21st annual Grattan Township Memorial Day Celebration

The 21st annual Grattan Township Memorial Day Celebration and Bridge Walk will be held on Monday, May 25. The day will start at 7:00 a.m. with the fireman’s pancake breakfast. A memorial service will take place at Grattan Center cemetery at 11:00 a.m. Following the service is a foot parade across the Seeley Creek bridge and back to the township hall. A flag retirement ceremony conducted by Boy Scout troop 228 will take place at 12:00 p.m. 

Activities for the entire family are scheduled throughout the day. Please join us! The 2nd annual Veteran’s Memorial golf tournament will be held on Saturday, May 30 at Arrowhead Golf Course. All proceeds from the tournament will be used for the Veteran’s Memorial at Grattan Center cemetery. For more information on any of these events please contact Dianna at 826-1872 or Vivian at 691-7105.

Schedule of Events – May 25

7-10 a.m. Pancake Breakfast – Fire Station

9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Historical Society Bake Sale & Raffle

Grattan Museum

9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Grattan Township Parks and

Recreation Information Booth

9 a.m. – 2 p.m. St. Patrick’s School

Information Booth

9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Letter Writing Station - Township Hall

9:30 a.m. Frog Jumping Contest – Township Hall

  Bring your own frog. (extra frogs available)

9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Grattan Academy – Open House

0 a.m. – 2 p.m.     Hands of Fun – Township Hall

Make and Take Crafts for all ages

10 a.m. – 2 p.m.   Face Painting – Township Hall

10-11a.m.     Decorating of the Bikes – Town Hall

11-11:45 a.m. Memorial Service

11:45 a.m. -noon Bridge Walk and Foot Parade

(shuttle will be available)

11a.m. – 2 p.m. Food Booth – Family, Friends &

Neighbors-Township Hall

12 p.m. Flag Retirement – Township Hall

Boy Scout Troop 228

12- 2 p.m.      Grattan General Store

25 cent single dip ice cream cones

11a.m. – 2 p.m. Grattan Bar

Check out our Bridge Walk Specials!

12:30 p.m.            Turtle Race – Township Hall        

Bring your own turtle! (extras available)

1 p.m.                  Penny Scramble – Township Hall

10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Shuttle Service

Courtesy of Klackle Orchards

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Tannery ratifies severance package



Photo by Christine Bigney

WORKERS MEET-—Tannery workers learned what their severance is at a meeting Saturday, May 8 at the American Legion Hall.

Tannery ratifies severance package

Wolverine tannery employees have received and ratified a severance package. They can remain eligible to become members of the Hardy Pond campground, receive disconts on Wolverine shoes, continuation of WARN pay until May 15, COBRA insurance (which they are entitleunder the Obama administration), and job opportunities at Wolverine World Wide for the next two years.

Workers with 1 to 5 years will receive $1,500; 6 to 9 years $3,000; 10-19 years $6,000; 20-29 years $9,500; 30-39 $12,000; 40+ will receive $17,000.

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Rockford Freshman’s Center Andrea Kay Kacsits: an Example in Excellence

Andrea Kay Kacsits

Andrea Kay Kacsits


Andrea Kay Kacsits, age 15, is the daughter of John and Susan Kacsits and sister to Olivia and Victoria. She is known at her school as a person of many outstanding gifts. Teachers say Andrea is intelligent and articulate, but also physically gifted and a talented athlete. Her greatest strengths, however, are rooted in her spirit, attitude and heart.

Andrea consistently demonstrates her sensitivity to the needs and feelings of others and her compassion and empathy are evident on a daily basis. An outstanding communicator, Andrea is able to put others at ease and comfortably engage peers as well as adults. A natural self-confidence and openness allow her to share her great sense of humor. She is full of life.

When other students struggle at class work, Andrea is there to help. She has a sensitive heart to those who are suffering or hurting and is quick to offer support and encouragement.

A member of Resurrection Life Church in Rockford, Andrea is active in the church youth group. She is also a strong athlete who balances compassion with her strong competitive nature. It is not unusual to see her express concern and offer help to a member of an opposing team who has been hurt.

Andrea is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, a three-time state champion in 14-and-Under AAU basketball, a member of the 2007 national championship AYBT basketball team, a member of the Lakeshore Regional High Performance Volleyball team in 2008, the only freshman member of the Rockford High School varsity women’s volleyball team, athlete of the month for October 2008, Kendall College Gold Key Award winner for artwork in 2007/2008, and on the Principal’s Honor Roll in every year she has been eligible.

For her balance of gifted academic and athletic talents and compassionate, caring and giving nature, Andrea Kacsits is a fine Example in Excellence at the Rockford High School Freshman Center.

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Rockford soccer beats Muskegon, ties West Ottawa

Rams junior defender Celine Stallmer (#13) breaks away from her mark.	Photo by BRET DOUD

Rams junior defender Celine Stallmer (#13) breaks away from her mark. Photo by BRET DOUD


The Rams saw lots of OK Red action last week with games against Muskegon and West Ottawa. The results were different, but the Rams’ strengths showed through in both.

Against the visiting Big Reds of Muskegon Monday night, May 4, the Rams shot the ball nearly 35 times in the first half, but only one of those balls went in-on a penalty kick. All of the rest were wide, high or caught or deflected by Muskegon goalkeeper Chantel McBride. In the second half, the floodgates opened, however, and Rockford finished with a season-high six goals in the shutout against the shorthanded visitors, who were missing seven players because of their Honor Society induction back home.

The Rams’ lone goal in the opening half came with 29.2 seconds remaining. Senior captain Rachel Doud was driving to the net and launched the ball. But instead of going in, her kick made contact with the hand of one of the Big Reds, setting up a penalty kick right in front of the goal. Doud shot right on the penalty kick; McBride stayed put. The scoreboard lit up.

In the second half, the scoring onslaught began when Sydney Benda sent a shot high into the net over the goalkeeper’s head one minute into the half. Senior Matti Graves made the score 3-0 eight minutes later when she finished what Kate Huyser had started. Graves was in the right place at the right time when Huyser’s shot was deflected by McBride out to Graves, who shot it in from close proximity. Lindsey Hutchings scored next when her shot hit the bottom left of the net with 26:10 remaining.

By then, the Big Reds were looking mighty tired, but they kept up the fight. Although their scoring opportunities were almost nil, their junior varsity squad cheered on every good move their upperclassmen counterparts made. The younger Big Reds proved to be great fans.

Jordan Diffenderfer lit up the scoreboard next for the Rams, sneaking past the Big Red defense to score with 8:14 left to play. She scored again two minutes later off a cross right in front of the net from Sondra Weaver.

On Wednesday, May 6, Rockford traveled to West Ottawa’s (WO) home turf, where a more dramatic contest unfolded, ending in a 2-2 tie in double overtime. The Rams dominated the first half, working the ball through the midfield without much distraction or opposition. Senior Bekah Hazel and Benda set up some early scoring opportunities for Huyser and Graves, but the WO defense hustled back, making it hard for the Rams to score. Finally, with 27:04 left in the half, seniors Graves, Carlyn Young and Huyser threw the Panthers’ goalkeeper off her game, making it hard for her to know who to watch outside of her net. Their teamwork and passing in front of the net allowed Young to finish it strongly.

“Our girls did a good job of getting the through balls, passing, and making connections,” said co-captain/goalie Kristin Darby.

Benda scored for the Rams three minutes into the second half when she shot it in from 30 yards out off a tip from Doud. The ball flew over the unsuspecting head of keeper Katie Overway. The Rams had several other scoring opportunities after that, but either Overway was a quick reactor-as in the shot where Doud placed a nice cross to Huyser right in front of the net, and Huyser’s header was deflected by a high reaching Overway-or the Rams ran out of gas.

The Panthers picked up the pace in the last half of the game, scoring once at 23:22 when Mackenzie Doda’s pass to a waiting Taylor VanderPloeg 30 yards out sailed past Rockford goalkeeper Kristin Darby, and again at 56:40 when Kellie Brown’s shot hit the crossbar, but teammate Erin Jipping got the rebound and sent it into the net.

Both teams had opportunities in both overtimes, but could not take advantage of them.

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‘If you are satisfied, don’t go to Africa’

CHANGING LIVES—Members of Crossfire Ministries, which have offices in MVP Athletic Center, went to the Ivory Coast to Abidjan, Africa to visit a church they helped finance. While there the lives of the African people touched their hearts and changed their outlook on life forever. The Rockford residents coudn’t believe the difference in everyday life from our country and this third-world poverty.

CHANGING LIVES—Members of Crossfire Ministries, which have offices in MVP Athletic Center, went to the Ivory Coast to Abidjan, Africa to visit a church they helped finance. While there the lives of the African people touched their hearts and changed their outlook on life forever. The Rockford residents coudn’t believe the difference in everyday life from our country and this third-world poverty.

Rockford’s Crossfire ministries travel to Africa’s Ivory Coast

by PASTOR Keith Hemmila

Crossfire Ministries

If you are satisfied with your life and happy with yourself, don’t go to Africa.  You will come back forever changed.  Abidjan was just another dot on the map until we visited this city.

We weren’t quite sure what to expect, but now it has a permanent home forever in our hearts.  We still see a multitude of faces, beautiful people going through the motions of everyday life, with a hope that someday things will improve. 

Civil War broke out in early 2001 that crippled the country.  Abidjan, Ivory Coast’s largest city of 3.8 million, was hardest hit.  The war caused 800,000 Europeans to exit  the country along with the world bank.  This beautiful city turned into a refugee camp.

Young people between the ages of 16 and 25 populated the city.  Many had lost their families in the war and had come to Abidjan to reestablish themselves.  Every morning it hit us that in a few days we would be going home, but for these people, this is their life.  While we drove through the city, we felt helpless as we encountered so many people in need.

Our hearts were troubled as we caught sight of an elderly woman begging for her daily food.  Children walked between the cars at intersections selling goods from newspapers to toilet paper.  But the most heartbreaking scene was a young man walking on his feet and hands because his body was so severely twisted.  Medical facilities were minimal for this unfortunate man.  It was a startling reminder of the difference between our country and a third world country.

Myself and wife Judy Hemmila, Sherry Holmes, Shirlee Kamstra and Linda Penn-Davies made up the team that went to Abidjan.  The purpose of our visit was to work with Bishop Anthony Yeboah, Field Director of Free International Missions.  Pastors preached at eight services in three different churches.  The three other participants came as support staff.  Rice was purchased by Crossfire Ministries and distributed to needy people.  Also, this team had the opportunity to visit a new church Crossfire Ministries helped finance in 2008.

The road trip to our first ministry event was shocking.  Garbage lined the streets and actual garbage dumps existed throughout the city.  It was a perfectionist’s nightmare.

We traveled on dirt roads full of pot holes and debris.  We saw miles of shacks without doors or windows covered with simple tin roofs.  Young men were hauling grass in carts for $2 a day while women carried heavy loads of merchandise or food on their heads to sell.  We were all speechless and had a hard time holding back the tears.

Amidst the poverty, we discovered the treasure that existed within the people.  They were beautiful, happy and generous.  The colors in their clothing were spectacular.  They spoke a beautiful French dialect.

The first Sunday worship service was at 6:30 a.m.  with people filling the building and two large tents. We were so moved by the beautiful people with huge smiles that we didn’t notice all the armed guards and barbed wire.   Worship was amazing.  The music was full of life and the singing was passionate.  The worship team moved from one song of praise to another.  The people often danced around the church as they sang.  The music was so joyful that Pastor Judy was compelled to join in the dance.  This sparked giggles and smiles showing they were delighted that she had joined them.  It proved that love and communication are more than speaking the same language. 

As we reflect upon our trip, there are common impressions and lessons we learned from our experience.  First, we recognize how fortunate we are to live in the United States.  Sherry Holmes said, “I am so thankful that here in the states I can put my toothbrush under the faucet and back in my mouth without worrying about getting sick.  I do not need a wall with barbed wire around my home and there are not armed guards or check points in Grand Rapids.  I do not sit 16 hours a day in the middle of dirt and trash trying to make a living.  Even the poor in our country have a backup plan called welfare or food pantries.  Those who lose their jobs in the United States can apply for unemployment and get paid for not working; not so in West Africa.”

Linda Penn-Davies was also shocked by conditions there. “I was taken back by the armed soldiers standing on the street corners and soldiers driving jeeps with mounted machine guns,” she said.  “This is everyday life for these people.  Can you imagine armed soldiers walking around Rockford?  I’m so thankful for this experience.  I’m forever changed and know I am a better person for it.” 

Pastor Judy reflected upon her renewed appreciation for our country.  “We are so blessed.  God has watched over, prospered and protected our nation because we patterned our culture on Biblical principles.  I wonder how long we will be a blessed nation if we foolishly ignore and reject Christ and His teachings.”

Shirlee Kamstra shared how going to Abidjan gave her a new perspective of God’s passionate desire for a larger family and how He desires her to share this good news.  Telling others about the loving and amazing God she serves and extending the invitation for them to experience His love and forgiveness.   

Last, our view of church has been enlarged.  It’s not about bricks and bucks.  It’s about relationship with God and one another. 

We are more committed to missions here in Rockford as well as in West Africa.  Linda summed up the teams thoughts quite well.  “I had to go to Africa to find myself.  I know I will go again.  It was a dream of mine; now it’s a passion.  Every Christian needs to go on a mission’s trip.  It doesn’t have to be in Africa, it can be down south, the inner city, Mexico, but they need to do it.  God will enlarge out influence when He enlarges our hearts.”

If you would like to learn more about how to prepare for a trip to West Africa, please call our church office at (616) 863-8197.  A DVD with music is available at our website: www.crossfire-ministries.org

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