January 26 2012

Rockford’s Officer Dave Robinson promoted to sergeant

January 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

Recognition is culmination of newly created Leadership Development Program by BETH ALTENA A Rockford police officer’s promotion to sergeant is a testimony to his command of his responsibilities, community involvement and contribution to the success of the Enforcement Division of the Rockford Public Safety Department (formerly the Rockford Police Department), but is also the culmination of a new program of leadership within the department. “This is something different than anyone else, better than anyone else,” commented City Manager Michael Young of a new police leadership program which differs from the traditional system promotion as the result of testing and years on the job. Members of the Enforcement Division—supervisors, command staff and Chief Jones—spent the last nine months, in nine work sessions, learning about and developing a Leadership Development Program similar to the one in place at Amway. It requires learning about every aspect of city government, from the structure of the City under its charter, to the responsibilities of City Council members, the City budget and process, grant writing, receiving and giving feedback, human resources, and managing change. “We have faced a great deal of change in the City,” Jones noted. The process is geared to cultivate future leadership in the department. Officer Dave Robinson, with a powerful resume in police work and leadership, was recognized during the Monday, Jan. 9 City Council meeting with a promotion to sergeant. According to Chief Jones, Robinson is the perfect example of an officer with all the credentials to qualify for this recognition and honor. “His resume, frankly makes me a little envious,” Jones said of Robinson’s career history. The 18-year police veteran has spent the last 11 years on the Rockford force. He has become well known for his community policing efforts, working with Neighborhood Watch groups and organizing the City’s National Night Out program. Currently the Rockford D.A.R.E. officer, Robinson now takes on additional command responsibilities. Robinson received his education and training from Grand Rapids Community College and Ferris State University. He was first hired with the Greenville Department of Public Safety in 1993, where he was responsible for developing the first Field Training program in Greenville. He received the Distinguished Service award there in 1996. Robinson was hired by the City of Rockford in 2000. […]

New design center latest story in saga of starting small, dreaming big

January 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA Byrne Electrical Specialists began in 1970 in the home basement of Norm and Rosemary Byrne, and now, with Byrne Tool and Die, is a venerable business employing 250 people in addition to staff at Wee Folk, a child daycare center started for convenience of employees. On January 16, the family company celebrated an open house of a newly designed planning center, a state-of-the-art facility for product innovation and client collaboration. A company tagline that states, “Our products may come out of a box, but our thinking doesn’t,” has never been more true given the super-tech and beautiful facility at 320 Industrial Drive. In an upstairs space that was formerly more of a break room than a place to break out new ideas, before and after pictures barely do the space justice. According to Tim Warwick, director of innovation for Byrne Electrical Specialists, the company has grown every year and been profitable every year, continuing to reinvest in equipment and keep and increase employees. The Byrne company is proud of its heritage as an example of starting small and dreaming big. First as Byrne Electrical Specialists, the company acquired the tool and die portion of the business in 1997 and kept the employees in place. Today the two companies work closely and will share the design center. In addition to the four full-time designers on staff, the space is available as a think-tank setting, for training and as a showcase for product available from the two Byrne companies. It also will be used for product development, a culture of innovation that Byrne encourages. The design center has a flexible design that can be arranged for larger training groups, or arranged in relaxed, intimate settings. “It’s comfortable, it’s not rigid,” Warwick said. “I think people think better when they are comfortable.” The space includes examples of options available from Byrne, such as raised floors, which are a great option for retrofitting an older building for a new use. Warwick said the company encourages employees to submit ideas for new products and from the 100-plus submitted annually, a half dozen are usually chosen to refine and redesign to a successful, brand-new product. He said six or seven are submitted to the United States Patent Office […]

Excellence of RHS vocal music program exhibited

January 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL From purely a state-level prestige perspective the honor bestowed upon the Rockford High School’s (RHS) Women’s Chorus last Friday afternoon was perhaps greater than what might be garnered by the football team winning, yet another, state high school football championship. Echoing a sentiment heard over and over again, Michigan School Vocal Music Association (MSVMA) President-Elect Doug Armstead said, “This is a really, really big deal.” Amstead was speaking about RHS Women’s Chorus being only one of five chorus’ selected to perform at the 2012 Michigan Music Conference (MMC) held in Grand Rapids last Thursday – Saturday. “When one takes into consideration that only five high school chorus’ were chosen from 600 high schools across the entire state of Michigan the honor to appear takes on a very special meaning,” said Armstead. Just prior to the start of the RHS Women’s Chorus program, it was announced that RHS Vocal Music Educator and Women’s Chorus Director Mandy Makita Scott, herself, was to be further honored. We learned Scott had been awarded the Carolyn F. Leep Scholarship by MSVMA and had been chosen by her peers, in a statewide ballot, to be the 2014 State Honors Choir Conductor. She will rehearse and conduct a 100+ voice elite high school women’s chorus at the MMC conference in January 2014. This is widely considered one of the highest honors that a high school conductor in Michigan can receive. High honors indeed for this Rockford resident. Performing in the Grand Ballroom of the JW Marriott, before a standing room only audience upwards of 700, the Women’s Chorus then opened a flawless 5-selection program. At times Conference Pianist Dr. Kenneth Bos, Grand Rapids Symphony Principal Cellist Alicia Eppinga, and RHS student Percussionists Aaron Bainbidge, Spencer Gordon, Tylor Hoekstra, Jason Ibarra, and Zach Kidder, accompanied the Chorus. Your reporters hearts swelled with “Rockford Pride” as the talented young women of the Chorus closed the afternoon’s performance with their beautiful rendition of Michigan Composer Jeffrey Cobb’s We are the Music Makers. You really should have been there and enjoyed, along with us, the rousing applause of everyone in attendance that afternoon.

Rockford Area Historical Society News & Update

January 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

by TERRY KONKLE President, Rockford Area Historical Society One area of our museum expansion projects that has been getting a lot of action recently is the planning of the exhibits to be featured. Jerry Adams from Media Rare in Grand Rapids has been a consultant for our project and has designed the new displays. Members of the Rockford Area Historical Society (RAHS) board of directors were updated on his ideas during a two-hour presentation last week and were impressed with his plans. Changes could still be made, but the layout and use of space is well thought out. The next step is to price out the cost of the exhibits, so that we can see how it fits into our budget. The Rockford City Council has asked for the layout and the cost, and both will be done soon. Fundraising continues and the responses are greatly appreciated. When we started the project, some people told us that the timing was bad, and the economic situation would work against us. The courthouse was available now so the timing was also now. Several of us looked at each other and said, “This is Rockford.” If any area can make it work, Rockford can. Because I have lived here for 52 years, I know the pride that exists in the community. In my experiences with education and athletics as a teacher and coach at Rockford High School, I often saw our area band together to get things done. We have a great and valuable history and the following is an updated list of donors who are supporting our new museum. Donors as of January 22, 2012 Walter and Marianne Andersen, Judy and Tom Baer, Harold and Donna Bailey, Richard and Sue Bakita, James and Shirley Balk Foundation, William and Christine Bedford, Eric and Anita Bennett, Gene and Sharon Berry, Donald and Patricia Bixby, Neil and Mary Blakeslee, Paul and Joyce Blakeslee, Blakeslee Plumbing and Heating, Blakeslee Rop PLC, Carla Blandford, Jim and Susan Bodenner, Andrew and Kelly Bolt, Jack and Madelyn Bolt, Katherine Bolt, Polly Bolt, James and Nancy Ferrand Boxall, Robert Boyer, Marvin and Joan Bunn, Robert and Nancy Burch, Byrne Electrical Specialists Inc., Robert and Kathryn Christensen, Virginia H. Cox, Jerry and Joan DeMaagd, Tim Durham, […]

MAIN STREET by Roger Allen, publisher

January 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

Great new job idea How about hiring real people to answer business phones? Most big companies have computers answering their phones. Voice prompts may sound like real people, but we all know they aren’t. And when you push a button, you just get a different computer. Sometimes the computer says, “Our staff is busy with other calls. Please stay on the line and someone will help you soon.” Computers that lie to us should be fired (and real people hired to take their place). Sometimes the computer at the other end of the phone line refers you to a website. Websites are on computers. It’s a vicious circle. Not only should companies hire real people to answer phones, they should cast them in their TV commercials. I happen to know that the cartoon characters in ads are generated by (you guessed it) computers. Replacing computers with real people may sound extreme, but, considering the country’s jobs situation, isn’t it worth a try? Great advice I read an article that said the typical symptoms of stress are: eating too much, impulse buying, and driving too fast. Are they kidding? That’s my idea of a perfect day. February If you think the holiday season is over, wait till you see February. First, it’s Black History Month. Then we also get Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year, Super Bowl Sunday, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Mardi Gras, and Ash Wednesday. This year February gets an extra day in order to fit everything in. Fame A visitor to a certain college paused to admire the new Hemingway Hall that had been built on campus. “It’s a pleasure to see a building named for Ernest Hemingway,” said the visitor. “Actually,” said his guide, “it’s named for Joshua Hemingway. No relation.” The visitor was surprised. “Joshua Hemingway? Was he also a writer?” “Yes, indeed,” said the guide. “He wrote the check.” Ferry story Tom loved living on Staten Island but wasn’t crazy about the ferry. If you missed a ferry late at night you had to spend the next hour or so wandering the deserted streets of lower Manhattan. So, when he spotted a ferry no more than 15 feet from the dock, he decided he wouldn’t risk an […]

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