Mike Jonkman

Village race raises two grand for NKCS

September 6, 2012 // 0 Comments

by JOHN HOGAN Sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 80s provided ideal conditions for nearly 150 participants in the second annual Honey Creek Duathlon held Monday in downtown Cannonsburg. Racers covered more than 18 miles on bike and on foot, and then returned to Honey Creek Inn for an afternoon of food, drink and family fun. The Labor Day event raised more than $2,000 for North Kent Community Services and The Kids’ Food Basket, an organization seeking to eradicate childhood hunger in the greater Grand Rapids area. Attendance was up more than 20 percent from last year’s inaugural event, said race organizer Don Kurylowicz, who finished in 2 hours, 7 minutes. “I am ecstatic with the turnout, both for the race and the post-race activities,” Kurylowicz said. “What a great way to celebrate Labor Day and help those who are less fortunate.” Monday’s duathlon winded its way through Cannon, Vergennes, Grattan and Ada townships. It started at 9:30 a.m. with a 2.5k run, followed by a 22k bike ride and ending with a 5k run. Participants ranged in age from 14 to 70. Among the racers was world class distance runner Greg Meyer, the last American to win the Boston Marathon. “What a great way to draw people together,” said Meyer, 56, who finished in 1 hour, 24 minutes. “It’s like an old community event similar to those we grew up with.” Meyer received a moose pendant for the best finish in the 55 to 60 age group. “This is going right next to Boston,” he said. The overall duathlon winner was 33-year-old Jimi Minnema, who completed the course in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 42 seconds. Participants could complete the duathlon solo or participate in relay teams of up to three people. Mike Jonkman, who participated in last year’s event, opted for the biking portion, covering about 13.5 miles, while his son, Kenzie, 17, did the two running segments. Having Kenzie, a Rockford High School senior, run the combined 4.6 miles was a godsend, Jonkman said. They completed the three segments in 1 hour, 51 minutes. “I can’t run like I used to,” Jonkman said. “And the biking portion killed me with all the hills. I wanted to get off the bike a […]

Local theatre group reaches higher level

September 6, 2012 // 0 Comments

The curtain is opening on a whole new approach to community theatre in Rockford, with the debut of the Rogue River Community Theatre Company (RRCTC). “The nonprofit corporation, formed this summer, is taking local theatre to a higher level of professionalism and community engagement,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Homrich, head of an 11-member board overseeing the new group. “We’ve enjoyed tremendous support over the years and I am confident this change will improve local theatre and ensure it’s around for many years to come,” Homrich said. “We are building on a foundation of success and integrity established more than a decade ago.” The Rogue River Community Theatre Company will be led by a board of directors, including a four-member executive board consisting of Homrich, Vice President Mike Jonkman, Treasurer Stephanie Gamble and Secretary Shannon Rop. Board directors are John Bagin, Kirsten Bagin, PJ Bevelacqua, John Hogan, Tracy Strome and Brian Thomas. The 11-member board is rounded out by Director of Theatre Patricia Rose. “Having this level of the performing arts in Rockford is a real community treasure,” said Jonkman. “Everyone in the Rockford area should take advantage of this unique asset.” Rogue River Theatre started in the late 1990s as a fledging group of Rockford residents offering stage productions once or twice a year. Beyond traditional spring and fall plays, the all-volunteer cast expanded its mission to include Reader’s Theatre productions for adults and Actors del Arte’ Ensemble, which performs dinner theatres in the Grand Rapids area. The three ensembles collectively present about eight productions a year. In 2003, Rogue River Theatre launched an annual Summer Theatre Arts Camp for school-age children grades K-12. This year’s weeklong summer camp had 62 participants. The theatre group has been under the umbrella of the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) and in recent years has been a key contributor to its annual income. “We don’t look at it as a defection, but a cause to celebrate,” said RAAC Chairman Jeff Lewis. “We’re ecstatic to have community members who are excited to take the helm and expand the arts one audience member or one actor at a time.” RAAC was founded in 1975 to encourage and sponsor programs and services promoting the arts and cultural activities in […]