November 5 2009

Rockford Court to close doors Monday

November 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

Monday, November 9 will be the last day to conduct business at the Rockford office of 63rd District Court. The court is closing its doors to move operations to the new court house at 1950 East Beltline beginning Monday, November 6. “This is a really bad economy to throw around eight million dollars,” said Judge Steve Servaas, who has fought the move. He said there is no need for the new building, and no need to close the Rockford Court before a decision on a lawsuit from the City of Rockford to keep the court. Rockford is suing Judge Sara Smolenski and Kent County over moving the court and believe law says that a court presence must remain in Rockford. A judge agreed with this but failed to define what a court presence consists of. The case now awaits answer from the Michigan Court of Appeals. “This case is still live. It could go either way. Theoretically and practically the county could lose it,” Servaas said. “They’ve spent eight million on a new building and not waited to see what the outcome would be. “Why are they doing all this stuff? There is no circumstance that I am aware of that would say the county has got to spend this money right now.” “It’s a head scratcher, that’s the best way I can characterize it,” said Rockford City Manager Michael Young. Young said this move falls squarely on Judge Sara Smolenski’s shoulders. “She’s the one who said ‘I decide where the court shall sit.’ We said no,” Young said. He pointed out that the suit the City filed to keep the court was against Smolenski alone, and Kent County intervened and joined the suit on Smolenski’s side. “It was a deliberate decision to support our chief judge,” said Kent County Administrator Daryl Delabbio, when asked why the county joined the suit. He also defended the decision to build the new courthouse and pointed out it was the Kent County Board of Commissioners who made that decision. “Kent County builds for the long term,” he said. He said there will be efficiencies in having a consolidated courthouse. “I know Rockford disputes that. We take the long view approach,” Delabbio said. Delabbio said the existing Rockford court […]

Restaurateur celebrates 31 years serving Rockford

November 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

Owner believes ‘Jesus has kept us here,’ has plans for the future Terry Prowoznik knows the value of good food served in a unique atmosphere and at a good price. But he doesn’t think that is all there is to the success of the Rockford Vitale’s Pizza, not in their 31st year of business. He isn’t afraid to be open with his strong faith in God, and has images of Jesus, religious pamphlets and Bible quotes on the walls of the restaurant, located at 42 E. Bridge Street in downtown Rockford. Christian music plays nonstop throughout the building every day. “About five years ago we switched to Christian music. That makes us unique,” said Prowoznik. He is also among only a few eateries to have operated for such a long time in the City’s square. When Prowoznik started out at age 18, the restaurant was located in the former Antique Mall, which has since been torn down and replaced with the Welcome Center near Great Northern Trading Company. He recalls his neighbors at that location. On the very top was Baskets in the Belfry—and that lofty location is the reason the store earned its name. He said the Candle Shop was already in business there and the Downery, a ski shop that sold winter wear. He recalls a gun shop in downtown and plenty of others who have come and gone. Prowoznik said he was in a position to expand his business when his current building came up for sale. In his former location he had room for only three tables, and business called for more. “I liked that it was one of the town’s oldest buildings” he said of his large restaurant, which is even bigger in the upper level. He said the building Rockford has long known as Vitale’s was a stagecoach stop in its early years. Built in 1879, it was Squires Inn for years and also once was a boarding house called Bridge Street House. Room rentals were for overnight or longer.   Prowoznik purchased the building in 1980 and renovated it to be suitable for his business. “It was a restaurant when I bought it, but it wasn’t fit for me,” he said. He opened up walls and made room […]

Engagements — November 5, 2009

November 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

Laciura-Emiley Terrence and Linda Emiley of Rockford announce the engagement of their son, Peter Emiley, to Elizabeth Laciura. Elizabeth Laciura of Ann Arbor is the daughter of Philip and Ann Laciura of Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich. She is a 2002 graduate of Grosse Pointe South High School and 2006 graduate of the University of Michigan. She is currently employed by BBDO Detroit, an advertising agency. Peter Emiley of Ann Arbor is a 2001 graduate of Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School, a 2005 graduate of the University of Michigan, and will graduate in May, 2010 from the University of Michigan Medical School. The couple has planned a May 28, 2010 wedding at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Ann Arbor.

Halloween Winner

November 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

This scary looking monster won the overall winner at the American Legion Halloween party. All proceeds from the party go to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans entertainment fund.

Kids Food Basket benefits from Rockford Scouts

November 5, 2009 // 0 Comments

“Be prepared and do a good turn daily” were Scout attributes recently displayed by the Cub Scouts from Pack 3285 at Crestwood Elementary School. While on their community service apple-picking trip to DK Orchards, the Scouts were treated to a major downpour of rain. “But the wet weather did not dampen the Scouts’ enthusiasm for helping others,” said Pack Chairman Guy McLellan. “The boys picked five bushels of apples that we were able to donate to the Kids Food Basket.” In addition, they also picked another bushel that was shared by the group of 15 boys who participated in the event. “It’s great to have the boys at the orchard and I think it is wonderful that they are putting others before themselves with this project,” said orchard owner Billie Jo Klein. DK Orchards donated a half bushel of apples to the group and the rest were funded through their profits from the Scouts’ annual popcorn sale. Kids Food Basket is a nonprofit organization that provides a sack dinner to students in Grand Rapids Public Schools. The Scouts’ efforts provided fresh apples for over 600 students served by the program. To learn more about Kids Food Basket and how you can help, visit their website at

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