June 9 2011

Rockford beats Kenowa Hills in district baseball opener

June 9, 2011 // 0 Comments

Rams defeat Northview to win district title On Saturday, June 4, at Northview High School, Rockford won their first district game 11-2 behind another great pitching performance by senior left-hander, Joe Kropiewnicki. Kropiewnicki did what he has done all year, utilizing pinpoint accuracy and keeping the hitters off balance. Kropiewnicki cruised through the first and second innings facing only seven batters. He struck out the last two batters in the second and the first two batters of the third for four consecutive strikeouts. Then, with two out in the third, Kenowa Hills’ Chad Makarewicz reached on an error. That was followed by doubles by Matt Neal and Greg Chulski to score Kenowa Hills’ only two unearned runs. Kropiewnicki breezed through the fourth and fifth innings as well. In the sixth, he got into a bit of a jam by allowing two consecutive singles and his only walk to load the bases with no outs. He then proceeded to strikeout the next batter, induce a shallow pop fly to right field, and strike out the final batter of the inning to strand all three runners. He worked a 1-2-3 seventh to seal the win. Kropiewnicki’s line was 7 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K. He moved his record to 9-0 on the season and has an ERA just above one. The Rams’ offense was explosive and they also benefited from nine walks doled out by Kenowa Hills pitchers. Rockford scored two runs in the first when Drew Farmer and Brandon Nostrant walked, Shain Showers singled, and brother, Brent Showers (who is freshman brought up for the tournament), hit a sacrifice fly. In the second inning, Bryan Baldwin walked, as did Andrew Rademacher. Farmer singled and Christian Leinesch singled to score two more. The Rams garnered four more runs in the third when Ian Stankus walked and Rademacher, Farmer and Nostrant all singled. Rockford was scoreless in the fourth and fifth. In the sixth the Rams scored one more when B. Showers doubled, Stankus walked for a third time, and Baldwin hit a sacrifice fly. Rockford’s final two runs came in the seventh when Farmer walked, Nostrant and Leinesch singled and B. Showers doubled. Offensive leaders were Farmer (2-3), Nostrant (3-4, 2b), […]

Chamber hosts annual Start of Summer Celebration

June 9, 2011 // 0 Comments

This year’s weather brings new meaning to the acronym “SOS,” the international distress signal used by ships. However, Rockford is planning on using it in two ways. In the past the initials have been used to identify the Rockford Chamber of Commerce’s (RCC) Start of Summer Celebration. The double meaning is handy this year, however, as the community calls for rescue from the awful weather. The SOS committee is hoping that the launch of this favorite Rockford event will also be the start of the beautiful summer weather—and be saved from the cold, windy and wet days of spring. This year’s celebration is scheduled for June 10, 11 and 12, and will feature carnival rides, food, crafts, music, entertainment and family fun. The fireworks—sponsored by Byrne Electrical Specialists, Meijer, Wynalda Packaging Inc., and D&W Fresh Markets—will light up the Rockford skyline at dusk on Saturday. Polly Von Eschen, who has overseen the event for 24 years, always makes sure that the celebration runs seamlessly. The committee started preparing for the huge event months in advance and is ready to highlight the 43rd annual installment of the popular celebration. “It is a great way to celebrate the end of the school year and the beginning of summer,” said Von Eschen. “We like thanking the community for all their support of downtown businesses throughout the year. It is always a lot of fun. We love seeing people come into town and enjoy all of the wonderful things going on.” Von Eschen contracted the Scottville Clown Band for another year. The talented group of musicians will play in the parade and follow that with a stint under the Lions Club’s Beverage Tent. The band wowed the Rockford audience with their sound and their antics last year. “We knew we had to bring them back for another year,” said Von Eschen. “They are not only highly entertaining; they are also phenomenal musicians. If you didn’t see them last year, you really should make sure to come down and watch them this year. It really is a treat for the whole family.” Playworld Amusements will provide the carnival rides and games this year. The rides and midway will be set up in the South Squires Street parking lot. Favorites such […]

Michigan State Police welcomes new trooper

June 9, 2011 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA Things have changed in funding for the Michigan State Police (MSP) over the years, and this year’s recruit class, at just 35 new troopers, is a far cry from the 100-plus new recruits when Rockford Post Commander F/Lt. Chris McIntire was in training. He recalls hating the water rescue part of the class where he had to swim through a foul-smelling waste of a swamp and wrestle to safety a “victim” who was anything but cooperative. Some years later, new trooper to the Michigan State Police Rockford post Matthew J. Demny described the water rescue as his least-favorite part of training as well. Demny began work as one of our local boys in blue on Monday, May 16, joining the 23 troopers who daily do what they can to keep the public safe. The water training is part of a 20-week intensive course of skills law enforcement officers may need in the course of any day—defensive tactics, high-speed driving, marksmanship, and more. McIntire said water rescue would be the responsibility of a trooper should a situation requiring one arise, although it may not be the first thing to come to mind when thinking of a road patrol officer’s job. “Sure, if you are drowning, we’ll save you.” McIntire said the paramilithat Grand Rapids is the second largest city in the state with a wide range of diversity. Prior to his years in the Army, Demny was a Berry County Deputy. He also holds a degree from Ferris State University. Prior to attending the MSP 20-week training course, he attended the Police Academy for the Barry County job. That course was 17 weeks, after which he had four days off before the 20-week MSP training. This means he’s been in training for 37 weeks nearly non-stop and only had the weekend off before starting work Monday morning. Married to wife Katie, the couple are thrilled to be in the Rockford area. They are familiar with the town because Katie’s sister used to teach at Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church. “What’s not to like?” he asked about what he enjoys about the town. Demny also couldn’t be more pleased landing a job as a trooper in a time of few new hires in […]

Rockford business changes hands

June 9, 2011 // 0 Comments

‘I’m buying a piece of Rockford’ by BETH ALTENA When you see the Rockford football team on the big flatbed truck during this Saturday’s Start of Summer parade, the truck towing it won’t be River Valley Auto. Todd Pell has purchased the towing portion of the River Valley Auto business and has changed the company name to Rockford Towing. He couldn’t be more pleased about owning his own business in Rockford and, after nearly two decades in the tow business, to being his own boss. The business was purchased from John Shattuck and Dan Williams, who between them own River Valley Auto and Car Star of Rockford. Williams said that for tow customers, there will be no change in service and the business will still be located in the “bull pen” on River Valley’s property. “He wanted a tow business and we wanted to get out of that and concentrate on body shops and mechanical garage,” said Williams, a second-generation owner of Car Star. Williams said River Valley and Car Star will service and repair any make vehicle, but specialize in European makes. They have been very busy and Williams said the transaction comes at a good time. “It was a handful to juggle all those balls.” The business is one of the “old timers” in Rockford, reaching back to its founding in 1985 by Roy Nielson when Roy opened a gas station/car wash with towing. Son Ryan Nielson, who is still with the business, going to work with Pell as lead tow driver. Along with Ryan go the titles to six wreckers, two flatbeds and one service car. Ryan remembers when his dad owned just one tow truck, when he was a tot. “A lot of people still call it Roy’s,” said Ryan. Roy sold the business in February 2001 to Gordie LaFontaine, who operated it for the next seven years. The public has seen the bright red trucks with black lettering pull our athletic heroes on flatbeds through the annual Start of Summer Parade. Pell is excited that this year the trucks pulling the high school football team will be his and parade watchers will see his new logo as Rockford Towing. “Over time as we acquire new trucks we will change the […]

Relax with a picnic without the work

June 9, 2011 // 0 Comments

Twisted Vine to offer complete picnic basket bundle What could be more hometown America than an afternoon picnic complete with a tablecloth to throw down on the grass, delicious food, beverage and dessert? Now Rockford shoppers can take a break from finding great deals downtown and enjoy a relaxing meal from Twisted Vine, complete with the basket and tablecloth to settle down onto. Laura DeWilde, of Twisted Vine, located at 51 E. Bridge Street, is now offering an old-fashioned but gourmet picnic to go. Bridge Street Baskets will offer a variety of lunch or dinner choices geared for two, although special requests will gladly be accommodated. See the red and white checked tablecloths by the dam, at Picnic Pops or anywhere else patrons care to carry them. The meals, in whicker collapsible baskets, fit nicely into the bicycles available for rental at Double Take. “I hope people will enjoy them and then bring them back,” said DeWilde. DeWilde also hopes to work with other “downtowners” to drop little extras into each basket—a coupon for a free classified ad in the Squire, or a coupon or giveaway from one of the shops. “We try to help each other and make the best experience possible for each person who visits our downtown,” DeWilde noted. Twisted Vine has been open since September 2010, and DeWilde said she looks forward to her first summer in business in Rockford. The restaurant/deli offers kitchenware as well as meals and products, such as American Spoon gourmet jams and jellies. DeWilde is also expanding her offerings to branch into light brunch items on Saturdays, geared to the Farm Market shoppers. “It won’t be the eggs, bacon and potato hearty breakfasts that Peppermill Grill offers,” DeWilde noted. Like other merchants, she hopes to compliment, not compete, with her fellow business owners, and will be offering lighter fare—egg casseroles, quiche, French toast, crepes. She plans on offering her gourmet jams on the crepes, so diners can see for themselves how delicious the Michigan-made American Spoon preserves are. “It will be light food. If people like it, we might offer the brunch items every day of the week,” she said. Stop by and check out the new Bridge Street Baskets, sample an early brunch on Saturday, […]

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