Active shooter training prepares officers for rapid deployment response

August 13, 2015 // 0 Comments

By BETH ALTENA Rockford Police Officers had the use of Rockford’s Valley View Elementary, practicing rapid response to an active shooter situation in a public building. According to Homeland Security, this cooperation between different elements of a community is exactly the way to build a safe, secure and resilient infrastructure between public and private sectors. Two Rockford officers recently completed intensive training on rapid response situations, and law enforcement here are benefiting from that training in hands-on practice on how to resolve such situations. In the case of the Rockford officers, a day in the school involving volunteers as victims and perpetrators prepares our police in how to best contain a number of situations in a school or other public setting. Officer Branden Bolema said response to a scenario such as a shooter in a school building, theater, bus stop or other situation has changed dramatically over the years, and ideal response is an ongoing training that evolves as the nature of violence changes in the United States. According to a training video by Homeland Security, the days of a person entering a public building, taking a suspect into custody and making demands are largely gone. Officers then first secured the perimeter of a structure or area and then waited for specialist teams to arrive and deal with suspects. Unfortunately, this technique is no longer the best way to handle many of today’s active shooter tragedies, and criminology experts have used each horrific incident as a training tool for law enforcement to improve outcomes. Bolema described, “Ever since Columbine there have been more of the active shooting situations. They used to surround the school and wait for swat. Now we have immediate action and by the time you wait there may be no lives to be saved.” Homeland Security likewise described the early days of this phenomenon now sadly less rare. The Texas Tower incident of August 1, 1966 in Austin, Texas was a sad milestone where the shooter killed 15 people, and wounded 31, as far as two blocks away. Police then had no plan on how to stop the shooting and ad hoc’d a response by climbing the tower and shooting the perpetrator. A rapid deployment response for law enforcement was not known […]

New Local Author Inks a Deal with Major Publisher

August 13, 2015 // 0 Comments

Rockford’s very own long-time resident and aspiring author, Kathryn Moore, signed a deal recently with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas to publish her first novel. Three years ago, frustrated by the lack of family-friendly movies, Moore decided to try her hand at writing in hopes that one day her work could become wholesome fodder for the moving-making industry. Her first novel, Angel Beneath My Wheels, is an inspiring love story about a young race car driver who lacks direction, a father who shows him the way and a remarkable young woman’s unfaltering faith that just may help him win the race of his life. In preparation for the launch of her debut novel early next year, she’s engaging with readers via her website,, where once a month she posts an inspiring short story about real people who touch the lives of others. See her latest post in the editorial section on page x.   It Takes a Village By K.S. Moore They say it takes a village to raise a child. Now that my youngest has turned eighteen, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my village. To my kindhearted neighbors who stopped to buy lemonade or hired my children to mow a lawn, shovel snow, baby-sit, or dogwatch, thank you for teaching my children responsibility, the benefits of hard work and the immeasurable rewards that come from helping others. To the generous parents of my children’s classmates who read with my children, planned parties, donated, or otherwise helped in the classroom or with sports, thank you for showing my children the value of community service. To the trustworthy parents of my children’s friends who hosted playdates and sleepovers, helped carpool and chaperone, thank you for demonstrating to my children the diversity of family. To the selfless volunteers in youth ministry who contributed their time and patience to teach my children about God, thank you. It’s because of you my children are well grounded in their faith, eager and prepared to embark on their life journey to impact their world for Christ. To my steadfast friends and neighbors who engaged my children in friendly conversations, even when, as shy pre-teens, their body language clearly said, “I’d rather not”, thank you for preparing my children to speak with confidence. […]

Metro Health Expands Heart & Vascular Practice in Greenville

August 13, 2015 // 0 Comments

In response to increased demand from patients, Metro Health is expanding its award-winning Heart & Vascular practice in Greenville. Metro Heart & Vascular is located at 1915 W. Washington St. in Greenville. The practice is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and will soon be expanding service hours. The development has more than doubled the size of the practice, which expanded from 2,300 square feet to 6,000 square feet. The expansion has also more than doubled the number of exam rooms, growing from three to eight. The practice offers consultative visits, nuclear cardiology, vascular ultrasound, echocardiography, stress testing and other services, as well as provides clinics for hypertension, Coumadin and device checks. Metro Heart & Vascular is growing rapidly in Greenville, said Mike Faas, president and CEO of Metro Health. Expanding the practice and our range of service will allow our physicians to continue to meet the needs of our patients. Metro Heart & Vascular opened in 2009. The practice currently includes eight cardiologists and is adding two additional cardiologists this month. The practice provides services at its main office inside Metro Health Hospital as well as in satellite offices in downtown Grand Rapids, Greenville, Sheridan, Holland and Allegan. The Greenville office is staffed by Dr. Paul Kovack, Dr. John Key and Paul Albright, P.A., as well as nurses and office staff. The team sees general cardiology patients as well as those struggling with vascular disease such as peripheral arterial disease, or PAD. PAD is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries block the blood flow to arms and legs, causing numbness, leg pain and tissue damage and can lead to amputation. Metro Health Hospital has developed a nationally recognized specialty in the treatment of PAD and amputation prevention. Led by Dr. Jihad Mustapha, Metro Heart & Vascular physicians utilize leading-edge technology to clear blockages and restore circulation in even the most challenging of cases. The practice regularly attracts patients from around Michigan, across the U.S. and around the world. About Metro Health An award-winning leader in community healthcare, Metro Health serves more than 250,000 patients annually from across West Michigan and beyond.  In addition to its 208-bed hospital, which provides a comprehensive suite of inpatient and outpatient healthcare services, Metro Health has a […]

Michigan Maritime Museum 2nd Annual Boat Walk

August 13, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Michigan Maritime Museum invites you to the 2nd Annual Boat Walk fundraiser! This event takes place Saturday, August 15th from noon to 4pm. Like a Home Tour, you get the chance to tour 12-15 privately owned vessels above and below decks. While walking between each of these beautiful boats ranging from powerboats to sailboats in the picturesque South Haven harbor, explore the Harbor Walk–markers that are placed along the Black River detailing some of South Haven’s fascinating maritime history–in the heart of the Maritime District. Be prepared to remove your shoes as you climb aboard each vessel and greet the captain with your ticket. Participation in the Boat Walk is restricted to those ages 13 and up. Walkers should check in at the Museum first, and pick up their official Boat Walk program and map. Once finished with your walk, all ticket holders are invited to come back to the Michigan Maritime Museum campus to enjoy some light refreshments. Tickets are $15 per person and are available in the Michigan Maritime Museum Ship Store, the Visitors’ Bureau, the Chamber of Commerce, or online at:  All proceeds will benefit the Michigan Maritime Museum fundraising effort. The Michigan Maritime Museum is dedicated to the preservation of Michigan Great Lakes waterways, maritime history, and culture. Located at the drawbridge in South Haven, the museum is a 501 (C3) organization and donations are tax deductible. For more information call 1-800-747-3810 or visit

Movie theater attacks cause some local chains to re-evaluate security

August 13, 2015 // 0 Comments

A terrifying attack at an Antioch, Tennessee movie theater Wednesday is causing some movie theaters in West Michigan to question their emergency plans. A police shootout killed the attacker, and no one else was seriously hurt, but Wednesday’s attack is the latest in a string of movie theater violence. The shooting left one father thankful for his life, after a 29-year-old man, now dead, sliced the man’s shoulder with his hatchet. But what’s not reassuring is that this violence is the latest in a chain of theater shootings. Wednesday’s shootout happened just two weeks after two people were killed at a theater in Lafayette, Louisiana. Meanwhile jurors are deciding whether the man convicted of killing 12 people in an Aurora, Colorado theater in 2012 will get the death penalty. All of this violence has NorthStar Cinemas in Rockford discussing security. “We have to be on top of any changing situation, and we have to update as things change,” said Troy Wright, manager. “You would think nothing like this could happen around here, but it is the harsh reality that anything can happen, we have to prepare as much as we can.” Wright said their theaters have lit exits with silent alarms that alert only staff if opened. Then they take proactive safety measures like not allowing backpacks into theaters. “We have always had backpacks or bags of large size taken aside, suspicious behavior, checking theaters, making sure nothing weird is going on,” said Wright. Wright also said their company is discussing adding more surveillance and security, but employees are always on their feet as they rework their emergency plan. “We just keep vigilant and try not to worry about it too much obviously, but it is a reality,” said Wright. Safety discussions within their company are ongoing, but Wright said the bottom line is getting everybody in and out safely. Wright said they would like to talk with police and other movie theaters about developing a standard emergency procedure for the industry.

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