by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Last week Thursday evening, the highlight of the monthly Friends of the White Pine Trail meeting at the Rockford Community Cabin was to be a flat bicycle tire repair presentation by Dave Heyboer, Chairman of the 500 member Trail advocacy group. Unbeknownst to Heyboer, he was about to be upstaged and honored with the presentation of a Tribute from the State of Michigan that had been sponsored by 73rd District State Representative Peter MacGregor. Humbled and almost speechless, (a rarity for Heyboer) the honoree listened while MacGregor read, in part, from the tribute as follows: With the exception of Fred Meijer, no one has been more responsible in making the White Pine Trail, Michigan’s longest linear State Park, what it is today. Mr. Heyboer is a true, “rails to trails” champion, capably handling the demanding and vital responsibilities of establishing a vision, gaining donors and executing plans. We are pleased to join our voice to those of the communities stretching from Grand Rapids, MI to Cadillac, MI, in thanking him for his dedication and honoring his selfless service to our State. This recognition is certainly well deserved. Although the “rails” were established long ago, the paving, convenience and safety improvements, and continued maintenance of, are critical to the transformation of the “rails” to “trails”. The hard work, commitment, and innovation of Mr. Heyboer and the “Friends” are major factors in the overall success and continued improvements of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail. The work that Mr. Heyboer has accomplished has made the reputation of the trail possible and provides a model for others to follow. Under the official seal of the Great State of Michigan, Michigan’s Rep. Peter MacGregor, Senator Mark Jansen, and Gov. Rick Snyder signed the framed tribute with sincere thanks and wishes for continued success in all of Heyboer’s endeavors. To his good credit Rep. MacGregor has, since being elected to office some 16 months ago, actively sought to recognize constituents who have made a difference in all of our lives. No one is more deserving of this distinctly high honor than Dave Heyboer. Congratulations Dave from the Rockford Squire and members of the Friends of the White Pine Trail along with linear trail users from […]
Friends of the White Pine Trail
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Falling all over each other, in hoping to usher in the New Year with a “sky-is-falling” weather forecast, the weather teams of West Michigan’s TV news outlets forecast a dire New Year’s Day. In forecasting an “over-the-top” winter blast to arrive New Year’s Day morning the intrepid meteorologists had cast a pall on expected attendance at the newly renamed Fred Meijer New Year’s Day resolution Walk, the 11th walk hosted annually by the Friends of the White Pine Trail (FWPT). Known in previous years as the Friends of the White Pine Trail Resolution Walk, the walk was renamed “to honor the memory of a man without whom the White Pine Trail would not be what it is today,” said Dave Heybour, Chairman of the FWPT. Yearly, playing upon a theme of sensationalizing weather forecasts, area weather prognosticators had predicted high winds, freezing cold temps, and 3” to 10” of snow to arrive late New Year’s Day morning, the morning of the Resolution Walk. (It’s easy to be right when the range of snowfall could vary by 7 inches, right?) As is often the case, the weather predictions weren’t even close. In Rockford at 8:00 a.m. New Year’s Day morning, the temperature was an unseasonable 40 degrees F., the wind was calm, and there was a sporadic mist in the air. As we were writing this article Monday evening, Rockford had received a scant 1-inch of snow covering paved surfaces. Nevertheless, the harm had been done. Because of the ratings driven forecast, attendance at the10 a.m. start of this year’s Resolution Walk was slightly more than half of what was expected. Following welcoming speeches by both Heyboer and past Rockford Mayor and current City Councilman Rich Moll, the Walk stepped off northward to a turn-around at 12-Mile Rd. then returned to the Walk’s conclusion at the Rotary Pavilion. Moll was the first City official, in the 11-year history of the Walk, to give an official Rockford welcome to event attendees. Those that showed up that morning, some who had “talked the talk” of a resolution to lose weight and others to simply step into the new year in fellowship with lovers of the Trail and the great outdoors, reaped the added […]
Reds on the River partners with area nonprofits with gifts ‘that keep on giving’ When the hustle and bustle of the holidays has passed and families turn their attention to the New Year, one local company will deliver gifts “that keep on giving” through six local charities. Reds on the River in Rockford has partnered with the following organizations and will donate 10 percent of a person’s gift card sale to the benefiting organization requested by the purchaser. • North Kent Community Services (www.nkcsc.com) • Rockford Education Foundation (www.rockfordschools.org/?i=REF) • Rockford Relay for Life/American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) • Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA Strong Kids Scholarships (www.grymca.org) • Friends of the White Pine Trail (www.whitepinetrail.com) • Rockford Area Arts Commission (on Facebook) Lance Climie, manager at Reds on the River, noted, “We love being a part of this community. We also recognize that many families are struggling in this tough economy—not just at the holidays but year-round. Consequently, we are lending our support by donating 10 percent of a gift card sale to the nonprofit designated by the purchaser. In doing so, we can help underwrite vital services such as food and clothing, utilities support, education, health and wellness, the arts and the environment.” The program kicked off November 15 and runs through December 31. Those wishing to purchase Reds holiday gift cards for family, friends and colleagues may stop into Reds during normal business hours and designate the organization they wish to receive 10 percent of the total gift card sale. Reds will track sales by each organization and send each organization a check after the New Year. Sandy Waite, executive director of North Kent Community Services (NKCS), is thrilled to partner with Reds. “On behalf of the nearly 19,000 visitors to NKCS in 2010 and almost 5,000 volunteers, we are grateful for Reds’ generosity with the holiday gift card program. We distributed approximately 620,000 pounds of food and more than 115,243 articles of clothing and household items last year to families in north Kent County, and the need for food, clothing, and utilities and shelter support continues to grow. Reds’ gift will help us meet this need—it is a gift that can change lives.”
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL This New Year’s Day morning, plan on joining hundreds of Fred Meijer White Pine Trail users as they step into 2011 for a brisk four-mile walk. Hosted by the Friends of the White Pine Trail, this popular New Year’s Day tradition will mark its 10th year. The annual Resolution Walk is not just for Friends members but rather is open to everyone of all ages along with their four-footed friends as well. Bring the whole family and join with the Friends as they celebrate the many Trail improvements of the past year. One accomplishment that stands out is the paving of the Trail between Cadillac and LeRoy to the south, a distance of 8.6 miles. Funding for the project came from the Fred Meijer Foundation and a Federal High Priority Transportation Enhancement Grant. This was another major milestone in the Friends’ goal to have the Trail entirely paved from Grand Rapids to Cadillac. Another achievement was the installation trailside of a beautiful new covered picnic table located south of Cedar Springs between Indian Lakes Road and 16 Mile Road. Funding for this table and one previously installed just south of Rockford was generously provided by donations from Wolverine World Wide. As in past years, weather will be no obstacle to the hearty outdoor enthusiasts who have yearly stepped off in fellowship with nature and one another. Participants are asked to assemble at the Rotary Pavilion in downtown Rockford prior to the 10:00 a.m. start of the leisurely, noncompetitive round-trip walk from Rockford north to 12 Mile Road and back. As usual the Friends, in the cozy confines of the heated Pavilion, will provide refreshments. Look forward to hot coffee and cocoa along with cookies. Also, for the third year in a row, “Coney Girl” Jennifer Idema will be on hand serving up great hot dogs and brats with all the trimmings—all provided compliments of the Friends (donations gratefully accepted). Plan on stepping into 2011 on the right foot in anticipation of better things ahead for Michigan.