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Community Updates: Friday, September 1

State of Emergency for Kent County declared by Kent County Board of Commissioners, Office of the Governor; Los Colores de México Fiesta Mexicana #54 to be held in Grand Rapids next weekend; and more

State of Emergency for Kent County declared by Kent County Board of Commissioners, Office of the Governor

On the evening of August 24, parts of Michigan's lower peninsula experienced severe storms. Around 8:00 p.m., tornado sirens began going off throughout much of the Greater Grand Rapids area and Kent County. Many residents received emergency alerts on their cell phones encouraging them to take shelter immediately in a basement or other interior room.

Eight tornadoes were reported across the state (five in southeastern Michigan, two in mid-Michigan, and one in West Michigan). According to the National Weather Service (NWS), the tornado that touched down in West Michigan was classified as an EF-1. It started in Alpine Township and travelled northeast into Plainfield Township, a distance of almost nine miles, in 15 minutes. The NWS's summary of this tornado states that:

"Hundreds of trees were snapped or uprooted. Structural damage was done to buildings in the 5600 block of Alpine Avenue and to homes in a subdivision just north of the intersection of 7 Mile Road and Pine Island Drive. Peak wind speeds in this area were estimated to be 110 mph making this an upper end EF-1 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale."

As a result of the damage left behind by this tornado, the Kent County Board of Commissioners announced on Tuesday that it has declared a state of emergency. This declaration is valid for seven days after its issuance, but may be extended by the Kent County Board of Commissioners if deemed necessary.

Kent County has also asked that "a state-level State of Emergency for Kent County and a Federal State of Emergency be issued." This would make local communities "eligible" to receive funding and other resources from the State of Michigan and the federal government to aid with the County's recovery. On Wednesday, Governor Gretchen Whitmer formally extended the initial state of emergency order to include Kent County and Ionia County (Executive Order No. 2023-9). The declaration states that:

"Local officials in the impacted jurisdictions have taken several actions to respond to the situation, including but not limited to, activating the emergency response and recovery aspects of their emergency operations plans, issuing emergency public information, and otherwise utilizing local resources to address these conditions. Despite these measures, local resources are insufficient to respond to the storm damage. State assistance is necessary to effectively respond to, and recover from, the impacts of these storms."

For more information, visit Kent County's website or view Tuesday's press release here


Los Colores de México Fiesta Mexicana #54 to be held in Grand Rapids next weekend

The Mexican Heritage Association of West Michigan will be hosting Fiesta Mexicana, an annual celebration of Mexican culture, in downtown Grand Rapids (Calder Plaza) next weekend.

2023 will mark the festival's 54th year. 

Los Colores de México Fiesta Mexicana #54 will begin at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8 and continue through 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10. There will be an abundance of music, food, dancing, and more for festivalgoers to enjoy. Musical artists such as La Furia Del Ritmo, Los Excoltas de la Sierra, and Grupo Control will be performing at the festival (among many others). There will also be a Lowrider Car Show taking place on Saturday afternoon followed by an awards ceremony.

On Saturday evening, the Mexican Heritage Association of West Michigan and the Consulate of Mexico in Detroit will be holding the "Grito de Independencia" (Cry of Independence) ceremony. 

Cibad Hernandez will be the Master of Ceremonies.

For more information about Fiesta Mexicana 54, visit the Mexican Heritage Association of West Michigan's website.   


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