Have you ever wondered how a mouse can become an angel? “No problem!” says 7-year-old Hanna Prost of Rockford. Who would think that this cute little Valley View Elementary School second grader can make that transformation effortlessly in but a few minutes, from a frightening little mouse who scares the living daylights out of Clara Stahlbaum to a sweet little angel who welcomes Clara to the Land of Sweets. Prost, who also enjoys ice-skating and soccer, has been studying ballet for three years at Rhythm Dance in Belmont. In her first year as a member of the junior company of the West Michigan Youth Ballet (WMYB), Prost has been rehearsing her parts every Sunday for the annual production of Tchaikowski’s Nutcracker Ballet. Prost is joined by another young dancer from her home studio, Mary Camp. Camp is 8 years old and a third grader at St. Patricks. This is Camp’s second year with the WMYB, and she has three parts: gingerbread, big mouse and reindeer. The WMYB has over 90 dancers, ages 6-18, from different dance studios in the Greater Grand Rapids area, Ada, Holland, Muskegon and Lansing. For all of these dedicated and talented young people, rehearsals are a lot of hard work, but also a lot of fun as they prepare to present once again this timeless ballet for our community. Performances will be on Saturday, Dec. 11 at 1:00 and 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, Dec. 12 at 1 p.m., in the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center, 600 Forest Hills Ave., Grand Rapids. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children aged 10 and under, and can be obtained at www.wmyb.org, at the door, or by calling (616) 682-4853. Saturday at 11:30 a.m., there will also be a special Nutcracker Tea, with crafts and refreshments, photo opportunities with Clara, and meeting some of the Nutcracker characters in costume. Tickets for that event are $12. Prost and Camp would love to have their friends come and see them perform. And they promise they won’t scare off anyone, but they will be as sweet as an angel and a gingerbread man.
Where are all the hurricanes? by CRAIG JAMES The 2010 hurricane season officially ended on November 30. How did the forecasts made by NOAA and other hurricane forecasters before the start of the season turn out? Most of these forecasts called for anywhere from 12 to 20 named storms and better than a 50/50 chance for a major hurricane to strike the U.S. Actually, it was a pretty good forecast for the number of storms, but not for either intensity or number of land-falling storms. This season tied with 1995 and 1887 for the third highest number of named storms in the Atlantic Basin. There were 19 named storms, which is well above the average of 10, and there were 12 storms that became hurricanes, which is more than double the average number of five. There were five storms that reached Category 3 or higher, attaining the status of a major hurricane. However, not one hurricane of any intensity struck the United States. To point out how unusual that is, consider this: Since 1900, there is no precedent of an Atlantic hurricane season with 10 or more hurricanes where none has struck the U.S. Some forecasts were calling for nearly an 80 percent chance of a hurricane hitting the U.S. The five previous seasons with 10 or more hurricanes each had at least two hurricanes strike our shores. The period 2006-2010 is one of only three five-year consecutive periods without a U.S. major hurricane landfall (the other two such periods were 1901-1905 and 1936-1940). There has never been a six-year period without a U.S. major hurricane landfall. I guess that means the odds of one hitting the U.S. coast next season are pretty high. In addition, the last hurricane to make landfall on the USA was Hurricane Ike on September 13, 2008. It is now likely that we will see the string of hurricane-free days extend to June 1 of next year, the official start of hurricane season, when it will be 991 days. And if there is no U.S. land-falling hurricane in the nine days after that, it will hit 1,000 days. Chances are good this will happen. While the Atlantic Basin saw a large number of storms, other ocean basins have been almost […]
Rockford Community Federal Credit Union (RCFCU) is proud to announce its seventh year of selling the official “Ram Pride” checks. Profits from each box of checks are donated directly to the Rockford Public Schools. On Tuesday, Nov. 9, RCFCU’s CEO, Connie Taylor, along with financial teen advocate Emily Munslow and employees Cassandra Chartier and Josh Fortuna, with the help of the Rockford Rotary Club’s German exchange student, Julius Loebbecke, presented Superintendent of RPS Dr. Michael Shibler a check from proceeds of the 2009-2010 Rams checks.
Reader praises RPS allergy action Dear Editor, I am the leader of a local parent support group, Rockford Food Allergy Network. This fall, we approached the administration of Rockford Public Schools, requesting a written policy to give guidelines for handling children with severe food allergies for the district. They were very cooperative and have written a policy which will not only help to keep kids with life-threatening food allergies safe, but it will streamline the process of setting up safeguards for kids. It also contains tools which will give new parents more guidance when sending their children who face this disability to school for the first time. Not all schools have a written policy and, if they do, they may not have had the foresight to write the policy with the help of parents who deal with this issue on a daily basis. Rockford should be applauded for the willingness to serve the needs of all their students and their dedication to a safe learning environment for everyone. This policy will be presented to the Rockford School Board at the school board meeting on January 11, 2011. I think it would be wonderful if RPS received some positive news coverage for this. Roxanne Meyers rockfordfoodallergynetwork.weebly.com Local businesses have huge hearts Dear Editor, We all know that Rockford is an unusually wonderful place to live, and we’ve already got plenty of reasons to feel this way, but I’m going to give you another one. A couple of our local businesses will melt your heart when I tell you how big their hearts are. A few weeks ago I called Tracy at Grand Cakes in downtown Rockford to ask how much baked goods would cost for a bake sale that a few Valley View parents were working on to benefit the McGee family. I explained a little about the McGees and all they’ve been through (Dad has dealt with cancer off and on through the years, Mom has health issues, both sons have Mitochondrial disease, their home is in need of costly repairs, their washer and furnace recently konked out… there’s more, but you get the idea), and there it began. Tracy ended up donating HOURS of work, not to mention TONS of baked goods to help […]
Erik S. Douglas, Ph.D. 1998 RHS graduate After graduation from Rockford High School as valedictorian in 1998, Dr. Erik Douglas earned a B.S. in electrical engineering in 2002 from Purdue on a full scholarship. He earned his Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2008. During this time, he also studied and conducted research at Oxford, Johns Hopkins and Stanford. In graduate school, Erik distinguished himself with fellowships from the National Science Foundation and the United Nations. He is the holder of two patents and has authored numerous high-profile research publications. Erik has been active as a citizen scientist, teaching college classes to inmates at San Quentin, and advising the State of California and the National Academy of Sciences on science issues. Erik has co-founded and currently leads CellScope Inc., a company that aims to make medical diagnostic technology more accessible around the world. His work has earned him grants and awards from Intel, Vodafone and the Gates Foundation. Erik’s passion for sharing the benefits of science and engineering in developing countries is also evidenced by his international work on water quality in China and his medical diagnostics in the Congo. Erik is dedicated to academic excellence, service to community, and the pursuit of positive societal impact.