Plainfield Compensation Committee hears from Deputy Clerk, Treasurer by BETH ALTENA After an evening of hearing the minutia of the daily duties of the Deputy Clerk and Deputy Treasurer, Jon Rathbun summed up his opinion regarding the pay scales for the township clerk and treasurer. “I certainly don’t see going back to the high salaries of the old day, certainly not back to 2008.” The meeting was one in a process of exploring appropriate pay for the positions of Clerk and Treasurer, which a prior board had reduced from over $60,000 and $80,000, plus benefits, to $32,000 and $20,000 without benefits. The clerk’s pay was temporarily reinstated earlier this year after Clerk Scott Harvey said services the public expects would be shut down because of lack of funding. He stated the board was acting illegally, hindering an elected official from performing his duties by failure to provide adequate funding. The evening meeting on Thursday, February 7 began with an overview of the duties of Stephanie McMillen, Deputy Clerk. She explained that she was hired by Scott as deputy, and when his term ended, her position also expired. She said in March of last year she became, in addition to Deputy to the clerk, an employee of the township as assistant to the clerk. The Deputy Treasurer was also hired by the township at that time as assistant to the treasurer. “The idea was to provide more consistency, so when the term ends our jobs don’t end,” McMillen explained. “Theoretically you could have someone new every four years and there could a learning curve there. That what was behind that change. For me, my duties have not changed.” Township Superintendent Robert Homan explained how clerks and treasurers in Charter Townships are required by law to appoint deputies in case they become incapacitated. The purpose of the deputy is to have someone available who is able to take over the duties of either position. He said when the deputy and clerk make their appointments, they can choose anyone regardless of qualifications. The deputy serves solely at the pleasure of the treasurer and clerk and can be replaced at any time without any other authority than the official. “The point is to not have a separate […]
One student raises over $500 first week to help patients needing bone marrow transplant GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (February 5, 2013) What does Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., a team of teachers in Rockford and Cedar Springs Public Schools, and some very ambitious fourth graders have in common? They want to ‘be the change they wish to see in the world,’ as was quoted by Gandhi, the preeminent leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India (1869-1948). For the past four years, Rockford Public Schools teachers Gail Falcinelli, Tim Woznick and Luanne Helsen have teamed up with Gail’s daughter, Lisa Falcinelli, who teaches 4th graders at Cedar View Elementary in Cedar Springs. The teachers kick off a project on Martin Luther King Day based on the classic children’s book, Martin’s Big Words, by Doreen Rappaport. Using quotes from some of his beloved speeches, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., comes to life for the students, inspiring them to step outside themselves and make a difference in someone’s life. But this life lesson project goes far beyond Face Time with their book buddies and blogging. To help the students understand how blessed they are, while gently exposing them to how much need there is locally and globally, the teachers give each student $2 and encourage them to use the money to help someone. Students enthusiastically dive in, opening their eyes to the vast needs in their community. Hunger … illness … homelessness … struggling veterans and isolated older adults … and that’s just for starters. Next comes the ‘hard’ work … creating cards for hospital patients, visiting senior centers, donating to food banks, and brainstorming on how to “grow” thei rteachers’ cash for greater impact. In the process, the students are taught a third lesson: humility. Each approaches their project in a different way, as they learn their perspective and background guides them on their course of action. For Parkside Elementary fourth grader Tyler Vander Laan, he decided he wanted to use his teacher’s $2 investment to help the organization that gave his newborn baby sister life-saving blood hours after her birth. Tyler asked his mother Leda if there was a way to help Michigan Blood. Leda encouraged Tyler to share his story with others and ask them […]
Terry Konkle – President Several readers have contacted me regarding a mistake in my last column. Bob Lindemann was known as “BIG BUD” and not “Big Bob”. This error was mine as I was given correct information and for some reason put in the wrong nickname. There is still time (deadline 2/22/13) to contact me if you know what he sold at his Rockford business. I have already talked with many and will cover the “Nugget of Rockford History” area next week. Willie Bradley furnished me with the “Big Bud” question along with much other positive Rockford information. He grew up in Rockford, graduated from Rockford High school and worked at different Rockford businesses. Three places that he was employed at were Burch Body Works, Rockford Paper Mill and Wolverine. He laughed a little and said “The buildings have been torn down”. He also told me other parts of our town history as he remembers it. He told me that there was a restaurant located in the Peppler Building. It was called the H-L Restaurant and was run by Max Woodhull and his wife. Mr. Woodhull was a celebrated “Western” performer in the 1940’s who lived on Northland Drive and had “white” horses. Also in the Peppler building was W.A. Young Insurance and a fix-it shop. “I remember the restaurant well because I often had a hamburger and malt there for breakfast” Willie said. He went on to say: “Wolverine used to ship their shoes by railroad and sometimes when the train would switch cars down in the Rockford depot area, the jar would knock the shoe boxes around and it could be a real mess.” I asked him if the depot was still the original building, and he said that it was never completely torn down but has been renovated to the condition it is in now. Coal was also brought into Rockford and stored in a shed beside the railroad track. He remembered delivering coal to the Ford Garage on Main Street. “There was a manhole cover in the street which we would remove to put the coal down it.” he stated. “We used to carry coal in cast iron buckets up the stairs of the post office and that was a tough, […]
Sale for $49,000 includes restrictions As the Rockford Historical Society rapidly reaches the point where it may begin moving artifacts and inventory into the former 63rd District Court Building, the fate of the portion retained by Kent County is in question. Office space on the north end of the building was retained after Kent County relocated the judicial presence in the building to the new court house on Knapp Street. The space was used as a partial court presence to serve northern communities after the judicial relocation but was eventually abandoned from that use due to lack of activity there. At the Monday, February 11 Rockford City Council meeting, council was asked to approve a purchase agreement between the City of Rockford and Kent County for that portion of the building. Restrictions, such as never naming the building and only using it for a purpose that is non-profit and for a use beneficial to the residents of the county, were part of the agreement. The sale price was $49,000. According to a report from City Manager Michael Young, the Rockford Chamber of Commerce has been contacted to see if there is an interest in moving the Chamber offices from Byrne Industrial area to the space. A committee has been formed to consider the implications or benefits of a move. Young said he is pleased to have the space as part of the municipal complex that includes Krause Library and City Hall. “The city is getting an $800,000 building for $49,000,” said Kent County Commissioner Roger Morgan.
Terry Konkle – President I have been contacted by many people regarding the last “Nugget of Rockford History” question which asked for the last name of either of the two partners in the Pontiac Garage. The two men were Chuck Truax and Clark Carlson. Today, the building is the home of “Car Care Unlimited”, a well known and respected business. One of the first to call me was John Oatley who added that the building originally was the location of a State Highway Department garage. At that time U.S. 131 ran through our town. Others who shared their knowledge were: Craig Holck, Shirley Havens, Ralph Gould, Edna Norman, B.M. White, Mona Root, Lue Hawkins, Kathy DuPont, Barb Zenk, Merri Beth Richardson, Willie Bradley and Dianne Skiver. In talking with the responders, other areas of Rockford history often are mentioned. Ralph Gould told me that Henry Schumacher and Austin Carlson ran the Standard Gas Station on Main Street. At that time Rockford had four gas stations located roughly within a hundred yards of each other. There was one on three of the four corners on Main and Bridge Streets plus the Standard Station. Today, there is only one in downtown Rockford. Lue Hawkins recalled that Tom Anderson had a lawyer’s office on Bridge Street near the bowling alley. The building had no electricity, so Mr. Anderson would buy kerosene from the Standard Station to use in his lamps for lighting. Several people now have also mentioned a bakery run by Johnny Green and his wife. It was located about where “Ward’s Barber Shop” is today. Here is a new “Nugget of Rockford History” question. The idea for it came from Willie Bradley who gave me so much Rockford history that I will have to devote a future column to his contributions. Part of our discussion was about Bob Lindemann, a popular radio and car racing personality who went by the name of “BIG BOB”. Well, for a time Mr. Lindemann had a business in Rockford. Contact me at 616-866-0530 if you know what was sold at his location (deadline February 22). Finally, do any readers remember when high school sport game schedules were printed on pencils. The pencils were usually sold as a fundraising project by […]