City of Rockford

Abraham Lincoln statue becoming destination for countless visitors

September 8, 2010 // 0 Comments

by Cliff and Nancy Hill From his second floor office in the Natureview Properties Building, Tom Mall enjoys looking down on the bronze Abraham Lincoln statue that he was instrumental in bringing to Rockford. Mall particularly enjoys the reactions of those who discover the statue for the very first time. Ideally sited on a spur of the White Pine Trail that leads to a boardwalk along the Rogue River, the life-size and lifelike Lincoln statue is discovered and enjoyed by people on a daily basis. Lincoln is seated on a bench that invites passerby to sit and engage Lincoln in what Mall says appears to be, “ A silent conversation, perhaps in thanks, to one of our greatest Presidents.” People interact with the statue in many ways. Photo opportunities are common throughout the day. Some stand in awe of the exacting detail of the statue. Others reach out and touch Lincoln’s hand or face. Still others simply wonder what is on Lincoln’s mind as he sits with his right arm on a stack of books, and in his other hand perhaps a draft of the Gettysburg Address. Mall tells us that his very favorite sighting, one day, was that of a young woman who stood before the statue for some time and then bent over and kissed Lincoln on the forehead and then walked away. A chance photo taken soon after the statue was installed is one of Mall’s favorites. The photo is that of the children of three out-of-town families from Grand Rapids, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. Surrounding Lincoln on that day were eleven young children, two were black, one of which was seated in his lap. This being 147 years after Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, a just over two-minute speech regarded as one of the greatest in American history, adds poignancy to the photo. The City of Rockford has recently placed additional benches trailside adjacent to the statue that invite visitors to sit and, perhaps, contemplate where we have come as a nation since the Civil War. If you’ve not already discovered Rockford’s Abraham Lincoln statue for yourself, now is the time! We already know of many Rockford area schoolteachers who are thinking of using it in their itineraries for class field […]

Samples, music, games this Saturday

August 26, 2010 // 0 Comments

Second annual Heirloom Tomato Festival will have plenty to eat, see, do “This is going to be one absolute blast of a festival,” said organizer Meredith Gremel of this Saturday’s second annual Heirloom Tomato Festival held at Reds on the River from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Businesses throughout downtown are coordinating special pricing and giveaways to go with the ‘Show us your Tomatoes’ theme. The Heirloom Tomato festival will feature music, events and food under at tent in Red’s parking lot, a marinara contest open to the public, a Little Miss Heirloom pageant for girls under 12 and a wide variety of tomato/harvest-themed fun. “There aren’t a lot of towns like Rockford anymore,” said Gremel. She referred to the wide variety of shops, the lovely flowers at Peppler Park where hundreds go during the summer for photos, and all the music and festivals that take place here. The tomato festival idea came from the abundance of the crop. She said Dave Ingraberg farms and Chef Glenn at Reds were commenting on how wonderful yet abundant the tomato is when grown the way nature intended. She said the two decided to have a festival centered on the tomato. This year there will be heirloom tomato seeds for sale, MSU extension Master Gardeners offering advise, a Red’s sampler offered with ticket purchases, roasted corn, a beer tent and other traditional, harvest time family event. North Kent Service Center will offer a lemonade stand with proceeds to the facility and any left over tomatoes will be donated. The Festival Line Up includes … 11 a.m. ‐ noon: Dublin Station ( Noon: Crowing Little Miss Heirloom Tomato Princess (girls 12 Under ‐ dress in tomato, heirloom, or harvest attire and win a gift certificate to Aunt Candy’s Toy Company!) 12:30 ‐ 2:30 p.m. ‐‐ The Bean Poles ( 1 p.m.: Marinara Sauce Contest Judging begins (contestants must drop off their sauce in sealed containers clearly labeled with name, address, phone, email, and recipe at 10 am to Reds kitchen. Prepare enough to serve 10 judges). Top three winners awarded Reds gift certificates. Heirloom Essay Contest winner announced — see www.reds‐ for details. 3 ‐ 4 p.m.: The Moonrays 10 a.m.—4 pm: Kids games and activities, Old Fashioned Lemonade Stand, Beer Tent, […]

Year of the Ram sales nearing conclusion

August 26, 2010 // 0 Comments

Businesses, groups need to move fast to make history  The Rockford Public School goal was to have 40 unique ram statues to “unleash” at a downtown celebration during Harvest Festival . The nearly life-sized sculptures are created from melted PVC plastic and will not deteriorate, even if displayed outdoors. Jamie Hosford, Superintendent of Human Resources at RPS said the idea was one staff had thought about for years, and chose the 2010-2011 school year to be the “Year of the Ram.” The Corner Bar and the City of Rockford were among the first entities to jump on board the Year of the Ram with a sponsorship of $1,500 for theirs. Professional artists will paint the statues as directed by the purchaser at no additional charge. Throughout the next year the rams will be displayed at the dam, at a Ram Pride parade through downtown Rockford, at football games and homecoming. “Our ram is going to do a lot of traveling,” said Rockford City Manager of the City’s red, white and blue ram bearing city, police and fire logos. “There is something special about this district. We believe in working hard,” Hosford told Rotarians at a recent meeting. He said the district had been toying with ideas for showing Ram Pride. They saw another town which did an art project with bulldogs that made a big statement. “I hope this will bring people to downtown Rockford,” Hosford said of the Year of the Ram statues. Each organization can paint their own Ram or have an artist work according to direction or allow them to come up with an original design. Some limitations, such as using professional sign paint and avoiding obscene or political statements, are placed on design. Possibilities are endless and Hosford believes it is a smart marketing opportunity as well as a way to support Rockford Public Schools and the City of Rockford, which are working jointly on Year of the Ram. Opportunities to show off the Ram will be many as well. Hosford said he is working on a Ram Scavenger Hunt where people will be directed to find all the rams and perhaps win prizes. The rams will attend festivals and events. When not participating in events, the rams will be a […]

Letters to the Editor — July 15, 2010

July 15, 2010 // 0 Comments

Cannon Township Trustee endorses MacGregor Editor, As most of you know there are nine Republican candidates campaigning for the State House in the 73rd District. This is a result of Tom Pearce being term limited. I am supporting Peter MacGregor for this position because of his nine years with the township government, three years as a trustee and six years as supervisor. I have been privileged to serve with Peter these nine years on the Cannon Township board. Because he has shown great ability and responsibility in local government, I am supporting Peter in the August 3 primary. As supervisor, Peter has always had a genuine concern for the township citizens welfare, keeping a balanced budget and making sound decisions on local issues. In addition, Peter has other numerous endorsements including Representateve Tom Pearce, Senator Mark Jansen, Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Grand Rapids Chamber of Cammerce, PAC and Peter Kruer. I encourage everyone in the 73rd District to vote the candidate with the most practical experience to lead us. Please elect Peter MacGregor on August 3. Dick Davies Cannon Township Truste LaPeer endorses MacGregor for State Representative  Editor, The 73rd House District Republican Primary has many fine candidates. There is one person in the race, however, that I believe to be a very exceptional candidate and that I would like to highly recommend to voters: Cannon Township Supervisor Peter MacGregor. I have worked with Pete for over 15 years in local government service, watching as he progressed from Planning Commissioner, to Township Trustee, to Township Supervisor. In all these positions Pete exhibited strong leadership in the form of listening to our residents, taking care of their needs, and formulating sound government policies based on his ingrained “customer service” orientation. Worthy of mention in this difficult year, Pete took the lead in re-examining our local budget priorities, driving a budget process that achieved balance, and yet reflected vital priorities such as police, fire and roads. In addition to a strong local government background, Pete has extensive experience as a small business owner, and well understands that essential component of Michigan’s’ economic future. This combination of experience, customer service, hard work and discipline make Peter MacGregor the very best candidate for voters of the 73rd House District […]

Water boiling precaution lifted after testing

June 10, 2010 // 0 Comments

According to Rockford City Manager Michael Young, the city water is safe and two required tests show that residents can again ingest water without having to boil it. An electrical storm that caused severe damage Monday, May 31, included two lightning hits that damaged the computer system that runs the water plant and elevated water towers. Young said he believed the Wolverine World Wide tank, which is owned by the city, was struck. The water treatment system that fills tanks in the city is automated. When tanks lower to about half full, the computer tells the plant to turn on water and refill them. Apparently the lightening fried the automated program and also the back-up that tells operators when the program isn’t working. “We have a back up system that turns on an alarm when the system is down,” Young said. Because of the damage, neither system worked and at least one of three tanks—the Wolverine tank, the North Rockford Middle School tank and the Glen Eagle tank ran low enough to allow air to enter the water system. “It’s required by the state when anything, even if it is just air, enters the water system we have to issue a boil water warning,” Young said. He said preliminary tests on Wednesday showed the water was safe and a test done 24-hours later, about 6 a.m. Thursday morning, also confirmed the water was fine. There were at least three lightning hits in the city during the several hours of the storm. During the boil water warning Young answered questions posed by residents on his blog at

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