State Police Receives Approval to Fly Unmanned Aircraft System

March 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

State Police Receives Approval to Fly Unmanned Aircraft System to Support Public Safety Media demonstration scheduled for 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11 in Lansing   The Michigan State Police (MSP) has received authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), making the department one of the first police agencies in the nation to obtain statewide authorization to fly an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) to support public safety efforts. The MSP will host a media demonstration at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 11 at the MSP Training Academy (near the Precision Driving Unit drive track) located at 7426 North Canal Road in Lansing. This will be an opportunity for media to conduct interviews with the pilots and to shoot photos and video of the UAS in operation. In Sept. 2013, the MSP purchased an Aeryon SkyRanger with an eye on the future potential of this technology to support law enforcement missions. This device was selected because of its high rating in the federal Robotic Aircraft for Public Safety (RAPS) survey. This survey evaluated different systems for safety, capability and reliability. Since that time, the MSP has worked closely with the FAA to meet all safety and training requirements, as well as to develop policies and procedures for the safe and effective implementation of this equipment. In Feb. 2014, the MSP received a Certificate of Authorization (COA) from the FAA to conduct training flights with the UAS near the MSP Training Academy. On Feb. 25, 2015, after meeting all federal regulations, the FAA granted the MSP’s request for authorization to fly the Aeryon SkyRanger for law enforcement support missions statewide. Potential missions include search and rescue, crime scene and crash investigations. On March 4, the UAS was flown over a fire investigation near Jenison. The device collected both video and photographs of the structure to help investigators determine the origin and cause of the fire. This authorization will allow the MSP Aviation Unit to support requests for service from any law enforcement agency within the state. The MSP has strict policy regarding the operation of the UAS. The policy dictates the UAS is always flown by a two-person crew, with one acting as the pilot and the other as a safety observer. The FAA certified pilot has […]

MASH comes to the West Michigan stage

March 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

Rogue River Community Theatre Company presents the iconic comedy March 19-21   CEDAR SPRINGS, Mich. – One of the most popular sitcoms in television history is coming to Cedar Springs this month as Rogue River Community Theatre Company presents the stage version of M*A*S*H. Based on the  hugely successful TV series that aired between Sept. 1972 and Feb. 1983, it brings back the comedic team of doctors and nurses stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in South Korea during the Korean War. Director Lesley Nadwodnik has the credentials for the job; she’s a veteran actor and comedian. “This classic sitcom is perfect for stage,” she said. “There’s a lot of laughs and the audience will certainly recognize many of their favorite characters.” They include Capt. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce, Major Margaret “Hotlips” Houlihan, the ever annoying Major Frank “Ferret Face” Burns  and the loveable company clerk Corporal Walter Eugene “Radar” O’Reilly. “You’ll see many iconic characters along with some new favorites,” said John Bagin, a RRCTC board member and  member of the cast. “As an actor, it’s been great being a part of bringing this American cultural classic back to the stage,” Bagin said. “It’s brought back many fond memories.” His wife and fellow thespian Kirsten Bagin agrees. “The audience is going to love this production,” she said. “There is always something happening on stage – sometimes something poignant and other times downright hilarious.” The script and cast are almost a distraction, she concedes. “The play features a large cast and I find myself laughing through every rehearsal.” Production assistants will transform the Kent Theatre stage into a true-to-life MASH unit and period costumes provide an extra measure of authenticity to the two-act play, Nadwodnik said. “A lot of work is being done on the sets; it’ll take the audience back to the original MASH 4077,” Nadwodnik said. “We’ve been blessed to have volunteers from the arts community in Rockford helping out. It truly is a community theatre production.” Those born after the show left the air – its final episode the most watched television broadcast in American history – will find plenty to love. And that comes from Jack Bagin, who was just a glimmer in his parents’ eye when the ratings […]

Rockford coin show to bring treasures to town ‘You never know what will be there’

March 11, 2015 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA   Rockford resident George Mayhak understands the allure of that perfect coin, the pull to look through just one more coin collection to see what might be there, and the surprise and excitement of realizing what you have is rare and valuable. All that will be arriving in Rockford at the Rockford Sportsmans Club, 11115 Northland Drive, Sunday, March 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mayhak, a veteran coin collector, was bitten by the bug long ago and has attended many coin shows. He has his favorites and looks for more and new treasures at every show. Like fishing, there are no guarantees, but the fun of the hunt itself. However, enough Cinderella stories are out there to keep the curious coming back for more. Followers of the hobby hear about folks who inherit an estate and find a cache of coins tucked away with a rare find included in the mix worth thousands. Mayhak said coins are most often passed between dealers and the public, as well as being passed down through generations. He too has heard stories of someone remodeling a house and, taking down a wall, found a hoard of old coins. Anyone following metal detecting sites online will be tantalized by the uncovering of old coins, war relics, other treasures that come from times long past. “Every couple of months you read about it,” Mayhak said. “old hidden caches in a house that was torn down.” He said just recently here in Michigan a standing liberty quarter turned up when someone was digging a foundation for a house. And any of these may turn up at a coin show. Mayhak said he hopes for a good mix of dealers and visitors to the upcoming coin show. People can bring in their own coins to learn more about them, or just browse through the collections of others. Over time, people can tend to settle on favorites that they are happy to come across. “I like Morgan silver dollars. They aren’t around anymore,” Mayhak stated. Those coins were made from 1878 to 1904 and then again in 1921. Mayhak said the hobby can be absorbing and he has educated himself through reading and studying, especially on grading the condition […]

Rough start to February for Rockford Varsity Hockey squad

February 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Rams Varsity Hockey team had a rough start to the final month of the high school hockey season by earning just 2 out of a possible 6 points. The Rams defeated Rochester Stoney Creek 3-1 on Feb 4. Rockford fell to Marquette 3-1 on Feb 6. On Feb 11 the Rams dropped a hard-fought league contest to Reeths-Puffer 5-4.   The Rams opened the month of February with a trip to Chelsea to face Rochester Stoney Creek in the 5th Annual Michigan Public High School Hockey Showcase. The Showcase is an annual weeklong event featuring over 60 public high school hockey programs from around the state. Rockford opened the scoring in the first period with a goal by Jacob McNamara (assisted by Tanner Vesche and Jeff Benda). The Rams netted their second goal midway through the second period when Brock Johnson put the puck in the back of the net (Braden King and Connor Foss picked up the helpers). The Rams scored their final goal of the game early in the third period. Niklas Baumgardner fired the puck passed the RSC goalie on the first shift of the final period (assisted by Vesche and McNamara). Stoney Creek picked up their lone goal late in the 3rd period to make it a 3-1 final. Rockford netminder Brendan Coolbaugh recorded the win.   Rockford returned to Chelsea two days later for their final game in the MPHSH Showcase. All the scoring in this contest took place in the opening period. Marquette jumped out to a 2-0 lead midway through the first period. The Rams responded with a goal by Benda (assisted by Vesche) a few moments later. Marquette scored the final goal of the game in the waning seconds of the first. It was a defensive battle in the second and third periods and neither goalie surrendered another goal. When the final horn sounded, the scoreboard read Marquette 3, Rockford 1. Coolbaugh took the loss in this hard-fought battle.   On Feb 11 the Rams traveled to Muskegon to face OK Conference Tier 1 rival Reeths-Puffer. The Rams opened the scoring with two goals in the opening period. McNamara scored on the power play (assisted by Vesche and Ullrey) and a few moments later Vesche […]

Rockford Ski Team went out strong.

February 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

With the end of the season fast approaching, the Rockford Ski Team went out strong. They competed in Division One Regionals at Crystal Mountain on February 11, 2015. With an all day event, the racers shined. For the girls team Maia Meuser and Gertie Venckus qualified for the state race. Senior, Maia qualified for slalom with a 9th place finish. Gertie qualified for both Slalom and GS with 4th place finishes. The girls included Karlee Kamminga finishing 29th, Carmen Santisteban finishing 32nd, Amara Colovos finishing in 36th, and Abby Henschell with a 38th place finish. Overall, the girls team finished in 5th place in Division One. From the boys team, Jordan Faber qualified for state in GS with a 14th place finish. Unfortunately for Ryan Mergner, he fell in both events, but still finished in 36th place. Cole Demarest finished in 32nd, Jake Mortenson in 43rd place, and Connor Hoyle finished in 47th place. Despite the falls, the boys team finished in 9th place. The ski team was fortunate enough to have 3 exchange students this season. Soren Astikainen is from Germany, and Carmen Santisteban and Borja Gorina Riba are from Spain. We will miss them very much and really hope they enjoyed their time in America, and being a part of the Rockford ski team. We only had one senior this season, Maia Meuser. She had some ups and downs this season, but continued to prove that she was capable of achieving the best. Overall, a huge congratulations to all skiers. The team had a fantastic season and we can’t wait for next year!

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