March 25 2010

USA Water Polo honors Rockford player

March 25, 2010 // 0 Comments

For the first time ever a Rockford athlete has been chosen by USA Waterpolo—the sport’s national organization—as Athlete of the Month. Conor Thelen was one of four seniors on the Rockford High School water polo team this season, and in an amazing tie-breaking move, all four contributed to the winning score, earning the team the state championship. Coach McWatters, proud of all his players, was compelled to nominate one to the organization for recognition. Conor Thelen has been a water polo and swim athlete since it was first offered for his class in middle school. Now there are swim programs for even younger students, but the dedication shown by this year’s team was unbeatable—literally. “I thought he was going to grow gills,” commented Maggie Thelen, his mother. Coach McWatters had nothing but praise for Thelen, and was quick to note that it takes a whole team to foster the kind of success and leadership for which Thelen was recognized. The wording on the USA Waterpolo website, submitted by McWatters says it all: Connor represents the best of the Rockford water polo tradition, a committed team player who sets the highest of standards in leadership and sportsmanship. Against the deepest and most challenging of competition, Connor has led his team to a 17th straight OK conference championship, the district title, and then, after taking third in regionals, to the Michigan state championship— the seventh in the last ten years. With :43 second to play in the state championship game, the scored tied 10-10, Connor rose to shoot, committing the goalie to the near side but instead passed the ball to his team’s two-meter player, who stepped out to shoot cross cage shot.  A perfect example of a great fake and great pass setting up the shot.  More important than any statistic is Connor’s immeasurable contribution to the team: demonstrating the power of resilience and perseverance through the toughest of times. He was able to lead a young team, gain their respect, and then when his team needed the play-maker with the pressure of the state title on the line, he rose to the challenge. Connor Thelen provides an excellent model for younger players to emulate. Maggie Thelen said the sport has done so much for Conor. As […]

Tiger fan celebrates 106th birthday

March 25, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL As you read this article, you will, in part, be celebrating lifelong Rockford resident Mary Carpenter’s 106th birthday. Mary Dunn Carpenter, born in 1904, will be an amazing 106 years old on Thursday, March 25. Now residing at Bishop Hills Elder Care Community, Mary has vivid memories of her life experiences in the greater Rockford community. At the same time, she would like everyone to know that she is still very much a woman of the present. Aside from family and friends, Mary is regularly visited by the Care Ministry Team from her church family, the Rockford United Methodist Church. Team member Charlene Terranova said that Mary is an avid reader. “She daily reads the Grand Rapids Press from front to back, keeping abreast of national and state news,” said Terranova. “Currently, Mary, a farm girl at heart, is trying to understand the concept of ‘wind farms’ and battery-powered automobiles.” Mary’s favorite section of the Press, however, is the sports pages, where she follows her beloved Detroit Tigers baseball team. She is still grieving over the trading of Curtis Granderson to the infamous N.Y. Yankees. Now Mary might well be the oldest living person in Michigan, but most certainly she is the oldest living female fan of the Detroit Tigers in the entire country! Mary spends much of her time during the baseball season watching every televised Tiger game, and is looking forward to Opening Day 2010. Terranova, a Tiger fan herself, often joins Mary in watching the games. Terranova said, while watching a game that was tied in the ninth inning and about to go into extra innings, a Bishop Hills aide entered Mary’s room to announce that dinner was being served in the dining room. Mary emphatically replied, “I won’t leave my team until this game is over.” Now that’s a fan! To say Mary loves to read is probably an understatement. She reads everything she lays her hands on, but maybe her favorite publication is The Rockford Squire newspaper, where she keeps abreast of the times and happenings of her beloved Rockford. Newspapers bring knowledge. When one stops reading, one stops learning. Ironically, the Squire, currently in its 139th year of publication, makes Mary somewhat of a […]

Residents crowd township meeting, demand response

March 25, 2010 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA Called “pure intimidation tactics” by Plainfield Township Manager Robert Homan, 140 residents, most angry, crowded Township’s meeting room Monday, March 15, and accused the board of a variety of violations. The meeting began at 7:30 p.m. with a public hearing and presentation by John Short on the township’s Five Year Master Plan for Parks and Recreation. Supervisor George Meek stated that comment was to be restricted to the parks and recreation plan and not on the proposed three-lane expansion of Belmont Road planned by the Kent County Road Commission. During the meeting the board was accused of a variety of illegal or unethical actions. Residents complained the board was violating the open meetings act in several different ways, they offered scathing comments on the lack of implementation of a background check policy, commented negatively about how Kent County Road Commission meetings were advertised and accused Homan of illegally using tax dollars to publish a political opinion in the township newsletter. The board attended open business from 7:30 to 8:45 p.m. during which time they voted to approve the background check policy they had prepared. Meek made an announcement stating that all township employees and board members had been checked and none had any violation that would require their inclusion on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. Treasurer Jim Stover suggested making the background check policy even more inclusive. “I suggest not just employees, but any arm of the township such as the Farm Market vendors be subject,” he said. Clerk Scott Harvey said why not make all Plainfield Avenue business people subject as well. “We aren’t in charge of the Plainfield businesses, but we are in charge of the farm market,” retorted Trustee Rebecca Borek. Meek said the board would take the issue to the township attorney. The board also approved expanding the farm market from one day a week to two, Tuesdays and Thursdays; approved a dance permit for Vitale’s of Comstock Park; and issued a medical marijuana moratorium. Meek also told the board and audience that a letter of reprimand was being prepared regarding the article in the township newsletter by Homan that was possibly an improper use of public funds. At 8:45 p.m. Meek opened the meeting for comments lasting […]

Plainfield Water Department earns double honors

March 25, 2010 // 0 Comments

New telemetry system to save $30,000 annually Surrounded by the world’s largest bodies of fresh water, West Michiganders may be forgiven for taking water quality for granted. In Plainfield Township, clean water is protected with a passion that gained statewide accolades from people who know the value of this natural resource. At the 20th annual Michigan Rural Water Association (MRWA) conference held March 17-19, the Plainfield Township Water Department and its superintendent were recognized as among the best in the state. “We are one of the first to get an ordinance in place that has some teeth to it,” noted Rick Solle, employee at the Plainfield Township water plant. Controlling contamination and spills are critical in efforts to protect water sources. Plainfield Township has passed a wellhead protection ordinance that will likely be adopted by other townships. It allows the township to demand cleanup of industrial or household leaks that threaten water sources. Don Petrovich is the superintendent of the water plant and was largely responsible for the ordinance. That, among other criteria, is what put the township in line for recognition at the conference. Petrovich himself was named Michigan Water Operator of the Year for the state, and the department was named Utility of the Year by the MRWA. Located on Plainfield Avenue, the plant has the capacity of providing 16,000 gallons a day of water, although the average is around 4,000 gallons. It provides water to Plainfield Township and parts of Alpine, Grand Rapids and Algoma townships. In addition to the Wellhead Protection ordinance, the township also received an Awards of Excellence on Consumer Confidence Report, and five booster pump stations and 12 water tanks were switched from radio phone lines to radio telemetry. The radio telemetry system will save the department $30,000 a year—great news at any time, but especially welcome as townships everywhere are struggling with budgets. Assistant Superintendent Mark Bogdanik nominated Petrovich for the award, and credits his leadership with the innovative improvements to the department. He said Petrovich implemented the telemetry radio system, submitted the township’s water quality Consumer Confidence Report and chaired the Wellhead Protection Program. Petrovich has been at the plant for 32 years, and remembers back before computers were used there. “We did everything manually with […]

MacGregor to run for state representative

March 25, 2010 // 0 Comments

Pete MacGregor, currently the Cannon Township supervisor, has set his sights higher. He has recently announced his candidacy to fill the position of State Representative Tom Pearce, who is term-limited out of the office. MacGregor said his platform is based on three important issues facing our state today. He promises his experience in small business and proven track record of finding commonsense solutions make him the best candidate for the August 3 Republican primary for the House of Representatives. Helping medium and small businesses succeed in the state, stabilizing school funding and protecting critical core services—law enforcement, fire service and roads—are what MacGregor defined as his main three concerns in government. A history of local leadership is among MacGregor’s resume for state office. Upon moving to Cannon Township more than a decade ago, MacGregor volunteered to serve on the township’s planning commission during the development boom of the ‘90s. He was then elected to the Cannon Township Board of Trustees before election in 2004 and 2008 to position of township supervisor. “Providing our residents high-quality services without raising taxes has not been easy,” said MacGregor. “By keeping an open mind and applying many of the lessons gained from years of running a small business, we have been able to work together and create an efficiently run township.” Community leaders have pledged support for MacGregor’s candidacy. Dr. Michael Shibler, Rockford Public Schools superintendent, stated, “The future of our state will greatly depend on the children of our schools today. We need leaders in Lansing who understand the crisis facing education and are willing to take the decisive action needed to insure our children’s future. I support Peter’s position for correcting the structural deficit that currently exists in the State School Aid Fund, and his strong support of public education.” Pete Kruer of Rockford Ace Hardware cited the need to “send people to Lansing who know how to get things done,” and has pledged his support to MacGregor. Kruer said, “Small businesses are the backbone of Michigan’s economy and we need people in Lansing who understand that if given the right environment, these companies can be the engine of job growth and opportunity.” During his announcement, MacGregor said, “This election will be about the future of the […]

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