Downtown Rockford

What do you like to do to celebrate Memorial Day weekend?

May 28, 2015 // 0 Comments

Three kind young people and two friendly dogs were open to sharing with our readers what they planned for this past Memorial Day weekend. Skylar Red Bow, 17, Brooke Smoes, 17, and Trevor Garlock, 15, all of Rockford, were enjoying downtown Rockford, hanging out on a bench by the dam. Skylar and Brooke said they would both watch the band in the Memorial Day Parade. Seniors at Rockford High School, in past years they would have been playing in the band during the parade. Trevor said he would also watch the band, and his family goes up north to the cemetery where his grandfather, Forrest Rawlings, is buried. Forrest was a veteran in the Navy. With them were Louie, a lab, pit bull and springer spaniel mix and Angel, a chow chow and Alaskan husky mix.   Sarah DeHaan was walking across the dam when she agreed to our Man on the Street interview and photo. She is pictured with Andrew, age three and a half and Benjamin, 17 months. Sarah said she and her family celebrate their wedding anniversary June 1. They will go out for a nice meal and take a walk. From Grand Rapids, Sarah said she visits Rockford often and loves how beautiful it is here. She said the family loves the renovation of the west side of the dam where Recognition Plaza and beautiful landscaping makes such a remarkable backdrop. The family also loves to walk on the nature board walk and stopping to look at “turtle log.” Once they counted 40 turtles sunning themselves on the log.   A family luncheon including sisters and cousins was taking place at one of the downtown picnic tables. Olivia Shupe, age 12 along with mom Holly Shupe were with Della Clark, 7, and mom Brandi. We aren’t sure how this family will be able to accomplish all they had planned for the holiday weekend. Heading up north to a family property on a lake the girls said they will be doing the following: camping, camping, camping and camping; swimming; tubing; going on boat rides; riding on jet skis; jumping off the water trampoline; jumping off the dock and finally, fishing (for fish). Wow! Jessica (mom) and Connor Downey, age 5, of Rockford, […]

Trout Unlimited Collects Information on Coldwater Streams to the Rogue River

January 23, 2015 // 0 Comments

Trout Unlimited has been collecting data over the past two years on several coldwater streams that drain to the Rogue River – Rum Creek, Blakeslee Creek, a small tributary of Barkley Creek, and an Unnamed Tributary to the Rogue River. This monitoring was funded by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and helped Trout Unlimited collect baseline data at sites where future restoration practices are planned. This baseline data is extremely valuable because it can be compared to data collected after the restoration practices are put into place. This comparison will help determine whether or not both water quality and habitat quality have improved and ultimately how successful the restoration practices were at each location. Data collected in 2013-2014 included measurements of stream bank condition and erosion, the amount of wood in the stream, stream canopy, water temperature, and fish and stream insect communities. One interesting finding was that the average water temperature in July at our sample sites was about 58°F indicating substantial groundwater input in to these streams. These cool temperature are critical for sensitive fish species, such as trout, which were found in significant numbers at some sampling locations such as Rum creek, which runs through downtown Rockford. However, during some heavy rain events, some of the stream sites exhibited an increase of 10°F indicating that warm stormwater runoff is affecting the temperature of these coldwater streams. Protection and improvement of these coldwater streams and the surrounding floodplain is critical to maintaining natural stream temperatures and healthy fish populations. If you would like more information about this study please contact Nichol De Mol at or 231-557-6362. Funding from the DEQ adds to funds contributed to the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative project by the Frey Foundation, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the Wege Foundation, the Wolverine World Wide Foundation, and the Schrems West Michigan Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Trout_1: Brown Trout in Rum Creek surveyed as part of Trout Unlimited’s work. Trout_2: Part of Trout Unlimited’s work included surveying the stream bed .

Ceremony, open houses to kick off holiday season

November 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

Photos by TOM SCOTT It is easy to recapture the magic of Christmases past when there is a perfect setting for it. Downtown Rockford—with its signature Currier and Ives beauty, friendly atmosphere and twinkling lights and red ribbons—is ready for another holiday season. There are plenty of activities planned for a kinder, more personal way to celebrate this special time of year. “Rockford is definitely the perfect place for those looking for an old-fashioned holiday atmosphere,” said Jeannie Gregory, executive director of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce. “The merchants do their part by fashioning beautiful window displays and decorating their shops, and the City puts up the holiday banners and spends hours wrapping the trees in strings of lights. It makes it easy to showcase such a beautiful setting with holiday events.” The season kicks off with the annual Lighting Ceremony, which will take place at Peppler Park on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m. The Rockford High School brass ensemble and the Rockford choirs will be performing holiday music for those anxious to start the holiday season. Each year during the lighting ceremony, the city is covered in darkness and after a countdown from 10 the power is turned on to thousands of lights around the downtown area, including the Rockford Dam overlook. Michigan House Rep. Peter MacGregor will be giving a message of peace to honor the start of the special holiday season. The Heart of Rockford Business Association Open Houses will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 16-17, from 5 p.m. until 8 or 9 p.m., depending on the store. There are discounts, samples, goodies and giveaways, and each participating merchant has their own holiday specials planned. To add to the atmosphere, the sidewalks will be lined with luminaries. Also on Nov. 16, the Rockford Community Children’s Choir will be performing at 5 p.m. and the Rockford Community Chorus will follow at 6 p.m. Both will be at the Rockford Rotary Pavilion. The Gingerbread Contest is scheduled from December 2 through 18. There are different divisions, with the contest featuring gingerbread houses—and gingerbread people for the younger set. The entries will be showcased in the downtown stores, and will add another decorative dimension to the holiday tidings. The entries will be […]

Park plans expand to bring Rockford a dog festival

July 7, 2011 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA Happy Hounds in downtown may become an annual dog-centered festival if dog park planners are able to pull it off. Organizer Tom VanderSloot described his vision during an evening planning session held at the Rockford Public Schools Administration Building Thursday, June 30. VanderSloot would like to see a Relay for Life-type event at the track field of North Rockford Middle School—except centered on canines instead of cancer prevention and education. He described a fun, festival atmosphere with booths from vendors and sponsors, music, entertainment, contests—such as a dog costume competition—dog demonstrations and featuring a walk around the track, down a short route through downtown Rockford and back to the track. VanderSloot came up with the idea after hearing about a similar event on the west coast. He’s had the idea for years after noticing what a “doggy” town Rockford is. In the Harvard Hounds festival in Washington, the funds raised are split between an animal benefit organization, such as the Humane Society, and one that benefits humans. VanderSloot suggested first raising funds for the dog park and North Kent Community Services. The Harvard Hounds event raises $50,000 each year. VanderSloot didn’t think the event here, especially in its first year, would raise anywhere near that much but may significantly contribute to the total of $12,000 that dog park organizers have been tasked with raising. Funds from the festival could come from sponsorships from Top Dog on down financially through categories such as Show Dog, Working Dog, Companion Dog, etcetera for the amount of money pledged, from businesses buying booths and from registration fees to participate in the parade and day’s events. In February, dog-walking friends Marlene Clark, Nancy Seeley and Emily Weinmann began collecting signatures of residents who are in favor of dedicating currently unused park land in Rockford to a dog park. A former ball diamond south of Picket Park off the Rogue River would allow a fenced park about 160 by 180 feet. It would be divided into two sections, one for large and one for small dogs. The dog park organizers had asked the Rockford City Council if there was interest by the City in creating the park and had an estimated budget of $20,000 for the project. Council […]

Rockford’s Annual Holiday Open Houses–Downtown Rockford, November 17 & 18, 5–9 p.m.

November 12, 2010 // 0 Comments

There will be giveaways and more at Aunt Candy’s Toy Company, double your savings at Double Take, customized gift boxes at Old World Olive Press, free gifts and door prizes at Sage & Roses and 20 percent off one item and refreshments at Jade. The Candle Shop of Rockford is offering 20 percent off one regularly-priced item, receive a free gift with $30 purchase at Dars Gems and Jewelry, a free ornament from Paperdoll Boutique, samples at Twisted Vine, 15 percent off all frames with purchase of lens and 50 percent off a second pair at In Focus Eyecare & Eyewear (open until 8 p.m.) and discounts, food tasting and special gifts at Basket in the Belfry. Baskets in the Belfrey is holding their 33rd anniversary celebration and shoppers will receive 20 percent off their entire purchase plus receive 30 percent off one item for bringing a personal care item to contribute to North Kent Community Center and Lean on Me Outreach. A Charmed Life salon will be serving hot apple cider and yummy treats. D2D Photo Studio will be running their PhotoBooth free during the open house evenings for fun. Shoppers are invited to stop in and have fun and get photos at no cost. The lighting ceremony and evenings of quaint, friendly home-town visiting and shopping with holiday decorations, music twinkling lights remember holidays gone by, and are a change from the hustle, bustle that too often has become a symbol of the season. Step back in time in downtown Rockford for two special nights of true holiday atmosphere.

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