May 25, 2009, was Honors Night at Rockford High School. Among the many worthy recipients, graduating seniors Ashleigh Kline and Shawn Hurley each received a Rockford Lions Club Annual Scholarship for outstanding scholastic record and community participation. Assistant Principal, Lion Tom Hosford, presented the awards and spoke on behalf of the club’s dedication to serving the community and recognizing the achievements of Rockford’s young people. Kline and Hurley will now move on to Central Michigan University with Kline on a law track and Hurley pointing toward a career in engineering. While the Rockford Lions Club applauds the achievements of these students, the club also acknowledges and thanks their parents and the faculties of Rockford Public Schools for the guidance and effort provided in the development of this outstanding young man and young woman.
July 9 2009
It’s a small world. Audlane Pedley stopped by the Squire office to put in a notice for her 50th wedding anniversary. As she looked around the office, she admired the photo display and camera collection we have in honor of Rockford’s own Clarence Blakeslee. Clarence’s pictures and many of the cameras he used over the years are on our walls and shelves. They include photos of politicians, artists, actresses and musicians. As Audlane looked at one of President Gerald Ford in the Community Cabin, she saw a familiar face. “That’s my dad, Audley Whital,” she said. Her father was standing next to President Ford, also pictured with Wes Hessler, and was taken during a Rockford Rotary Club meeting. We are thinking the photo was taken in the 1960s. For a peek at our past, to see some fine vintage cameras and to see if someone you know is on our walls, visit the Squire office at 331 Northland Drive.
The Monday, July 13, Chamber After Hours will be hosted by Maghielse & Company, an honored Chamber member since March 28, 2005. Come join other business leaders at this high-energy business located on 117 Courtland Street, Rockford from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Owners Steve and Denise Maghielse invite everyone to bring lots of business cards and be prepared to network like crazy. The event is free. However, in order for the Maghielses and their staff to properly plan for this event, they ask that you RSVP by July 10 at the Rockford Chamber of Commerce office. Please call (616) 866-2000 or e-mail Jeannie at email@example.com with your reservation.
This spring, The Rockford Squire reported that five historic people in the Rockford area were honored at Recognition Plaza at Peppler Park. The event is a newer tradition in its second year and organized by the Rockford Area Community Endowment (RACE). Each year, RACE will honor people from the City of Rockford and the townships of Algoma, Cannon, Courtland and Plainfield. In addition to the gift of grants, recognizing the people who have contributed significantly to the history of the area is among the Endowment’s goals. When visiting the beautiful Peppler Park Recognition Plaza (on the west side of the dam), take the time to read the names on the bricks under your feet and in plaques on the columns in the park. The following is one more of the stories of this year’s honorees, with others to follow in future issues of the Squire. William H. Myers Sr. William H. Myers, an early settler in Kent County and the man for whom Myers Lake was named, filled his 92 years of life with adventure, accomplishment and community leadership. Myers, born in Ireland in 1818, was brought to America as an infant. In 1830, the family moved to Michigan Territory. At 15, Myers secured parental consent to leave home and seek his fortune. He first spent three years as cabin boy on a Lake Michigan sailing ship, then a number of years serving on ocean vessels and traveling to South America, Venezuela, and the Falkland Islands. From there, he shipped on a whaling boat for three years as first mate in the Upper Pacific. He returned home in 1840 and married Elizabeth Dancer, producing a family of nine children. In 1847, the Myerses came to Courtland Township and purchased 160 acres of uncleared land for $1.25 per acre. In the 1840s, there was an increasing stream of settlers in the townships of Plainfield, Cannon, Oakfield and Courtland, but towns were few. Courtland Center (at what is now 13 Mile Road and Myers Lake Avenue) was a stagecoach stop. Laphamville (now Rockford) was a small village on the Rogue River. Over the years, Myers improved his farm until it was one of the best in the region. This active farm is still in the Myers family, […]
Most people over the age of 75 are winding down and enjoying the twilight years of their life, right? Not for a couple of grannies who are in the prime of their life and enjoying every minute of it. Gisela Leichty, 81, and Millie Anderson, 76, are a couple of grannies who are making a huge difference in the Rockford community by working with children as volunteers in the Foster Grandparent Program. These super turbo-charged seniors help first-grade children at Ridgeview Elementary School by acting as their mentors. They change children’s lives by giving them the attention they need. The volunteers spend one-on-one time with five to ten students throughout the school year, helping students with writing, reading and math and maybe, more importantly, they just give them unconditional love whenever they need it. When asked why she spends five hours a day, four days a week with screaming kids, without missing a heartbeat Gisela said, “They give me purpose to get up each day.” Both ladies agree that mentoring is a two-way street because not only are they making a difference in the children’s lives but the children are making a difference in their lives. “Watching these young children blossom before their eyes is more rewarding than you can imagine,” is a common statement from volunteers. When Millie is not volunteering, she is an avid mystery reader and loves to walk. She raised six children and before volunteering she worked with older adults in nursing homes for many years. She says nothing compares to working with children and giving them plain old-fashioned TLC. Born in Stuttgart, Germany, Gisela, who raised eight children of her own, loves to garden when she is not loving on “her” grandkids. These volunteers develop a long-lasting relationship with their grandkid by loving, caring and giving nonjudgmental help from their many years of life’s experiences. They are passing on their wisdom to the future generations instead of keeping it to themselves. The Foster Grandparent Program is a national program that has been around for over 40 years. The program realizes that the family structure has changed over the last 50 years and there have been fewer opportunities for children and young people to interact with and learn from “elders.” Schools […]