Andrew Kersting

Annual Rogue River cleanup cancelled due to cleanliness

June 28, 2012 // 0 Comments

Rockford resident Andrew Kersting has been organizing the annual Rogue River Cleanup from the Rockford Dam down to Childsdale Ave. since he was in his early teens. This year, after walking the proposed route with Nicole DeMol of Trout Unlimited, who is leading the Home Rivers Initiative, and Rogue River Project director Andrew Kersting decided to cancel the event for this summer due to the lack of trash on the Rogue. Kersting said he would like to think his dedication in getting the word out about not “trashing” the Rogue may be part of the reason the Rogue looks so clean this summer. Kersting began his clean up events after an injury made him realize at a young age that you never know what life has in store for you and that you should do as much good as you can while you are able to. Over the years Kersting has had support from D&W Fresh Market of Rockford, which has supplied trash bags and water, and AAA Canoe Rental. BC Pizza of Belmont and the Rockford Corner Bar have provided Kersting’s group of volunteers with a great lunch for their hard work. Celebration! Cinema and the Coopersville & Marne Railway have provided great items to be given away to volunteers after the event. The Rogue River Cleanup is scheduled to take place again in the spring of 2013. For this year, a big thanks goes to those on the Rogue River who took their trash out with them and to all the people who, like Kersting, give back by donating their time and effort for a very beautiful cause.

Help Wanted – Coopersville & Marne Railway Company

June 28, 2012 // 0 Comments

Squire ‘rides the rails’ on historic railway by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL All little boys love trains and some never lose that fascination. One such is Rockford resident Andrew Kersting. Squire readers will recall that Kersting founded the Rogue River Project. Since 2005 Kersting has joined forces with Trout Unlimited and local citizens for annual litter clean-up days of the Rogue River. This year Kersting was gratified and more than pleased that the annual event was not necessary because the river was amazingly clean. It seems river users had “gotten religion” and are now policing and cleaning the river themselves. Kersting, 23, is an amazing young man. Not only does he have a love of the environment, he is a volunteer Conductor and a Brakeman with the Coopersville & Marne Railway (C&M). Recently Kersting contacted the Squire and asked if we would like, one day, to take the short 30-minute drive to Coopersville to “ride the rails” on an authentic old-fashioned passenger trail. One of your reporters still has a hand-carved toy train from his childhood and for him the question was a no-brainer…”Lets GO!” Last Wednesday morning at 9:00 a.m. found us at the C&M engine house, in the heart of downtown Coopersville, to meet the train’s crew as they were about to prep the locomotive for the day’s two runs. The railway’s locomotive is a 125-ton General Motors SW9 switcher, #7014. Built in 1952, the engine is lovingly maintained by the all-volunteer staff of C&M. The 1,200 horse power diesel engine of the locomotive turns a generator which in turn feeds 600 volts of electricity to the traction motors that are geared to the locomotive’s 8 drive wheels. Along with Kersting acting as Brakeman, the train’s scheduled crew of the day included another Rockford resident Conductor Al Kolpack, along with Engineer Bruce Quinn and Brakeman Trainee Mike Smith, both from Grand Rapids. Kolpack and Quinn are both certified by C&M as Brakeman and Conductors and both hold federal Engineer licenses. The two of them have been volunteers with C&M for a combined 19 years. “Although the Engineer is responsible for the operation of the locomotive,” said Kolpack, “the conductor is the boss on all trains. The train doesn’t move until the Conductor says […]

Local group to clean litter from Rogue

April 14, 2011 // 0 Comments

Local citizens are banding together to tackle litter in the Rogue River. The Rogue River Project, founded by Andrew Kersting, and Trout Unlimited, through the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project, are working together to conduct a stream cleanup along the Rogue River on April 23, 2011. Garbage along stream banks is not only unsightly, but it also can be harmful to wildlife. Many plants and animals depend on access to the water for survival. Waste can prevent animals from reaching what they need. Sometimes animals can confuse garbage for food or a suitable home. Waste enters a stream in a number of ways. Storm drains collect storm water from our neighborhoods, parking lots and other public areas, and this water is not treated before it reaches our local waterways. This means that garbage that ends up in a storm drain is washed directly to our streams and rivers. Litter from recreational use and sometimes intentional dumping also pollutes our water resources. You can help by volunteering a few hours of your time to collect garbage along three miles of the Rogue River below the Rockford dam on April 23 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Please meet at Richardson Sowerby Park in Rockford. Morning refreshments and a pizza lunch will be available for volunteers. You will also be entered into a drawing to win free tickets to Celebration Cinema or the Coopersville and Marne Railway Company. Please wear closed-toe shoes and bring gloves if you have them. For more information visit If you are interested in attending, please contact Nichol De Mol at (231) 557-6362 or e-mail Special thanks to the following businesses for supporting this event: AAA Canoe Rental, BC Pizza, Celebration Cinema, Coopersville and Marne Railway, D&W, and The Corner Bar. Trout Unlimited is the nation’s largest coldwater conservation organization, with 140,000 members dedicated to conserving, protecting and restoring North America’s trout and salmon fisheries and their watersheds.  

Squire visits SP GS-4 steam engine in Indiana

August 13, 2009 // 0 Comments

  Southern Pacific 4449 is the only surviving example of Southern Pacific Railroad’s (SP) GS-4 class of steam locomotives. The GS-4 is a streamlined 4-8-4 (Northern) type steam locomotive. The locomotive was built by Lima Locomotive Works in Lima, Ohio, for SP in May 1941. It received the red-and-orange “Daylight” paint scheme for the passenger trains of the same name which it hauled for most of its service career. The 4449 was retired from revenue service in 1957 and put on static display in Oaks Park, Portland, Oregon, the following year, where it remained until 1974. It was restored to operation for use in the second American Freedom Train, which toured the 48 contiguous United States for the American Bicentennial celebrations. The 4449 has traveled over 2,250 miles across country for the Trainfest event in Owasso, Mich. For more photos of the SP 4449 please visit Kersting’s website at

Rewards of volunteering (for Rogue River Cleanup) greater than ever

May 7, 2009 // 0 Comments

Rockford resident Andrew Kersting is an old hand at helping the Rogue River be its best. Kersting began his annual Rogue River Cleanup in May, 2005, after realizing at a young age that life can be short and you need to do what you can while you can. Kersting has scheduled this year’s Cleanup for Saturday, May 30 and hopes others who love the river will turn up to help out. This year, volunteers will again enjoy the pizza party donated generously by B.C. Pizza after the mornings work. Water and trash bags are always donated by Rockford D&W Fresh Market, and the City of Rockford picks up the bagged trash afterwards. But wait, there’s more. This year volunteers will be further be rewarded by being entered into a drawing for a four-pack of tickets to the West Michigan White Caps. Only those who attend the event will be eligible for the drawing. In its sixth year, the Cleanup crew has seen a lot ofdebris and made the river a much cleaner environment for its recreational users as well as its wildlife. Each year Kersting is proud of the workers who turn up with or without waders, and ready to haul trash. The job would be quicker and better if a few more folks help out. This year Kersting hooked up with environmental students at  Grand Valley State University, and they gave him some tips on how to promote the project, including the ticket giveaway.  Registration for the project is from 9:30 to 10 a.m. at Richardson-Sowerby Park off the White Pine Trail. Parking is available in the public parking lot off South Main Street behind Powers Outdoors. Volunteers should wear boots or waders and a good comfortable pair of gloves for picking up litter. To find out more call Kersting at (616) 866-5896 or e-mail him at