December 31 2009

Eldon’s Quilt tells story of overcoming

December 31, 2009 // 0 Comments

The lights and darks and the patched pieces sewn into Eldon’s Quilt represent good days, bad days, making the most of what’s at hand and piecing together what is available. That’s the story behind Eldon Korson, who today is a first-year student at Alma College, studying English with plans to someday teach at a university. Two years ago, Eldon was in the hospital while his Rockford High School class of 2007 was graduating. His doctors told his family that he would never awake from the coma he was in, and if he did, he’d be a “vegetable.” “Don’t ever let anyone tell  you no,” said Eldon’s mother, Cheryl. “If we listened to what every doctor was telling us, we would have had no hope. They said he’s not waking up. He’s a vegetable. He will never walk and talk again.” Eldon’s determination and his remarkable recovery inspire his family. His grandmother, Pat, brags about him to her quilting class at Smith Owen Sewing Center. When Polish-born Edyta Sitar, quilt designer, heard about Eldon’s story, she was inspired, too. She spent six months thinking about how Eldon fought his way back from near death. She thought about how he almost died from pneumonia more than once while in a coma, and the difficult rehabilitation he faced when he did wake up. The two met for the first time Saturday, December 5, and Sitar told Eldon how his story affected her. “I thought about you so much when I was working on this,” she said to Eldon of the beautiful and intricate creation she sewed in his honor. “I thought you would enjoy all the difficult pieces I used. I used dark and light in the pattern, because I know there are good days and bad days. I put different pieces together in the design. I thought of you while I was building it and holding it together. You were my inspiration.” The quilt is simple in some ways. There are only two basic shapes, triangles and squares. It is also incredibly complex, with pieces sewn from bits and odd lots. That speaks of Eldon’s journey, too. “When you are confronted with trials and pressures, you can either break or be like a diamond,” Eldon said. Eldon […]

City buys former court building for $10

December 31, 2009 // 0 Comments

The City of Rockford will buy the former 63rd District Court building at City Hall for 10 dollars and allow Kent County to lease a portion of it for up to 75 years. The Kent County Board of Commissioners approved the deal on Tuesday, Dec. 15, after Rockford City Council did late last month. “One of the stipulations is, if we win our lawsuit, that building immediately reverts back to county property, so they can bring the court back,” said Rockford City Manager Michael Young. “Our main focus is on bringing the court back to Rockford.” The City has had a long understanding to have the right of first refusal if the building were to come up for sale, and Young said he believes the city should control the building at 105 Maple Street. Both the court building and City Hall were built after removing residential homes from the block. The City believes a court presence is required by law in the city and hopes to have recently moved Judge Servaas back in residence in the Rockford court building. Servaas and the former staff of the court are now working in a new court building in Grand Rapids Township. Kent County contends the presence of a part-time magistrate fulfills the legal requirements for a court presence in the City of Rockford. A judge ruled that a court presence was required, but failed to define what the phrase actually means. A suit is currently in appeal, asking for a full court to be reinstated. Young said he is surprised a ruling hasn’t yet been produced, but said he is hopeful because it has taken so long to rule. “If it was cut and dried, we probably would have heard by now,” he said. Young also said gaining control of the building will also make it easier to reinstate a court presence. “If the county put something else in there, like the health department, it would be harder to bring the court back,” he said. Nonprofit organizations such as the Rockford Chamber of Commerce or the Rockford Area Arts Commission may eventually be housed in the portion of the building the county will not use.

Rockford Fire Department to bolster fire prevention efforts with grant

December 31, 2009 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Fire Department received a $1,500 fire prevention grant recently from FM Global, a leading property insurer of the world’s largest businesses based in Johnston, R.I. FM Global representatives presented the award to assist with fire prevention activities in the community to help educate the community and reduce the number of fires. Among the fire prevention efforts the grant allows is the publication and free distribution of child fire safety activity books. Because fire continues to be the leading cause of commercial and industrial property damage worldwide, FM Global has contributed millions of dollars to fire services and related agencies around the globe working to prevent fire for more than three decades. Locally, the company has awarded grants to a number of Michigan-based organizations. “At FM Global, we believe the majority of property damage is preventable—not inevitable—and we are pleased to make funding available to organizations, like the Rockford Fire Department, that share the same philosophy,” said Michael Spaziani, manager of FM Global’s Fire Prevention Grant Program. “After all, it’s much better to prevent a disaster than to recover from one.” FM Global’s highly competitive Fire Prevention Grant Program ( awards grants quarterly to fire departments—as well as national, state, regional, local and community organizations worldwide—that best demonstrate a need for funding, where dollars can have the greatest impact on preventing, preparing for and controlling fire in the community.

Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher — December 31, 2009

December 31, 2009 // 0 Comments

Happy New Year! Observance of the New Year is the granddaddy of all holidays. The people in ancient Babylon celebrated it 4,000 years ago. The Babylonian New Year began with the first new moon (actually the first visible crescent) after the vernal equinox (first day of spring). The Babylonian New Year holiday lasted for 11 days, each day with its particular mode of celebration. Modern New Year’s Eve festivities pale in comparison. The beginning of spring is a logical time to start a new year. After all, it is the season of rebirth, of blossoming, and of planting new crops. January, on the other hand, has no astronomical or agricultural significance. Placing the New Year’s beginning in that month is purely arbitrary. There may be an explanation. After the fullness of summer and the richness of fall, the sun fades away. It must have been scary. Then, around January, the sun slowly begins to come back. Surely a time for celebration! Food for thought in 2010 Why do banks charge a fee on “insufficient funds” when they know there’s not enough money? Do prison doctors use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection? If the professor on Gilligan’s Island could make a radio out of a coconut, why didn’t he fix the hole in the boat? Grandkid wisdom The grandson asked his granddad how old he was. The granddad teasingly replied, “I’m not sure.” “Look in your underwear, Grandpa,” advised the child. “Mine says I’m four to six.” Somebody asked the boy where his grandmother lived. “Oh,” he said, “she lives at the airport. When we want her, we just go get her. Then, when we’re done with her, we take her back to the airport.” Grownup wisdom The statistics on sanity tells us that one out of every four persons suffers from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. If they’re okay, then it’s you. Reality is only an illusion that occurs due to a lack of alcohol. When you work here at the paper, you can name your own salary. I named mine “Fred.” Last joke of 2009 An old building was being torn down to make room for a new skyscraper. While dismantling on the 49th floor, two […]

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