March 26 2009

Family takes next step in independence for those with disabilities

March 26, 2009 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA When Beth Sturr contacted the Squire for a story about her daughter, she said she had been planning the article for 18 years. Kailey Sturr, who will be 18 in May, has Angelman Syndrome. The smiling, active girl can do many things-help with laundry, chose her own meals, give hugs. She is also non-verbal, is mentally at the level of a toddler and traditionally would either live at home her entire life or be placed in a group home. Her parents have a different vision for her. Before the Sturr family settled in Rockford, they knew they wanted their daughter to eventually live in her own home and achieve a level of independence formerly unheard of for a person with Kailey’s disability. Planning to settle in West Michigan, they called schools and visited towns. When they talked to Rockford Public Schools and the person in charge of the programs for students with disabilities, they felt what they called “such a warm welcome.” When they saw the downtown, that was the end of the search. Kailey started in the district in the pre-primary impaired program at Meadowridge Elementary and has moved all the way up through to Rockford High School, where she enjoys eating lunch with other students. “Kailey has risen to her potential in Rockford Schools,” said Beth. Now, at 18, it is time for Kailey to transition to the next phase of her life. Years ago, her parents purchased the home next to theirs on Courtland just north of Monroe. They are ready for Kailey to live in her own home. “It’s a block from Rocky’s, a block from the bike path, close to all the festivals. It’s the perfect situation for a disabled adult to be a part of,” said Sturr. Fifty years ago people with severe disabilities were routinely packed off to institutions. Parents of children with disorders such as Downs Syndrome weren’t given much in the way of options. Now group homes or living at home are common. The idea of setting up a disabled person in their own home is brand-new and cutting edge. “We have had to get creative,” said Sturr. “Getting the house was probably the easiest part.” The next piece in the puzzle  of […]

Community EXPO a success with more visitors than ever

March 26, 2009 // 0 Comments

They couldn’t give the money away fast enough The lesson for next year: stay longer. As the Rockford Community EXPO 2009 wound down, local celebrity Juliet Dragos couldn’t give the $500 door prizes away fast enough. “Must be present to win” was the key phrase as name after name was called with no takers. At quarter to closing time, the call “come to the stage, you are the winner” was starting to sound a little comical. Two prizes remained unclaimed, a cool grand for two different people… still there. It wasn’t for lack of visitors. According to Brenda Davis, Rockford Chamber executive director, the turnout was even higher than last year’s 11,000. Except for the cash prizes, no one was having any trouble giving things away. Several food vendors ran out early, with the Corner Bar going the distance with samples of white chicken chili. Corner Bar owner Andy Tidey said, “There is only so much chili two people can scoop into cups in six hours.” He said the restaurant gave out 45 gallons of chili, or the equivalent of 1,700 servings. “It’s great exposure for us. There are a lot of people who don’t know we have that every day,” he stated. “We are always busy the entire six hours with a line going around the corner, so it didn’t make any difference for us. We could have been the only food or one of 12 vendors.” Dr. Michael Shibler, Superintendent of Rockford Schools, said the event was again a tremendous success and a win-win for the community. “It’s held here in a building built with our tax dollars. The entertainment is by students from all ages of our district, who are also products of this community,” he said. “For many people who come here, this is the first time they’ve been in this building. They can see first-hand how their tax dollars are spent.” See you at next year’s EXPO-and don’t leave early.

Second-generation financial company helps residents start over

March 26, 2009 // 0 Comments

With the economy offering challenges to many in West Michigan, Discovery Financial, a second-generation family business, helps residents starting over with new careers and business ventures. Begun by Marvin Muilenberg in 1951, the company is now in the hands of his son, David. Since beginning with the company, David brought in a partner, Jon Pettigrew and continued the growth of the company. In addition to David Muilenberg, ChFC, CLU and Jon Pettigrew, CRP®, ChFC, staff at Discovery also includes Megan Leach, Deborah Dalman, RHU®, and Heather Biggs. David Muilenberg believes the company’s values have been integral to the growth of the company, along with the experience offered by the staff. Collectively they offer over 50 years in financial services. “Our business is relationship-driven,” said Muilenberg. “We believe in providing solid, simple-to-understand advice on money management, retirement and insurance planning. Our customers become family. When they succeed we feel their successes along with them. Discovery Financial offers retirement income planning, life insurance audits, long-term care insurance, disability income, college education planning, wealth accumulation planning, group insurance and more. “We are not commission-based but fee-based, so we succeed when our clients succeed,” Muilenberg stated. Muilenberg, Pettigrew and Dalman all left a large insurance company to join Discovery Financial. They wanted to be independent with no restrictions to using  proprietary products. They wanted the ability to provide solutions to their clients, not just offer a product. Discovery Financial staff are among the most highly qualified and educated in the community, with two chartered financial consultants with advanced certification-CHFL, CLU, CFP and RHU. The friendly, relaxed atmosphere in the office puts clients at ease as they explore their financial options. It is important to each member of the Discovery team that the company holds high moral standards. “What makes us unique in the industry is that we believe the situation or the need an individual has determines what product we offer-not the commission paid,” Pettrigrew said. “It is our desire to build long-term relationships with our clients and their families. For the last six years Discovery Financial has been located at 971 Spaulding Street, Suite A in Ada, Michigan. They can also be reached by telephone at (616) 957-9999 or visit online at

Family Fun Day around the corner and along the Cannon trail

March 26, 2009 // 0 Comments

Poker walk, run, ride offers plenty of prizes The new Cannon Township nature trail offers lovely scenery, chances to watch wildlife, and some great views of a variety of habitats. On Saturday, April 18, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. the trail and Cannon Township Hall will host more than just a beautiful, handicap-accessible setting for outdoor enjoyment. The second annual Family Fun Day Poker Walk, Run, Ride offers prizes and auction items, family fun packs for the first 100 to sign up, and the chance to win a $400 bike from Village Bike and Fitness or a $100 gift certificate from The Runnery. The event is organized by Chris Radford. He and son Scott are teaming with the West Michigan chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). Scott was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 11 years old. The illness caused many changes in the lives of Scott and his family as they began their regimen of blood sugar testing many times daily and administering insulin shots. The family describes the adjusting to the effects of diabetes as a roller coaster as Scott’s body slowly stopped producing insulin. Today Scott manages the disease with an insulin pump which is connected to an injection site. The Radford family has seen first-hand the devastating effect of the disease and decided that they need to do what they can to help find a cure for the disease. Forty new cases are diagnosed daily in the United States, and over three million people have the disease. The Family Fun Day Poker Walk, Run, Ride is the Radford’s contribution to the cause of finding a cure. For a minimum donation of $25, participants will receive a JDRF t-shirt and one free hand of poker. As walkers, runners and riders enjoy traveling the trail, they will pick up a poker card at stops along the way. The winning hands take home prizes. Additional hands may also be purchased. In addition to the grand and first prizes, there will be others, including gift baskets, gift certificates, food certificates, JDRF apparel, landscaping coupons and more. The first 100 family registrations also come with a free family fun pack including a sports bottle, free small pizza or breadsticks and other […]

Squire takes historic visit to Aberdeen, Scotland

March 26, 2009 // 0 Comments

The Squire was lucky enough to tag along on a trip to Aberdeen, Scotland in mid-March. Nate Morris, who attends Butler University, and Carla Morris visit Sydney Morris, who attends Alma College. She is currently attending the University of Aberdeen for her semester abroad. Sydney is taking classes at King’s College which was founded in 1495. With spring break around the corner, we hope other residents will remember to bring along a copy of their hometown paper for a nice souvenir write-up in the paper. Email to

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