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Community Updates: Friday, March 24

City of Grand Rapids, GovHR to hold "Fire Chief Candidate Forum" to get feedback from the Grand Rapids community; Grand Rapids Forestry division asks residents for help ahead of spongy moth season; and more
The lights of downtown Grand Rapids behind a branch of in-focus, orange-tinted leaves

The lights of downtown Grand Rapids behind a branch of in-focus, orange-tinted leaves /Antonia Enos Burrows

City of Grand Rapids, GovHR to Hold "Fire Chief Candidate Forum" to Get Feedback from the Grand Rapids Community

Earlier this week, the City of Grand Rapids sent out a press release to announce that it will be providing residents with an opportunity to get involved in the City's hiring process. In January, about a month after Fire Chief John Lehman announced that he would be retiring from the Grand Rapids Fire Department (GRFD), the City of Grand Rapids began the search for his successor. With the assistance of GovHR, the City has narrowed down the list of final candidates and is now seeking input from the community. 

The "Fire Chief Candidate Forum" is scheduled to take place from 6:30pm to 8:30pm on Wednesday, March 29 at City Hall. During this event, Grand Rapidians will have a chance to hear from the two final candidates as they introduce themselves and participate in a question-and-answer session with residents. The City is encouraging Grand Rapidians to participate in this process by asking the candidates any questions that they may have. Residents have a couple of options for submitting questions: they can ask them in real-time during the forum (either in-person or in the comment section of the Facebook livestream), or they can submit them to the City ahead of the meeting (via the online "Grand Rapids Community Forum Electronic Question Form" or over the phone at 311​). According to City Manager Mark Washington:  

"While it is ultimately my responsibility to hire a fire chief, residents will continue to have a voice in the process of selecting our next chief. Public safety and resident engagement is essential for a thriving community, and the next fire chief will be fundamentally responsible for carrying out the vision articulated in the City's and department's strategic plans... This community is looking for someone to continue elevating the quality of life for residents through excellent fire prevention and response services."

Once the forum is over, residents will have the option to take a survey and give their feedback to the City. This survey, available online and via phone (by dialing 311 or 616-456-3000), will be open until 5:00pm on Friday, March 31. 

To learn more about the two final candidates (Dr. Brad Brown and Chief Eloy Vega), visit the City of Grand Rapids's website here.


Grand Rapids Forestry Division Asks Residents for Help Ahead of Spongy Moth Season 

This year, the vernal equinox fell on Monday, March 20, officially marking the beginning of springtime in the Northern Hemisphere. Before long, many of Michigan's hibernating and dormant animals will reappear in Grand Rapids after a long winter, including the invasive spongy moth. 

As we approach spongy moth season, the Grand Rapids Forestry division is encouraging the Grand Rapids community to be aware of the threats these moths pose to the City's trees, as well as take steps to minimize their impact. According to a press release that was sent out on Monday:

"Spongy moth egg masses can contain over 1000 larvae that hatch into leaf eating caterpillars. When the caterpillars significantly defoliate trees, the trees become weaker and vulnerable to fatal diseases."

Residents can help protect their trees by following two important steps recommended by the Grand Rapids Forestry division:

  • Step 1: Keep an eye out for spongy moth egg masses forming along the trunk of a tree. They are typically small, beige or brown in color, and have a spongy texture. To prevent them from hatching, residents can use a dull knife or other tool to scrape them off the tree and put them into a cup or bowl filled with soapy water. Spongy moth egg masses can usually be found on trees through the end of April. To see an example of the proper scraping process, check out this demonstration on the City's YouTube channel
  • Step 2: Wrap at least one section of the tree with a "double-band" of duct tape. According to Monday's press release, the adhesive side should be facing outwards (away from the bark of the tree). By doing this, residents will be preventing spongy moth caterpillars from being able to climb the trees and wreak havoc on their leaves. The bands of tape should be kept on the trees through the end of May. To see an example of the proper wrapping process, check out this demonstration on the City's YouTube channel.

For more information on the spongy moth and additional steps residents can take to help protect their trees from these invasive insects, visit the City's website here


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