Relay fundraiser good news for dates In its second year, Dress for a Cure offers great deals on new and gently used dresses just in time for prom. The event raised over a cool grand last year, money which all went toward fighting cancer through Rockford’s Relay For Life. Organizer Jenn Hephner, leader of Relay team Love Laugh Cure, came up with the idea when she heard a mother lamenting the expense of prom and the high cost of formal dresses. Hephner thought of all the prom dresses in closets around town that were only worn once. “Girls don’t like to wear the same prom dress they had last year,” she noted. Hephner partnered with the Squire for the event and dress donations came in. She also contacted top fashion designers across the country for donations. Last year and this year the selection for the sale includes many brand-new dresses that have graced runways from New York to California. With prices from $5 to $50, the sale is a bargain. New this year is another partnership, this time with Double Take, a resale shop located at 31 Courtland Street. Double Take owner graciously offered the shop as a drop-off location as well as the site of the sale, which will be Friday and Saturday, April 17 and 18, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
April 1 2009
photos by Melanie Ragsdale In an effort to support President Obama’s efforts to move the country to alternative energy sources, the City of Rockford has switched to windpower. “It only makes sense to harness the Earth’s natural flatulence,” said Izzy Toe, who is on the City’s committee to implement alternative energy, the Joint Open Konsumer Energy (JOKE) committee. Luckily, Rockford is known far and wide for the strength of the local winds, and is often referred to by the common nickname of “The Windy City.” The City made the leap away from electricity on Wednesday, April 1 in a ceremony where turbines installed at a tannery rooftop officially began powering the town. “I would have had to wipe tears of happiness from my eyes if the wind hadn’t blown them dry,” said the City President. “This is a life-long dream come true for me. I’ve always hated the electric company.” The City partnered in this venture with the local funny paper, the Rockford Square, which also made the switch on April 1. “We built our office wind turbine ourselves,” the newspaper spokesperson said. “We have a talented group here and are very handy.” The wind turbine is very common for residential use and can significantly decrease the global footprint of a family home. It was installed on the north side of the Squire building at 331 Northland Drive, just two doors down from the Michigan State Police Post. The Square staff would love to share our blueprint for the turbine with any readers who are interested and are currently offering tours. Within minutes of installation, the turbine began powering all Square electrical equipment. Square paper carriers are also going to windpower with their moms’ and dads’ cars. At right see the money-saving and popular auto wind turbine. “We are so, so grateful to the City for going along with us on this exciting venture,” a Square staffer said. “Wait until we tell them about our next great idea. It involves a large herd of pigs (which are surprisingly speedy animals) and a few hundred yards of velcro. We’ll have them using zero gas for their City cars lickity split.”
Kent County officials have announced that March 2009 was the worst month for potholes in West Michigan in more than thirty years. Above is a Rockford Michigan State Police patrol vehicle which recently became stranded in one of the area’s large potholes. In related news, the county has also announced that West Michigan motorists have had to watch for a record number of rockslides and fallen trees.
As part of an expansive effort to use alternative energy sources (see related story above), the City of Rockford stopped using electric lights on Wednesday, April 1. Department of Public Works Director Mike Bouwcamp turned the switch off during an unlighting ceremony and a large crowd watched as the downtown was reilluminated using gaslight. “Electricity is really one of the first things you can cut to save money,” Bouwcamp said. “Gaslight is also very pleasing to the eye and fits our image.”
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Rockford resident, Lyle English, has come a long way from the day almost five years ago when first he strolled into the Eric Brown Stained Glass Studio on Squire Street. Lyle had peered through the windows many times and marveled at the beautiful stained glass creations on display inside and he wanted a closer look. In subsequent days Lyle returned to the store many times and was befriended by the store’s owner, stained glass artisan, Eric Brown. Brown offered Lyle a job helping out around the shop and the rest, as they say, is history. Lyle began to sit in on the stained glass classes that were offered weeknights throughout the year. He began to think that maybe he too, could acquire the skills necessary to create stained glass pieces. Prodded by Brown, Lyle began to take classes. Lyle (now 51) says, “I was all thumbs at first but with Eric’s help and encouragement I stuck with it and got better.” Starting with simple sun-catchers, Lyle’s skills steadily increased to the point where he has just completed a large Tiffany-style stained glass lamp shade replicating the original Tiffany “Trumpet Vine” pattern. Composed of 985 pieces of cut glass and requiring nine and a half pounds of solder to piece together, Lyle tells us, “It was by far the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life.” The lampshade required 222 hours (five plus work weeks) to complete and sits atop a Tiffany replica (leaf and arc) table lamp base. The shade is beautiful to behold, with its richly colored blossoms and the detailed texture of the vine’s trunk as it winds around the piece. The shade and base combined weight is a whopping 55 pounds. Lyle has become a popular character around the shop, both to customers and class students. He continually cracks people up by fracturing the English language with malapropisms in the style of Yankee legend, Yogi Berra. Keeping up a constant patter that humors all around him, Lyle creates stained glass pieces to be placed on sale at the store or freely given away to friends and family. Most recipients have no idea of the love he puts into each piece and its actual value were it […]