by CRAIG JAMES Our first 70-degree day this season also turned out to be the first 80-degree day of the season. The thermometer hit 85 degrees on Sunday, April 10. It hasn’t been that warm since mid September and it was also a record high temperature for the date. On average, the first 70-degree day in our area occurs in the last half of March. However, back in 1950, the first 70-degree day did not occur until May 3. It was a very cold spring that year but temperatures were in the mid 60s during the month of January for a topsy-turvy winter and spring. The earliest we have seen a 70-degree day was March 3, 1983, although in 1999 the thermometer hit 69 on February 11. The months of December, January and February are the only three months when the temperature has never hit 70 degrees in Grand Rapids. I guess that is a more comforting thought than the fact that the months of June, July and August are the only three months when we have not seen any snowflakes. As I have written several times already, this looks like a very active spring for severe weather. Our area has been fortunate so far in that all of the severe weather has occurred around us and not here. On April 4, there were over 1,300 reports of wind damage in the southeastern United States in a 24-hour period, making it the greatest number of wind damage events (not tornadoes) ever reported in one day. Keep in mind, however, these records only go back to 1950. Last Saturday evening, the 9th of April, an EF3 rated tornado three quarters of a mile wide with winds between 136 and 165 mph damaged at least 60 percent of the town of Mapleton in the western part of Iowa. Fortunately there were no deaths, but this is the same region of western Iowa where four Boy Scouts died in a tornado that struck a scouting ranch in June 2008. Some of you may remember the severe weather that occurred in our area on April 11, 1965, which was a Palm Sunday. There were 47 tornadoes in the Midwest that day with 271 fatalities and 1,500 injuries; 1,200 of […]
April 14 2011
The Rockford varsity baseball team swept Westview High School (Ind.) in a doubleheader on Monday, April 4. The first game was an extra inning battle that went 10 innings. The Rockford Rams jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead in the first inning, resulting from a Drew Farmer double, Christian Leinesch single, Shain Showers sacrifice fly and Brandon Nostrant RBI single. The Warriors scored three in the third and one in the fourth off Ram southpaw Austin Stephens. At the end of six, the Rams trailed 4-2. In the seventh inning, senior Andrew Rademacher led the inning with a single and junior Farmer hit a two-run homerun to tie the game and take it into extra innings. The game was scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings. In the 10th, the Rams scored the winning run off a sacrifice fly by junior Matt Boonstra, who drove in fellow junior Tony DiLeo. After holding the Warriors scoreless in the bottom of the 10th, the Rams notched a 5-4 win in their first contest of the season. Offensively, the Rams were led by Farmer, who was 3-5 with a homerun, along with junior Nostrant, who was 2-5 with one RBI, and Rademacher, who was 2-3 with one run scored. Fellow senior southpaw Joe Kropiewnicki took over for Stephens in the fifth inning and looked great. Kropiewnicki went the final six innings allowing no runs, one hit, one walk and had eight strikeouts. The line for Stephens on the day was four innings, six hits, five walks, five strikeouts and three earned runs. In the second game, the Ram bats exploded for eight runs in the first inning and one each in the second, third and fourth innings. They won the second game 11-4 and were never in trouble after the huge offensive burst in the first. Everyone joined in offensively including Farmer again, who was 2-3, along with junior Showers, who was 2-4 with a homerun, and DiLeo, who was 2-4 with a double. Nostrant gave a 3-4 performance that included a homerun, and junior Ian Stankus was 3-4 with a triple. Rademacher was 1-2, junior Max Crimp was 1-2, and freshman Kory Young was 2-3 with an RBI. On the mound, senior Caleb Post started the […]
Rockford dropped two one-run games to two very good teams in Indiana over the weekend. In the first contest, the Rams took on Bloomington South and lost 5-6 on Friday, April 8. Bloomington jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and scored a run in the fourth, two in the fifth and one more in the sixth inning. The Rams scored a run in the second, one in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh, but fell just short of a comeback. Leading the way offensively for the Rams were two juniors. Drew Farmer was 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored, and Matt Boonstra was 2-4 with two RBI and a homerun. Other offensive contributors included junior Brandon Nostrant, who was 1-3, and junior Tony DiLeo, who was 1-3 with an RBI. Senior Christian Leinesch was 1-4 with two runs scored, junior Ian Stankus was 1-3 with a stolen base, senior Mike Bilski was 1-3 with an RBI, and senior Andrew Rademacher was 1-2. Defensively, senior southpaw Austin Stephens got the start and took the loss. Stephens threw 4-2/3 innings while giving up five runs, five walks, four hits and struck out three. Fellow senior southpaw Joe Kropiewnicki came in to get an out. He pitched a third of an inning. Leinesch finished up the game, going one inning and giving up a run, walking three and striking out one batter. In the second game, the Rams jumped ahead of their opponents, Bedford North Lawrence, right away. They scored a run in each of the first, third, fourth and sixth innings. The run in the first came when Nostrant was hit by a pitch and moved over to third base by a DiLeo single. Nostrant then scored on a wild pitch. In the third, the Rams manufactured a run with a DiLeo single, advance to third on an errant pickoff throw, and a ground ball from Boonstra. In the fourth, junior Shain Showers walked and moved to third on a Jesse Edick single. He then scored on a double steal attempt. In the sixth, it was Showers scoring again with a double, a sacrifice bunt from freshman Kory Young, and a sacrifice fly by Farmer. Farmer […]
The Rockford Magic took first place at the Morey Courts Friendship tournament in Mount Pleasant on March 26 by winning all three of their games. Coach Wayne Klausing said, “The girls showed a lot of composure and determination in winning two of the three games in the final minutes with solid defense and timely free-throw shooting.” The Magic is a girls’ eighth-grade team and now has a six-win and no-loss record for its spring season. Pictured are (front row, l–r) Makayla Cook, Makayla Clum, Ashley Laura, Amanda Hallock; (back) Coach Wayne Klausing, Rachel Lawrence, Erin Freiburger, Kadison Klausing, Hanna Tolhurst, and Coach Mike Freiburger.
Around 70 people came to the Rockford Sportsman’s Club on Monday, March 28 to hear about the programs available to assist property owners with wetland restoration on their land. The Rogue River Watershed Council and Trout Unlimited Inc., in partnership with Timberland Resource Conservation & Development, the Kent Conservation District, the Izaak Walton League, and the Department of Environmental Quality hosted this free informational workshop. Speakers included: Rob Zbiciak, Wetland Restoration and Watersheds Coordinator for the Department of Environmental Quality; Becky Otto, Wetland Reserve Program Coordinator for the Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Gib King, a fish and wildlife biologist for the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Zbiciak started the workshop by talking about the importance of wetlands in our landscape and wetland loss in the state of Michigan. Over half of Michigan’s wetlands have been drained and converted for agricultural use or other types of development. Wetlands serve a very important role in the landscape by improving water quality, flood storage and groundwater recharge. The loss of wetlands has increased the frequency and severity of flood events. An important function of wetlands is that they reduce sediment and nutrients in surface water before it enters our streams, lakes and rivers. Restoring wetlands is one of the best conservation practices available for improving water quality and quantity. Otto and King spoke for the second half of the meeting about the two programs available for wetland restoration. The first was the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), which restores and protects wetlands converted to agricultural use. By enrolling in WRP, landowners with land that was formerly wetlands can convert these lands back to their original state. WRP provides financial assistance to restore and protect wetlands, and to enhance degraded wetlands. For Kent County, landowners can receive up to $3,689 per acre in this program. The landowner can enter into either a 30-year easement or permanent easement that will insure the land is maintained as wetland habitat. In order to enroll land in WRP, the land must be owned privately or by a tribe and cannot have changed ownership within the previous seven years unless adequate assurances can be provided by the landowner. The second program discussed […]