editorial by BETH ALTENA It is with interest those of us in the news industry follow global, national and now—right here in our own back yard—changes in print media as newspapers adjust to a more digital information age. Papers have struggled to find a formula that works, blending digital and print format news and advertising. Local businesses struggle to find a way to compete in a global economy. Why shop locally when products from China and other places on the planet are cheaper and can be obtained while sitting at a laptop or through an iPad? Our closest daily paper, the Grand Rapids Press, announced recently the end of everyday home delivery for their print product with the intent to protect their digital presence and e-edition. Their accounting will be moved to Delaware. Readers of The Rockford Squire, the City of Rockford’s oldest business, may have noticed we continue to emphasize local news, local sports and local advertising. We haven’t expanded to a conglomerate of newspapers covering a variety of communities. Many other newspapers are owned by a parent company that makes use of their resources to produce multiple community papers. The Grand Rapids Press, a Booth company-owned paper, is one of several in Michigan, including the group of Advance newspapers, and is a good example of that formula. At the Squire, we have just one office, here in town in a building we own. Our staff works out of the office, and we couldn’t offer as much local news without the strong support of our community. The sports articles you read are mostly written by unpaid volunteers who, like us, believe the efforts of our boys and girls who are student athletes should be celebrated in print for the enjoyment of the community. Much of our content is produced right here in town, either by freelance writers who live here, by parents who take the time to write up stories, or sometimes by members of our business community. Some of our news is of national or global interest, if we feel it will be of interest or affect our readers, but not much. When talking to people while reporting about Rockford, I often hear our town is a Norman Rockwell-like example of pure Americana. […]
November 24 2011
Reds on the River partners with area nonprofits with gifts ‘that keep on giving’ When the hustle and bustle of the holidays has passed and families turn their attention to the New Year, one local company will deliver gifts “that keep on giving” through six local charities. Reds on the River in Rockford has partnered with the following organizations and will donate 10 percent of a person’s gift card sale to the benefiting organization requested by the purchaser. • North Kent Community Services (www.nkcsc.com) • Rockford Education Foundation (www.rockfordschools.org/?i=REF) • Rockford Relay for Life/American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org) • Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA Strong Kids Scholarships (www.grymca.org) • Friends of the White Pine Trail (www.whitepinetrail.com) • Rockford Area Arts Commission (on Facebook) Lance Climie, manager at Reds on the River, noted, “We love being a part of this community. We also recognize that many families are struggling in this tough economy—not just at the holidays but year-round. Consequently, we are lending our support by donating 10 percent of a gift card sale to the nonprofit designated by the purchaser. In doing so, we can help underwrite vital services such as food and clothing, utilities support, education, health and wellness, the arts and the environment.” The program kicked off November 15 and runs through December 31. Those wishing to purchase Reds holiday gift cards for family, friends and colleagues may stop into Reds during normal business hours and designate the organization they wish to receive 10 percent of the total gift card sale. Reds will track sales by each organization and send each organization a check after the New Year. Sandy Waite, executive director of North Kent Community Services (NKCS), is thrilled to partner with Reds. “On behalf of the nearly 19,000 visitors to NKCS in 2010 and almost 5,000 volunteers, we are grateful for Reds’ generosity with the holiday gift card program. We distributed approximately 620,000 pounds of food and more than 115,243 articles of clothing and household items last year to families in north Kent County, and the need for food, clothing, and utilities and shelter support continues to grow. Reds’ gift will help us meet this need—it is a gift that can change lives.”
Lighting event kicks off with holiday traditions Villagers by the hundreds walked to the banks of the Rogue River at Peppler Park for the annual ceremony as Rockford turned on the downtown’s holiday lights. A mild evening on Tuesday, Nov. 15 allowed the Rockford High School band and choir members to entertain the crowds with more comfort than on some previous lighting ceremonies. A moving rendition of “Silver Bells” brought the holiday spirit home as well as beautiful traditional songs by the high school singers and musicians. A tradition with the lighting ceremony was a popular crowd favorite as “Fun with Rudolph” invited crowd participation. Radio personality Gene Parker was crestfallen by a letter from Santa declining to attend the evening’s event but instead confirmed his visit on Saturday, Dec. 3 for the annual Santa Parade in downtown Rockford. Current City Council member and former mayor Rich Moll spoke before the crowds of families, couples and kids, and recalled the excitement of his youth of the joys of the holidays and challenged all to “rekindle the joy of the season.” State Representative Peter MacGregor shared his quest as he asked friends and family members their definition of peace. He received a different answer from his wife and each of his children before deciding on his own. “Peace is different for each of us. For me inner peace is knowing my family is not in harm’s way,” MacGregor stated. “A lot of people don’t have that now. We need to think of peace all the time. We need to think of peace all year round. Hug your kids many times a day.”
Three girls entered a contest to celebrate the Rockford Register’s 100th birthday during the Start of Summer Celebration in 1971. Marcia Jo Bunn Brewer made a newspaper dress pattern from the Rockford Register and won the contest. Her prize was a telephone given by Michigan Bell. Marcia graduated from Rockford High School in 1973 and went on to become a licensed practical nurse. Joan Bunn, Marcia’s mother, was instrumental in the formation of the historical society.
ChoiceOne Bank is pleased to announce the addition of Kent G. Gagnon as business development officer. In this position, Gagnon is responsible for creating new opportunities and developing long-term relationships with the local business leaders in the communities the bank serves. “As more businesses recognize us as the local choice for all their banking needs, Kent will help us nurture these relationships,” said ChoiceOne Bank President and CEO James Bosserd. “Kent has a successful career in banking and shares our values of serving our customers as the local community bank.” With 23 years of extensive banking experience with two major banks, Gagnon has moved through the ranks of banking, including branch management, treasury management and business development. He has his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind. Committed to the community, Gagnon is a lifelong resident of the area, growing up on “The Ridge.” He is a 20-year member and past president and treasurer of the Comstock Rotary Club, former vice chair of the executive committee and current board member of Guiding Light Mission, and sits on the Finance Council for Holy Redeemer Church. Gagnon and his wife Teresa reside in Jenison with their four children. ChoiceOne Bank is a full-service financial institution with offices in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Newaygo counties. ChoiceOne Bank offers insurance and investment products through its subsidiary, ChoiceOne Insurance Agencies Inc. ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. is the holding company headquartered in Sparta, and the parent corporation of ChoiceOne Bank. For more information, please visit www.choiceone.com.