May 20 2010
Rockford’s Recognition Plaza at Peppler Park is three names richer after a Community Endowment ceremony officially recognized three people of historic significance. Held indoors because of weather, representatives from the families of Edna Haner, Harry Morris Jr., and Glenn Rounds were on hand Tuesday, May 11 at Rockford City Hall. Each of the individuals chosen for this honor are recognized with a permanent plaque at Peppler Park east of the Rockford dam. The Endowment honors those who have made a contribution to the communities in the greater Rockford area. When visiting Peppler Park Recognition Plaza, you may view the plaques to see the names of those who have been recognized for their service to the area. Also see the bricks throughout the plaza with names of individuals, families and businesses. They are available through the City of Rockford for just $125 and are a gift that gives a permanent legacy in Rockford. Watch future issues of The Squire to read the stories of how Edna Haner, Harry Morris Jr. and Glenn Rounds earned their special place in Rockford’s history.
Since Rockford’s first Relay for Life in 2003, this little town’s event has become one of the most successful Relays in the nation. The American Cancer Society 24-hour fund raiser is really a year round event, with teams coming up with creative and fun ways to raise donations and awareness. This year’s Relay celebration begins at 3 p.m. Friday, May 21 at North Rockford Middle School. The theme for this year is Rockin’ Relay, so visitors can expect music-themed tents and events. In the last seven years Relay, through community, school and city support, has become an amazing story of generosity and determination. To date the event has raised over $2 million and each year, with the exception of 2009, the totals have risen. Compare Rockford’s 2009 total of $340,000 raised to fight cancer to other communities that held Relays on the same day. Wyoming raised $106,000, East Grand Rapids raised $58,000 and Comstock Park raised $53,000. The magic of Relay is not a dollar figure, but the passion represented by these figures. A first-time visitor to Relay will feel the excitement in the air for a cause that literally does touch every life. Among the most moving events in a 24-hours full of events is the 9 p.m. Luminaria ceremony representing those who have fought cancer and the survivors walk at noon on Saturday. Take the time to experience Relay for Life this year, whether to remember a loved one who has battled cancer, or to show your support of those working for a cure.
Allegations of harassment by his staff that Kent County Road Commissioner (KCRC) John Rice said “are totally bogus” but have been filed with the state are part of the reason a Belmont Avenue project has been dropped. Plainfield Township will be receiving a bill for the cost of work incurred so far on the project—as much as $90,000. Rice said a $900,000 federal grant has a mid-August deadline. With citizen complaints and a vote by the Plainfield Board to withhold their $200,000 input, he feels the varied issues cannot be resolved in time to move forward with the work. Planned was a $1.3 million repaving, curb, sidewalk and a third lane on Belmont Avenue between Post Road and Jupiter Avenue. It was to be paid for by the grant, the KCRC and the $200,00 from Plainfield. The project was unopposed at both a public hearing and an informational meeting attended by very few people. Residents began an impassioned battle against the township over the project this spring. At the regular Plainfield Township Board Monday, May 3, the board voted four to three to withhold the $200,000 they had approved for adding sidewalks to the project. On Tuesday, May 11, the KCRC voted to cancel the project completely. Rice said the federal aid will be used on road work in Solon Township or Grattan and Vergennes townships. The KCRC will continue to maintain the road, but has no plans for any repaving in the near future and no other grant money identified for any future work on the road. On Monday, May 17 the board was attacked for their actions on both sides of the issue, by those who were angry at the loss of the grant and those who called for the recall of the three board members who voted against withholding the $200,000. Several asked the board to fire Township Manager Robert Homan. “I think it’s important to see this as a lose-lose for everyone,” Rice said. “It’s unfortunate the township was convinced to change their mind on the project.” Board member Vic Matthews, one of those who was against changing course in the project called the cancellation “a disaster and a huge loss to the residents of Plainfield Township.”
Rockford gained a retail storefront and The Sewing Room gained some square footage with a little juggling of tenants at 54 Courtland Street. Kimberly’s Boutique expanded to the shop to the east and The Sewing Room moved back to behind Kimberly’s back door (formerly Keren Hart). Building and Kimberly’s Boutique owner Kim Smith said her addition opened the day before Mother’s Day. “It was a phenomenal day,” Smith said. She completely remodeled the space from its former service use to retail. With new lights, walls, paint the area is bright, colorful and packed with product. Shoppers can use either of the two entrances and walk freely between the spaces, together totalling about 3,000 square feet. “It’s almost like a mini-mall,” Kimberly said. “People should be able to find everything from casual to formal. It’s all color coordinated, so if you know the color you want you can go right to it.” Kimberly said The Sewing Room owner Liz is also tickled with the arrangement. Kimberly’s gained two dressing rooms and another entrance on Courtland. Smith’s store offers apparel, purses, gifts, jewelry, including Brighton and Chamilia and more. Beads are hot this year and Not Your Daughters Jeans continue to be very popular. Kimberly’s opened in June, 1993 and employs six people. The store is open seven days a week.