April 30 2009

Rockford man’s ‘humanly impossible’ task saving lives

April 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA What did you do for spring break? One Rockford man and his family spent it in war-torn Sudan, Africa, seeing the result of ten years of passion, faith and miracles. Dave Bowman, with his wife, sons and daughter and their children, underwent a 24-hour trip to Sudan to see the dedication of a hospital that is the only one of its kind in a country where the people literally had no medical options.   The trip, with family members ranging in age from 11-year-old Sarah Hammond to Dave and his wife Nancy, who had her 72nd birthday on the trip. The experience included close proximity to scorpions, termites “on steroids” and two choices of toilet: the long-drop or short-drop outhouse. Still, each family member considers the venture a journey that changed their lives profoundly and permanently.   The ten family members went to see the result of ten years of passion, prayer and hands-on work: a hospital in Sudan. At the outset of the effort to build the hospital, organizers were told it was a humanly impossible endeavor. “Imaging building a hospital in New York and you have to bring the supplies to build it from Florida and there are no roads in between,” said Bowman. “Supplies either came from Nairobi, 16,000 miles away or they came from Grand Rapids, Michigan. That’s what gives me goose bumps.” In a way, the hospital is the result of a diagnosis of severe heart disease and diabetes Bowman received. His doctor recommended he no longer work and he was forced to re-evaluate his life. At the time, there had been news stories of a genocidal war in Sudan where entire tribes of people were killed so their land could be taken. Children, primarily boys as young as four, were without living family members and fending for themselves in a harsh and desolate landscape. Bowman had heard about these “lost boys” who were being brought to the United States by the U.S. government. “I thought, ‘I can’t work, but maybe I can be a father to these boys.’” Bowman picked up his new sons at the airport in December, 2000. “At that time I had absolutely no idea I’d have a second career like this.” As […]

Little to fear from asbestos, state says of Main Street demolition

April 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA It probably wasn’t a good idea to stand and watch the demolition of a Main Street property said Bob Christmas of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), but it’s unlikely it was dangerous. Christmas said it was not determined yet whether there was asbestos in the house or in the siding, but either way believes the possibility of illness from asbestos due to the demolition is very unlikely. The home torn down on Main Street Friday, April 17 was not properly tested for asbestos prior to demolition. At least three neighbors were upset that they were not notified of the day of demolition and were afraid of contamination in the neighborhood. According to City Manager Michael Young, the demolition date was decided by the City. An inspector condemned the home due to damage inflicted by the nature of the fire practice. “We told him to get it down now because it’s not safe,” Young said of the property owner. Young said he believes the property owner went above and beyond what was necessary to tear down the  home by contacting the DEQ. “You don’t need a demolition permit from the DEQ for a residential structure,” he stated. Christmas, who said the home didn’t fall under his jurisdiction because another Michigan entity handles residential structures, was nonetheless helpful in answering questions on the possibilities of danger. “If I was next door to it would I be worried? No,” he said. Christmas pointed out that asbestos fibers are very tiny, thirty times thinner than a human hair. He said that most asbestos-related illnesses have come from instances where people are working with asbestos in high concentration. Christmas said in all demolitions it is common-sense practice to try to avoid “fugitive dust.” This can be any dust associated with a demolition, which is a dusty procedure. Wetting down the structure during demolition is appropriate. According to Young, in addition to wetting the structure, three days of rain followed. Christmas said the Michigan OSHA, which deals with worker safety, has become involved. He said testing is being done to find out if the home did or did not have asbestos and he will inform the Squire of test results. “I have been at many, many of […]

Usher in May at the Four Store Event and help fill NKSC Food Pantry

April 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

Event to be held May 1-2 in the Rockford Rotary Pavilion Feel like celebrating spring with a bit of fresh air-and a fresh new look- but you don’t want to break the bank or wait for the July sidewalk sales? Fret no more! Just head to the Four Store Event to be held at the Rockford Rotary Pavilion in downtown Rockford on Squire Street (across from the post office) and snatch up the bargains while they last. But before you head out, be sure to take a non-perishable food item with you. All those who make a donation will receive a free gift. Barb Stein, owner of Great Northern Trading Company and one of the event’s organizers, notes: “in this tough economy, the demands on food pantries have escalated, and we as business owners want to do our part to help out. We are giving a free gift to anyone who brings a non-perishable food item with them to the Four Store event.” This first ever sidewalk-type event is being organized by Rockford-based businesses Baskets in the Belfry, Kimberly’s Boutique, Right Up Your Alley, and Great Northern Trading Company. The four stores will be offering a huge array of items at deep discount clearance prices.  According to store owners Polly VonEshen (Baskets in the Belfry) and Jan Wallace (Right Up Your Alley) there will be a little bit of everything at the Four Store Event, including apparel, jewelry, home décor and much more. Kim Smith, owner of Kimberly’s Boutique, promises the group’s spring-cleaning efforts have resulted in a treasure-trove of bargains you won’t want to pass up. The Four Store Event runs Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Rockford Rotary Pavilion is a covered venue in the heart of downtown Rockford, so come out-rain or shine-and enjoy the fun and sure savings… and don’t forget your non-perishable food item.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn to be performed

April 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

  The Rogue River Community Theatre will be presenting “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn” a comedy/drama on Friday, May 1 at 8 p.m. and Saturday May 2 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Rockford Freshman Center, 4500 Kroes Street, Rockford. Tickets are adults $8 and students $3. A repeat performance will be at Kent Theatre, 8 N. Main Street, Cedar Springs on Friday, May 8 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, May 9 at 8 p.m. Tickets are adults $10 and students $5. For more information contact (616)874-5264

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