January 19 2012

Ice sculpturers, ice cream thrill visitors during winter festival

January 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

“The weather went from 45 degrees and rainy to snowy with some sun during Saturday and Sunday,” commented Meredith Gremel, organizer for the third annual Ice Festival in downtown Rockford Saturday and Sunday, January 13 and 14. In addition to ice sculptures, games, contests, ice carving demonstrations, a ice cream sundae effort to break the world record was a delicious success, reaching over 350 feet. Thousands of visitors enjoyed the chilly, but beautiful downtown festivities. Gremel notes that the sculptures remain until Mother Nature removes them and last year one resisted melting away until April, so there is plenty of time to still experience their beauty—unless the weather changes again. Photos by TOM SCOTT

Rockford dominates own swim/dive invitational

January 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

While the atmosphere was cold and dreary outside, the Rams—along with five area teams—were turning up the heat inside with some strong performances at the Rockford Invitational meet on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 6-7. Rockford showed their dominance in the pool by scoring almost 300 points ahead of second-place East Kentwood. The final scores of the meet were Rockford 680, East Kentwood 388, West Ottawa 359, Jenison 333, Spring Lake 273, and Grand Haven 232. The Rockford divers faced fierce competition on Friday night when West Ottawa’s Jordan Welling, an All American qualifier, ran away with the lead, grabbing 422.60 points. Ram diver Shane Phillips earned fifth place with 310.90 points, followed by Devin Rittenhouse in seventh (291.65), Mitch Rodema in eighth (288.65), and freshman Nate Isley in 15th place (191.10). In the first event of the day on Saturday morning, the 200-yard medley relay, Rockford’s senior captains Eric Chisholm, Josh Travis and Bryan Wasberg, along with sophomore Craig Wasberg, energized the crowd by breaking the pool record in a time of 1:36.90. Hours later, the same four swimmers seized one of the fastest times in Division I so far this season with their 200-yard free relay state-qualifying swim of 1:27.64, barely missing breaking another pool record by only .50. E. Chisholm continued to entertain the fans with his incredible individual performance in the 50-yard free (21.12), just .03 seconds away from taking down another pool record. He continued his winning streak in the 100-yard free by touching the wall first in 47.85 seconds. Junior Mike Arend grabbed the eighth individual state cut for the Rams so far this season with his second-place finish in the 500-yard free (4:56.71), behind first-place Grand Haven swimmer Takuya Kobayaski (4:53.66). B. Wasberg added the ninth, with his 50-yard state-qualifying lead-off swim in the 200-yard free relay (22.53). Rockford claimed numerous points when junior Nick Willison won the 100-yard back event (55.82), improving on his original state time in that event. Travis pulled in second with 57.01. C. Wasberg led the way in the 200-yard individual medley (2:03.82), followed by Willison in second (2:05.93). In the final event of the day, the 400-yard free relay team of Mike Arend, Harrison Webb, Willison and Trenton Babcock gained even more points […]

Ikes invite all to experience winter fun

January 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

The Izaak Walton League Winterfest is designed to share the glories of the winter season: snowflakes, ice fishing, skating, cross-country skiing, animal tracks in the snow, sculptures, shelters, sledding, nature, and fun! This year, the Dwight Lydell Chapter is hoping to have some snow to celebrate. While some people prefer more tropical weather, many look forward to the variety that our seasons bring, and the truth is, much of our wildlife depends upon it. The Winterfest “show” will go on either way, as there are also many activities that don’t require snow, such as archery, exploring the Conservation Center’s trails, making a birdfeeder or house, building a camp of pine branches, or enjoying a hotdog lunch. All of the activities are free and open to the community. The “Ikes” welcome this chance for you to see what their group has to offer, with 39 acres, Armstrong Creek, a pond, cozy clubhouse, and folks committed to preserving our natural resources. This chapter started in 1927, with hunters and fishermen as “defenders of soil, air, woods, waters, and wildlife.” The nonprofit continues with these issues and also kids’ need for nature. This event is free, but they always appreciate donations for their projects involving schools, education, workshops, and outdoor activities. The League invites you, your friends and especially children to enjoy the fun from 10 to 3 p.m. at 5641 Myers Lake Ave., on January 28. If you would like to be involved as a volunteer, perhaps on the sledding hill, in the kitchen, or anything at all, please call Georgia Donovan at (616) 773-2850 or e-mail to georgia.art@att.net.

Funniest person in Rockford named

January 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

Three Mikes and one Chris entered in contest – Chris won! by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL The first real snowfall of the season was just beginning to cover the ground last Thursday evening at 9:00 p.m. but inside the Corner Bar it was standing room only. The iconic downtown Rockford restaurant had been kind enough to host the Rockford Education Foundation’s (REF) 1st ever “Funniest Person in Rockford” contest and the laughs were about to commence. The REF was hoping to promote interest and ticket sales for this Friday and Saturday’s annual REF benefit concert. Sold-out for their one show in 2010, the Second City – Laugh Out Loud comedic troupe returns this year for an encore 2-evening appearance at the Rockford High School Fine Arts Auditorium. The prize for winning Thursday night’s “Funniest Person in Rockford” contest was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to appear onstage, for both evening performances, with Second City along with 4 tickets to the performance. The REF had selected four semi-finalists, all with connections to Rockford, from previously submitted videos, which were posted on the REF’s Facebook page, where fans could vote for their favorite. Appearing on a make shift stage in a corner booth of the Corner Bar, each of the wannabe comedians was afforded 10 minutes to win over a panel of distinguished judges. The judges, all Rockford residents, consisted of WZZM-TV13’s Catherine Behrendt, Corner Bar co-owner Andy Tidey, and Jim Kinney – a funny man himself in achieving fame for being voted class clown in high school. Each comedian, Mike Cole, Michael Newell, Mike Marn, and Chris Schneider, was introduced by the evening’s emcee Bob Wells, best known as the on-field between-innings host for the West Michigan Whitecaps. Wells, also a RHS math teacher, is a pretty funny guy himself and had the evening’s crowd well warmed up at the start of and between each of the contestants. Judging was based on humor, originality, and positive audience response. From our seat in the packed house, it seemed that the audience’s overwhelming response to Chris Schneider’s side splitting routine did the trick and the judges awarded him the title of the “Funniest Person in Rockford”. (Or maybe they were simply confused by the fact that 3 of the comedians […]

Rockford Ice Sculptures

January 19, 2012 // 0 Comments

Ice sculptor extraordinaire Derek Maxfield of Ice Sculptures, Ltd. puts the finishing touches on a giant 8 ft. polar bear Sunday afternoon at Rockford’s Ice Fest 2012. Photo by CLIFF HILL  

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