March 31 2011


March 31, 2011 // 0 Comments

Wells Mrs. Alma Wells, age 79, of Rockford went home to be with her Lord and Savior on Wednesday, March 23, 2011. She was a 1950 graduate of Rockford High School. Alma’s sister invited Tom to a gathering and that is where Alma met her future husband, Tom, who happened to be very bashful at that time. After a loving courtship, they were married on March 9, 1951. Alma was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother; she felt her greatest achievement in life was her family. In her free time she went with Tom to his many meetings. She always felt that she met the nicest people when traveling with Tom. Ironing was one of Alma’s favorite activities. She was a member of the Rockford Chapter #215 OES. Alma is survived by her loving husband, W. Thomas Wells; children, Lesley and Joe Gallatin of Rockford, and William T. Wells Jr. of Grand Rapids; grandchildren, Jeff and Trisha Gallatin, Robert and Sara Gallatin, Larry and Dr. Leighia Wells; great-grandchildren, Logan Wells, Xander Gallatin, Nicolas Gallatin, Madelyn Gallatin, Lucas Wells and one more anticipated arrival; sister, Barbara (Bob) Page; many nieces and nephews; Tom’s family Robert and Joanne Wells, and Richard and Barb Wells. She was preceded in death by her sisters, Irene Cook, Donna Bishop, and Ardith Briggs; brothers, Clair Bishop, Budd Bishop, Clifton Bishop, Arnold Bishop, and Wayne Bishop. The service for Alma was Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Pederson Funeral Home with Pastor Dick Riley officiating. Interment was in Rockford Cemetery. Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the Saladin Children’s Trust, 4200 Saladin Dr. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. Arrangements were made by Pederson Funeral Home, Rockford.  

Meadowlark residents enjoy renowned singer

March 31, 2011 // 0 Comments

On March 24 at 6 p.m. Jon Troast, singer/songwriter, gave a one-hour performance for about 45 residents and family members at Meadowlark Retirement Community. Troast traveled from Nashville, Tenn. to perform this concert. Jon’s website is Troast said he used to dislike Mr. Rogers’ song “I Like to Take My Time,” but now has a different attitude. “As funny as it might sound, Mr. Rogers’ message is found in a lot of my songwriting—taking time to notice what’s going on around you, taking time to think about what’s important in life, taking time to enjoy what you have, taking time to ‘do it right.’ It’s been my motto since becoming a full-time musician six years ago,” Troast said. Troast started out playing in coffee shops, bars, churches and other such venues in the Midwest, slowly building his repertoire. He started doing house concerts, such as his visit to Meadowlark, a couple years ago. “You connect with your audience a lot more when you’re singing in front of their fireplace and sleeping on their couch,” said Troast. The idea took off, and Troast has since played in hundreds of homes all over the country, including one extended coast-to-coast tour of 100 concerts in 100 days. He also has performed on National Public Radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” Melissa Chambers, director of Porter Hills Retirement Community & Services and Meadowlark, said the concert was very much enjoyed by those who attended. Porter Hills Retirement Community has been recognized as “West Michigan’s 101 Best & Brightest Companies to Work For” eight years in a row.  

Rockford choirs shine at State Solo and Ensemble Festival

March 31, 2011 // 0 Comments

Students from Rockford High School (RHS) choirs once again made a strong showing at the State Solo & Ensemble Festival on March 19 at Aquinas College. Every ensemble from RHS received a “I” rating, the best possible score, in both performance and sight reading. These ensembles included: Chamber Singers, Chorale and Advanced Women’s Ensemble directed by David Duiven; and Chamber Women and Women’s Chorus, directed by Mandy Mikita Scott. Additionally, the Chamber Women was one of six ensembles selected from more than 40 to be considered for performance at Michigan Youth Arts Festival (MYAF) in May. This is among the highest honors a choir can receive in Michigan, and the third consecutive year that a Rockford choir has been so honored. Rockford High School made history last year as the first school to ever have three choirs to perform at MYAF in the same year. Final results will be determined following the completion of Solo & Ensemble statewide in mid-April. Rockford had 16 soloists and three duets participate at Solo & Ensemble and all received “I” or “II” ratings. The performers were junior Emilee Bodien, sophomore Mariah Bouwkamp, sophomore Adriana Craft, freshman Erika DeWard, freshman Hannah Fawcett, freshman Linnea Hjelm, sophomore Ellie Knoll, senior Corlene Laing, junior Kendall McConnohie, senior Scott Nadeau, junior Jill Nelson, junior Sarah Ombry, freshman Elaina Rahrig, senior Gabe Reitemeier, freshman Anna Wilson, junior Christian Wojtowicz, junior duet of Alberta and Gleghorn, freshman duet of Olson and Kruse, and duet of senior Reitemeier and junior Sunday. The RHS choirs are fast approaching their tour appearance in New York’s legendary Carnegie Hall in May.  

Tree climbing has its ups and downs

March 31, 2011 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Tree climbing has its ups and downs, but for Lucas Drews, 29, of Rockford’s Woodland Tree Services it seems the sky’s the limit! Representing the Arboriculture Society of Michigan (ASM) in the recently held North American Tree Climbing Competition (NATCC) in Savannah, Ga., Lucas placed first in a field of 70 entrants (63 male and, yes, seven female) during the preliminary round. Lucas’ elite competition, this day, was composed of top climbers from all over North America. The following day, competing in the Masters Challenge championship round against the top five qualifiers, Lucas finished in second place by a scant three points. First, a little background on how Lucas arrived at these lofty heights. Mom and dad, Julie and Bill Drews, have owned and operated Woodland Tree Services, serving all of West Michigan, since 1982. Mom Julie, also the company’s office manager, said, “Lucas was climbing things [including trees] even before he could walk. It’s in his genes!” Today, one of the top climbers for Woodland, Lucas is a certified arborist/climber with a degree in ornamental horticulture from Ferris State University, and is also certified in electrical hazards awareness, along with being a Michigan Department of Agriculture certified pesticide applicator. “I feel blessed to work in an industry where I really enjoy what I do. I get to work in the out-of-doors with living organisms. There are new and exciting challenges each and every day,” said Lucas. “There’s a real dynamic in the relationships between tree climbers. We’re like a band of brothers, or family, if you will.” Different species of trees present different challenges to climbers. At the recently completed NATCC championships, Lucas found himself scaling one of the iconic and indigenous trees of the south, the live oak. “One of the things I enjoy about these competitions is that we get to compete in trees that we do not work with in our home environments,” said Lucas. “Many of these live oaks are over 100 years old and attain heights exceeding 100 feet with the diameter of the canopy exceeding 200 feet. It’s exciting but ever so challenging to deal with the dynamics of such a magnificent tree.” The preliminary round on day one consists of competing in […]


March 31, 2011 // 0 Comments

What a Difference Snow Cover Makes by CRAIG JAMES We had a very bright and sunny weekend March 26 and 27 with 100% of possible sunshine both days, but it certainly was cold. In fact, from the 24th through the 28th, temperatures were more than 10 degrees below average even with all the sunshine each day. Temperatures at night those five days dipped well into the teens, but it would have been even colder if there had been snow on the ground. Take a look at this satellite image from Sunday afternoon, the 27th. You can see the sharp southern edge of the snow cover not far north of Rockford running from southern Oceana County to northern Montcalm County. This snow was from last week’s storm that gave Rockford and Grand Rapids mainly rain and freezing rain. You can also see a narrow band of lake effect clouds from near Ludington to near Milwaukee. This orientation from northeast to southwest is because the wind was from the northeast. Over the snow-covered areas to our north, many locations reported low temperatures near and even below zero. The thermometer dipped to -7 near Big Rapids on the morning of the 26th. It was -6 at Cadillac on the 26th, -7 on the 27th, and -4 on the 28th. We could have been nearly that cold here if the snow cover had been a few counties farther south. Will we see more snow? I would certainly suspect so. The average snowfall for the month of April is two inches. There hasn’t been any measurable snowfall in our area in April the past three years, so I guess we are due, especially with the cold pattern we are experiencing. There have actually been a couple of snowstorms this past week pass just to our south, which is a little unusual for this late in the season. In St. Louis, high temperatures climbed into the low 80s on the 17th, 20th and 21st. However, they have now had 7.5 inches of snow this month as of the 28th, with more on the way. In Washington, D.C., an inch of snow fell on the cherry blossoms on the 27th. There has only been a little over an inch of snow in […]

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