by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Last Thursday your reporters traveled to the state capital in Lansing to attend a session of the State Legislature to hear a reading of a proclamation and receive a framed tribute honoring the Rockford Farm Market’s victory in this past summer’s nationwide America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest. We had been invited by the proclamation’s author, 73rd District State Representative, Pete MacGregor. The reading of the proclamation on the Michigan House of Representatives floor was precluded by a visit to Rep. MacGregor’s office on the tenth floor of the State Office Bldg. across the street from and overlooking the State Capitol. What an awesome vista!! Following the office visit we were escorted to Rep. MacGregor’s desk, on the floor of the House of Representatives, at the beginning of the afternoon session in order to commemorate this occasion. Not only were we to receive this tribute, we were also privileged to sit alongside MacGregor and his House colleagues as they conducted the State’s business of the day. It was a high honor indeed as we were told, other than House members, only family members were allowed to be present on the floor. For Squire readers, as members of the greater Rockford community and beyond, here as follows is the verbiage of the State of Michigan Special Tribute that was presented to the Rockford Farm Market, to the Rockford Lions, and to your humble servants as well: State of Michigan Special Tribute To the Rockford Farmers Market LET IT BE KNOWN, That it is with deep appreciation for all of the hard work, commitment, and planning this occasion represents that we commemorate the awarding of the America’s Favorite Farmers Market, Small Market category to the Rockford Farmers Market of Rockford, MI. As members of the community and the people behind this enterprise gather to celebrate this event and express their confidence, we are proud to add our voice to commend everyone who has worked to make this day possible. The annual America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest is held by the American Farmland Trust to raise national awareness about the importance of buying fresh food from local farms and saving the farmland where it’s grown. Rockford netted 6,083 votes, more overall votes than those […]
Cliff and Nancy Hill
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Early this spring a single redbud tree, having heart-shaped leaves, was planted on a hillside overlooking the City of Rockford. Planted in the grassy acreage fronting the West side of Rockford Reformed Church (RRC), located on the southeast corner of Wolverine Blvd. and Eleven Mile Road, the tree was meant to commemorate and memorialize the life of Audra Brownell. Squire readers will recall the tragic death of the 17-year old Algoma Township teen in June of 2010 while on a backpacking adventure in Colorado with the Senior-High Youth group of RRC. While in a parking area at the base of a cliff, Audra was struck by a large falling rock that had been recklessly dislodged from above. Understandably, the Brownell family and the entire church family at RRC were devastated by the seemingly senseless loss of life to “a fabulous Christian young lady,” said Lead Pastor Rick Tigchon at the time. He noted that she and her family were very involved in the ministry at the church, and that Audra was especially involved in kid’s ministry. The grieving, the reconciliation, and acceptance of the passing of a loved one is a many stepped process that knows no defined time frame. For the Brownell family, simply planting a single tree was part of the process. Shortly thereafter the tree germinated an idea that blossomed in the minds of Audra’s parents, Scott and Diane Brownell, along with best friends and church members Scott and Julie Kruizenga and the entire RRC family – why not create a prayer memorial garden? RRC had an expansive sloping lawn fronting the west side of the church, a site it seemed the Good Lord had waiting for just such an undertaking. And so it began. The design of the garden would be based on the biblical verse found in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that tells us, “There are three things that remain – faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.” Angie Rummler, of Cedar Springs’ River Ridge Landscaping, embraced the message in the biblical verse and designed a breath-taking memorial garden to be completed in three separate and distinctly unique phases. Phase I would be designated – “Love”; Phase II designated – “Faith”; and Phase III […]
by CLIFF AND AND NANCY HILL This past spring, the Hills had occasion to bid in a silent auction on a guided fishing trip to a secret “honey hole”. Even more enticing was the fact that the secret spot was right in the greater Rockford vicinity. Bidding against eight other anglers, who kept upping the ante, we eventually prevailed. All that remained was to set the date. But you know how it goes, one thing led to another this summer, what with two weddings and 13 weeks of promoting Rockford’s Farm Market in the America’s Favorite Farm Market contest, we somehow never found the time to redeem our prize. Actually as summer rolled into fall, we had forgotten all about it. So it came to pass a couple weeks ago that we crossed paths with our expert guide who asked the obvious question, “Are you going fishing or not?” Was he kidding?! We were entering a protracted period of beautiful Indian Summer and we made a date right then and there. On the appointed day we hung up a “gone fishing” sign and found ourselves blindfolded (a condition of the outing) in a pick-up truck as we traveled a bumpy two-track enroute to the secret fishing hole. We were not to be disappointed. Our guide really, really knew his stuff. In short order Nancy brought to net a whopper 22” rainbow trout weighing 5 lb – 7 oz. Cliff then proceeded to, as he said, “show you how it’s done”, and promptly netted a 10” brook trout that he quickly released. This was all was accompanied by huge peals of laughter from the guide and his wife along with Nancy. Not to be outdone, Cliff said, “Watch this”, while he expertly cast his small Rooster Tail spinner bait into the clear waters. Unbelievably, he tied into another lunker rainbow, this one measuring 23” and weighing in at 5 lb. – 11 oz. Not wanting to be greedy, as well as being eaten alive by little nasty gnats, we called an end to our spectacular 45 minutes of fishing fame. The looks on our faces in the accompanying picture tell a thousand words. For a fisherman it doesn’t get any better than this. As for our […]
Was Squire reporter the lucky charm? by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Anyway you look at it the last calendar year was very, very good for Mia Tavonatti, the California artist who was born and raised in Michigan’s U. P. In the course of 51 weeks Tavonatti took home the $100,000 second place 2010 ArtPrize award for her stained glass mosaic titled, “Svelata”. To top it all off, last Thursday night the talented artist was awarded the $250,000 first place award in this year’s 2011 Grand Rapids ArtPrize competition for another stained glass mosaic titled, “Crucifixion”. Both pieces were on display at DeVos Place and attracted thousands of admirers. Enriched to the tune of $350,000, Tavonatti must think that the hand of God was on her shoulder as she created these two beautiful and breathtaking mosaics, each painstakingly fitted with thousands of individually cut stained glass pieces. To top it all off, Tavonatti was able to sell her winning 2010-second place entry to a private party for an undisclosed sum. As per contest rules, her winning 2011 first place entry now becomes the property of ArtPrize. Tavonatti will not be allowed to win a back-to-back award in next year’s 2012 competition. A new rule established this year disqualifies all of this year’s ten finalists from participating in the next year’s ArtPrize. All ten, however, are allowed to enter again in subsequent years. One can only wonder if Squire reporter Nancy Hill wasn’t a lucky charm for Tavonatti. In the two pictures accompanying this article, one taken prior to the close of the 2010 ArtPrize competition and another prior to the close of this year’s competition, Tavonatti can be seen gleefully embracing an equally effusive Nancy. Since Tavonatti can’t repeat her winning performance next year, perhaps another artist would like to “rub shoulders” with the Squire’s lucky charm. Any takers out there? Call Kate at the Squire (866-4465) to arrange a photo-op during next year’s 2012 ArtPrize competition!