Community Services

Summer reading at KDL returns to Kent District Library

May 16, 2013 // 0 Comments

Last year, Kent District Library had the busiest summer reading program of any public library system in Michigan with 28,914 participants. This year’s Summer Reading @ KDL program runs from Saturday, June 1 to Saturday, August 10. With activities for babies, kids, teens and adults, Summer Reading @ KDL offers something for everyone: There’s Dig Into Reading for kids birth through grade 5, Beneath the Surface for teens grades 6-12, and Groundbreaking Reads for adults. Our “Experience Summer Online @ KDL” virtual program, Dig Into KDL, will encourage participants to learn not only through reading, but also through seeing, doing and exploring. Read and experience for the chance to win great prizes such as gift cards to nearly 20 different stores, a John Ball Zoo membership, iPods, a NOOK eReader and more! KDL is also offering an exciting line-up of free summer programs, including Dinosaur Dig, Butterfly Bonanza, Get the Dirt on Great Desserts, Underground Music and so much more! Studies show that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of summer vacation. Kent District Library’s summer reading program is an important step in helping to prevent what’s known as summer reading loss by providing programs and activities that encourage learning while children and teens are away from school, and it’s a great way for families to Get Grounded in Happiness this summer. Sign up for Summer Reading at KDL starting June 1 at any of KDL’s 18 branch locations. For more information, call 784-2007 or visit

Jump for heart a healthy success

May 16, 2013 // 0 Comments

On February 9th Rockford elementary schools gathered together to celebrate Jump Rope for Heart, where they raised over $14,000. Rebecca Loker, a 4th grader at Rougewood Elementary, raised the most money this year with a total of $1,165. She has been participating in Jump Rope for Heart for two years and said, “I enjoy raising the money because I know it is helping other people.” Jump Rope for Heart has been around since the 1970s and in Rockford for the past 19 years. All of the profits go directly to the American Heart Association. It is used to educate children on the importance of staying heart healthy and also benefits the research that the organization needs. In the 2012-2013 school year over 14 thousand dollars was raised at the Rockford event. The accumulative total for Rockford over the past 19 years is around $325,000. Timothy Farrell, Parkside’s gym teacher and emcee of the event, said, “My guess is about 95% is raised by students alone.” Parents can help get donations, but are not required. The program is driven by student participation. Originally Loker’s goal was $900 and when she surpassed it she pushed it to $1000, which would double her last years total. “I was really surprised I raised that much. One person donated $400 and I didn’t even know them” she said. Although, it is a student led fundraiser it still takes a large amount of preparation. As emcee Farrell has a big responsibility. He must distribute the pre-event packets, such as permission forms, parent information guides, and communication tools to keep in touch with the 6 other physical education teachers he works with. “The most challenging part is trying to juggle busy schedules as teachers to get the event organized,” said Farrell. Farrell has been emcee for 15 years and said, “It does not surprise me with how much money was raised. Most recently the students have raised between $14,000-$18,000 per year.” He said, “I believe the American Heart Association is a reputable organization and that makes people comfortable in giving to the cause.” Next year Loker’s goal will be set around $1000-$1500. She said the lesson Jump Rope for Heart has taught her is, “Even if you raise only $1 or $2 […]

Best “bark in the park” goes to Bark for Life

May 16, 2013 // 0 Comments

The second annual Bark for Life was held on the morning of April 27 and it could not have been a more beautiful day.  The sun was shining, the dogs were happy to be out of the house and so were their human companions!  Bark for Life is a non-competitive dog walk that honors the care-giving qualities of canine companions.  It also gives us an opportunity to honor cancer survivors, remember those who have lost their battle with the disease, and bite back against cancer. Tom Rademacher was on hand for the opening ceremonies and spoke of his love for the community of Rockford, his love of dogs, and the amazing comfort dogs can provide when you are not feeling well.  He then kicked off the walk by asking the crowd to “embark” on the journey down the White Pine Trail to the Rockford Dog Park with cancer survivors and their canine caregivers leading the pack. Once at the park, there were many activities for the dogs and their humans to enjoy.  The Corner Bar was there with their Hot Dog Wagon selling dogs to people and pups alike with all donations going to Bark for Life.  There was hair painting and kids crafts, informational tables, dog training demonstrations, contests (Best Kiss, Best Bark in the Park, and Best Hidden Talent), and prizes. The Bark for Life committee would like to thank the Corner Bar, Chow Hound, Rockford Family Vet, Faithful Friends Doggy Day Care and Training, Tom Rademacher, Paws Awhile Canine Massage, and Samuel’s Family Hair Care for their participation. For more information about Bark for Life you can find them on FaceBook at “Bark for Life Rockford MI” or email

Runner for Parkinson’s Disease spotted in Rockford

May 16, 2013 // 0 Comments

Promoting awareness of Parkinson’s Disease and raising funds for the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation is a cause dear to Roger Bonga’s heart. His grandmother suffered from the disease. In an effort to accomplish his goals, Bonga is running the length of the state. His journey began with a fundraiser event on support April 27th at Karl’s Cuisine, a Sault Ste. Marie café and winery. Bonga was thrilled with the outcome, “Events at the winery were a great testament to what caring people our friends and customers are. With their help, we raised $1,750, all of which will be donated to PDF.” Roger’s run started from a parking lot across from the locks, where he started his 10-day run well fortified with a turkey sandwich “to go” from Karl’s. Other businesses along his route stepped up with offers of food and services as well. Aside from such generous donations, Roger paid out of his own pocket for all accommodations and food with 100 percent of money raised from this event and the Cascade Winery event going directly to benefit the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation. Along the route, Roger’s daily distances varied from 34 to 44 miles. Some accommodations were with friends along the way, and on the days when he was near Grand Rapids, family members pick him up after the day’s run, take him home and then drive him back to the place he reached the evening before. Although press coverage was by no means guaranteed, Roger promised that his friends and followers of his long-distance effort would be able to check his RRAM Facebook page for posts and photos. More information is available at

Local students release salmon into Rogue River

May 16, 2013 // 0 Comments

After rearing more than 100 salmon eggs to fingerling salmon, you think kids from two different schools would be sad to see their fish leave their life of captivity and swim free. Instead, the day’s outing outside the classroom was an event of many smiles and a bit of splashing in the Rogue River as they bid their charges goodbye. The Grand River Fly Tiers funded the project where students from East Rockford Middle School and Union High School in Grand Rapids raised salmon for release in the river. Teacher Jeff Bryant, leading the Rockford students, said the kids learned about lifecycles of salmon and how the fish return after adulthood to the spot of their release to spawn. The five-gallon pails containing nearly 150 salmon from ERMS and another 100 from Union were gradually tipped into the Rogue after kids made sure the water temperature in the buckets was identical to that in the river. Bryant said the kids now know that their fish will head downstream to the Grand River where they will find their way to Lake Michigan and live until adulthood. Once the adult salmon reach breeding age they will return to the exact spot where they entered the river. The students from Union High School were also excited to have learned much during their months of caring for the salmon, and added a technology aspect to the project. They came armed with an underwater camera they made themselves, planning to try to catch a glimpse of the fish as they were released. This is the second year the Grand Rapids Fly Tiers have sponsored this project designed to increase awareness of the area fish resources as well as increase the numbers of salmon in the Rogue River.

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