted, varnished, or coated with a similar material; has not been pressure treated with
preservatives; and does not contain glues as in plywood or other composite wood products.
2. The maximum width is four (4) feet.
3. There must be a noncombustible ring six inches in width surrounding the ring.
4. The fire ring must be set back a minimum of 25 feet from buildings and overhead wires and 10 feet from adjoining lot lines.
• Outdoor Fireplaces are still allowed in residential areas without a permit. However they must comply with the following
1. Owners, operators and users of outdoor fireplaces shall use such fireplaces in accordance with the manufacturer’s
recommendations for safe use.
2. To be used outside of a dwelling or residence on noncombustible surfaces including, but not limited to, brick, flagstone, or
concrete, and are kept away from any flammable liquids and other combustible materials.
3. Outdoor fireplaces shall be used only for the burning of clean wood or other solid fuel and shall not be used for the burning of
waste materials or other materials including, but not limited to, garbage, rubbish, trash, grass clippings, leaves, and paper. NOTE:
Clean wood means natural wood that has not been painted, varnished, or coated with a similar material; has not been pressure
treated with preservatives; and does not contain glues as in plywood or other composite wood products.
• Effective May 16, 2007: The burning of grass clippings and leaves in residential areas will be prohibited.
City of Walker Police Department
TIDBITS FROM THE POLICE DEPARTMENT
Spring is here and it is nice to get out into the warm weather and enjoy our community. Typically in the warmer months
we have an increase in calls related to people enjoying the out of doors. Please be mindful of you neighbors as you
venture out of doors and enjoy our beautiful City parks and all our community has to offer.
While enjoying our parks with pets please remember to bring the necessary accessories to clean up after your pets. We
need to keep the public areas clear of animal debris so our friends and neighbors will not meet any ‘surprises’ lying
in the grass. Please keep you pets restrained while enjoying their company. This includes around your home as well.
Sometimes our pets like to visit the neighbors and those visits are not generally well received. If you need to secure your
pets out of doors make sure their needs are met and they do not bark.
Listening to music is enjoyable but I know that not everyone shares the same musical interest. Please keep the volume
down and allow our neighbors the solitude that they deserve. Our ordinance defines a noise violation as any sound that
creates a noise disturbance across a property line during the hours of 10 PM to 7 AM. Vehicles are also regulated. A noise
violation occurs when the sound is plainly audible coming from a vehicle fifty feet away between the hours of 7 AM and
10 PM and is further restricted between the hours of 10 PM and 7 AM to be audible from twenty five feet away. Please
keep the music volumes under control.
While driving, be aware of pedestrians and bicyclists utilizing our roadways. They also have responsibilities as follows.
If sidewalks are provided pedestrians must utilize them. If pedestrians are in the roadway they must walk facing oncoming
traffic. If a bike lane is designated, bikes must use it. Bicyclists must conform to all traffic controls just like a motorist.
The City of Walker has adopted many ordinances to help ensure the quality of life for our residents. If you would like
to see all the ordinances that have been adopted by the city please visit www.municode.com and click on Walker for the
complete list. Animals are regulated in Chapter 14, noise is regulated in Chapter 34 and traffic is regulated in Chapter 82.
Please become familiar with these and help make our community a quality place to live.
NATIONAL NIGHT OUT
With the beautiful summer weather approaching, it is an appropriate time to remind all of our neighborhoods of National
Night Out (NNO) that will be held this year on Tuesday, August 14, 2007.
For those that have not heard of this event you may be asking, “What is National Night Out?” NNO is a nationally
recognized program that is celebrated the second Tuesday of August every year and is intended to place an emphasis
on safe neighborhoods and reducing the opportunity for crime. The purpose is to have all neighbors come together as
one, meeting at a location within your own neighborhood, and enjoying meeting all of your neighbors while exhibiting
a unified front against criminal activity in the area. Many of these meetings turn into a very valuable social event with
cookouts the norm, resulting in many new acquaintances made with neighbors that are unknown to each other.
The Walker Police Department is very active in supporting this endeavor by having uniformed officers (police cars
included) stop by to visit with all the citizens and kids when requested. The Walker Fire Department is also very
active with NNO and work in concert with the Police Department in our neighborhoods. We at the Police Department
encourage participation in this event and will gladly assist residents who request it in putting together a “block party” for
your neighborhood. If you are interested in starting up a new block club or have participated in the past and would like
to have a visit from the Police Department, please contact either Community Relations Officer Gil “Butch” Redzinski
(791-6835) or Lt. Greg Long (791-6825). We are hoping to make this year’s NNO the largest and best event in all years’
before. Please contact us for any information or assistance to organize your neighborhood and enjoy this worthy event.
National Night Out Police Department continued on page 5
City of Walker Police Department Continued
WALKER POLICE DEPARTMENT’S SPECIAL RESPONSE TEAM (SRT)
The Walker Police Department includes many highly trained officers among our ranks. However, many residents are not
aware that this includes officers who make up a special response team (or “SRT” as we call them). Our SRT consists of
one sergeant supervisor, a backup sergeant supervisor and seven officers. This highly trained team is made up of nine
individuals who can respond as a unit to anything from a barricaded gunman to a lost child in the woods. Two of the
officers are also sniper trained and for that they train an additional day every month. The entire team trains monthly at
various locations in our city. So if you see yellow “Police Training” signs in the area it is probably them training. The
Walker Police Department tries to notify area residents (via a flyer) if we expect to use any kind of loud “flash-bang”
device. But occasionally our neighboring police agencies have held similar training near (or can be heard in) our city and
have forgotten to notify us of their intentions. We are working to improve this area of communication so that we can let
our residents know about any training that may occur near their vicinity.
The Walker Police Department implemented an SRT over five years ago. The team has been utilized on various occasions
every year since for things like “high risk” drug search warrants and recently with a “barricaded gunman” situation
involving a suicidal individual who (sadly) took his own life during the event.
The equipment used by our team has been purchased through Federal Government grant programs or military surplus
items purchased at a reduced cost by the Police Department. At the barricaded gunman scene last month our SRT utilized
an armor vehicle that all the SRT teams in Kent County can use, which is housed at the Grand Rapids Police Department.
The vehicle was purchased for everyone under a Federal Government Homeland Security Grant.
City of Walker Department of Public Works
ROAD CONSTRUCTION SAFETY
It is that time of year, road construction. The orange color construction signs are starting to pop up. Please take into
consideration that there are men and women doing their jobs in these work zones. So, please slow down. It is our goal to
create a safe work zone for the workers and for the motoring public.
Street sweeping starts in early spring. We start on the major roads first, then secondary roads, and finally residential roads.
It takes an average of 4 to 6 weeks to complete a cycle. We sweep the entire City once in the spring and once in the fall.
If we have a problem area, we will return as needed.
Usually, roadside mowing is done three times during the summer months. The first cut starts toward the end of May. This
can depend on how wet of a spring and the growing season. We try to start when the vegetation is 2 to 3 feet tall. We
concentrate on mowing the roadside and also on drainage courses. The first cutting is normally completed by July 4th.
The second cutting usually starts in August. This cutting may be skipped if we have a dry season and vegetation doesn’t
grow 2 to 3 feet tall.
The third cutting will start in September depending on the timing of the first and second cuttings. At this cutting, we will
do roadsides and drainage courses.
City of Walker Recreation Department
Come join the Walker Seniors Group. They meet on
the second and fourth Tuesday of the month at Fire
Station #3, located at 1470 Three Mile Rd., N.W.
There is free blood pressure check starting at
10:30 a.m., bingo from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on the
4th Tuesday of the month, meeting at 11:30 a.m. and
potluck lunch at 12:00 noon. Bring a dish to pass and
your own place setting. Following the potluck lunch,
there are speakers or entertainment. Field trips are
also planned throughout the year. The Walker Senior
Group is open to all seniors. For a list of the upcoming
schedule, please call the 791-6890.
Co-ed Fall Soccer
Fall Arts & Crafts Show
For boys and girls 7 through 12 years of age. Practices
will begin the week of September 4th and games will Spaces are still available for the 17th Annual Fall Arts
begin on Saturday, September 22, 2007. Registration & Crafts show. The show will be on Saturday, October
will be at the Recreation Department, located at 4243 27, 2007 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Kenowa
Remembrance Rd., N.W. on Wednesday, July 11, Hills Intermediate School, located at 4252 Three
Thursday, July 12 and Tuesday, July 24 from Mile Road, N.W. Entry fee is $40.00 per space and
3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Registration forms will be sent $5.00 additional for each table. Registration deadline
home with the students at area schools and will also is September 28, 2007. If you are interested in
be available at the Recreation Department. Cost is participating, please call 791-6890 for an application.
$28.00 for residents and $33.00 for non-residents.
CLAY AIKEN & KALAMAZOO SYMPHONY
ORCHESTRA CHRISTMAS BUS TRIP
The Walker Recreation Department is offering a bus trip
to Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo to see the Clay Aiken
Christmas Show along with the Kalamazoo Symphony
The trip will be on Friday, November 30, 2007. The bus
will leave from Walker City Hall at 6:45 p.m. The total
cost for the bus trip is $75.00. This includes the bus ride
and concert ticket. All seats will be located in the orchestra
Seating is limited and reservations will be taken on a first
come first served basis. To register for the trip, send your
name, address, business and home phone numbers, along
with your check or money order made payable to:
WALKER RECREATION DEPARTMENT
4243 REMEMBRANCE ROAD N.W.
WALKER, MICHIGAN 49534
For further information please call 791-6890.
City of Walker Library
GET A CLUE AT YOUR LIBRARY!
Summer Reading Club starts at the Walker Branch of Kent District Library on June 11 and runs through August 4. This
eight week program is for children from birth to eighteen! Kids through fifth grade get to enter to win a brand new bike.
Sixth through twelfth graders get a chance to win an iPod or mall gift certificate. This year’s SRC theme is mysteries.
So, come in and Get a Clue at your Library!
Exciting programs include our annual Pet Show on June 26, a pizza tasting party on July 26 and a new ‘Ruff Readers’
program for young readers. This program pairs children with trained therapy dogs for 15 minute reading sessions. It has
been a resounding success at surrounding area libraries and Walker is very excited to see it begin here. Don’t forget,
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows comes out July 21 and the Walker Library will be hosting a Harry Potter party the
following Saturday on July 28.
For further information stop by and get a program calendar at the library. Or call us at 647-3975.
City of Walker Treasury Department
PROPERTY TAX INFORMATION ON THE CITY’S WEB SITE
Property tax information for properties in the City of Walker is now available on the City’s web site. This information
includes property tax amounts, payment status and property tax history. In order to access this information, please follow
1. Go to the City’s home web page at www.ci.walker.mi.us.
2. Put the cursor on the word Departments which is located just above the fire truck.
3. Click on the word Treasurer that appears in the pop-up menu.
4. Click on the words Property Tax Information which are located in the center of the screen above the “Treasurer
Department Overview” wording.
5. Click on the words Tax Information Search, which are located on the left side of the screen under the “Current Tax”
Property tax information may now be searched by property address, parcel number, or owner name.
If you have any questions regarding this process, please feel free to give us a call at 616.791.6861 or contact us via email
City of Walker Income Tax Department
2006 INDIVIDUAL INCOME TAX RETURNS WERE DUE APRIL 30, 2007
Even if you filed your Federal and/or state of Michigan return electronically, you must mail a paper return to the City of
Walker. We are not able to accept e-filed returns, but are working on the technology so that taxpayers will eventually be
able to e-file their Walker return.
Request for Information/Notices of Assessment and Correction
After we receive your return, it is reviewed for accuracy. If there is an error on your return, we may send you a notice of
correction or assessment. We may also need to contact you regarding missing information. If you have questions about
correspondence from the Income Tax Department and used the services of a paid preparer, you may prefer that we speak
directly with them. In order for us to discuss your return with your preparer, we must have your permission. If your
return was computer-generated using the Michigan local common form (Walker CF-1040), there is a check box on page
two where you can indicate your permission for us to discuss your return with your preparer. If your return was prepared
on the standard Walker form (W-1040), you will need to complete a Power of Attorney Authorization. This form can be
found on our web site at www.ci.walker.mi.us/incometaxforms.
SECOND QUARTER ESTIMATED PAYMENTS FOR 2007 WALKER INCOME TAX ARE DUE JUNE 30, 2007
Tax Year 2006: If you owed more than $100 with your 2006 return due April 30, 2007 and you did not pay in at least 70%
of your current or prior year liability through estimates, credits or withholding, you will be receiving a bill for penalty
Tax Year 2007: If your employer does not withhold Walker Income Tax or you have non-wage income (rental income,
capital gains, premature pension distributions, etc.) that is subject to tax and you think you may owe more than $100 with
your 2007 return, you must make quarterly estimated payments. The 2007 Quarterly Estimated payment vouchers with
instructions can be found:
• In the 2006 Resident Forms and Instructions booklet
• On our web site at www.ci.walker.mi.us/incometaxforms
• By mail--call us at 616-791-6880
A company is required to withhold Walker income tax from an employee’s pay if the company has a location in the City
of Walker. A company must also withhold Walker tax if they are doing business in the City of Walker even though the
company has no permanent location in the city. Employees working in the City of Walker on behalf of a company would
be considered to be “doing business.” Companies outside of the City of Walker are not required to withhold Walker tax
but may voluntarily do so as a convenience to their employees. Call Nancy at 791-6869 or visit the following link on the
Walker web site to request a New Employer Package.
New employer package request: http://www.ci.walker.mi.us/departments/incometax/newemployerpackage.htm
From the Clerk’s Department
NOTICE – PRECINCT CHANGE FOR WARD 2, PRECINCT 2 – WALKER STATION SCHOOL
If your current voting location is at Walker Station School, you will be having a new location to vote. The new location
will be at Walker Ice and Fitness Center located at Remembrance Rd. New ID cards will be sent out to everyone.
The City Clerk’s office is continuing the service of issuing passports. As a convenience to those who choose to utilize this
service, there is now an added benefit – passport pictures! Now you can apply for your passport, and for an additional
charge of $8.00, we can provide your required passport picture! (Note: A light colored background is normally used.
Please remember to wear darker clothing for picture).
And, as a reminder…there are also some new requirements for passports:
• Beginning January 1, 2007, you will need a passport when traveling to the Caribbean, Bermuda, Panama, Canada or
Mexico. This requirement applies to all air and sea travel to or from these countries.
• Beginning January 1, 2008, you will also be required to have a passport for all land border crossings in addition to air
and sea travel.
When applying for a passport from the City of Walker you will need to bring a certified birth certificate, valid Michigan
driver’s license, and two separate checks. One check is sent to the U.S. State Department and one is paid to the City of
Walker for processing of the passport.
PASSPORT HOURS - 9:00AM – 4:00PM - MONDAY – FRIDAY
If you plan to apply for a passport between the hours of 11:30AM and 1:30PM, please call prior to coming in.
No passports will be issued the day before an Election or on Election Day.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Clerk’s Department at 791-6878, 8:00AM to 5:00PM, Monday
City of Engineering Department
STUDENTS TAKE ACTION FOR EARTH DAY
On Friday, April 20, the students of Kenowa Hills High School’s Environmental Science class and members of the newly
formed Friends of Indian Mill Creek took to the streets of Walker to participate in a storm drain stenciling event. The goal
was to promote awareness about storm water and storm sewers. Storm water is different from wastewater from toilets
and sinks, which goes to a treatment plant before being discharged into the river. Catch basins and storm sewers connect
directly to our lakes and rivers, in other words, anything that ends up in a storm sewer will eventually find its way to the
With stencils in hand, 22 environmental science students spent their afternoon stenciling in residential areas between
Bristol Avenue and Alpine Avenue. The students worked very hard and covered a large area. In total, over 170 storm
drains were stenciled in a half square mile area. The stencils, bearing the message dump no waste drains to stream, were
painted directly in front of the catch basin grates to remind passersby of their connection to the Grand River.
If you have a group interested in conducting a storm drain stenciling event, please contact Bonnie Broadwater in the
Engineering Department for more details (616) 791-6327.
Engineering Continued on page 10
City of Walker Engineering Department Continued
A CITIZEN’S GUIDE TO AUTO CARE
How we take care of our cars, trucks, and other vehicles greatly influences the health of the Grand River. You can do
your part to stop pollution at the source by preventing detergents, oil, grease, and gasoline from entering street drains,
which lead directly to nearby streams and lakes.
• Look for non-toxic and phosphate-free cleansers at your local grocery store.
• You can also use alternative cleaners, such as baking soda and lemon juice. Avoid products with bleach,
ammonia, lye, or petroleum distillates (see chart below).
Fuel and oil
• When fueling, avoid topping off! Remember that fuel expands as it warms up in your tank.
• Store fuel only in approved containers.
• Routinely check for and fix oil and fuel leaks.
• Recycle your waste oil. Never dump it down a street drain!
• Keep vehicle engines properly tuned for efficient fuel consumption and clean exhaust.
• Use a drip pan when doing engine maintenance. Drippings left on the cement get washed into nearby drains and
end up in our streams.
Product Better Alternative
Bleach Borax or hydrogen peroxide
Chrome cleaner Apple cider vinegar to clean and baby oil to polish
Engine cleaner Steam clean the engine in a dedicated service area
Fiberglass stain remover Baking soda paste, scrub pad, and “elbow grease”
Paint stripper Physically remove old paint without chemical use
Scouring powders Baking soda and “elbow grease”
Window cleaner Vinegar and lemon juice mixed in lukewarm water
Wood polish Olive oil or almond oil for interior wood; use water- or borax-based
MOSQUITO CONTROL IN WALKER
With the arrival of summer and warm weather, the Engineering Department has received many calls inquiring about
mosquito control here in Walker. Presently the city of Walker is not actively treating catch basins with pesticides for
two important reasons. First, mosquito species of concern, such as those that are carriers of West Nile Virus, do not
complete any portion of their life cycle in a catch basin. Secondly, the pesticides used to control mosquitoes often affect
other species of insects that are beneficial, including those that prey on mosquitoes. By treating catch basins with these
pesticides, during a rain event these pesticides are washed into our streams and rivers. Natural and beneficial insects that
spend a part of their life cycle in the water are affected by the concentrated dosages of pesticides discharged from the
storm sewer system in a rainstorm.
For residents concerned with mosquitoes, the best way to control them is to eliminate small shallow areas of stagnant
water since these promote mosquito breeding. Stagnant water is an ideal breeding spot for mosquitoes so change the
water in that birdbath or kiddy pool regularly. If you do decide to use a pesticide to control mosquitoes, be sure to follow
package instructions for the recommended application method or hire a certified professional and always dispose of
leftover pesticide properly. Visit the City of Walker web site for more information at www.ci.walker.mi.us.
City of Walker Planning Department
TREES, WILDLIFE, AND CITY PLANNING
Item 1: Tepper Nursery Tree Donation
Jim Bommelje from Tepper Nursery on Remembrance Road recently donated sixteen pin oak trees to the City of Walker. City
DPW crews planted the trees at the Police & Fire Memorial, Orchard Ridge Plat Park, and at the Edison Historical House.
Jim’s trees were large enough to make an immediate impact on the planting sites. They help frame the new memorial, provide
shade for the new playground equipment and add much-needed green at the historical house.
Many thanks to Jim for his very generous donation to the City of Walker.
Item 2: Emerald Ash Borer Plan
You may have heard about the Emerald Ash Borer problem in Michigan. Check the City of Walker web site homepage for a link
to Emerald Ash Borer information. www.ci.walker.mi.us
The City of Grand Rapids is discovering they have a serious Emerald Ash Borer problem. If the bugs are that close, it is only a
matter of time until they spread into City of Walker ash trees.
I am organizing a response plan to deal with this damaging insect. Check the City of Walker web site for the most current
information. If you think your ash tree is being damaged by Emerald Ash Borers, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or
call me at 791-6850.
Item 3: Walker Bird Watching List
I would like to start a citizen bird watching list.
The City of Walker is a place of many habitat types. These different habitats should house numerous species of birds. The types
of birds in an area can help define the quality and diversity of local natural resources and urbanized areas.
If you are interested in being part of this project, please let me know. I can be reached at email@example.com. I will post the
reported sightings on the City of Walker web site, which is located at www.ci.walker.mi.us.
This project will help us get a better handle on habitat management in the City. It might also lend itself well to a school lesson
Item 4: Habitat Preservation and Site Plan Review
What happens to the wetlands, forests, fields and floodplains when a new development is proposed on vacant property?
City staff begins by using our REGIS mapping system to determine the potential presence of regulated wetlands and floodplains.
If these appear to be present, the developer is required to survey the natural features. City staff then brings the Michigan
Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) into the site plan review process. MDEQ is the “agency having jurisdiction”
over wetlands and floodplains.
However, City staff also identifies wetlands and floodplains that may not be officially regulated but could be important from a
local standpoint. Smaller wetlands and floodplains are often key parts of the local drainage and stormwater system. We identify
these areas as preservation zones, especially in residential developments.
Forests and fields are also identified early in the site plan review process. If there are mature trees on a site, staff tries to preserve
them to the extent possible. Educated developers understand the value in keeping mature trees. Fields and meadows are the
toughest natural features to preserve. Staff needs compelling, factual reasons to preserve these areas.
A regulated seasonal wetland, vernal pool, or endangered species habitat would trigger preservation if staff members know about
it. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) is quite secretive about endangered species habitats. For some
reason, people like to shoot snowy owls and pick rare plants.
I have seen significant advances in natural feature preservation since the mid-1990s. Developers are starting to understand that
preserved natural features can enhance their sites, help with drainage management and protect local quality of life.
However, we certainly have room for improvement. City staff will continue to refine our natural resource management practices.
We will also continue to increase cooperation and communication with the MDEQ, MDNR and other regulatory agencies.
Frank Wash, AICP, PCP City of Walker Planning Director
CITY OF WALKER
4243 Remembrance Road NW
Walker, MI 49534 PAID
GRAND RAPIDS, MI
“Your” Newsletter! Meeting Dates & Times
City Commission Meetings:
We value your communication. You may contact us 8:00 p.m. - 2nd and 4th Monday of each month.
with your comments or suggestions for “Your” Walker City Hall/Commission Chambers
newsletter at any time. Board of Zoning Appeals
7:00 p.m. - 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month
CITY OF WALKER to hear appeals on the City’s zoning regulations.
Walker City Hall/Commission Chambers
4243 Remembrance Road NW
7:00 p.m. - 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each
Walker, MI 49534 month to make recommendations regarding
Phone: (616) 791-6860 land use planning and zoning concerns.
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Walker City Hall/Commission Chambers
Also let us know if we need to correct your mailing Meets one Wednesday of each month.
Walker City Hall Conference Room
address or need to add a new resident to our current
list of recipients. Historical Committee
Meets 1st Monday of every month to discuss
museum displays and preservation of artifacts.
Thank you! Walker Museum
Community Relations / Volunteer Committee
Meets 3rd Thursday of every month to identify
individual & community needs. (Veterans,
seniors, etc.) Also recognizes and awards
special achievements in the community.
City of Walker Board Appointments International Relations Committee
7:00 p.m. - 2nd Wednesday of each month to
The City of Walker is looking for citizens interested in volunteering their discuss Sister City school exchange program
with Colac, Australia
time by serving on various boards and commissions. Most groups meet
only once per month in the evening. If you would like to be considered Mineral Mining Review Board
for an appointed position on one of these boards, please stop by the City Meetings as needed. Reviews applications for
mineral extraction in the City.
Clerks office and fill out an application or you may find an application on
our web site, www.ci.walker.mi.us. Traffic Committee
Meetings as needed. Discussion on
transportation and traffic related matters.