A Rockford program which is just four years old is already setting its sights on the highest levels—and reaching them. On Northland Drive north of 13 Mile Road, drivers may have noticed a sign for the Rockford Sportsmans Club. Neighbors may hear the report of gun shots as members practice their aim. What you won’t see driving by or hear is the swish and thunk of arrows hitting the target. Every Saturday morning a group of talented athletes have been honing their skills as members of the Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) program. Archery has been a Rockford Community Education program for years and is so successful classes are often full the day registration opens. Four years ago local sportsmen, including 1984 Olympic archery athlete Glen Myers, decided to crank up the level of competition by starting JOAD at Rockford Sportsmans Club. Since, the team has earned two national championships and is competing at a world-class level. “It’s cool. It’s like an unspoken sport,” said Mikaela (last name withheld by request), 16, who shot her way to 13th place in Indoor Nationals. Mikayla Venoms, 10, and Alice Billin, 15, are two other stars in the program. Both took first place in national competition. Billin said she has been shooting her recurve bow for four years. “I fell in love with recurve and look at that, I’m a national champion.” Most of the archers said they practice daily in addition to the Saturday practice with coaches. In winter the practices are from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. In summer they are outdoors from 10 a.m. to noon. “Our coaches are the best,” said Raija McIntyre, 18. McIntyre is a coach herself and placed eighth in Junior World Trials. She said archery is more than just a sport. “It’s also the friendships we make. We exchange e-mails and see the same people in competition so we keep in touch. They aren’t our competition, they are our friends.” Marti, mother of two of the girls, said archery is more a mental sport than physical, and the archers often help their competitors. If one has an equipment failure, it is not uncommon for another, competing archer, to offer use of their gear. “We aren’t competing against each other,” said Arn […]
May 13 2010
Byrne Electrical Specialists Inc., a local manufacturer privately owned and operated for 40 years, has announced the acquisition of XUS Corporation, a leader of “green” innovation in the LED solid state lighting industry. The company, formerly out of Holland, Mich., will become part of Byrne’s diverse product portfolio, which includes power and data distribution technologies. The move puts Byrne Electrical in a unique position to develop innovative “green” LED lighting for commercial exterior, municipal, parking garage, and indoor industrial spaces. The features and programs to support these excellent products position Byrne to become a leader in the global solid state lighting industry. “We are excited about our entry into the emerging market of ‘green’ LED lighting and the opportunities it provides for continued growth with the Byrne team,” said Managing Director Dan Byrne. “At the same time, this acquisition represents a continued commitment to keeping jobs in West Michigan, even amid fierce competition from overseas.” Byrne Electrical Specialists Inc. will manufacture and support the XUS acquisition from its Rockford manufacturing facilities. This will be in addition to other innovative Byrne power and data distribution technology products. The company was recently granted a 12-year tax abatement by the City of Rockford to help cover costs of a 3,000-square-foot addition. The existing facilities are 90,000-square feet. “We definitely faced a difficult 2008 and 2009 was also challenging,” said Michael Lomonaco. He said the company’s success is the result of a very conservative company strategy.
Varsity celebrates senior night with victory over EGR Rockford and East Grand Rapids high schools jointly hosted the Michigan Water Polo Junior Varsity State Championship tournament on Friday and Saturday, May 7-8. Fourteen teams played tough through 24 games to earn a shot at the state title. Both Rockford and Troy went undefeated in the round robin preliminary games to face off in Saturday’s 3:30 p.m. championship game. Other contenders included junior varsity teams from Jenison, Grand Haven, Grand Ledge, Zeeland, Mason, Holt/East Lansing, East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills (green and white teams), Grandville, East Kentwood and Portage Central. From start to finish, the Lady Rams dominated the undefeated Troy team, winning the state title with an 8-1 victory. Freshman goalie Ellie Raymond had nine saves and one assist against the very strong, quick Troy team. Freshman Adrianna Craft led the Lady Rams with three goals and seven steals. Sophomore Sarah Smith scored two goals and had three steals. Marie Siegel, Maddie Levine and Morgan Longberg each scored a goal. Aliana Smith and Morgan Lipe also contributed with an assist. To get to the finals, the Lady Rams defeated Holt/East Lansing 13-4 and Mason 13-3 Friday night, and Grandville 14-3 and Zeeland 9-1 Saturday morning. Coach Katie Clarin complimented her team, noting, “These girls played tough and never let up even through five games. We are very proud of their performance and the improvements throughout the season. We have a lot of talent and depth on this team and it has been a privilege to coach them.” On Thursday, May 6, the JV and varsity teams paid tribute to their five graduating seniors, Natalie Beeg, Ashley Gremel, Amanda Johnson, Holly Nauta, and Christina Weston. The evening began with a pre-game ceremony in which Head Coach Scott Voltz complimented the seniors on their leadership and serving as solid role models for their younger teammates. The Rams then went on to dominate East Grand Rapids, winning 12-6. All five seniors had a key role in the win. Gremel played strong offense and defense with three goals, three assists and four steals. Weston also had three goals and two assists. Both Beeg and Nauta had a goal and three steals. Johnson also scored on a sweet upper corner […]
The Big Green Egg and staff at Herman’s Boy made this year’s Grillapalooza a popular and well-attended event, despite a weather prediction of possible snow flurries and blowing rain. Members of the Rockford Sportsman’s Club were on hand to talk about the Junior Olympic Archery Program and plenty of residents tasted samples of turkey and pork with a large variety of sauces. There were also wood-fired pizza demonstrations and a little green egg hunt for the kiddies. The event was held on Saturday, May 8 at Herman’s Boy, 220 old Northland Drive, Rockford.
“This is an investment in our children.” D.A.R.E. Officer Dave Jehnzen and Rockford’s Chief of Police Dave Jones spoke before the Plainfield Township Board Monday, May 3, asking the township to continue to support D.A.R.E. Jehnzen took time to describe some of the highlights of the program and answer the board’s questions. Plainfield Township has long been one of the community supporters of the D.A.R.E. program, which reaches children in the Rockford Public School district, including Our Lady of Consolation schools. Plainfield Township has budgeted $10,000 for D.A.R.E. Algoma Township, which has yearly donated $5,000 to D.A.R.E., withdrew funding this year. “D.A.R.E. is not about drugs. It is about good decision-making,” Jehnzen said. Chief Jones estimates over 100,000 children have been through the program since the City of Rockford Police Department took over the program in 1999. Prior to that the Michigan State Police ran D.A.R.E. Jehnzen’s D.A.R.E. duties feature working with fifth-grade students in a 10-week curriculum, covering the hazards of alcohol, tobacco and peer pressure, as well as making good friends and decisions. D.A.R.E. has a presence in all grades, K-12, but has a separate program for seventh- and eighth-grade students. “It is a completely different curriculum in the older students. We bring things back from the fifth-grade discussion, and move on to more age-appropriate material,” said Jehnzen. Jones said that funding D.A.R.E. is crucial, and the program will close if funding sources dry up. “Costs have gone up over the years, but we have never asked for an increase in funding,” Jones said. The City of Rockford has absorbed the increased cost of wages for the D.A.R.E. officer and supplies. A golf outing is now helping fund D.A.R.E, opening up opportunities for anyone to show their support of the program. Businesses and individuals are invited to help support this program that has touched the lives of every student in the Rockford Public Schools district. The annual D.A.R.E. outing is scheduled for Thursday, June 24, 2010, at Boulder Creek Golf Club. Sponsorships are as little as $125, with limited availability sponsorships from $2,250 for dinner to $250 for a hole-in-one contest. The day’s activities include lunch on the course and a buffet dinner after the event. The cost to participate is $100 per […]