New museum could benefit downtown, community by BETH ALTENA Editor’s note: I apologize this story did not run last week as intended. It was written and sent prior to our printing deadline while I was on vacation in Maine (see pic below right). Unfortunately, it was never received by the staff working hard without me. Next trip we will make sure to bring the entire staff along so communication is improved while on vacation. On Monday, July 11, members of the Rockford City Council apparently reversed an earlier decision turning down a proposal by the Rockford Area Historical Society to open a museum in the former 63rd District Court building. Instead they gave the Society a six-month window to raise half of the funds necessary to renovate the building, located across the parking lot from Rockford City Hall. “Our point all along is give us a shot,” said Historical Society President Terry Konkle. He believes the council may have set a precedent by giving dog park hopefuls a year to fundraise for that project at last month’s meeting. In an after-meeting discussion, Konkle said he felt the Society hadn’t been given a fair chance to present their ideas. They have hired a consultant who has helped other groups, such as the Lowell Historical Society, create museums as well as helped them come up with ways to make the facilities self-sufficient financially. On Monday, May 9, Council felt they should explain their decision regarding the courthouse and a possible museum. Part of the annual budgeting process, just completed by Council, is to make a decision as to what to do with the former court building. One member described the reluctance to approve the Society’s use of the building to that of a bank being asked for a loan. “Council is not in a position to loan money. You are asking for the loan of a building and you need to show you have a plan for that.” Konkle said he heard from members of Council in June that they were interested in meeting with the Society board members, including their consultant, to talk about the project. Konkle, consultant Jerry Adams and others made a presentation Wednesday, June 29, and were asked “a ton of questions,” according […]
July 21 2011
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL As of 6 p.m. Monday evening, Rockford still led all farm markets in the nationwide America’s Favorite Farmers Market Contest. But the race to the finish line (Aug. 31) is tightening up with farm markets in four states narrowing Rockford’s lead. The top five markets in vote tally are as follows: • Rockford’s: 1,185 • Venice, Fla.: 1,135 • Fayetteville, Ark.: 987 • Snellville, Ga.: 914 • Las Cruces, N.M.: 809 Just a week ago, the Venice, Fla. Farm Market was almost 300 votes behind Rockford. Apparently, they’ve figured out who they were up against (Rockford) and narrowed the gap to 50 votes as of the writing of this article. Venice, Fla. has a population of 22,000 and its farm market is open year-round. Seems like David versus Goliath, right? So, let’s show the nation why our little hometown Rockford (pop. 5,700) is the envy of the entire state of Michigan when it comes to competition and excellence! If you haven’t yet cast your vote, there’s still five weeks of voting left. We need to keep the pressure on the competition until they throw up their hands in defeat. Cast your e-mail vote(s) at www.farmland.org/vote or, easier still, simply stop by the Market Masters booth any Saturday during the Rockford Farm Market hours of 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and register your vote on site.
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Alba Knutson, 100 years young, celebrated the first century of her life with 150 family members and friends Sunday, July 10, 2011. Alba (pictured center with a floral bouquet) was resplendent in a coral outfit and sported a birthday gift manicure and pedicure finished off with matching coral nail polish. In the picture, Alba is surrounded by her daughter Dolores D’Amico (in the print dress below the clock) and most of her eight grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and respective spouses. Alba tells her granddaughters Denise Maghielse and Darcy Di Cesare the secret to her long life is: “Always strive to do the right thing and live by the rules.” (Coincidentally, that is the very same message your reporters heard that morning in church.) The granddaughters laughingly describe Alba as “a loveable pain in the ass. She showed us through example how to remain strong in the face of all adversities. She was and continues to be a true example of good living. She always provided for her extended family and was always there for them.” Exhibiting an amazing wit, Alba said that nowadays she still loves visits to the casino. “I only wish I had more money to hit the jackpot,” she said. “There’s just never enough money! I never got wealthy as an Avon Lady.” The birthday bash was held in the cozy Community Room of the Rockford Ambulance Community Center at the corner of Shaner Avenue and 10 Mile Road. Often overlooked, the center’s Community Room (with kitchen) is available for group rentals and is a viable alternative to the oftentimes completely booked Rockford Community Cabin. “Happy birthday, Alba!” from The Rockford Squire.
The Rockford Police Department is warning residents to lock vehicles after a series of thefts from unlocked cars over the weekend. They would like to remind everyone to remove their valuables and lock their car doors at night. If your car was broken into please contact the police department at (616)866-9557. Please report any suspicious activity in your neighborhood to the police department promptly.