by CHRISTINE BIGNEY Mark your calendars for July 25, 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. to see the fabulous GM Futurliner that will be the special guest at the Cedar Springs Summer Car Show, located in Morely Park, 60 Cedar St., Cedar Springs MI (one block south of 17 Mile and Northland Dr.) This is Futurliner No. 10-refurbished to its original condition by more than 30 volunteers over a seven year period under the direction of Don Mayton of Beaverdam, Michigan. Only eight other Futurliners exist, five of which are in total disrepair. Sharon Jett, Director of the Cedar Springs Museum procured the Futurliner for the car show. “This is a huge coup to get the Futurliner to come. It took about two months of negotiating a price before they said yes,” Jett said. Jett, along with D. White, a fellow museum member, went out into the community to obtain over 25 local business sponsorships. “I would like to personally thank everyone who financially helped so generously with this project,” White said. To learn more about the futurliner visit their web site: wwwfuturliner.com.
by CHRISTINE BIGNEY Lena Sims looks like the-girl-next-door, a senior at Rockford High School. She’s articulate, pleasant to talk to, and occasionally humorous. Any parent would be proud to have Lena as their daughter, just on that basis alone. But Lena is something special. Not only does she thrive on “lots of AP (advanced placement) classes,” such as AP English, AP calculus, AP physics, and AP Spanish, Lena has won an award that many students would find elusive. This past January, Lena won 1st place at the State Competition in Fundamental Accounting, an award sponsored by the Business Professionals of America. Mr. Noel Fike, Lena’s BPA chapter advisor, and teacher of business management courses at Rockford High School, asked his business students if any of them would be interested in competing for this award. “This is something new for Rockford this year. We get extra funding from the state if we have this available to the students. We had 27 members this year,” Fike said. Fike went on to say that there were many competitions to compete in at Davenport University. Five students from Rockford were able to go to Regionals, Lena being the only one scoring 100 percent. Was the test hard? “Not really,” Lena said, smiling. “There were a few things I didn’t know, but we were allowed to use the manual, so as long as you had an idea, you were ok.” The awards ceremony was held at the Amway JW Marriott, where 2000 people gathered in anticipation of the announcement of the awards. “I really hoped I would just make nationals, but I couldn’t believe I was number one in the state!” Lena exclaimed. Lena hopes to pursue international accounting, “So I can use my Spanish,” she said. Ohio State or the University of Michigan is her college choices. “Hopefully over Spring break I can make a decision.” Mr. and Mrs. Fike along with Lena’s mom Connie, will be accompanying Lena to the nationals in Dallas, Texas May 6 through May 10. Lena’s dad, Leslie Sims, is currently in Iraq, working as an electrician government contractor. He has been there since last October. When asked if she participates in any sports, Lena replied that she was in Crew for three years, […]
by CHRISTINE BIGNEY You can walk into many of the stores in downtown Rockford, and there is a good chance that the business is owned by a woman. In the United States and in West Michigan, women – and people in general – enjoy many opportunities to benefit from their own efforts, improve their lives and ‘live the American dream.’ In the media, today’s news is all of the sky is falling variety, forgetting or failing to note that our quality of life in the U.S., and in West Michigan, is not really so bad. In fact, we are in a position to help others who truly are in economic and personal disaster. Jessica Gordon, a local business woman, runs WAR Chest Boutique located at 119 Courtland Street in downtown Rockford. She believes people will be willing to help improve the lives of others if they are given an opportunity. Gordon tells how her organization helps women in Asia in regions that have become the newest source for traffickers of young destitute girls and women, some as young as nine years old. They are transported across borders and sold into sexual slavery throughout Asia. Gordon tells of an African business woman who was tricked into selling her business and moved to Thailand where she expected to start a new business. Instead she was forced into prostitution. Other horror stories include a newborn Thai baby sold for $200 to traffickers. But there is hope for these women through a Christian organization called Women At Risk (WAR) International. Partnering with several different programs in other countries like Thailand, Uganda, Nepal, India, the Dominican Republic, Egypt, Jordan and the Philippines, Gordon’s boutique showcases jewelry these girls and women produce in safe houses which are sponsored by WAR. The jewelry are made from pearls and semi-precious stones. “The jewelry is sent on consignment, with the safe houses setting the prices. The proceeds go to these women to help them get their GED, get them proper medical care, preventative medical care,” Gordon explained. Gordon found herself running the Rockford store after some mutual friends asked her if she was interested. A grant from a private foundation made it possible. “It was kind of an experiment, “Gordon related, “to see if […]