April 16 2009

Merchants join with boosters to build Community Unity

April 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

  by BETH ALTENA   Buy a better product and put money into Rockford Public Schools sports programs. Downtown merchants have formed a new partnership with Rockford Sports Boosters. The program keeps the dollars spent for sports fundraising local, offers better products (those offered here in town) and might keep kids from selling door to door. Barb Stein of Great Northern Trading Company is one of the organizers of the partnership, called Community Unity. Three times a year shoppers will be able to present a Community Unity card when making a purchase with a participating merchant. That merchant will then donate ten percent of that sale to the Sports Boosters. Other non-profits are invited to participate in the future. Stein is a real expert in the retail field as a long-time Rockford merchant and chair-elect of the Michigan Retailers Association. She believes in the value of product and fair pricing local shops offer. The idea came when Polly VonEschen of Baskets in the Belfry was thinking about the items fundraising groups typically offer. Usually they are catalog items that you aren’t able to see or sample before purchase. She knows Rockford has better wares to offer, and supporting sports boosters from the stores should please parents, as well. “As parents, we buy the products ourselves because we don’t want our children going door-to-door, or we take it to work,” Stein said. The plan has the advantage of keeping local dollars within our community. “When you buy from a catalog, certainly none of that money stays local,” Stein said. Now more than ever consumers are realizing the importance of shopping locally. An article from ambia, the American Independent Business Alliance, discussed findings of the impact of money spent at local, independently-owned businesses compared to corporate chains. “Dollars spent at community-based merchants create a multiplier effect in the local economy, that, by most findings, typically amounts to three times that of a chain,” the article stated. A 2003 economic study showed that, of the money spent at a chain, $13 stayed in the community compared to $45 remaining when spent at a local shop or business. “It is really, really important now to shop locally, Stein said. It is also important to support sports programs in a […]

What’s up with the big green footprints?

April 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

Buy your own piece of Ted sod by Cliff and Nancy Hill It’s spring and miraculously the downtown sidewalks have sprouted pairs of big green footprints.  What’s up with the feet?  Turns out that the Rockford Education Foundation (REF) in a joint venture with the Rockford’s Football and Band Boosters had the feet placed on sidewalks and storefronts to promote their upcoming “Tiptoe Through The Ted – Selling the Sod” event.  Weather permitting, the undertaking of the removal of the grass turf at the Rockford High School Football Stadium (aka ‘The Ted’) will begin on May 4.  During the weeks following, the grass surface will be replaced with one of the latest generations of synthetic turf.  This taking of ‘The Ted’ to a new level provides the REF and the Boosters a great new opportunity to raise money in support of their good works.  Rain or shine, on Saturday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., everyone will be afforded the opportunity to buy a piece of Rockford history.  During the free midday event square yards (18 inches by 72 inches) of the removed sod will be available for $10 per yard.  Small potted versions will also be available.  By buying a chunk of the sod you can create your own little patch of ‘The Ted’ in your yard.  Imagine the possibilities!  Whether purchasing sod or not, everyone is invited to four hours of live music and games.  Picnic on the field, if you like.  There will be something for everyone.   The Sports Boosters will have food concessions stands.  The High School Band will make an appearance.  There will be stage performances by local students, some of who are REF grant recipients.  Zumba and Parisi demonstrations are scheduled.  Other possibilities include; face painting, relay races, and football passing contests.  Many more fun activities are planned, too many to name.  In case of rain, the event will be moved inside to the Rockford High School gymnasium.  Aside from the sod sale the purpose of the event is to celebrate the role ‘The Ted’ has played in the lives of all in our Rockford community. The installation of artificial turf was made possible as a result of school district voters saying “yes” to a mileage […]

Reds announces appetizer contest winner

April 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL along with MEREDITH GREMEL When in January we heard of the Reds on the River first ever recipe contest we figured, “What the heck, why not enter?” After all, your reporters are graduates of Chef Robin Toldo’s cooking classes offered yearly through Rockford Community Services, a service of Rockford Public Schools. Reds was seeking an appetizer recipe to be featured, along with the contest winner’s name, on their newly created small plate restaurant menu. What an honor that would be. We forwarded our entry to Executive Chef/General Manager, Glenn Forgie, and awaited Reds’ response. In March, we were contacted by Meredith Gremel, Reds’ Publicist, and told that Chef Glenn was, “happy to inform you that you have been chosen as a semi-finalist out of 15 other contest entrants.” We then moved on to the next phase of the contest. We were invited to demonstrate our recipe in the kitchen of Reds on Saturday, March 28. Each of the six semi-finalists was allotted one of six half-hour time slots beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 11:30 a.m. to demonstrate and prepare their recipe. We chose the 10 a.m. time slot for our recipe demonstration and found ourselves in an already bustling kitchen, even though the restaurant would not open for another two hours. This was not just any kitchen but the spotless state-of-the-art kitchen of Reds on the River. Every day this kitchen serves up award-winning cuisine prepared absolutely from scratch. (Talk about pressure, we were like school kids taking an oral final exam while at the same time trying not to cut our fingers off.) We named our entry “German Wurstchen Biss Wraps” (wurstchen is German for a small sausage or wiener and biss means small portion).  As an appetizer it is as delicious as it is simple to prepare. Consisting of just three ingredients; thin triangles of pastry dough, old-fashioned, coarse-cut all-meat German-style wieners with no added fillers, and mustard for dipping. The wieners, cut into thirds, wrapped in dough and baked are to die for when dipped while piping hot into mustard. Our favorite is Beer’n Brat Horseradish Mustard. The choice is yours. The main ingredient is not just any wiener but Wimmers Old Fashioned Wieners available […]

Antiques Roadshow showcases Grand Rapids

April 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Stand aside Dancing With The Stars.  For the next three consecutive Monday nights (April 20, 27, and May 4), during the time slot of the hugely popular ABC network dance show, West Michigan television viewers will have their sets tuned to WGVU Public Television’s most popular show, The Antiques Roadshow.  Readers will recall The Squire’s coverage of the first ever visit of the Antiques Roadshow to Grand Rapids, MI, August 9 of last year. The Rockford Squire was there to cover that event.  Judy Matthews, the show’s Senior Publicist, said at the time, “We have received an overwhelming response in Grand Rapids. 27,000 tickets were requested for the event, a record number unsurpassed by any city in the Roadshow’s history.”  In a random drawing 3,400 lucky people had each received two free tickets to the DeVos Place event. Also holding tickets were a limited number of people who had made a minimum $200 donation to WGVU Public Television to receive just one ticket. Each ticket holder was asked to bring no more than two of his or her “treasures” for appraisal. But somehow that limit was exceeded Matthews related saying, “By the end of the show the 70 appraisers on hand had looked at between14,000 to 20,000 items (another record).” Recently, The Squire was fortunate enough to receive a Press Preview CD (screener) of the upcoming three Grand Rapids episodes in their entirety.  With a bowl of popcorn between us, your reporters sat down one recent evening to prescreen the three one-hour segments.  Your reporters are avid Antiques Roadshow viewers and what we were struck by, and what viewers should watch for, was what seemed to us an unusually high-average value placed on the individual on-air appraisals. Grand Rapids must be a treasure trove of antiques, many hidden away in attics, basements and garages. Those lucky enough to have their items appraised on-air exhibited genuine West Michigan appreciation and outright enthusiasm.  We won’t disclose our favorite appraisals or the segments they are in, but here are three examples that really raised our eyebrows. An 1881 Jasper Cropsey oil painting depicting the Hudson River Valley was appraised at $300,000.  A 1905 pair of Carl Faberge cufflinks converted later to earrings was […]

Letters to the Editor

April 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

Thanks for promoting cure for diabetes family fun day Dear Editor, Thanks again for the support you are giving to promote my family fun day. I know that my event would not be as successful if generous groups like the Squire did not help me. I did notice a correction opportunity to the article this week. The article described the cost of a “poker hand” as a minimum donation of $25. The actual cost on the day of the event of a single hand is only $10 and a family pack which you describe is $30 (which include 4 poker hands and the various gift certificates). The $25 donation described in the flyer was for pre-registration via the web site which includes a gift to the participant of a t-shirt and one additional poker hand on the day of the event. I apologize for any confusion I created by having so many options for donation. As always, I am trying to create a win-win for my charity and the participants. I was blown away to see the picture of Scott and I on the front page this week and feel blessed to have a community of people like yourself to help me make a contribution to finding a cure for diabetes! Chris Radford

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