November 25 2009

Rockford skater featured in Grand Rapids festivities

November 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

by ANA OLVERA Lynzee Broussard, 18, will be the featured skater at the Art Museum’s Tree Lighting Ceremony and opening of Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink, 155 Monroe Center, on Friday, Dec. 4 at 5:30 p.m. Broussard has been skating since the age of three and competing since the age of six. She has competed in 10 regional competitions and two mid-sectional competitions, as well as participating in many exhibitions and ice shows. Broussard recently placed bronze at Collegiate Nationals in Philadelphia. She is coachedby April Treado, sking director at Patterson Ice Center, and ballet instructor Judy Genson of C.A.R.E. Conservatory. Broussard spends hundreds of hours volunteering in her community, church and learn-to-skate programs at Patterson Ice Center. She is a 2009 graduate of Grand Rapids Catholic Central and is currently a freshman at Aquinas College.

Townships mixed on background checks, offender policy

November 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

Plainfield Township is facing harsh criticism regarding their lack of a policy requiring background checks on potential employees (see related story page 1), and their decision not to fire a firefighter who was convicted of a sex offense, but in fact the township is not alone. Cannon Township also does not require background checks for potential employees, although Clerk Bonnie Blackledge said the township fire department does do background checks on their new hires. “In light of what happened with Plainfield Township, we probably will,” she said. Blackledge said the general background check the fire department uses would indicate if a person was on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. She said the department recently declined hiring an individual because of their driving record, which showed up during the course of the background check. Courtland Township Clerk Marilyn Crosby said that township also does not have a policy regarding background checks or employing sex offenders. She said the fire chief does background checks on potential fire department employees. “We do it for their driving record,” she said, and added that the application asks about criminal history, which would also show up on the criminal background check. Grattan Township also does not have a background check policy in place for potential employees, said Supervisor Frank Force. Again, he said the fire department does do background checks. “It’s kind of a new concept, really,” he said. “I don’t think we do regular background checks much less sex offender investigations.” However, he said his zoning assessor did do background checks on all employees several years ago. “Someone brought it to our attention that there was a sex offender living in close proximity to a school, so we checked and sure enough, he is.” The individual is not an employee or associated with the township, but the assessor, a retired police officer, checked to see if any staff was on the sex offender registry. Force said the recent publicity over a township employee on the sex offender registry has his township developing a policy. However, it will probably not be ready for consideration by the board at their next meeting. “They are still working on the concept and wording. It is still probably very preliminary.” The City of Rockford does […]

Rockford Christian School hosts live nativity

November 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

Seventh annual event scheduled for Dec. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m. On Thursday, Dec. 10, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Rockford Christian School (RCS), 6060 Belding Road, Rockford, allow your family to be transported back in time to Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus Christ. RCS will be performing their seventh annual live nativity, including a live donkey, camel, cow, sheep, and even a real baby portraying our Lord. Each year, hundreds of people experience the joy of the Christmas story as the students and families of RCS make a public statement about the true meaning of Christmas. The school invites all who attend this free event to wander inside the school for hot chocolate and cookies. More than 50 students and parent volunteers give their time to make this outreach program meaningful for visitors. In order to help promote RCS values of academic, spiritual, environmental and service, nearly 30 students work on this program in various capacities. It is a school-family effort that is enjoyed by all. If you have any questions about the live nativity, please contact Principal Jan VanderWerp at (616) 574-6402, or, or visit

G.R. church to feature local holiday jazz

November 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

The ensemble MacNaughton Boulevard, led by Bostwick Lake Church music director Roger MacNaughton, adds a musical twist to the holidays by performing jazz-inspired carols at Grand Rapids’ First United Methodist Church Jazz Vespers on December 19. Musical selections at the 6:00 p.m. service include traditional favorites such as “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Away in a Manger,” and “The Holly and the Ivy.” Joining pianist MacNaughton are Charlie Hoats (bass), Mike Hyde (guitar) and Steve Anzivino (drums). Additionally, Grand Rapids Symphony cellist Steve VanRavenswaay joins MacNaughton as the piano/cello duo MacRaven performs “Christmas Eve” from their first CD release Winter Canvas. First United Methodist Church is located at 227 Fulton Street, Grand Rapids. Parking is free in two church lots located off Barclay Avenue NE at the corner of Fulton. A free-will offering will be taken.

‘Keep It Simple, Rockford,’ new store urges

November 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

Basic Communications opens at Rockford Ridge development “People don’t understand an agent like us has the ability to do the same things as a corporate store can,” said Bill Pellerito, Rockford resident and general manager of sales in the new Basic Communications store that opened its doors for business on Tuesday, Nov. 17. “A lot of people have learned that shopping online is not the best way to go. The problem is: where do you go to get help? We’re here for them.” Pellerito is excited to offer the services of Basic Communications to Rockford and the surrounding communities. The business is one of a half dozen opening in the new mall in front of the Rockford Meijer on Ten Mile Road. Pellerito points out that it is a convenience to be able to buy a “Basic Bundle” of home phone and/or cell phone, Internet and television programming all from one source. By doing business through a physical store close to home, shoppers can rest assured they can have real-life, on-staff technicians should they have questions or encounter any problems with services. “We are excited to serve the northern part of our Grand Rapids community,” said Pellerito. “There is nobody else here. The next closest is our Plainfield Avenue location. Rockford is a great community and we are excited to be here.” Pellerito believes in being a partner with the community where he lives and works, and said Basic has a plan to do their part in the school-funding crisis. All new activations of service by parents, school staff or family members of a Rockford Public Schools student at the Ten Mile Store will result in a $25 donation to a Rockford school of their choice. “We hope to raise tens of thousands with this,” Pellerito said, pointing out that he is a parent with three kids in Rockford Public Schools. “Most of us parents are sick and tired of cookie dough, subs, magazines and other products we don’t want or need that we buy to support our schools. I think this is a real strong commitment to the community.” The company’s motto is “Keep It Simple, Keep It Basic,” and founders, brothers Rod and Greg Kirby, began the business with customers’ needs in mind. […]

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