Birds, chipmunks, deer and most Michiganders have been spending the last warm days of fall preparing for winter. Volunteers at the Howard Christensen Nature Center have been busy too! On October 21, they completed a new trail to benefit cross-country skiers. This extension of the Ranger Trail will allow skiers to avoid the sometimes treacherously icy interpretive center parking lot to reach the Arrowhead Trail. The nature center thanks the employees from the “Outdoor Group” at Wolverine Worldwide in Rockford, and Patrick Wilk who is a student intern from Lake Superior State University, for making the trail possible. Wilk designed and cleared the new trail, which also passes a vernal pond that is a popular destination for students hunting frogs in the spring. Then, seven employees from Wolverine Worldwide spent the day spreading woodchips to finish the trail. Kathy Young, who initiated the volunteer effort, said, “Wolverine Worldwide encourages employees to get outside and help the community. We all have children and wanted to help the nature center. It’s such a great place… so close to home!” The Wolverine Worldwide volunteers also helped staff prepare for the first annual Red Pine 5K Run, which was held on October 23 with 83 runners and walkers. Howard Christensen Nature Center is an independent nonprofit organization operated by Lily’s Fog Pad Inc. Board member Kathy Reed said, “We really appreciate and depend on the hard work of dedicated volunteers like these to continue the wonderful programs that we offer.” In the winter, one popular program at the nature center is snowshoe rental when there is at least six inches of snow. Visit the nature center’s website at www.lilysfrogpad.com for directions, a trail map, details about programs and events, and more, or call the nature center at (616) 675-3158.
November 3 2011
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Early this spring a single redbud tree, having heart-shaped leaves, was planted on a hillside overlooking the City of Rockford. Planted in the grassy acreage fronting the West side of Rockford Reformed Church (RRC), located on the southeast corner of Wolverine Blvd. and Eleven Mile Road, the tree was meant to commemorate and memorialize the life of Audra Brownell. Squire readers will recall the tragic death of the 17-year old Algoma Township teen in June of 2010 while on a backpacking adventure in Colorado with the Senior-High Youth group of RRC. While in a parking area at the base of a cliff, Audra was struck by a large falling rock that had been recklessly dislodged from above. Understandably, the Brownell family and the entire church family at RRC were devastated by the seemingly senseless loss of life to “a fabulous Christian young lady,” said Lead Pastor Rick Tigchon at the time. He noted that she and her family were very involved in the ministry at the church, and that Audra was especially involved in kid’s ministry. The grieving, the reconciliation, and acceptance of the passing of a loved one is a many stepped process that knows no defined time frame. For the Brownell family, simply planting a single tree was part of the process. Shortly thereafter the tree germinated an idea that blossomed in the minds of Audra’s parents, Scott and Diane Brownell, along with best friends and church members Scott and Julie Kruizenga and the entire RRC family – why not create a prayer memorial garden? RRC had an expansive sloping lawn fronting the west side of the church, a site it seemed the Good Lord had waiting for just such an undertaking. And so it began. The design of the garden would be based on the biblical verse found in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that tells us, “There are three things that remain – faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.” Angie Rummler, of Cedar Springs’ River Ridge Landscaping, embraced the message in the biblical verse and designed a breath-taking memorial garden to be completed in three separate and distinctly unique phases. Phase I would be designated – “Love”; Phase II designated – “Faith”; and Phase III […]
The creation of the Veterans Memorial Park began when the S&J Development Group donated an acre of land at the corner of Jupiter Avenue and Belmont NE. At first when the land was donated, the township decided to leave it in its natural state. Nature had a different plan when straight winds in the spring of 2001 took out nearly every tree on the property. In the fall of 2002, Plainfield Charter Township Trustee Charles Weldon suggested that the acre be used to remind citizens of the many sacrifices that township residents made serving in the Armed Forces. The park would become a place to remember the veterans. The Plainfield Charter Township Board formed the Veterans Memorial Committee, chaired by Weldon. Trustees Wendell Briggs, Carolyn Dee and Kathy Timmerman completed the committee. The committee contacted dozens of businesses and individuals, receiving an enormous amount of support in the form of donated time, materials and cash. As the park started to form, organizations—including the Master Gardeners of Michigan State University, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts—volunteered their services. On May 26, 2003, the township had their first Memorial Day service. The Northview band and American Legion Post Furniture City Post #258 was part of the service. From that service until today, Weldon has been in charge of planning each Memorial Day and Veterans Day services. Plainfield Charter Township has dedicated this park to all the men and women of this community who helped to preserve the freedom of this great nation. The staff at the Rockford Squire newspaper is preparing their annual Veteran’s Day flag tribute. Individuals or businesses who would like to sponsor a star for $39 or stripe for $100 may call 866-4465 to find out more.
Happy birthday to Nancy Simonis of Rockford. She celebrated a birthday on 11-1-11, a once-in-a-lifetime event. Nancy has lived in the Rockford area since 1986 and loves it here. She declined to tell us what birthday she was having on this interesting date. Happy birthday, Nancy! Victor Matthews the tenth will celebrate a very unique birthday for his sixteenth. Mom Wanda said she realized last year that his next birthday would be on the unusual date. “Victor is a very unique individual. He is caring, upstanding, thoughtful and respectful. He has been participating in the Montcalm County 4-H fair for three years now. He is the best son any mother and father could hope for. He truly is a blessing.”
Former Rockford High School intern for The Rockford Squire, Matt Marn, who wrote many wonderful articles for the newspaper as a student and then later as a full-fledged reporter, has left his home turf to find his way in the world. Relocated to Glendale, Ariz., due to job opportunities, Marn took a Squire with him so we could see he is fine in his new, warmer home. The Squire thanks Matt for all the work and good stories he provided to us and our readers over the years. Luckily, because of long-distance telephones and the ease of e-mail, Marn will continue to contribute to the paper from his new location.