Street Talk

Street Talk: Safe at home

Name game.

August 10, 2018
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Not every question on last Tuesday’s ballots involved two or more candidates seeking public office.

Wyoming residents overwhelmingly showed their support for the city’s Public Safety Department by approving a permanent renewal of the dedicated public safety millage of 1.25 mills by a vote of 7,306 to 2,223.

Results show that 11,432 people voted in Tuesday’s primary election, a turnout of 22.9 percent of registered voters in Wyoming.

City leadership expressed gratitude for the community’s support and look forward to maintaining the public safety programs and initiatives developed since the initial millage was first approved in 2010.

The cost for a homeowner with a $100,000 home will remain at $62.50 per year.

“We are pleased with (Tuesday’s) results and want to thank everyone who came out to vote today,” Wyoming Mayor Jack Poll said. “Over the years, we have worked hard to be good stewards of the funding this millage provides, and it is clear our residents recognize we’ve made good on our promises.”

Public Safety Chief Kim Koster concurred with Poll’s sentiments, remarking the Public Safety Department’s efforts to work more closely with residents are bringing about better results for the community as a whole.

“Safety is at the core of the city’s mission, and the public safety millage allows us to maintain funding for critical services and programs,” Koster said. “We are fortunate to have the confidence of our residents and businesses, who continue to support our officers and firefighters.”

Some of the Public Safety Department’s accomplishments since the dedicated millage was first approved in 2010 include:

  • Achieved and maintained Gold Standard police accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc., putting the department in the top 1 percent of law enforcement agencies nationwide
  • Provided a professional public safety response to more than 37,000 calls for service every year
  • Implemented efforts to visit every school in Wyoming each school day, totaling 5,738 school visits last year
  • Conducted daily and nightly visits to businesses, making 8,606 contacts and 6,852 closed business checks in 2017
  • Equipped every police cruiser with an automated external defibrillator, or AED, as well as supplying every officer with Naloxone, which reverses the effects of overdoses
  • Increased forensic laboratory capabilities, providing faster, more comprehensive results that have contributed to a higher success rate in solving crimes
  • Reduced response times with the 24/7 operation of the Gezon Fire Station and the addition of two quick-response vehicles


BBB Serving Western Michigan is warning consumers about Kalamazoo Craftsman, a deck building business that currently holds an F rating with the BBB.

According to consumer complaints, David Sohlden, owner of Kalamazoo Craftsman, has on multiple occasions agreed to build or replace someone’s deck, taken the money for the project, then failed to start or complete the work. To make matters worse, once the project fell through, Kalamazoo Craftsman did not answer or return phone calls and frequently canceled on follow-up meetings.

One homeowner reported, “The owner took off with our down payment and has not come back to the job. He refuses to return calls. We are out $5,000.” The homeowner also said Kalamazoo Craftsman “did not buy the supplies for the porch with the money we gave him and quit the job without any communication.”

Another consumer said he or she “supplied David Sohlden with a $6,000 deposit to build a deck. Deck project was not started in timeframe, he will not communicate with me.”

Businesses that build decks are required to have an individual or company builders license, and projects often also require building permits.

Upon further investigation, the BBB found Kalamazoo Craftsman and Sohlden currently are not licensed with the state of Michigan, and Sohlden’s only license on file lapsed in 2004.

Kalamazoo Craftsman also goes by the business name Decked Out. The BBB located two other businesses operating as Decked Out LLC and Decked Out Inc., which are registered with the state and list an unrelated address and resident agent on the east side of Michigan, but BBB has not yet determined if they are affiliated.

Kalamazoo Craftsman has not responded to or resolved the consumer complaints submitted to the BBB.

To avoid hiring the wrong deck builder, the BBB advises homeowners to arrange a payment schedule ahead of time instead of paying up front, verify builder licenses and insurance, confirm building permits and research customer complaints.

Homeowners can search for a contractor’s business profile at to get free information on history of complaints, read verified customer reviews and see if it is an accredited business.

Night terrors

Grand Rapids’ only Certified Sleep Sense consultant has spent one year in business.

Rachel Turner owns an infant and child sleep consulting business called Hello Sleep.

The main service includes one-on-one consultations with families who have children struggling with sleep issues.

These consultations last two to three weeks and culminate with a personalized plan to fit the child’s age and unique sleep issues.

Services begin with a free 15-minute consultation. Basic package prices are $200 for children ages 0 to 3 months, $400 for children ages 3 to 24 months $450 for children older than 24 months.

Packages include a preliminary evaluation, an hourlong phone consultation, and follow-up emails and phone calls.

“The skills your child will learn within two weeks will give them good sleep habits that will benefit them for the rest of their lives,” Turner said on her website.

Turner said her advice is for “informational purposes only” and is meant to help with “common early childhood sleep issues wholly unrelated to medical conditions.”

“I hope to reach just some of those tired parents and to let them know they can sleep again,” she said.

Her certification comes from Dana Obleman, creator of the Sleep Sense Program. Training includes a three-day live session with Obleman and at least three months of additional mentoring. Obleman has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and education from Kings University. 

Obleman has trained 150 consultants all over the world.

King of the hill

The brewery formerly known as Kings Brewing is close to having a new name thanks to public input.

With plans to open their new brewery in the 49507 neighborhood by spring of 2019, entrepreneurs Terry Rostic and Jamaal Ewing decided to make the community part of the rebranding process by holding a naming competition.

Participants were encouraged to come up with creative suggestions that will reflect the brewery's connection to the community.

The winner will be announced at an informal “reveal party” at an as-yet-undecided date.

In the event of duplicate entry winners, the contest winner will be determined by a rock/paper/scissors competition to be broadcast via Facebook live.

The winner will receive multiple prizes, including brewery swag, a lifetime mug club membership and having a beer named after him or her.

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