by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Mary Carpenter received so many cards in celebration of her 106th birthday, she has yet to find the time to open and read them all. The cards were an outpouring of love and best wishes from the Rockford community and her Rockford United Methodist Church family. Best of all, an anonymous good Samaritan dropped off an autographed Tiger baseball to the Bishop Hills Elder Care Community office, where Mary resides. Mary, the oldest-known living Tiger fan, couldn’t have been happier. Mary asked us to thank all of the many well-wishers who sent cards and flowers. Squire readers are the best!
April 1 2010
‘Unending determination and steady leadership’ cited Rockford’s own Roger Morgan has been recognized by two boards recently for his years of service. The Kent County Board of Commissioners, on which Morgan has served since 2000, and the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) since January 2006 both honored Morgan for good works and service. “Roger has been a huge cheerleader in Kent County,” said Doug Small, managing director of the CVB. He said Morgan worked hard to make sure visitors realize what Rockford has to offer when they come to Grand Rapids for conventions or other reasons. During his tennure Morgan positioned the City of Grand Rapids as a destination that is more and more popular. He said people come for leisure as well as congerences and conventions. With the lake 30 minutes away, and downtown known for culture, as well as rich in natural resources—the Grand River and White Pine Trail—it only makes sense to promote Rockford to that market. Morgan has done a good job of that, Small said. “Rockford is in all the information we provide.” Daryl Dellabio, Kent County Administrator, said Morgan has had a unique and influential term as Chair of the Kent County Board of Commissioners. He is the first since the early 90’s to chair for four years. “It is a lot of responsibility for a part time job and it is a pretty thankless position,” Delabbio said. The county recognized Morgan for accomplishing over 500 resolutions during his four-year term. The position of chair is chosen by his peers on the 19-member board. The county thanked him for unwavering, steady leadership and declared Tuesday, December 15, 2009 as Roger Morgan Day in Kent County. “He has an easy manner about him, but he also believes strongly about issues that are important and has the courage to take on issues others might not have,” said Delabbio.
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL When Ginger Zuidgeest graduated from Rockford High School (RHS) in 1999, she stated in her high school yearbook she wanted to make it on NBC’s “Today” show by age 30. On Saturday, Feb. 27 of this year that dream came true for meteorologist Ginger Zee (as she is now known). when she filled in for regular meteorologist Bill Carins during the 7:00–9:00 a.m. “Today” show. Currently, Ginger is the weekend meteorologist/on-air weather forecaster for NBC affiliate WMAQ 5’s Chicago weather team, serving one of the largest TV markets in the country. She also serves as that station’s environmental “Going Green” sustainability and conservation reporter. Earlier this year, Ginger also appeared weekdays on NBC’s “Early Today” and MSNBC’s “First Look, Way Too Early” and “Morning Joe.” All of the success of this talented young woman comes as no surprise to the also multi-talented, teacher Colleen Pierson. Pierson, with a strong background with WOOD TV as a manager of marketing services and an education reporter, now teaches broadcast communications/TV Studio 1, 2 and 3 at RHS. “When Ginger, a sophomore at RHS, was a student in my classroom 13 years ago, I soon realized that she was one special young woman,” said Pierson. “Ginger was so good in math and science, intelligent, talented, not to mention beautiful, that I told her she should go into meteorology. She deserves all of her success, because she is one of the hardest workers you will ever come across. Ginger always credits a strong core of teachers here at RHS for our guidance and leadership, but I think it is Ginger who has taught us. She showed us by example the value of hard work.” It appears as though Ginger diligently worked toward her goal, and as if scripted and right on cue, she found herself in New York City in NBC network’s Studio 1A. “You know when you wake up and it feels like you are still dreaming—that is what it was like being on the ‘Today’ show. I knew it was real, but it felt so surreal,” Ginger said. “It was a crazy morning with the earthquake and an epic snowstorm in the northeast. Even so, I managed to remain calm and it was […]
Bob Simonson believes he can get your kid off the bench. The former pro ball player opened PowerBall Baseball and Softball Training Center in March at 8181 Graphic Drive (US 131 and Ten Mile). With a lifetime of experience in the field and behind the diamond, Simonson can improve the hitting and pitching skills of anyone over the age of six who is willing to learn. “I teach confidence,” he said of his style of training. Simonson opened his 12,000 foot center in March and already has about 70 kids coming regularly. He said improvement is often seen nearly immediately. “Little kids you have to be careful of, bigger kids, I crack down on them.” He said he tells youngsters who are cocky to talk with their bat, not their mouths. “You have to have a good raport with kids and make it fun for them,” he said. “I love taking the kid everyone makes fun of and making them the best hitter on the team.” The 1982 Sparta High School graduate played pro ball for nine years and has had a career playing or coaching that has taken him around the world. He chose to return to the area to settle down and believes there is a need for the training center here. He said people have been willing to drive for hours and uses the example of three girls from Manton High School who are commuting daily during their spring break to improve their softball game. Tracy, Becky and Kala began working with Simonson on Monday and by Tuesday had improved their skills. Spring clinics are coming right up with a baseball hitting session April 5 and April 7 from 9 a.m. to noon and softball April 6 and 8 at the same time. One session is $35, both sessions for $50 for either clinic. On April 8 a baseball pitching clinic will be 9 a.m. to noon for $35. Visit to see the new facility or visit on facebook at powerbaseballsoftballtraining to find specials. Mention this article and receive ten percent off any package. Simonson, whose brother is Bill Simonson of the Huge Show, is nothing if not confident he can help kids play ball better. “You bring me that kid, I […]
This week it’s funny! …Funnier than last week’s column, anyway. Last week I muttered about my failed kidneys and Humana Health Insurance. I sputtered about the way Humana cancelled my policy retroactively to Jan. 1 when I started dialysis. Those aggravating things haven’t gone away, but this week’s paper is our April Fool’s Day issue and that always perks me up. Speaking of April Fool’s issues, I thought the Kalamazoo Gazette had done one. I picked up their front page in a restaurant lobby and saw the main headline: “House passes health care bill” with the subhead: “Obama gets hard-fought win without any Republican votes.” Nope, not April Fool. Sometimes crazy-sounding stuff is real. Medical joke #1 An older gentleman arrived for an appointment with a urologist who shared offices with several others. The waiting room was crowded. The receptionist was an unfriendly woman who looked like a Sumo wrestler. He gave her his name. In a booming voice, the receptionist said, “YES, I HAVE YOUR NAME HERE. YOU WANT TO SEE THE DOCTOR ABOUT IMPOTENCE, RIGHT?” All the patients in the waiting room snapped their heads around to look at the embarrassed man. He recovered quickly and in an equally loud voice replied, “NO, I’VE COME TO INQUIRE ABOUT A SEX CHANGE OPERATION, BUT I DON’T WANT THE SAME DOCTOR THAT DID YOURS.” Medical joke #2 When a car skidded on wet pavement and struck a telephone pole, several bystanders ran over to help the driver. A woman was the first to reach the victim, but a man rushed in and pushed her aside. “Step aside, lady,” he barked. “I’ve taken a course in first-aid!” The woman watched for a couple of minutes, then tapped him on the shoulder. “Pardon me,” she said, “but when you get to the part about calling a doctor, I’m right here.” Last laugh Jim was out for a drive in his brand-new sports car when he unintentionally cut off a mean truck driver. The trucker motioned for Jim to pull over. Not wanting to offend the guy further, Jim complied. Drawing a chalk circle on the road, the trucker ordered Jim to stand in the circle and not move. He then went to the shiny new car and […]