It was nearly a decade in coming and is one of only a few of its kind in the United States. Residents of the City of Rockford and townships of Alpine, Cannon, Courtland and Plainfield have a vested interest in the North Kent Sewer Authority treatment plant at 4775 Coit NE, Grand Rapids. On Friday, June 5 at 5 p.m. come see the facility in action. The authority, comprised of the municipalities listed above, planned the $50 million plant almost ten years ago as a joint venture when they believed they were facing an unfair contract with their previous treatment provider. The 40-year contract was set to expire November of 2008, and the City of Rockford and townships were expected to sign a new contract without even any idea of what the costs would be-except that they were going up. When they threatened to join forces and possibly build and run their own treatment plant, they were told it would happen when pigs fly. That day came October 28, 2008 at 2:39 p.m. when the plant began processing the wastewater for the member communities. It has it saved over ten million dollars from what the five members’ taxpayers would have been charged with the previous treatment provider. In addition, the new plant has taken 4.3 million gallons a day from a system that was old, leaking, and regularly discharged untreated waste into the Grand River. Now the discharge the plant puts out is cleaner than the waters of the Grand River-all from a natural, Earth-friendly (and odorless) process. For the first time the public is invited into the normally fenced and locked facility to see the process at work first hand. It is a government success story that shows how leadership in local government can be creative, bold and stand up for taxpayers in seemingly unfair situations. Visitors to the public open house will be able to visit the four buildings of the plant and see the holding tanks-the equivalent of five Olympic-sized swimming pools. According to Authority Board Chairman Michael Young, the plant is running incredibly well and came in under budget at $47 million. The treatment plant uses membrane bio reactor technology that is state-of-the art facility that has had inquiries […]
June 4 2009
by Cliff and Nancy Hill According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture – if every Michigan family would buy just $10 a week of local Michigan fruits and vegetables, it would keep $37 million new dollars each week working for you right here at home. For the past eight years Rockford has been way ahead of the curve by its overwhelming acceptance of the Rockford City sponsored Farm Market. About to enter its 9th season, the Rockford Farm Market returns this Saturday, June 6, and continues every Saturday thereafter until October 31, 2009. From the Market’s inception in 2001, Rockford City Community Development Director Jody Greco has assembled an eclectic mix of vendors who compliment one another and the Market during its five-month run. The Market is anchored by a core of vendors who fell in love with the Rockford Market that first year. Returning every year thereafter, each vendor has built a strong local following that can’t wait for their favorites to return. All of last year’s vendors are back this year along with George Miller of the popular “Miller’s Cave,” a vendor of marinated mushrooms (secret recipe), who was missed last season. Not wanting to spoil a good thing by creating an unmanageable larger market, Greco tells us that the hard part of her job every year is turning away new applicants. Greco has been graciously referring those applicants to last year’s newly formed Plainfield Market and an about to be formed farm market in Walker. Personally, we are looking forward to the return of Great Harvest Bread Company and their deliciously decadent cinnamon bread and the first of the season homegrown tomatoes that were planted in January, then grown and ripened in Deimer’s Winter Gardens greenhouses. We also won’t forget fresh Michigan hand-snapped asparagus from TerAvest Farm and, of course, a bouquet of fresh cut flowers from Casey Lemieux at The Flower Garden stall. The Market is more than just a cornucopia of locally grown fruits and vegetables, organic produce, homemade pastries and breads, cheese, eggs, fresh jerky, honey, floral planter arrangements and nursery and greenhouse stock. In Rockford the Market is a social phenomenon and has been since day one. That is what Jody Greco must have had in mind […]
Bring blankets or beach towels, chairs or just hang out on the grass Tuesdays in downtown Rockford. The Huntington Bank Rogue River Blues series begins this Tuesday, June 9. The free concerts take place at Garden Club Park near the dam on the banks of the Rogue River and run from 7 to 9 p.m. each Tuesday through August 11. In its seventh year this season, the concerts draw thousands and have been popular since song one. Paul Chimienti, office manager of the Rockford Huntington Bank, said his business was looking for something wonderful to sponsor in the Rockford community. They chose the Blues concerts because they are enjoyed by so many. “There are many wonderful events in Rockford. We chose this because it is good for everyone, the City, the merchants because so many people come to downtown for it and the public loves it,” he said. In addition to great free blues music by live, professional bands, the concerts have giveaways such as t-shirts, balloons and more. “We did this as a commitment to be a community business and it’s a winner,” said Chimienti. “The people who enjoy it are all ages, from four to 84 or more. It’s in a beautiful setting, it’s family-friendly and it’s safe. There are never any incidents.” The series starts with favorite The Weezil Malone Band. Other popular bands scheduled by organizer Steve Jazwiec, who began the series and is known for his “Blues Brothers” look, are Root Doctor, James Reeser and the Backseat Drivers, Harper, the Steve Hilger Blues Band and more. This is an Rockford Arts Commission event, one of many musical events that are free and for public enjoyment.
Township officials appreciate the opportunity for the public to admire a nesting pair of American bald eagles in our midst (Squire article in May 22 issue), but warn that visitors must obey no parking signs or they will be ticketed or banned from looking altogether. After the Squire published the location of the nest on 12 Mile Road in Oakfield Township, Supervisor Greg Dean said hundreds have visited to admire the birds, but unfortunately are not honoring the no parking signs at the site. Dean said 30 to 40 people at a time have been on the location and have caused traffic hazards as well as damage to the embankment. Six no parking signs have been posted and to either the east or west of the signs there is more shoulder and safe parking. Kent County Sheriffs who see drivers parked between the signs will issue traffic tickets and if the public still chooses to park illegally while enjoying the eagles, Dean may issue a no parking, no standing order. If this happens no one will be able to enjoy this breathtaking experience. “We hope the public will cooperate,” Dean said. “I went out and spent a few hours watching them and taking pictures, but we can’t have a safety issue.” Dean said eagles usually use a nest for four or five years before it begins to deteriorate. Our community can enjoy this sight for several more years if people park safely, or miss out on this opportunity by choosing to ignore posted signs and imperil themselves and other drivers. Many thanks to our readers who have sent pictures in to share with those of us who can’t make it out to see the eagles and nest.
The staff at the Krause Memorial Library all wore black in honor of Patricia Rosloniec’s last day on Friday, May 15. Pat has worked at the KDL library for 11 years, part of which has been as the circulation manager. Rosloniec has transferred to the Cascade library branch where she will manage their circulation.