by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL The greater Rockford community is oftentimes recognized for its many quality-of-life advantages such as educational excellence, strong family values, and an all-abiding and ceaseless giving nature. Perhaps the greatest virtue of all is that, first and foremost, Rockford is a community of faith. The Rockford area is home to 38 vibrant and growing churches of most every denomination. All play an integral part of the excellence we frequently take for granted here in Rockford. One such church is the First Congregational Church of Rockford, which will break ground this summer to add a Christian Education Building wing adjacent to the sanctuary in downtown Rockford. Many years of fundraising have brought this dream to reality in 2011. Perhaps the last fundraiser before anticipated construction begins in August will be a performance by the Metropolitan Choir of Praise. Rockford resident Jessica Kooiman is a member of the Metropolitan Choir and also a member of First Congregational. “I wanted to help raise money for my church’s building addition and immediately thought of bringing the Metropolitan Choir to Rockford,” said Kooiman. Performing concerts of traditional and contemporary sacred music for the past 48 years, the 60-member choir, representing many churches in and around West Michigan, has performed across the U.S. and around the world. Under the direction of Dr. Mark Taylor, the choir most recently held two concerts at Meijer Gardens this past December. Kooiman said, “I am really excited about this opportunity and hope anyone who is interested in good choral music will attend. The performance is open to everyone. There is no charge for admission, however a free-will offering will be taken with all proceeds going toward the building fund.” As an aside, this multitalented and accomplished musician (Kooiman) possesses a beautiful second soprano voice and is also a consummate pianist who offers piano instruction to children using the Suzuki method. She prides herself on teaching children to love music. This very special evening of music is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., Sunday, March 27 at the First Congregational Church of Rockford, located at 192 Bridge Street in downtown Rockford. For more information, contact the church office at (616) 866-2412 or Kooiman at (616) 866-6427. One can also get a taste of the […]
March 17 2011
Howard Christensen Nature Center takes steps to reopen by TOM NOREEN A group of about 30 people gathered at the Tyrone Township Hall on March 3 to learn about the progress made in reopening the Howard Christensen Nature Center (HCNC), 16160 Red Pine Dr, Kent City, as its own nonprofit 501(c)3 organization. The center closed in January due to a funding shortage. Cindy Perski, with the assistance of Kathy Reed (former director under the Kent Conservation District), has taken the lead at creating the umbrella organization that would oversee the center. Perski recently retired as CEO of a manufacturing company in Southwest Michigan. After retirement, she sought out Reed to volunteer at HCNC, only to find out that the center was going to close. Perski’s goal is “to give a legacy to our communities, children, to volunteer with a purpose, to give unselfishly, to expect nothing back in return, to leave this life better than I found it. It is an act of responsibility to leave a positive legacy.” She decided to put her words into action and see what she could do to bring the nature center back to life. During the meeting, former director Ranger Steve Mueller gave a brief history of the center and its primary goal of education. The Kent Intermediate School District (KISD) ran the facility from 1976 until it closed in 2005 because of budgetary constraints. The KISD owns the 142-acre facility and would be willing to negotiate a lease with a qualified nonprofit as they did with the Kent Conservation District (KCD). KCD Chair Connie Redding explained that the KCD used the facility to not only provide educational opportunities to school children but as a demonstration site for the services that KCD provides to land owners in the county. She briefed that funding was the primary reason for not renewing their lease. During the four years that the KCD ran HCNC, the center ran a loss of about $30,000. “We will be willing to help and are very supportive of this plan,” said Redding. One attendee asked about the 10-year Forestry Plan and Redding said the plan was still intact and all it needed was an individual or organization to execute it. One of the primary agenda items […]
Cub Scout Pack 3285 from Crestwood Elementary School celebrated the 87th birthday of Cub Scouting in the United States at their annual Blue and Gold Banquet on February 11 at Bostwick Lake Congregational Church. They also honored their members for their rank advancements during the special evening of ceremonies. Earning Cub Scouting’s highest award, the Arrow of Light, was Webelos 2 Scout Sean McLellan. A fifth-grader, McLellan has been active in Pack 3285 since he began Scouting in first grade. During this time, he earned his all his Cub Scout rank awards, numerous belt loops and pins for sports and academic accomplishments, nine arrow points and 15 Webelos pins. To earn this award, he was required to complete only eight activity badges in addition to learning the Boy Scout oath, motto, slogan and law, and taking part in camping and troop activities with an older Boy Scout troop. The Arrow of Light is the only Cub Scout award that carries over to the Boy Scout level. Members of the Boy Scout Order of the Arrow, a national honor group of Boy Scouts, conducted a special crossover ceremony from Cub Scouting to Boy Scouting. McLellan was welcomed by members of Boy Scout Troop 282 during the ceremony. Each den was also recognized for their achievements in special ceremonies. The 10 members of the second-grade den, Gavin Fredericks, Jack Gavan, Isaac Gould, Ian Henschell, Liam Knisley, Matthew Luxhoj, Michael Rozzano, Jackson Smith, Daniel Triesenberg and Zebb VanderKooy, received their Wolf Rank under the leadership of Tom Triesenberg and Kurt Henschell. Fourth-grade members Evan Coberly and Justin Fraula were awarded their Webelos rank with the guidance of their leader Greg Coberly. Scout leadership for the Pack was also passed from the Webelos 2 to the Webelos during a special ceremony. Members of the Tiger and Bear dens were rewarded with achievement beads that are used to track their progress in achieving their rank awards. Adult members Kelly and Guy McLellan were also recognized by the parents for their service to the Pack since 2007. Kelly served as Cub master and den leader and Guy as Pack committee chair. Pack members also took part in a special Scout/male adult partner cake bake contest with people’s choice awards given to the top three […]
Our Lady of Consolation (OLC) is excited to have iPads in the classroom. OLC was recently awarded a large grant from the Rockford Education Foundation to purchase five iPads to use in their Response to Intervention (RtI) classroom. The iPads improve learning even more for the students. They are very excited to work on all of the educational apps for reading and math. The students are able to touch the screens, listen to the interactive stories and manipulate the characters. The iPads make learning math and reading more fun. OLC thanks the Rockford community for all of your pledges and making it possible for them to enhance their RtI program.