December 2 2010

Taste of Ric’s anniversary extravaganza this Saturday

December 2, 2010 // 0 Comments

Over 30 vendors to offer samples, savings by BETH ALTENA “This is our chance to showcase what we are capable of,” said Ric’s Food Center Store Director David Brickner. He refers to the winter Taste of Ric’s to be held this Saturday, December 4, from noon to 4 p.m. at Ric’s, 6767 Belding Road. The event is also a celebration of the store’s three-year anniversary. “We’ve had our share of problems. Being here three years, maybe people will realize we are here for the long haul and plan to be here to serve them into the future.” Brickner said the Taste of Ric’s, which the store holds in summer and in winter annually, continues to be a huge success—if you consider giving away a ton of free food a success for a local grocery store. Brickner does. In addition to serving, for example, a hundreds pounds of meatballs during the Taste of Ric’s, the store supports the community by daily donating to local outreach center Lean on Me. A food drive held at Ric’s recently allowed the public share in supporting people who are struggling financially, and Brickner said volunteers who staffed the event were very grateful for every bit of food and monetary donation. The Taste of Ric’s is also a community outreach, in a way. Brickner said for both the store and the vendors who participate, it is a chance to shine and invite people to try something new. Loyal customers appreciate the events and those who have never, or not recently, visited the store will be reminded of what Ric’s has to offer. “It is really a joint venture between us and the merchants,” Brickner said. Many of the store’s vendors are Michigan companies, and the person-to-person interaction during the Taste of Ric’s allows customers to see the people who are providing their food and vendors to see who they are serving. “People don’t realize many of these are locally-owned businesses, he said. An example is Sweet Tooth, a store right in downtown Rockford which specializes in homemade caramel corn and other goodies. “They offer a really good product and market it well,” Brickner said of the Sweet Tooth owners. Others—Keebler/Kellog, Schuil Coffee, Max and Emily’s Cheesecake, Chuck and Dave’s Salsa, Pop’s […]

Here comes Santa Claus—in 67th annual parade

December 2, 2010 // 0 Comments

The jolly old elf himself will be waving to crowds this Saturday, November 4 during the Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s 67th annual Santa Parade beginning at 11 a.m. From noon to 2 p.m. visit Santa, enjoy free milk and cookies and participate in fun activities at the Rotary Pavilion located at the corner of Squire and Courtland streets. There will be free horse drawn trolley rides around town, caroling and a chance to enjoy Rockford in all its holiday splendor.

Over 500 years of tannery experience in visit

December 2, 2010 // 0 Comments

Numbers add up in commute, too A group of former Wolverine World Wide tannery workers gathered back in Rockford during the final days of the demolition of their old workplace. Enjoying a midday meal at Sam’s Joint on Monday, Nov. 22, the group ranged from as few as 20 years in the tannery up to an amazing 45-and-a-half years at Wolverine. The “winner” in the experience category is Karen Kindel, who began working in the tannery in 1962. Kindel said the last 20 years she worked in the tannery she commuted from Ithaca—a daily round trip of 120 miles. Kindel, who had retired from the company before the tannery was shut down, said she feels terrible about the demolition, and working there was like working with family. Her best memories from her days there were her coworkers, she said. Cindy Koomen was a machineoperator for 34 years with the tannery. She said it was nice to get together with her friends and said it was a little bit sad watching the buildings come down. From Casnovia, Koomen has been taking pictures of the summer demolition. Nancy Fifield of Pierson worked for Wolverine World Wide for 42-and-a-half years and was a supervisor. She met her husband Roger while working there, and the two will be married 40 years next April. She started work in 1967 and said there were a lot of memories in the old buildings. “It’s surprising how much land they took up,” she said of the open space left by the demolition. “Even though the tannery is torn down the friendships there last forever,” said Koomen When added up, the years of tannery/Wolverine experience represented by the friends comes to a whopping 575 years.

Hardware comes up aces with storewide sale

December 2, 2010 // 0 Comments

There were over 200 customers in the first hour of Rockford Ace Hardware’s storewide sale last Tuesday, November 23. According to Inventory Coordinator Katie Buick, the Edenpure heaters on hand were gone in the first minute. “I love this sale, it’s my favorite,” Buick said. An employee at Ace for four-and-a-half years, Buick said she likes the excitement and fast pace of a big sale and this one was no exception. “I like it when it is busy—time flies and it gets people in the holiday spirit.”      

Grand Valley, Mary Free Bed announce Wounded Warriors project

December 2, 2010 // 0 Comments

Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans with traumatic brain injuries can receive free, comprehensive rehabilitation in Grand Rapids through a program funded by the Department of Defense. Officials from Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital discussed details of the Wounded Warriors Traumatic Brain Injury Project (WWTBIP) at a news conference November 9 at the hospital. They were joined by U.S. Rep. Vern Ehlers, who was key to securing the $1.279 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense that will fund the project. Ehlers, who will retire after serving Michigan for 17 years in Washington, said he was pleased that he could get funding for the project. “It’s really the least we can do for our soldiers,” he said. The WWTBIP offers opportunities for standard physical and psychological care, and community support to veterans who sustained traumatic brain injuries while they were deployed in either Afghanistan or Iraq. Jean Nagelkerk, principal investigator and vice provost for health at GVSU, said the idea behind this project came from area families with loved ones who received a traumatic brain injury. “We are so excited to be able to provide care and rehabilitation services to wounded warriors and help reintegrate them into society to lead productive lives,” Nagelkerk said. GVSU faculty members from the Kirkhof College of Nursing and College of Health Professions will help develop the educational program to enhance the knowledge base of Mary Free Bed staff members who will be directly involved with the veterans. Dr. Jacobus Donders, co-investigator and chief psychologist at Mary Free Bed, said the services through WWTBIP will not duplicate those that veterans already receive through veterans hospitals or clinics, but the WWTBIP project will deliver enhanced services such as driver rehabilitation, on-site job evaluation and coaching, and group and family support. GVSU President Thomas J. Haas said announcing the program so close to Veterans Day was appropriate; he also called the men and women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan “the next greatest generation.” Those service members include Haas’ two sons and daughter. The program is open for enrollment. For more information about the WWTBIP, call (888) 736-0208, e-mail to, or visit This research project is being conducted by Grand Valley State University and Mary […]

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