Free outdoor fun offered at annual Winterfest


Winter seems to last half the year in Michigan, so bundle up and love it. The local Izaak Walton League is gearing up for their annual Winterfest to be held Saturday, Jan. 23, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will be held at their conservation center, 6541 Myers Lake Rd. (one half mile north of Cannonsburg Ski Lodge).

Youngsters will enjoy ice-fishing in the stocked pond, sledding, snow-shoeing, archery, candle-making, garden winterscaping, crafts, hot-dogs for lunch, and more. All is for free, unless you’d like to make a donation to the club, “defenders of soil, air, water, woods, and wildlife.” Recently the club sponsored a raising “salmon-in-the-classroom” project with Christine Laug’s fourth grade class at Roguewood Elementary.

Bring your family and friends to explore what the “Ikes” have to offer, and enjoy some of winter’s wonders.


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Hair donation commemorates anniversary of sister’s death

Beth O’Donnell holds a photo of her sister Barbara Liggins after cutting her hair to donate to Children with Hair Loss.

Beth O’Donnell holds a photo of her sister Barbara Liggins after cutting her hair to donate to Children with Hair Loss.


 In honor of the October 17 anniversary of her sister Barbara Liggins’ death from leukemia, Beth O’Donnell of Rockford was motivated to cut and donate her hair to enable children with hair loss a chance to use hers.

Liggins of Kalamazoo was diagnosed in May 1991, the same day as her youngest son Gregory’s birthday. She was admitted into the hospital that very same day. Liggins’ sons Greg, Steve and Tim were 6, 8 and 10, respectively, at the time. She passed five months later on October 17 at the age of 37.

“My family was great and helped the boys get back up on their feet,” said O’Donnell. “Now they’re three young nice boys.”

Liggins had actually made it through chemotherapy.

“Our other sister, Carol McCracken, had been Barb’s bone marrow donor, and complications from that transplant is what had actually killed her. She had a hemorrhage in her brain.” explained O’Donnell. “We were hoping she would make it.”

Liggins was divorced at the time of her diagnosis, making her death even more painful for her sons.

“I can’t imagine being in their position. I just cannot imagine losing a mom at such a young age. After her death, the boys became a lot closer with their dad and were reunited. Thankfully some good did come out of the ordeal,” said O’Donnell.

Children with Hair Loss was the best choice because it is “specifically for children, free for those receiving the hair, and it’s local,” O’Donnell explained.

Surprisingly, she did not feel any sad emotions while having her hair cut on October 15 at Supercuts in Rockford.

“During the holidays we think of Barb, so it is sad. But it’s exciting to remember my sister in such a unique way and celebrate her life instead of being sad,” said O’Donnell.

“Two of my sisters had cancer and they both said the worst thing about it was losing their hair. Especially for women and children, it’s an ugly reminder on a day-to-day basis that they are living with cancer,” said O’Donnell. “I encourage others to donate hair if they can stand growing it that long. It doesn’t take a lot to do and it brings joy to those who are not able to grow their own hair. Barb’s boys were definitely touched by the gesture,” she continued.

O’Donnell donated eight inches of hair to Children with Hair Loss, 12776 S. Dixie Hwy., S. Rockwood, Mich., a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of the emotional and physical effects of hair loss. Children with Hair Loss is a resource for all children who have medically related hair loss and may be financially challenged to obtain the hair they want and need. The organization can be found online at

After having a scare herself, O’Donnell stresses the importance of being tested for early detection of any cancers.

“I had felt a lump, but I wanted to get tested so I could move on if it indeed was cancer and feel relief if it wasn’t,” she said. “It’s important to get tested if it [cancer] runs in your family, like mine. Two of my sisters had cancer; Barb passed and my sister Pat Eve did not. She is now a 21-year breast cancer survivor. So do not be afraid to get tested. Knowing and being able to treat it is much better than giving cancer the time to grow if you delay. Knowledge is empowering,” stressed O’Donnell. “You never know what turns will come in life, so you have to be thankful for each day.”

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Words on Weather & Climate by Craig James — January 14, 2010

Meteorologist Craig James, new Squire columnist

Meteorologist Craig James, new Squire columnist

Cold weather makes headlines


“World copes with Arctic weather…”

“Winter Could Be Worst in 25 Years for USA…”


“3 Deaths Due To Cold

in Memphis…”


“Elderly burn books for warmth?”

“Vermont sets ‘all-time record for one snowstorm’…”

“Iowa temps ‘a solid 30 degrees below normal’…”

“Seoul buried in heaviest snowfall in 70 years…”

“Historic ice build-up shuts down NJ nuclear

power plant…”

“Midwest Sees Near-Record Lows, Snow By The Foot…”

“Miami shivers from coldest weather in decade…”

These are just a few of the headlines from newspapers last week about the very cold weather across much of the northern hemisphere. In the first 10 days of January, there were over 700 cold temperature records either tied or broken in just the United States alone, making it one of the coldest starts to a new year on record.

There were snowflakes reported Saturday morning, January 9 as far south as Naples, Florida, and even into the northern portions of Dade County, where Miami is located. The last time that happened was back in 1977. Over 100,000 tropical fish have died in south Florida from the cold and—in one of the strangest reports I have ever seen—giant iguanas became comatose from the cold and fell from trees. The National Weather Service could have issued a falling iguana warning.

One winter, obviously, doesn’t make a climate trend and just as you can’t point to one storm or heat wave to prove global warming, you can’t point to one cold wave to indicate the end of global warming. Using one cold wave to claim climate change is equally in error.

In a White House press briefing, Friday, Jan. 8, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs stated, “Worldwide record cold is the result of climate change.” At least he knew how ridiculous it would sound if he had said it was the result of global warming.

One weather pattern is not climate. The cold weather this winter can very easily be explained by natural phenomena such as changing ocean currents. However, the fact there hasn’t been any warming in the past decade and that a number of new studies suggest global cooling on the horizon, may indeed indicate a change in the climate. I’ll have more on this in later articles.

One thing this winter weather has done so far is point out how awful the many forecasts issued last summer and fall were that called for a warmer-than-average winter. The Climate Prediction Center here in the United States issued forecasts all last year up until October, stating this would be a mild winter across most of the country. We are now about halfway through the winter season and there would have to be quite a turn around for that to happen. It certainly doesn’t look likely, even though this week has finally brought a thaw to much of the country.

As late as the end of November, the UK Meteorological Office in England forecast the possibility of the warmest winter of record for Great Britain. It may actually turn out to be the coldest in 50 years. There is a wonderful video of a BBC reporter interviewing the head of the Meteorological Office about the bad seasonal forecasts that have been issued. You can see the video online at

It is a very legitimate question to ask, as the reporter in the video does, why we should believe the climate model forecasts for the next 50 to 100 years when they completely miss the forecasts for the next season. If they can’t get the forecasts for the near term correct, which take into account natural processes we understand fairly well, how can we believe the very long-range forecasts that attempt to incorporate things we don’t understand well, such as ocean-atmosphere interactions in a possibly warmer world? I’ll have more on this subject also in later articles.


Craig James has been retired since July 1, 2008, after 40 years of broadcasting television weather. He was chief meteorologist at WZZM-TV for 12 years and chief meteorologist at WOOD-TV for 24 years. He is a graduate of Penn State University, where he received a Centennial Fellowship Award. He was also honored as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

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Let it Snow

Photo by JIM HERDEGEN, volunteer Rockford Police Dept.

Photo by JIM HERDEGEN, volunteer Rockford Police Dept. Volunteer Service Unit.

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Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher — January 14, 2010


Roger Allen, publisher.

Roger Allen, publisher.

Batting average

Last week I received a complimentary letter from Jean Caldwell. In addition, I got a phone call from someone else complaining about my views on providing health care. That’s a batting average of .500. Not bad, wouldn’t you say?

Profile me!

Airport security people don’t dare profile travelers, because they might overlook the “non-obvious.” But obviousness is on a sliding scale. Some travelers are more possibly terrorists than others. Personally, to the most casual of observers, I must be very low on the scale of possibility. I wish they’d profile me as “harmless” so I wouldn’t have to take off my shoes in airports. (And I still regret their confiscation of the little penknife I’d had for decades.)

When it comes to the new x-ray screening, I realize most people are not attractive naked. I’d hate to be the guy who had to look at them all day. But doesn’t it all come down to, “I don’t want my plane to blow up when I’m on it”? Nobody likes the inconvenience of the screening, but I’m glad they’re doing it.

Blank check

One Christmas, a busy mom decreed that she’d no longer remind her children of their thank-you note duties. As a result, their grandmother never received acknowledgments of the generous checks she had given. The next year, however, things were different.

“The children came over in person to thank me,” the grandma told a friend triumphantly.

“How wonderful!” the friend exclaimed. “What do you think caused the change in their behavior?”

“Oh, that’s easy,” said the grandma. “This year I didn’t sign the checks.”


“Our Father, Who does art in heaven, Harold is His name. Amen.”

A little boy was overheard praying: “Lord, if you can’t make me a better boy, don’t worry about it. I’m having a real good time like I am.”

A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, “Let my brother have the first pancake, I can wait.”

Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus.”

Traffic cop comebacks

1. “I’m glad to hear that the chief of police is a personal friend of yours. So you know someone who can post your bail.”

2. “The answer to this question will determine whether you’re drunk or not: Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?”

3. “Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster oven.”

4. “No, sir, we don’t have quotas anymore. We used to, but now we’re allowed to write as many tickets as we can.”


5. “You didn’t think we give tickets to pretty women? You’re right, we don’t. Sign here.”

• • •

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