National News

Backpacks, items are needed for local families

July 15, 2010 // 0 Comments

Even though school is out for the summer, the staff at North Kent Service Center (NKSC) are already working on our back-to-school project. Their goal is to supply about 500 backpacks full of school of school supplies to their clients’ school-age children. Any donation of new backpacks, calculators and other necessary school supplies would be greatly appreciated. NKSC will be collecting backpacks and items from July 12 to August 12. The following items are needed: • BACKPACKS • pens, pencils, erasers • spiral-bound notebooks • highlighters, crayons • pencil boxes, markers • 2-pocket report folders • construction paper, scissors • notebook paper, rulers For more information, please contact Deb McIntyre, volunteer coordinator at NKSC, at (616) 866-3478 or e-mail to

A Hero’s Welcome, Long Overdue

July 15, 2010 // 0 Comments

5/3 Ballpark Hosts LZ Michigan, a welcome home for Vietnam vets By Matt Marn  A parade of motorcycle riders cruised into 5/3 Ballpark on a hot and sunny July 3 to kick off LZ Michigan, a reunion and welcome home for Vietnam veterans. LZ Michigan was also a chance for the community to show their gratitude for all the veterans went through and sacrificed for their country. LZ, a military slang term for “Landing Zone,” refers to a safe place for helicopters to land. That day, it meant a safe place to return to; a safe place to get the hero’s welcome they earned so long ago. The Michigan Traveling Memorial wall outside the stadium displayed and paid respects to all those killed and missing in Vietnam from the state of Michigan. Nearby tables, draped in black tablecloths and littered with tissue boxes, offered dozens of binders with names, ranks, pictures and stories of soldiers who paid the ultimate price. Ken McKay of Grand Rapids came to LZ Michigan with his wife, Joan, to remember the sacrifices made by soldiers in Vietnam. McKay is one such soldier, who spent his 21st birthday calling in F-4 Phantom airstrikes on military targets. “At the time, we hadn’t heard about all the demonstrations, we were just fighting,” McKay said. “We came back, and were called baby-killers.” The American people were, at times, unwelcoming upon the return of our soldiers after Vietnam, sometimes downright hostile. But LZ Michigan, McKay said, is a start to the healing process. “This is the best day that has ever happened to me.” McKay went through grade school, high school, even Boy Scouts, with his good friend Rod VanOeveren. They enlisted together, went through basic training and boot camp together, and were deployed into separate areas of combat. Later, when he was in the room calling in airstrikes at 21, McKay heard his name called across the room. He looked over to the man who was calling for him. It was VanOeveren, calling in naval targets himself. And when VanOeveren found McKay at LZ Michigan, the men shook hands and embraced, friends reunited once more. Stefanie Leiter brought her father-in-law, Lester Amburgey, a Vietnam veteran, to LZ Michigan to help show her gratitude. Having […]

The Rockford Area Historical Society nominates Edna Haner for consideration by the Rockford Area Community Endowment

June 3, 2010 // 0 Comments

Edna Haner was born in Rockford on December 26, 1875 and lived in the area all of her life. She was an only child. Her father, Charles, a Civil War veteran, was a partner in a wagon and carriage shop in Rockford. In 1897 Mr. Haner and his then partner, William Haskell, had their building destroyed by fire so they relocated by Rum Creek on the east side of Monroe Street. Later, in 1912, Mr. Haner sold his part of the business to Henry Burch, the son-in-law of Mr. Haskell. When Haskell retied, the business was run by sons of Henry Burch and became Burch Body Works. Edna graduated from Rockford High School in 1881 and from Ypsilanti State Teachers College in 1895. After college graduation, she taught for two years a Gouge berg (near Rockford) and one year in Cadillac before returning to teach history and language at Rockford High School. She became the high school principal (still teaching) around 1900 and continued until the spring of 1926 when ill health caused her to retire. In the 1924-25 school year, Rockford High School had their first major yearbook (Trailblazer) printed and published and it was dedicated to Edna Haner. (Note: Rockford High School had a yearbook in 1919 but it was all hand done with the pages being typed and not printed). The yearbook of 1924-25 has much of Edna Haner’s graduation and alumni information in it and is a major source of school history. In 1912 Edna Haner became Rockford’s first town librarian and served in that position until 1949 when health issues again forced her to retire. Edna Haner was a member of the Rockford Congregational Church, a charter member of the Tuesday Club, a member of the Library Board and one of the organizers of the County Library Association. Rockford historian Homer Burch wrote the following about Edna Haner: “She had a stern countenance that actually masked a gentle soul. She could be a strict disciplinarian but was also a warm, understanding, helpful and inspiring teacher, highly regarded and respected by students and faculty. No one today (1969) can count the many hundreds of Rockford’s former scholars and citizens who have benefited from the influence, inspiration and heritage of Edna Haner’s […]

Winners announced for annual BeeVee Film Awards

June 3, 2010 // 0 Comments

Like a scene out of Hollywood, actors, actresses, directors and producers waited in line to walk down the red carpet leading to the fourth annual BeeVee Film Awards at Bella Vista Church in Rockford. As cameras flashed, the young people posed for their adoring fans and were interviewed by ceremonies co-host Brad Spead on their accomplishments for this year’s short film awards. The formal ceremony opened with a dazzling performance by the award-winning Junior Competitor Dancers from Rockford School of Dance. The dance team recently won their regional competition held in Detroit and are preparing for their national competition in Orlando, Fla. in July. Hostess for the evening, Student Ministries Director Lisa Henderson, welcomed the audience to an evening where “the sublime meets the ridiculous.” The audience members were then treated to a vast array of film shorts showcasing the talents of the junior and senior high students. Winners in each film category were presented with a golden statue, similar to Hollywood’s Oscar, by the BeeVee girls Megan George and Brianne Melton. This year’s special lifetime achievement award was presented to Bethany Lemke for perfecting her role portraying creepy male stalkers. Her talents were showcased in the Best Film and Best Music Video winner “Love Story” directed by Shannon Pinner. Other winners include: • Best Actress: Hanna Lemke, “Love Story” • Best Supporting Actress: Halley Devon, “Romeo and Juliet” • Outstanding Performance—Child Actor: Audrey Rinck, “Larry the Stalker” • Best Actor: Jacob Hughey, “The Big One” • Best Supporting Actor: Ryan Siekman, “Romeo and Juliet at the Jersey Shore” • Best Director: Shannon Pinner “Love Story” • Best Technical Achievement—Editing: Jarren Harkema, “Time Traveler Trouble” • Best Music Video: “Love Story” directed by Shannon Pinner • Best Comedy: “The Big One” directed by Jacob and Jenny Hughey • Best Drama: “Romeo and Juliet” directed by Sarah McLellan • Best Christian Film: “The Question” directed by Seventh-Grade Boys Small Group • Best Animated Film: “Time Travel Trouble” by Jarren Harkema and Calvin Hartley • Best Thriller: “Larry the Stalker” directed by Miranda Rinck

Summer Reading Club returns to library

June 3, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Kent District Library (KDL) invites children and teens to sign up for the Summer Reading Club and spend some time reading this summer! This year’s Summer Reading Club runs from Monday, June 14 to Saturday, August 7. This summer, the library will encourage kids to “make a splash” and teens to “make waves” with lots of free programs. Enjoy arts and crafts, music, movies, theatre, carnivals and more. When they sign up for the Summer Reading Club, children in grades five and under, both readers and pre-readers, can set and accomplish their own reading goals to win prizes and enter a drawing for a brand-new bicycle! Teens in grades six through 12 can participate for the chance to win great prizes, like a gift certificate to the mall. This summer will be full of fun for all ages. Programs will include carnivals, pet shows, magic shows, puppet shows, jewelry-making, lawn games, book discussions and so much more! Sign up for Summer Reading Club starting June 14 at any of the KDL’s 18 branch locations, including Krause Memorial Library, 140 E. Bridge St., Rockford. For more information, call (616) 784-2007 or visit

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