by JACOB F. KELLER Rockford High School (RHS) students stepped up and donated their time, energy and even their allowance money to help the victims of the most powerful earthquake to ever strike Japan in modern times and the resulting tsunami that devastated the east coast of the main island back in March. What started out as a small endeavor quickly grew as more and more students volunteered to raise money for the crippled nation. T-shirts and wristbands emblazoned with the “Hope for Japan” design created by Kumiko Perroud were sold first at the Ram Store inside the high school before students arranged to have a table set up during all three lunch periods to sell the items and collect donations. It was an effort that students, staff and the school district supported wholeheartedly. In total, $1,450 was raised as part of a joint fundraising effort between the high school and the Japanese Heritage Society in Grand Rapids. The icing on the cake came when some of these same students personally delivered the donation check to the Japanese Red Cross in Osaka in July. This was part of a larger field trip arranged by the school district and Megumi Wessely, the school’s Japanese language teacher who is a native of Japan and an American citizen having immigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s. Since 2000, “Meg,” as her friends call her, has been educating Rockford students not just about the Japanese language but also about the culture and traditions of Japan. Her contribution and enthusiasm throughout this process cannot be measured. While Rockford and Japan may be separated by more than 6,000 miles, they have been united by culture, language and now hope for better days to come for those families affected by the Earth’s violent and deadly upheaval.
August 18 2011
Stroll along beautiful downtown Rockford with a live band and deejay, and place bids in a silent auction with items including a Nintendo Wii, MSU/Michigan game tickets, a 32GB iPod Touch, a Trek Pure Sport Cruiser bike, or a one-week condo stay in Los Cabos, Mexico, and many local merchant gift certificates as part of the fun of the 13th annual Mitchell’s Run Thru Rockford this Saturday, August 20. Twelve hundred runners are already booked to take to the streets and the White Pine Trail as part of the route for the annual race to raise awareness and funds to fight Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy. Named after Mitchell Peterson, who, along with fellow Rockford students Alec Lundy and Tyler Fehnesfeld, has Duchennes, the race has inspired other events geared toward the same cause, including Volley 4 Mitchell, Classmates for a Cure, Strides for a Cure, and Mitch Madness. To date, well over half a million dollars has been raised for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. It isn’t too late to sign up for the 5K run/walk that has become a signature event for Rockford. According to Sandy Peterson, Mitch’s mom, the 150 volunteers and multiple sponsors are responsible for the success of the well-run race. She also attributes the generosity of Rockford merchants and the help of the city. She is always quick to point out that the race is more about educating the public on the importance of finding a cure for Duchennes, although the amount of money raised for muscular dystrophy research is impressive. Runners and walkers can sign up at Mitchellsrun.org to register online or can sign up prior to the 8:30 a.m. race Saturday. The silent auction takes place before, during and after the race and ends at 10 a.m. Watch for runners on the team Classmates for a Cure, who have their own t-shirts and are donating money to the Rockford Education Foundation. “Maybe one of these kids will grow up to be a scientist and will find a cure,” said Sandy.
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL What a ride it was last week for Rockford’s Farm Market in the America’s Favorite Farm Market contest. Our once comfortable lead in the small market size category (16 – 30 vendors) was nearly wiped out by our evil archrival Venice, FL. Almost as bad, towards the end of the week we lost our lofty position as overall leader in all market size categories to Las Cruces, NM. The news is much better this week however. Rockford’s Farm Market is maintaining a respectable lead against Venice, and we are happy to report that we have closed the gap with Las Cruces, NM and are in striking distance of again regaining the nationwide lead (at least as of 10 p.m. Monday evening). Our little sister farm market in Manistique, MI is also holding its own against its competition (Punta Gorda, FL) with a slight lead in their boutique market size category (15 or less vendors). We woke up early last Saturday morning to a thunderstorm dumping buckets of rain on Rockford threatening to wash the Rockford Farm Market into the Rogue River. Just what we didn’t need because voter turnout at farm market has been our greatest source of votes in our ever-increasing voting totals. Thankfully, the storm clouds parted around 8 a.m. and the market faithful, along with first timers, turned out from near and far. In response to radio, TV, and newspaper coverage regular market goers, who hadn’t as yet voted, and first timers, wanting to see what all of the buzz was about, arrived from all over West Michigan to swell our vote totals and fill their market baskets with a cornucopia of freshly harvested, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Sitting at our voting table every Saturday we have been heartened by people telling us they have become addicted to checking voting totals on the contest’s website (www.farmland.org/vote). They tell us they are also using social media (facebook, twitter, etc) to reach out to their many “friends” urging them to also vote for Rockford’s Farm Market. Their enthusiasm in seeing Rockford win this contest is contagious – if only it could be bottled. Apparently our newspartners, the Manistique, MI Pioneer Tribune newspaper and closer to home, the Cedar […]
Next new event this Thursday with Pub & Grub Crawl Organizers estimated the crowd for the final night of Rock the Dam battle of the bands to be as much as 700 fans who enjoyed a fine evening of impressive talent. The six-band showdown for winning youth and adult bands was packed with people, dogs (see an upcoming edition of the Squire for that story) and smiles. A nice blend of ages in the crowd proved this event one that draws young and old and made use of the perfect setting of the stage and Garden Club Park. Dan DeWard of Studio D2D came up with the idea, which was readily approved by City Council in spring. As deejay of the event, with winners chosen by a panel of celebrity judges, DeWard said he was thrilled with the turnout over the three-week music series and plans to make the battle of the bands an annual event. The battle began with 26 bands in youth and adult categories, narrowed down to the final three in each group for the finale. The winning band receives cash prizes and $1,000 in professional studio recording time. All bands received professional photos to be used for promotion, free of charge by Studio D2D. DeWard said he planned the event to add to the summer menu offered in Rockford, where a different festival seems to be taking place every weekend. More importantly, he said he wanted to create a venue to offer exposure to our many very talented musicians in the West Michigan area. DeWard, along with other Rockford-area business people, organized a partnership in Rockford Events Planning to provide a range of services to those who have a gathering planned. The group debuts another Rockford event, the Pub & Grub Crawl, this Thursday, August 18. Participants must wear Pub & Grub Crawl t-shirts, at just $5, and receive fantastic discounts at participating businesses. The Crawl begins with a shotgun start at Rockford Lanes, where crawlers can bowl for $1, play games for beads, and enjoy beverage discounts. Around 7:15 the Crawl moves to the Corner Bar, then to Grill One Eleven, and finally wraps up at the Rogue River Tavern. Crawl t-shirts are available at Studio D2D, The Edge Barber […]