April 22 2010

Merengue the night away after free classes

April 22, 2010 // 0 Comments

Rockford Ambulance leads the way in popular dance  After this free class, your spouse will be so good you can likely rent them out at the next wedding or visit to a local night club. At least that’s what paramedic and dance instructor Andy Andresen joked about Rockford Ambulance’s upcoming merengue dance classes. Rockford Ambulance has been offering free dance classes as their gift back to the community and they have been very popular. The next class teaches the basic moves of the merengue—a dance originated in the Dominican Republic. The class begins on Tuesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. and lasts 10 weeks. “It started out as a friendly gesture to get to know the firefighters and police officers we see on the job,” Andresen said. He pointed out that ambulance paramedics often cross paths with firefighters and police officers in the course of dealing with patients, but a fire or car crash is not conducive to casual conversation. Circumstances are often quite dire. “We are both busy then, usually handling equipment. They are trying to cut people out of cars and we are trying to keep them alive,” Andresen noted. He said spending time together learning a variety of popular dance styles seemed like a friendly, healthful activity. Andresen was already a dance instructor in addition to his duties as a paramedic. A former criminal investigator, he has plenty of respect for the difficult jobs firefighters and officers face. Begun in the Grattan Fire Department truck garage, the classes were as successful as Andresen hoped, and with encouragement of Rockford Ambulance CEO Roger Morgan, Andresen decided to open the classes up to the general public. Two sets of swing classes have been offered. Last time, 80 people called to take advantage of the sessions, so they had to be split up into two separate classes. Andresen said he welcomes such a response again, but believes fewer people are likely to sign up in the summer months. Those who have taken a previous class are also more than welcome to return. “Some of the civilians are quite good,” Andresen noted. “They ought to consider private lessons and doing some competitions.” He said, regardless of aspirations of semi-professional dance fame, those who take the classes […]

Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher

April 22, 2010 // 0 Comments

Poetry Month My grandpa, Wellington Clay, was the poet in the family. He was no Walt Whitman, but he w as all we had. His poetry depended upon light humor, sentimental sentiments, and Americana. He wrote this one in about 1934: I know a little maiden With shapely form divine, All dressed in latest fashion – How I wish that she were mine. With smiles that seem to beckon, And luscious lips that lure, Roguish eyes that seem to twinkle, How can cold heart endure?  With words of honeyed sweetness, How I address her when alone, But she always stays unmelted. Oh, cruel heart of stone!  How I hunger to embrace her And warm her icy heart, But her cold and stubborn actions Still keep us far apart.  Would you know the cruel creature That leaves my heart so sore? You can find her in the window Of Braun’s department store.  Good news! Humana, a private for-profit insurance company, under pressure from Medicare, a federal insurance program, has reinstated my health insurance coverage! Thank goodness for government oversight.  Walk Naked Day Sent in by a wise guy (or lady): “As you may already know, it’s a sin for a Muslim male to see any woman other than his wife naked; if he does, he must commit suicide. So next Saturday at 1 p.m. EDT, all American women are asked to walk out of their houses completely naked to help weed out any neighborhood terrorists. Circling your block for one hour is recommended for this anti-terrorist effort.” Well, I don’t know who’s sponsoring this event, but I’ll bet it’s going nowhere around here. Might as well watch TV Saturday. Words to the wise “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” —Oscar Wilde  More wisdom How can you avoid spotting a wrinkle every time you walk by a mirror? Easy. Next time you’re in front of a mirror, take off your glasses.  Still more wise words While attending a marriage seminar dealing with communication, Tom and his wife Grace listened to the instructor’s words of wisdom. “It is essential that husbands and wives know each other’s likes and dislikes,” said the instructor. He then addressed the man. “Can you name your wife’s favorite flower?” […]

The Tax Attic — with Jerry Coon

April 22, 2010 // 0 Comments

What now? The tax season ended on April 15. The question I now get to answer is what exactly tax professionals like me do for the rest of the year. No, we don’t take the next eight months off, although that does sound good. We do continue to prepare tax returns and we answer lots of questions. Last week, I discussed the fact that nationwide approximately 80% of all taxpayers file their returns by April 15. That leaves about 20% still in need of getting their returns filed. We prepare those returns all year around. Personally, I’m not sure about that 20% figure as it pertains to West Michigan. In our market, it seems like it’s more about 90% file on time and 10% file later. In any event, that means we are working on and filing quite a few returns between now and next January. The other factor that comes into play today is the complexity of our tax system. Back in 1978, when I started in the tax business, it seemed like taxpayers filed their tax returns and we didn’t really have any contact with those taxpayers until the next tax season. An exception would be the time that a letter was received from our friends at the Internal Revenue Service or from the state of Michigan. In that event, we got a pretty fast call. That seemed to change in the late 1980s. Oh, we still got calls based on letters, but our tax system itself began to change. It started to become more complicated with phase-ins and phase-outs to almost all credits and deductions. Congress began tinkering more frequently with the system and frequently passing major tax legislation. This bend toward complication coincided with the emergence of computers. The first software preparation programs were developed to help tax professionals prepare returns. Now, of course, there are many tax programs that also help taxpayers file their returns. Action Tax Service has used Drake Professional Software since 1992. Without software, it would be darned near impossible to prepare many returns. All of that complication leads to more questions being asked by taxpayers. Being open year round is not an option today. Congress passes laws daily, it seems, that affect all taxpayers. We prefer […]

Right at Home celebrates seventh year

April 22, 2010 // 0 Comments

Downtown shop a long-time dream for owners Lynda Volkhardt remembers what it was like to be a young mother with no money and an eye for things she couldn’t afford. She learned to shop smart and find a good bargain. That common sense approach and the wisdom of age are traits she attributes to the success of her downtown shops, Right at Home and Urban Elements. Right at Home was opened seven years ago in another location and moved to 30 N. Main when the Volkhardts purchased the historic Hessler Opera House building on Main Street. The extra space allowed them to open Urban Elements and offer even more to their customers. This year, daughter Katie Unsworth joined the family venture full time. Unsworth has long had a hand in the operations, contributing to the upbeat, casual atmosphere of the business. “She’s always done the fun part,” said Lynda, explaining that Katie is responsible for games and playful promotions that customers embrace enthusiastically. Many in Rockford will know Katie, a 1987 Rockford graduate (then Katie Gual) who maintains a passion for tennis. She has organized the Rockford Community Education tennis program and also implemented similar programs in Cedar Springs and Sparta. Volkhardt and Unsworth say they buy what they like for the store, and customers seem to enjoy their taste. “We hear we have a lot of really different selection than anyone else,” Lynda confides. Volkhardt said she has always been conscious of pricing and tries to offer a wide price range. She remembers when she was a young mom and she’d shop for her own home, coming back with a $1.50 candle or straw flowers. Since Katie was a toddler, Lynda wished she could open a shop in Rockford and offer the kind of deals she loved to find. Back when Lynda first had her dream of her own shop, she was interested in the building where Vitale’s is now located. She liked the Copper Pig store and also Baskets in the Belfry, tucked away in the attic of the antique mall. “I wanted to sell new and used accessories, but I had three little kids, life was busy and I didn’t have any money,” she recalled. In April 2003 she opened Right at […]

Rockford Register — April 22, 2010

April 22, 2010 // 0 Comments

Thursday, April 22 Rockford Lions Club Meeting—6 p.m. social, 6:30 dinner and 7 p.m. meeting at the Community Cabin, 220 N. Monroe St., Rockford. Meetings held every second and fourth Thursday of each month.  Thur.–Sat., April 22–24 Used Book Sale—10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 22, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, April 23, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, at the Timothy C. Hauenstien Reynolds Township Library, 117 Williams St., Howard City.  Fri.–Sat., April 23–24 YMCA White Elephant Sale—9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (free admission) on Friday, with “early birds” at 8 a.m. for $5; from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (free admission all day) on Saturday, at 3450 Plainfield Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, next to Big Lots. Proceeds go to the YMCA’s Camp Manitou-Lin, a summer camp for kids. For more information, call (616) 893-9381 or visit www.ymcasale.com.  Chili Cookoff, Spring Fling, Camp Cleanup—9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, at Camp Concordia, 13400 Pinewood NE, Gowen. Youth and adults are invited to participate in “Join Hands Day” to rake leaves, pick up branches, and clean cabins. Tools, materials, refreshments, lunch and first aid provided by the camp. If interested in participating, call Paul Golke at (616) 754-3785 or e-mail to director@campconcordia.net. Saturday, April 24 Christian Music Concert with Scott Michael Bennett—7 p.m. at the Rockford Freshman Center (enter at 4500 Kroes, Rockford), hosted by Three Angels Fellowship Church. Donations will be accepted to benefit the church’s building fund. Concert Featuring Ivan Moshchuk, 2010 Gilmore Young Artist—8 p.m. in the Calvin Chapel at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, presented by the Artist Series of Calvin College. Moshchuk, 18, was born in Russia and moved to Michigan as a child, and is among the most promising young pianists of his generation. For more information, visit www.calvin.edu/artistseries/. For tickets, call (616) 526-6282, or e-mail tickets@calvin.edu; also on sale at, the door. Adults $20, students $10.  Auditions—10 a.m. Saturday, and also 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 26, at Hudsonville Cultural Center (corner of School and Vanburen), for ages 9 to high school. Rehearsals begin in May and will be held at the Cultural Center. The weeklong Theatre Training Camp runs June 14-18, culminating with three performances, June 18-19, at the Hudsonville High School. The camp in Mon.-Fri., 8:50 […]

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