Tannery workers see little future in their profesion, hope for fairness

April 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

Harvey White, a second-generation tannery worker who himself has put in 37 years at Wolverine, stood at the annual Wolverine World Wide shareholders meeting on Thursday, April 23. Outside his co-workers were picketing for a fair settlement after losing their jobs as the tannery closed after 125 years in operation. He said the company’s CEO himself explained that 95 percent of all of America’s tanneries have closed to move operations to Asia to be close to the manufacturing. “He apologized for having to do it and seemed very sincere.” White said. “I’m not saying I’m on his side.” On the picket line, former employees were less restrained. One said she was told the tannery workers would no longer have access to Camp Wolverine, apparently a camp on the Muskegon River, or receive shoe discounts, since they did not retire from the company. Jeff Heyboer was out with former co-workers, although he will not be affected by the settlement. He was a four-year employee who crossed picket lines to take his job and now joined that line to show support. Heyboer was a supervisor who was let go with no notice last fall. He said he was shocked and near tears. “I thought that job was what I would do the rest of my life,” he said. “You looked around and saw people with 25, 30  years in and you didn’t think that job was going to go. If I had my say, I’d tell people not to buy Wolverine shoes because they are buying a Chinese product.” White hopes the settlement reflects the prospects the tannery workers face. “There is nothing out there. We are skilled tannery workers, but they shut down all the tanneries.” Heyboer noted that many of the long-timers will struggle to find new employment. “They are too young to retire, but too old to hire. Where are they going to find to work in this economy at that age? We expected to be there the rest of our lives.” White said he was assured at the meeting that a settlement will be reached within a few weeks that will be acceptable to all. He said shareholders appeared concerned to see the picketers, but many waved as they left the meeting. “I’m […]

North Rockford Middle School’s James

April 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

  A kind-hearted person quick to lend a helping hand James Spencer Staley, age 13, is North Rockford Middle School’s Example in Excellence for 2009. Jamie, son of Eric and Caroline Staley and brother to Katherine and Michael, is a kind-hearted person with a polite and positive manner and always quick to lend a helping hand. He is a dedicated, self-motivated, hardworking student who encourages other students to succeed by volunteering in the Northern Lights peer mentoring program. Jamie has been Student of the Month, on the Principal’s Honor Roll, is a member of the National Honor Society and is taking an honors geometry class. Staff at North Rockford Middle School report that Jamie is kind, helpful and encouraging to everyone he meets and is good at balancing the needs of his school work and extracurricular activities, one of which is theater. He has been in several Civic Theater plays and served as an usher and stage hand too. Jamie has also participated in Rockford middle and high school plays, including the lead role in the production of Oliver. In addition to theater, Jamie is on the Grand Rapids Crew Soccer team, plays basketball, and participates on the school track team. Staff describe Jamie as a “refreshing” student who makes the day brighter for those around him and is truly an Example in Excellence at North Rockford Middle School.

Morel hunters, grab your mesh bags

April 30, 2009 // 0 Comments

  Did Squire Editor Beth Altena find the first morel mushroom in Rockford? This little beauty, a half-free early variety, was found in a park in the Rockford school district on Sunday, April 26. If other mushroom fans have had some luck, don’t forget to share your finds by sending us pictures and precise details as to the location of your find (just kidding). Email

Rockford Chamber welcomes new members

April 23, 2009 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors welcomes two new board members and a new vice president. Char Bouwkamp (D & W Fresh Market) will fulfill John Donehoo’s (consultant) term and Bobbi Lindeman (Wolverine World Wide, Inc.) will replace the retired Michael Donabauer. Dr. Carl Stites has agreed to become vice president taking over for John Donehoo.  President, Polly Von Eschen is thrilled to have the new directors on board.

Sellers, buyers, mark your calendars

April 23, 2009 // 0 Comments

A Community Garage Sale is scheduled for Saturday, May 16 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Everyone is invited to enjoy a day of food, music and great deals! Don’t miss this great opportunity to sell your own goodies and make some extra cash! The event will be held in the parking lot of Resurrection Life Church of Rockford located at 3233 10 Mile Road. (Just east of US 131 between Meijer and Wolven Ave.) Proceeds from the event will go towards a Christmas outreach program organized by Lean On Me Outreach Center of Rockford. Sellers – Take advantage of this prime location and sell your own items during this one-day event. You keep all that you make! Purchase a 18′ x 18′ spot for only $40 or purchase a double spot for $60. Crafters welcome! Limited space is available therefore spots will be allocated on a first come first serve basis. Email to sign up or for more information. Donations – We welcome any gently used clothing or household items that you would like to donate. These will be sold during the sale with proceeds going to the Christmas outreach program. Any items left over at the end of the sale will be donated to Lean on Me Outreach Center for distribution to those in need in the community. Tax donation slips are available. Donations can be dropped off in the parking lot behind the church (by the northeast entrance doors) from 9:00 a.m. to noon on April 18, April 26, May 2 and May 9, between Sunday services on April 19 and May 3, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on May 5 and 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on May 7.

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