by CHRISTINE BIGNEY You can walk into many of the stores in downtown Rockford, and there is a good chance that the business is owned by a woman. In the United States and in West Michigan, women – and people in general – enjoy many opportunities to benefit from their own efforts, improve their lives and ‘live the American dream.’ In the media, today’s news is all of the sky is falling variety, forgetting or failing to note that our quality of life in the U.S., and in West Michigan, is not really so bad. In fact, we are in a position to help others who truly are in economic and personal disaster. Jessica Gordon, a local business woman, runs WAR Chest Boutique located at 119 Courtland Street in downtown Rockford. She believes people will be willing to help improve the lives of others if they are given an opportunity. Gordon tells how her organization helps women in Asia in regions that have become the newest source for traffickers of young destitute girls and women, some as young as nine years old. They are transported across borders and sold into sexual slavery throughout Asia. Gordon tells of an African business woman who was tricked into selling her business and moved to Thailand where she expected to start a new business. Instead she was forced into prostitution. Other horror stories include a newborn Thai baby sold for $200 to traffickers. But there is hope for these women through a Christian organization called Women At Risk (WAR) International. Partnering with several different programs in other countries like Thailand, Uganda, Nepal, India, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jordan and the Philippines, Gordon’s boutique showcases jewelry these girls and women produce in safe houses which are sponsored by WAR. The jewelry are made from pearls and semi-precious stones. “The jewelry is sent on consignment, with the safe houses setting the prices. The proceeds go to these women to help them get their GED, get them proper medical care, preventative medical care,” Gordon explained. Gordon found herself running the Rockford store after some mutual friends asked her if she was interested. A grant from a private foundation made it possible. “It was kind of an experiment, “Gordon related, “to see if […]
Articles by Squire News
Every industry has its “Super Bowl” of sorts. For those involved in the culinary arts in West Michigan, the ultimate stage is the annual Grand Rapids Magazine Dining Awards, held this year on Wednesday, February 18, at the Grand Rapids Community College Secchia Institute for Culinary Education. This event honors the top restaurants in West Michigan, as well as acknowledges the accomplishments of the American Culinary Federation and the Greater Grand Rapids Chefs Association. Grand Rapids Magazine, underwriter of the event, presented awards in the following categories: Fine Dining; Casual Dining; Ethnic Dining: European; Ethnic Dining: Mexican; Central/South American; Ethnic Dining: Asian; and Restaurant of the Year. Reds on the River in Rockford, a relative newcomer, won its third award in three years. Honored as best new restaurant in 2006 and a 2007 Fine Dining Award winner, Reds again received honors with the fine dining award. Reds’ Executive Chef and General Manager Glenn Forgie accepted the award for his talented staff, noting he was “extremely honored to represent Reds.” Forgie credited the strength of his staff. “Our team takes a lot of pride in what they do, working hard every day to prepare and serve their best to Reds’ guests.” He also thanked Grand Rapids Magazine for hosting the event and recognizing the industry and all the efforts of the nominees. “We are proud to be nominated in the fine dining category, and to win our third award.” The fine dining category is defined by Grand Magazine as: “top quality ingredients, well presented, somewhat innovative – a complexity of flavors, using the highest quality product. Excellent service and knowledgeable staff.” The 1913 Room won top restaurant of the year. Forgie noted his congratulations to the 1913 staff, as well as the other award winners and nominees. “There is an incredible group of talent represented at this event, and it is an honor to be acknowledged along with them.”
Rockford Community Services is sponsoring their sixth annual Mother, Son Dance, Saturday, February 28 at East Rockford Middle School from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Extreme DJS will be playing age-appropriate music for dancing. Beginning at 6:00 pm, Douglas Photography will be available for a keepsake photo at an additional charge. To register go to www.rpssignmeup.com or call Rockford Community Services at (616) 863-6322. Tickets are $8 per person.
By Cliff and Nancy Hill Whatever floats your boat! Last Friday evening, seeking to affirm that spring is indeed on the way, your reporters attended the annual Grand Rapids Boat Show at Devos Place. Along with the recent Camper, Travel & RV Show and the Golf Show winter-weary West Michiganders welcomed these harbingers of Spring. At the show, we found ourselves sitting in the stands adjacent to what was billed as the “Huge Lagoon”- the largest indoor body of water at any boat show in the nation. This new addition to the show is a 100,000-gallon behemoth of an indoor lake. It was capable of floating special boats on display along with providing a venue for scuba, kayaking, and wakeboard demonstrations. (It was huge!) As in past years, Rockford’s Powers Outdoors played a prominent role in the staging of the five-day show. At variously scheduled times throughout the show’s run Powers Outdoors presented Kayaking and Paddleboard Clinics & Demos to the delight of those in the stands. Co-owner Jake Slominski of Powers Outdoors, who represented the Rockford location, hosted the demos. On the water, Doug Powers demonstrated the use of stand-up paddleboards and sit-in or sit-on styles of kayaks. The audience was particularly interested in the stand-up paddleboard demonstration. This newest craze in flat-water fun involves the use of a handmade oversized fiberglass surfboard that is very buoyant and stable and allows the user to stand and propel the board with a long-handled paddle. You can also paddle while on your knees or on your belly with your hands. Slominski told the audience that the technique could be mastered in about 5 minutes and was great for exercise or just play. Also demonstrated was a sit-on kayak that allowed easier on and off rather than the in and out of a traditional kayak. This particular kayak is fisherman friendly and is very stable and maneuverable. Doug finished up the session by demonstrating the “Ultimate” Kayak. This model allows the user to either paddle, peddle, or the use of an electrical propulsion system. The peddle and electrical systems are built into the craft. It is super stable with comfortable seating and is the fastest kayak on the water. A user controlled stern-mounted tiller adds to maneuverability. […]
Gather up your family and tell all your friends about this year’s Ike’s banquet, featuring many new and exciting silent auction items to bid on! Join us for a night of fantastic food with good friends and your chance to walk away with incredible deals on sports equipment, painting sand fine art work, fishing charters, lodging packages, raffle prizes, gift certificates for salons, fine dining, entertainment, and much more! Our members have been hard at work gathering wonderful donations from our generous and supportive community and you’ll be amazed at the great deals available! This year we’re excited to have John Hesse as our featured guest speaker to discuss his 2008 trip with MSU students to the Arctic and how global warming is reducing the Arctic ice mass and impacting the flora and fauna. John is an Adjunct Professor at Michigan State University. This is our most important fundraiser of the year, so please come out to join in the fun and make the 2009 banquet our most successful auction ever! Important Event Details: Tickets: just $27.00 per person* Call for Reservations: advance payment appreciated by 3-3-2009. Call Fred Eyer 363.0253 Bob Stegmier 866.4769 Venue: Centennial Club, 5801 3361 Charlevoix Dr SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546 616.954.0444 28th St East of Kraft, South on Charlevoix (light by Walmart entrance) When: Friday, March 6th 5:30 PM – Social Hour and Silent Auction Bidding 7:00 PM – Dinner and Program *Note: this low price just covers our cost for the dinner, which is an outstanding value for a delicious dinner at the beautiful Centennial Country Club. Join Us for the Ike’s Biggest Event of the Year!