April 29 2010

City smokes up sewers and storms

April 29, 2010 // 0 Comments

If your toilet was bubbling and spitting with black smoke this week, don’t blame your uncle’s famous chili recipe. The City of Rockford has been conducting tests of the sewer lines to find leaks and unauthorized connections. Department of Public Works staff put artificial smoke devices down City sewer connections to see what results would drift up. At The Squire newspaper, the toilets burbled and smoke spewed from an exhaust pipe out of the top of the building. That was all right, DPW said. At the Michigan State Police, smoke leaked from under the roof line. Not so good. “We found a lot of things,” said City Manager Michael Young. Young said the testing was to find where clean water is entering pipes in the City’s sewer lines. The lines lead to the new PARCCside Clean Water plant for treatment. “Every drop we can stop from being treated saves money,” Young said. Water from storm drain lines—such as parking lot runoff—doesn’t need to be treated. The City was looking for things such as storm drains improperly connected to the sewer lines. Water can also enter the system through breaks in the pipes or missing manhole covers. They found all that and more. Young said a cover in a manhole in woods was off and probably has been for years. Likely a plow truck pushed snow over the cover, knocking it off. “A 24-inch hole in the ground can let in a lot of water.” The City are also found illegal connections, not necessarily on older properties. It used to be normal for contractors to connect storm drains to sewer lines, but has been a violation for years. Young said some were easy fixes, such as manhole covers that shouldn’t have had holes but did and caps that were knocked off. Smoke coming up through the grass indicated a cap underground that had been knocked off at one time and was letting water into the system. Young said the testing was mostly complete and would result in much less water being unnecessarily treated. “It was very interesting.”

Spring Taste of Ric’s this Saturday

April 29, 2010 // 0 Comments

Store Director David Brickner said he doesn’t mind the case of nerves he gets before a tasting event at Ric’s Food Center. “You can really sense the energy and how excited everyone is,” he said of the events the store at 6767 Belding Road hosts several times a year. “Each one has only been bigger and better than the one before,” he stated. The spring Taste of Ric’s is Saturday, May 1 from noon to 4 p.m. The last Taste of Ric’s was in December, 2009 in the middle of a Michigan snow and ice storm. Hundreds still turned out for the free taste samples and other in-store events of the day. Brickner said his department managers and  dozens of vendors offer their free samples and recipe advice, and that interacting with so many people is a treat and a pleasure. “They see the value in it, too. This is a way they can showcase their product to hundreds and hundreds of people in one day,” Brickner pointed out. Brickner said his store, like the other Ric’s Food Centers, look for local suppliers where possible. These types of providers—often smaller businesses—have a strong passion for their product. Brickner used the example of Janie’s Cookie Company, which is located in Grand Rapids and is a small business success story. Ric’s corporate, Brickner said, believes strongly in the value of building relationships—with their vendors, their customers, and their communities. “I feel really fortunate to be part of a company that believes in that, because I believe in that, too,” Brickner said. He said the employees at the store look forward to special events as much as the customers do, and their enthusiasm contributes to the success of the day. “All I had to do was drop the word and vendors started signing up for this,” Brickner stated. “Customers love to see us do something so fun. We know by their response that they love it.” Brickner credits his staff with much of the success in events such as these and in the store itself. This is another philosophy that comes from corporate but goes right down to every individual involved in the company. “I’m a person who gets very animated about things,” he said. “Everyone around gets […]

Life-long love of dogs leads trainer to author book

April 29, 2010 // 0 Comments

Jeanette Groner hates to hear stories of children attacked by dogs, although it happens every year. She hates it because she believes it doesn’t have to happen. “The dog community needs to step up to the problem,” she said. The Rockford dog trainer took a step in the right direction herself by authoring Child and Dog Safety, a book she believes is good for any  parent or dog owner to read. The mother of four said she often sees situations which could be dangerous. For example, she rarely lets her daughters pet a strange dog on a leash. She said a dog on a leash has limited options to escape should it feel threatened. “It just takes a second for something to go wrong,” Groner said. Groner said her first work was training law enforcement search and rescue dogs in her native Netherlands. She gave up the career when she took time off as a full time mother. “One of my proud brag moments was to see a dog I trained in body recovery at an earthquake site on CNN,” she shared. Here in Rockford, she is often asked to help with family dogs with behavior problems. Local business owner John Shattuck of Car Star and River Valley Auto had a dog with problems. His adopted a golden retriever—a breed known for its loving personality. This dog was not true to the breed. The Shattucks, who have a daughter who is adopted, took the dog to a trainer, who said it was too aggressive and would have to be put down. They didn’t want their daughter to go through the trauma of losing a loved pet and tried another trainer. The answer was the same: the dog is unsafe. “She took him for a week and had him at her home with her own family and children,” Shattuck said. “Now the dog is fine.” He said he had the opportunity to show the canine to the first trainer, who couldn’t believe it was the same animal. Prior to Groner’s intervention, Shattuck said the pet was completely aggressive and had no qualms about biting or attacking. Groner said the dogs actions stemmed from never learning proper behavior. This can happen when an animal is taken away […]

Consolata Missionary Sisters take Squire on Italian vacation

April 29, 2010 // 0 Comments

Great minds think alike Recently a group of 24 people from the Rockford/Belmont area made a 14-day pilgrimage to Italy to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Foundation of the Consolata Missionary Sisters. The Consolata Missionary Sisters have a mission to participate in the mission of Christ and share the Good news with all people and all creation. While in Italy the group visited Rome and the Vatican, shrines and churches in Assisi, and the Mother and Father House of their Order in Torino. Locally the Consolata Missionary Sisters serve at Assumption B.V.M. School and Parish in Belmont, Michigan. About to pose for a group picture in front of the Mother House of the Consolata Sisters in Turin/Torino, Italy they doubled in laughter when three of the group, each unbeknownst to the other, had brought along a recent copy of The Rockford Squire. Notice that each had brought a different issue of their favorite hometown weekly newspaper. Of note, second from left in the front row of the picture is Belmont Consolata Missionary Sister Zelia M. Cordeiro MC. Holding the Squire newspapers left to right are: Mary Ellen Burnett, Arlene Obetts, and Kathy & Tom Healy.

Family restaurant booming in downtown Rockford

April 29, 2010 // 0 Comments

Cinco de Mayo shows off fresh flavor, eye appeal at grand opening Cinco de Mayo restaurant owner Marco Cuellar was looking for a location to open a restaurant in the Rockford area. Meanwhile, building owner Tom Cronkright was doing his own due diligence to find a suitable tenant for his Courtland Street property. “I left information at three of his other restaurants, and that’s how he found out about this building,” said Cronkright during a grand opening event Wednesday, April 21. “We were looking for something in the area, that’s how I found it,” said Cuellar. The restauranteur couldn’t be happier about the success of his Rockford dining establishment, open at 123 Courtland. The business began operations October 5, 2009, but held a formal grand opening April 21 to thank special guests, including contractors and brokers who helped the business prepare for opening and city officials and council members. The restaurant’s liquor license was recently granted and cold beer; margaritas and other specialty drinks were available for the event, in addition to the extensive menu options. Among attendees to the free event were council member Brien Dews and building owner Tom Cronkright along with his wife Julie. All three said they eat at the restaurant often and note that business has been brisk. The brightly decorated interior with upstairs patio seating can accommodate over 140 diners. On that Wednesday the restaurant was largely full and Cronkright said business is even better on prime dining nights. Cuellar said his father-in-law started the chain, and there are 13 Cinco de Mayo restaurants in Michigan and another five out of state. He accredits the company’s success with serving authentic, fresh Mexican food. “We work daily. We don’t prepare any food ahead of time,” Cuellar said. Dews said the flavor of authentic prepared food is obvious, from the “secret recipe” salsa to the entrees. With a building full of guests, friends and family around him, Cuellar said he loves his business. “I like to be busy,” he laughed. “It’s part of the life.” Cinco de Mayo offers daily drink specials, including over ten different margaritas and 20 kinds of tequila in addition to wines, beers and other mixed drinks. There are daily lunch and dinner specials as well. For […]

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