Step off the deep end with God by PASTOR RON AULBACH BridgeWay Community Church “Go ahead and step off the platform when you’re ready,” the scruffy 26-year-old tour guide informed me. “But are you sure it’s hooked on right?” I responded with a touch of fear in my voice. “Yup, just step off when you’re ready sir.” “You’re sure this cable is gonna hold me?” I stalled as best I could. “It will hold you, just step off the platform. Others are waiting sir.” It was one of those moments where I just had to think about it. I was standing 20 stories up over a river gorge, connected to a thin cable stretching over 1,000 feet to another small platform on the other side of this mountain. In Canada they call this zip-lining, but I still affectionately refer to it as voluntary suicide. What was I thinking? In a matter of 29 seconds, I would travel above this river valley, zipping along at death-defying speeds, and completely out of control—my control that is. And, I had put my complete trust in a thin wire, carabiner, and a tour guide who confessed to me that this wasn’t his real passion in life—he wanted to be a pro surfer. Way too much information to process as I stood on that little platform, with the decision to take a step into thin air or chicken out. I thought for a moment how my wife might spend the life insurance policy, then the strangest thing happened. I stepped off the platform. Turns out, the experience was absolutely amazing! Zip-lining back and down this mountain above a frothy river was something that is impossible to put into words. After a few zips, my confidence started to grow and I was gaining more control, flipping upside down, and genuinely enjoying the ride. It was exhilarating, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but it required I take a risk and go for it. I got to thinking about faith and living a life that really matters. How often have I stood on the edge of a big decision or a turning point in my life and just needed to think about it? And God was right there saying, “You’ll be fine, just step […]
A Political Agenda by CRAIG JAMES The most vocal proponents of the theory of human-induced global warming lay claim to understanding the “scientific truth” about the supposed catastrophe that awaits if we don’t do something now to alter the way we live. The skeptics of such a catastrophe, who claim that real science shows no such catastrophe headed our way, are called “climate heretics” or “climate deniers,” with the same connotation as holocaust deniers. How can two groups of educated people so strongly disagree on what are supposed to be “facts” of science? I firmly believe one of the few things we know about climate that can truly be called a fact is that “climate changes.” There is such inherent natural variability in the climate, which we don’t yet understand, that we are currently unable to know with any certainty how greenhouse gases will affect that variability. It seems to me that climate change has become not a scientific question but a political agenda. How did we get to this point? Dr. Judith Curry, a world-renowned climate scientist and chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, has had the courage to suggest that both sides get back to science and out of politics. Staking out a position smack dab in the middle of those who warn of global warming’s existential threat to humanity and those who call it a hoax, Dr. Curry has made herself a target of both camps. In the wake of the release of the Climategate e-mails, which she credits as changing her perception of the IPCC and the way it operates, she has written a wonderful article on her blog site, “Climate, Etc,” explaining how she has “been trying to understand the crazy dynamics of climate science and policy and politics, and how things went so terribly wrong.” She writes, “The enviro advocacy groups saw the climate change issue as an opportunity to enlist scientific support for their preferred energy policy solution.” A solution many politicians believed because they were told the science was settled. “The policy cart was put before the scientific horse.” Instead of open scientific investigation, “the entire framing of the IPCC was designed around identifying sufficient evidence so that the human-induced greenhouse warming could […]
There will be giveaways and more at Aunt Candy’s Toy Company, double your savings at Double Take, customized gift boxes at Old World Olive Press, free gifts and door prizes at Sage & Roses and 20 percent off one item and refreshments at Jade. The Candle Shop of Rockford is offering 20 percent off one regularly-priced item, receive a free gift with $30 purchase at Dars Gems and Jewelry, a free ornament from Paperdoll Boutique, samples at Twisted Vine, 15 percent off all frames with purchase of lens and 50 percent off a second pair at In Focus Eyecare & Eyewear (open until 8 p.m.) and discounts, food tasting and special gifts at Basket in the Belfry. Baskets in the Belfrey is holding their 33rd anniversary celebration and shoppers will receive 20 percent off their entire purchase plus receive 30 percent off one item for bringing a personal care item to contribute to North Kent Community Center and Lean on Me Outreach. A Charmed Life salon will be serving hot apple cider and yummy treats. D2D Photo Studio will be running their PhotoBooth free during the open house evenings for fun. Shoppers are invited to stop in and have fun and get photos at no cost. The lighting ceremony and evenings of quaint, friendly home-town visiting and shopping with holiday decorations, music twinkling lights remember holidays gone by, and are a change from the hustle, bustle that too often has become a symbol of the season. Step back in time in downtown Rockford for two special nights of true holiday atmosphere.
Mustaches for Mitchell? by MIKE WESTGATE Assistant Principal Rockford Freshman Center Yes, Mustaches for Mitchell. This year in Rockford Public Schools (RPS), a yet-to-be-determined number of brave souls will sacrifice their faces and dignities as “growers” for Mustaches for Mitchell. Our goal is to use our “push brooms” to raise as much money as possible in our first year for Mitchell’s Run and Parent Project MD. Mitchell Peterson is currently a student at the Rockford Freshman Center and was diagnosed in March 1999 with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Mitchell’s Run Thru Rockford and Volley for Mitchell have become mainstays in our community and raise funds to fight this disease. Mustaches for Mitchell is the brainchild of Al Reickard, Mitchell’s social studies teacher at the Freshman Center. As the organizer of this event, Reickard wanted to contribute to Mitchell’s campaign and fundraising efforts in a new and fun way for the staff and students of Rockford. Conceptually, Mustaches for Mitchell works like the read-a-thons held in grade school, except there’s no reading requirement, and you’re growing a mustache. (OK—not exactly the same, but you get the idea). Each “grower” collects pledges from friends, coworkers, distant relatives, acquaintances, local merchants and bus drivers to sponsor their ’stache. Each ’stache is limited to the Magnum P.I. corner-to-corner style—no goatees, stingers, or other redeeming facial hair is allowed. The parent organization, Mustaches for Kids, is a volunteer-run organization started in Los Angeles in 1999 to do good and have fun by growing mustaches for children’s charities. Since its humble beginnings, Mustaches for Kids satellite chapters have spread across the continent, a steady expansion that is not unlike the measured, deliberate growth of a mustache. The growing season begins for participating RPS staff members at the Clean Shaven Day Kickoff on Monday, November 15, and for five glorious weeks thereafter sweet, sweet ’staches are cultivated. During the growing season, growers and sponsors will have the opportunity to meet up at “weigh-ins” to give each other moral support, and compare their facial follicle follies. At the end of five weeks, a finale will be held to determine whose ‘stache is sweetest, with much fame and hardware to go around. All proceeds will benefit Mitchell’s Run and Parent Project MD.
Food is portable, saved miners from eating arsenic by BETH ALTENA The Rockford United Methodist Church held its 33rd annual pasty sale last week from from ? to ? and baked and sold nearly 6,000 of the “pies” filled with beef, pork, rutabagas, onions, carrots, potatoes and secret seasonings. The tradition is a long one for the downtown church, but the history of the pasty itself is much longer. Pasties bring to mind Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where they are an established regional fare. Miners in the 1800s established them as the preferred lunch because they were easy to eat, carry and kept warm for a long time. The miners brought the food when they emigrated from Cornwall, England after mines there were depleted. It is speculated they may have been a variant of “star glazed pie,” which was a fish-filled pie with the head poking through the crust. It is also possible Vikings introduced the pies to the British Isles when they invaded. The earliest reference to the pasty is in Cornish writing dating back to 1150 and 1190. Author Chetien de Troyes wrote romances for the Countess of Champagne, and referred to the food, “Next Guivret opened a chest and took out two pasties.” The pasty is mentioned in Robin Hood ballads as well. When the wave of Cornish miners immigrated to the Upper Peninsula, their expertise was much admired and emulated, including their preference for pasties as their midday meal. Individual family members could request their own fillings for the versatile food, and to identify each pasty, the miner’s initial was stamped on the end. In eating the pasty, miners would start with the end without the initial so the correct pasty could be identified later if they didn’t eat the whole thing at once. Miners had a superstition that it was bad luck to eat the initial end of the pasty and should be thrown on the floor of the mine for the mine gremlins to eat. This tradition also is said to have come from the Cornish mines and, like many superstitions, had a basis in truth. The Cornish mines had high levels of arsenic and, by not eating the part of the pasty they touched with their hands, saved themselves […]