Beth Altena

Featured Squire employee, Managing Editor

December 9, 2010 // 0 Comments

Beth Altena  I was in high school when my parents purchased the Rockford Register from a group of business people who had combined several local papers to form one big paper and quickly went broke. Nearly immediately I figured out I was not interested in newspapering as a way to make a living. My parents worked long hours, sometimes my mom was doing layout all night long on deadline, and they kept putting money in rather than taking it out. I went to college, didn’t study business or finance, and worked on a major in English and a double minor in political science and history. My dad had told me I wasn’t there to earn a trade, but to get an education and just study what I wanted. I don’t know if that was such great advice, but I took every class I felt like, including Chaucer and Greek, both of which I liked a lot. I never ended up graduating, despite completing the major and minors, though. It seems there are curriculum requirements and they want you to have those before they give you a diploma. Anyone who has had a family business will know what I mean when I say they have a strong gravitational field—they suck you in. In my summers home, my dad gave me about every job in the paper at one point or another. I tried sales and ended in tears—sales people have to be tough. I tried doing the bookkeeping and missed those finance skills I never learned. I enjoyed doing layout—that’s placing the stories and pictures on the pages. It’s like doing a puzzle and is really fun. Unfortunately, like my mom, it seemed I was often there all night long on Tuesdays. When my kids were little, my mom babysat and often got them off to school on Wednesdays. By then, I was married and had worked full time as a cashier at Meijer before quitting after the second boy to work part time at the Squire while the kids were small. I wanted to stay part time until they were in school all day and almost made it. I heard my dad was thinking of closing the newspaper after several failed attempts to get someone […]

Taste of Ric’s anniversary extravaganza this Saturday

December 2, 2010 // 0 Comments

Over 30 vendors to offer samples, savings by BETH ALTENA “This is our chance to showcase what we are capable of,” said Ric’s Food Center Store Director David Brickner. He refers to the winter Taste of Ric’s to be held this Saturday, December 4, from noon to 4 p.m. at Ric’s, 6767 Belding Road. The event is also a celebration of the store’s three-year anniversary. “We’ve had our share of problems. Being here three years, maybe people will realize we are here for the long haul and plan to be here to serve them into the future.” Brickner said the Taste of Ric’s, which the store holds in summer and in winter annually, continues to be a huge success—if you consider giving away a ton of free food a success for a local grocery store. Brickner does. In addition to serving, for example, a hundreds pounds of meatballs during the Taste of Ric’s, the store supports the community by daily donating to local outreach center Lean on Me. A food drive held at Ric’s recently allowed the public share in supporting people who are struggling financially, and Brickner said volunteers who staffed the event were very grateful for every bit of food and monetary donation. The Taste of Ric’s is also a community outreach, in a way. Brickner said for both the store and the vendors who participate, it is a chance to shine and invite people to try something new. Loyal customers appreciate the events and those who have never, or not recently, visited the store will be reminded of what Ric’s has to offer. “It is really a joint venture between us and the merchants,” Brickner said. Many of the store’s vendors are Michigan companies, and the person-to-person interaction during the Taste of Ric’s allows customers to see the people who are providing their food and vendors to see who they are serving. “People don’t realize many of these are locally-owned businesses, he said. An example is Sweet Tooth, a store right in downtown Rockford which specializes in homemade caramel corn and other goodies. “They offer a really good product and market it well,” Brickner said of the Sweet Tooth owners. Others—Keebler/Kellog, Schuil Coffee, Max and Emily’s Cheesecake, Chuck and Dave’s Salsa, Pop’s […]

Antlered doe-bucks could be bro-sters

November 24, 2010 // 0 Comments

‘It didn’t have the [male parts] but it had the other parts’ by Beth Altena The huge rack on the deer Jerry White shot in Cedar Springs on Monday, Nov. 15, opening day of firearm season for whitetail deer in Michigan, was the most impressive White had bagged. The deer was large for a buck, too, but when White rolled the deer over to field dress it, he noticed something was missing. The deer was a rare antlered doe with female anatomy and the huge, 10-point rack was still in full, heavy velvet. “It didn’t have parts it’s supposed to have. It’s very unique,” said White. He shot the deer from about 100 yards out. He had noticed the big animal during bow season and had told his wife about it. White, of Allendale, took the deer on property near the intersection of 18 Mile Road and Harvard Avenue. Charles “Chuck” Navitskas, was also hunting in Cedar Springs on opening day. His son shot a doe, which started to run, and while it crashed by an antlered deer also ran, giving Navitskas just a moment to take his shot. His deer fell immediately, and when father and son went to field dress their pair of animals, Navitskas’ son noticed something odd about the six-point his dad had taken. “It didn’t have the [male parts] but it had the other parts,” Navitskas stated. His deer was not a true antlered doe, but was a deer which was neither fully male nor female, a genetic anomaly. His deer was also in velvet, the soft covering over the antlers which males normally have rubbed off prior to the start of hunting season. Navitskas shot his strange deer between Keller and Tisdale avenues off 18 Mile Road. Both animals were taken to Barb’s Deer Processing in Rockford, where owner Barb Haveman was very surprised, first by the antlered doe, and then doubly by the second genetically unusual deer. “These are the first I’ve seen and I’ve been doing this over 50 years,” Haveman said of the two animals. Haveman stated she has been processing over 50 deer a day at her facility, where 10 people, including her daughter, are hard at work. She calls this year a good season, […]

Holiday season begins with music, lights, words of peace

November 24, 2010 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA  Hundreds of people waited on the banks of the Rogue River to hear the Rockford High School brass ensemble and choir and words of peace from local leaders as the City of Rockford officially began the holiday season the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 17. The City/Chamber of Commerce event began with an introduction by Chamber Executive Director Brenda Davis, who said the event was the sixth annual. It appeared from the number of participants that this may well be the most well-attended lighting ceremony to date. Outgoing State Representative Tom Pearce spoke about his experiences as a young man on a Souix Indian reservation and then urged the crowd, “If there is someone you are not getting along with, make a truce with them.” He urged the crowd to “make sure this holiday season you are wrapped up in other people, not wrapped up in things that don’t matter.” Mayor Steve Jazwiec shared his inspiration for the holidays, the true story of WWI foes who, for a few hours on Christmas eve, made a truce themselves and stopped fighting to share a time of peace in honor of the holy day. Senator Mark Jansen urged people to start at home in bringing peace to the world and complimented the town for being good stewards of the assets Rockford is blessed to enjoy—our students who stood by to sing and play in honor of the holiday, the beautiful downtown and the river and trail which brings so much to the community. The words of peace were followed by the music of the brass ensemble and choir—hauntingly beautiful and the most moving portion of the ceremony—and the dimming of the lights until the countdown to the town’s holiday lights coming on for the season. The evening ceremony ended with a playful rendition—repeated a few times for fun and to the delight of youngsters and adults—of the “reindeer song” with participation of the crowd encouraged. After the lighting ceremony, a lively downtown night of shopping was held, with promotions, treats and giveaways in the stores and shops. The downtown Rockford Holiday Open Houses is an annual event that lasts two evenings. However, many holiday specials can be found throughout downtown right on through the season, […]

Facts, music, prayers featured at Veteran’s Day service

November 18, 2010 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA  Perfect fall weather graced a service at Veteran’s Memorial Park, 5747 Jupiter Avenue in Plainfield Township, one of many Veteran’s Day services around West Michigan. Speaking on his and his wife’s 50th anniversary, Township Supervisor George Meek, a four-year veteran himself, asked the crowd to remember and thank veterans for their service. He shared that he had four grandsons enter the service in 2010. Speaker Senator Mark Jansen also urged listeners to take the time to thank those who serve our country and said veterans come in “all shapes and sizes.” He has a nephew in Afghanistan in his fourth tour of duty. Jansen said veterans are “sons, daughters, husbands and wives.” He praised those who step up to serve our country. “I believe in the Bible and Jesus was a servant. He led by serving,” Jansen stated. Jansen listed countries where the United States has seen military combat, and noted that younger listeners wouldn’t recognize the references to some of the countries. “People are trying to take away our freedom, safety and are trying to harm us,” Jansen said. “On 9/11 they came to our soil.” He said Flight 93 was an example of heroism, and the people who took the plane down in a cornfield to save the lives of many others were true heroes. Heroes are those who have faith, vision and courage as well as the desire to protect those who cannot protect themselves, Jansen described. “Tonight is about all of that, and to thank them. We know evil is in this world for generations. There was evil in the Bible and there is evil today. Veterans are people willing to say yes and to defend us.” “Find someone who has a veteran in their family and thank them,” Jansen continued. “Tonight I hope and pray the generations to come will follow in their footsteps of those heroes, and I ask God to bless this nation.” Meek shared the history of Veteran’s Day. “On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the first world war ended, and in 1919 the country celebrated Armistice Day on November 11 as a day of solemn pride. The holiday was celebrated thus until 1953, when a […]

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