Apparently Mother Nature didn’t buy into the hype and rewarded the Resolution Walkers with a bright sun and blue skies to add to the crisp air and light winds. Perhaps because of the uncommon winter sun, a common salutation by everyone present that morning was a resounding “Happy New Year.” Promptly at 10:00 a.m., Dave Heybour, chairman of the FWPT, welcomed and thanked everyone present for attending. He went on to say, “This year, folks, we are walking south instead of north. The turnaround point is a short two miles, just south of House Street, where you will see and appreciate one of two covered metal picnic tables that were installed this past fall. Wolverine World Wide funded the tables and, on behalf of the Friends and all Fred Meijer White Pine Trail users, we would like to thank Wolverine World Wide for this most recent contribution.” An annual group picture was taken and the four-mile round-trip trek commenced. The trail had been cleared in the early morning hours and all of the walkers—young and old alike, accompanied by more dogs than ever—returned in about an hour to the cozy confines of a heated Rockford Rotary Pavilion. Refreshments were then the order of the morning. Waiting was hot coffee and cocoa, along with cookies and energy bars. But best of all, again for the third year in a row, was Jennifer “Coney Girl” Idema with her original Detroit Coney offerings. Served from her stainless steel downtown Grand Rapids pushcart were hot dogs along with Polish and Italian sausage on buns. Toppings? You name it. Available were the usual mustard, ketchup, pickles and onions plus cheese, chili, sweet and hot peppers, and sauerkraut. Everything provided was free of charge, but donations toward the good works of the Friends were gratefully accepted. Everyone left that morning with a full belly and a sense of having started a new decade on the right foot (or maybe the left)! See what you missed? Happy New Year from the staff at The Rockford Squire.
Trends in severe weather Politicians, and even others who should know better, have stated frequently there would be an increase in the intensity and frequency of severe storms due to global warming. But in last week’s article I showed you that the tropical storm activity across the globe is now near a 30-year low. This week, let’s take a look to see if there has been an increase in tornadoes. According to the National Climatic Data Center, “With increased national Doppler radar coverage, increasing population, and greater attention to tornado reporting, there has been an increase in the number of tornado reports over the past several decades. This can create a misleading appearance of an increasing trend in tornado frequency. To better understand the true variability and trend in tornado frequency in the U.S., the total number of strong to violent tornadoes (EF3 to EF5 category on the Enhanced Fujita scale) can be analyzed.” For further details on this subject, visit www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/severeweather/tornadoes.html#history. You can see from the graph in Figure I that there was an increase in the number of strong tornadoes up until 1974, but there has been a DECREASING trend since then even though the number of people seeing and reporting tornadoes has increased. This is exactly the opposite of what has been forecast. There have also been forecasts of increasing droughts and heavy precipitation events. I haven’t found a graphic to show this on a global scale, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has compiled one for the United States. In Figure II, the top graph shows the percentage of the United States experiencing moderate to extreme drought for each year since 1900, and the bottom graph shows the percentage experiencing moderate to extreme wet conditions. About 80 percent of the United States was in moderate to extreme drought in the mid 1930s, but there certainly doesn’t appear to be much of an overall change in either extremely dry weather or wet weather since 1900. Going back to A.D. 1200, it appears the worst drought in North America occurred in the 1500s. According to an article in Science Daily (Feb. 8, 2000), “No other drought appears to have been as intense, prolonged and widespread as the 16th century megadrought,” and, […]
The nonprofit, government designated CASE Exchange Student Program is offering Michigan teens the opportunity of participating in a year or summer Study Abroad Program in one of ten countries. Applications are being accepted through April 30 for July departure. According to Sandra Storer, CASE field development director, local teens aged 15 to 18 are eligible to participate in the program. Students are screened for maturity in handling the rigors of being a foreign exchange student, must possess a B or better average for the past two years of high school, and must abide by behavioral rules while on program. A full application process, including an interview and foreign language assessment, will be conducted by CASE. “Having been a foreign exchange student is a priceless experience that will be carried through a lifetime,” said Storer. A one- to two-week summer home-stay program in France is available for teens who desire a shorter term home-stay program. For more information, contact the CASE Field Office at 1-877-681-1812 or visit www.case-usa.org.
Health & Fitness Festival coming soon by LISA JACOBS Executive Director Rockford Community Services As we approach the New Year, for many of us this is a time to evaluate our health and fitness goals. On Saturday, Jan. 30, Rockford Community Services would like to help with this by hosting a Health & Fitness Festival. We are excited to offer families an opportunity to observe as well as participate in various fitness classes offered in the community. Also included will be informative healthy cooking demonstrations, the opportunity to visit with local businesses regarding healthy lifestyle choices, and a chance to speak with experts in health care about medical questions. This event will have several resources available in health care and healthy living for every age group. Some examples of this will be fingerprinting for the safety of younger children, speed and agility training for the serious athletes, health care screenings, glaucoma testing, alternative medicine presentations, senior living choices and more. Our goal is to bring awareness to the importance of healthy living to the community. The Health & Fitness Festival will be held at North Rockford Middle School from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. If you would like to participate, you are invited to reserve a booth. Please call the Rockford Community Services office at (616) 863-6322. We look forward to your support in making this an annual community event!
The Rockford Rams hockey team opened the Big Rapids holiday tournament with an afternoon contest against the Jackson Lumen Christi Titans at Ferris State University ice arena. The Titans scored first on a screened shot from the point that Rockford senior goalie Christian VanPortfliet never had a chance on. Rockford answered less than three minutes later when junior Thomas Soupal poked in a loose puck off a scramble in front of the Jackson net. The goal was assisted by Erik Datema and junior Zach King. The teams battled hard, exchanging chances until King scored on a beautiful backhand shot from a bad angle, giving the Rams the lead. The goal was assisted by Soupal and Datema. The Titans evened it at 2-2 with 36 seconds left in the second period with a power play goal on a tipped shot from the point. The Rams again took the lead on a goal from Eric Conroy with an assist from Noah Greco. Jackson again evened it up on yet another power play goal midway through the third. The Rams went ahead for good with senior Alex Fox blasting a one-timer off a great pass from Soupal past the Titan goalie. Senior Jake Chaffee added an empty-net goal to put the game away. The win put the Rams into the championship game against the Big Rapids Cardinals, who defeated Wyandotte/Roosevelt in overtime. The championship game began with Big Rapids scoring late in the first period after both teams fought hard throughout the opening period. As the second period opened, Big Rapids forward Seth Adams picked up a turnover and scored on a breakaway, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead. The Rams kept battling and cut the lead to one with Chaffee banging in a rebound off a shot by Greco just after the Rams had killed off a Big Rapids power play. The lead stayed at one only due to a great save by goalie VanPortfliet with just 25 seconds left in the second period. The Rams fought hard in the third period, but were unable to get one past the Big Rapids goalie. Big Rapids won 2-1. Rockford seniors Eric Conroy and Robert Perry were both recognized with awards for outstanding play for both games.