Articles by Squire News

About Squire News
The Squire has been Rockford’s free weekly newspaper since 1871. Our loyal readership includes over fifteen thousand homes in the Rockford area, including the affluent Lakes area of Lake Bella Vista, Bostwick Lake and Silver Lake; Belmont, Blythefield, as well as Algoma, Courtland, Cannon and Plainfield Townships. The Squire is distributed through the U.S. Post Office every Thursday. We also deliver to in-town businesses and homes with paper carriers and news stands in our grocery stores and over thirty local shops.

Five Rockford artists with entries in ArtPrize 2013

September 19, 2013 // 0 Comments

Five local artists have entries in one of the largest art shows in the nation this year. ArtPrize begins September 18, however artists have already begun installing works in an area covering three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids. This independently organized international art competition with an unprecedented $200,000 top prize decided by popular vote is all free and open to the public. Five members of the Rogue River Artists Association have entries in the event this year; Shirley Dean, Linda Bassford, LeAnne Sowa, Brad Nielsen and Mary Myszka. All have entered the competition in the past. Shirley Dean’s acrylic painting “Misty Morning” depicts two horses enjoying a drink along a section of the Rogue River. It will be showing at the First Community Bank at 60 Monroe Center.   “Cooper”, the 115 pound Bernese Mountain Dog mascot of a northern Michigan winery, is the subject of Linda Bassford’s oil painting.. Bassford will also be showing at the First Community Bank at 60 Monroe Street. LeAnne Sowa is continuing the story of her Moose paintings. Sowa’s new painting is called “Moose Rapids”.  This watercolor, 7 feet by 9-1/2 feet, is made of 9 separate panels. The idea came after her Moose in the bathtub work from last year and deciding to do another “moose” type adventure. Sowa says, “I hope it makes people smile!” Her work is being shown at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. “A Pilgrimage to Israel” is a collection of work by Brad Nielsen resulting from a recent family trip. His photograph “Devotion” is one piece from that collection which shows a monk serenely standing in the sunlight filtering through the windows of the Grotto of the Nativity. His work is showing at the Women’s City Club. Mary Myszka, President of the Rogue River Artists Association, has entered her acrylic painting, “Fluxus” which won 4th prize at the West Michigan Regional Art Competition this year. Fluxus means “to flow” and is an example of her highly original abstracted and colorful style. Myszka’s work will be showing at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. More information on these artists and the entire ArtPrize event can be found on their website: The Rogue River Artists Association has enjoyed a surge in membership this year as a local non-profit […]

Assumption welcomes new principal; construction of new science lab

September 19, 2013 // 0 Comments

Returning students, teachers and families were not only greeted with bulldozers and dump trucks at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic School in Belmont – there was a noticeable new face among the more than forty new students, Greg Apkarian. Apkarian joins Assumption as its new principal after Mike Micele retired, ending his six-year stint in the principal’s chair. In a new logo polo shirt and navy pants, Apkarian began the first day’s Morning Prayer and reflection with a nervous chuckle. After a small group of eighth graders read scriptures from the Bible, Apkarian started, “I’m not sure what comes next..” which was met with laughter from the students. He proceeded to explain the importance and significance of the uniforms the Kindergartners through eighth graders wear each day. Apkarian should know –his three grown sons are all Marines. “Uniforms are a sign that you belong to something important. When you wear your uniform around Rockford, people know you are Catholic and they know you belong to the Assumption family,” he emphasized. Apkarian is a thirty-five-year veteran of the public school system and has held positions ranging from teacher and coach to bus driver and special education instructor. A twenty-year Rockford resident, Apkarian returns to his Catholic roots to lead this thriving student base. Assumption is also experiencing a big increase in enrollment with more than twenty five families enrolled in the pre-Kindergarten program and twenty new students sprinkled throughout the other grades. And, the school is launching a before- and after-care program to aid working families. This new program will give kids a safe place to do homework and have fun with their fellow classmates. The Diocese of Grand Rapids’ Alliance of Catholic School 2012-2013 Annual Report indicates Catholic school students consistently score above the national median at all grade levels and in all content areas. And, data shows a trend of ever widening outperformance from grade to grade especially through the middle school years. Apkarian returns to the Catholic school system after a stint at Grand Rapids-based Catholic Central in the mid-1980’s and strong Catholic upbringing through the Chicago Catholic Schools. It wasn’t a difficult decision to join Assumption after retiring last year with Kent City. Having the ability to publicly infuse his […]

New Rockford Area Museum Prepares for Grand Opening

September 19, 2013 // 0 Comments

After two years of thinking and planning plus thousands of hours of hard work by dedicated volunteers, the the Rockford Area Historical Society, (RAHS) is proud to announce the Grand Opening of the NEW Rockford Area Museum on September 26. The road to this point has not been an easy one. It started in 1969 when a small group of visionaries formed the Rockford Area Historical Society with the goal of opening a Rockford Area Museum to preserve the heritage of the area for future generations. That dream was realized in 1976 when the Rockford Area Museum opened in a former powerhouse next to the dam in downtown Rockford. That building itself had played an important part in Rockford’s History. It was originally built to generate enough power for the city that would entice the Hirth-Krause Shoe Company to relocate its factory from Grand Rapids to Rockford. As is well known now, that company grew to become Wolverine World Wide, the third largest footwear manufacturer in the world. Without that powerhouse, the face of Rockford would likely look considerably different than it does today. Volunteers operated the museum in that building for over thirty six years under difficult conditions. There was no running water or bathrooms, limited display space, a shortage of parking, and poor climate control, which made the proper care and safekeeping of artifacts, documents, and photographs, difficult. Then, in 2009, Kent County consolidated the District Courts including the 63rd District Court in Rockford, into a new facility on East Beltline at Knapp in Grand Rapids. After a court battle by the City of Rockford to prevent the move, the move was approved. Later, the empty courthouse was purchased by the City of Rockford which began to seek a suitable tenant for it. The Historical Society offered a proposal that would turn the building into a new museum, but the City was skeptical. The City Manager and City Council were understandably concerned that the Society, whose membership was limited and consisted mostly of older Rockford area citizens, would not be able to raise the estimated $350,000 that would be needed to renovate the building and pay for the expansion and move of the museum, as well as the future operating costs. To their […]

Rockford Area Historical Society News & Update

September 19, 2013 // 0 Comments

Terry Konkle – President   At our first monthly meeting On September 5, 2013, a large crowd turned out to hear Vic Villareal speak about the “Edmund Fitzgerald”. His presentation included possible theories as to why the ship sank during the major storm. During a question time after the program, several in the audience asked about several areas and also added information about the tragedy. It was obvious that some people came because of the topic and that is great. The Rockford Area Historical Society encourages and welcomes everyone to our meetings. It was a very interesting evening! Over the past two weeks we have been carefully removing artifacts from display cases in the old museum and packing them in boxes for storage until we move them. We still have five areas left to pack, but things are moving along. We will have many duplicate things to deal with and some of them will be available in our upcoming auction on September 28. I want to emphasize to readers the importance of our auction. Many have responded already with offers of donation items and also with a willingness to work on auction day. The auction is the major fundraiser of our group and the funds are vital to our budget for running the museum. Please keep the date open in order to take part in the bidding and spread the word to others. The museum will also be open that day for everyone to visit. Do we still need donations? Yes! Please contact us for details (Terry Konkle 616-866-0530 or Al Pratt 485-8144). Recently, the Rockford Area Historical Society lost a dedicated member and friend with the passing of Helen Kies Uren Hessler at the age of 97. Helen was a lifetime Rockford resident, and her knowledge of our area history was excellent. Often, over the years, Helen contacted me to share her thoughts and I enjoyed our talks. She also wrote me at times with comments on our history. Sometimes, her daughter Dianne Skiver would call me and relate what her mother wanted me to know. I vividly recall a presentation that Helen gave at one of our meetings. She took us on a walk through the town of Rockford. We never left the […]


September 19, 2013 // 0 Comments

Mr. Ilya Vasilevich Volkov, age 72, passed away on Tuesday, September 3, 2013. Ilya is survived by his loving wife, Nina; children, Vladimir (Lydmila) Volkov, and Aleksei “Alex” Volkov; grandson, Jegor; sister, Valja Krapivinskaja. Ilya was a good father and husband, and was always there to lend his helping hand. He proudly served his country in the VDV Airborne Troops, of which he also retired. Funeral Service for Mr. Volkov will be held on Saturday, September 7 at 11 am at St. John Chrysostom Russian Orthodox Church, 40 National NW, Grand Rapids. Relatives and friends may greet the Volkov family on Friday from 6 to 8 pm at Stegenga Funeral Chapel, 1601 Post Dr., Belmont with a Panachida Service at 7:30pm. To share a memory, photo or to sign the family’s online guest book, please visit Stegenga Funeral Chapel, Belmont 616-866-7200

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