Let’s win one for Rockford, two for Michigan by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL The America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest voting website has revealed that the Rockford Farm Market is not alone in Michigan in trying to win a title as America’s Favorite Farmers Market. There will be four winners named, one for each of four market size categories: boutique (15 or less vendors), small (16-30), medium (31-55), and large (56+ vendors). Currently we lead the entire nation in all market size categories. Winning overall would be like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. With three weeks remaining in the contest, we find this is no easy task. Every time Rockford (pop. 5,700) builds up a comfortable lead in the small market size category, our chief competitor, Venice, Fla. (pop. 22,000), comes charging right back. In a 36-hour period over the weekend, Venice voters cast a whopping 400 new votes that cut deeply into our once comfortable lead. Manistique, Mich. (pop. 3,050), in the boutique size category, finds itself in the same position in an even more hotly contested race. They find themselves with a weekly flip-flopping lead against another Florida market in Punta Gorda (pop. 17,100). What we have here, in essence, are two Davids versus two Goliaths. Somewhat even more ironic is that, at this time in the growing season of Florida, much of their farm market produce is shipped down from the north. So, in an effort to assist one another in this contest the Manistique Farmers Market, with the strong support of the Manistique newspaper, The Pioneer Tribune, have joined forces with The Rockford Squire newspaper in promoting our respective markets in the remaining weeks of the contest. The Cedar Springs Post is also joining in and we welcome their support. “This would be a great way to bring some positive national attention, for a change, to Michigan. And to think we are only the ‘little guys,’” said Kerry Ott, market master of the Manistique Farmers Market. “We will promote this to our supporters as: Let’s win one for Manistique and two for Michigan.” This is becoming, in part, a contest between Michigan and the pretenders in Florida. After all, Michigan, the second most agriculturally diverse state […]
August 11 2011
Fish for books, mingle with giant storybook characters, explore a sensory tent, along with daylong events and activities this Saturday, August 13, as Rockford hosts the Reading Rocks festival in downtown Rockford. The Rockford Rotary Club brings this second annual event to the area, and the town will be hopping with things to do. Daylong entertainment will take place at the Garden Park stage, including live music. Author’s Row returns with real writers on hand to discuss their craft and sign books. Youngsters will enjoy an Early Childhood Sensory Tent, giant storybook characters will pose for photos, Readers Theater returns, and World of Reading offers an international experience. Everyone is invited to enter to win a Kindle e-reader. Rotary is joined by a dozen partners, from Rockford Public Schools, the Rockford Education Foundation, and many more who have worked hard to make this daylong celebration of reading a real treat. Events begin at 10 a.m. For more information, pick up a flier at Krause Memorial Library.
City will be grouped with Cedar Springs, Sparta, Walker and Grandville by BETH ALTENA For the last ten years the City of Rockford has sat in the center of the 73rd House of Representatives District, served by Pete MacGregor, Tom Pearce and Doug Hart. Census figures prompted a Republican-designed shift of political districts, which, unless ruled improper by a judge, will have Rockford in the 74th District rather than the 73rd, paired with the communities of Cedar Springs, Sparta, Algoma Township, Solon, Tyrone, Kent City, Sparta, Algoma Grandville and Walker. Currently Rockford is in the 73rd District, with Pete MacGregor as State Representative. Although MacGregor lives a stone’s throw away from the City of Rockford’s eastern boundary, as a resident of Cannon Township, he will no longer represent Rockford if reelected in November 2012. “It is based on populations and very stringent and redistricting guidelines,” said MacGregor. Currently, according to the most recent census figures, his district represents over 100,000 residents. Representatives are supposed to represent about 89,000 residents. “It is because Kent County has experienced tremendous growth. The City of Grand Rapids and the Village of Sparta are about the only two areas who have not grown. Every other area has gained population.” Redistricting takes place every ten years following census figures, and the party in power draws the lines. It is typical, even expected, the minority party to cry foul and make accusations of germandering—the practice of designing political districts to favor a particular party. This year’s process is no exception. MacGregor said the redistricting begins in the legislature and then goes to the governor. Once the governor signs off on the new district boundaries, typically the minority party will challenge the legality of the new districts. Ultimately the case could be put forth to the Supreme Court, and if determined to be unacceptable, a judge could choose the challenger’s plan. This is unlikely, MacGregor believes. The entire process has to be completed decided by November 1, this year. “I will be campaigning in the new district next year,” MacGregor noted. He said he was “devastated” when he saw the new district because he feels strong ties to Rockford because of its proximity, his history working with local leaders, because his kids go […]
SPC Elizabeth Babcock graduated from basic combat training Bravo Company 1-40th Field Artillery Fort Sill, Okla. on July 29, 2011. She will now attend combat medic training at Fort Sam, Houston, Texas and 68K training as a medical laboratory technologist at the same location. SPC Babcock is a Rockford resident and proud mother of Bryce and Jaylie Babcock. Her family is “proud of our soldier mom.” They extend their congratulations and thank her for her service to our town and country. “Go, Vipers!”