Kurt Becker

Nationally recognized artist shares talent with Community Ed class

December 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

Berta featured on NPR’s ‘What Do Ya Know’ by BETH ALTENA   Jerry Berta is well known in Rockford for his dining-car fame, having purchased and operated Rosie’s Diner for years. Now in the hands of owners Randy and Jonelle Roest, the diner is still associated with Berta. Less well known is that Berta was once interviewed on National Public Radio’s (NPR’s) show “What Do Ya Know” with Michael Feldman. Berta, along with his wife, has managed the difficult task of earning a living as an artist and works in ceramic and neon. Now “newbies” or old hands at ceramic art can learn from Berta in his new Rockford Community Education (RCE) class, which is held at Rockford High School. Rosie’s Diner, located on M-57 in the CedarRock business district, is nationally known for the Brawny “Quicker Picker Upper” commercials featuring Nancy Walker as Rosie the waitress. Rosie’s Diner wasn’t Berta’s first, however. Berta has been a lifelong fan of dining cars and used to travel to the country’s east coast where the old mobile restaurants were more common. Berta found Michigan’s last remaining diner in Flint in 1987, built by the Jerry O’Mahony Dining Car Company. He purchased it for $2,000 and moved it to a lot on 14 Mile Road in Rockford and used it for his art studio. Despite a neon sign that read “No food, just art,” people still wandered in, hoping to sit down for a meal. Berta was out east, admiring a dining car, when the owner came out to talk to him. He discovered that Berta already owned one diner and asked if he’d like to own two. A minute later, Berta had purchased Rosie’s, which was built by Paramount Dining Car Company in 1946 and was originally called the Silver Dollar Diner. The restaurant was 700 miles from Rockford, however. After four days, 10 flat tires and one fire, the diner was in Rockford where it continues to be a landmark and has served well over a million meals.   Berta’s work as an artist in neon may be related to his dining-car interest, but he is also known for his ceramic work, which is featured in the RCE classes. With both experienced and new artists in […]

Rockford Rams JV soccer ties one, wins two

October 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

by KURT BECKER The biggest game of the year for the Rams junior varsity soccer team was the Thursday night East Kentwood game on Oct. 1. This game was huge because Rams JV Coach Stu Quackenbush was an assistant varsity coach at East Kentwood last year, and he wanted to start out the new relationship with a win. Plus, the Falcons’ JV team had the same win-loss record as the Rams’ JV squad. These two items set the tone for this match-up. The game was a defensive battle with neither team making their mark on the other. In the first half, the Rams had four shots on goal versus the Falcons’ eight. Jessie Aronoff had two shots, and Michael Becker, Connor Doud and Ian Stankus each had one shot on goal. At half the score was 0-0. Both teams came out in the second half and tried to get something going. Aronoff, Becker, Doud, Stankus and Nick Krampe all had shots on goal without any success. The Falcons resisted, and pressed with nine more shots in the second half. Neither team could get through the other’s defense. The final score was 0-0. On Monday, Oct. 5, the Rams played the Grandville Bulldogs at their home field. The Rams came out shooting and had eight shots in the first half. Eleven minutes into the half, Aronoff had a long run through two defenders and rifled a quick bullet past an out-of-position goalie into the back of the net. Stankus had four shots on goal in the first half.   Stankus came out in the second half and wouldn’t be denied a goal. At 12 minutes into the second half, with an assist from Doud, Stankus scored by whipping one by the Bulldogs’ goalie at close range. Conner Taylor, Doud, Becker, Krampe and Austin Crowell all had shots on goal in the second half, keeping their goalie extremely busy. The final score was Rams 2, Bulldogs 0.   This ended the regular season with a fine record of 11 wins, one loss and two ties for the JV Rams. The post-season district schedule pitted the Rams against the Hudsonville Eagles in the first round at Rams Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 8. The Eagles proved to be no […]

Rockford Rams JV soccer at 10-1-1 for season

October 1, 2009 // 0 Comments

  Two games to go in regular play by KURT BECKER Tuesday Sept. 15, the JV Rams had a home game against the Hudsonville Eagles. The game started out slow and against the Rams. The Eagles scored first at three minutes in to the game. The Rams returned the favor at 26 minutes. Ben Przybylski scored off a pass by Jesse Aronoff. The Rams pressed their attack and at 36 minutes into the first half Aronoff scored off a long ball from Ian Stankus. The score at the end of the first half was Rams 2, Eagles 1. The second half, the Rams pressed it to the Eagles. At only 14 minutes into the second half, Stankus ran through two defenders and scored on a bullet through the goalie’s hands. With 15 minutes left in the game, Przybylski scored on a quick one-touch pass from Zak Hermann past the Eagles’ goalie. Two minutes later, during a corner kick from Nick Krampe in front of the Eagles’ net, Hermann scored on a backward kick. With seven minutes remaining in the game, the Eagles scored against the Rams. The Rams would not give up and continued pressing the Eagles, and with six minutes left in the game, Conner Taylor scored on a long ball through the goalie’s hands. Final score: Rams 6, Eagles 2. Thursday, Sept. 17, the Rams went to Jenison to play the Wildcats. The game went back and forth until Aronoff, with an assist from Hermann, got the ball into the Wildcats’ net off a corner kick at 14 minutes into the game. Four minutes later Stankus kicked a great ball ahead of the Wildcats’ defenders, and Aronoff ran through both to score on a bullet through the goalie’s hands. The second half had the Rams wearing down the Wildcats, and at 14 minutes into the second half, Stankus passed to Przybylski, who had a long run and a one-on-one with the Wildcat goalie and scored. Then Danny Clark placed a long pass to Stankus, who ran past two Wildcat defenders and with a quick left turn shot Stankus scored. Four minutes later, Mitch Dubois passed to Aronoff for this third goal of the game. Final score: Rams 5, Wildcats 0. Saturday, Sept. 19, […]