Community Services

Izaak Walton League hosts two fall classes in September

September 19, 2013 // 0 Comments

Wild plants have a variety of uses, from medicine to cordage, and of course many may be foraged for food. After all, our cultivated vegetables were all developed from wild stock once upon a time. The Izaak Walton League is hosting two classes this month at their Conservation Center, one on plant uses and the other on mushrooms. On Monday, Sept. 16, 6:00 – 8:30pm, George Hedgepeth will lead a plant “walk & talk”, followed by an workshop on herbal preparations. Hedgepeth also teaches wilderness survival courses and is an experienced forager with lots of information to share, from roots to trees. Elderberries, wild cherries, milkweed, cattails, maypops, nuts, and even autumn-olive berries are some of the things that may be covered. This will be followed by a Mushroom class on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 1:00. Instructor Rachel Mifsud from U of M is also an avid forager, who specializes in mushroom identification and use. She will lead a search for wild specimens and also talk about growing mushrooms indoors at home. Both classes will be held at the local Dwight Lydell Chapter of the IWLA, located at 5641 Myers Lake Ave. Each is $5, donated at the door, or free for members.  To add your name to the class list, it is recommended that you rsvp to or call 773-2850. With continued interest, a talk on “Permaculture” may be scheduled for October.  

Supplies For Students making a difference and has its biggest event yet

September 19, 2013 // 0 Comments

Have you seen a flyer attached to your mailbox this August? It was probably the Rockford High School Supplies for Students flyer that seems to turn up around this time of year asking for donations of new or gently used school supplies and books. This year the high school club has formed a partnership with Congress Elementary School in the Grand Rapids Public School district to help provide students with much needed basic school supply items. Their summer drive was their biggest success to date. On the second day of the school year, several members of the club were able to deliver over 180 backpacks full of school supplies for each student at Congress Elementary School. The principal, Ms. Bridgett Cheney, told the children in an assembly, “While most kids are out playing and having fun during their summer vacation, these kids were out going door to door collecting money and school supplies to bring to our school. And then, they went shopping at different stores to get the best deals so they could spend their money wisely to get enough things for everyone.” The club was able to contribute over $16,000 retail value in school supplies. Ms. Cheney also commented on how impressed she was with Ally Lang and Megan Malley, the club co-presidents. “They promised less and delivered more. They did not over commit themselves and were able to surprise all of us with how much they were able to accomplish.” When asked about how they were able to do it, Megan Malley stated, “We would take several club members to stores to take advantage of the specials of the week. We were able to purchase large quantities of supplies doing it this way.” They reported that they shopped at Office Max, Staples, Office Depot, Walgreens, and Rite Aid to take advantage of their school supply specials. Ally Lang said, “It was so gratifying to be able to give each child a backpack. We love helping Congress Elementary because we are able to work with the children directly and see the excitement in their faces.” Malley and Lang both talked about how much they wanted to find a way to help children in need which is what motivated them to start the club […]

Bella Vista Church volunteers to produce 100,000 life-saving meals

September 19, 2013 // 0 Comments

In September, hundreds of Rockford community members will work to feed thousands of starving children in the developing world. Through a partnership Bella Vista Church and global hunger charity Feed My Starving Children (FMSC), volunteers will prepare 100,000 life-saving meals at an FMSC MobilePackTM event. The MobilePack will take place September 14, 2013 at Bella Vista Church, 5100 Belding RD, Rockford, MI. Community members can support this MobilePack by making a donation to cover meal costs, or by volunteering to package food at the event. Donations may be given immediately, and volunteer registration is available .To learn more, visit To schedule an interview about this event, contact Ron Hughey at 874-7727or For more information about FMSC, contact the Communications Manager, at 763.267.6319 or A Christian non-profit founded in 1987, Feed My Starving Children tackles world hunger by sending volunteer-packed, nutritious meals to an estimated 70 countries, where they’re used to operate orphanages, schools, clinics, and feeding programs to break the cycle of poverty. Last year, the charity welcomed 657,000 volunteers to pack 163 million meals in 33 states. FMSC spends 92% of total donations directly on feeding the hungry and has maintained the highest four-star rating from Charity Navigator for eight consecutive years.  

Chamber welcomes Kelley to staff

September 19, 2013 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) would like to announce the addition of Amy Kelley to its staff. Kelley comes as a replacement for Charylene Powers in the role of Financial Administrative Assistant. Powers retired at the end of July. Kelley is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a BSBA in accounting and carries a CPA license. She brings years of accounting experience to her new job with the chamber. She is married to Michael Kelley, a Rockford podiatrist who offers foot and ankle care. The couple has four children, Megan, Shannon, Jacob and Joe. The family has resided in Rockford for 21 years. She enjoys spending time watching her children engage in sports and activities and stays busy volunteering with the Rockford Public Schools system and Our Lady of Consolation Church, where she is a member. “We were very sad to see Char go,” said RCC Executive Director Jeannie Gregory. “Anyone who knows Char knows how dedicated she has been to the Rockford community. She also had such a wonderful and sharing personality that was engaging to both our visitors and membership. Add her expertise in finances and organizational skills and you have a difficult position to replace – we thought it would almost be impossible. But Amy came in with an impressive accounting background, had deep community roots, knows the Rockford area because they have lived here so long, and is well-known within the Rockford community as a caring individual who has given her time and her heart. Whenever I tell anyone who knows Amy that we have hired her for the position they say, ‘what a great fit!’ We are very happy to welcome Amy to our Chamber family, and we couldn’t agree more, she is a great fit for the job.”

Third annual Labor Day Duathlon off and running

August 29, 2013 // 0 Comments

By John Hogan Duathlon fever is starting to grip the normally quiet Village of Cannonsburg as preparations hit full-stride for the third annual Labor Day event. “I’ve never been in a Duathlon, but it’s what a lot of people are talking about,” said Dave Kaechele, co-host of morning radio’s Andy & Dave show on WFGR 98.7-FM. “Absolutely,” agreed Andy O’Riley, a Sparta native who hosts the morning show on the classic rock station. “People are talking about the race – and the car, of course.” The car is a yellow, 1979 Mercedes Benz 450-SL convertible to be given away as part of WFGR’s “98 Days of Summer” promotional campaign. O’Riley and Kaechele were broadcasting live in the parking lot of The Gristmill Thursday, Aug. 22 with the car parked nearby. Although the car raffle had nothing to do with the Sept. 2 Duathlon, questions kept coming. “People asked ‘are you running on Labor Day?’ I told them I’ll be providing moral support from my couch,” laughed Kaechele, who co-hosts the radio morning show and provides traffic updates for WZZM 13 morning news. “This race must be a popular event.” Popular indeed. The Honey Creek Duathlon charity event, which benefits North Kent Community Services and The Kids’ Food Basket, has seen participation grow more than 50 percent since its debut in 2011. This year’s race gets underway 9:30 a.m. but it’s really an all-day party celebrating the end of summer, organizer Don Kurylowicz said. If you can ride a bike, walk or run, you can participate in the Duathlon, which consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and concluding with another running portion similar in format to triathlons. Participants cover slightly more than 18 miles on foot and on bike through one of Kent County’s most beautiful areas, including Townsend Park. “Our goal is to surpass the 150 participants we had for last year’s race,” Kurylowicz said. “As of now, we’re on track to exceed our goal. “I’m hoping people understand there’s the Duathlon – a paid event, but the after party with food, bands and beer is open to the public whether you ran the race or not,” he added. The post-race celebration is a carrot at the end of the stick. […]

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