photos by Melanie Ragsdale In an effort to support President Obama’s efforts to move the country to alternative energy sources, the City of Rockford has switched to windpower. “It only makes sense to harness the Earth’s natural flatulence,” said Izzy Toe, who is on the City’s committee to implement alternative energy, the Joint Open Konsumer Energy (JOKE) committee. Luckily, Rockford is known far and wide for the strength of the local winds, and is often referred to by the common nickname of “The Windy City.” The City made the leap away from electricity on Wednesday, April 1 in a ceremony where turbines installed at a tannery rooftop officially began powering the town. “I would have had to wipe tears of happiness from my eyes if the wind hadn’t blown them dry,” said the City President. “This is a life-long dream come true for me. I’ve always hated the electric company.” The City partnered in this venture with the local funny paper, the Rockford Square, which also made the switch on April 1. “We built our office wind turbine ourselves,” the newspaper spokesperson said. “We have a talented group here and are very handy.” The wind turbine is very common for residential use and can significantly decrease the global footprint of a family home. It was installed on the north side of the Squire building at 331 Northland Drive, just two doors down from the Michigan State Police Post. The Square staff would love to share our blueprint for the turbine with any readers who are interested and are currently offering tours. Within minutes of installation, the turbine began powering all Square electrical equipment. Square paper carriers are also going to windpower with their moms’ and dads’ cars. At right see the money-saving and popular auto wind turbine. “We are so, so grateful to the City for going along with us on this exciting venture,” a Square staffer said. “Wait until we tell them about our next great idea. It involves a large herd of pigs (which are surprisingly speedy animals) and a few hundred yards of velcro. We’ll have them using zero gas for their City cars lickity split.”
Articles by Squire News
Kent County officials have announced that March 2009 was the worst month for potholes in West Michigan in more than thirty years. Above is a Rockford Michigan State Police patrol vehicle which recently became stranded in one of the area’s large potholes. In related news, the county has also announced that West Michigan motorists have had to watch for a record number of rockslides and fallen trees.
As part of an expansive effort to use alternative energy sources (see related story above), the City of Rockford stopped using electric lights on Wednesday, April 1. Department of Public Works Director Mike Bouwcamp turned the switch off during an unlighting ceremony and a large crowd watched as the downtown was reilluminated using gaslight. “Electricity is really one of the first things you can cut to save money,” Bouwcamp said. “Gaslight is also very pleasing to the eye and fits our image.”
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Rockford resident, Lyle English, has come a long way from the day almost five years ago when first he strolled into the Eric Brown Stained Glass Studio on Squire Street. Lyle had peered through the windows many times and marveled at the beautiful stained glass creations on display inside and he wanted a closer look. In subsequent days Lyle returned to the store many times and was befriended by the store’s owner, stained glass artisan, Eric Brown. Brown offered Lyle a job helping out around the shop and the rest, as they say, is history. Lyle began to sit in on the stained glass classes that were offered weeknights throughout the year. He began to think that maybe he too, could acquire the skills necessary to create stained glass pieces. Prodded by Brown, Lyle began to take classes. Lyle (now 51) says, “I was all thumbs at first but with Eric’s help and encouragement I stuck with it and got better.” Starting with simple sun-catchers, Lyle’s skills steadily increased to the point where he has just completed a large Tiffany-style stained glass lamp shade replicating the original Tiffany “Trumpet Vine” pattern. Composed of 985 pieces of cut glass and requiring nine and a half pounds of solder to piece together, Lyle tells us, “It was by far the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” The lampshade required 222 hours (five plus work weeks) to complete and sits atop a Tiffany replica (leaf and arc) table lamp base. The shade is beautiful to behold, with its richly colored blossoms and the detailed texture of the vine’s trunk as it winds around the piece. The shade and base combined weight is a whopping 55 pounds. Lyle has become a popular character around the shop, both to customers and class students. He continually cracks people up by fracturing the English language with malapropisms in the style of Yankee legend, Yogi Berra. Keeping up a constant patter that humors all around him, Lyle creates stained glass pieces to be placed on sale at the store or freely given away to friends and family. Most recipients have no idea of the love he puts into each piece and its actual value were it […]
by RICH ZECK When you go to the store to shop for groceries and spend $30, you get $30 worth of food. This sounds reasonable. But what if I told you, you could spend $30 on food and get $60 worth of food? Sounds too good to be true? It is true and you can do it right here in Rockford. Rockford Baptist Church is the local home to Angel Food Ministries (www.angelfoodministries.com) which is a non-profit, non-denominational national organization dedicated to grocery relief to communities just like ours. The program started in 1994 in Georgia with just 34 families and now has grown to serve thousands of families every month in over 17 states. What makes this program so unique says coordinator Jeannie Davis “is there is no prequalification. The only qualification is that you eat food and have $30.” Rockford Baptist Church is the central delivery point along with four other local churches that co-op their resources and place an order once a month. Here is how the program works: a couple of times a month, orders and payments are accepted at the church. Then on the last Saturday of the month, the orders arrive at Rockford Baptist Church for pick up. Each month’s menu is different from the previous month and consists of both fresh and frozen items. The meals offer a balanced nutritional variety with enough food to feed a family of four for a week. These are not second hand items, damaged goods, out dated, dented cans, over ripened produce or day old bread. The quality is as good if not better than what you find in any other store except it costs you less. There are also specialty boxes available for senior citizens, steaks, pork, chicken, fruit and vegetables. Deacon Ray Wenzel states, that Angel Food Ministries is an independent outreach ministry that provides a service for the community regardless of your income. Over 100 families are served each month at this pick up location. Remember there is no need to justify or qualify your need; there are no strings attached and no fine print. There are 30-40 volunteers that make this process run like a well-oiled machine. There are volunteers who handle the orders, unload the truck, separate […]