New Year’s Resolutions for 2023 from Lowell Leaders

Some may scoff at the practice, but it’s long been tradition to set resolutions at the start of each new year. There is something about flipping over the page on the calendar that leaves many people feeling hopeful for the future. The next 12 months lay in front of us as a blank slate, and we optimistically believe goals can be set and achieved.

We reached out to wide cross-section of local leaders to see if they had resolutions — personal or professional — for the new year and if they wouldn’t mind sharing them with us. We’ll start with our resolutions and then move on to theirs below.

Maryalene LaPonsie, Owner/Editor
Lowell’s First Look

Business: For Lowell’s First Look, my resolution is to spend at least one hour a week on our website events calendar. We don’t have the bandwidth to write about all the activities going on in Lowell, but we could at least get them on the events calendar for readers to find there. This hasn’t been a priority in the past, and my resolution is to do better about keeping the calendar current in 2023.

Personal: I hit age 45 in 2022, and at my annual physical, my blood sugar and cholesterol levels stepped over the line of what doctors say is prudent. It isn’t anything urgent right now, but it could be if I don’t make some changes. Much of it is probably linked to my weight, which also hit an all-time high in 2022. I gave up years ago on trying to impress others with my looks so, unfortunately, vanity isn’t enough to motivate me to get into shape. But the prospect of developing diabetes? That, my friends, is motivating.

So my personal resolution for 2023 is to get outside and walk every day — even if it’s only once around my backyard — and make old-fashioned oatmeal my go-to weekday breakfast. Will that be enough to cure all my woes? Probably not. But I am hopefully that small changes will beget bigger changes and kickstart some healthy habits. If nothing else, walking and eating oatmeal certainly can’t hurt me.

Mike DeVore, Mayor
City of Lowell

We did a lot of good things together in 2022.

My resolutions for 2023 are to continue our work on the roads. I know this is the most important thing to a lot of people. I’m also excited to adopt the new park plan and to decide a use for Rec Park now that the fair has left. Jerry Hale and I are also moving forward on the new community splash pad at Grand River Park. It has long been a goal of mine to see a splash pad in our community and I’m excited that Jerry and I are able to work together on it to make it a reality.

With the upcoming retirement of Liz Baker, I’ve also taken over the Vision Alliance for 2023. It is a joint group of Vergennes Township, Lowell Township, the city of Lowell, Lowell Area Schools, the Chamber of Commerce and the Lowell Fire Department where we get together and exchange ideas and put together joint projects like Community Clean Up day. I’m very excited to chair this group in 2023 and beyond.

Last, with the midterm elections done, I will extend invitations to all the elected officials that represent us in Lansing and Washington to come to future council meetings and give legislative updates during our meetings and meet with the community. We’ve had minimal success with this in the past, so I’m hoping to see more and more visits in 2023. I hope everyone had a great holiday season, stayed warm through the blizzard and has a GREAT 2023.

Michael Burns, City Manager
City of Lowell

My resolution for 2023 is to make sure that Monroe St gets completed this year and to make sure that we prepare for Washington Street to be completed in 2024.

Charlie West, General Manager
Lowell Light & Power

Lowell Light and Power does not necessarily have a New Year’s Resolution, but our commitment to our customers will remain unchanged in the new year. We will continue to focus on a culture of continuous improvement that puts serving our customers as our top priority. We stand by our commitment to being a premier utility, serving our customers with safe, reliable, cost-effective electricity.

Christa Wetzel, Executive Director
Alpha Care Center

At the Alpha Care Center we have goals at our organization that continue on from year to year, but it’s so important to reflect on these and set goals for the new year! We are continually being intentional and looking for ways to help ensure that everyone who needs our services know who we are. We plan to continually work hard to raise the necessary funds and supplies to meet the needs of our clients. In addition, being intentional in serving with the community at large to have the healthiest community possible. On a personal note – my goal is to continue to find JOY and gratitude in the midst of everything that comes into my life.

Rick Seese, Associate Broker
Greenridge Realty

No big resolution, just lose a few more pounds, exercise a few more hours, see my granddaughters a few more days, try a few more hikes with my wife, and investigate a few more real estate marketing ideas for my clients.

Wendie Preiss, Executive Director
Flat River Outreach Ministries (FROM)

Our New Year’s resolution is to offer transportation to our participants in 2023. Transportation has long been an issue in Lowell. The program will start small as we learn what works and what doesn’t. We’ve already developed some great partnerships with Betten Baker, Look Memorial Fund, and Rotary. If anyone is interested in adding this as their New Year’s resolution, please contact me at [email protected]

Amanda Rogers, Broker/Owner
Rogers Neighborhood Realty

Looking ahead to 2023 I see what I try to envision every year: 365 days of opportunities to serve my family, friends, and community in a myriad of ways.

As a business, the agents of Rogers Neighborhood Realty look forward to growth as we settle into our permanent home in Historic Downtown Lowell. We are grateful for the opportunity that this building has provided us and we are anxious to pay it forward all year through by not only being an excellent source of knowledge and expertise in everything real estate in Lowell and beyond, but by actively supporting Lowell through FROM, Lowell Little League, the Kent County Youth Fair, and more.

As a Girl Scout Troop leader, I look forward to service projects being completed throughout town as my oldest troop girls are working to achieve their gold award goals, and our final trip as a troop this summer.

As a volunteer and board member on various organizations in town, I look forward to new trails being built and supporting programs that many have come to rely on.

For me personally, I have two beautiful girls to watch grow up, a caring and busy spouse to support in all his endeavors, a garden to plan, flowers to plant, and races to run! 🙂

So many exciting things in the works. Many things to be thankful for. I love that I’m in Lowell and I’m ready to see what God has planned for 2023!

Nate Fowler, Superintendent
Lowell Area Schools

In 2023, LAS is going to continue to provide opportunities for our students to learn and grow so they lead healthy, happy lives of purpose. It is about supporting teachers and families with our strong community so that our students can do their best. We will continue to innovate so that students and teachers find the work meaningful and engaging.

We also look forward to celebrating the completion of the middle school renovation with the entire Lowell community in August.

Cheers to 2023!

Laurel Conrad, Program Manager
LowellArts

LowellArts’ New Year’s Resolution is to continue to engage the Lowell community in visual art, music, and theatre. We hope to reach new artists, patrons, volunteers, and members.

Lisa Plank, Executive Director
Lowell Area Historical Museum

My New Years resolution is to make local history as accessible, relevant and interesting to as many people as possible.

Christopher Hurst, Chief of Police
Lowell Police Department

2022 has been a frustrating year at the Lowell Police Department. We have been bitten by the Covid bug, have experienced staffing shortages, officer injury, an uptick in violent calls, equipment shortages, and we’ve fallen behind in training.

The Lowell PD utilizes part time staff to fill in gaps in the schedule when a full time officer is unavailable due to training, sickness, or injury. The era of having too many applicants has passed and we are forced to seek out officers. Sometimes “stealing” from other departments. One can draw their own conclusions as to why the law enforcement profession has become so unpopular. This past year our part time staff shrunk and it has been a slow process to refill those positions.

We have adjusted schedules and our full-timers have put in overtime to fill the gaps. We did have a Sunday shift (2pm-8pm) that was dedicated to part time. This shift was moved to Tuesday and now the chief fills it.

Our staff has been hit by the Covid bug, taking the officer or staff member out of circulation for at least five days or until symptoms subside. Throughout this year, five of our staff have been “bitten” by the bug.

We’ve sent three officers to the hospital for in-the-line of duty injuries. All minor, but did require time off to recover. Injuries were sustained attempting to subdue uncooperative persons.

We have seen a slight up-tick in violent calls, including vehicle pursuits, attempted suicide that involved an officer injury, and cruisers struck during traffic stops (no injury sustained). A subject attempted to choke and disarm an officer while he was attempting to get him medical help. And we participated in the apprehension of four subjects fleeing from Ionia County Sheriff Department by spike stripping the car coming into our city. The subjects were a stolen vehicle with stolen goods in the car.

We were approved by city council to purchase a new cruiser to replace an older, high mileage car. Ford was unable to fill the order and we were forced use to purchase a used (2021) cruiser from another agency.

Because of lack of staffing, Covid, and officer injuries, we have fallen behind in training because we needed every body to fill patrol shifts. We are a small agency and have required training we must complete each year. We have newly purchased equipment that has been idle because we need training time.

We are slowing refilling our ranks and it is giving us some breathing room.

In 2023 we are resolved in catching up on our much needed training and re-certifications. Over the next few months we will be re-certified on the use of the Taser, trained and certified on the BOLA Wrap (a restraint device designed to reduce subject and officer injury), training on our report writing and reporting software. We are seeking out training for members on our staff to be trained in Field Training Officer, Defensive Tactics, Range/Firearms Instructor, and will be implementing a new Physical Fitness Test modelled after the US Army Combat Fitness Test (to encourage physical fitness and comradery).

We are hoping 2023 is calmer than 2022. We are confident we will be successful in our resolutions to “catch up” and keep moving forward.

As always, we are all thankful to be working where are. The Lowell community has always been very supportive of its first responders and we enjoy supporting our residents. We have a dedicated staff that have learned that we all must work together (police and citizens) to be successful.

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