Following graduation from Rockford High School in 1970, Dr. Linda Johnston attended Michigan State University, earning a B.S. in dietetics in 1974 and a master’s degree in institutional administration with an emphasis in labor and industrial relation in 1976. She continued her education at George Mason University, earning her Ph.D. in conflict analysis and resolution in 2000. Johnston has done her conflict resolution work throughout the world, including the Ukraine, Republic of Georgia, Barbados, Nigeria, Egypt, Costa Rica and the United States. Her research includes racial and ethnic conflict, violence prevention programs for youth, conflict styles in the workplace, and the exploration of living in peace. She is highly published in her field and actively sought as a speaker and facilitator. Johnston is the director of the Master of Science in Conflict Management Program, the director of the Center for Conflict Management, and an associate professor of conflict management at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Ga. She is the president of the International Peace Research Association Foundation, serves on the Small Research Grants Committee, and administers the International Senesh Fellowship Program for women from developing countries. She is also on the board of Hands Along the Nile, and the On-Line Advisory Committee for the U.N. School of Peace in Costa Rica.
On Thursday, October 7, an Available sign went up advertising space in the building at 65 S. Main Street and paper covered the glass entrance doors and windows of Powers Outdoors in Rockford. Darrel Herweyer, represntative from DAR Development group, which represents the owners of the building, said there was little notice given in the closing of the business. “This wasn’t something we expected even a week ago,” he said. Space is now available in the building were Powers was located, although Herweyer said it won’t necessarily be the 7,500 square feet that Powers occupied since opening the business several years ago. “We give first option to our existing tenants,” he stated. The phones at Powers in Rockford have been re-directed to another Powers Outdoors store and calls to the store were not returned. The co-owner of the store was Jake Slominski. “Jake worked very hard to make that business work. He’s a fine young man and we feel bad. The state of Michigan’s economy didn’t help,” Herweyer stated. He said the amount of space at Powers and its distance from the Rogue River might have contributed to the failure of the store. “It was a pretty big space for a start-up,” Herweyer said. Those interested in finding out more about rental opportunities in the property are asked to call DAR Development at (616) 361-2307. City Manager Michael Young said the store has been in operation three or four years. He said it was too bad the business closed as it seemed to be a good fit for Rockford.
“The times, they are a-changin’…” and that’s very true for the Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) office. As many already know, Charylene Powers recently retired from her position as the Chamber’s financial “guru.” RCC is happy to announce that Kristie Keyes has joined the RCC team as the new financial administrative assistant. Keyes is an expert in QuickBooks, has a lot of accounting experience, and is a Rockford resident. Together, she and her husband Mike have three children. Yes, there’s more. In addition to Keyes’ arrival, the RCC is also very happy to announce that Jeannie Gregory has accepted the RCC’s new full-time communications administrative assistant position. Gregory will be working with the social media and the RCC’s new website as they prepare to enter into the exciting world of social networking. “The Chamber organization is very fortunate to continue to have a talented staff,” said RCC Executive Director Brenda Davis. “Between Jeannie’s communication skills and Kristie’s financial skills, the Rockford Chamber of Commerce can look forward to a strong team effort.” For more information, please visit their website at www.rockfordmichamber.com.
The number-three-ranked Lady Rams cross-country team finished with a strong second place at the Portage Invitational where seven of the top 10 ranked Division I teams competed. The Rams were edged by number-one-ranked Grand Haven by four points and outdistanced number-two-ranked Traverse City Central, to whom they had previously lost on two occasions. Juniors Jane Hawks and Sawyer Rocheleau led the effort by placing 11th and 15th respectively. Seniors Catie Rietsema, Anna Bos and Allison Hazy placed 18th, 26th and 45th to conclude the scoring. Sophomore Jordan Vickery and junior Sam Anderson finished the placing in 76th and 116th place. “We ran pretty well today, but not our best,” stated Coach Watson. “We lost by about 45 points four weeks ago to Grand Haven, so we have come a long way in only losing by four points today. We will be racing them four more times before the end of the season, so we just need to keep improving.”
The Rockford Rams varsity volleyball team powered through this past week with a convincing OK Red conference win Thursday, Oct. 7, and then a championship title at the Byron Center Invitational on Saturday, Oct. 9. The Rams moved to 39-7 overall, and 5-0 in OK Red standings. The Rams made quick work of the Bulldogs at Grandville, winning 25-15, 25-12 and 25-18. With a day’s rest, the Rams then played in the Bryon Center Invitational Saturday. The Lady Rams spent the entire day digging, passing, setting and hitting their way to a perfect 6-0 record. This day included wins over South Christian, Kenowa Hills, Coopersville, Unity Christian, Lakewood and South Christian again in the championship match. The Rams compete Thursday, Oct. 14 in an OK Red match versus the Hudsonville Eagles. Both teams stand on top of the OK Red conference with identical 5-0 records. This becomes a pivotal match with only two games left on the conference schedule. The Rams host this “showdown of unbeatens” on the Rockford High School home court with action beginning at approximately 6:45 p.m. Come cheer the Rams to victory and honor the Rams’ senior players on Senior Night.