April 8 2010

Rockford business scores big at prestigious art glass festival

April 20, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL The 19th annual Delphi Art Glass Festival, held recently in Lansing at Delphi’s warehouse and sales showroom, found Rockford’s Eric Brown’s Stained Glass Studio well represented. Of the 31 awards in 11 categories of stained glass creativity, Eric Brown and three of his Rockford students and one customer from Cadillac walked off with a grand total of seven ribbons (seven out of 31 isn’t bad!).   Delphi Art Glass annually holds this prestigious event that garners entries from all over the country. Delphi is the largest distributor of art glass and related stained glass supplies in Michigan. Brown, the consummate stained-glass artisan, took third place in the lampshade category and second place in the specialties category with a sandblasted in glass rendition of an art nouveau woman’s head. Accomplished Brown student, Allen Backstrom, took second place in the large panel category with a three-dimensional butterfly stained glass window. Capturing first, second and third places in the stepping stone category were Shirley Howe (first and third) and Reathal Waldron (second). Sherrie Smith of Cadillac, a regular Eric Brown Stained Glass customer, took third place in the mosaics category. All of the glass in her winning entry came from buckets of scrap stained glass she regularly purchases from Brown.   Seven years ago, Brown began sharing the skills of his craft to students enrolled in regularly scheduled weeknight classes. Indeed, your reporters are alumni of the first year’s graduates. Many of the students have become highly accomplished stained-glass artisans in their own right. Some have become so highly adept that they create, on order, commissioned works of art for others. Over the past seven years, Brown has unselfishly shared his knowledge and skills to literally hundreds of students. Eric Brown Stained Glass is not the only Rockford business to offer regularly scheduled instruction in their areas of expertise. Some, but not all, that come to mind are: • Herman’s Boy Inc.—hardwood charcoal grilling and cooking techniques • Red’s on the River—cooking school and wine classes • J.T. Stitchery & Frame Shop—knitting classes and clubs • Wise Photography—digital camera usage and photography techniques • Personal Chef Robin Toldo/DreamMaker Bath & Kitchens Design Center—cooking demonstrations and hands-on classes   The above are all highly […]

Rockford grad in midst of breaking world news

April 8, 2010 // 0 Comments

Man’s most complex machine to answer questions of the universe by BETH ALTENA Several years ago, the world media was filled with worries that Earth’s first particle collider would create a black hole and suck in the planet with everyone and everything on it. Last week, the Large Hadron Collider’s (LHC) first successful proton collision took place and Rockford graduate Burt DeWilde was there to see it happen. In fact, he is helping make it happen.   “We hope to fill the gaps in our current understanding and answer some of the ‘big’ questions, including: What is the origin of mass? Why is the universe made of matter and not anti-matter? What were conditions like in the first moments after the Big Bang,” DeWilde said of the experiments. DeWilde said the machine is located 100 meters underground, in part because of concerns of radiation. “The Earth’s crust acts as an excellent radiation shield, protecting everyone from the results of those powerful collisions,” he said. “Just in case, my renters insurance covers technological catastrophe. No worries here.” In fact, the machine is safe. DeWilde said the worries caused by news coverage led scientists to study the situation and come to the conclusion that the LHC poses no danger to the Earth. “For billions of years nature has been bombarding the atmosphere with high-energy particles called cosmic rays that have resulted in about as many collisions as a million LHC experiments,” DeWilde stated. “The fact that we are still here today is a very good reason—among others—to believe we’ll survive LHC as well.” DeWilde is in Switzerland as a research assistant and PhD candidate. He works for CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research and is pursuing his thesis where the most breaking physics science is taking place. Specifically DeWilde works on a particle detector called ATLAS, which is the size of half the Notre Dame Cathedral and weighs as much as the Eiffel Tower. “My research so far is focused on developing new and improved silicon sensors used to detect and track charged particles passing through the innermost layers of the detector,” De Wilde explained. He said the machines are so complex scientists have to work on upgrades years in advance, before the machines are even […]

Third annual outing will be fun, benefit many

April 8, 2010 // 0 Comments

Poker Walk/Run/Ride at Cannon Township Trail offers exercise, auction, prizes The first 50 families to sign up will receive family “fun packs” with plenty of goodies in them. Everyone who signs up will enjoy a day of exercise on the beautiful Cannon Townshsip Trail, auction items, at least one fun mascot kids will adore, prizes, and take part in finding a cure for a disease that is increasing in our society. The third annual Poker Walk/Run/Ride takes place Saturday, April 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Grand prize this year is a $440 bicycle. Other prizes and auction items include a $100 gift certificate to Reds on the River to the second-place winner and $50 and $25 gift certificates, gift baskets, food certificates, apparel and more. The event has become a popular day’s outing with families enjoying the activities and some throwing down blankets for a picnic on the grass. All proceeds go toward the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation through Ride for a Cure. Chris Radford, event organizer, knows about the terrible effects of juvenile diabetes first-hand. His son Scott was diagnosed with Type 1 when he was 11 years old. Today it is estimated that one of every three children born after the year 2000 will have the disease. For Scott and his family, diagnosis changed their lives. Scott has had to learn to test his blood throughout the day and has an insulin pump installed on his body. Although he is an energetic college student today, he may still face devastating side effects from the disease, including kidney failure, limb amputations, blindness, heart attack and stroke. “For those who are diagnosed with this, they have it for life. We have to find a cure,” said Chris. The disease has become one of the three most common in the United States. The Radfords have taken on the cause of Ride for a Cure as their way to fight back against juvenile diabetes and contribute toward a cure so other children will not face what Scott faces. Chris and Scott took part in a national bike ride two years ago and will go again—this year on a ride through Death Valley. Each participant must contribute to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) for the […]

Monorail, Nessie just our joke for you

April 8, 2010 // 0 Comments

  So many Squire readers called to find out more about the new White Pine Trail Monorail that we featured on the front page of the “Square” on April 1. It was fun to inform them that it was just another annual installment of “The Rockford Square,” our April Fools edition designed to tickle your funnybone. Surprisingly, most considered the monorail a pretty good idea and something they would love to use. Maybe the state will take us on our joke and consider the idea. Similarly, Nessie in the millpond is a product of our imagination and graphic design. She still resides in the John Ball Zoo park pond where we photographed her just for fun a month or so ago. The image turned out useful when we were trying to think up one more funny picture to create. Thanks to Nancy Hill for that idea. Sean White really was at the Burton Snowboard place, though… just kidding. It was some guy that really looks like him. That picture we didn’t have to doctor at all. And of course, Big Jerry is just funny all by himself—no work on our part required. We look forward to pulling your leg next year. Happy April Fools Day!

Ancient practices outlined in new calendar

April 8, 2010 // 0 Comments

People have done it for centuries, but nowadays talking about it might raise a few eyebrows. Rockford landscape expert John Venman is not only willing to talk about it, he’s again created a calendar that spells out when and why of planting and landscaping by the phases of the moon. Venman, of Venman’s Landscape and Soil Alive, 510 Wolverine Street, in the Rockford industrial area, spoke before Rockford and Greenville gardening clubs last month, explaining his belief in the ancient practice. He quoted Dr. Robert Milikan, Nobel Prize winner in physics in 1923, who said, “I do know that if man is not affected in some way by the plants, the sun and moon, he is the only thing on Earth that is not.” Today’s people, especially in the United States, are more removed from nature and the source of the foods we eat every day than perhaps ever before. Many who still garden and make their livelihoods by growing plants and animals may be less surprised at Venman’s insistence that there is a real affect from the moon on how and when things grow, should be harvested, and even when plants and people may die. “My dad started this business in 1951 back when the hourly rate was 25 cents,” said Venman. He said his father always believed in gardening by the moon, and John’s own experience backs up the belief. As the person who maintains many cemeteries in the area, including that of the City of Rockford and surrounding townships, he has also noticed how the earth is different in a full moon and the increased likelihood of having to dig graves during that time of the lunar cycle. Venman has a traditional background in landscape education with a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University. He said he developed an interest in non-chemical alternatives to landscaping when he began to suspect that chemicals are in some ways having an adverse affect on the planet and the people and animals living here. He said accounts of children dying after the family treated their lawns for pests reinforced his interest in non-chemical weed and pest control. The current popularity of finding locally grown food—notice the popularity of farm markets—may prove this is an idea whose […]

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