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Martin Township will lose Rick Cain as commissioner

Allegan County Commissioner Rick Cain told the Martin Township Board Wednesday he’s not particularly pleased with the proposed redistricting for county commissioners’ seats.

The County Redistricting Commission has announced its decision to reduce the number of districts from seven to five and to redraw their boundaries, as required by law every 10 years.

The new map would have Cain lose Martin and Gun Plains townships and gain Leighton, Dorr and Wayland City if he decides to seek re-election next year. However, he potentially would have to face incumbent Mark DeYoung, who is well known already in fast-growing Leighton and Dorr.

Under the changes, Martin could be represented in the future by Gale Dugan of Otsego.

“We (the county) gained about 20,000 in population, but we lost two districts,” Cain told board members. “Going for 10 years with five instead of seven districts makes no sense to me.”

He also pointed out that Commissioner Dean Kapenga would represent a district that goes from Hopkins west to Saugatuck, a huge chunk of land.

Cain did not whether or not he will seek re-election, but he isn’t entirely a stranger to Dorr and Leighton Townships and the City of Wayland because he served as vice president and president of the Wayland Board of Education in the 1980s and 1990s.

Cain also took up the recent county issue with the Health Department mandating masks for students in grades K-6. The County Board, including Cain, voted to ask the health officer to rescind the mask order and it was done Oct. 1 after the State Legislature threatened to withhold funding for those insisting on mandates.

“I supported lifting the mandate,” he said. “I think schools, parents and local people should have choices.”

In other business at their meeting Wednesday night, the Martin board members:

  • Heard Wayland Area Emergency Services Representative Sarah Lynema outline how the recent Covid pandemic situation has prompted WAEMS to be asked to transport patients because of an overload at Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids hospitals.

She said the ambulance service in years past has avoiding doing patient transfers, but changing conditions have led to changing practices.

“We’ve getting so many calls lately that I’ve come to think we need another truck to handle the workload,” she said.

  • Heard likewise about being busy from Fire Chief Kurt Knight that Martin Fire & Rescue is getting a record number of calls because recent weather events and accidents on the U.S.-131 expressway.

Knight added, however, that the department likely will get a used vehicle that’s going out of service for the Gun Lake Tribe at the cost of just $1.

  • Was told by Knight that the annual Fire Department hot dog and cider Halloween program will be held on Saturday afternoon and evening, not Sunday like most other areas.

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