April 5 2012

‘Icon of Americana’ to be auctioned April 26

April 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

Rosie’s, two other diners, open at $25,000 by BETH ALTENA With an opening bid of $25,000, online bidders can have a chance to own a piece of American history as Rosie’s, two other diners and a mini-golf course on four-and-a-half acres at 4500 14 Mile Road, goes on the auction block. According to Doug Heuker of LastBIDRealestate.com, the property, then a going business, was purchased in the range of $450,000 by Jonelle and Randy Roest of Whitehall in January 2006. The diners had been slated to be auctioned on January 31, when owner Jerry Berta of Rockford accepted the couple’s offer, canceling the auction. Today, the situation is different after remaining owner Jonelle Woods (formerly Roest) closed the doors without notice in October 2011. Employees were told the diner was to be closed for a few days, but when they returned to work found the diners gutted of memorabilia and kitchen equipment and the locks on the doors changed. Calls to Woods’ phone were answered by a notice that the number was no longer working and television crews knocked at the door to her home without response. The diner has a long history as an American icon after the public saw it in commercials for Pepsi, Sanka coffee and Bounty paper towels in the 1970s. The Bounty commercials were most responsible for the diner’s fame and featured the late actress Nancy Walker. Walker demonstrated the towels as the “quicker picker upper” as she cleaned up the numerous and frequent spills of the diner’s many clumsy patrons. Rosie’s was built by the Paramount Dining Car Company in 1946 and was then called the Silver Dollar Diner. It was located on U.S. Route 46 in Little Ferry, New Jersey when it opened and was operated for over four decades by Ralph Corrado Sr. and then Ralph Corrado Jr. During the 45 years father and then son operated the diner, other companies, including Sony and Ethan Allen Furniture also used the structure as the setting for television advertisements. Whether because of its commercial fame, or the charming reminder of American traditional mobile roadside eateries, Rosie’s has made national news over the years. According to an article reprinted from Media and Consumer in the Florida newspaper the Lakeland Ledger […]

Rockford to test emergency sirens Friday

April 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

The City of Rockford joins the City of Grand Rapids and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department in testing their emergency outdoor warning sirens at noon on Friday, April 6. The emergency testing will take place at noon on the first Friday of every month. The City of Rockford will also be testing their city’s individual activation procedure, which will occur after the Grand Rapids and Kent County tests.

Clerk upset over clerk pay decision: ‘I’m not going to go down in flames’

April 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

Plainfield board sets compensation at $32,000 by BETH ALTENA Despite much protest by the Plainfield Township Clerk Scott Harvey, the board set compensation for the position of clerk statutory duties (those required of the position by law) at $32,000 effective after the election in November. The lengthy discussion and explanation before the nine residents who were present during a special meeting held March 12 spelled out base salaries for the minimum duties performed by the elected positions of supervisor, treasurer and clerk. In the previous Monday’s special meeting considering changes in salaries of the three positions, the board described the difference between statutory duties associated with each position compared to compensation for taking on additional work. In the March 5 meeting, in which no action was taken, the board discussed a report by a committee researching the issue. The committee proposed reducing the clerk pay from $64,272 to $32,000; reducing the treasurer pay from $66,200 to $20,000; and increasing the supervisor’s pay from $12,400 to $15,000. The $32,000 was based on a formula from a study performed by the Center for Social Research at Calvin College. The township’s former clerk, Sue Morrow, had held the title for 24 years before losing the position to Harvey. Her pay after her long tenure was over $64,000 plus benefits. All three positions have statutory duties associated with the jobs that must be performed by each office, and all three jobs at Plainfield Township have traditionally included salaries that reflect not just those duties but also other work former and current office holders have performed. Supervisor George Meek said that in Plainfield Township, the difference between the required (statutory) duties and additional duties and the compensation for each have never been defined. “I appreciate the process we are going through,” said newly sworn-in Treasurer Jack Hagedorn, who accepted the job after long-time Treasurer James Stover resigned last month. “I appreciate the position Scott is in and am thinking back to when Sue Morrow was here. If we had the conversation then, we’d probably have the same conversation.” Hagedorn said much of the work Harvey performs was carried over from when Morrow was doing the job, but he pointed out that no individual should expect to retain elected office forever. […]

Structures from Great Depression tell a story of Rockford today

April 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA Take a look at some of Rockford’s buildings today and you will find a history lesson about a time when jobs were scarce, the economy was terrible and people were unemployed in record numbers. Many structures dating from the Great Depression years are still in use today and tell a story about public works and community spirit during those hard times. Former Rockford resident Jerry DeMaagd was the speaker at the February 2 meeting of the Rockford Area Historical Society on what was happening in our town during the decade of 1930 to 1940. “I was born in 1936 so I wasn’t around to see most of it myself,” he stated at the meeting’s start. He said he researched the issues of The Rockford Register (now The Rockford Squire) on microfilm at the library to find information. “It was a big job” he noted. A hobby photographer and “aesthetic archeologist,” DeMaagd’s interest in architecture provided a base for this study. Also, the pictures are “a noticing choice”; what to photograph is a personal choice as well as a historical record. The first image is probably something every Rockford resident has probably driven past without a second thought: the classical detailing on the former Kent County “Barn” (Road Commission Garage on Northland Drive), built when Warren Townsend was chairman of the Kent County Road Commission (Townsend Park is named after him) and is now owned by Wolverine World Wide. That structure reflects the influence of the day, showing classical detailing on the columns did not add to the functionality of the building, but common to architects who were classically trained. To set the atmosphere of the times behind his discussion, DeMaagd spoke of his father, Gerald DeMaagd M.D., who had his first office over the Kimm furniture store and rented a room in the building now occupied by the Pederson Funeral Home. He held up the doctor’s books from that time—literally a book where the doctor’s income and expenses were handwritten. “The average cost of a call to a doctor’s office at that time was $1.50,” he said. DeMaagd said his father married and the couple’s first child was stillborn on May 16, 1935. That baby girl, who would have been his oldest […]

Local meteorologist’s crystal ball foggy this past winter

April 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL With the past 2011-12 winter season being one for the record books now might be a good time to poke a little good-natured fun at local West Michigan meteorologists! If anything at all was learned during this, the second warmest winter on record, it’s that the predictions/forecasts of season long weather are pure folly. Let us remind you of the Grand Rapids Press tradition of every November publishing upcoming season-long winter temperature and snowfall predictions by the foremost Meteorologists of metropolitan Grand Rapids. In the Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011 edition of the G.R. Press an intrepid quintet of local meteorologists made their annual predictions for total snow accumulation for the upcoming winter as follows: WOODTV Chief Meteorologist Bill Steffen – 89 inches AccuWeather Meteorologist Carl Erickson – 84-89 inches WXMI Chief Meteorologist Peter Chan – 85 inches G.R.National Weather Service Meteorologist Bill Marino – 85 inches WZZM Chief Meteorologist George Lessens – 80 inches All five predicted colder and snowier weather than normal for West Michigan and to be “shovel-ready”. Off to a slow start, January 2012 was ushered in by a warmer than normal November and December with little or no snow on the ground. Business and industries that rely on cold and snowy weather murmured words of financial gloom. Ice fishermen, skiers, snowmobilers, etc., hung their heads in dismay. In the newspaper and on TV every evening, the meteorologists collectively persevered in their predictions telling us “not to worry” there were still 3 months left in the winter season. What they and winter enthusiasts failed to understand was what farmers have always known, “When it comes to Mother Nature, there are no guarantees.” In the Thursday, Jan.5, 2012 edition of the Rockford Squire, your reporters threw our hats into the ring and made a belated prediction for the 2011-12 winter season. Hey, the experts had been wrong thus far so why not? We predicted not 80-90 inches of snow but rather 50-60 inches of snow and temperatures remaining overall unseasonably warm. We based our prediction on established west to east jet-stream patterns during November and December carrying winter storms, for the most part, north of the Grand Rapids area. Occasionally the jet-stream split, both north and south, leaving […]

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