by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL If you failed to score a pair of tickets to last year’s “sold out” Rockford Education Foundation (REF) annual benefit performance, now is the time to act! In seeking to one-up last year’s hugely successful appearance of Second City, the REF has booked The Capitol Steps for its 15th annual benefit performance. Formed in December 1981 by a group of congressional staffers, The Capitol Steps, a bipartisan ensemble troupe, specializes in current cutting-edge political satire. The group, whose claim to fame is that they put “the mock in democracy,” happily slams both sides of the political aisle. Years later the group, which has grown from seven performers to 25, annually puts on 700 shows across the country. Thousands have taken in their regular Friday and Saturday night shows at the 600-seat Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Amphitheater in Washington, D.C. “The Capitol Steps was an easy choice this year,” said REF Administrator Sue Arend. “With dysfunctional governance and politics on all sides, we might as well laugh rather than cry. We are already taking ticket requests from people who have seen Capitol Steps elsewhere and can’t wait for another visit with the Steps.” We have all watched Saturday Night Live, and many tune into Comedy Central for the Daily Show and the Colbert Show. But, unlike the former, the actors and actresses of The Capitol Steps “sing” their satire to the tunes older crowds have come to love. The Capitol Steps’ performer and co-writer Mark Eaton joined the group in 1993. Formerly, he worked on the Hill for 10 years before becoming a lobbyist. “We are currently taking shots in anything in the headlines,” Eaton said. “People love to laugh at the rich and powerful; they are the best targets for satire. It makes us all feel a bit better to knock a politician or public figure down a few pegs.” Tickets for a visit to The Capitol Steps would make great stocking stuffers, but with ticket sales expected to be brisk, you’d better act fast! Since 1991, the REF has quietly pursued their mission of raising funds that are then granted to community members for programs that meet the area’s education needs. To name some of many, […]
November 24 2010
On Friday, Nov. 12, Meghan Pitsch and Rose Marie Fulbright, both of Rockford, were inducted into the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), an AmeriCorps program. They began work on their first of four long-term service projects the week of November 15. Founded in 1994, AmeriCorps NCCC is a residential national service program that supports disaster relief, the environment, infrastructure improvement, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. Pitsch and Fulbright arrived at NCCC’s Southwest Region Campus in Denver and began training on Wednesday, Oct. 13, for 10 months of full-time service with AmeriCorps NCCC. This training emphasized teamwork, leadership development, communication, service learning, and certification by the American Red Cross. As Corps members, Pitsch and Fulbright will be responsible for completing a series of six- to eight-week-long service projects parts of 10- to 12-person teams. Their first service projects will end on December 17, at which time their teams will break for the winter holidays and begin new projects in new locations in January. Twenty-eight teams composed of over 300 Corps members and team leaders recently began service projects. Twenty-one of the 28 teams deployed from Denver on Saturday, Nov. 13 to projects throughout the Gulf Coast and southwestern United States, including a nature reserve in Missouri, a children’s hospital in Arkansas, and long-term hurricane recovery in Louisiana, among others. The seven remaining teams are working on projects in Colorado. There are four other NCCC campuses located in Perry Point, Md., Vinton, Iowa, Vicksburg, Miss., and Sacramento, Calif., each of which is a hub for its respective area of the country, though teams will travel to other regions for disaster relief projects. Before joining the NCCC, Pitsch graduated from Rockford High School in May 2008 and attended Aquinas College for two years, studying political science and international studies. She is the daughter of Michael and Holly Pitsch. Pitsch said, “Community service has always been really important to me and traveling is a passion of mine. AmeriCorps NCCC gave me the opportunity to combine these two things while meeting new people and learning about myself.” Fulbright graduated from Rockford High School in June 2010. She is the daughter of Kathy and Dave Fulbright. “I don’t know what I want to go to school for and I […]
Shortridge graduates from basic training Air Force Airman Kaila A. Shortridge has recently graduated from basic military training at Lackland Air Force Base, San Antonio, Texas. The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills. Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force. Shortridge is the daughter of Don and Vicki Labod of Belmont, and is a 2010 graduate of Northview High School, Grand Rapids.
Give thanks A long time ago the citizens and the immigrants gathered for dinner. They were thankful to have plenty to eat and to be together in peace. And how’s everything now? Not too bad for most of us immigrants and descendents. We’re recovering from a recession sometimes compared with the Great Depression of the 1930s. Most of us can afford turkey and cranberry sauce. Because of Social Security, old people usually don’t huddle their lives away in poverty. Unemployment benefits help many people get through the unemployment phase of the recession/depression. We descendents of immigrants are a generous bunch. Singly or within organizations, we sponsor sources for food and clothing for the less fortunate. We have a lot to be thankful for On the other hand… Business has been doing a lot of outsourcing to save money. If you’re unemployed because of it, you probably don’t feel especially thankful. However, the idea may have possibilities beyond corporate profits. How much could we save a lot if we outsourced the federal government to China? I can hear you thinking: maybe we’ve already done it. My suggestion: go eat some more turkey and mashed potatoes. At the supermarket A woman shopping for Thanksgiving dinner is pushing her cart behind a grandfather and his badly behaved three-year-old grandson. It’s obvious to her that he has his hands full, with the child screaming for sweets in the sweets aisle, biscuits in the biscuit aisle, and for fruit, cereal and pop. Meanwhile, Granddad is working his way around, saying in a controlled voice, “Easy, William, we won’t be long. Easy, boy.” Another outburst, and she hears the man calmly say, “It’s okay, William, just a couple more minutes and we’ll be out of here. Hang in there, boy.” At the checkout, the little terror is throwing items out of the cart, and Granddad, in a controlled voice, says, “William, William, relax, buddy, don’t get upset. We’ll be home in five minutes. Stay cool, William.” Impressed, the woman goes outside where the grandfather is loading his groceries and the boy into the car. “It’s none of my business, but you were amazing in there,” she says. “I don’t know how you did it. That whole time you kept your composure, […]
Be thankful This has not been the greatest of deer seasons. One good thing is that I get to spend some time with two of my Central Michigan University (CMU) roommates, Gary McCrimmon and his brother Grant, along with Gary’s son Jason, Grant’s son Scott, and another long-time friend, Jim Melvin. As far back as the 1970s, Gary, Grant and I have gone fishing and hunting together. Fishing usually occurs up in Canada. Hunting usually happens up near Marion, between Cadillac and Clare. We seem to always get deer, some with horns and some without, but some years it takes longer than others to bring home the venison. Since I have only seen two deer in two full days of hunting so far, this year is shaping up to be one of the “longer than others” years. Regardless of seeing or not seeing deer, in other ways it has been an interesting deer season. On the second day of deer camp, Tuesday morning, one of the guys noticed that my truck had a flat tire. I must have hit a branch or something that punctured my right rear tire Monday night while driving back to camp. When we took the tire off, it was slightly more than a puncture—about a four-inch gash in the inside sidewall. From the size of the gash, I was fortunate to make it back to camp before the tire went flat. My spare was good, but it’s still a $125 tire that wasn’t so good. The second piece of bad luck involves my face meeting up with my scope. We hunt in woods surrounding a cedar swamp. When things are really slow, someone volunteers to walk through the swamp, hoping to stir up some lazy deer. We call it “making our own luck.” It was my turn to volunteer. A few years ago, a high wind storm went through the area and blew down many of the cedars in this swamp. They are twisted every which way, making it very difficult to get through. That’s why the deer are in there hiding. It’s quite an effort, but we are often successful at getting the deer moving. As I was picking my way through, I came to a spot where I […]