November 17 2011

Outdoor education big draw for fall at Camp Roger

November 17, 2011 // 0 Comments

Since the beginning of Camp Roger’s outdoor education program in 2000, the number of school groups and students attending has progressively increased. This October, the camp reached its 2,000th event and had the 75,000th student come through the discovery nature center. So far this school year, 88 events have been held at Camp Roger’s Rockford facility. There have been over 3,800 school-age students coming to the discovery nature center to learn about animals, earth-keeping, survival and wetlands. Many of those events were also part of the adventure course on camp’s property. Groups can choose from a zip-line, high ropes course, and a climbing wall. Camp Roger is most commonly known as a summer residential camp in June, July and August. However, on average, 10,000 children attend the camp the other nine months of the year. This is enough people to fill the VanAndel Arena. While scheduling difficulties, bussing issues, and economic hardships have caused some schools not to reschedule trips to camp, many are seeing the value of outdoor education and are finding ways to fund the beneficial outings. For more information about Camp Roger, visit their website at

Michigan first in nation for small business loans

November 17, 2011 // 0 Comments

  Michigan’s banks and credit unions led the country in providing government-backed small-business loans, according to new data from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The Detroit Free Press reported that from October 2010 through September 2011, $689 million in small-business loans went to businesses in a variety of industries in Michigan. During that time frame, lenders made 2,063 of the most popular type of SBA loans, called 7(a) loans, up 47 percent from the 1,406 loans worth $386 million in fiscal 2010. According to the article, “The increase is credited to a variety of factors, including greater awareness of the program, more banks that are offering these kinds of loans and stepped up marketing from the SBA’s Michigan district office. Last fall, the SBA also waived fees for these loans.” Meanwhile, Governor Rick Snyder just announced that Huntington Bank has made more than $800 million in loans to nearly 1,300 small and commercial Michigan businesses in the first seven months of a four-year program—almost two years ahead of schedule. The bank’s commitment is part of Pure Michigan Business Connect, a groundbreaking economic gardening partnership of the state of Michigan, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and a broad range of businesses.


November 17, 2011 // 0 Comments

Dog parks improve canine behavior Dear Editor, It has come to my attention that there is a group of local dog owners raising funds to establish a dog park in the city of Rockford. I was part of a group of Lowell area citizens that raised funds for a free, public dog park. Since opening four years ago, our dog park has been found to be a large asset to the community and has been widely welcomed by local dog owners into Lowell’s city parks system. I wanted to pass along some of the positive affects our “off leash” facility has had on our community and some ways it may be a positive addition to yours. One of the most notable and widely reported effects of our dog park is that of improved dog behavior. Park users report that the simple activity of running, sniffing and interacting with other dogs a couple times a week has contributed to the improved health of their dogs, both mentally and physically. Regular visits to a dog park can help a dog become socialized to other dogs, making them less likely to act out when coming within sight of other dogs outside the dog park. Watching dogs run, romp and play together can make for some entertaining moments for owners and visitors at a dog park. People enjoy watching theirs, and other dogs, interact and play together. Rockford is in an enviable position by having a strong reputation of commerce, a well-maintained downtown, and much natural beauty to draw shoppers, tourists and visitors. When traveling, many people bring their dogs along, and a well-run public dog park might be another reason for a dog owner to stop, spend time and get to know the area as a destination or place to shop and do business. Although the emphasis of a dog park is about dogs, they are very pleasant environments for people. My dogs and I have been to many in several states and find them to be friendly environments where people meet and share their common love for dogs. Our local dog park has added a true element of community and has been the basis for many friendships and bonds. We have found that people feel good about […]

Kent County Sheriff Department offers new alert system

November 17, 2011 // 0 Comments

In an effort to communicate with our residents about crimes and events that can impact their lives, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office is offering a new service. Community Alerts is a free service that allows citizens to register for e-mail and text messages from the sheriff’s office. Through this free service, participants can receive information about crimes, scams and other situations so that they can be more vigilant and prepared. Messages can range from wanted persons to crime patterns, to traffic situations to avoid. You can register for Kent County Community Alerts by going to, or by going to the sheriff’s department webpage at and clicking on the online service: Community Alerts. Once there, register your name, address, e-mail, text provider and the township(s) that you would like to receive information about. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office believes in partnering with its citizens to prevent and solve crime. Community Alerts, along with the sheriff’s department’s crime-mapping at, is a dual approach in keeping citizens informed, aware and prepared.  

Rams hold on in regional football final

November 17, 2011 // 0 Comments

Rockford advances to face Detroit Catholic Central in semifinals  by TIM COOPER The goal for Coach Ralph Munger and his Rams in the regional final game was not necessarily to stop the high-powered Grand Blanc Bobcats’ offense. Grand Blanc, in the first two games of the playoffs, had run up 108 points, more than any other team in Division I. Munger gave high praise to the Grand Blanc squad, saying, “They’re the most talented team in the state.” Early in the first quarter, it appeared the Rams were going to do more than slow Grand Blanc. On the second play from scrimmage, Kyle Short intercepted a pass from quarterback Bart Williams, returning it to the Bobcat 15-yard line. Connor Darby powered into the end zone from four yards out three plays later. On Grand Blanc’s second possession, it appeared as if the Rams were going to continue to stop the Bobcats, as Rockford forced Grand Blanc to kick the ball away. KC Zenner returned the punt to the Bobcat 47, where the Ram offense took command. They advanced to the 24-yard line before being stalled by the Grand Blanc defense, where Steve Mette was called upon to kick the first of three field goals. Mette connected from 42 yards, 32 yards, and 45 yards. With the Rams leading 10-0, the Bobcats showed they wouldn’t be stopped, but rather they could only be slowed down. Grand Blanc moved the ball to the Rockford 7-yard line, where they were faced with a third-and-goal situation. A pass interference call against the Rams gave the Bobcats a fresh set of downs inside the 5-yard line. Williams completed the drive when he found Tearon Jameson, bringing the Bobcats within three points. After Mette knocked in his second and third field goals to give Rockford a nine-point lead, Grand Blanc appeared to have reversed the tides. They moved the ball 61 yards before giving up an interception in the end zone to Chubbs Johnson. The Rockford offensive line took control of the game, opening large holes and allowing the Ram running backs to chew up the field. With time running out in the first half, quarterback Mark LaPrairie found receiver Brandon Lubenow in the corner of the end zone from 13 […]

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