Rockford Register – February 26, 2009

Jan. 1 – Feb. 28

Lego/K*Nex Challenge - Build a design with Lego or K*Nex pieces and display in at Krause Memorial Library. All participants will receive certificates. All ages welcome. Designs accepted from January 1 through February 28 at the library, 140 E. Bridge St., Rockford. For more information, call (616) 647-3940 or visit www.kdl.org.


Thursday, February 26

Rockford Lions Club Meeting – 6 p.m. at the Community Cabin, 220 N. Monroe, Rockford. Ken Punter of Michigan Pork Producers will present “It Takes One to Know One.” Also, the 2008 Peace Poster winner, Gina Kimball, will be recognized.

“Out to Lunch Bunch” at Meijer - New Rockford mayor, Chi Chi Rogers, will guide the group through the Meijer on 10 Mile Road, Rockford. Before the “behind the scenes” tour, we will have lunch in the Meijer cafeteria (on your own). For more information, bus pick-up locations/times, or to reserve your spot, please call Marcia at (616) 863-6322. Bus fee is $2 per person.
Friday – Saturday
February 27 – 28

White Elephant Sale - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at United Methodist Church, on Main and Church streets in Cedar Springs. Biggest indoor sale of the year! Free food and beverages for everyone, live music, thousands of new and used items, including an auction. Proceeds go to Heaven Is My Home Food Ministry. For more information, call (616) 263-9494 or (616) 205-6663.


Saturday, February 28

All Kids Sale - 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the American Legion Post 102, banquet hall, hosted by the Auxiliary. Clothes, toys, furniture and more will be for sale; plenty of bargains!

Mother/Son Snowball Dance - 6:30 – 8 p.m. at East Rockford Middle School, sponsored by Rockford Community Services. Age-appropriate music and refreshments provided. Keepsake photos will be available at an additional charge. To register, go to www.rpssignmeup.com or call (616) 863-6322.

CPR/First-Aid Class - 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hope Community Church, 7000 Myers Lake Ave., Rockford. Cost is $10. Please register by Feb. 26 by calling Mary at (616) 863-9079.

Backyard Habitat Workshop - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Kent Conservation District Office, Grand Rapids. Cost is $20 per person, lunch included. Topics include site selection and preparation, plant selection, site design, and follow-up and maintenance. Space is limited; registration required. E-mail to hcnc@kentconservation.org.


Sunday – Wednesday
March 1 – 4

Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament - 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Breakroom, 1359 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, sponsored by the Rockford Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3946. For more information, call (616) 454-0899.


Tuesday, March 3

Mended Hearts Meeting - 7 p.m. at Spectrum Health Fred & Lena Meijer Heart Center, 100 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids, in Room 8815 on the eighth floor. Mended Hearts, a volunteer nonprofit support group affiliated with the American Heart Association, offers hope, information and encouragement to heart patients, families and caregivers through those who have experienced heart disease. For more information, contact Jim Oldfield at (616) 891-9395.

Country Music - 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday at Rockford Ambulance Community Center, corner of 10 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue in Rockford. Music by the Rogue River Band. Enjoy free coffee, tea and snacks.


Wednesday, March 4

Business Counseling – Starting a new business or have questions about your existing business? The Rockford Chamber of Commerce and the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) would like to help. SCORE is a nonprofit organization sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and is dedicated to helping the small-business community through no-fee mentoring, business counseling and low-cost workshops. A SCORE counselor will be at the Chamber starting at 9 a.m. Please call the Chamber at (616) 866-2000, Mon. – Fri. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., to schedule an appointment.


Friday, March 6

“A Mixed Up Fairy Tale” – 7 p.m. at East Rockford Middle School (ERMS) cafeteria, presented by ERMS Fine Arts Magnet. For more information, contact the school at (616) 863-6140.


Friday – Monday
March 6 – 9

Spectacular Book Sale - Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 1-4 p.m., and Monday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Plainfield Township Branch of the Kent District Library, 2650 Five Mile Road, Grand Rapids. Hardcovers $1, softcovers 50¢, paperbacks and children’s books 25¢. Bag of Books Sale on Sunday and Monday. Sponsored by Friends of the Plainfield Library. For more information, call (616) 647-3930.


Saturday, March 7

Relay For Life Fundraiser - Little River Casino bus trip. Cost is $35 per person (includes $18 in casino credits); games, prizes and snacks provided. For more information, bus pick-up locations/times, or to sign up, please contact Cheryl, Cindy or Michelle at Independent Bank, Rockford, by calling (616) 866-4471 or e-mailing to ckoster@ibcp.com.

Organ Concert - Steve Chlesing, from the Fox Theater in Detroit, will entertain with music on the organ, along with a silent film. Before the concert, we will have lunch (on your own) at The Pearl Street Grill, and browse around the museum. Cost is $10 per guest (includes concert ticket and bus fee). For more information, bus pick-up locations/times, or to reserve your spot, please call Marcia at (616) 863-6322.


Sunday, March 8

Breakfast - 8 a.m. to noon at American Legion Post #102, 330 Rockford Park Drive, between 11 Mile and 12 Mile roads on Northland Dr.). Cost is $6.50 for adults, $5 for seniors over 70, and $3 for kids, which includes eggs, toast, bacon, sausage, coffee and juice.


Tuesday, March 10

Country Music - 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday at Rockford Ambulance Community Center, corner of 10 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue in Rockford. Music by the Rogue River Band. Enjoy free coffee, tea and snacks.


Thursday, March 12

Rockford Lions Club Meeting - 6 p.m. at the Community Cabin, 220 N. Monroe, Rockford – Spouses Night. Dr. Michael Shibler, superintendent of Rockford Public Schools, will be speaking.


Saturday, March 14

4th Annual Rockford Girl Scouts Daddy/Daughter Cake Auction - 1:30 p.m. at Our Lady of Consolation Family Center. Open to all registered Rockford Girl Scouts and their families. Auction at 2:15 p.m. For more information, contact Kelly McLellan at troop2074@gmail.com or (616) 863-0350. All proceeds to benefit the Girl Scouts of Michigan Shore to Shore Financial Assistance Fund.


Sunday, March 15

Roast Beef Dinner – 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rockford Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, 4195 Thirteen Mile Road, Rockford. Cost is $8 for adults, and $3.50 for children under age 12. Enjoy all-you-can-eat roast beef, potatoes, corn, beans, roll, dessert and beverage. Bring your papers for recycling! “Best dinner in town… Bring the whole family!” Visit www.rockfordvfwpost3946.org.


Monday, March 16

Free Food for Needy Families - 5 p.m. in the Mobile Food Pantry at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 6070 Kuttshill Drive (corner of Northland Drive and Rogue River Rd.; entrance on Kuttshill), Rockford, providing free food for needy families in the North Kent community. For more information, contact the church at (616) 866-1556.


Tuesday, March 17

Country Music - 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday at Rockford Ambulance Community Center, corner of 10 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue in Rockford. Music by the Rogue River Band. Enjoy free coffee, tea and snacks.


Tuesday, March 24

Country Music - 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday at Rockford Ambulance Community Center, corner of 10 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue in Rockford. Music by the Rogue River Band. Enjoy free coffee, tea and snacks.


Tuesday, March 31

Country Music - 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday at Rockford Ambulance Community Center, corner of 10 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue in Rockford. Music by the Rogue River Band. Enjoy free coffee, tea and snacks.


Wednesday, April 1

Business Counseling - Starting a new business or have questions about your existing business? The Rockford Chamber of Commerce and the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) would like to help. SCORE is a nonprofit organization sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration and is dedicated to helping the small-business community through no-fee mentoring, business counseling and low-cost workshops. A SCORE counselor will be at the Chamber starting at 9 a.m. Please call the Chamber at (616) 866-2000, Mon. – Fri. from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., to schedule an appointment.


Tuesday, April 7

Mended Hearts Meeting - 7 p.m. at Spectrum Health Fred & Lena Meijer Heart Center, 100 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids, in Room 8815 on the eighth floor. Mended Hearts, a volunteer nonprofit support group affiliated with the American Heart Association, offers hope, information and encouragement to heart patients, families and caregivers through those who have experienced heart disease. For more information, contact Jim Oldfield at (616) 891-9395.

Country Music - 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. every Tuesday at Rockford Ambulance Community Center, corner of 10 Mile Road and Shaner Avenue in Rockford. Music by the Rogue River Band. Enjoy free coffee, tea and snacks.


Notices run free in the Rockford Register as space allows. Free or low-fee community activities are accepted. To submit Register items, fax at (616) 866-4465 or email, attention Beth to: squiremail@aol.com. Rockford-area events are given first consideration.

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Reader Irritated by Misinformation

I frequently read your paper, and happend to come across the article on Paczki. It was interesting until I got to the part where the writer states “Fat Tuesday is the day of feast before Lent, a time when Catholics give up sweets for 40 days before Easter.” This is not only incorrect, it demonstrates the laziness of the author in neglecting to research something about which they obviously know nothing. A quick search on the internet would have produced the following:

Lent, in some Christian denominations, is the forty-day-long liturgical season of fasting and prayer before Easter.

[1] The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the desert, where according to the Bible he endured temptation by Satan.

[2] Different churches calculate the forty days differently.

The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, penitence, alms giving and self-denial‹for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Your author exhibited a laziness not uncommon in today’s society, and the editor exhibited extremely poor taste in printing a statement that reduces a faith practice common not only to Catholics, but to Lutherans, Episcopalians, and others, to nothing more than refusing to eat a donut. Shame on you!!

Kevin Nelson


Editor’s reply: Ouch!

Thanks Kevin, for helping me set the record straight. I promised an article on pazcki and was confused by the information on the Internet (which I prefer not to use as a resource in any case).

I was baffled on how Polish history, Catholicism and a Mardi Gras celebration day (Fat Tuesday) could be related. Frankly I’m still pretty confused, so appreciate your comments all that much more.

Beth Altena
Editor

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Two Provisions on the Newly Signed Bill

by JERRY COON

jerrycoonInformation is slowly trickling out, detailing how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will affect us here in Rockford. All 1,107 pages of this historic bill were signed into law by President Obama on February 17. An additional 285-page report has been issued by a joint Congressional committee that explains just the tax provisions of the bill. Needless to say, we are in the heart of the tax season and even skimming through 285 pages would be a difficult task, let alone trying to look over the full bill.

For that reason, tax professionals like me belong to tax organizations such as the National Association of Tax Professionals. They have the staff to research these bills and the accompanying committee reports and give us a 20- or 30-page synopsis of what it all means to you and me. I can deal with 20 to 30 pages.

I would like to pass on what we are being told about two provisions of the bill: the One-Time Emergency Payments provision and the Making Work Pay Credit. Both of these credits will put a tremendous amount of money back into people’s hands with the hope they will spend that money and thus stimulate the economy.

The One-Time Emergency Payment consists of the Department of Treasury issuing a $250 check to the following taxpayers: those receiving Social Security benefits; railroad retirement benefits; veteran’s benefits; and certain taxpayers receiving supplemental security income benefits. There is quite a group of taxpayers, however, who will not qualify for the $250 payment, including those currently in prison, those currently on probation or who have violated parole, those who have committed fraud, and those currently receiving SSI while receiving Medicaid benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA), the Veterans Administration (VA), and the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) are all required to submit lists of eligible taxpayers to the Department of Treasury. The checks are required to be issued no later than 120 days after February 17. That means those $250 checks or direct deposits should show up no later than about June 17. That also means that taxpayers will not be required to file a tax return to get the benefit. We all thought that was hokey last year when millions of taxpayers who haven’t filed a return in years were forced to file a return to get last year’s stimulus payment. Now we know it really was hokey. The SSA, VA and RRB are now required to give up names of qualifying recipients, and it’s no problem at all. I guess all Congress had to do was ask.

The second provision putting cash back into the public’s hands is the Making Work Pay Credit. We have all heard something about this credit by reading stories in The Grand Rapids Press or USA Today or watching an interview on television or seeing something on the Internet, but most of these stories don’t deal with the details. They give the overall picture and that is a nice picture to see. Anyone working will receive a refundable credit equal to the smaller of $400 for a single person or $800 for married-filing-joint taxpayers or 6.2 percent of the taxpayer’s earned income. There is one key word and one phrase in the previous sentence: “smaller” and “earned income” that need further explanation.

First, “earned income” is narrowly defined as only income earned via a W-2. Only those taxpayers getting a paycheck are eligible for this credit. Apparently, that means no paycheck, no credit.

Second, “smaller” means that taxpayers with minimal income will qualify for some credit but may not get the full $400/$800. There is also a phase-out provision involved for “rich” taxpayers. Singles with earnings over $75,000 and joint filers with earnings over $150,000 will only get partial or no credit. It is uncertain if and how taxpayers who are self-employed and run their own business will qualify for this credit, since they are not allowed to issue themselves a W-2. Evidently, Congress doesn’t feel they are part of working America.

However, the Making Work Pay Credit will allow millions of taxpayers who do receive a weekly paycheck to begin receiving a weekly benefit very soon. The bill directs the Department of Treasury to adjust the withholding tax tables and get these tables out to employers as fast as possible. The date we have heard is that paychecks beginning April 1 should reflect the credit. Single filers will see an extra $13 in take-home pay and joint filers will see $26 per week. Even taxpayers who actually pay no tax will still receive this credit because it’s based on a paycheck not on a tax return. However, due to one quirk in the bill, the extra take-home pay could result in a balance due on some tax returns and I will discuss that quirk in next week’s column.

This is Jerry Coon signing off. I have some more reading to do.

Jerry Coon is an Enrolled Agent.
He owns Action Tax Service on Northland Dr in Rockford.
His email address is jcoon@actiontaxservice.com

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Learn from Shoveling Snow

by MARCIA HUFSTADER
member, Third Church of Christ, Scientist

A few years ago I was having a tough time working with a particular group of people. We just weren’t seeing eye-to-eye and the communication was very poor. I turned to God, divine Mind, to see what I was supposed to learn from this.

The lesson came while shoveling snow late one night. The snow was really heavy; it took a lot of strength time and time again to lift the snow off the driveway. After a while it occurred to me, if the snow melted it would fall right off the shovel and none of this would be a chore.

I likened the snow to the load of concern I felt burdened with by not getting along with all these friends – it laid heavy in my thought and life. Melting the snow would be loving each of those individuals so much that the anger would melt and fall away. Just like snow melts with the warmth, anger can’t be in the same place as love.

A couple nights later I was out shoveling again. This time I was using a shovel that had high edges. Not only did it hold more snow, but it stayed on the shovel longer. If this snow melted, it would stay on the shovel. Naturally, I then thought about getting rid of the edges in my thought so I wasn’t holding any hatred, frustration or bitterness within. I knew as I got rid of the “edges” in my thought, all those negative feelings would just fall off.

I’m grateful to say the bad situation cleared up, first in my own thought, then with those involved. I’ve thought about this many times since while shoveling. It reminds me to love as purely and simply as Christ Jesus loved. His love was so pure and unconditional it healed (melted away) sickness and resolved off-the-mark thinking. It’s the love of God that melts the wrongs of the world and it starts at home.

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What’s Cooking – Chicken Pronto

Jeanne Briggs

Jeanne Briggs

by JEANNE BRIGGS

Quick cooking is a way of life for all of us these days. But that is no reason to cut corners on taste and quality. Skinless, boneless chicken breasts and thighs are the answer to the harried cook’s dilemma. Just a few years ago, if you wanted skinless, boneless chicken, you had to do the job yourself, a task that required the skill of a surgeon. These cuts of chicken cook in just a few minutes. In fact, overcooking is the most serious problem here. Now get moving – you have 30 minutes until dinner!


Chicken Breasts with Apricot-Cherry Compote

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup coarsely chopped dried tart cherries
3/4 cup chicken broth
2/3 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

Season chicken with salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of the thyme. In a large frying pan, melt 1-1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until golden and nearly cooked through, about 12 minutes. Add apricots, cherries and remaining thyme. Pour in broth and wine. Partially cover pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring often, until fruit is nearly tender, about 3 minutes. Uncover and simmer 1 minute. Season sauce with additional salt and pepper to taste, and serve. Serves 4.


Chicken Amandine

1 pound thinly sliced chicken breast fillets
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2-1/2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Season chicken with salt and pepper. In a large frying pan, melt 1-1/2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until white throughout, about 6 minutes. Remove to a platter. Add remaining butter, reduce heat to medium, and cook almonds and shallots, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove nuts and shallots and sprinkle over chicken. Add nutmeg, wine and broth to pan. Bring to a boil, scraping up browned bits clinging to the bottom. Boil, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes to reduce. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Spoon sauce over chicken and sprinkle with parsley. Serves 4.


Chicken Diane

1 pound thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup minced shallots
4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
6 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Season chicken with salt, then pat on the pepper. In a large frying pan, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until white throughout, about 5 minutes. Add shallots, and cook, stirring until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Remove frying pan from heat and pour Cognac over. Carefully ignite Cognac. Spoon flaming sauce over chicken until flames subside. Sprinkle with parsley and serve from frying pan. Serves 4.


Rosemary and Citrus Chicken

1 pound boneless chicken thighs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
Orange and lemon slices, for garnish

Season chicken with salt, pepper, and half of the rosemary. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, turning once or twice, until cooked throughout, about 6 minutes. Remove from pan. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add broth, wine, orange juice, lemon juice, orange zest, lemon zest, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon rosemary. Bring to a boil, stirring up brown bits from bottom of the pan. Boil until sauce is reduced by one-third, about 3 minutes. Return chicken to pan and heat through, about 1 minute. Serve chicken and sauce, garnished with orange and lemon slices. Serves 4.


Open Sesame Chicken

3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot pepper sauce
1 pound thinly sliced chicken thighs
1/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup dry white wine
Parsley sprigs for garnish

In a shallow dish, combine milk and Tabasco. Add chicken; turn to coat completely. In another shallow dish, combine cornmeal, flour, sesame seeds, parsley, salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in cornmeal coating, patting onto chicken with your hands. In a large frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken and cook, turning once, until cooked throughout, about 6 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and repeat with remaining oil and chicken. Stir wine into pan drippings, scraping up browned bits clinging to bottom. Simmer, stirring, 1 minute. Season with additional salt and pepper. Spoon sauce over chicken. Garnish with parsley sprigs. Serves 4.


Beer Batter Fried Chicken

1 cup flour
3/4 cup beer
3 teaspoons McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning
Vegetable oil for frying
1-1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves and/or thighs

In a bowl, whisk together flour, beer and seasoning. In a deep 12-inch frying pan, heat 1/2 inch of oil to 375F or until a cube of bread fries golden in about 30 seconds. Dip chicken, one piece at a time, into batter to coat completely. Let excess batter drip back into the bowl. Carefully add to hot oil and fry, gently turning once with tongs or a slotted spoon, until rich golden brown on both sides, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot. Serves 6.

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