by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL One of the most popular entrants in last year’s 2009 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids was “Nessie,” who finished in sixth place in the inaugural event. Kids, in particular, loved “Nessie” as she regally floated in the Grand River while tethered to the Blue Pedestrian Bridge in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. Rockford believes they can do Grand Rapids one better. Rockford City Manager Michael Young announced at the April City Council meeting that “Water Dance” had been completed by its creators and is almost ready to be installed above the water and in front of the concrete wall between the two wings of Rockford’s iconic Rogue River Dam. This could only happen in the biggest little city in Michigan! Readers may remember the Squire’s exclusive front-page coverage of “Water Dance” in the Dec. 3, 2009 edition (visit www.rockfordsquire.com to read the entire story). The imaginative and genius mind of Steve Anderson of Anderson’s Metal Sculpture in the CedarRock area was then in the midst of creating a stunning and breathtaking stainless steel sculpture of three leaping fish—not just any fish, but three fish synonymous with the Rogue River: a brown trout, a steelhead, and a rainbow trout. Anderson’s Metal Sculpture had been commissioned by the City of Rockford to create “Water Dance.” Costs associated, less labor, were underwritten by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and the Rockford Area Arts Commission. For his part, Anderson was gifting labor costs to the City he and his family have come to love. Last week we paid a return visit to Anderson’s studio, tucked away in the woods between Rockford and Cedar Springs, for an exclusive look at what for Anderson was a work of love. It is both beautiful and stunning and, when placed in front of the dam in the Rogue River, will encompass an area 25 feet wide by 9 feet high. The fish, of the three-dimensional sculpture, are awesomely grand in size. Coincidentally, “Nessie” was recently reported to be lurking in the waters of Rockford’s Rum Creek millpond. But those rumors turned out to be a great April Fools joke. “Nessie,” in reality, is currently suffering a slow deterioration in a temporary home on the waters of the […]
April 22 2010
School election Tuesday, May 4 With Charles Boekeloo stepping down after over a decade on the Rockford Board of Education, there will be at least one new board member elected Tuesday, May 4. Along with incumbent David Keller, two other men, Jason Clauser and Timothy Lewis, have thrown their hats in for consideration. Keller has been a Rockford resident for 20 years and has three children in the district. He is a graduate of Cooley Law School, works as an attorney and is married to Deb (Saladin) Keller, a Rockford graduate. Lewis has lived in the district 16 years and has been a police officer for 24 years. He is married to Karen and the couple have three children in the district. Lewis has also served as the President and Vice President for the Kent County Law Enforcement Association over the past ten years. He is currently the President and represents 178 members of the Sheriff Department, sits on the executive board for the Police Officers Association of Michigan and works as a business agent. Clausen has been a resident of the district for four years. He and his wife Holly have two children, both in Rockford schools. Clausen is also a fire fighter in Algoma Township, and serves on the Alpine Township Planning Commission. He is a mental health social worker. “I’ve been involved in several organizations in the Rockford area,” said Lewis, when asked why he wanted to serve on the board. “I have been a union officer for over 15 years and I stand up for people’s rights.” “With the state of the economy and that funding is being reduced we need to find a new way to do business and we need more people that are not afraid to make difficult choices. Our students and teachers need protection. I feel that with my experience dealing with other government entities and elected officials will help me excel on the School Board.” Keller provided the following comments regarding his desire to continue to serve on the board. “I have four years of board experience behind me now, I have over 100 combined CBA and Education credits relating to board of education training. “I’ve been involved with many positive programs and changes […]
DID YOU MISS US?—The Altena family, minus their younger son and bringing along their older son’s friend instead, enjoyed a spring break cruise to the Bahamas. Pictured at left are Will, Bill, Beth and Richard. While on the trip they happened across the Gross family of Rockford on the same trip. The other mom was kind enough to write down everyone’s names, including their son’s friend who went along, too. Unfortunately, the notebook with the names in it doesn’t seem to have made it back.
Dam Dogs moves ‘back home to the trail’ Two popular Rockford eateries, now under the same ownership, will soon be neighbors—again. Dam Dogs, after a couple of years around the corner on Bridge Street, is moving back to a trail side location at 25 Squires Street, right next to Custard by the Dam. Both businesses are owned by Frank and Jennifer Kramarz. Kramarz and her mother Mary Ann Hurst opened Custard by the Dam in the spring of 2002. In summer of the same year, Jane Vruggink opened Dam Dogs. The Kramarz family liked Dam Dogs and always thought the two businesses would compliment each other. “I kept joking with Jane over the last two or three years to let me know if she ever wanted to sell, and finally last fall she said she was ready,” said Frank. The Kramarzes purchased Dam Dogs in December. When a location opened up right next to Custard, they decided to bring the two businesses literally under one roof, although each in their own location. “Nothing about Dam Dogs’ menu offering will change,” Frank said. He believes the original owner was successful in establishing a unique quality product with a strong following, and there is no reason to fix what isn’t broken. “The only noticeable change will be extending our hours, which will include opening Sundays.” Opening in the location that was most recently a dog and cat product store, Kitty and Doggie Two, and before that a wedding shop, Belle of the Ball, the over 800-square-foot space is newly renovated and features generous Garden Club Park seating outdoors as well as indoor dining. Dam Dogs sells a robust, loaded, all-beef dog, known as “the dog you need a fork to eat.” The most popular is, of course, “The Rockford.” Also on the menu are chips and pop, “walking tacos” and nachos. “We have something unique here with both businesses,” said Jennifer. The Kramarzes credit unique, quality products and great customer service with both businesses’ success. “My employees are great,” said Jennifer. “They are the reason we are where we are today.” She said between the two shops they will employ about 25 people this summer. Dam Dogs is scheduled to be open in the new location May 1, […]
Rockford senior Ashley Gremel has been recognized by the United States House of Representatives with the highly prestigious Congressional Medal of Merit. Gremel was recognized at a ceremony Saturday, April 17 at the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids. Congressman Vern Ehlers stated, “This award is being presented to you in recognition of your many achievements in the areas of academic excellence, school citizenship and community service. Your enthusiasm and dedication are qualities that all good leaders possess and strive to instill in others. You are truly an outstanding example of what is good about our young people today. Ashley’s nomination from Rockford High School read, “Generous spirit seeks to help the less fortunate: are the words used to describe Ashley. This exceptional young woman has a jovial spirit and is captain of her swim and water polo teams. She also serves as Youth Initiative Treasurer, Blood Drive Coordinator, and Founder of the Cast Off the Cold Knitting and Donation Program. Through this effort, volunteers have donated over 1400 scarves to the homeless in Grand Rapids and Lansing. Ashley founded Cast Off in 2007, when she was just 15. Always upbeat and positive, Ashley is a Dartmouth Book Award Winner, is recognized on the Principal’s Honor Roll, and is a YWCA Tribute Award Nominee. She is a Four Year member of the Varsity Swim and Water Polo Teams and band, twice recognized as Academic All State, and she scored over 30 on her ACT. Ashley believes in changing the world from a place where people are focused on serving themselves to a world where people are focused on serving humankind. The Congressional Medal of Merit is bestowed on one outstanding senior from each high school in the Third Congressional District (45 high schools total). These students have demonstrated exemplary citizenship and academic excellence in their high school careers. They have been leaders in the areas of peer respect, community service, school citizenship, and involvement in extracurricular activities. The students who receive a Congressional Medal of Merit have significantly contributed to making their school a better place and did not seek or expect recognition for their extraordinary efforts.