by ANA OLVERA Courtney Betten, 5, and her brother Gavin, 4, of Rockford looked at all the dolls inside United Bank, at 155 Marcell Dr. in Rockford, with great excitement, gasping and pointing at every doll they liked. Courtney’s favorite doll was dressed by Lisa Banas. “It has a cute little doggy! I like her eye color and I definitely like the braids in her hair,” said Betten. The bank buys 100 unclothed dolls, and friends, customers and people from the community can pick a doll they would like to dress. Then the public can go to the bank and vote for their favorite doll. Voting will run until December 4. The winning doll is kept for a year and is then sent to the North Kent Service Center (NKSC) along with the rest of the dolls. Parents can go to the NKSC and choose a doll for their child. There will also be a donation box for NKSC’s boys’ toys at United Bank. For the event’s seventh anniversary, United Bank decided to do something new. The business did not have the time or talent to dress the dolls, so other businesses were asked to sponsor the dolls. The bank asked for $35, but some businesses gave more. River Valley Auto decorated a doll as a “grease monkey” with a smudge of oil on its left cheek. Frenz Coffee House dressed a doll in an apron with a cup full of coffee beans. Beverly Combs decorated “Little Princess Running Deer” in fur and moccasins. “We have some people that are so loyal and start calling, wondering when the Dress the Dolls contest will start,” said Nancy Martin, manager of United Bank. With money being so tight this year, the bank thought about cutting back, but realized the need is even more present. Thanks to the generosity of Jane at DollarVille, the bank is able to get the dolls at a bargain price. The dolls are dressed in a variety of ways. Knit or elegant dresses and even cultural outfits adorn the dolls. Some even come with accessories ranging from pets, purses or backpacks to sunglasses or a second outfit. The dolls also have many themes, from a biker to a pharmacist, Ram fan, and even […]
Belinda Shockley, 58, of Rockford and Corine Dines, 52, of Cedar Springs were both killed on Sunday, Nov. 15 in a four-car crash near the intersection of 14 Mile Road (M-57) and Wabasis Avenue in Oakfield Township at 11:48 a.m. According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, Shockley was driving eastbound in a 1997 Buick LeSabre with her boyfriend, Robert Beardsley, 56, of Rockford; her son, Bill Shockley, 37, of Rockford; and her two grandchildren, ages 2 and 3, both of Greenville. Corine Dines was also traveling eastbound and attempted to pass Shockley’s vehicle. Dines entered the westbound lane and struck a westbound vehicle, a 2005 GMC Sierra driven by 31-year-old Judson Bancroft of Greenville. A fourth vehicle, also traveling westbound, struck debris caused by the accident, but no one in that vehicle sustained injuries. Dines was driving a 1998 Pontiac Bonneville and had her seatbelt on. Shockley died en route to the hospital via Aeromed. Dines was killed at the scene. The remaining driver and all passengers sustained injuries and were transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital via Rockford Ambulance. Kent County Sheriff’s Department officers responded to the scene along with Courtland Township Fire Department, Spencer Township Fire Department, Rockford Ambulance and Aeromed.
Rockford’s Rotary Club approved spending $1,500 to help families in need in Kent County this holiday season. According to Sandy Waite, director of the North Kent Service Center, which provides assistance to those in financial difficulties, the center will give out over 2,000 dinners over Thanksgiving and Christmas this year. Last week Wolverine World Wide helped make up meal packages, which, with the addition of the turkeys, will be complete and ready to go home with clients. “We couldn’t have done this without the generous pricing by Spartan Foods/Rockford D&W Fresh Market. We are grateful to D&W butcher Jim Jackson’s help with this project,” said Rotary president Ramona Hinton. “It is unbelievable how appreciative people are. We’ll help 2,000 families this holiday season over Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Deb Slot, office manager at North Kent Service Center. John Leale, warehouse manager for the center, said the need is greater than ever right now and the people of Rockford have always been very generous to those less fortunate. The North Kent Service Center is receiving record high requests for aid. The center provides aid in the form of food, clothing and limited financial support, and helps with access to medical care and educational opportunities.
Meijer book-signing event an evening of fun by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Last Wednesday evening, Nov. 11, as Fred and Lena Meijer walked through the entrance of North Rockford Middle School, they were greeted by someone who said, “Hi, Fred. How are you?” With a big grin on his face, Fred’s quick-witted response was, “You don’t ask a 90-year-old man a question like that unless you have the rest of the day for the answer!” Thus set the tone for an evening of fun. Fred—as always, he insists that everyone call him by his first name—and Lena were in town for a Rockford Area Historical Society sponsored book-signing event. The featured book was “Fred Meijer – Stories of His Life,” authored by Bill Smith and Larry ten Harmsel, who were also present. A near-capacity crowd filled the school’s auditorium as Terry Konkle, president of the Rockford Area Historical Society, welcomed everyone present to a short program prior to the book-signing. After a brief and hilarious video—Fred was seen and heard singing “Happy Trails to You”—ten Harmsel, historian for the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and one of the book’s authors, read an excerpt from the book from a time when Fred was a boy of 13. Ten Harmsel then introduced his co-author, Smith, a Meijer Corporation employee for over 40 years. The banter of both men was lighthearted as they led into the introduction of the guest of honor, Fred Meijer. Fred, as he always does, held everyone in the palm of his hand as he spoke lovingly of his bride of nearly 63 years, telling everyone, “She is only 39 years old and she’s the boss and always has been.” Lena loved it and so did we. He went on to introduce his personal assistant, Pam Kleibusch, who has been his “right-hand woman” at Meijer Inc. for 52 years. Fred finished by saying, “The grocery business is serious business. We’ve got to pay the bills, do the job, and have fun along the way.” The audience then exited to the foyer for the book-signing and light refreshments provided by the Historical Society. Everyone present that evening had arrived with a previously purchased book or bought one that night at the door. […]