April 7 2011

One more chance to speak up over Ten Mile plan

April 7, 2011 // 0 Comments

Road commission hears from public, board to meet by BETH ALTENA People spoke up on both sides of the proposed widening of Ten Mile Road from the Rockford Meijer driveway to Childsdale. Kent County Road Commission (KCRC) Director of Engineering Wayne Harroll met with residents Thursday, March 31 at Resurrection Life Church. The meeting was the second-to-last chance for the public to offer their input before the construction begins in July. Harroll said the KCRC had three choices regarding Ten Mile Road up to the Rockford City entrance. “We could do nothing, make it a three-lane or a five-lane,” Harroll said to residents. Harroll said the road already exceeds the number of vehicles daily for a three-lane road (15,000 per day or fewer for a safe three-lane) and the commission believes expanding to a five-lane road with two paved bike/pedestrian paths will accommodate traffic through the next 20 years. In 2010 there were 22,225 vehicles per day on the section of road under consideration. “In 2030 we estimate 33,025 vehicles per day,” Harroll said. From January 1, 2005 to December 2009 there were 159 accidents, 55 of which were rear-end. This indicates a need for a left-turn lane, Harroll said. Resident input on the plan that came from a July 13, 2010 meeting led the KCRC to alter the original plan by adding a four-foot paved pedestrian/bike path on each side of the road and not having Ten Mile completely closed during parts of the construction. Responding to feedback, a traffic signal at Childsdale was also added. The home at 273 Ten Mile qualifies for historic preservation, although it is not currently designated historic, according to the State Historic Preservation Office revue, and Harroll said he had to guarantee the mature trees in that home’s yard would not be removed as part of this project. He said environmental assessments were performed to make sure a minimum of wetlands was affected and that no endangered or threatened species would be affected by the project. Harroll said a sound study showed that 19 of 21 sites studied did exceed the recommended sound limit of 66 decibels, but the cost of mitigation, at $40,640 per residence, was not reasonable or feasible. Harroll said the problem with containing sound […]

Lt. Mazur retires after 30 years of service

April 7, 2011 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA One of Rockford’s longest-serving employees is saying goodbye after 30 years with the Rockford Police Department. Lt. Scott Mazur, who joined the Rockford Police Department April 18, 1981, will leave his position as Rockford’s second-highest ranking officer on April 30. A celebration of his service is open to the public on Friday, April 29 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Mazur has worked under four police chiefs and four city managers during his years as a Rockford officer. Joining the department at just 20 years old, he was too young to buy ammunition for his service revolver, a six-shooter Smith and Wesson. “I went to Meijer to pick up some ammunition and they checked my drivers license,” Mazur recalled. “They said they were sorry but I couldn’t buy it. I had to call my mom and she came and bought it for me.” Mazur said it is a story he tells school kids when they want to know about life’s unfairness. As a former D.A.R.E. officer, Mazur councils kids on resisting peer pressure to do things like smoking, drinking or doing drugs. “They say I can join the military and fight for our country, but I can’t drink alcohol and I tell them that story. I was a commissioned police officer and I couldn’t buy ammo. Life is like that sometimes.” Mazur said he has seen plenty of changes in Rockford since his first day as a young officer. He recalled that the MVP Health Club hill was undeveloped, the Ten Mile Bridge over the Rogue River was just completed, and Squires Street was two-way. Police technology is probably the biggest change during his years as an officer. Radios were so big the antenna poked up into officer’s armpits. Reports were typed up at the end of the day on typewriters. There were no personal computers. “Now, within seconds of making a stop, we have access to state, federal and Canadian information,” he said. Judge Servaas had his court right in downtown and the Corner Bar was selling hotdogs. Training has changed. According to Mazur, 30 years ago people pretty much joined the force and were trained. Now officer candidates should have at least a four-year degree and structured training continues. Mazur attended […]

Lake effect doesn’t always mean snow

April 7, 2011 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL The dreaded “lake effect” that results oftentimes in heavy snows and brings dismay to most people, at the same time, is embraced by the Lake Michigan lakeshore vineyards and wine makers of Michigan. Their proximity to Lake Michigan and its prevailing westerly winds across 50 miles of open water, even in winter, provides temperature modification that protects the vineyards’ grapevines from winter damage. Because of this “good side” of the lake-effect phenomenon, Michigan has become a real player in the winemaking industry. Recently we learned that, for the first time ever, U.S. wine sales topped France. Americans bought more wine overall in 2010 while at the same time practicing moderation by consuming only 2.6 gallons per capita as compared to 12.2 gallons a year for the French. This was great news to Michigan winemakers. We, your reporters, consider ourselves wine aficionados who, in embracing the “Pure Michigan” concept, only purchase and consume wines that are produced in Michigan. As with farm produce, we strive also to think locally. So on a recent Saturday evening after a short 60-mile drive, we arrived at Fenn Valley Vineyards just east of Fennville. We were there to support and partake of the annual Pre-release Winemaker’s Dinner hosted by Doug Welsch, Fenn Valley’s owner and winemaker. In the setting of a gourmet meal, we were given the opportunity to experience six pre-release wines in the very best way possible: with paired food courses. What a setting it was! We found ourselves in the company of 132 wine lovers as we settled down to an educational evening of superb food complemented with the perfect wine variety. With white linen napery, 22 round tables each seating six were resplendent with fresh tulip floral pieces, fine china and silver settings, along with rows of six wine glasses radiating spoke-like from the table’s center. The wine glasses, to each person’s right, were matched to and to be filled with the wine being served with each of the meal’s six courses. But before even being seated, guests mingled and were invited to enjoy the tasting of sparkling wines (both dry and sweet) as they began to know one another while grazing from a table laden with crackers and an array […]

Rockford Chamber of Commerce Hosts Social Media Classes

April 7, 2011 // 0 Comments

Learn how to utilize the Internet for your business In keeping with the explosion of social media, the Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) is hosting a class on this innovative way to interact with potential clients and grow your business. “Introduction to Social Media” will be offered from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 12 and Thursday, April 14 in the computer lab at Rockford High School, 4100 Kroes, Rockford. The class is offered two nights so that participants are able to sign up for the night that works best for their schedule. The chamber has commissioned Cindy Foster Grace, expert at social media networking, and Michael Yoder, corporation communications specialist, to instruct participants on the many aspects of this new vehicle to reach clients and build business relationships. The class will feature overviews of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin so that attendees may learn how to effectively utilize the different applications. The class will not only feature the mechanics of each application, but how to deliver a message that draws potential clients to your business. Cost for the class is $25 for chamber members and $35 for non-members. Class size is limited to the first 20 reservations. Please call the RCC office at 866-2000 to reserve a spot.    

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