Smith graduates from USMC Jennifer L. Smith, a 2007 graduate of Rockford High School, has graduated from the United States Marine Corps boot camp on April 23 after 13 weeks on Parris Island, N.C. Private Smith had a 10-day leave, which she spent at home in Belmont with friends and family. She left on Monday, May 3 for Camp Lejeune, N.C. for School of Infantry (SOI) training for four weeks. From there, she will be assigned to her Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), where Pvt. Smith plans on pursuing legal administration or aviation.
Steve J. Jazwiec has three reasons he is running for the State House of Representatives in the August 3 Republican Primary to represent the citizens, business owners and school districts of the 73rd District: his three granddaughters. Jazwiec, currently the City of Rockford Mayor Pro Tem, has announced that he is running for term-limited Tom Pearce’s 73rd District House of Representatives seat. He realizes that our children and grandchildren are the future of our state and that the citizens of the 73rd District have a huge decision to make this election year. His proven record of being a community and educational leader, along with being an excellent problem-solver and level-headed thinker that listens to both sides, has led to an enormous amount of encouragement and support. Jazwiec said that his platform is based on three important issues facing our state today: the economy, jobs, and fixing our structural deficit. “We need to create a climate that helps our small- and medium-sized businesses succeed in the state so they in return can hire more workers. At the same time we must fix our broken tax system so we can stabilize our funding for schools and local government,” commented Jazwiec. Elected to Rockford’s City Council in 2001, Jazwiec served as mayor from 2003 to 2006, and is the current Mayor Pro Tem. He initially got involved with the city through his appointment to the Rockford Area Arts Commission, in which he helped start and co-chair Rockford’s Celtic Fest and later planned and implemented the successful Huntington Rogue River Blues Series. Jazwiec is a graduate and proud football alumnus of Grand Valley State University, where he received his M.Ed. in administration and B.S. in education. He has been teaching since 1977. Our school districts are facing the same crisis as our local governments when it comes to state funding, and Jazwiec has experienced that first hand also. Jazwiec stated, “Our schools need equitable, adequate and stable funding for the future of our state, our children. We also need to stop legislating unfunded mandates and can’t wait any longer to address our structural deficit problems that have been offset by federal stimulus money the last two years.” Community leaders have pledged support for Jazwiec’s candidacy. Superintendent of Rockford Public […]
Downtown shop a long-time dream for owners Lynda Volkhardt remembers what it was like to be a young mother with no money and an eye for things she couldn’t afford. She learned to shop smart and find a good bargain. That common sense approach and the wisdom of age are traits she attributes to the success of her downtown shops, Right at Home and Urban Elements. Right at Home was opened seven years ago in another location and moved to 30 N. Main when the Volkhardts purchased the historic Hessler Opera House building on Main Street. The extra space allowed them to open Urban Elements and offer even more to their customers. This year, daughter Katie Unsworth joined the family venture full time. Unsworth has long had a hand in the operations, contributing to the upbeat, casual atmosphere of the business. “She’s always done the fun part,” said Lynda, explaining that Katie is responsible for games and playful promotions that customers embrace enthusiastically. Many in Rockford will know Katie, a 1987 Rockford graduate (then Katie Gual) who maintains a passion for tennis. She has organized the Rockford Community Education tennis program and also implemented similar programs in Cedar Springs and Sparta. Volkhardt and Unsworth say they buy what they like for the store, and customers seem to enjoy their taste. “We hear we have a lot of really different selection than anyone else,” Lynda confides. Volkhardt said she has always been conscious of pricing and tries to offer a wide price range. She remembers when she was a young mom and she’d shop for her own home, coming back with a $1.50 candle or straw flowers. Since Katie was a toddler, Lynda wished she could open a shop in Rockford and offer the kind of deals she loved to find. Back when Lynda first had her dream of her own shop, she was interested in the building where Vitale’s is now located. She liked the Copper Pig store and also Baskets in the Belfry, tucked away in the attic of the antique mall. “I wanted to sell new and used accessories, but I had three little kids, life was busy and I didn’t have any money,” she recalled. In April 2003 she opened Right at […]
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Sixty-five years and counting, Michigan’s oldest sport show played out to record crowds this past weekend at the Showspan Inc.-produced Ultimate Sport Show at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. From new boats and accessories to fishing tackle and hunting gear, along with representatives from sporting goods suppliers, there was something of interest for every sportsman and woman. Also on hand were fishing and hunting resort operators from all over the United States and Canada, extolling the virtues of their ultimate year-round sporting packages. This being Michigan, fishing was the name of the game. Indeed, the show was “pure Michigan.” You could book a fine Michigan guide, make reservations for a great family fishing vacation, purchase the latest fishing tackle, and attend multiple demonstrations and seminars to hone your outdoor skills. From mushroom-hunting and fly-casting instructions, to canoe and kayaking demonstrations on the huge DeVos Place 110,000-gallon Lake Ultimate, there was something for everyone. Not left out were the kids. They could receive coaching in casting skills or try their hand at a fully stocked trout pond. Two prominent Rockford businesses played a big role in the show. One of Michigan’s most knowledgeable anglers, Glen Blackwood of Rockford’s Great Lakes Fly Fishing Company and host of TV’s “Fly Fishing with Glen Blackwood,” gave fly-fishing casting and presentation demonstrations on Lake Ultimate. Unbelievably, in the crystal clear waters of the lake, he was able to entice and hook ever-wary stocked trout. The experts at Rockford’s Powers Outdoors gave live in-water demonstrations of how to enter and exit a kayak, various paddling techniques, along with important kayak maneuvers. Best of all for us, Rockford’s world record angler Tom Healy was on hand to personally autograph commemorative t-shirts. A portion of the proceeds was being donated to the Manistee County Sportfishing Association. You may recall that Rockford resident Healy had hooked and landed a new world record brown trout on Michigan’s Manistee River on Sept. 9, of last year. Michigan sportsmen never miss the Ultimate Sport Show. We saw familiar faces from all over Rockford in attendance during our visit. If you weren’t there this year, plan on attending the March 2011 event.
Five Webelos 2 Scouts from Pack 3285 were recently awarded the Arrow of Light, the highest award available to boys in the Cub Scout program. The award was presented to Jason Andrus, Michael Fox, Ryan Harrell, Ethan Walthorn and Gavin Woodard at the pack’s annual Blue and Gold banquet on February 12 at Bostwick Lake Church. Under the leadership of Jim Woodard and Pam Vandekerkoff, the fifth-grade den from Crestwood Elementary School worked hard to complete eight activity badges in addition to learning the Boy Scout oath, motto, slogan and law and taking part in camping and troop activities with an older Boy Scout troop. The Arrow of Light is the only Cub Scout award that carries over to the Boy Scout level. Members of the Boy Scout Order of the Arrow, a national honor group of Boy Scouts, were on hand to celebrate with the boys and also led the group through a special crossover ceremony from Cub Scouting to Boy Scouting. Each den was also recognized for their achievements, and awards were also presented at the banquet to the fourth-grade den for achieving their Webelos rank. Members include Jake Carlson, Jimmy Helm, Sean McLellan, Jacob Stauffer and Nate Triesenberg. Scout leadership for the Pack was also passed from the Arrow of Light recipients to the Webelos during a special ceremony. Members of the Tiger, Wolf and Bear dens were rewarded with achievements beads that are used to track their progress in achieving their rank awards. The event also included a cake baking contest. Special prizes for their cake creations were awarded to Daniel and Nate Triesenberg, Richard Mortimore, Jimmy Helm and Sean McLellan.