Ken and Mary Afman of Plainfield Township recently spent two weeks volunteering in Romania. They went with a group of 14 members of LaGrave Church to work in Ozd, Romania, which is located in the Transylvania area. Ozd is a small rural town of about 350 residents who travel by horse and wagon, and their cows walk down the dirt village streets out to pasture. Under the auspices of Bonus Pastor Foundation, the group dug ditches, built a three-sided storage building, and worked in a 500-year-old castle (pictured). In previous years, the group has rehabbed an old grainery into a dormitory and treatment center for recovering alcoholics.
When students give back… It’s a wonderful thing! by Tom Hosford Assistant Principal, Rockford High School Our school system is blessed to have incredibly talented students roaming the hallways from the time they are in kindergarten to the time they graduate from high school! Their achievements stretch from the rigors of the classroom and athletic fields to the polished fine arts productions and beyond. There is not a week that goes by without some sort of recognition regarding student accomplishments, and this week is not an exception. I am continuously amazed at how much our students give back to the community. Every year, the students of Rockford Public Schools give of themselves to many great and worthy causes. Whether it is a monetary donation, a canned good, an article of clothing, a pint of blood or valuable time, the students in our district treat each cause with the same amount of energy and dedication. The list of organizations that are positively affected is long and diverse. Our student body truly wants to make a difference in our community and send a positive message to society that there is somebody out there that will help during difficult times. Last year alone, our students raised tens of thousands of dollars, donated hundreds of thousands of pounds of food and canned goods, participated in a house rehabilitation project and spent countless hours planning and executing other various service projects. They do it all without judgment and without recognition, just from the bottom of their heart and for the good of humanity. We should all be proud of our students for their involvement in community service projects, and I look forward to witnessing the positive impact that will be made in the years to come!
Peshtigo Horror by CRAIG JAMES Peshtigo is a small town in northeastern Wisconsin about 50 miles north of Green Bay. Most people have likely not heard of Peshtigo, but on the night of October 8, 1871, it was in the middle of the deadliest fire in United States history. Very little news of this horrible event spread across the nation because, at almost exactly the same time, the Great Chicago Fire was destroying much of that city, capturing most of the attention. Almost unbelievably, that same night saw fires destroy much of Holland, Manistee and Port Huron, Mich. as well as a good bit of forested area in the central part of our state. The exact cause of the Chicago fire is unknown, but the blaze started at about 9 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 8, in or around a small shed that bordered the alley behind 137 DeKoven Street. The traditional account of the origin of the fire is that it was started by a cow kicking over a lantern in the barn owned by Patrick and Catherine O’Leary. Michael Ahern, the Chicago Republican reporter who created the cow story, admitted in 1893 that he had made it up because he thought it would make colorful copy. Would news reporters just make up facts? But I digress. The fire encompassed almost 2,000 acres of the city. More than 73 miles of roads were destroyed, 120 miles of sidewalks, 2,000 lampposts, 17,500 buildings, and two to three million books. The death toll was between 200 and 300. The Chicago Water Tower is one of the few structures still standing that survived the fire. The Chicago fire was small compared to what happened in northeastern Wisconsin that same evening. The fire in this area consumed over 1.2 million acres of land, which is approximately twice the size of Rhode Island. At least 12 communities were completely destroyed with death toll numbers ranging between 1,200 and 2,500 people. The following account gives a vivid description of what happened in Peshtigo, Wis. that night beginning around 9 p.m. “A sound resembling a thousand stampeding cows or the ‘heavy discharge of artillery’ preceded the horrors that followed. The thick smoke made it difficult to see even a few feet ahead. […]
The Rockford varsity volleyball team found themselves on top of the OK Red conference standings with a win over rival East Kentwood this past Thursday, Sept. 30. The Rams won this best-of-five match in four games, losing only the first set. The Lady Rams settled down and stormed back with three straight and decisive wins in this match of undefeated OK Red teams. The Rams moved to 4-0 in conference play and 32-7-0 overall. Rockford has future conference matches ahead on the schedule with Grandville, Hudsonville and Jenison. In Thursday’s match, Rockford showed a tentative start due in part to East Kentwood’s strong defense. During the second set, it was easy to see when the Rams settled in to their own game, consisting of a variety power offense, strong passing, and a tenacious defense. Once the Rams had the momentum on their side, they never let East Kentwood back in the match. The Rams’ next match is Thursday, Oct. 7 at Grandville High School, and then the Rams travel to Byron Center on October 9 to compete in an area tournament.
See the most unique front desk of any business in Rockford at Advanced Aquariums, 11 N. Main Street, but even the hand made ships bow can’t steal the show from the real stars, more than 50 different kinds of fresh and saltwater fish in dozens of tanks. John and Heather Richardson are helped in the family business by their five children, who range in age from 13 to 21. The company celebrated a grand opening on Friday, September 24 after taking some time to settle in after an earlier move. “We have three times the space at this location,” Heather said of the new digs. “Plus we have the downstairs and we plan to propagate our own coral down there.” The space features the creaky wood floors of many of Rockford’s older buildings and is owned by Tom Cronkright. Formerly it housed G. Wilikers and before that it was briefly a second-hand furniture store and was part of the building Ace Hardware occupied. Advanced Aquariums moved from its earlier spot next to Peppinos Pizza at the intersection of Northland Drive and East Main Street, and the business was operated prior to that out of the Richardson’s home. “We were slow to grow but we don’t owe anyone,” Heather stated. The shop was a hit from day one during Rockford’s first ArtCapsule event, where one youngster voted for the puffer fish, even though it wasn’t one of the art event’s entries. The other denizens of the store include a unicorn tang—a pretty blue fish with a long nose. According to Kevin, 19, one of the couple’s boys who was helping out during the grand opening, you can tell the age of a unicorn tang by the length of its “nose.” Find helfrichi fire fish, cocoa worms, Christmas tree or feather duster anenomie within the waters of Advanced Aquarium. Clams, corals and dancing shrimp which work for their living and don’t even get minimum wage, are all fun to watch if not bring home. Some of the fish are like family. “None of these are for sale,” Kevin said of the long tank which features coral, which are for sale and are arranged according to price, but also some of the larger fish in the store. “I’ve […]