October 4 2012

Rockford man is co-creator of top 10 ArtPrize entry receiving national media attention

October 4, 2012 // 0 Comments

by Cindy M. Cranmer A Rockford man is one of the co-creators of an ArtPrize entry being discussed locally and internationally after thousands and thousands of participants and spectators gathered Friday night to help Mark Carpenter and Dan Johnson realize their vision for ArtPrize and landing their entry in the top 10. Dan Johnson, of Rockford, and Mark Carpenter, of Grand Rapids, both felt the event was an extreme success with more than 50,000 people in attendance. Round two of ArtPrize voting opened on Sunday, Sept. 30 and runs through Thursday, Oct. 4. ArtPrize attendees can vote for one of the top 10 entries with the code to vote for Lights in the Night being 52910. See related story on the top 10 ArtPrize entries. The theme of Lights in the Night is to symbolize where hope takes flight in the form of sky lanterns representing individual hopes, dreams and wishes. More than 15,000 Chinese sky lanterns were launched from coordinated key points in the downtown Grand Rapids area on Friday, Sept. 28. “You offer up your dreams and hopes for the future or even reconcile events of your past in a symbolic lantern launch,” the entry described. Being at this event Friday night, this reporter was able to experience Lights in the Night firsthand. The sense of community, the emotional outpouring of feelings and the awe of seeing the lanterns in the sky was amazing. While words such as “magical,” “beautiful,” “wonderful,” “amazing,” “enchanting” and “inspiring” were used to describe the launch, it is much harder to put in words the sense of community and the overflowing of emotions at the event. The event made a last impression, which was the goal, Johnson said. Some have criticized Lights in the Night as the event skyrocketed in a 24-hour period through the ratings bypassing the top 100 and the top 50 on its climb to the top 25 and then to the top 10. Johnson told The Rockford Squire the key components of ArtPrize are to “get out of the box” and find something that is art but is not as traditional, to involve the community and to leave a lasting impression. “It was super successful on all three of those accounts,” Johnson said. “Our […]

Wild west captured in deer farm turned agri-tourism resort

October 4, 2012 // 0 Comments

by BETH ALTENA When you have over 200 beautiful white tailed deer fenced adjacent to a major road, people will stop and want to see them. That’s the experience of the Powell family, who opened their working deer farm in 2003. Located at 7850 14 Mile Road (M-57), their 80-acre business has received a lot of attention from passersby. They tried to accommodate curious visitors to the best of their ability, but the farm wasn’t really set up for tours. Now it is. Deer Tracks Junction is now open for business as a family destination with hands-on live animal interaction, a stage coach ride through the pens of hundreds of live and spectacular deer, a chance for kids to touch a real reindeer or baby yak, a play train with cars for climbing, crawling and exploring a three-level maze car, plus an indoor facility featuring spectacular mounts of caribou, Musk ox, wolves and an auditorium for live education shows featuring actors in costume. “Once you buy your ticket, you can just enjoy the day here,” said owner Kelly Powell, who operates Deer Tracks Junction with his wife Hilary and 16-year-old son Tyler. At just $10 a ticket, from the play train, the Stage Coach Ride, live shows, and life sized animal mounts to the different old-fashioned, Wild West stations within the Deer Tracks Junction building, the price is a great buy. He said he wants his working deer farm shows and tours to be affordable for families and believes visitors will support his vision. Other business people in the area believe the farm will add to the reasons people come to the area. The family made the decision to expand into what is called Agricultural tourism because it made sense to them on many levels. They hope to bring something unique, exciting and valuable to the area as a legacy and as a living. “It’s hard in Michigan right now,” said Powell. “I don’t want my son to have to leave the state to find a job.” Deer Tracks not only will be the future livelihood for Tyler, but offered the family the chance to hire others who help in the business. The work is seasonal, but at a recent job fair at the ranch […]

MSP Rockford troopers receive bravery award

October 4, 2012 // 0 Comments

At a special ceremony held in Lansing on September 13, Michigan State Police (MSP) Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue presented Sgt. Christopher Bush, D/Sgt. Joseph Young, Tprs. Willie Buie, David Cardenas and Mitchell Dyer with the MSP Bravery Award for their diligence and perseverance under uncommon circumstances and for going beyond what is typically expected of most law enforcement officers. The troopers were honored for their role in responding to the October 13, 2011, bank robbery in the Village of Ravenna.  The robbery quickly turned into a pursuit, with shots being fired at the troopers, other officers and the public.  The pursuit ended with both suspects being killed, after they hit and killed a Walker police officer who was attempting to deploy stop sticks. By taking an active role in the pursuit of armed and dangerous suspects, these troopers knowingly placed themselves in danger.  For these reasons, the Board of Awards find the brave actions of Buie, Bush, Cardenas, Dyer and Young are in the highest traditions of the Michigan State Police. Buie enlisted with the department in 1987, graduating as a member of the 101st Trooper Recruit School. Buie served at the Grand Haven Post before being assigned to the Rockford Post. Bush enlisted with the department in 1995, graduating as a member of the 112th Trooper Recruit School.  Bush has served at the Traverse City, Kalkaska, Ionia and Lakeview posts before being assigned to the Training Academy.  Bush resides in Portland with his wife, Wendy, and son, Brady. Cardenas enlisted with the department in 1999, graduating as a member of the 118th Trooper Recruit School.  Cardenas served at the Lansing and Reed City posts before being assigned to the Rockford Post. Dyer enlisted with the department in 1998, graduating as a member of the 117th Trooper Recruit School.  He has served at the Rockford Post since graduation. Young enlisted with the department in 1995, graduating as a member of the 112th Trooper Recruit School.  Young served at the Rockford Post before being assigned to the Metropolitan Enforcement Team (MET).  

‘ACE was the place’ for antique tractors last Saturday

October 4, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL A beautiful Indian summer Saturday brought record attendance and participation at Rockford’s ACE Hardware Annual Antique Tractor Show. Arriving in record numbers, 40+ antique tractor owners from near and far were on hand to show off their pride and joy throwbacks to an earlier day. Lovingly cared for and mechanically maintained, they were a joy to behold especially for aficionados of antique tractors, which are legion. Rockford resident Chuck Newton, who has organized the local show for the past 15 years, was thrilled by the turnout and said, “This might well be the largest antique tractor show in Kent County. Pete Kruer has hosted this show since he moved ACE Hardware from downtown Rockford to his spacious grounds here on Northland Drive. Our group loves Pete, he takes good care of us just as he does of his own antique tractor and his famous red ’53 Chevy pick-up truck.” These annual events are juried competitions where six winners are chosen in various categories. This year’s winners were as follows: Best in Show – Eldie Ellenbaas with his 1937 John Deere D, Most Original – Edwin Rounds with his Farmall 1954 Super C, Oldest Tractor – Todd Simcoe with his 1936 John Deere BI, Honorable Mention – Don Snow with his 1950 Allis Chalmers WD, Honorable Mention/Equipment – Carl Walston with his 1953 John Deere AR pulling a 1947 John Deere K-model manure spreader, and last but not least from Farthest Away – Randy Linton, from Edmore, with his 1942 Farmall BN. All winners received plaques attesting to the care and longevity of their tractors and, oftentimes, of their very selves. A great and wonderful time was had by all. Pete Kruer – oftentimes generous to a fault – treated every antique tractor owner/entrant (and family members if present) to a sit-down BBQ Chicken dinner complete with homemade potato salad, baked beans, and rolls along with an ice-cold Coke all supplied by Cannonsburg’s famous Grist Mill owned by Don Kurlowicz. Others in attendance as spectators enjoyed free hot dogs, supplied by The Corner Bar, and sweet corn, supplied by Post Farms and steamed to perfection by the famous Dale Sonke himself! (The man never met a steam engine he didn’t love!) […]

Family Fitness Event Supports Great Cause

October 4, 2012 // 0 Comments

On October 7, 2012 your family can move for a cause. The third annual Race for Healthy Kids 5K run, walk and fun run helps encourage West Michigan families to be active together while raising money for local schools to become healthier places to learn and grow. Race for Healthy Kids is organized by West Michigan Action for Healthy Kids (WMAHK). WMAHK is a local coalition helping our kids, families and schools to become healthier through good nutrition and physical activity. The group focuses on total health, not weight. “All kids, no matter their shape or size, need to move everyday and make healthy food choices,” says Dawn Davies, Co-Chair of the WMAHK. Enjoying activity as a family sets a great example, and makes it more fun! Race for Healthy Kids is the perfect place to start. Whether you’re a seasoned runner, a casual walker, or a first time 5K finisher, this event at is perfect for you! Join us on Sunday, October 7th at 2:00 pm at Rockford High School for a day dedicated to being fit, and having fun, together. Visit www.actionforhealthykids.org/michigan for all race day details.

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