It was a ceremony unlike any other for Rockford Public Schools and the impact will continue on for generations. From Friday, October 1 with a monument dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on through Sunday, October 3 with a farewell brunch, Rockford Public Schools recognized ten special people. Several came from different countries for the first Rockford Public Schools Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the related events. Rockford alumni or residents were selected from four categories for this recognition. A six-and-a-half-foot-tall monument now graces the front of Rockford High School with the names of the ten inductees. There is space on the stone for nearly 80 more years of inductions, which will take place every other year. “This was fantastic,” said Rockford Public School Superintendent Dr. Michael Shibler, one of the inductees. He referred to the day of interacting with Rockford students by the inductees which took place Friday throughout the district. The event was 14 months in the making and came with help from a similar program offered by Grand Haven Public Schools. Lisa Jacobs of Rockford Community Services and Jill Erickson from Rockford Education Foundation have been working with a committee for the Hall of Fame and the committee had the difficult job of choosing the initial inductees. Dr. Ryan Kelley, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, worked with an advisory council over the summer, making sure all inductees met the criteria for recognition. The inductees include people from all over the country, who traveled here from throughout the world. The categories are Cultural/Performing Arts, Academic/Career Accomplishments, Service to the Community, Service to Rockford Public School/Community and Honorary. Neil Blakeslee, former Rockford mayor and his late father, Clarence, were among the first inductees. “I feel humbled by the company I’m keeping with this group,” Neil said. He said others in the community deserve the award as much as he. “Dad’s is a posthumous recognition. I’m glad mine isn’t,” he joked. Watch the Squire for photos and bios of each of the inductees.
Members of the band Tribune bring their local paper along on their first professional tour across Michigan and neighboring states. Band members—all Rockford High School students—are Matt Ciejka, lead guitar; Devon Liu, drums; Scott Nadeau, vocals and rhythm guitar; and Jon Newell, bass and vocals. The band has played at the Intersection in Grand Rapids, for the last two years at Mitchell’s Run, and will be playing for the Steven May benefit at Assumption Church on November 26. For more information, check out the band on Facebook.
Air Force Airman Justin J. Budzynski recently graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force. Budzynski, a 2009 graduate of Rockford High School, is the son of Dennis Budzynski of Rockford.
Local cyclists join ride to fight cystic fibrosis, fatal genetic disease Rockford cyclists, enjoy the remaining pleasant fall days with a ride for a great cause. The West Michigan chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is launching the first ever Eurand CF Cycle for Life tour series to fund research to find a cure for cystic fibrosis. The tour series offers two mileage options, 40 or 67 miles, and follows a scenic route through northern Kent County. The Eurand CF Cycle for Life tour is a series of one-day cycling tours to be held in 17 U.S. cities, where thousands of cyclists will come together to raise money to help find a cure for cystic fibrosis. The ride takes place Saturday, Oct. 9, with a 7 a.m. registration and a 9 a.m. start at Rockford United Methodist Church, 159 Maple Street, downtown Rockford. Eurand Pharmaceuticals and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation have joined together to help raise funds for cystic fibrosis research. Eurand donated $300,000 to sponsor the series to support vital cystic fibrosis programs and research. To participate in the ride, please call (616) 241-2100 or go to www.cff.org/chapters/grand-rapids/.
New shop at 19 N. Monroe Street in cute yellow building Stephanie Heaton is excited to be back doing what she considers her life’s calling. The custom floral designer earned a living as a dental hygienist, but missed the floral business she sold in Lowell. Here in Rockford, she has opened her doors this week at 19 N. Monroe St., home of Flower Garden Floral. “I have a passion for decorating,” said Stephanie, who, with business partner Jeff Barger, has been preparing the 1,300-square-foot space adjacent to Grand Dental. The cheerful yellow building now boasts a custom-made cooler for fresh, live flowers. The cooler is the work of Jeff, who has been in the construction business. “Construction work has been slow,” Jeff said. He and Stephanie have created their own employment—she working on the design and arrangements, and he is the “behind the scenes” with the bookkeeping end of the business. They also employ Sonja Baldwin, one of Stephanie’s childhood friends. “It was like it was meant to be,” Jeff said of Sonja and Stephanie running into each other recently. “They had lost touch with each other and hadn’t seen each other for years.” As plans for Flower Garden Floral were coming together and it was time to look for a delivery person, Sonja and Stephanie ran into each other. It turned out Sonja was looking for a job. “We always play Christian music in the shop. That’s just who we are,” said Stephanie, when asked what is unique about Flower Garden Floral. She said she also offers alternatives to traditional floral displays, such as candy bouquets and gift baskets. The shop also offers plaques and decorator items with Christian quotes. In addition to real and silk floral arrangements, Flower Garden has a variety of home décor items. What is most distinctive about Flower Garden, Stephanie believes, is her unique style of floral arrangements. She loves the work because it allows her to offer a service that helps people. She and Jeff chose Rockford as a location for their business because they believe it is a community that is growing and has so much going on. “There is so much going on here all the time,” she said. “I feel we are here to make new friends, […]