by MITCH HARVATIN Student reporter It took more time than originally thought but Sam Bravata, owner of Sam’s Joint restaurant in downtown Rockford, will be giving the okay to put the condos, located above the restaurant, on the market. The new condos should be ready for sale by the end of this week. According to Bravata, whoever buys the “deluxe condo” for $189,000 will receive full appliances and furniture. The deluxe condo size is between 1,000 and 1,100 square feet. Bravata said that he has spent over $600,000 during this entire process. “The City of Rockford has been very cooperative and easy to work with,” Bravata said. The Rockford Fire Department had to install a new fire sprinkler system throughout the entire building, and EPS installed a new state-of-the-art security system for each condo. The historic building is a Rockford landmark and was formerly the Hotel Maine. It was named after a U.S. battleship and was built in 1898. If you are interested in a condo, you can call ReMax Sunquest at (616) 819-7912 or the Sam Bravata offices at (616) 560-7500.
by MITCH HARVATIN The Kent County Sheriff’s Department (KCSD), Rockford Police/Ambulance, Cannon Township Fire Department and Greater Grand Rapids Safe Kids along with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital participated in the Free Child ID program held at Rockford Christian School, 6060 Belding Rd., on Thursday, July 30, sponsored by the Rockford Masonic Lodge #246. One hundred twenty children received a free dental impression and a CD containing a photo, video, sound-bite and digital fingerprints. Deputy Mandy Trevino from the Kent County Police Department said, “If something ever would have happened to the child, all that parent would have to do is give the officer that disc and we’d be able to download it right into our vehicles and get that information out.” “It makes me feel safer,” said Sherry Morrison, whose son and niece attended the event. Joseph Morrison, 11, thought that the teeth impression bite didn’t taste good. Other activities were included for that day, including children who got their heads sized for bike helmets. Those whose helmets didn’t fit received a new helmet courtesy of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. After fingerprints were scanned and teeth impressions made, the kids could go visit the police officers on their horses, boats, quad runners and the Mobile Crisis Command Unit that is owned by the KCSD, but used by other counties as well. “Just so the community knows what tools we have,” said Trevino. According to the Klaas Kids Foundation website, “85 percent to 90 percent of the 876,213 persons reported missing to America’s law enforcement agencies in 2000 were juveniles [persons under 18 years of age].”
by MITCH HARVATIN Road rage contributed to a rollover accident on U.S.-131 south of 12 Mile Road on Friday, July 31 around 2:17 p.m., according to a Michigan State Police report. “They threw two McDonald cups at me,” said Bruce Huntley of Grandville, driver of the vehicle that rolled. Huntley said “I couldn’t see, and that’s when I hit them.” He said that one cup hit his windshield and another cup entered his car through the sunroof, hitting him in the face. He said the driver who threw the cups also responded with a rude hand gesture. According to the police report obtained by The Rockford Squire, Huntley was in the passing lane when we shifted off the highway, shifted back on and then struck a white Ford vehicle driven by 61-year-old Joan Starr of Florida. “I was taking my mother home from the emergency room over in Detroit,” Starr said. “I saw him in my rear-view mirror, coming at me at a high rate of speed and it looked like he was out of control.” Huntley was driving a blue Pontiac he bought just two months ago. It has six airbags in the SUV, none of which deployed, he said. Huntley did not receive treatment at the scene but later drove himself to the hospital with a fractured rib and bruising. Starr and her passenger, 83-year-old Mabel Starr, was taken to Butterworth Hospital by Rockford Ambulance with minor neck injures and bruising. Michigan State Police closed one lane of the highway while Algoma Township firefighters and Rockford Ambulance attended the scene. Nobody was ticketed in this incident.
Hello, my name is Mitch Harvatin, the newest intern reporter for The Rockford Squire. I will be a sophomore at Rockford High School this fall. I have lived in Rockford for nearly 11 years, starting in kindergarten at Lakes Elementary, then heading off to East Rockford Middle School, the Freshman Center and the last journey to the high school. I plan to attend Grand Valley State University or Central Michigan University in the fall of 2012, where I will earn by bachelor’s degree in journalism. I have been in broadcast journalism since I was 12, where I had my own news broadcast at GRTV, “Live with Mitch and Paige!” then later “Eyewitness News.” I started working at the Squire on Friday, July 24, and it has been a great experience. From grammar (which is never perfect) to the story we grab the camera to cover. My fellow co-workers are amazing. From sales, proffing (I do know how to spell “proofing”), the secretary, the graphics department which makes us look good, and the boss, everyone is kind and there are always at least 10 laughs within the hour. I plan on working with the community throughout my journey at The Rockford Squire, and I’d appreciate any news tips, too, either through Twitter (mitchharvatin) or by giving me a call at (616) 866-4465.
by MITCH HARVATIN The Kent County Sheriff’s Department (KCSD) and Cannon Township have teamed up to fight crime overnight. Cannon Township has hired the KCSD to patrol extra hours after township officials saw a growth in crime productivity, especially in the Lake Bella Vista area. “We see a spike in calls during the summer time, and they will drop in September,” said Lieutenant Scott Brown of the KCSD. Brown added, “The citizens need to help us out. They need to close their garage doors at night. They need to make sure they lock their cars, their windows, their houses and, if they are financially able to, they need to keep their lights on outside overnight. They need to make it difficult for someone to rob their house.” He goes on to say that minors usually break in to garages to steal alcohol from refrigerators. Cannon Township taxpayers are paying $13,327.36 to keep an extra officer in the township between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m., not just patrolling Lake Bella Vista, which Brown clearly addressed. “If we receive a call somewhere else in that township, we go,” he said. According to a press packet from Cannon Township Clerk Bonnie Blackledge, the KCSD conducted 76 property checks/foot patrols, 50 traffic stops, 10 general assigned complaints, nine suspicious persons/situations, four minors in possession of alcohol, one drug violation and one drunk-driving arrests between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. on just two days, May 22 and June 30. Other than conducting regular traffic stops, the KCSD responded to vandalism calls, larceny from an auto, stalking, alcohol-minor in possession, and registered sex offender contact all in section nine, which is primarily Lake Bella Vista. The KCSD assigns one officer to Cannon Township until 4 a.m. four days a week. The other three days a week, the KCSD patrols until midnight. On the days they are not patrolling or it’s past midnight, the KCSD’s district car patrols a wide area of northern Kent County, not just Cannon Township, but will respond to calls in the township. Brown wants to make sure residents in Lake Bella Vista know that if they see a crime in progress to call 9-1-1. If it’s not an emergency, call the KCSD’s non-emergency number at (616) 336-3113. […]