May 19 2011

Doman named Sparta High School valedictorian

May 19, 2011 // 0 Comments

Gabrielle Sara Doman has been named valedictorian of Sparta High School class of 2011 at commencement ceremony on June 2. In addition to ranking at the top of her class with a 4.12 GPA, Gabrielle was chairperson of Relay For Life representing NHS and lettered four years in volleyball. Her parents are Mark and Jane Hess of Rockford and Jim and Stacy Doman of Sparta. Gabrielle will attend Northwood Unversity in Midland.  

Benjamin Garlets receives National Teaching Fellowhip

May 19, 2011 // 0 Comments

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation is delighted to announce that Benjamin Garlets, from Rockford is one of 92 Fellows selected for the 2011 W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Woodrow Wilson Michigan Teaching Fellowship. A 2010 graduate of Grand Valley State University majoring in mathematics and biomedical sciences, Garlets has been an undergraduate research assistant in neurology and biochemistry and the creator of an honors college service learning project in Ghana.  

Roguewood Elementary School’s Jason Whittaker, an Example in Excellence

May 19, 2011 // 0 Comments

Young man is friend to many and defender to those in need Jason Whittaker, 11, is the son of Dean and Sandi Whittaker and brother to Olivia, Claire and Elise. He is a well-liked student at Roguewood, where classmates describe him as conscientious, responsible, hardworking, organized and a young man with leadership abilities. Jason is often asked by teachers to help other students who may be struggling with their studies. A generous student, Jason serves as a school safety. His responsibilities include escorting kindergarteners to and from their classrooms and assisting them in the lunchroom. A hard worker, Jason always strives to improve. He focuses on the quality of his work, his relationships with his friends, and in his leadership in athletics. He is motivated by the satisfaction of giving his best effort. Classmates say that Jason is a friend to many and defender of those in need. In first grade he even earned a “Best Friend Award.” He is an Explore student at Roguewood. Not just academically, but athletically, Jason’s efforts to do his best are apparent. His athletic achievements include his All Star baseball team that made it to the District IX championship game in the summer of 2010. Jason’s love of sports has led him to serve as quarterback in football, center in basketball, and pitcher and third baseman in baseball. Whatever sport Jason is currently playing seems to be his favorite. He also enjoys hunting with his dad. In addition to school and sports, Jason is also very active in Crossroads Church. Roguewood Elementary School is proud to have Jason as their Example in Excellence in 2011.  

MacGregor votes to reform welfare benefits

May 19, 2011 // 0 Comments

Lawmaker applauds effort to help residents become self-sufficient The Michigan House recently approved legislation continuing a 48-month limit on welfare benefits for able-bodied adults. House Bills 4409 and 4410 limit assistance to able-bodied individuals to 48 months, provides penalties for not meeting work and education requirements, and ensures illegal immigrants do not receive benefits. “Changing our welfare system from a hand out to a hand up is part of the ‘real change’ I was hoping to be a part of when I ran for office,” said Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford. “By passing these reforms, we’re providing the limited assistance they may need to become financially self-sufficient, while protecting our limited resources for those who truly need them.” Senior citizens, pregnant mothers, domestic violence victims, adults who are physically or mentally incapacitated, and adults with a disabled child at home from the time limit are exempt from the reforms. The legislation also would also allow welfare recipients to work 11 hours more per week, earning up to an additional $4,000 per year.  

Community members ‘pull together’ for nature

May 19, 2011 // 0 Comments

Saturday, May 14, while some were racing in the rain to cross the finish line at the Riverbank Run, others were involved in a different kind of race right here in Rockford—the race to save our beautiful native Michigan spring flowers from being overrun by invasive plants like garlic mustard and Dame’s rocket. About 20 volunteers joined forces on the White Pine Trail between Belmont and 12 Mile Road to pull 28 large blue bags of garlic mustard. The bags will be registered with the Stewardship Network, which hosts a statewide competition each spring to see who can pull the most. So far this spring, over 21,422 pounds of garlic mustard have been registered with the Stewardship Network. That’s over 10 tons! So, what is garlic mustard and why is it so bad? Garlic mustard is an invasive plant that was brought over to the United States by European settlers as an herb. Unfortunately, with none of its native competitors present, garlic mustard has spread virtually unchecked across the country and can be found in over 30 states as well as parts of Canada. Not only do these invasive weeds choke out native wildflowers by out-competing them for space and sunlight, but they also excrete chemicals through their roots, which prevent the growth of our native wildflowers and other plants, including trees. Without a diet of native plants to eat, our wildlife suffers too. The struggle will continue until the plants go to seed. So if you see someone stuffing plants into a bag, stop and thank them or, better yet, join in! For more information about garlic mustard and other invasive species, visit the Stewardship Network website at or e-mail Mindy Miner at    

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