Articles by Squire News
Coke was driving in town last Saturday morning when she spotted signs promoting the REF’s “TipToe through the Ted” sod sale. She hurried on over to the high school and purchased six rolls of sod and returned home to place them in her yard. The football turf looked so great she quickly returned to the high school and purchased eight more rolls. Ram football players provided assistance through-out the day by loading sod in purchasers vehicles. About to load sod in the rear of Coke’s vehicle are Rockford varsity football players Joe Stefanski (middle) and Jon Newsome (r). The days activities were sponsored by the Rockford Education Foundation (REF), Rockford Football and Band Boosters. REF administrator Sue Arend tells the Squire that the promotion was a “win-win for everyone involved”. As of Monday morning, May 4, some 500 yards of sod had been sold and she was still busy fielding calls from new first time purchasers as well as those seeking to add to a previous purchase or donation.
by BETH ALTENA What did you do for spring break? One Rockford man and his family spent it in war-torn Sudan, Africa, seeing the result of ten years of passion, faith and miracles. Dave Bowman, with his wife, sons and daughter and their children, underwent a 24-hour trip to Sudan to see the dedication of a hospital that is the only one of its kind in a country where the people literally had no medical options. The trip, with family members ranging in age from 11-year-old Sarah Hammond to Dave and his wife Nancy, who had her 72nd birthday on the trip. The experience included close proximity to scorpions, termites “on steroids” and two choices of toilet: the long-drop or short-drop outhouse. Still, each family member considers the venture a journey that changed their lives profoundly and permanently. The ten family members went to see the result of ten years of passion, prayer and hands-on work: a hospital in Sudan. At the outset of the effort to build the hospital, organizers were told it was a humanly impossible endeavor. “Imaging building a hospital in New York and you have to bring the supplies to build it from Florida and there are no roads in between,” said Bowman. “Supplies either came from Nairobi, 16,000 miles away or they came from Grand Rapids, Michigan. That’s what gives me goose bumps.” In a way, the hospital is the result of a diagnosis of severe heart disease and diabetes Bowman received. His doctor recommended he no longer work and he was forced to re-evaluate his life. At the time, there had been news stories of a genocidal war in Sudan where entire tribes of people were killed so their land could be taken. Children, primarily boys as young as four, were without living family members and fending for themselves in a harsh and desolate landscape. Bowman had heard about these “lost boys” who were being brought to the United States by the U.S. government. “I thought, ‘I can’t work, but maybe I can be a father to these boys.’” Bowman picked up his new sons at the airport in December, 2000. “At that time I had absolutely no idea I’d have a second career like this.” As […]
by BETH ALTENA It probably wasn’t a good idea to stand and watch the demolition of a Main Street property said Bob Christmas of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), but it’s unlikely it was dangerous. Christmas said it was not determined yet whether there was asbestos in the house or in the siding, but either way believes the possibility of illness from asbestos due to the demolition is very unlikely. The home torn down on Main Street Friday, April 17 was not properly tested for asbestos prior to demolition. At least three neighbors were upset that they were not notified of the day of demolition and were afraid of contamination in the neighborhood. According to City Manager Michael Young, the demolition date was decided by the City. An inspector condemned the home due to damage inflicted by the nature of the fire practice. “We told him to get it down now because it’s not safe,” Young said of the property owner. Young said he believes the property owner went above and beyond what was necessary to tear down the home by contacting the DEQ. “You don’t need a demolition permit from the DEQ for a residential structure,” he stated. Christmas, who said the home didn’t fall under his jurisdiction because another Michigan entity handles residential structures, was nonetheless helpful in answering questions on the possibilities of danger. “If I was next door to it would I be worried? No,” he said. Christmas pointed out that asbestos fibers are very tiny, thirty times thinner than a human hair. He said that most asbestos-related illnesses have come from instances where people are working with asbestos in high concentration. Christmas said in all demolitions it is common-sense practice to try to avoid “fugitive dust.” This can be any dust associated with a demolition, which is a dusty procedure. Wetting down the structure during demolition is appropriate. According to Young, in addition to wetting the structure, three days of rain followed. Christmas said the Michigan OSHA, which deals with worker safety, has become involved. He said testing is being done to find out if the home did or did not have asbestos and he will inform the Squire of test results. “I have been at many, many of […]