Community Services

Local charities all benefit from Red’s on the River’s Club Red

February 14, 2013 // 0 Comments

Diners who belong to Red’s on the River’s Club Red can feel even better about enjoying a delicious meal at the downtown Rockford restaurant. On Wednesday, January 23, a cast of our area’s non-profit characters assembled to receive donations made possible by Club Red diners. According to Reds on the River Manager Lance Climie, Club Red diners are asked to specify their choice of charity and a percentage of the cost of their dinner goes to that charity. This year six different worthy causes in this area received a donation. The Friends of the White Pine Trail, the Rockford Education Foundation, the North Kent Community Services, Rockford Area Arts Commission, The American Cancer Society for Relay for Life and the YMCA were all awarded checks. This is the second year of the fundraiser, tallying up to a whopping $2,600 in donations to local charities. Last year’s Club Red charitable promotion raised $800 for local non-profits. Climie said the holiday gift promotion is only one a multitude of community-based ideas the restaurant hosts. With the White Pine Trail running right past the restaurant, Red’s offers a Mondays Pedal Power fundraiser with ten cents from each dollar spent by those arriving by bike donated to Friends of the White Pine Trail. Another promotion took place during the Ice Festival weekend with donations raised for Feeding America. Climie and Red’s Executive Chef Glenn Forgie said the programs reflect Red’s interest in being an active part of the area community and a determination to benefit the area’s young people and organizations. Red’s, located at 8 E. Bridge Street, suite 100 in the Promenade, has been serving the community since opening their doors in August, 2006. Red’s has won numerous awards, including the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2012 and the Rockford Chamber of Commerce dining award in 2010. Red’s will be one of many area restaurants participating in Rockford Restaurant Week March 18 to 23. The first annual Restaurant Week will allow diners to enjoy either a choice of two items or a three course meal for $25 with one dollar from each going to the West Michigan Food Bank.

Rockford Ice Festival offers something for everyone

February 8, 2013 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Chamber of Commerce is excited to host the 4th Annual Rockford Ice Festival. The festival will be Friday, Feb. 8 through Sunday, Feb. 10, with ice sculptures on display in downtown Rockford that Saturday and Sunday. This year’s theme is Fire and Ice and organizers are certainly utilizing both ends of the temperature spectrum. This year’s festival includes live carving demonstrations – picture power saws and drills – ice sculptures, a mini playable ice golf course, a scavenger hunt, photo contest, melt date contest and a snowman building contest. New additions to this year’s schedule are a Fire and Ice Chili Cook Off and Sweetheart Splash. Each year the festival has grown, with more than 10,000 coming to Rockford last year to celebrate the event. Also, be sure to look for “Hot Spots” downtown. These special merchants are offering free, yes, free, “hot” items for you and your family. The items include hand warmers, red hot cinnamon candies, ice festival knit hats and other goodies sure to keep you warm. The merchants will also be offering “hot” deals for shoppers. Stores will be open on Saturday and Sunday. “The Ice Festival Committee has worked hard to add events to the festival so that families have even more to do,” said Jeannie Gregory, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. “It is a fun way to slowly grow a festival. A wonderful group has organized a Chili Cook Off and it is sure to warm up visitors on a cold winter’s day. We are very excited to see the fun that will be going on in the Rotary Pavilion as they cook and sell tickets. Also, new to the event, but not to Rockford, is Rockford Rotary’s Sweetheart Splash. It is a sure-fire way for families to have fun as people prove their love by jumping into the icy Rogue.” The Rockford Arts Commission’s Ice Festival Snow Ball kicks off the event on Feb. 8 at Thousand Oaks Golf Club. This wonderful dance features a live band, entertainment and delicious food – the perfect Valentine’s date. Go to for more information. The ice sculptures – carved by nationally famous Randy Finch and his crew from Ice Gurus Unlimited – will be on display […]

Taste of Rockford, awards part of excellent evening

February 8, 2013 // 0 Comments

Chamber dinner recognizes business, individuals By BETH ALTENA With 125 years of service and ten here with a Rockford location, United Bank was awarded the Business of Distinction award on Friday, January 25. Manager of Rockford’s branch, Nancy Martin, was also recognized personally for her unending participation in chamber events and projects. The honor was part of an evening of food, spoofs and thanks that took place at the American Legion Rockford Post. Dinner included a variety of hors d’oeuvres, including wings by Pizza Hut, mini Reuben rolls by the Corner Bar, and beef satat, hot spinach artichoke dip and spring rolls by Grill One Eleven. Dinner included salad by Twisted Vine and a selection of foods from Herman’s Boy, the SCORE and Honeycreek Inn. The evening’s speaker was Tim Mroz, Vice President of Marketing and Communication of The Right Place. The Right Place is a regional non-profit economic development organization with a mission to promote wealth creation and economic growth in the areas of quality employment, productivity and innovation in West Michigan by developing jobs through leading business retention, expansion and attraction efforts. Mroz joked that he must have “made the big time” because a friend of his saw his picture in the Rockford Squire. He said the friend advised him if he had any difficulty in his presentation, be sure to end it by saying “Go Rams!” and he will be fine. West Michigan is not sputtering, treading water or stagnant in job growth, Mroz said. He said the Grand Rapids area is actually ranked eighth in the country as far as top 100 businesses and falls at 13th in employment. Today employment is 4.9 percent less than it was in 2009. In terms of output of goods and services this area is twelfth and has seen a 12.4 percent increase. Overall job growth is up over 30 years with 35,000 jobs created since 2009. Where is this growth coming from? Mroz said administration and support services, accounts payables, sales staff and sales administration is all in growth mode. “It makes sense because when things get tough, those jobs are the first to go,” he said. “The good news is that these jobs are diversified. They are in health care, manufacturing, administration, transportation […]

18th Annual Rockford Sweetheart Splash!

February 8, 2013 // 0 Comments

The Rotary Club of Rockford presents the 18th annual Sweetheart Splash on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm.  This winter fun event takes place at the Rockford Dam is a community favorite.  Area “jumpers” brave the icy Rogue River with participants performing skits and dance routines prior to going in the water for a captive and lively crowd and a panel of judges. Splash lasts approximately 90 minutes and includes music, surprises and lots of laughs.  Coveted, Sweetheart Splash Trophies are presented for category winners in Singles, Couples, and Groups. Splash is put on every year by the Rotary Club of Rockford.  Rotary uses the event as a platform to not only entertain the crowd but also to raise awareness about poverty in the local community.  This year the Rockford High School Interact group is assisting Rotary with the event.  “The students are learning about running the event as well as putting their mark on it.  The students have organized a fund-raising challenge at the school aimed at getting teachers into the water”, said Connie Taylor, Splash co-organizer. Splash proceeds will benefit two groups, North Kent Community Service and Thirsting to Serve, an international clean water organization that began in Rockford, MI in 2004. “This is truly a community event” said Splash co-organizer Lisa Boyd.  “The execution of this event involves the City of Rockford, Rockford Fire and Police, Rockford Ambulance, Algoma Dive Team, Crossroads Church and supporting businesses,”   said Boyd. Entrants must be 15 years of age and pre-register by 10 AM Saturday, February 9, 2013.  Entrants between the ages of 15-18 must have a parent/guardian present at time of registration. Registration forms are available at Rockford Community Federal Community Credit Union located at 3 N. Monroe – Rockford. Registration is $10.00 per person and includes event shirt .Maximum group size is 10.    

Mommy Fit Club works with busy moms

February 8, 2013 // 0 Comments

By Cindy M. Cranmer   Kaitlin Thornton is the face behind Mommy Fit Club. She founded the group with a motivational Facebook page more than two years ago. Thornton has expanded the group to include a boot camp and, most recently, a runner’s club. Thornton, a Rockford High School graduate, attended Grand Valley State University where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in health science. She became certified as a personal trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine and began working as a personal trainer for other companies. In June of 2012, Thornton hosted boot camp sessions at local parks such as Townsend and outdoor terrains such as Cannonsburg. She said those who couldn’t get a sitter could bring children to play while mothers got about a 45 minute, full-body workout in. Mothers had to only pay $6 per session so it was an affordable option without the commitment of a gym or high fees. Thornton puts the money back into the club by attending certification classes, awarding contest prizes and paying for materials. “As a mom of three, I needed accountability and to be surrounded by women in my same boat. This does that,” Thornton said. “This group is about making fitness work into your lifestyle.” Thornton said mothers are hard workers and it’s just learning to balance between kids, careers, family obligations, self and physical fitness. The Mommy Fit Club Running Club starts on Feb. 16. There is still time for late registrations through 5 p.m. Feb. 15. Those interested in registering for the group can email her at thorntonkaitlin@gmail,com or through the Mommy Fit Club Facebook page. Currently, there are 22 women signed up for the runner’s club. The $45 registration fee includes a runner’s packet and a long sleeve, dry-fit T-shirt. The running packet includes outlines of weekly runs, beginning stretches, a personalized training kit and “a bunch of tools to help in the race journey.” Thornton said many of the women have never run before. The group will have weekly group runs, which will be monitored by Thornton for progress and assistance. More than 200 people are involved in the Facebook Mommy Fit Club. Thornton uses the FB page to provide tips, motivation, promote groups and start […]

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