August 23 2012

Rockford woman wins discussion with governor

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

‘I wasn’t there for the lunch’ by BETH ALTENA When Rockford resident Sandra Cox includes in her preference of job openings the word “dental” because she formerly worked as a dental hygienist, employment programs include in her list of choices jobs that offer dental benefits. This is just one observation Cox was able to share with Governor Rick Snyder during a luncheon discussion of ways to help unemployed or underemployed Michiganders find work. “I wasn’t there for the lunch,” Cox shared with the Squire after her July 25 visit in Lansing. As a single parent, a woman and a person over the age of 50 in a challenging employment atmosphere in our state, Cox thought her experience very valid. “I felt I was representative of a lot of people in this economy,” she said. In late 2011, Cox entered a contest offered by Michigan Talent, the state’s online resource for those seeking jobs in the state. With over a million resumes online, her chances to win one of three spots for potential employees may have seemed very low, but Cox felt she had a good chance to win and wanted very much the contest’s main prize—a sit-down with the Governor. Cox may well represent many Michigan residents and their difficulties finding appropriate employment. She now works in manufacturing at less than 10 dollars an hour. Others who work there, like her, are qualified to offer much more to society. Cox grew up in a third-generation General Motors family and graduated summa cum laude from her high school, 16th in her class of 444. She continued her education at Ferris State University, where she was on a waiting list for dental hygienist school. Two years and still waiting, Cox attended Grand Rapids Community College and there earned an associate’s of applied arts and science in dental hygiene. While in college Cox worked two jobs, including one as a cashier at the Plainfield Meijer, eventually moving on to the corporate offices in Walker, where she worked as the corporate receptionist. At that time, Meijer had a 75 percent reimbursement rate for tuition, so she took the opportunity to return to college for a degree in business administration-marketing/sales, graduating from Grand Valley State University in 1993. In January […]

Public invited to duathlon, village celebration

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

A “labor lf love’’ takes place in the Village of Cannonsburg September 3 with the second annual Honey Creek Duathlon charity event. If you can ride a bike, walk or run, you can participate in the Labor Day event, which benefits North Kent Community Services and The Kids’ Food Basket. A duathlon is an athletic event that consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and concluding with another running portion similar in format to triathlons. Nearly 100 people participated in last year’s event. Participants cover slightly more than 18 miles on foot and on bike through one of Kent County’s most beautiful areas, including Townsend Park. The Labor Day event offers more than a good workout. Post race festivities include live music, entertainment for kids and adults, along with award-winning food and drink. “Even if you can’t ride a bike or run, come down to cheer participants and enjoy myriad family-friendly events,” urged event organizer Don Kurylowicz. Feedback from 2011 participants helped organizers enhance and improve this year’s event. Some of the add-ons include more live music, an expanded food and beer tent, duck races, an ice cream eating contest and competition at an old-fashioned horseshoe pit. “It’s not so much about winning the race, but completing the race,’’ laughed Michael Jonkman of Rockford, who participated in the 2011 event. “The duathlon was great, but I really liked the food and family-friendly events, especially pitching horseshoes. Who needs to walk the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day; Cannonsburg has it all.” For those not tuckered out by the race, there will be a classic two-person crosscut saw competition. Cannonsburg Museum will also be open for visitors. “We’ve added more activities for the kids and expanded the entertainment to include folk and blues music along with country and rock,” Kurylowicz said. The American Red Cross will be on hand for blood donations. “This is a community event and the focus is to give back to our community,” Kurylowicz said. “Whether you’re donating blood or just showing up for a good time, all money raised will be put back into the community.” Primary beneficiaries are North Kent Community Services and The Kids’ Food Basket, an organization seeking to eradicate childhood hunger in greater Grand Rapids. […]

Rockford soon to spill over with craft beer

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL  Ladies and gentlemen, “whet” your whistles. The long awaited and much anticipated opening of Rockford’s signature microbrewery, Rockford Brewing Company (RBC), is close (or closer) at hand. In recent weeks, a flurry of activity has been in evidence inside and out of the craft brewery. Seven, custom crafted to RBC’s specifications, stainless steel brewing tanks were recently delivered and installed inside the brewery’s Brew House room. Manufactured by Metalcraft Fabrication of Portland, Oregon, the tanks are everything and more of what brewmaster Jeff Sheehan hoped they would be. “I couldn’t be more satisfied with the support and quality of workmanship of this highly specialized company,” said Sheehan. The three partners, Jeff Sheehan, Brien Dews, and Seth Rivard, have been up to their elbows engaging in hands-on sweat equity to get the doors of the microbrewery open for business. On a recent visit your reporters even witnessed them with sledgehammer in hand physically breaking up an old White Pine Trailside concrete entrance walk. It’s not often one sees a poitician (Dews) doing hard manual labor. Way to go Brien! Most recently RBC received their “brewer’s notice”, a federal license to produce beer. This notice was a missing piece of the puzzle to secure licensing from the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. The partners are very hopeful that the state license will be granted in the very near future. “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel (or beer if you will),” said Sheehan. “At the same time the closer the opening day gets the higher my stress and anxiety level. I just want to see this dream fulfilled and completed absolutely right and in a way that will make everyone, investors and patrons alike, PROUD of their hometown brewery.” The three partners, again, invite everyone to join in the excitement by stopping in any time the trailside door is open to check out the progress inside. Or simply go to RBC’s website at: or

Winners announced in third annual ArtCapsule in Rockford

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

Local talent filled Rockford during the third annual ArtCapsule event in downtown Rockford, and voters picked the winners in each of three categories as well as Best in Show. Local photographer Stacy Niedzwiecki was the overall winner with her photograph earning her Best in Show. In the Photography category Paul Willis, whose work was on display at Sassy Pants Boutique, received the most votes. Winning in the category of Three-Dimensional was Lois Carpenter, whose work was on display at the Frame and Mat Shop. Best Two-Dimensional artist was Kelly Bennor, whose work was on display at Kimberly’s Boutique. “We had outstanding publicity for the event this year, with articles in The Rockford Squire in March, June and [on the front page in] August,” said Jeff Lewis, chair of the Rockford Area Arts Commission, organizers of the event. “Our website traffic reached its highest levels of the year last week, and hundreds downloaded the smartphone app. Over 1,200 people read our Facebook posts and Heart of Rockford and Ada Arts Council and shared the event with their fans. WZZM13 and a number of other local organizations and businesses also included the event on their community calendars.” Lewis offered thanks to the many volunteers who sat in the 95+ degree heat to pass out ballots, sell tickets, give directions, babysit bicycles on the White Pine Trail and make the event possible, the business venues that gave up retail selling space to make way for beautiful artwork, the restaurants who raised the funds to award the artists through their donation of Taste of Rockford food and time, the Frame & Mat Shop for hosting the afterglow, Tom Scott for the artist photographer and, belatedly, T-Square, for their 2011 material donations to enrich ArtCapsule. “A special thanks goes to Arts Commission member Jeannie Gregory for her work in organizing the event again this year. As you might imagine, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes footwork and last-minute maneuvering needed to pull off an event like this,” Lewis continued. “In addition to the dozens of hours registering artists, signing up venues, printing forms, collecting money and organizing Taste of Rockford, Jeannie became a grandmother twice the week of the event and moved her mother into a new apartment. And, to rest […]

Two-year journal chronicles Rockford writer’s dog-sitting experiences

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

As every dog owner soon discovers, there are times when you just can’t be home to take care of your beloved pet. Whether it’s a long overdue vacation or a short weekend getaway, an overnight business trip or overtime hours at work, the question is always the same: What do I do about my dog? For some dog owners, a reliable kennel provides the solution, but others prefer a more personalized approach. Enter the dog sitter. Better yet, enter the dog sitter who takes the time to record his dog-sitting exploits in a journal, capturing the ups and downs, trials and errors, joys and sorrows of caring for the precious creatures entrusted to him by their owners. Rockford freelance writer (and former dog sitter) Steve Trott has recently published the running account of a two-year stretch taking care of other people’s canine companions. “One Dog Gone After Another: Diary of a Dog Sitter” documents the lives of the dogs he came to know and love over the course of those two years. They include Duncan, an energetic Sheltie whose mission in life is to herd cars; Buster and Scout, the “odd couple” golden retrievers; Brimstone, a dog with a broken spirit, living in a broken home; tiny Liz and Mike, who, along with the family cat, shared the author’s bed each night; Kodak, a memory only, whose ashes he helped bury one golden autumn afternoon; Lucky, rescued (literally) from the floodwaters; and the author’s favorite, a small golden retriever named Hunter, who would eventually become his own, bringing his days as a dog sitter to a happy conclusion. The journal begins: “I am not the most likely of candidates to write a diary about dogs. To begin with, I’ve never even had a dog of my own; a couple of turtles growing up, the standard goldfish, an aquarium full of guppies shared with the rest of the family, but nothing you could pet or put a leash around.” Trott describes the book as more than just a diary about dog sitting. “I soon discovered that the diary format lent itself to the inclusion of other dog-related items as well,” he writes. “In a manner similar to my journal-keeping in the past, there were quotations about […]

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