Spring cleaning not just for the home

“STANDING TALL”— Pictured is Gerry Pike, soon to be 99 years old, standing next to a pile of Kent County Adopt-A-Road pick-up bags containing trash collected by friends along Gerry’s adopted stretch of road. Thanks, Gerry!

“STANDING TALL”— Pictured is Gerry Pike, soon to be 99 years old, standing next to a pile of Kent County Adopt-A-Road pick-up bags containing trash collected by friends along Gerry’s adopted stretch of road. Thanks, Gerry!

 

By CLIFF AND NANCY HILL

Do you have a stretch of county road that leads to the front door of your home, business, or community?  Is it littered with a winter’s accumulation of road trash that harms the environment and diminishes the curb appeal of your property? 

The Kent County Road Commission has an answer for you.  You can join the ranks of community minded citizens who have stepped forward to keep their roadsides clear of trash in volunteering their services by forming Adopt-A-Road teams.

Adopt-A-Road groups are composed of service groups, fraternal organizations, employees of a company, property owners associations, and even groups of friends and families, to name a few of many. 

This fulfilling task is as simple as making application to the Kent County Road Commission for a permit to adopt a section of road.  If accepted, your group will be assigned spring, summer, and fall pick-up dates.  The Road Commission will then place signage naming your group at each end of your adopted stretch of road to recognize your group’s commitment.

Each season’s pick-up window is eight days long.  All that is required is to choose one day in each window to pick-up roadside trash.  Blue trash bags and orange safety vests are required and provided by the Road Commission. 

In the Rockford vicinity Adopt-A-Road signs can be seen recognizing the efforts of the Rockford Police Department, Rockford Rotary, Rockford Jaycees, and Westdale Realty, among others. 

Sharon Schmuker, Permit Clerk for The Kent County Road Commission, tells the Squire that it takes more than just Adopt-A-Road groups.  The Road Commission also greatly appreciates the individual citizens who take it upon themselves to pick-up trash along the roadside during their, oftentimes, daily walks.

Schmuker tells us, “The Road Commission would love to add other civic minded groups to their roster of Adopt-A-Road teams.”

So in your travels this week as you pass by roadside pick-up crews sporting orange vests be sure slow down, wave, and give a honk of appreciation.             

For further information contact The Kent County Road Commission at 616-242-6920.

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Rockford youth honored for volunteerism at national award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER—Former First Lady Laura Bush congratulates Courtney Fedeson (far right), of Belmont.

OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER—Former First Lady Laura Bush congratulates Courtney Fedeson (far right), of Belmont.

Rockford student Courtney Fedeson, 13, of Belmont was honored in the nation’s capital for her outstanding volunteer work during the presentation of The 2009 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Fedeson-along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country-received a $1,000 award as well as personal congratulations from former First Lady Laura Bush at the 14th annual award ceremony and gala dinner reception. It was held at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.

Courtney, a seventh grader at North Rockford Middle School, was named the top middle school level youth volunteer in Michigan last February. It addition to the cash award, she received an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip with her parents to Washington, D.C., for the recognition events.

“The young people receiving these awards genuinely care about making a difference in the lives of others and have accomplished so much-in their own communities and around the world,” said Mrs. Bush, who delivered the keynote address at last night’s ceremony. “I thank and congratulate them for their outstanding volunteer work. Students with this kind of commitment and leadership ability are essential to the future of our nation.”

Courtney is an inspiring example of young Americans who care deeply about the needs of others and who have taken the initiative to help meet those needs,” said John R. Strangfeld, Chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. “By honoring them, we hope not only to give them the recognition they so richly deserve, but also to inspire others to follow their example.”

Nearly 20,000 young people submitted applications for the 2009 awards program last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of the Points of Light Institute’s HandsOn Network. The top middle level and high school applicants in each state were selected in February, and were flown to Washington the week of May 4 with their parents for four days of special recognition events.

Rockford student Courtney Fedeson, 13, of Belmont was honored in the nation’s capital for her outstanding volunteer work during the presentation of The 2009 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Fedeson-along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country-received a $1,000 award as well as personal congratulations from former First Lady Laura Bush at the 14th annual award ceremony and gala dinner reception. It was held at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History.

Courtney, a seventh grader at North Rockford Middle School, was named the top middle school level youth volunteer in Michigan last February. It addition to the cash award, she received an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip with her parents to Washington, D.C., for the recognition events.

“The young people receiving these awards genuinely care about making a difference in the lives of others and have accomplished so much-in their own communities and around the world,” said Mrs. Bush, who delivered the keynote address at last night’s ceremony. “I thank and congratulate them for their outstanding volunteer work. Students with this kind of commitment and leadership ability are essential to the future of our nation.”

Courtney is an inspiring example of young Americans who care deeply about the needs of others and who have taken the initiative to help meet those needs,” said John R. Strangfeld, Chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. “By honoring them, we hope not only to give them the recognition they so richly deserve, but also to inspire others to follow their example.”

Nearly 20,000 young people submitted applications for the 2009 awards program last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of the Points of Light Institute’s HandsOn Network. The top middle level and high school applicants in each state were selected in February, and were flown to Washington the week of May 4 with their parents for four days of special recognition events.

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Chamber to host small business mentoring organization

In these tough economic times it is smart for business owners to arm themselves with as much information about business operations as they can and the Rockford Chamber of Commerce wants to help.

The RCC has partnered with SCORE, a nonprofit organization and a resource partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration, to bring helpful business information to the Rockford area. The SCORE organization is dedicated to helping the small business community through no-fee face-to-face business mentoring.

Whether you are starting a new business or have questions about your existing business, the SCORE business counselor will be able to help you find the answers. A SCORE counselor will be at the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, 598 Byrne Industrial Drive, Rockford, on Wednesday, June 3, starting at 9 a.m. 

To take advantage of this free business mentoring, please call the Rockford Chamber of Commerce at (616) 866-2000, Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to schedule an appointment.

The Rockford Chamber of Commerce helps businesses of all sizes, opening doors through education, events, leadership, and networking.

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Rockford most succesful Relay in the nation

A LONG WALK—City Manager Michael Young, who pledged to walk the entire 24 hours of the Rockford Relay For LIfe, about to enter the 5th hour.  With 19 hours to go Young was being given encouragement by his charming and delightful wife, Melissa. On Sunday, May 17, Young’s feet were still so swollen from the 24-hour walk he couldn’t put his shoes on.	          photo by Cliff Hill 

 

A LONG WALK—City Manager Michael Young, who pledged to walk the entire 24 hours of the Rockford Relay For LIfe, about to enter the 5th hour. With 19 hours to go Young was being given encouragement by his charming and delightful wife, Melissa. On Sunday, May 17, Young’s feet were still so swollen from the 24-hour walk he couldn’t put his shoes on. photo by Cliff Hill

 

relay09cancerstudyIn seventh year, American Cancer Society event tops $2 million

When the American Cancer Society (ACS) promotes Relay For Life, they will be using Rockford to do it. Videographers and photographers from the national organization were on hand this past Friday and Saturday, May 15 and 16. The images they captured will appear in brochures, commercials and other promotional material.

“They realized we have something special here,” said organizer Carol Delp-Korzeja. Carol said the story of Rockford’s Relay, this year the seventh, is inspirational.

 

THREE BLONDES—Kathy Christensen, Miss Relay for Life Contestant Tim Dahlke, who is certainly into body building, and Carolyn Reed.  “Miss” Dahlke had just finished collecting donations from the two young ladies.

THREE BLONDES—Kathy Christensen, Miss Relay for Life Contestant Tim Dahlke, who is certainly into body building, and Carolyn Reed. “Miss” Dahlke had just finished collecting donations from the two young ladies.

It is also nothing short of amazing that Relay ’09 brought in $336,992, bringing the seven-year total to  $2.1 million. There were over 300 cancer survivors (up from 263 last year) at the survivor reception and  84 teams participated (up from 77 last year). The top money-raising team was Friends For Life, which raised $24,000.

 

There is a story behind every person who chooses to participate in Relay For Life. This year five City of Rockford employees, including the City Manager Michael Young, walked the whole 24 hours to show support for police officer Ian Graham, diagnosed with lymphoma this spring.

 

PLENTY OF DELICIOUS FOOD—At Relay. The Young Marines make Hobo Stew, a mix of every kind of Campbell’s soup. The recipe was discovered when a group didn’t receive their shipment of food for an outdoor excursion. As part of survival training, Marines carry a can of soup. Eveyone had a different favorite. They mixed them all together and discovered it is delicious. At right James Gray, Regiment Commander of the Grand Rapids Young Marines, mugs for a photo.

PLENTY OF DELICIOUS FOOD—At Relay. The Young Marines make Hobo Stew, a mix of every kind of Campbell’s soup. The recipe was discovered when a group didn’t receive their shipment of food for an outdoor excursion. As part of survival training, Marines carry a can of soup. Eveyone had a different favorite. They mixed them all together and discovered it is delicious. At right James Gray, Regiment Commander of the Grand Rapids Young Marines, mugs for a photo.

Carol shared another story that should give goose bumps to even the most hard-hearted. Rockford’s Relay was started by good friends Shannon Oulette and Brent Deuel. Shannon had lost her mom, Paula Banfield, to cancer. Shannon’s brother, Jason Banfield, recently lost his mother-in-law to cancer. Jason’s son, Carson Banfield, having lost two grandmothers to cancer before the age of 9, decided to raise money this year by writing letters to everyone he knows, asking for donations for ACS. His efforts alone netted over $1,600.

 

 

FIGHTING BACK—Top right, Denise VanPelt signs up for the ACS Cancer Prevention Study 3. Her sister just finished chemotherapy for breast cancer and her father lost his fight against cancer. “We need to stop it. I don’t want to see any more people go throught it. I have five kids, I’m doing it for them,” VanPelt said. At right Wally Kurzeja, Relay’s disc jockey, gives blood while signing up for the study.

FIGHTING BACK—Top right, Denise VanPelt signs up for the ACS Cancer Prevention Study 3. Her sister just finished chemotherapy for breast cancer and her father lost his fight against cancer. “We need to stop it. I don’t want to see any more people go throught it. I have five kids, I’m doing it for them,” VanPelt said. At right Wally Kurzeja, Relay’s disc jockey, gives blood while signing up for the study.

“This is a third-generation Relayer,” said Carol. Carson received a Relay Champion award this year for his efforts. “Our kids are becoming our next generation of Relayers. We bring them and they see what it’s all about.”

 

Rockford Relay has enjoyed the strong support of both the Rockford School District and the City. On the committee from day one were both Young and Rockford Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler. Rockford has teams from every school in the district and has always had a City team. This year there were 84 teams participating, up from 77 last year, and the event remembered and honored more than 2,700 people.

relay09wallyk“Many Relays are having a hard time this year because of the economy. We’ve been very blessed,” said Carol. She said some participants were people who have lost their jobs since last year’s Relay but still support the event.

Rockford was chosen to be one of the relays offering a chance to sign up as part of a life-long lifestyle cancer study. This once-in-a lifetime opportunity may help unlock the cure to cancer or someday prevent it.

The ACS estimated that Rockford might be able to get 450 people to enroll in the study in five hours.  Relay committee members had asked for extra sign-up kits because they were confident many would volunteer. The sign-up team had to stop of the process early, since the ACS ran out of enrollment packages at 472-more than 90 people per hour.

 

Winner of the 45-minute Miss Relay for Life Pageant, Miss Lakes Elementary, solicited an amazing $1,126.00 as “she” strolled around the track trolling for contributions.  The winner of the Miss Relay for Life pageant was determined by which contestant could raise the most money for Relay  in a 45 minute period.  All of the contestants together raised $3,800.  Stunning as Miss Lakes was we think she had better stick to her day job where she is known as Blake Bowman, Principal of Lakes Elementary School.

Winner of the 45-minute Miss Relay for Life Pageant, Miss Lakes Elementary, solicited an amazing $1,126.00 as “she” strolled around the track trolling for contributions. The winner of the Miss Relay for Life pageant was determined by which contestant could raise the most money for Relay in a 45 minute period. All of the contestants together raised $3,800. Stunning as Miss Lakes was we think she had better stick to her day job where she is known as Blake Bowman, Principal of Lakes Elementary School.

A spokesperson for the American Cancer Society praised the community and school district for the incredible support of Relay For Life.

 

“Two thirds of all cancers are preventable,” she said. “It would be great to find a cure for cancer, but can you imagine being able to stop cancer before anyone gets it? We see so many young people getting cancer. This study is our gift to the generations that come after us.”Young said he remembers the day Oulette came to him asking if Rockford would help host a Relay For Life. “We said, ‘Whatever you need, we’ll make sure it gets done. We don’t just allow Relay to be something that happens in our City, we embrace it.”

relay09youngmarines

There are activities for children and adults all during the 24-hours of Relay.

There are activities for children and adults all during the 24-hours of Relay.

 

Rockford firefighters traditionally lead the first hour of walking (in fire suits and wearing 100 pounds of gear)

Rockford firefighters traditionally lead the first hour of walking (in fire suits and wearing 100 pounds of gear)

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Classic Car Show promises family fun

CLASS ACT—The Cannon Classic Car Show steering committee, Jim Zanzig , owner of Pizzeria Grandé, Dennis Spitler owner of Clip-n-Go Mobile Pet Salon and Ted Trocke owner of Bella Vista Auto Service. Together, along with other CABA members, bring you a free day of family fun. Bring your tent and lawn chairs and enjoy the day. Those with classic cars to show can call Trocke at (616) 874-4444.

CLASS ACT—The Cannon Classic Car Show steering committee, Jim Zanzig , owner of Pizzeria Grandé, Dennis Spitler owner of Clip-n-Go Mobile Pet Salon and Ted Trocke owner of Bella Vista Auto Service. Together, along with other CABA members, bring you a free day of family fun. Bring your tent and lawn chairs and enjoy the day. Those with classic cars to show can call Trocke at (616) 874-4444.

It doesn’t cost a lot of money to have a good family day out. On Saturday, June 6, it won’t cost anything at all. The second annual Cannon Classic Car Show, sponsored by the Cannon Area Business Association (CABA) will be from noon to four in the parking lot of Bella Vista Auto Service, 6533 Belding Road and Cannon Town Center, right next door.

Again this year see classic cars-25 years or older-and enjoy booths from many area businesses. Watch Dee-Jay the Clown perform for the crowds and enjoy the festival atmosphere. New this year is a pizza eating contest by Pizzeria Grandé at 3 p.m. Entry fee is $10 with half of that going to a local charity. Contestants (limited to 20) will be challenged to eat a 14 inch cheese pizza as fast as possible with a prize and bragging rights to the first finished. Sign up for the pizza eating contest at Pizzeria Grandé, 6575 Belding Road or call (616) 874-1111.

Trocke displays his own 1979 Corvette, which he purchased from a customer whose wife wanted the garage space. Other classic cars also have a story to tell, many restored from a dire condition to a pristine condition. Dennis Spitler said classic cars draw a crowd because people love the history and nostalgia of them. “They bring back memories from when these cars were new for many of us,” he said. Younger people enjoy seeing how different  older cars look compared to today’s models.

“I’d like to see more of the older cars this year,” said Trocke. He hopes local people who have a  classic car to show will call him beforehand or show up at 11 a.m. the day of the show to register. There is no charge to display your classic car and the first 100 will receive dash plaques. The show will be limited to  the first 150 cars. Visitors the day of the event will vote on their favorites and the three Peoples Choice winners will receive trophies. Last year’s winner was a 1912 Ford delivery truck. The oldest car in the show was a 1901 Ford Roadster. Many other classic makes and models are sure to be represented.

Each year the organizers chose a charity to benefit. Last year they asked Car Show registrants for a donation of a non-perishable food item to go to the North Kent Service Center.  The request was not a requirement to participate in the Car Show, so the steering committee had no idea how much food would be collected. To their surprise, people brought in enough to fill four 55-gallon containers-an amazing amount. This year CABA has picked the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure for breast cancer as the recipients of donations. “Cancer has touched the lives of just about everyone you know,” Trocke said. “This is a very good cause.”

CABA was formed in 2005. Carl Shook was the chamber executive director at that time and Vicki Klinger was the president. Carl Stites, owner of  Stites Eye Care, said that he and other business owners had some meetings with Shook and Klinger to come up with ways to promote the chamber as more than an entity of downtown Rockford. “The chamber is all of the Rockford school district,” said Stites, “It’s the whole 100-square miles. We wanted to create an identity for the businesses in Cannon Township and offer some individualized events.” Stites said getting to know other business people in his area has also created strong friendships and business partnerships. “We’ve gotten to know just how much we have to offer over here and we are doing more business with each other, too,” Stites commented.

One of CABA’s first projects has become an annual favorite-the Cannon Treasure Hunt, which is always the third Tuesday in September. The Car Show, new last year, also promises to be a favorite. There are about 75 businesses in the CABA area, many along Northland Drive, Belding Road and around the lakes (Bella Vista, Silver and Bostwick lakes). Some of these businesses will be represented at the Car Show with tents or booths, including Acme Tire, James Rasmus All State Insurance, Bostwick Lake Inn, Chiro Health, Clip-n-Go Mobile Pet Salon, Herrington Disposal, Morris Builders, Ric’s Food Center, Pizzeria Grandé, S&H Gardens, Sweet Clover Company, the North Kent Service Center, Cannon Township and Simply Chiropractic.

To find out more about the car show, or sign up your classic vehicle for display at the show, call Ted Trocke at (616) 874-4444. To find out more about the Cannon Area Business Association, email Carl Stites at info@stiteseyecare.com. Be sure to mark your calendar for Saturday, June 6 noon to 4 p.m. to enjoy this family-friendly, free event. According to Trocke, “This is a great way to kick off our summer season.”

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