City to flush hydrants The City of Rockford will be conducting the annual fall Hydrant Flushing and Maintenance Program beginning Monday, Sept. 21, 2009. This process will be completed by Oct. 2, 2009. During this time, you may notice an occasional decrease in water pressure and possibly some slight cloudiness in the water. Most residents will see no change in their water supply. If you should notice a change in the appearance of your water, merely let the water run until it clears, usually within several minutes. There is no cause for concern with respect to the safety of your water supply, and the City performs this service twice a year to maintain a safe, reliable and abundant supply of water for residents. This program also ensures that the fire hydrants in the City are operating correctly and available for use in an emergency. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Brinks at the City of Rockford at (616) 866-0560.
City of Rockford
“We hope to find families that are not already receiving services through another organization. We would like to find a few that have fallen through the cracks,” said Rockford Volunteer Police member Linda Crone. She is asking that people who might know of a Rockford-area family that is having financial difficulties to tell the group. They would like to have names, and a little bit of background. “We don’t want people to just call in with a name, we’d like to know a little explanation of why you think they are in need,” Crone said. The group, who are funding the project out of their own pockets, also want the public to know that donations toward the dinner would be appreciated. The Rockford Volunteer Police Unit works out of the Rockford Police Department at City Hall and also staff the Welcome Center by Great Northern Trading Company in downtown Rockford Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The 20-person force has had a busy summer helping visitors to Rockford and patrolling the White Pine Trail and other areas. They say they have had a busy summer with an unusual amount of animal interaction, such as swans in roads and turtles on the trail. They came up with the idea of helping a few families in the Rockford School District as another way to be of use in the community. They hope to feed Thanksgiving dinner to a minimum of two families, possibly more with donations. For Christmas, they would like to narrow their efforts to one family and be able to provide gifts as well. “For that family we would need even more information, such as the ages and genders of children,” Crone said. Information may be dropped off at the Police Department or the Welcome Center during their open hours. For more information, you may call the Rockford Police Department at (616) 866-9557. A wish list of donated items includes canned corn and green beans, boxes of stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, potatoes, dinner rolls, butter tubs, packaged salad, pumpkin pies, jello and gift cards for turkey.
In it’s 11th year and more popular than ever, Mitchell’s Run thru Rockford will be held Saturday, August 15 in downtown Rockford. The event is a family-oriented event with a silent auction, picnic on the banks of the Rogue River, a children’s run as well as the main event. Last year the run raised a record $74,000. The certified run/walk begins at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Rockford followed by the Kids for Kids races with three age categories. All events start and finish at the Rotary pavilion. According to City Manager Michael Young, the run and other events continue to be so popular because Mitchell and his story has touched so many lives. He called the event inspiring. “When you get out there and they play the national anthem, you get chills, you get goosebumps. Running through your town with your friends and neighbors is an amazing experience. For more information, visit Mitchellsrun.org.
Party is Tuesday, August 4 Join several hundred of your closest neighbors Tuesday, August 4, as the City of Rockford celebrates National Night Out from 6 to 8 p.m. Chief Dave Jones said with the Night Out party and Blues on the River, there will be a lot to see and do in downtown Rockford. The celebration is part of a national event in its 26th year. It was designed as a campaign to take back the streets from crime. “Stop in and see what we are doing in crime prevention,” Jones invited the public. Rockford Police, Kent County Sheriff deputies and Michigan State Police troopers will be on hand while the public enjoys free hot dogs and refreshments, snow cones, activities and a huge homemade cake baked by a Rockford officer’s mom. Jones said a brave officer will be in the dunk tank waiting to get dumped in by youngsters (or adults), with good aim. Last year visitors were able to see confiscated drug vehicles now used by police. This year, again, there will be child fingerprinting and bicycle helmets, booths from the seven Rockford Neighborhood Watch associations, and lots of activities. Jones said Rockford’s party is unusual. Here all watch associations come together for one big party. “It’s nice because they can meet and talk with each other and find out what they are doing for crime prevention,” he said. Jones said the City Neighborhood Watch is always looking for block captains for the organizations. Designed to promote safety through communication within neighborhoods, the program requires little in time commitment, but pays off big in safety. “In Rockford we aren’t taking our streets back from crime, we are fighting to keep our streets the way they are,” Jones said. The first Rockford National Night Out was in 2005 and held at City Hall. This year the event will be behind Rockford’s courthouse on Main Street (the old Northland Pontiac new car lot). “It just keeps getting bigger and bigger,” Jones said. If the day is a hot one, kids will enjoy running through water provided by Rockford Fire Department trucks. “Firefighters like to spray things with water, so if it’s hot I’m sure they will do that again.”
Rockford City Manager Michael Young said he was pleased to provide the City Council with fair agreements on time for City staff and the police department (see related story on page 1). “Rarely will you hear a city manager say that negotiations were a pleasure to go through. We have an excellent police department and staff who understand what tough times we are going though,” he said to council on Monday, July 20. Young was pleased the agreements were reached in a timely fashion. “You don’t have to look far to see a lot of contracts that weren’t settled on time.” The city employees and police department work on a three-year employment agreement. According to Young, negotiations were not characterized by fighting back and forth as is reported in many such contract settlements. “It wasn’t as if we said yes to everything they asked for,” Young, who negotiated on behalf of the city, commented. “There were things they said no to and there were things I said no to.” Young said one of the biggest decisions was how to compensate city crews who have to come in after a heavy snow and plow the streets. In past years the employee was sent home after their normal number of hours, which they didn’t feel was fair since they had to get up in the middle of the night and operate a 10,000 pound snow truck with no increase in pay from their normal work schedule. Negotiations provided for some overtime when crews have to come in at unusual hours to deal with heavy snowfall. If the employee comes in two nights in a row they will receive two hours of overtime but still be sent home for safety reasons. Steve Jazwiec said he was proud that the City is in a position to offer employees a raise despite trying economic times. Young said the contract was fair. Rockford Mayor Chi Chi Rogers joked Council would give itself a ten percent raise (of nothing).