Family fun is around the bend and along the trail Summer is prime geocache time It isn’t just about the trinkets kids can collect at the end of the search. Geocaching is a great way to enjoy the outdoors and summer is a perfect time to get started. For the small investment of a global positioning system (GPS) and a can of bug spray—under $100—families can begin finding “treasure” all around. Geocaching has become increasingly popular and GPS prices have dropped since the hand-held devices first came out. Here in Rockford, geocaching can offer tidbits of history and direct hikers to new vistas. By visiting geocaching.com and plugging in coordinates to caches, anyone who can hike can find a variety of treasures. Some geocaches are handicap accessible as well. Geocache hiders can leave behind the traditional ammunition container or be creative with Tupperware, other plastic containers and even “micros,” such as the film canister hidden on the property of The Rockford Squire office at 331 Northland Drive. Many caches are on public land but some, like the Squire’s, are on private property with permission. Here at the newspaper office we love to see geocachers searching around out building trying to figure out where the cache “Free since 1871” is hidden. Our cache is a good example of how geocaching can educate residents about the history of their community. “Free since 1871” refers to the fact that the Squire, formerly the Rockford Register, is the oldest business in the city. The first issue came out February 1, 1871. While geocaching during business hours, we invite anyone to pop in, say hi, and see what the first page of the first issue looked like. We have it framed on our wall. Another in-town cache is at Pioneer Cemetery. This one is a multi, which means finding the first set of coordinates is just stage one. You use the information on the gravestones to figure out your next set of coordinates. While completing the mutli-stage cache, searchers receive a mini history lesson on some of Rockford’s earliest residents. Caches in Rockford include Pickerel Walk View (in Pickerel Park), Indian Joes 7, also in Pickerel. Who remembers when the property was known as Indian Joes and the resident used […]
On January 25, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm announced that the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG) had awarded $17.4 million in grants to 125 cities, villages, townships and counties throughout Michigan to support local energy efficiency projects. The state Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grants (EECBG) are funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). DELEG’s Bureau of Energy Systems (BES) awarded the EECBGs to projects that will create and retain jobs, save energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Cannon Township was awarded a grant of $74,464 to help pay for a sidewalk project in the Planned Unit Development (PUD) area. The total cost of the project is estimated at $223,072. A small portion of this amount will be “in kind” contribution ($1,072, mostly for project coordination and grant administration) and the remainder will come from the Recreation Fund ($76,244) and Metro Act dollars ($71,292). Cannon Township’s project qualifies for an energy grant because the construction of these sidewalk extensions should aid in making that area more “walkable” and thus reduce the number of vehicle trips from the neighboring home to the businesses along Belding Road and to the Cannon Township non-motorized trail, and thereby conserving on fossil fuels. The sidewalks will begin where the PUD sidewalks end. Instead of forcing the public to walk or bicycle in the busy roadways or to walk along rough terrain, there will be an eight-foot-wide concrete pathway that will connect to Bella Vista Drive to the west and Cannon Farms Drive to the north. Many of the business owners are excited about the additional foot or bicycle traffic this could bring. The public is also excited about the ability to easily ride bicycles or walk to the corner of Myers Lake Avenue where crosswalks were recently installed. From there they can access the Township Center trailhead of the four-mile trail that connects to several developments (Summerset Meadows and Dix Farms) and ends in Townsend Park. Funds from the EECBG grant will allow the township to complete this project in one year, rather than having to divide it into two separate projects over a longer stretch of time. It should allow the Bella Vista, Cannon Place and Cannon Farms residential communities safe […]
Cannon Township has been chosen to be part of the Wetlands Local Assistance Pilot Program through the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (MDNRE). The goal of the pilot program is to increase the efficiency of the wetland permitting process through local and state resources in order to protect the wetlands of the state. The township is one of only three entities chosen by the state to participate in the pilot program. The other two entities chosen are Michigan Association of Conservation Districts on behalf of Calhoun, Delta and Muskegon County Conservation Districts and the Thumb Land Conservancy of St. Clair County. Cannon Township Watershed Administrative Assistant Kim Sapkowski applied for the program in December 2009. She was notified of the township’s acceptance into the program on February 23, 2010. “Cannon Township has been a state leader in watershed conservation,” said Sapkowski. “Participating in this pilot project will allow the township to partner with the state of Michigan to not only streamline the wetland permitting process, but to educate our citizens about wetlands and the importance of protecting them. It is our goal to show other communities that local wetlands protection can be done.” The township’s Wetlands Ordinance protects wetlands in Cannon Township that are less than five acres. This is important, because the MDNRE only regulates wetlands that are more than five acres in size and/or are adjacent to a body of water. “Wetlands control flooding, filter storm water run-off, recharge groundwater [drinking water], and provide habitat for Michigan’s native plants and animals,” commented Sapkowski. “Wetlands are one of the most complex ecosystems in the world; most of a wetland’s function and ecosystem goes unseen by humans, but is nonetheless very important.” MDRNE’s Amy Lounds is preparing the final outline of the program, which will run until October 1, 2012.
Thirteen-year-old Tessa Paul-Cox didn’t really want to go to the free dance classes her mother Sandra has been enjoying so much, but once she arrived, she saw many others were having a great time. Sandra and Tessa were two of about 30 people who showed up on an off-day practice session on Tuesday, November 24. Rockford Ambulance offered the classes as a way to give back to the community and pass the time in a healthy way. Su Grey is a paramedic and one of the instructors of the program. She couldn’t be more enthusiastic, either during the classes or about them. “Our phones were ringing off the hook,” she said, when the nonprofit company announced the start of the classes. She said so many people signed up for the six-week course that the ambulance staff had to schedule two classes to accommodate everyone. Nancy Popma, who works for Cannon Township, said she learns something new every class, and the steps are easy to master. Milissa Soderstrom also works for the township. She said the two show their co-workers the new moves they learn each week. “We go back to work the next day and show the girls at the office,” she said. “It’s almost like our whole office is learning.” People don’t need dance background to participate, and don’t have to be couples. Grey said plenty of people show up by themselves and the ambulance staff step in as partners. First Rockford Ambulance volunteered to teach local first responders dance moves as a fun way to fill up the hours at the ambulance station, where the staff puts in long days. The program went over so well they decided to invite the public in as well. Chuck Premer, emergency medical technician and instructor, joked that if an emergency should occur requiring the staff to leave, class will be canceled. “And if someone has a medical issue during the class, at least they are in a good place for it.” Grey is pleased that a wide variety of participants have signed up. Margaret and Don Smith were having a great time during the practice session. “We’ve learned to dip and swing. There is a lot of rhythm, even if I have too much feet,” […]
by MITCH HARVATIN The Kent County Sheriff’s Department (KCSD) and Cannon Township have teamed up to fight crime overnight. Cannon Township has hired the KCSD to patrol extra hours after township officials saw a growth in crime productivity, especially in the Lake Bella Vista area. “We see a spike in calls during the summer time, and they will drop in September,” said Lieutenant Scott Brown of the KCSD. Brown added, “The citizens need to help us out. They need to close their garage doors at night. They need to make sure they lock their cars, their windows, their houses and, if they are financially able to, they need to keep their lights on outside overnight. They need to make it difficult for someone to rob their house.” He goes on to say that minors usually break in to garages to steal alcohol from refrigerators. Cannon Township taxpayers are paying $13,327.36 to keep an extra officer in the township between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m., not just patrolling Lake Bella Vista, which Brown clearly addressed. “If we receive a call somewhere else in that township, we go,” he said. According to a press packet from Cannon Township Clerk Bonnie Blackledge, the KCSD conducted 76 property checks/foot patrols, 50 traffic stops, 10 general assigned complaints, nine suspicious persons/situations, four minors in possession of alcohol, one drug violation and one drunk-driving arrests between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. on just two days, May 22 and June 30. Other than conducting regular traffic stops, the KCSD responded to vandalism calls, larceny from an auto, stalking, alcohol-minor in possession, and registered sex offender contact all in section nine, which is primarily Lake Bella Vista. The KCSD assigns one officer to Cannon Township until 4 a.m. four days a week. The other three days a week, the KCSD patrols until midnight. On the days they are not patrolling or it’s past midnight, the KCSD’s district car patrols a wide area of northern Kent County, not just Cannon Township, but will respond to calls in the township. Brown wants to make sure residents in Lake Bella Vista know that if they see a crime in progress to call 9-1-1. If it’s not an emergency, call the KCSD’s non-emergency number at (616) 336-3113. […]