‘If you really want to accomplish something, you can do it’ Riana Hain-Gachiri, 13, may have a future in the world of art. The student who began her second year at North Rockford Middle School (NRMS) this week, has earned a full-ride scholarship to Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp and has also had her work chosen for display at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Riana was highly recommended by her art teacher, Rachel Kibbe, who gave the girl a glowing review. “Riana is creative, hard-working and talented,” Kibbe said. “Riana is not only exceptional in terms of her artworks, she is a natural leader and encourager.” Riana was in Kibbe’s painting and sculpture class at NRMS. “I think it is inspiring,” said Riana’s mother, Alison. “If you really want to accomplish something, you can do it.” Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp has been mentoring young artists for 43 years and is known as a prestigious institution. Being accepted and having the school cover the tuition is an incredible achievement. Alison Hain gives credit to the Rockford school system. “It shows what a fine school North Rockford Middle School is,” she said. “Riana just loves her school and her teachers.” Riana’s painting will be displayed at the University of Michigan for the month of July 2010. Carol Tice, art department director at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, said the display will be in an exhibit which is part of the “Experience Blue Lake” celebration, showcasing art by the students of the camp. Kibbe said, “Riana would be a fantastic addition to any art camp. Her kindness, talent and work ethic make her a delightful student.”
Sweetheart Splash, art event benefit local families in need Sandy Waite, director of the North Kent Service Center, recently visited Rockford Rotary Club to thank the service organization for generous donations made over the years. She said need requested from the center is at an all-time high and each donation helps a local family that is in financial difficulties. “In 2005, your generous donation of $10,000 was designated to be used by our clients who needed assistance in paying utility bills,” she said. “Money spent on our clients utility needs in 2006 and 2007 was $3,938 and $5,717, respectively, with the balance of $759 used in January 2008.” Waite said the Rockford Rotary donation of $500 in 2008 was used to purchase a variety of meat averaging 50 cents per pound. The donation allowed the center to buy approximately 1,000 pounds of chicken, sliced hams and other meat to stock the food pantry. In 2008 the center distributed 739,000 pounds of food. The 2007 Art Gala, jointly organized by four local Rotary groups including Rockford’s, and held in the Wolverine World Wide corporate offices, raised $17,000 for the center. That money, Waite said, was used for operational expenses, such as the building mortgage, electric, heat, waste removal and gas for company vehicles. Waite reported that utilities for the center are approximately $30,000 per year. “Your donation helps keep our facility up and running so we are able to service our families,” she said. In the past four years, Sweetheart Splash, also a Rockford Rotary event, raised $10,790. “As you can see, there is always a financial need here at the North Kent Service Center,” Waite said. “The Rockford Rotary has played a significant role in allowing us to continue ‘Helping Our Neighbors in Need.’”
12th Joyce Blakeslee, Chad English, Glenn Knox, Al Pedley 13th Florence Cooley, Aunt Barbara Gardiner, Matt Palmer, Sandy Wybranowski 14th Goldie Ellenwood, Uncle Joe Gardiner, Lindsey Ray 15th Wendy Harr, Bonnie Hyder 16th Joyce Bolthouse, Sheryl Deyoung, Wilma Ingham, Colin Kalemba, Allyson Meester 17th Kellie M. Mackie 18th Nate Brown, Gil Clark, Jaden DeVogel, Susan Eckert, Mike Moore, Phyllis TenBrink 19th Paul Krupp, Haley Pilgrim, Roberta Sheils
From Rockford United Methodist Church, 34 youth and adults left on Saturday, July 11, for a week to Wyoming County, West Virginia, where they helped repair five homes, mostly due to flood damage. The five crews sided, roofed, underpinned, insulated, drywalled, and painted a room addition for a family with three children; built a rooster roof over a mobile home that had severe roof leaking; remodeled a bathroom making it handicap-accessible for an elderly woman who recently became wheelchair-bound, and built a pump house; installed a humungous retaining wall for a Hatfield descendent; and shored up the foundation of a mobile home and repaired the bathroom floor where the tub had fallen out of it, for a family. The Appalachia Service Project team from the church raise money each year to go the hollers of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, or West Virginia to make homes safer, warmer and drier by holding a cake auction every February at the church, hosting a Corner Bar Night, and picking up the trash for the Rockford Start of Summer Committee each year. If you would like to help fund this worthwhile cause, please send donations to RUMC, c/o ASP, 159 Maple Street, Rockford, MI 49341.
Kent County Clerk Mary Hollinrake was selected Clerk of the Year by the Michigan Association of County Clerks (MACC). Chosen for her efforts representing Kent County and her 82 colleagues before the state legislature and her heavy involvement in various MACC committees, Hollinrake received the honor at the annual conference in Kalamazoo on August 25. Ever vigilant for the cause, Hollinrake has testified before state panels on issues from election reform and technology to gun control and privacy issues impacting court clerk, vital records and elections. This is not the first recognition that has been bestowed on Hollinrake. She was elected chair of the state’s Council of Election Officials last year and has twice been named “One of West Michigan’s Most Influential Women” by the Grand Rapids Business Journal.