The Literacy Center of West Michigan needs volunteer tutors

August 6, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Literacy Center of West Michigan has scheduled an information session on Tuesday, August 11, 2015, for prospective volunteer tutors. The session is held at 2 p.m. and lasts one hour. It allows persons interested in becoming volunteer tutors to find out more about the Center and its literacy programs. At the end of the session, there will be an opportunity to sign up for tutor training. The Literacy Center of West Michigan is a non-profit, United Way agency devoted to reducing illiteracy in our community. Based on the 2003 National Assessment for Adult Literacy and the 1992 National Adult Literacy Survey, up to 14.6% of adults in Kent County lack basic prose literacy skills and have difficult using certain reading and writing skills considered necessary in everyday life. By training people to be tutors, the Center can offer one-on-one reading help to adults asking for assistance in reading or English as a Second Language (ESL). You do not need to speak another language to tutor ESL. The information session will be held at the Literacy Center of West Michigan, located at 1120 Monroe Ave., NW Suite 240, Grand Rapids. Please call 459-5151 (ext . 10) or email us at to register.

Sixty-two Recruits Become State Police Troopers

August 6, 2015 // 0 Comments

Sixty-two new Michigan State Police (MSP) troopers reported for their first day of work at MSP posts across the state today, following their graduation from the 128th Trooper Recruit School. “I commend these new troopers for their hard work and dedication in proving they have what it takes to join the ranks of the elite Michigan Department of State Police,” stated graduation keynote speaker, Governor Rick Snyder. “We wish them safe and rewarding careers as they stand on the front lines to serve and protect the citizens of our great state.” In her address to the graduates, MSP Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue said, “As you accept the honor of becoming troopers, I expect you to do what’s right, to do your best and to treat others the way you want to be treated. In everything you do, I ask that you provide ‘Service With a Purpose,’ giving your attention to those who choose to break the law, as well as our law-abiding citizens.” Tpr. Derek Miller, who was elected Class Orator by his fellow recruits and received the Outstanding Performance Award, spoke on behalf of the graduating class at Friday’s ceremony. Other award recipients included Tpr. Robert McLean who received the Team Building Award, Tpr. Thomas Markey who received the Marksmanship Award and Tpr. Chad Conquergood who received the Academic Achievement Award. The 128th Trooper Recruit School began on March 1, when 85 prospective troopers reported to the MSP Training Academy in Lansing. For the past 21 weeks, recruits received training in firearms, water safety, defensive tactics, patrol techniques, report writing, ethics, first aid, criminal law, crime scene processing and precision driving. In order to be selected to attend the academy, all applicants had to pass a stringent selection process that included a physical fitness test, background investigation and hiring interview. As part of the department’s commitment to “Providing Service With A Purpose,” the recruits participated in community outreach projects with the Boys and Girls Club of Lansing and Potter Park Zoo. The MSP is actively recruiting; interested candidates should visit for more information on how to apply. The next trooper recruit school is anticipated to begin in June 2016. There are currently 1,028 troopers assigned statewide.

West Michigan Therapy Dogs Receive $10,000 Charitable Gift from PetSmart, Inc.

August 6, 2015 // 0 Comments

PetSmart is providing a $10,000 donation that will support WMTD educational and training purposes, volunteer outreach, and the operation of its many programs in West Michigan. West Michigan Therapy Dogs (WMTD) is a non-profit therapy dog organization of volunteers providing the western region of Michigan with Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) and Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) since 2001. Handler and dog teams partner with community health, education and rehabilitative services to promote emotional, physical, and psychological support through the human-animal healing connection. “We have grown to 350 dog/handler teams in an average of 100 programs in the area,” said Heather Van Wormer, WMTD board president. “As a completely non-profit and volunteer organization, this donation will be very welcome and help us tremendously.” PetSmart will provide this charitable donation through its PetSmart Gives Back initiative. This initiative focuses on giving back to local communities throughout the nation in support of organizations that enrich people’s lives through the power of pets. “Partnering with West Michigan Therapy Dogs was a natural fit for our team,” said Sean Cook, district manager for PetSmart. “We believe in helping people heal through the power of pets, and when we understood the impact this group had on our community, we immediately wanted to help.”  

Rockford student an international star with trumpet

July 30, 2015 // 0 Comments

By BETH ALTENA Pure talent will take you far. According to professional trumpet instructor Gregg Good, a recent Rockford homeschool graduate who has been taking lessons from him for years, Brent Proseus, has pure talent, but also all the other trappings of a top player. “He grew up in a culture of music and he has kept his life in balance,” Good described. Proseus is only 18 years old, just performed at Carnagie Hall on July 11 and appeared on the Today Show July 12, is is just returned from performing in China. He is this country’s top soloist trumpet player, after taking first in the National Trumpet competition in March. At Carnegie he was the only performer from the state of Michigan who was and chosen as part of an elite performance team for the National Youth Orchestra. That Orchestra is just back from an all-expenses paid performance tour in China, playing in such haloed venues as Beijing National Centre for Performing Arts, Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, Xi’an Concert Hall, Shenzhen Concert Hall, Xinghai Concert Hall and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre. Led by Charles Dutoit, the orchestra’s concert program included the premiere of a new work from award-winning Chinese composer Tan Dun, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for NYO-USA, as well as Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 (“Emperor”) with guest soloist YUNDI; and Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique. Gregg said it is not surprising Brent is already so accomplished even with his continuing education still ahead of him. Gregg was trumpet teacher for Brent’s father, Eric. “This is the next generation, down from his dad.” He said Brent’s mother is also a very accomplished musician, and a much sought-after accompanist on piano. “He grew up in a culture of music. He has a good support system.” “He’s kept his life in balance. A lot of people can’t keep up the performance, ensemble and mechanical skills. He serves the community and he is also good at academics.” Gregg said Brent is also very energetic, actually the most energetic student he has ever had. He said even at his young age Brent has earned many awards locally and even internationally. The world’s leading organization for trumpet players is the International Trumpet Guild. Brent has won this organization’s scholarship […]

National Night Out bigger than ever Tuesday, August 4

July 30, 2015 // 0 Comments

Rockford Public Safety Officer Ian Graham is excited to announce a first for Rockford’s annual National Night Out Tuesday, August 4 from 6 to 8 p.m. This year the regular line up also includes five local restaurants who will offer something (yet to be decided) but will sure to be a hit. Uccello’s, Corner Bar, Herman’s Boy, Ramona’s Table and Rogue River Tavern will all participate with something on site at the City Hall/Rockford Chamber of Commerce parking lot at 7 South Monroe Street. For the first time ever, Bridge Street will be closed from Main to Monroe to allow crowds a little more space. If this expansion goes well with restaurants participating, Graham may continue to grow the event by bringing in businesses. National Night Out is a country-wide celebration of safe communities and was begun as a campaign to take back neighborhood streets from crime in communities where residents feared being out and about past sundown. Chief Dave Jones of the Rockford Department of Public Safety talked about National Night Out at last month’s City Council meeting. “We haven’t had to take back our streets from crime. This is a time to get together in our downtown with citizens and law enforcement.” Rockford’s National Night Out will include our various law enforcement organizations, firefighters from Rockford and local townships, include neighborhood watch booths with crime prevention tips and a hotdog dinner cooked by members of the local firefighters association. Held at the Steven R. Servaas Municipal Complex (this is the first time we’ve had to use this new name for our city center) and Bridge Street, there will plenty for adults and kids to do. Fire equipment from the City of Rockford and the fire departments of Cannon, Courtland Plainfield and Oakfield township will be on site. A fire truck sprays water for people to run through, always a huge hit. Oakfield Township’s smoke-filled simulator is a trailer tricked out to show what it can be like in a smoke-filled structure, using non-toxic, artificial smoke. It is an experience for all ages to better understand what it is like trying to escape a fire. Participating will be the Rockford Safety Department, members of the Michigan State Police, including our K-9 officer and his […]

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