More on winter 2009-10 by CRAIG JAMES I mentioned in an earlier article that meteorological winter is the months of December, January and February. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) has now released their summary of this past winter for the United States. You can find the write-up online at www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100310_cooler.html. On the map shown here, the blue colors represent colder-than-average temperatures with the tan and orange colors warmer than average. It is obvious that most of the United States had a colder-than-average winter. In fact, a few spots in southern Texas and southern Mississippi had the coldest winter on record. In the write-up you will see that NCDC states “63% of the U.S. was cooler than average.” I challenge anyone above a third-grade level to look at the map and tell me the amount of blue doesn’t cover more than 63% of the country. It certainly looks more like at least 75% of the U.S. had a cold winter. Also of note, NCDC does not rank this winter. They always state something like, “This was the third warmest winter of record,” or something like that when the weather is warm, but no mention of where this cold winter ranked. By the way, notice that this winter was called “cooler” than average, not “colder” than average. A few weeks ago I mentioned that Al Gore had stated global warming was responsible for this cold and snowy winter in the south and east. He states on his blog: “Fact: Climate change causes more frequent and severe snowstorms. Record snowstorms need two things: temperatures below freezing, and very high humidity. On a planet warmer by a few degrees on average, the Northeast U.S. will still have plenty of days below freezing; the big difference will be warmer seas producing higher levels of moisture in the air—and therefore more severe cold-season storms.” Not only is this statement at odds with the computer models, but let’s take a look and see whether the seas were actually warmer than normal and whether there has been higher levels of moisture in the air. It is pretty easy to check this out, although something tells me Mr. Gore didn’t bother to see if his theory was supported by the facts. From […]
April 1 2010
Paul “Buzz” Goebel III has recently been hired as Reds on the River’s new manager. His hiring comes in on the heels of news that Reds’ assistant manager, Debbie Fennell, will be leaving to spend more time with her family. Executive Chef Glenn Forgie noted, “Debbie has been with us since we opened Reds in August 2006. Our staff and guests will miss her, but we are fortunate to have hired a top-notch, seasoned restaurant manager. Buzz Goebel was the former owner and manager of Woody’s in Northport, and he has also held management positions with Thousand Oaks, The B.O.B., and early in his career, Mountain Jacks.” Goebel will oversee front-of-the-house operations, ensuring the service and facilities exceed guests’ expectations. “I am thrilled to be working with Reds,” noted Goebel. “Chef Glenn and his staff create exceptional food, and their commitment to a true scratch kitchen, fresh fish flown in daily, aged hand-cut beef, and working with local, organic farmers is outstanding. Plus, Reds’ location and atmosphere are like no other in West Michigan. I am excited to help the restaurant grow and attract more guests to Rockford. It reminds me a lot of Vail, and the charm and town are a tremendous draw.” Goebel and his wife Lesley live in East Grand Rapids with their daughter. The Goebel family has been a familiar face on the West Michigan landscape. Goebel’s grandfather served as mayor of Grand Rapids, and his father founded The Goebel Group in downtown Grand Rapids.
The Kent County Sheriff’s Department Community Services Unit coordinates the highly successful Volunteer Trail Patrol Program. These volunteers patrol the White Pine, South Kent, and the East trail systems, providing assistance to the trail users and reporting problems that need to be addressed. Volunteers will wear a Sheriff’s Department-issued vest and carry a picture identification card that identifies them as a trail volunteer. The volunteers are trained on how to report suspicious or dangerous activity. They also report trail maintenance issues that may need immediate attention. Volunteers choose to walk, ride a bike or use in line skates to patrol. Volunteers set their own schedule and a minimum of a two-hour commitment each week is requested. Requirements for volunteering are that you be at least 18 years of age, have a friendly demeanor, and the ability to provide transportation for yourself to and from the trail system. An interview and criminal background check is done for every trail volunteer. A mandatory meeting for the trail volunteers is scheduled for Wednesday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m. This meeting will be held at the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, 701 Ball Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503. If you would like to find out more information regarding this program, please call Sandi Jones at (616) 632-6221.
Two new books highlighting images of West Michigan scenery as captured by local Rockford artist Stacy Niedzwiecki are now available. In a co-publishing partnership with Spectrum Health, Niedzwiecki has created a book, “Healing Images—A Selection from the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion.” The book features one of each photograph Niedzwiecki has permanently installed in the cancer center’s art collection—63 images in total. Showcasing some of the most scenic areas of West Michigan, the book makes a great gift for anyone who appreciates nature’s beauty. Copies can be purchased online at stacyn.com/wordpress, or at the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion Specialty Shop, Frenz Coffee House in Rockford, and Robinette’s Apple Haus & Gift Barn in Grand Rapids. The artist’s website also lists upcoming book-signing dates and art fair events. Books ordered online can be custom-signed and shipped to any location. In another effort just released, Niedzwiecki has 12 pages of photographs from the Muskegon County area in a second book, “Pure Michigan: Abundant Natural Beauty, Authentic Destinations, Unique Experiences: Spring.” Niedzwiecki was one of 10 professional photographers who were charged with the task of capturing the vibrancy and beauty of the Great Lakes state during the spring season of 2009. The best of their efforts was compiled into a hardcover book containing more than 110 beautiful pictures. The images of people, places and landscapes are perfect for any Michigander’s coffee table. The “Pure Michigan: Spring” book can also be purchased online or by visiting Niedzwiecki at one of her upcoming events. For further information, please call the artist directly at (616) 550-8107.
by JACKIE HOLLAND-DECKER Take notice, soccer fans and foes alike. The new and improved Rockford girls soccer team will be a force with which to be reckoned this year. The girls proved that Friday night, March 26, with a 3-1 victory over Forest Hills Eastern in the home opener at Rams Stadium. Second-year coach Amira Ponne couldn’t have been prouder. “We really showed our strength,” she said. “This was a big win. Last year we tied 1-1. This year we have a clear 3-1 victory. Before the game I looked at their roster and saw that they have a lot of the same girls from last year. They don’t have a lot of young girls on their team. Our team has changed a lot. We really showed our strength with some of our freshmen. We showed them our new format.” That new format, which includes just nine returners and four starters on the 23-member team, has lots of speed and skill. Whereas the Rams of the past used more brute strength and size to get the job done, this team has finesse and scoring ability. For the first time in four years, that lineup also includes a new goalie. The Rams relied on Kristin Darby to keep the ball out of the net throughout her high school career, but when she graduated last spring, Ponne was left pondering what to do. The solution? She found not one, but two capable underclassmen to take the helm. Starting for the Rams Friday night was sophomore Makaela Harrell, who gave up just one goal in the first half. Finishing for the Rams was junior Karlee Flegel, who came in with six minutes left to play, but also saw a lot of playing time in preseason scrimmages Saturday and the previous weekend. The Rams got off to a convincing start just eight minutes into the game when freshman speedster Katie Hartnett took advantage of an open net. As senior Kate Huyser drove up the middle, Forest Hills Eastern (FHE) goalkeeper Michelle Marcus came out to stop her. Huyser’s ball went around Marcus, and Hartnett was in the right place at the right time to kick it in from close proximity. “Katie Hartnett is a scrapper. She was relentless at […]