July 1 2010

Nine candidates speak before voters

July 1, 2010 // 0 Comments

Republicans will soon have to decide who will earn their votes for State Representative in the 73rd District. The seat is currently held by Rockford’s Tom Pearce, who is term-limited out. The nine Republican candidates for the seat spoke at a forum by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce held at Boulder Creek Golf Club. Pictured are: Bob Becker, Bruce Hawley, Jeanine Herlacher, Paul Hibbard, Steve Jazwiec, Peter MacGregor, Tim Nelson, Tom Norton and Dennis Smith.

Children learn up close with zoo animals at Krause

July 1, 2010 // 0 Comments

Colleen LaBeau and her little friends packed Krause Memorial Library on Monday, June 28 as over 200 fascinated youngsters showed up for visiting animals from John Ball Zoo. Children were able to learn about the animals—ears, not legs make the difference between snakes and skinks—and were even allowed to pet a blue-tongued skink after the presentation. In addition to a blue-tongued skink, children saw a hooded Merganser duck and a long-tailed chinchilla, and were able to touch animal exhibits of a wolverine pelt and paw, an ostrich egg, shark jaws, a turtle shell and others. LeBeau is the outreach program facilitator. She said she has many programs coming up at other libraries. If you missed this event, check Kent District Library’s website at www.kdl.org to see where else zoo animals will be visiting.  

Planning Commission praises new shoe store plan

July 1, 2010 // 0 Comments

A public hearing for plans to build a new shoe and apparel store on the south section of the current Wolverine World Wide (WWW) property on the Rogue River was held Thursday, June 24. The plan met a warm reception for the most part, despite several comments—both from the public and Rockford Planning Commissioners—concerning contamination on the property. WWW was before the commission, asking they recommend rezoning 3.7 acres of the property from industrial to commercial (C2).   Rockford City Manager Michael Young explained to members of the audience and commissioners that rezoning would facilitate restructuring of the shoe and apparel store. The C2 zoning is more restrictive than a simple commercial designation. “In traditional commercial, anything could go there. It could be fast food, a bank, anything,” said Young. By WWW’s stipulation, the C2 would only allow the store. The store would go in where the pig procurement building is currently located. Five representatives from WWW as well as one from Rockford Construction were on hand to answer questions. A resident with a home facing the site asked if a hazardous waste study had been conducted and if the results were public. Another asked about the zoning of the parking lots on the east side of Main Street. “There is one lone house there. She’s surrounded by parking lots,” the speaker described. “As a commercial structure, there have to be hazardous materials studies,” described Young. “There are a lot of agencies looking at this from a safety point of view, from Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Act [MIOSHA] to the Department of Natural Resources and Environment [DNRE].” Kenneth Grady, general council and secretary for WWW said the property has been constantly monitored for safety as until recently it was a working operation with employees. “We have been working with all appropriate government materials and an abundance of regulatory materials. From this point what we know is it is an old brick building that is coming down.” Planning Commissioner Phil Davis questioned the angle of the building, which neither faces Main nor Courtland streets. He speculated that when WWW reveals its ultimate plan for the entire property, the reason for the unusual placement would become clear. Grady disputed the assumption. He said the angle of […]

Threat to Rockford pipeline may be averted

July 1, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL The five- to seven-inch deluge of rain that occurred this past Memorial Day not only caused three major washouts and the closing of a two-mile section of the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail (WPT), but also threatened the 24-inch Rockford sewer line that runs parallel to the trail itself within the right-of-way.   On average, the sewer pipe daily carries a whopping 700,000 gallons of raw sewage on its way from Rockford to the North Kent Sewer Authority Sewage Water Treatment Plant (PARCC Side) on Coit Avenue in Grand Rapids’ northeast side. Regularly ensuing heavy rains since Memorial Day have further eroded the damaged sections of the WPT. At the same time, the underlying and adjacent soil was being further destabilized, placing additional pressure on the sewer line. With the pristine Rogue River flowing just below, one can only imagine the environmental havoc that would result from a rupture of the huge sewer pipe. Rockford City Manager Michael Young has been on top of this situation from day one. He has tasked the City’s Department of Public Works (DPW) to daily monitor the situation along with opening clogged drains and placing straw bales to inhibit further erosion. “I felt the City should not sit on its hands, but rather, be proactive from the very beginning. We could not afford to sit idly by and do nothing. It turns out we absolutely took the right actions. Without our remedial work, the heavy rains that have since followed may well have ruptured the pipeline,” said Young. All the work thus far is only temporary. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) has accepted the seriousness of the situation, but at the same time is “wringing its hands” to find a source of funding for a $60,000 engineering study and an estimated $250,000 for permanent repair. Monday, this week, we learned from Dave Heyboer, chairman of the Friends of the White Pine Trail, that a “white knight has ridden to the rescue.” The Kent County Road Commission will provide the engineering, labor and material needed to temporarily stabilize the affected area of the trail. The City of Rockford, Plainfield Township, and the Friends will reimburse the county for expenses incured. The […]

Frenz hosts friends for meet and greet

July 1, 2010 // 0 Comments

by Cliff and Nancy Hill Last Thursday afternoon, June 24, Rockford’s Frenz Coffee House hosted a “Meet and Greet” for Michigan House of Representative hopeful, Peter MacGregor.  MacGregor, a Republican who is currently serving as Cannon Township Supervisor, is running for the term-limited 73rd District seat of Rep. Tom Pearce. The first hurdle in what will be an arduous campaign is that of being chosen by voters in the August 3 Primary Election. MacGregor is but one of nine vying to be the Republican candidate on the ballot in the important November 2 General Election. With so many hats in the ring, this primary will be very contentious and result in an extremely splintered vote. Every vote counts. Your single vote might well be the one that puts your choice over the top. At the Frenz gathering, with wife Chrissie at his side, MacGregor met with friends, supporters and others who just wanted to get a feel for the man and just what he stands for. Many in attendance that afternoon were members of the Friends of the White Pine Trail. MacGregor, it seems, is no stranger to the trail, having lost 57 pounds in the past year and a half by regularly jogging the Rockford section of the White Pine Trail (WPT). Fit and trim this afternoon he was joined by Rep. Tom Pearce along with Chairman Dave Heyboer and Kerry Kilpatrick from the “Friends.” Pearce had previously given his election endorsement to MacGregor and was present in a strong show of support for his friend. In addition to numerous endorsements from many quarters, MacGregor was pleased to announce that that very day he had received the endorsements of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce PAC and the Michigan Farm Bureau. For the better part of two hours, questions were given to and answered by MacGregor. Judging from the smiles on the faces of those in attendance at the close of the meeting, all were pleased by what they had heard. For more information visit www.ElectPeterMacGregor.com.

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