August 4 2011

Plainfield negotiates settlement with Road Commission over canceled project

August 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

Township to reimburse $88,653  by BETH ALTENA The Plainfield Township Board in July voted to reimburse the Kent County Road Commission (KCRC) $88,400 the commission invested in an approved widening of Belmont Road that was later cancelled. The KCRC in 2009 proposed the project, which was to be funded mainly by $900,000 in federal grants and also by $200,000 kicked in by the township. After the KCRC had spent over $100,000 on the project, an upwelling of disapproval for the widening caused the board in 2010 to rescind their approval of the project. Township Manager Robert Homan said the KCRC asked to be reimbursed for $106,000 they had spent in good faith after the roadwork was improved, noting they had invested in field surveys, design, permits, staking and acquisition of roadway from residents with homes on the road. The township counter-proposed to reimburse the road commission $41,617 of the non-recoverable costs and pledged to pay $25,000 this year toward upkeep of the stretch of road and $21,000 in the future for the same purpose. The total reimbursement under the agreement from the township to the commission would total $88,653. Trustee Vic Matthews said, “Under the circumstances, we’ve got us a pretty good deal. They could have charged us considerably more.” Trustee Jack Hagedorn expressed concern over how the reversal came about. “Something was wrong with the process. After the final vote there was a huge groundswell of disapproval. Somewhere along the way there was a disconnect.” He said he is glad, as Vic was, that $46,000 would go toward the upkeep of Belmont, which until recently was plagued with potholes. Treasurer Jim Stover was philosophical about the deal. “We made an agreement to be part of the project in 2009 to the tune of $200,000. A year later we changed our mind. I think paying out $88,400 is a good commitment on our part to resolve this and put it to bed.” Trustee Charles Weldon was also for the payment and noted that all the people who were paid for easements were asked to return the money since the widening of the road was cancelled, removing the need for the easement. He said not a single one of the residents who were paid had returned […]

Casting call for young actors for Reading Rocks festival

August 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

Children who can read and are in eighth grade or lower are invited to help with a new exciting event as part of the Reading Rocks in Rockford festival August 13. The festival is in its second year and offers many hands-on opportunities to appreciate reading. This year Dr. Regina Rees and a group of Rockford High School students will coordinate Readers Theater with the younger students, a group storytelling event, at the pavilion located on the west side of the Rogue River dam. Rees has been a teacher for over 25 years. She has taught grades 4-12. She completed her Ph.D. in 2004 and is currently an associate professor in education at Youngstown State University. She has been a storyteller for 15 years and has presented programs and workshops throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Indiana. In addition to storytelling, Rees loves Readers Theater. This form of group storytelling combines reading, interpreting and listening, with imagination. Readers Theater is truly “theater of the imagination” because there are no costumes, sets or special effects—just the readers interpreting the story for the audience to picture in their imaginations. The stories presented at the Reading Rocks in Rockford festival are adapted from folktales from around the world. Students interested in participating should have their parents call Susan at Bishop Hills Elder Care Community at (616) 866-2002. A practice script reading will take place Friday, August 12 with the Readers Theater taking place in one morning and one afternoon session on Saturday. For more information about this year’s Reading Rocks in Rockford, brought to you by Rockford Rotary Club and Rockford Public Schools, see the circular inside this issue of The Rockford Squire.

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

August 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

Get smart Public pressure on Washington finally did the trick. Members of Congress faced reality. In other words, they got nervous that they wouldn’t be re-elected next time if they didn’t shape up and pass the debt bill. So, the immediate crisis is put to rest, although a true resolution has been put off. Our government still spends more than its income. Much of it consists of unavoidable obligation—interest on government bonds and other debt, for example. But our government’s optional spending calls for close inspection. We the people must decide what we really want, and elect accordingly. Surely we’re able to see past sleazy political rhetoric. Our choices may involve the dreaded taxation for somebody, but there are governmental programs that are worth it. Let’s get smart. Not so smart Tired of having to balance his wife Cindy’s checkbook, Mike made a deal with her: he would look at it, but only after she had spent a few hours trying to wrestle it into shape. The following night, after spending hours poring over stubs and figures, Cindy said proudly, “I’ve done it! I made it balance!” Impressed, Mike came over to take a look. “Let’s see—mortgage, $550, electricity, $70.50, phone, $35.” His brow wrinkled as he read the last entry. “It says here, ESP, $615. What the heck is that?” “Oh, that,” she said. “It means, Error Some Place.” That smarts His wife has been missing a week now. Police told him to prepare for the worst. So he’s gone to the thrift shop to get all her clothes back. Smart comeback A wife says to her husband, “You’re always pushing me around and talking behind my back.” He says, “What do you expect? You’re in a wheel chair.” Smart aleck For three days all I heard from my Texas visitor was stuff like, “In Texas we have the best this, the largest that, the fastest something else,” etc. It became annoying. Being from Niagara Falls, I thought I could outdo him by showing him the Mighty Niagara, knowing nothing in Texas could compare to this wonder. While standing at the brink watching millions of gallons of water rushing over, I noticed the look of awe in his eyes. It was then I asked […]

Grohs to celebrate 50th anniversary

August 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

                On August 5, 1961, Joseph Groh and Josephine LaFrate were united in marriage. This week, the Belmont couple is celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with family and friends on Saturday, August 6. Their children include Stephen and Natalie Groh, David and Michelle Groh, Michael and Tina Groh, Paul and Cindy Groh and Dan Groh. The couple has 10 grandchildren, Callie and Aaron Bunyea, Chase, Nikole, Devon, Kama, Brandon, Brittany, CJ and Gabe; and two great-grandchildren, Kora and Wyatt Bunyea.            

THE TAX ATTIC with Jerry Coon

August 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

To draw or not to draw  Baby boomers and when to begin drawing Social Security benefits; to draw or not to draw—it’s a prime time discussion topic for millions of baby boomers. To draw benefits at the age of 62 or wait to draw until reaching full retirement age—calculating a break-even point at which it would pay to wait would help in making that decision, but there are many variables that go into the calculation. Some of those variables are numerical and calculable. Other variables are not so black and white. Let’s look at the numbers-related variables first. The penalty for drawing early is the largest factor and is a good place at which to start. For taxpayers with a full retirement age of 65, the penalty for drawing at age 62 is a 20% reduction in benefits. For taxpayers with a full retirement age of 66, the penalty is a 25% reduction and for those with a full retirement age of 67, the penalty is a 30% reduction. For example, a taxpayer born in 1952 has a full retirement age of 66 and would incur a 25% penalty for drawing at age 62. The taxpayer’s benefit at age 66 would be $1,500. The reduced benefit at age 62 would be $1,125. At age 77 and 11 months, the taxpayer would have drawn $216,000 using either monthly benefit amount, so that is the black-and-white break-even point. If the taxpayer lives beyond age 77 and 11 months, it would have paid him to wait until drawing because he could then be drawing $1,500 instead of $1,125. However, if he leaves this world sooner than 77 and 11 months, he would have benefited by drawing early. A large number of these calculators are available on the Internet. Google “Social Security breakeven point” and you will have a variety of choices. There are other factors that are harder to put a finger on. For example, Social Security benefits are increased by a cost-of-living allowance (COLA). The COLA for 2010 and 2011 was 0.00%, but for 2009 it was 5.8%. What will that factor be going forward? Your guess is as good as any of the experts, but I think it’s a foregone conclusion that it won’t be 0.00% […]

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