This spring, The Rockford Squire reported that five historic people in the Rockford area were honored at Recognition Plaza at Peppler Park. The event is a newer tradition in its second year and organized by the Rockford Area Community Endowment (RACE). Each year, RACE will honor people from the City of Rockford and the townships of Algoma, Cannon, Courtland and Plainfield. In addition to the gift of grants, recognizing the people who have contributed significantly to the history of the area is among the Endowment’s goals. When visiting the beautiful Peppler Park Recognition Plaza (on the west side of the dam), take the time to read the names on the bricks under your feet and in plaques on the columns in the park. The following is one more of the stories of this year’s honorees, with others to follow in future issues of the Squire. Clarence Blakeslee Not long ago, renowned newsman Tom Brokaw wrote a book entitled “The Greatest Generation.” That book recognized the generation of Americans who were born in the early 1900s, survived two world wars and the most crippling economic depression in American history. Clarence Blakeslee exemplifies that generation and all that it stands for, as well as any American. The Rockford area was truly blessed by many of that greatest generation, and the history of this community will always be much more richly colored because of the lives of those people, not the least of which is our own Clarence Blakeslee, or as he has come to be known, Mr. Rockford. Clarence was born in Grand Rapids in 1914. By 1918, his parents had divorced and he moved to Courtland Township for his first Rockford experience. He moved several times after that, including back to Grand Rapids and to Ionia, but in 1926 his mother—with a horse and wagon load of kids, furniture and a new husband—moved back to the Rockford area. It was a move that brought a lifetime of mutual love and respect between Clarence and his new home and neighbors of Rockford. Clarence graduated from Rockford Senior High School in 1932 after a distinguished high school career that included varsity letters in track, football and basketball. The classroom was a success also and it was recognized by […]
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by BOB SIEGEL Principal, Valley View Elementary Being a Michigan State University (MSU) alumni and HUGE fan of the Spartans, when I first heard the phrase, “GO GREEN!” I instinctively shouted out loud, “GO WHITE!” (Green and White are MSU’s school colors—in case you missed the NCAA basketball tournament.) This past fall, Valley View Elementary School, along with other schools in Rockford, focused on educating our students about the importance of protecting our environment on our “one and only” planet Earth! At Valley View, teachers Nancy Berg (fourth grade) and Brad Davison (fifth grade) invited fourth- and fifth-graders to be leaders of this effort by joining our school’s newly created “Green Team”—a hands-on experience at helping safeguard Mother Earth. What started out as a simple group of students looking to engage in fun activities under Nancy and Brad’s leadership, became a group very serious about their efforts and highly organized. The experience culminated in the reception of the “Green Award,” given by the Kent County Intermediate School District. Valley View’s upper-elementary students truly embraced the concepts of conservation and recycling to the point where they gave up recesses to organize their tasks. A “tree-hugger” I am not, but one can no longer overlook the need to be conscious of the environment around us! As a leader of future leaders, it’s incumbent upon us as educators—and parents—to teach our children the importance of considering how and what we USE, from material goods to electronic devices. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned as a parent and educator, it’s that whatever we place a high priority and focus on is what our children will grow up to place importance on when they are adults. The way that I view this topic is analogous to how we should treat our bodies. We get ONE shot at taking care of our earthly “temples,” as the Greeks used to say. If we mistreat our human bodies by eating poorly, failing to exercise, and abuse chemicals, the result will probably not be a long and prosperous life. Unfortunately, once our body begins to malfunction, we do NOT get to trade it in for a new one! The same goes for “Mother Earth!” I’m not sure we’ll ever truly know the extent […]
Jason Baniukaitis and Mackenzie Osbeck, both of Rockford, have each been named recipients of a Faculty Scholarship to Grand Valley State University (GVSU). Baniukaitis is the son of Mary and Ed Baniukaitis. Osbeck is the son of Tim and Jill Osbeck. To be considered for a Faculty Scholarship, the recipient must have a 3.6 high school grade-point average (GPA), a minimum ACT score of 29, and attend a scholarship competition. The award is renewable for three consecutive additional years with a minimum GPA of 3.5 or better. Kyle Trimble of Rockford has been named a recipient of a Presidential Scholarship to GVSU. He is the son of Jeff and Julie Trimble. To be considered for a Presidential Scholarship, the recipient must have a 3.8 high school GPA, a minimum ACT score of 32, and attend a scholarship competition. This award is also renewable for three consecutive additional years with a minimum GPA of 3.5 or better. All three students are recent Rockford High School graduates.
Whaley-Ingraham In the fine company of close friends and endeared family, Wendy Whaley, a 2007 graduate of Forest Hills Eastern, and Will Ingraham, a 2005 graduate of Rockford, shall commit their lives together before Almighty God in marriage. The couple will be married on August 8, 2009, and will reside in Grand Rapids. Terry and Ellen Whaley of Ada and beloved sister Stephanie will accompany the beautiful bride to the altar. Brian and RuthAnn Ingraham of Rockford, with beloved sister Lyza, will be proud to witness this sacred union. Will is a geek in the I.T. department at Amway International, and Wendy is pursuing a creative career in photography from Grand Rapids Community College. Psalm 150!
Meeting set August 6 for more information by MITCH HARVATIN Cannon Township officials decided Monday night that they want to hear more about the proposal of putting two non-motorized sidewalks/trails starting at Myers Lake toward Cannon Farms and along M-44 near Bostwick Lake. Both projects would feature poles (railings) and hydrants. The contractor would also design the trail so it doesn’t draw puddles when it rains for a long period of time. The Myers Lake proposal is estimated to cost $12,100. The Bostwick Lake project is estimated to cost around $22,100. Township Clerk Bonnie Blackledge is for the project, but Township Trustee Steve Grimm said, “It’s a lot of money for a straight sidewalk.” Township Supervisor Peter MacGregor stepped in and said that the construction workers “will have to move a green box and a telephone pole.” Blackledge will hold an informational meeting for anyone who would like more information about these two projects on August 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Cannon Township offices, 6878 Belding Road. The engineer of the project will also attend the meeting.