December 3 2009

A Message for You

December 3, 2009 // 0 Comments

Look for the true gifts of Christmas by REV. LAURIE TENHAVE-CHAPMAN First Congregational Church, UCC Rockford On a blistering hot day this past summer, I was waiting at a red light in my air-conditioned car when a lean young man jogged past the traffic. With a natural orange “fro” bobbing as he ran, he was clad only in a pair of running shorts. His thin muscular frame was glistening with sweat. “God bless you,” I murmured out loud to him in my car. Such commitment to fitness I could not imagine. I was struck by the different stages in life. There was a period when I made time for working out. I was single or newly married without children and could more easily carve out the time. Now, four children, one career and 30 years later, I allow any number of demands to take precedence over my physical fitness routine. Our priorities change one way or another over time. The challenge is to ensure that our commitment to maturing in the faith keeps growing and isn’t pushed aside. Fitting everything else in around our relationship to God is constantly a struggle. But, if we persevere, we will stand out as an example of holy living as greatly as did this young jogger who flashed by me on a hot summer day. In the midst of the Christmas bustle, as tempers flare and patience is worn thin, we would do well to model for the world the love of the One around whom this holy day centers: Jesus. As we stand in line, untangle and hang the outdoor lights, and check things off our lists, may we lead our lives in a way that prompts others to open their Bibles, to bow their heads in prayer, to go back to church or talk to a neighbor in faith. The day that jogger swept past me I got on the elliptical machine! I was inspired. Let’s inspire others to look for the true gifts of Christmas: the joy, peace, love and hope of Jesus Christ.

Driver was five times over legal limit

December 3, 2009 // 0 Comments

The driver who was going the wrong way on the East Beltline and caused a fatal crash had five times over the legal limit of alcohol to drive, the Michigan State Police said Tuesday, December 1. Thirty-year-old Aaron Hayes was killed Monday, November 23 on his way to work as a first grade teacher in Greenville. He was northbound when a vehicle operated by Leonel Franco-Avina, 38 years old, hit Hayes car head on while driving the wrong way. Witnesses told investigators that Franco-Avina’s vehicle may have been driving without lights. There were alcohol and beer containers in the car, which was not owned by Franco-Avina. Franco-Avina, born July 18, 1971, was arraigned in 63rd District Court before Judge Sara Smolenski on a two-count warrant for Second Degree Murder and Operating While Intoxicated Causing Death. He was arraigned at Spectrum Health downtown campus where he will remain, guarded by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department until he can be released to the jail. A search warrant was obtained for his blood to determine the amount of alcohol in his system at the time of the crash. His level was .425 percent, over five times the legal limit in Michigan of .08. The accident remains under investigation.

Obituaries— December 3, 2009

December 3, 2009 // 0 Comments

Hessenius Mr. John R. Hessenius, age 85, of Shalimar, Florida, passed away quietly with his family by his side on November 23, 2009, at his home. John was a native of Rockford and moved to Fort Walton Beach in 1956. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Jeanette Lane Hessenius of Shalimar; daughters, Sandra Bressan and husband Bob of Pueblo, Colo., Sherry Kelley and husband Jerome of Fenton, Mich.; son, Phillip W. Hessenius of Destin, Fla.; granddaughter, Michelle Lyberg of Charlotte, N.C.; grandson, Justin Kelley of Zurich, Switzerland; great-granddaughter, Emma Lyberg of Charlotte, N.C. Mr. Hessenius was an Army WWII veteran, and loved the outdoors, especially hunting and fishing. He made his living as a carpenter and cabinet maker. A funeral service for Mr. Hessenius was held on Friday, November 27, 2009, at 3:00 p.m. at Emerald Coast Funeral Home, 113 Racetrack Road NE, Fort Walton Beach, FL, (850) 864-3361, with Pastor Jim Vail officiating. Interment was in Barrancas National Cemetery, Pensacola, Fla. Expressions of sympathy may be viewed or submitted online at

School Beat — December 3, 2009

December 3, 2009 // 0 Comments

Student Assistance Team helps struggling students by TOM HOSFORD Assistant Principal, Rockford High School Our Rockford Public Schools take great pride in the success of our students. Our community should be proud of the numerous awards Rockford students receive for their success in the classroom. We should be equally as proud of the success and progress that our schools achieve with those students who struggle or are identified as “at risk.” Each of our schools is challenged with students who struggle in the classroom due to various reasons which create a barrier that hinders success at school. When this occurs, it is time for the Student Assistance Team to step in! The Student Assistance Team, or S.A.T., is a district-wide, building intervention program that meets on a weekly basis to hold discussions regarding students and their individual needs. This team is made up of building counselors, social workers, school psychologists, teacher consultants and school administrators. It is a valuable resource for teachers and parents to refer to when they begin to notice students struggling in the school environment. Issues such as academic struggle, a recent change in behavior, absenteeism, etc. are valid concerns that are brought to S.A.T. The mission of the S.A.T. is to investigate the situation, gather data from parents/teachers and, through collective collaboration, implement strategies and interventions. The ultimate goal is that the student will respond in a positive manner and achieve success. There are literally hundreds of proven strategies and interventions that can be implemented. If, after careful evaluation, an intervention is not working, the team will reconvene and delicately implement another. On occasion, students are affected from situations that occur outside of the school setting. The S.A.T. can be helpful in this regard as well, due to the fact that there is a network between S.A.T. and several agencies that offer a variety of services ranging from counseling, testing or family services. The important factor is that the student has constant support with proven methods. It is definitely a privilege to work with all the professionals on the team. Each member of S.A.T. truly has the passion and expertise to make a positive difference in a student’s life. If you have any questions about the S.A.T., please contact the administration […]

Local book store celebrates birthday, holidays with variety of family fun events

December 3, 2009 // 0 Comments

Everybody loves a good story and nothing gets a person into the holiday mood more than a good Christmas story. This year, you can hear live, on Main Street in Cedar Springs, at the Kent Theatre stage a reading/telling of the beloved Dickens classic “A Christmas Carol.” Called “theater for the ear,” this Reader’s Theater version has all the wonderful characters telling the story, transporting you back to old London and that fateful Christmas Eve night. Mark your calendars now. Three performances are scheduled on December 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. and a Sunday matinee on December 6 at 3 p.m. Tickets are only $8 and are available at the box office before all performances, the Cedar Springs Public Library, or by calling (616) 696-0949.

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