Cliff and Nancy Hill

‘Praise in the Park’ scheduled for Garden Club Park

June 14, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Over the past several years, the residents of the greater Rockford community have been treated to “The Blues” and the “Open Mic”. And now those same residents will be able to enjoy another genre of music. Christian music will now fill the air of Rockford’s Garden Club Park on twelve consecutive Sunday evenings this summer. “What better way, for Rockford residents and visitors from out of town, to spend a warm summer evening than in the beautiful Rogue River setting of the park while enjoying music dedicated to the Creator of all things,” said City Councilman and event organizer, Rich Moll. The idea for “Praise in the Park” entered Moll’s mind a few years ago, but he was unable to get needed support to make the idea fly. Moll placed it on the back burner but couldn’t get it out of his mind. All that changed recently when Ethan Ezikian, the Worship Director from Rockford Reformed Church, asked Moll what it would take to hear some Christian music in downtown Rockford. With that simple question and Ezikian’s support the dream galvanized. Numerous churches in the area were contacted and a large enough pool of churches readily agreed to play a part in this inaugural event by filling the twelve weeks that were planned. The Sunday evening programs may include Praise teams, duets, solos, instrumental music, and even good old-fashioned traditional hymn sings. Your reporters, the Hills, were on hand last Sunday evening when the Praise Team from Rockford Reformed Church performed a blend of vocal and instrumental music before a large appreciative crowd. Many on hand that evening were first time visitors to Rockford’s annual Start of Summer Celebration weekend. “My family and I had a blast in Rockford this weekend,” said Cayden Tanner from Orlando, Florida. “And this wonderful evening of music was the icing on the cake.” Moll envisions each of the Sunday evening performances to be a wholesome event for the “entire family” to enjoy, saying, “The God given faith based talents of the musicians and singers of our area churches are simply awesome. Mark your calendars for the remaining eleven weeks of the “Praise in the Park” schedule. You won’t be disappointed.” “Praise in the Park” […]

Two 2012 Parade of Homes showcased in Rockford

June 7, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL A housing industry slowly shaking off the worst economic conditions in decades finds Rockford well positioned for a long awaited turn around in new home construction. New home starts have been flat in Rockford for the past 5 years and Rockford City Manager Michael Young was more than happy to announce at May’s City Council meeting that, “We have issued more new home construction permits in the first five months of this year (2012) than in all of 2010 and 2011 combined.” Home building contractor Roersma & Wurm has been busy this spring bringing a number of homes in Rockford’s Heritage Park to market. New to the Rockford market, a Traverse City builder sees great potential for new home construction in the Rockford community. So convinced was Gary Jurkovich, CEO of Pathway Homes, that Rockford is “the stepping stone” into the greater Grand Rapids home building market that he recently completed a home in Rockford’s Riverchase Neighborhood. Located at 93 Riverchase Dr., the home was entered in this year’s spring Parade of Homes. It was no sooner completed than it was sold. Not to worry, another Pathway Home is under construction directly across the street. Pathway’s beautiful Parade entry exhibited strong attention to detail and no wasted space. It was a favorite of Parade ticket holders. Certified green built, the home was rated Energy Star 5 and featured 5 bedrooms with 2 ½ baths in its 2,454 sq. ft. of finished floor space. With a 3-car garage, a covered porch, back deck, and a bonus room above the garage, it left little to be desired. The home also abounded in many upgraded amenities including hardwood floors, ceramic tile, and a gas fireplace with custom mantle design, along with granite countertops with custom ceramic tile backsplashes. In short, it was a lot of home for the money. The last two days, Friday and Saturday, June 8 & 9, of this year’s Spring Parade of Homes will feature six remodeled homes. Rockford’s multi-award winning Morris Builders will highlight the complete interior and exterior renovation of a home at 143 Courtland St. (northeast corner of Courtland and Monroe Sts.) in downtown Rockford. The five-time recipient of the Remodeler of the Year Award, Morris […]

RHS 2012 grads to celebrate their story of faith, hope, joy

May 31, 2012 // 0 Comments

Rockford community invited to baccalaureate ceremony Sunday, June 3 by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL A baccalaureate ceremony for graduating high school students in the Rockford community has been an annual tradition for decades, yet there are many Rockford residents who are not aware of the baccalaureate service’s existence. Few understand the meaning of the ceremony. According to Wikipedia, the term baccalaureate generally refers to a nondenominational ceremony held a few days before high school or college graduation. Baccalaureate ceremonies offer a quieter, more intimate opportunity to pause and reflect on this rite of passage, hear faculty members offer advice to the graduating class (last year’s keynote speaker was RHS Principal Dan Zang) and enjoy students’ musical talents. The greater Rockford community is a community of faith and home to some 4-dozen churches of various denominations. For the past several years, the youth pastors of many of these churches have organized these baccalaureate services. As a group, the coalition of youth pastors is known as Unite. Unite meets monthly for the purpose of working together to positively impact the young people of the Rockford community. Unite also runs “Reverb”, a popular before school program for the students of Rockford North and East Middle Schools. The purpose of this year’s baccalaureate ceremony is to “recognize the success and faith of the graduating class and to send them off into the adventure that is their next stage of life,” said Rockford United Methodist youth pastor, Chad Inman. The RHS baccalaureate ceremony is open to everyone, not just parents, grandparents, extended family, and friends. Unite invites the entire Rockford community to join with the 2012 graduates during this inspirational ceremony. Those in attendance that evening are sure to enjoy uplifting music from highly talented Praise Teams along with an appearance by the Rockford Aces, the RHS men’s a cappella ensemble. A highlight video showcasing the 2012 RHS graduating class will be shown and also on the program will be pastoral and faculty challenges to the graduates. Most certainly, guests will be reminded to keep the graduates in their minds, their hearts, and in their prayers. The 2012 RHS baccalaureate ceremony will be held this Sunday evening, June 3, at 7 p.m. in the RHS Auditorium located at 4100 Kroes […]

America’s favorite farmers market returns Saturday for encore season

May 31, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL On the wings of victory from winning the 2011 America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest, the Rockford Farm Market (RFM) proudly sails into its second decade. Since its opening day, the first Saturday of June in 2002, RFM has developed a cult-like word-of-mouth following in the greater Rockford community. In many ways, it was Rockford’s best-kept secret. All that changed with the Market’s entrance last year into the prestigious farmers markets contest sponsored by the American Farmland Trust (AFT). Not only did RFM win its small market category (16-30 vendors), it also received more votes than ANY other single farm market in any category (boutique, small, medium, and large). In doing so, RFM truly could lay claim to the title “America’s Favorite Farmers Market/2011”. Recently the AFT revealed that nearly 1,700 participating farmers markets were entered into last year’s contest. A total of 90,000 votes were cast online. All the more amazing was the fact that the small city Rockford Farm Market received 6,083 votes, or in other words an incredible 6.8 percent of the total votes cast! RFM is a “Pure Michigan” farm market that celebrates and totally reflects the “farm-to-table” movement. It is all about local West Michigan farm produce. A visit to America’s Favorite Farmers Market truly rewards one with a taste of Michigan. Local regional foods simply taste better. Why? Because they are fresher, not having traveled hundreds, if not thousands, of miles to our tables. That they are more healthful simply goes without saying. Because of the resulting media coverage in winning last year’s farm market contest, RFM found itself becoming a destination farm market for foodies and farm market affeciationados from near and far. Just as there are wine trails, there are also farm market trails and RFM now finds itself as a “must” market to visit. What boggles the mind is the fact that RFM operates without cost to its sponsor, the City of Rockford. It has no budget, no paid staff, and does not advertise in the media. Rockford City Treasurer Kim McKay somehow finds the time to organize and administer the June – October market during her already hectic work schedule. Saturday morning Market Master duties are performed by volunteers from the […]

State names Belmont man ‘Rails-to-Trails’ champion

May 17, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Last week Thursday evening, the highlight of the monthly Friends of the White Pine Trail meeting at the Rockford Community Cabin was to be a flat bicycle tire repair presentation by Dave Heyboer, Chairman of the 500 member Trail advocacy group. Unbeknownst to Heyboer, he was about to be upstaged and honored with the presentation of a Tribute from the State of Michigan that had been sponsored by 73rd District State Representative Peter MacGregor. Humbled and almost speechless, (a rarity for Heyboer) the honoree listened while MacGregor read, in part, from the tribute as follows: With the exception of Fred Meijer, no one has been more responsible in making the White Pine Trail, Michigan’s longest linear State Park, what it is today. Mr. Heyboer is a true, “rails to trails” champion, capably handling the demanding and vital responsibilities of establishing a vision, gaining donors and executing plans. We are pleased to join our voice to those of the communities stretching from Grand Rapids, MI to Cadillac, MI, in thanking him for his dedication and honoring his selfless service to our State. This recognition is certainly well deserved. Although the “rails” were established long ago, the paving, convenience and safety improvements, and continued maintenance of, are critical to the transformation of the “rails” to “trails”. The hard work, commitment, and innovation of Mr. Heyboer and the “Friends” are major factors in the overall success and continued improvements of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail. The work that Mr. Heyboer has accomplished has made the reputation of the trail possible and provides a model for others to follow. Under the official seal of the Great State of Michigan, Michigan’s Rep. Peter MacGregor, Senator Mark Jansen, and Gov. Rick Snyder signed the framed tribute with sincere thanks and wishes for continued success in all of Heyboer’s endeavors. To his good credit Rep. MacGregor has, since being elected to office some 16 months ago, actively sought to recognize constituents who have made a difference in all of our lives. No one is more deserving of this distinctly high honor than Dave Heyboer. Congratulations Dave from the Rockford Squire and members of the Friends of the White Pine Trail along with linear trail users from […]

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