Grattan Academy Elementary hosts Scholastic book fair

BOOK FAIR FUN—Grattan Academy Elementary students enjoy the Build-A-Book activity during Friday Night of the school hosted Scholastic Book Fair on April 24. Pictured are Jacob Daigneault, Carolina Zook and Anna-Maria Zook.

BOOK FAIR FUN—. Pictured are Jacob Daigneault, Carolina Zook and Anna-Maria Zook.

Grattan Academy Elementary students enjoy the Build-A-Book activity during Friday Night of the school hosted Scholastic Book Fair on April 24 

 

WORKING TOGETHER—Pictured clockwise are Hallie Greenop, Miller Antcliff, Jacob Daigneault, Anna-Maria Zook, Carolina Zook, Mary Ricards and Madison Cox.

WORKING TOGETHER—Pictured clockwise are Hallie Greenop, Miller Antcliff, Jacob Daigneault, Anna-Maria Zook, Carolina Zook, Mary Ricards and Madison Cox.

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Sparta’s discount (gourmet) grocery

BARGAINS GALORE—Roger Anderson with his daughter Bethany, 15, show off some of the gourmet products the store sells at deliciously low prices.

BARGAINS GALORE—Roger Anderson with his daughter Bethany, 15, show off some of the gourmet products the store sells at deliciously low prices.

It’s like G.B. Russo’s without the pricing. It’s a treasure hunt. The food pantries are cheaper (free) but no one else offers prices this low. Andy’s Discount  Grocery has been at 572 S. State Street in Sparta for about a year and a half. Owner Roger Anderson opened the 4,000-square-foot store when his career in the construction industry faltered with the economy. He knew a guy who ran a similar discount store and was very successful. Roger and wife Darlene decided to go into the grocery business.

 

BARGAIN HUNTERS—Tom Willet, 15, and Jesse Stamann, 15, bought themselves  a couple of handfuls of Nutrigrain bars for under $1.

BARGAIN HUNTERS—Tom Willet, 15, and Jesse Stamann, 15, bought themselves a couple of handfuls of Nutrigrain bars for under $1.

Foodies will  love the large selection of spices, purchased in bulk and repackaged offered at low prices, often 75 percent cheaper than at a regular grocery store. Staples such as ground cumin, dried cilantro, cinnamon sticks are offered at bargain prices, along with more exotic spices home chefs can now have on hand affordably. The store is also becoming known for its organic products-more and more popular as people want items without the pesticides and other chemicals large food producers have long used. Lover’s of authentic Amish cheese will also appreciate a local supplier for the product. Andy’s brings in a strong selection of Amish cheeses so local shoppers won’t have to drive to the source for Amish-made havarti, Swiss, jumping jack, pepper jack or other popular favorite cheeses.

 

“What I like is when people come in and buy these gourmet products that they can get here for two dollars that would cost more than five in another store,” Anderson said. He used for example pine nuts, selling for about $5  In Meijer, just $1.99 at Andy’s.  He has yogurt for just 39 cents, hams for 99 cents a pound,  half gallons of ice cream for $1.99. The store also has aisle of other goods-medicine, cleaning products, pet products, shampoo and mops-also priced to go out the door painlessly.

Anderson said his goods come from some of the same suppliers the big stores use, and a Frito Lay truck pulled in during the interview, proving his point. When suppliers have too much stock, Anderson buys at a discount. When items have damaged labels or dents, he picks up those too. Some stuff is close or post-dated. According to Anderson, plenty of foods are good after the date code. Some say “use by or freeze by” and those go in the freezers.

“People don’t understand a store like this,” he said. “We have lots of neat things, all perfectly good. If customers are not satisfied with the quality, we will refund your money or replace the product.” Anderson said selling items that big stores won’t stock, such as those with damaged labels, is common in Europe. He also said here in Michigan, especially up north, stores like his are more common. “It’s when you are in or close to cities people aren’t used to the idea,” Anderson stated.

Andy’s had, on Friday, May 1, five pound bags of Kentucky Fried Chicken boneless nuggets for just 99 cents a pound. It’s the real product they sell for a lot more at the restaurant, but the nuggets he has were either larger or smaller than the ones KFC gives you. As far as close or even post-dated products, Anderson believes Americans put too much worry into the little dates on the bottoms of packaging.

“What was the expiration date on the cheeses your great-grandfather hung in the bottom of the well to keep cool all summer?” he asked. “What was the expiration date on her home-canned goods your grandmother served you five years after she canned them? You don’t see Europeans who have been eating post-dated foods for years dropping dead of them.”

Anderson shared a comment he’s heard his brother-in-law make for years. “There are Americans who would die of starvation even with a cupboard full of food if the expiration date had passed.”

It’s food for thought. Remember the uproar a year or so ago when bottlers were putting expiration dates on water? Anderson said there are many reasons food producers put expiration dates on packages, and it doesn’t often mean the food is no good anymore once that date looms near (or past).

Mammoths aren’t for sale at Andy’s, but you can get those 99 cents a pound hams all the time, not just at Easter or Christmas. Free-range, cage free chicken’s eggs (Anderson’s son keeps hens) are available in white, brown or green. Hot dogs are 69 cents a package. Other items are staples in stock regularly while many products are hit or miss. You can’t predict when a batch of canned goods will turn up dented or Newman’s Own dressings will have damage to the labels. “It’s like a treasure hunt,” Anderson said. “You just have to make a point to drift through the store and see what we have. If you don’t see what you are looking for, you’re sure to find something else.”

Andy’s is located across the street from Family Fare in downtown Sparta. The store is open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The phone number is (616) 887-1999.

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Hahn receives awards at Hope

Cara Hahn, a Hope College senior from Rockford, received the Laszlo Tokes Award and the Wall Street Journal Award during the annual honors convocation on Thursday, April 23, 2009.

The Laszlo Tokes Award is a cash award given to two rising seniors for writing the best essays addressing a current issue or world situation from a Christian perspective. Laszlo Tokes, in whose honor the award is named, was a pastor in the Hungarian Reformed Church. His commitment to Christian faith and calling played a pivotal role in sparking the demonstration that led to the downfall of the communist regime in Romania in 1989. This award was made possible by the vision and donation of a Hope alumna who would like to remain anonymous. It is facilitated by the CrossRoads Project.

The Wall Street Journal Student Achievement Award of a one-year subscription to the Journal and an individual medallion is presented to the student selected by the economics, management and accounting faculty on the basis of superior performance in the department.

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Bus drivers adhere to rules of the road

by JACQUIE FASE

Director of Transportation

Rockford Public Schools

Spring is in the air and new life abounds. With the warm weather comes a renewed spirit for all. Bus loads are lighter as more students become new drivers. The young drivers are hitting the roads, enjoying their new adult responsibilities, and they are excited! Although most of them have been transported back and forth to school via bus for most of their lives, they may not fully understand the significance of the school bus lighting system. There can be much confusion among all drivers-young or old, experienced or beginner. State guidelines are in place that school bus drivers must adhere to. I hope the following explanation of the guidelines will help clear up any confusion you or your new driver may have.

MCL 257.1855 regulates school bus stops and associated procedures. The following list contains highlights of that statute:

  • There are two types of school bus stops permitted in Michigan: (1) alternately flashing overhead red/amber lights stops, and (2) hazard lights stops.
  •             The two types of school bus stops are further broken down to four types of stops:

            1. Overhead flashing lights stop-pupils ARE required to cross the roadway;

            2. Overhead flashing lights stop-pupils ARE NOT required to cross the roadway;

            3. Hazard lights stop-maximum allowable speed for the street is 35 mph; and

            4. Hazard lights stop-there is no speed consideration.

  • All overhead lights stops require the bus to be clearly and continuously visible:

            1. If the maximum allowable speed is 35 mph, the bus must be clearly and continuously visible for a distance of at least 200 feet from the bus stop;

            2. If the maximum allowable speed is over 35 mph, then the clear and continuous distance requirement increases to at least 400 feet.

  • At overhead lights stops where pupils have to cross the roadway, the school bus must stop completely on the roadway.
  • At overhead lights stops where pupils do not have to cross the roadway, the school bus may pull off the roadway as far as practicable.
  • At overhead lights stops where the stop is a combination of both types (pupils crossing and not crossing the roadway), the bus must stop completely on the roadway.
  • No school bus stops are allowed within 50 feet of any intersection controlled by a traffic signal.
  • No school bus stops are allowed within 200 feet of any intersection without the approval of the school administration or transportation contractor.
  • All hazard lights stops require approval from the school administration or transportation contractor (though considered legal, Rockford Public Schools strictly limits hazard lights stops).
  • Hazard lights stops cannot be used where pupils are required to cross the roadway.
  • Rules pertaining to clear and continuous visibility do not pertain to hazard lights stops.
  • Under hazard lights stops for situations where the speed limit is 45 mph or less, the term “allowing traffic to flow” means that traffic must have the ability to legally maneuver around the school bus which is stopped on the roadway. In addition, as it pertains to this type of stop, the phrase “pulled to the far right of or off the roadway or private road” means that the bus may pull to the right and either remain completely on the roadway or pull off the roadway.
  • Under hazard lights stops for situations where the speed limit is over 45 mph, the phrase “leaving the normal traffic flow unobstructed” means that the bus must not stop where any portion of the bus is on the roadway and impedes traffic. Simply stated, the bus must be completely off the roadway.

We’re looking forward to a great rest of the school year. If you have any questions concerning this or any other transportation procedure, please contact me at (616) 863-6328 at your convenience.

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Camille Riddering, a Hope College junior from Belmont, received the Cancer Federation Award at the Hope honors convocation on Thursday, April 23, 2009. The award is in recognition of superior achievements and dedicated commitment to standards of excellence in the advancement of cancer research.

Jacquelyn Lewis, a Hope College senior from Rockford, received the American Institute of Chemists Award during the college’s annual honors convocation held on Thursday, April 23, 2009. The award establishes statewide recognition of the senior student who, in the estimation of the chemistry faculty, has exhibited diligence in study and research projects, helpfulness in the instructional laboratories and interest in chemistry for his or her four years at Hope College. The award is a certificate and membership for a year in the Institute of Chemists.

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