January 12 2012

Magic of ice festival this weekend in Rockford

January 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

World-record sundae contest Saturday As the New Year unfolds, picturesque downtown Rockford, Michigan will be transformed into a vision of ice, offering winter wonderland fun for folks of all ages and stages. Just imagine, a gigantic ice cream sundae ice bar serving up tasty treats while competing for a world record; chain saw wielding carvers transforming huge blocks of ice into amazing sculptures; miniature ice golf; interactive ice games; a scavenger hunt throughout the town to locate dozens of sculptures; snow wall art; music and entertainment; hot cocoa and contests; voting for best of show; a throwback Ice Festival Ball dinner dance; bustling shops offering festival fare and fun and thousands of guests discovering the City’s charm and enchantment. Ice Carving Demonstrations – Ice carving demonstrations take place from noon to 4 p.m. at Red’s On the River Outdoor Deck; from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at The Corner Bar and at Herman’s Boy from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Special thanks to Randy Finch and the talented team at Ice Sculptures Ltd for designing and creating the spectacular ice sculptures and interactive ice games.  Randy’s team is internationally known for their amazing work, and they star on the Food Network’s Ice Brigade series. The third annual Rockford Ice Festival promises to be bigger and better than last year—which is not an easy act to follow. Last year’s festival drew nearly 10,000 and was featured on the Food Network’s Ice Brigade series. The festival takes place Friday Sunday, January 13 through 15. The world record ice cream sundae contest takes place Saturday, from noon to 2 p.m. in front of the downtown Welcome Center (near the doors of Great Northern Trading Company). Students from the Culinary Institute of Michigan will help prepare and serve the complimentary sundaes, which will extend 250 feet. Don’t forget, the sculptures stay put until Mother Nature does them in, so stop back often to enjoy this winter wonderland art.    

RHS Women’s Chorus finds their voice, challenges others to do the same

January 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

We are the music makers, the dreamers of dreams by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL along with JED SCOTT  The honors never cease for Rockford High School (RHS); you could hear the pride in her voice when Mandy Makita Scott told us, “The RHS Women’s Chorus has been selected to perform at the 7th annual Michigan Music Conference (MMC).” Rockford resident Mandy Scott is the director of the Women’s Chorus at RHS. Scott is in her fourth year of teaching at RHS, where she directs two sections of the Freshman Choir and the 68-voice sophomore Women’s Chorus. Scott holds a Bachelor of Music Education from WMU and a Masters Degree in Choral Conducting from the University of Miami (FL). She currently serves on the Full Board of the Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) as the Supervisor of High School Music Selection. The Women’s Chorus is a non-auditioned intermediate choir made up almost entirely of sophomore women. The ensemble is noted for its diverse repertoire and cohesiveness as an ensemble. The choral group has consistently earned Superior and Excellent ratings at district and state choral festivals. Held annually, the MMC draws 2,000+ attendees to their 3-day conferences – not including exhibitors, speakers, performers, parents, along with staff and volunteers. This year the conference will be held Thursday, January 19 – Saturday, January 21 at DeVos Place and Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Chosen by a juried panel of vocal music educators, representing the MSVMA, the RHS Women’s Chorus is one of six choral groups (five high schools and one middle school) to be honored to perform at this year’s Conference. Honored indeed. “This is a really, really big deal to be singing at the MMC,” said RHS Director of Choral Activities David Duiven, seconded by Mandy Scott and echoed by Michigan Composer Jeffrey Cobb. “We will be giving music educators a taste of what you can do with a non-auditioned sophomore level choral group,” added Scott Jeffrey Cobb, is a highly degreed music educator and a much sought after composer of commissioned music. His pieces have garnered several national awards and honors. College ensembles, community groups, and public school students throughout the United States and around the world regularly perform his works for choir, […]

Cuts have allowed City to maintain strong fund balance

January 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

Audit ‘not what you are seeing in a majority of municipalities’ by BETH ALTENA The results of the audit for the City of Rockford’s year-end finances as of June 30, 2011 were reported at the Rockford City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 14. According to Peter Haefner, who presented the report, the results are “not what you are seeing in a majority of municipalities.” Haefner, of Vredeveld Haefner, LLC, had good news regarding the City’s financial condition. “You have been able to cut a lot of costs to maintain a strong fund balance. That’s positive,” Haefner stated. According to the audit, financial highlights of the City of Rockford’s year ending in June 2011 included seven items of significance: purchase of a $160,000 plow truck; upgrading of financial software to BSA.Net version; purchase of two new 4×4 pickup trucks and plows; the lease of three new public safety vehicles, upgrading of radio capabilities and replacement of bulletproof vests for the police department; the receipt of a grant to replace an aging emergency warning siren; receiving a grant to complete the Rogue River Nature Trail in the 2011-12 budget year; and the upgrade of lighting fixtures throughout all municipal buildings with a Consumers Energy grant program. The financial statement regarding City finances is divided into three components: a government-wide statement, fund financial statements, and notes on financial statements. Government-wide statements, according to the audit, are designed to “provide a broad overview of the City’s finances. Comparing a City’s assets and liabilities and the changes between the two serve as a useful indicator of the financial position of the City is improving or deteriorating.” In the case of Rockford, assets for the year exceeded liabilities by $15,326,439 at the close of the most recent fiscal year. Verdeveld Haefner’s audit showed an increase in the assets of both the governmental and business-type activities of the City compared to the previous year. It attributes the increase in assets in business-type activities as the result of lower expenses in both water and sewer operations. The governmental activities increase is the result of budgeted cost savings measures to offset decreasing revenues in state-shared revenues, along with significant amounts of capital additions. “During the year, the City invested $1,639,137 or 49 percent of […]

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

January 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

Seriously looking ahead Republican infighting can be either entertaining or depressing. However, retired people remain especially aware that the President and the Congress we elect this year will deal with Social Security. Our Social Security program was enacted about 77 years ago. Few are left to remember how financially grim getting old used to be for most people. Essentially, the Social Security Act required enforced retirement savings. Most Americans don’t get rich by a lifetime of working and don’t save a lot of money otherwise. For 2011, Congress cut individual payroll taxes from 6.2% to 4.2% in order to beef up the spending power of working people. The cost of government didn’t get reduced, however; unfortunately, Congress let the Social Security Trust Fund absorb the shortfall. A great country like ours should not need “poor farms” for the destitute elderly. Let’s hope that when YOU arrive at age 67, the Social Security Trust Fund will be there. The Congress we elect must have the guts to raise the money to restore the Fund. Social Security is one of the best programs our government ever embarked upon. But, personally, I don’t take it for granted. They grow up so fast Two storks were sitting in their nest—father and baby. The little one was crying. “Don’t worry, son,” said the dad. “Your mother will be back soon. She’s out delivering brand-new babies.” The next night, it was the mothers turn to do the job. Again the baby stork was crying. “Son,” said mom stork, “your father will be back soon, but right now he’s out bringing joy to new mommies and daddies.” A few days later the parent storks were alarmed: Sonny had been gone from the nest all night. Shortly before dawn, however, he returned. “Where,” demanded the parents, “have you been?” “No where much,” said the youngster. “Just scaring the heck out of college students.” Turkey story From a contributor: One year my mom went to my sister’s house for the traditional Christmas feast. My sister tends to be quite gullible and my mom decided to play a trick. She sent my sister to the drugstore on some kind of errand. In her absence, Mom took the turkey out of the oven, spooned out the […]

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