June 3 2010

Former Rockford resident’s essay featured in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

June 3, 2010 // 0 Comments

Fathers and daughters have a unique connection that may seem like a love/hate relationship at times of conflict, especially when boyfriends are involved, but one of the strongest in the long run. Former Rockford resident and mystery author W.S. Gager has written an essay as a tribute to her father and grandfather for the latest “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book subtitled “Thanks Dad.” “I found out they were looking for more entries to finish the book from a fellow writer. The story just popped in my head and I sent it off. The next thing I knew I was in the bonus section in the book,” said Wendy Gager who writes as W.S. Gager. “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Dad” is 101 stories of gratitude, love and good times compiled by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Wendy Walker with a foreword by Scot Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic gold figure skater. Gager’s story is in the bonus section entitled “Purely Grand Dads” and details a story called “Running the Gauntlet” about her father’s and grandfather’s attempts at questioning would-be suitors at the embarrassment of others. “My dad and grandpa were horrible if I ever invited a date home. I can look back now and laugh at it, but as a teen I was mortified,” Gager added. Her parents, Ken and Judy Gager, still live in Rockford. Sadly, her grandfather is now watching from above. Gager lives in Fremont with her husband and two children. Her second book in the Mitch Malone Mystery Series, “A Case of the Accidental Intersection,” will be released this summer. • • •

Main Street by Roger Allen, publisher

June 3, 2010 // 0 Comments

BP’s disaster—and ours I’d like to say something about the oil gushing into the Gulf but nothing seems adequate. And others have said it all, anyway. Years ago, while working for FEMA, I was down there on a weather-related disaster. I’m sorry for those good people and for the wildlife. The oceans are irreplaceable and I’m sorry for all of us. The dim bright spot is that the Michigan Tourist Bureau is hoping to get vacation business away from the Gulf. Eye of the beholder A lady’s tale, sent in by my correspondent Michelle: I was sitting in the waiting room for my first appointment with a new dentist. On the wall, I noticed his DDS diploma which bore his full name. A tall, handsome, dark-haired boy with the same name had been in my high school class 30-odd years ago. Could the dentist be the same guy I’d had a secret crush on way back then? Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. This balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was far too old to have been my classmate. After he examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended Rockford High School. “Yes, I did,” he answered. “When did you graduate?” I asked. “In 1975,” he said. “Why do you ask?” “You were in my class!” I exclaimed. He looked at me closely. Then that ugly, bald, wrinkle-faced, gray-haired, decrepit old guy asked, “What did you teach?” Eye of the beholder #2 Hope the shopper in this tale isn’t the same lady on the same day: I was at the local supermarket. My cart contained a half-gallon of 2% milk, eggs, a quart of orange juice, lettuce, a two-pound can of coffee and a pound of bacon. As I unloaded my items on the conveyor belt to check out, a guy, definitely drunk, stood next in line, watching my order. While the cashier was ringing up the items, the drunk remarked, “You musht be single.” I was a bit startled, but I was intrigued by the derelict’s intuition, since, indeed, I’d never married. I looked at the six items on the belt and saw nothing unusual about my selections that could have tipped off the drunk to […]

The Tax Attic with Jerry Coon — June 3, 2010

June 3, 2010 // 0 Comments

“The Golden Age of Retirement” In my opinion, we are well past the mid-point of the age that future generations will come to call “The Golden Age of Retirement.” I have three reasons to back up my assertion. First, there are still mass amounts of people receiving benefits from defined benefit pensions, i.e. you work for 30 years and receive a pension of X amount of dollars. The employer shoulders 100% of the pension burden forever. As we are seeing from the General Motors debacle and the City of Grand Rapids issues with their pension shortfalls, the defined benefit pensions as we know them today are just not sustainable to the employing entity. “Forever” seems to be the issue. These pensions are quickly being replaced by defined contribution pensions, i.e. 401k contributory plans or Simple Individual Retirement Account plans, where the employee puts in some dollars and the employer puts in some dollars. The employee receives the value of the account when he retires and the employer has no further liability. In many employment scenarios, older employees are covered by a defined benefit plan but all new employees are covered by a defined contribution plan. It appears this switch will continue, especially in non-unionized private industry, until there is no more defined benefit plan coverage. Eventually, the only entities having employees with defined benefit plans will be government and public entities such as schools and unionized private industry entities such as UAW and Teamsters. The second reason I call today “The Golden Age of Retirement” is the current Social Security benefit rules. Practically everyone qualifies, once they reach the proper qualifying age, to receive a Social Security benefit, no matter how little their income or assets or how large their income or assets. In 2009, 51 million beneficiaries received $650 billion in benefits. In the late 1800’s, the Germans were the first nation to set up a Social Security system. We followed them in the 1930’s with our own version. Our version, called the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), was crafted to fulfill a rather limited set of needs. Beneficiaries could begin drawing at the age of 65. The kicker was that the average life expectancy for both men and women was less than 65. […]

The Rockford Area Historical Society nominates Edna Haner for consideration by the Rockford Area Community Endowment

June 3, 2010 // 0 Comments

Edna Haner was born in Rockford on December 26, 1875 and lived in the area all of her life. She was an only child. Her father, Charles, a Civil War veteran, was a partner in a wagon and carriage shop in Rockford. In 1897 Mr. Haner and his then partner, William Haskell, had their building destroyed by fire so they relocated by Rum Creek on the east side of Monroe Street. Later, in 1912, Mr. Haner sold his part of the business to Henry Burch, the son-in-law of Mr. Haskell. When Haskell retied, the business was run by sons of Henry Burch and became Burch Body Works. Edna graduated from Rockford High School in 1881 and from Ypsilanti State Teachers College in 1895. After college graduation, she taught for two years a Gouge berg (near Rockford) and one year in Cadillac before returning to teach history and language at Rockford High School. She became the high school principal (still teaching) around 1900 and continued until the spring of 1926 when ill health caused her to retire. In the 1924-25 school year, Rockford High School had their first major yearbook (Trailblazer) printed and published and it was dedicated to Edna Haner. (Note: Rockford High School had a yearbook in 1919 but it was all hand done with the pages being typed and not printed). The yearbook of 1924-25 has much of Edna Haner’s graduation and alumni information in it and is a major source of school history. In 1912 Edna Haner became Rockford’s first town librarian and served in that position until 1949 when health issues again forced her to retire. Edna Haner was a member of the Rockford Congregational Church, a charter member of the Tuesday Club, a member of the Library Board and one of the organizers of the County Library Association. Rockford historian Homer Burch wrote the following about Edna Haner: “She had a stern countenance that actually masked a gentle soul. She could be a strict disciplinarian but was also a warm, understanding, helpful and inspiring teacher, highly regarded and respected by students and faculty. No one today (1969) can count the many hundreds of Rockford’s former scholars and citizens who have benefited from the influence, inspiration and heritage of Edna Haner’s […]

Winners announced for annual BeeVee Film Awards

June 3, 2010 // 0 Comments

Like a scene out of Hollywood, actors, actresses, directors and producers waited in line to walk down the red carpet leading to the fourth annual BeeVee Film Awards at Bella Vista Church in Rockford. As cameras flashed, the young people posed for their adoring fans and were interviewed by ceremonies co-host Brad Spead on their accomplishments for this year’s short film awards. The formal ceremony opened with a dazzling performance by the award-winning Junior Competitor Dancers from Rockford School of Dance. The dance team recently won their regional competition held in Detroit and are preparing for their national competition in Orlando, Fla. in July. Hostess for the evening, Student Ministries Director Lisa Henderson, welcomed the audience to an evening where “the sublime meets the ridiculous.” The audience members were then treated to a vast array of film shorts showcasing the talents of the junior and senior high students. Winners in each film category were presented with a golden statue, similar to Hollywood’s Oscar, by the BeeVee girls Megan George and Brianne Melton. This year’s special lifetime achievement award was presented to Bethany Lemke for perfecting her role portraying creepy male stalkers. Her talents were showcased in the Best Film and Best Music Video winner “Love Story” directed by Shannon Pinner. Other winners include: • Best Actress: Hanna Lemke, “Love Story” • Best Supporting Actress: Halley Devon, “Romeo and Juliet” • Outstanding Performance—Child Actor: Audrey Rinck, “Larry the Stalker” • Best Actor: Jacob Hughey, “The Big One” • Best Supporting Actor: Ryan Siekman, “Romeo and Juliet at the Jersey Shore” • Best Director: Shannon Pinner “Love Story” • Best Technical Achievement—Editing: Jarren Harkema, “Time Traveler Trouble” • Best Music Video: “Love Story” directed by Shannon Pinner • Best Comedy: “The Big One” directed by Jacob and Jenny Hughey • Best Drama: “Romeo and Juliet” directed by Sarah McLellan • Best Christian Film: “The Question” directed by Seventh-Grade Boys Small Group • Best Animated Film: “Time Travel Trouble” by Jarren Harkema and Calvin Hartley • Best Thriller: “Larry the Stalker” directed by Miranda Rinck

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