by BETH ALTENA Among the demonstrations that have always been a part of Rockford’s Harvest Fest, this year’s included butter-making, cabinetry and carving by former pastor and current Rotarian Gary Davis (who married Bill and Squire editor Beth Altena 20 years ago). Davis took up the hobby four years ago while in his retirement, and the class he took on a whim has given him a pastime that brings him pleasure and results in some very amazing artworks. “It lets my whimsy out,” Davis described.” I have always loved the whimsical.” Driftwood from his boyhood stomping grounds in Mount Pleasant are transformed under his tools and careful eye into gnarled wizards, grizzled and mystical-looking old men, or woodland creatures. He makes intricate hollow fabrications that include detail that is only made clear by careful study. Some of his work is made from cottonwood bark from the banks of the Chippewa River in Mount Pleasant. He finishes his work with shoe cream finish and features the rich texture with black shoe polish that results in haunting detail. Davis said he began the hobby by taking a class offered by the Michigan Wood Carvers Association. He said the organization offers as many as 25 different classes in an annual event that takes place in Midland in May. Another group is organized in Evart annually. Between the two, enthusiasts can learn a variety of techniques, from wood-burning to relief carving on plates to carving animals, fish or realistic portraits. “I love it. I can sit out in my shop in the summer and at the dining room table in winter,” Davis described. Davis grew up in Mount Pleasant on his grandparents’ dairy farm. His great-grandfather on his mother’s side walked from Ohio and found the land he wanted to settle. Then he walked back to get his family. Davis has enjoyed reading the diaries his grandfather kept of his own youth in the town. One entry describes “riding the wheel to Normal.” Davis interpreted this to mean he rode a bike to the school, then called Central Michigan Normal. Later the school name was changed to Central Michigan College and finally Central Michigan University. “The fun thing was when my grandmother started showing up in the diaries,” Davis shared. […]
November 10 2011
Entrepreneur, lawyer, commercial developer, community leader, disability advocate, volunteer… all hats that Rockford resident Thomas W. Cronkright II wears, and wears well. And the Grand Rapids Business Journal judges for the 40 Under Forty Business Leaders award heartedly agree. Cronkright recently received this prestigious award which recognizes the accomplishments of 40 outstanding business leaders in West Michigan, all who happen to be under 40 years of age. At 36 years old, Cronkright is busy leaving his mark on multiple businesses, including Sun Title, Vets Title, Sun Law Group, Docs on the Fly, Jade, and Cronkright Ventures, a property-holding company that has acquired and renovated several buildings in downtown Rockford. Cronkright is also most proud of his newest role: father to Brady Cronkright, born earlier this year. Cronkright received his undergraduate degree from the Lee Honors College of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, where he graduated summa cum laude, and then went on to earn a law degree from Wayne State University, where he graduated cum laude. Out of law school, he began his legal career with the regional law firm of Warner, Norcross & Judd LLP, where he noted the opportunity “allowed me to experience true competence and professionalism in the legal industry. I had the privilege of being exposed to a broad base of legal areas and work with some of the best attorneys in the country. Warner exemplified power of true excellence in everything you do—I have applied this to all areas of my business life.” He later went on to practice with the International firm of Miller Canfield PLC. Born with an entrepreneurial spirit, in 2004 Cronkright left Miller Canfield and went on to found: • Cronkright Ventures LLC—created in 2002, this company has acquired, renovated and leased numerous commercial properties in the City of Rockford’s downtown shopping district. Over $1.5MM of improvement dollars have been invested since 2002. • Jade Clothing LLC—created in 2003 with his wife, Julie, this unique women’s clothing and accessories boutique has become the standard in women’s fashion for West Michigan. Recently the winner of the gold Townie Award for Best Clothing Store, Jade has continued to expand its product lines and employee base. • Sun Title—created in 2005, Sun Title has grown into one of Michigan’s […]
Michigan’s economic health second-best in nation Sen. Jansen says Bloomberg study shows reforms are working A national evaluation of the states released by Bloomberg ranked Michigan second-best in economic health. State Sen. Mark C. Jansen, R-Gaines Township, said Michigan’s high standing is the result of reforms taken to turn the state around. “The reforms we have made are working,” said Jansen, chairman of the Senate Reforms, Restructuring and Reinventing Committee. “Bloomberg is one of the world’s top business and financial information services. Their report confirms that the work lawmakers have put in this year is beginning to pay off.” The Bloomberg Economic Evaluation of States considered indicators such as personal income, tax revenue, employment and housing prices in its analysis, placing Michigan second only to North Dakota, a state in the midst of an oil boom. One of the year’s most significant pieces of legislation was Public Act 152, sponsored by Jansen and signed into law in September. The law will save half a billion dollars in taxpayer money for the costs of public employee benefits by limiting the amount a public employer can spend toward health care and increasing employees’ contribution toward the costs. The act also will address long-term budget instability and strengthen local governments and school districts. “This measure provides much-needed tax relief and helps us stretch our tax dollars,” Jansen said. “These funds can now be used to pay for more local services or be used to hire more police officers.” Jansen also cited the replacement of the ineffective Michigan Business Tax, the passing of a structurally sound state budget in record time and the slashing of bureaucratic red tape as other factors contributing to the high ranking by Bloomberg. “While we still have a long way to go, Senate Republicans are making good on our promises,” Jansen said. “We are delivering substantial reforms to reduce unnecessary regulations, improve the economic climate to create jobs and improve the quality of life for Michigan families. I am pleased the state economy is getting healthier and experts are recognizing it.” The Bloomberg study follows the Fitch Ratings agency upgrade to Michigan’s bond rating outlook last summer.
Nearly 100 motorcycles and their riders visited downtown Rockford, with the machines lining Monroe Street as tribute to motorcyclist Richard “Dick” S. Linney, who passed away Thursday, Oct. 17. The bikers were among those who attended the man’s service at Pederson Funeral Home and later proceeded to his interment at Rosedale Memorial Park. Linney, age 63, was a 1966 graduate of Rockford High School, who served in the U.S. Army in the Vietnam War. He had a lifelong love of motorcycles and loved to ride his Harley with his wife, Ginny. He was a mechanic and proud owner of SuperCycle Engineering. His specialty was racing and repairing motorcycles. The outdoorsman was also an avid hunter. He earned his pilots license and owned a 1964 Piper Cherokee. He is survived by his loving wife, Ginny Patterson; daughter, Jennifer Patterson; brother, sisters, nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Roger and Pearl Davenport; a sister, Donna Curice; and brother, Mark Davenport.
Thursday, November 10 Rockford Lions Club Meeting—6 p.m. social, 6:30 dinner and 7 p.m. meeting at the Community Cabin, 220 N. Monroe St., Rockford. Meetings held every second and fourth Thursday of each month. Free Meal for Northern Kent County Families—6 to 7 p.m. at the Our Lady of Consolation Family Center, 4865 Eleven Mile Rd., Rockford, every Thursday. No charge; no registration required. Provided by a partnership between Our Lady of Consolation Parish and God’s Kitchen, a program of Catholic Charities West Michigan. Saturday, November 12 Euchre Club—6:30 p.m. at the Peppermill Grill, 8 S. Squires St., Rockford. New players welcome. Donations will be accepted for North Kent Community Services. For more information, call (616) 884-0757. Veterans Day Celebration—10 a.m. at Veterans Memorial Park, 5747 Belmont Avenue (at Jupiter Ave.), Belmont. Join Plainfield Charter Township officials and Congressman Vern Ehlers for a Veterans Day service to remember and recognize those veterans who have served the United States of America. All-You-Can-Eat Pancake Breakfast—7:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Applebee’s in Greenville. All proceeds are to benefit a Relay for Life team for the American Cancer Society. Cost is $7 per adult, and $5 per child under age 12. Benefit for Diane and Tom Jensen—5:30 to 11 p.m. at St. Peter and Paul School gym, 1433 Hamilton NW, Grand Rapids. Diane is struggling with advanced stages of cancer and Tom is suffering from kidney failure as well as aplastic anemia. There is a freewill offering for admission. There will be raffles, 50/50s, games, and live and silent auctions. The Scottsville Clown Band will play from 6 to 8 p.m. Menu includes build-your-own burger platter, pulled pork platter, All American hotdog platter; all include choice of sides and chips. Pop, beer and wine will be served. Visa, MasterCard and American Express will be accepted. Monday, November 14 Griefshare—7 p.m. at Resurrection Life Church, fireside room, on 10 Mile Rd., Rockford. This grief recovery support group, where you can find help and healing for the hurt of losing a loved one, meets every Monday through December 5. No sign-up is necessary. Learn more at www.griefshare.org. Tuesday, November 15 Rockford Rotary Club Meetings—7 a.m. at Rockford High School, and 12:10 p.m. at Rockford Community Cabin. For more information, call Mark […]