Articles by Squire News
On Thursday, January 8, 2009, Wolverine World Wide (WWW) announced the pending closing of their downtown tannery facility. Since that time, I have been working with WWW to identify the many issues that will be facing our community as the tannery operations are phased out. Initially, the closing of the tannery will reduce the City’s revenue within the sewer fund by approximately 25%. The sewer fund is operated as a separate “enterprise fund,” which relies on sewer rates and charges to fund operation and maintenance of the sewer collection system, lift stations and the newly constructed PARCC Side Wastewater Treatment Plant. We have developed a rate study model showing the rate impact of the tannery closing. I cannot put it any other way but to say that the impact is staggering. According to the preliminary model, it is expected that once the tannery operations are fully phased out that we will need to increase rates by approximately 25%. This equates to approximately $10 per month for the average residential customer. The budget that was built includes very little investment ($50,000) for capital improvements related to the sewer system and the elimination of one (1) position. These numbers are still very preliminary and we will continue to work closely with WWW to identify options for reducing this financial hardship. From a property tax standpoint, our preliminary numbers would indicate that the City could lose approximately $105,000 in property tax revenue. There are many variables that go into this analysis such as the timing for the potential redevelopment of WWW’s downtown campus. The impact on property taxes cannot be fully determined until we have a detailed schedule identifying the time frame for demolition of the existing buildings on site. I believe that the negative impact on property taxes will be temporary and ultimately we will see complete redevelopment of the tannery property and adjoining facilities into an extension of our downtown business district. I will continue to keep our residents and business owners apprised of the latest developments through periodic postings on our web page and through my blog. Of course, if any one has questions regarding the impact on our community as a result of the tannery closing, please do not hesitate to contact me at […]
The Michigan State Police (MSP) is pleased to announce that Sergeant Kevin Sweeney of the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division has been selected to represent the State of Michigan at the 2009 Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg for Special Olympics. The Torch Run Final Leg will begin in northern Idaho and cover multiple cities, towns and communities en route to the opening ceremonies of the World Winter Special Olympics in Nampa, Idaho on Feb. 7. The run will include 100 runners from around the world – one runner from each state and one from 50 other countries. Runners for the Final Leg are all current or retired law enforcement members who were selected based on their established dedication and commitment to Special Olympics and the Torch Run. Each runner must be able to maintain a pace of 10 minutes per mile for three miles, as well as have the stamina to run five miles over two or more intervals during the course of a day. Sweeney has been an active supporter of the Special Olympics and the Torch Run for 11 years. He enlisted with the MSP in 1995, and is a graduate of the 113 Trooper Recruit School. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University. He resides in Rockford with his wife, Teri, and their four children. Sweeney received the MSP Trooper of the Year Award in 2000 and the West Michigan Crime Practitioner of the Year Award in 2002. He is currently assigned to the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division where he serves as Citizen Corps Coordinator.
Band – Rockford area community ensembles have resumed rehearsals in preparation for upcoming concerts. The Concert Band under the direction of Calvin College professor Tiffany Engle, is scheduled to present varied performances this season. In addition to its annual spring concert, the band will also participate in the Forest Hills Community Band Festival and Rockford’s own Start of Summer Celebration. The Rockford Community Concert Band rehearses weekly on Mondays from 7 to 9 p.m. in the band room of North Rockford Middle School. Membership is open to musicians who have previous experience on any band instrument (a minimum of high school playing level is recommended). If you are interested in joining the concert band contact Tiffany at email@example.com. Orchestra – The Rockford Chamber Orchestra meets on Monday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. in the choir room at North Rockford Middle school. Violin, viola, cello and bass players are welcome to come join them. Members come from all walks of life and represent many generations. All kinds of music is played and they join sometimes with the band to create a symphony orchestra option at each concert. Char Lothian, of Greenville and a former orchestra teacher in that school district is the talented conductor. She also is a talented cellist. If interested call Char at 616-754-6602. Rehearsals begin on Monday, February 2. Choir – For those of you who love to vocalize, our Community Choir has started rehearsals on Thursdays at North Rockford Middle School in the choir room from 7 to 9 p.m. All ages and abilities are invited to join the choir. Kayle Clements, talented jazz musician, plus composer of choral music, is the conductor. Clements commented, “Our focus is not only on learning and performing music but also on having enjoyable rehearsals – and building friendships” All these groups plus many other activities are sponsored by the Rockford Area Arts Commission.
Creativity and talent in pastries and sweet treats is abundant at Sweet Cakes Design, 6231 West River Drive, Suite A in Belmont. Opened in 2003 by owner and pastry chef Barbara Hoek, the cake boutique has a staff of five creative individuals who enjoy their work. Hoek worked for years in the finance industry, but left that field and enrolled in the Bakery/Pastry Program at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in 2001. She immediately fell in love with the profession. After completing the program she was asked to donate a wedding cake to a couple who could not afford one. After that she began doing business and is now known for the quality of her cakes and pies. Today Hoek is joined by pastry chefs Sara Soukup and Amanda Hoffman and assistant pastry chefs Patricia Bruin and Rachel Wahl. “I love my staff!” Hoek stated. Patricia is Hoek’s sister and brings 25 years experience working as a floral designer. “She has been my right hand from the start and is very creative,” Hoek said. She is talented in the placement of fresh flowers for a stunning look on cakes in addition to helping with production. Soukup joined the team in April 2007. Also a graduate of the Bakery/Pastry Program at GRCC. Soukup additionally has a bachelor of science degree in hospitality management. Bruin is a graduate of Calvin College with a bachelor of arts degree. Her greatest talent is in sculpting edible custom designs. “Her sculpting is amazing,” Hoek praised. Hoffman is a GRCC graduate with an associates degree in culinary arts and culinary management. She has a certificate of bakery/pastry arts and is responsible for much of the production at Sweet Cakes Design. “She brings a lot of new ideas to the table and loves decorating,” Hoek noted. The growth of the company over the years has been an enjoyable journey. The ability to offer nearly any kind of cake or pie filling to please customers is satisfying. Seeing the excitement in customer’s eyes is a wonderful reward. At Sweet Cakes, the staff helps advise event planners and offer tasting to those who aren’t sure what to order. “All our products are made from scratch using only the finest ingredients,” Hoek said of the […]