March 10 2011


March 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

Van Splunter completes One Station Unit Training Army National Guard Pfc. Conner C. Van Splunter has graduated from One Station Unit Training (OSUT) at Fort Leonard Wood, Waynesville, Mo., which included basic military training and advanced individual training (AIT). During basic military training, the trainee received instruction in drill and ceremony, weapons qualification, map reading, tactics, military courtesy, military justice, physical fitness, first aid, and Army doctrine, history, principles and traditions. During AIT, the soldier completed the military police specialist course to acquire skills to provide combat area support, conduct battlefield circulation control, area security, prisoner of war operations, civilian internee operations, and law and order operations. The trainee performed as a team member in support of battlefield operations, installation law and order operations and security of Army resources and installations. Additional training included providing peacetime support to the military community through security of resources, crime prevention programs, and preservation of law and order. Van Splunter is the daughter of Craig S. and Christina B. Van Splunter of Rockford. She graduated in 2010 from Rockford High School.  

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR — March 10, 2011

March 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

Reader asks others to support D.A.R.E. Dear Chief Jones, Each afternoon, when my son walks in the door from Roguewood Elementary School, his main focus is how fast he can get to the snack pantry and sitting in front of ANY screen in the house. D.A.R.E. days are different. The front door is not even closed yet, when he starts talking about Officer Jehnzen’s stories, jokes and interesting facts during D.A.R.E. sessions at school. Officer Jehnzen has really made an impact on this 10-year-old boy. Honestly, the timing of RPD’s D.A.R.E. program couldn’t be better for our family. Mateo’s father has been working in Maui for the last three months, and the absence of his dad has made quite an impact on him. I am so grateful that Officer Jehnzen and the D.A.R.E. message is available to him at this difficult time in his life. Officer Jehnzen’s delivery is ideal for these kids. He holds their attention, entertains his audience and portrays the “cool factor,” which is imperative to get their minds wide open and receptive to the message of the program. D.A.R.E. is more than just saying no to drugs. It’s a message to the kids that being responsible, treating others fairly, and making good choices is the right way to live… and it’s “cool.” I may have taken the RPD’s D.A.R.E. program for granted in the past. I just assumed it would always be there for our kids in Rockford. I know the program struggles financially, and I hope it will be available to district’s future fifth-grade students, especially during these tough economic times. I plan on making a donation to the RPD’s D.A.R.E. program, and I hope others will, as well. After seeing my son’s response to only two sessions with Dave Jehnzen, I must admit that I have taken a closer look at the impact this program makes on our community’s children. I truly feel this program, especially under the guidance of Officer Jehnzen, is invaluable to the future of these young, impressionable fifth graders. Thank you for investing the department’s time, money and effort into Officer Jehnzen’s D.A.R.E. sessions. Interestingly, my son came out of his bedroom this morning for school, decked out from head to toe (including his socks!) […]

Annual international photo exhibit to be held March 26

March 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

SowHope is an international, nonprofit, charitable organization dedicated to inspiring women around the world through wellness, education and economic opportunities. The public is invited to attend the fourth annual world class, international photo exhibit “Beauty & the Burden—Women of the Third World” to raise awareness of the plight of women in the developing world. This fundraising event is Saturday, March 26, 7:00 p.m. at the Goei Center, 818 Butterworth SW, Grand Rapids. Tickets for the event are $25 each. More than 40 photographs showing both the beauty and the burden of women in the Third World will be on display as well as several interactive stations where attendees can have a hands-on look at the world these women face. The powerful, inspiring photos were taken by more than a dozen international photographers. Opportunities to support projects focusing on women’s health care, literacy classes, and micro-loans will be available at this event. The gala evening will include delicious food (heavy hors d’oeuvres) prepared by award-winning West Michigan Catering, a cash bar, and live piano music by professional Diane Cosby. Alan Salmon, president and CEO of Superior Furniture, will host the evening and an inspiring presentation about SowHope will be given by the organization’s president, Mary Dailey Brown, at 8 p.m. Comments will be made by board member Al Longtin, president and CEO of ABresources. After the program, attendees are invited to stay and enjoy the music and cash bar until 10 p.m. Complimentary valet parking will be provided. There are limited tickets for this event and pre-purchase is recommended. Call (616) 433-1575 or visit the website at to purchase tickets.  

Humane Society benefits from student fundraiser

March 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

Valley View Elementary has big hearts! Not only for each other, but also for pets and animals. On February 14, 2011, Mrs. Reinert’s class hosted the Kent County Animal Shelter. The students listened to the presentation on what they do at the shelter and they learned how to handle and pet animals. The class also presented the shelter with new leashes, dog food, dog bowls, towels and many more donations that they had been collecting. The students loved to meet and see the dogs and learn safety with stray animals.    

Student artwork recognized

March 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

The Michigan Art Education Association Region 9 Annual Art Competition was held on Saturday, Feb. 19. Five pieces of artwork are accepted from each member of the Professional Association for Art Teachers, and pieces are judged by professional artist/educators in elementary, middle and high school divisions. Art pieces are chosen for regional show which, this year, will be held at the Grand Rapids Art Museum from February 23 through March 11. Qualifying pieces will then move on to state adjudication and will be part of the statewide Michigan Youth Arts Festival held in the spring at Western Michigan University. Two students from the Rockford Freshman Center and three students from Rockford High School have pieces submitted for the competition: Rockford Freshman Center art teacher Christopher Bruce submitted two works of art done in blind contour crayon sgraffitto that were created by Austin Gridley and Frances Mapes-Pearson. Rockford High School pieces were submitted by art teacher Cindy Len. Megan Bishop placed in regional and will move on to state for a fabricated metal pin. Bethany Joseph also placed in the regional and will go on to state for a fabricated metal necklace. Both girls worked with copper, nickel silver, brass, solder and cold joins to make their pieces. Kurt Plaggemars has two pieces of wheel-thrown pottery that are a study of technique and glazing using red and white clays. It is an honor to be chosen and even more exciting to be exhibited at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. For further information, please contact art teacher Cyndi Len at Rockford High School at (616) 863-6030 or by e-mail at  

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