July 26 2012

Plainfield Township latest to pass Sewer Authority agreement

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

Only clerk votes no on cost-sharing plan by BETH ALTENA Larry Campbell, director of the PARCCside Wastewater Treatment plant, estimates that Plainfield Township’s portion of the cost of maintaining sewer structure with plant staff will be roughly $450,000 annually. He compared his estimate to the township’s cost when Kent County Department of Public Works held the contract—a job they are no longer willing to do. Campbell said in 2009 the bill for the township was over a million dollars. In 2010 it was $824,000; in 2011 the county charged Plainfield $829,000 and to date this year the bill is at $569,000. He spoke before the Plainfield Township Board Monday, July 16, prior to the board’s vote on whether to approve a cost-sharing agreement with the North Kent Sewer Authority (NKSA). There are many variables that could affect the cost to Plainfield Township for their portion of infrastructure (pipes, lift stations, cleaning, joint and shared portions) of the sewer collection system that routes wastewater to the PARCCside plant on Coit Avenue in Grand Rapids. The NKSA is a joint entity formed by five member communities—the City of Rockford and the townships of Alpine, Cannon, Courtland and Plainfield. The maintenance on the sewer collection lines has been maintained by Kent County Department of Public Works, which had a contract that is now expired and that the county has been unwilling to reenter. According to Gary Seger, utility services superintendent for the county, who spoke before the board at the last regular meeting, Kent County is dissolving his department and letting go his staff of nine people. One of his former employees has already been hired by NKSA and Seger himself will be joining the staff at PARCCside when his job with the county ends. The NKSA will begin maintaining the sewer lines October 1 of this year. Member communities have been provided a cost-sharing agreement to either approve or decline. Prior to the July 16 vote by Plainfield, Cannon Township and the City of Rockford had already unanimously approved the agreement, which they believe will cut costs considerably compared to the county doing the work. “When I started looking at my numbers, what I came up with is $450,000,” said Campbell to the board. Campbell said variables […]

City fireworks rules still apply

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

by MICHAEL YOUNG guest editorial I am pleased to report that we have had very few complaints/problems with the recently approved, new, state of Michigan fireworks law. With that said, there is still quite a bit of confusion regarding the implications of the new law and whether or not local ordinances still apply. The purpose of this article is to clarify some of the ambiguity in the law to and to address the City of Rockford’s ordinance. The first thing to know is that local ordinances still do apply as to the sale and use of consumer fireworks. Consumer fireworks, as defined, were previously prohibited and they include fireworks that explode or leave the ground. The State has gone on to further clarify that local ordinances also apply with respect to noise, litter and safety. Under the state law, there are 30 days within the calendar where a municipality cannot prohibit the use of consumer fireworks. The City has had a long-standing nuisance ordinance, which regulates noise complaints. We are applying this nuisance ordinance to the use of all fireworks and prohibit their use between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. So while the State does allow the use of consumer fireworks the day before, the day of and the day after all national holidays, we are still restricting their use between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. The City of Rockford has recently amended its own fireworks ordinance to restrict the use of consumer fireworks between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. on any day during the year. With the many festivals and special events we have in the City, it is not unusual to hear fireworks throughout the City and we felt it important to regulate the hours in which they can be used. For those who choose to ignite fireworks, it is important to remember that all other City ordinances apply. The most important thing is to use common sense. During these times of extreme heat, we are advising people it is simply not worth the risk and to stop the use of any and all fireworks until we return to a more normal weather pattern. We are also asking people to be respectful of other […]

Rockford welcomes Family Fare to neighborhood

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

Four weeks of grand reopening events scheduled The Rockford community noticed much more than just a new sign and name change at the Monday, July 23, 9:00 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand reopening of the Family Fare Supermarket located at 201 Marcell Drive NE, Rockford. Spartan Stores invested $1.2 million in a major remodel and is celebrating with four weeks of store promotions. “We are so excited to unveil our store improvements and showcase our Welcome Center, and many new and expanded departments, all created to improve quality, freshness and enhance our customers’ shopping experience,” noted Char Bouwkamp, store director for the Rockford Family Fare. “We love being a part of the Rockford community, and our store remodeling efforts are just one example of how we are continually investing in the communities we serve.” According to Alan Hartline, executive vice president of merchandising and marketing for Spartan Stores, “Family Fare is known for its value-centered and convenience approach to shopping, and this location in Rockford will be no exception. Value is top of mind for the consumer, and we want to ensure they’re able to make their dollars go farther at the supermarkets and our pharmacies. We invite everyone to stop by during our grand reopening celebration to partake in all the activities and have an outstanding shopping experience.” You could hear the emotion in the voice of Bouwkamp prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony as she spoke to the early morning crowd. “Spartan Stores listened to the people of the greater Rockford community. In doing so, they have seamlessly and significantly made a major investment in the store and the community at large. The Rockford store has a long and caring relationship with the community, and Spartan Stores is now proud to add ‘value’ to that mix,” she noted. According to officials, the store is designed for an exceptional shopping experience. Every department presents an outstanding selection of offerings including: all new interior décor; new fresh produce presentation with a variety of fruits and vegetables from around the world; new floral display with fresh bouquets, arrangements and roses; new “Welcome Center” offering complimentary coffee and popcorn to consumers; new fresh iced seafood display; new frozen and meat display; all new wine department and expanded […]

Leinenkugels visit Ric’s on nationwide road trip

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

“We chose Ric’s because of the amount of Leinenkugel they sell here,” explained Ellie Leinenkugel of the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. Members of the family and their cool touring motorhome spent a day at Ric’s Food Center Thursday, July 19 during a nationwide road trip. Store Director David Brickner sported a Leinenkugel cap and joined the family and staff with free samples of the company’s unique products, such as Summer Shandy, the lines of berry beer and Big Eddy Imperial India Pale Ale. Brickner said he was excited to have the family visit personally and said it is the first visit for a non-Michigan beer company to the Rockford Ric’s for a tasting event. Despite catching a time slot in the summer’s first rainfall, the event went well with a meal deal special on an outdoor grill, the beer tasting and samples. Summer Shandy is one of the store’s best-selling Leinenkugel beers, with a summer taste that brings images of lounging on a beach and soaking in the sun. Brickner said the store is very event-oriented with beer and wine tasting every Saturday from ? to ?, secret sales held pretty regularly, and the popular Taste of Ric’s events, which have become a customer favorite event. Dick Leinenkugel was beyond philosophical about the rainy-day event. “I’m not complaining about the rain. It makes me want to drink more Leinenkugel beer,” he said. He also noted that the barley used to make the beer badly needed the watering. Ironically, hops, also an essential ingredient in beer, is grown in the Pacific Northwest and loves hot, dry weather. Leinenkugel said hops country looks more like desert than farmland. The barley and corn grown here in the Midwest, however, requires more rainfall than we have received to date this dusty summer. “I love the rain, and it is going away for the weekend, making for a wonderful weekend to drink Leinenkugel beer,” said Leinenkugel. Ric’s Food Center is in its fourth year at the Rockford location at 6969 Belding Road. In addition to being known for the stellar meat department, Ric’s has one of West Michigan’s most diverse beer and wine departments, featuring a wide variety of Michigan beer and wine as well as specialty products such as […]

Clear calendar for community-wide celebration

July 26, 2012 // 0 Comments

Dunk an officer, play in fire hoses National Night out is one celebration you don’t want to miss, coming right up on Tuesday, August 7 around the country from 6 to 8 p.m. Locally, planning is nearly complete for this year’s event, which takes place on Maple and Main streets in the parking lot where Northland Pontiac once stood (west of the Rockford Fire Department garage). All local law enforcement, each of Rockford’s eight Neighborhood Watch organizations, Rockford Ambulance and the representatives from the Helen DeVos Safe Kids will all be present. Nationally the event was started to encourage neighbors turn on their outside lights and go out to celebrate crime prevention. In Rockford, National Night Out is one of a half dozen community policing programs and one of the most inclusive events in proactive crime prevention. Those who come downtown for activities will have the chance to talk with Rockford police officers, firefighters, Kent County sheriff’s deputies, and troopers from the Michigan State Police, including our own Rockford-based K-9 officer with his German shepherd. According to organizer Officer Aaron Sawyer, National Night Out (NNO) is one of a flurry of summer community events in which his department participates. NNO comes on the heels of the Rockford Area Triathlon and the D.A.R.E. golf outing. “It’s a lot of fun,” Sawyer said. Each of the Neighborhood Watch associations will have a table under the big tent and will have either giveaways, games or information about crime prevention. The Rockford Fire Department will have a fire truck on the site, spraying mist for kids—or adults—to run or walk through to cool down. Members of the Rockford Firefighters Association will be manning the grill and handing out hotdogs, pop and chips free of charge. Always a popular offering, the police dunk tank will be set up and children are invited to throw a softball and dunk a Rockford police officer. Hundreds of your neighbors and city officials will be at this celebration as communities across our nation celebrate crime prevention together. An added benefit is the chance to mingle with the men and women who work hard to keep you safe all year around. Sawyer said good relations with law enforcement is a key element in community safety […]

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