by BETH ALTENA If you live in Rockford, it can be easy to take the charming and sparkling beauty of downtown for granted. If you don’t live in Rockford, pictures of our hometown in the form of a calendar with seasonal photographs capturing the real beauty here make a perfect gift this holiday season—for at least two reasons. Jane Smitter, who has lived in Rockford since 1961, raised her children here and saw some of them move away after growing up. She has a granddaughter in California who, at age 16, has never been to Rockford. Smitter purchased seven of the calendars to give as gifts to her family far from home. The calendar does more than bring to mind our town in seasonal themes. The sales from the unique product fund many of the projects Rockford’s Volunteer Police Service (VPS) operates. An extension of the Rockford Police Department, volunteers don’t carry firearms and won’t pull you over if you are speeding. However, they enforce parking violations, patrol downtown and along the White Pine Trail, visit homebound residents, and check homes as a service to residents who are out of town. This year, as in years past, the group has “adopted” a struggling family and will provide food and necessities and collect gifts for the family’s children. A member of the Rockford VPS and local photographer, James Herdegen, volunteers his services for his policing duties, but has talent for taking great photographs and volunteers this service as well. “I don’t use Photoshop,” said Herdegen of his pictures that show the bounty and bright colors of the Rockford Farm Market produce in summer, flowering trees in the early spring down by the dam, the pristine white streets of downtown after a morning snowfall midwinter, and more. His photographs show the passage of our town during the course of one year, but also his keen ability to see the beauty of an unexpected moment in time. At just $12, the calendars are a good value in addition to funding good works. They can be purchased at the Rockford Police Department (7 S. Monroe St.), at the Welcome Center (outside Great Northern Trading Company’s front door), or at shops in downtown Rockford. Printing was limited to just a […]
December 8 2011
Every year during the holiday season, the staff at Accents Hair Design Studio take time to help a family make the season a little brighter with gifts of food, clothing and presents. This year, they are reaching out to others in the area to help as well. For each $5 donation of nonperishable food items, Accents will deduct $5 off any service of $20 or more. For more information, please call (616) 874-9215 or visit their Facebook page.
Over 10 years ago on September 11, 2001 almost everyone can recall where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news of the terrorist attack on America. On December 10, 2001, John Hogg remembers where he was at and what he was doing when he was informed that his son, Ezra Hogg, was killed during a traffic accident on his way to school that day. The tragic events of 9/11 changed America forever; the death of John’s son changed his life forever. Ezra was 17 years old when he died. He was senior in high school, a member of the National Honor Society, an Eagle Scout, lifeguard, and played hockey and rugby. He died five days before John’s birthday, 11 days before Ezra’s 18th birthday, and 15 days before Christmas. John was emotionally, physically and spiritually devastated. “The outpouring of support from family and friends was critical during those first few weeks after he died,” stated John. Later, two scholarships were established in Ezra’s memory, and a staff cabin at Gerber Scout camp in Michigan where Ezra worked during the summer was named in his memory. A group called Compassionate Friends, which helps parents who have lost a child, also provided much needed emotional support. Despite all the initial support, as time passed John continued to struggle with his son’s death. As the months passed, John read in the Bible that when men had powerful life-changing experiences, it was usually on top of a mountain or in the wilderness. Moses on Mount Sinai, Elijah on Mount Carmel, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness, Peter, John and Andrew on the Mount of Transfiguration‑all had life-changing experiences. John decided he was going to the mountains and wilderness to find healing. He set a goal to summit the highest point in all 50 states in memory of his son. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Ezra’s death. John has successfully reached the highest point of 48 states in the last 10 years. From the very beginning it has been a spiritual journey to come to terms with the grief of losing his son. The first state’s high point John achieved was Michigan. It is here he learned a valuable lesson about how […]
The Rockford High School varsity hockey team hit the ice Saturday, Dec. 3 to take on the Pioneers from East Grand Rapids (EGR) in an OK conference Tier One showdown. Both teams have high expectations for this season and both teams have played close games, with the Rams coming into this one 2-2 and the Pioneers with a record of 4-0. The game started out with both teams getting a number of scoring chances, but neither team was able to put a goal on the board until Rockford senior Ben Glass was able to slide one past the East Grand Rapids goaltender to break the tie with 3:22 left on the clock in the first. Glass’ goal was assisted by senior Justin Ullrey and junior Cam Bathum. It looked like the Rams were going to be going into the locker room with a one-goal lead when freshman Conner Broderick got the puck and put a perfect pass on the tape of a hard-charging Ullrey. Ullrey was able to fire the shot just over the goaltender’s right shoulder to give the Rams a two-goal lead with only four seconds left in the period. Both teams came out working hard after intermission, but it was EGR’s turn in the second to get back in the game. Three-and-a-half minutes into the second, the Pioneers were able to get on the board with a goal that seemed to put a little more life in the legs of EGR. Halfway through the second period, Rockford was called for two penalties at once, which put them down two men on a two-minute five-on-three. The Rams were able to hold them off for most of the two-minute penalty kill, but with 34 seconds left on the kill, EGR tied the game at 2-2. The Rams had to kill off two more penalties in the period. They were glad to see the period end, so as to be able to regroup for the third. Finally, in the third period, EGR was called for their first penalty of the game and the Rams were on the power play. Unable to find the back of the net, the Rams were given another opportunity with EGR being called for tripping with about 50 seconds left on […]
Several members of the Belding Area Chamber of Commerce along with Chamber staff member Jody Paulsen recently participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a new business venture in Grattan. Crickets Crop Shop opened in June to serve scrapbook enthusiasts. When asked about how she decided to open the store, owner Dianna Force commented, “I was at a scrapbooking retreat with some friends last winter and we were discussing the availability of scrapbook supplies in our area. Both of the scrapbook stores in Greenville had closed, so if we needed anything we had to drive to Grand Rapids. Someone jokingly said to me, ‘You should open a scrapbook store, you have plenty of room.’ Thus the idea for Crickets Crop Shop was born.” Force is excited to see increased patronage recently, as she explained, “Our grand opening was held the end of June. Business has been slow, but is starting to pick up since the kids have gone back to school. The store carries a good variety of cardstock, paper, adhesives, embellishments, sew easy supplies, inks, stickers, ribbon, cutting tools and much more! New items are arriving all of the time, and we also have a couple of tables set up for cropping right in the store.” The store is located at 11768 Old Belding Road NE in Grattan, just across from the general store. Store hours are Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cash and checks are welcome, with plans to accept credit and debit cards in the near future. For additional information about Crickets Crop Shop, please contact Force at (616) 826-1872 or Belding Area Chamber of Commerce Vice President Mike Verdun at (616) 794-1300.