by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Is there anyone in the greater Rockford area who hasn’t taken a cooking class hosted by Chef Robin Toldo? If not, all is not lost for soon you will be able to have all your cooking queries answered face to face by the charming and delightful Chef Robin in her soon-to-be opened boutique food pantry – Food Art. Last Wednesday evening, Chef Robin hosted an invitation only soft opening of her Belmont storefront located at 1259 Post Drive, right next door to Flo’s Italian Ristorante. It was standing room only all evening as Chef Robin’s many friends and adoring fans sampled the local, West Michigan sourced foodstuffs she plans to offer. Perhaps Chef Robin is better known for her 100% fresh, all natural ingredient, hummalicious hummus which she produces and distributes locally to many fine food marts such as Forest Hills Foods, Kingma’s, and the upscale Plum Markets of Ann Arbor and Bloomfield Hills. Others know Chef Robin from weekly appearances as a regular vendor at the Saturday morning Rockford Farm Market where she, more often than not, sells out of hummus. It was at Rockford Farm Market that the “seeds” for her Food Art store were planted. This was America’s Favorite Farmers Market after all, and Robin was surrounded by purveyors of quality West Michigan produced foodstuffs such as, Great Harvest Bread, Maisy’s Pie and Cookies, and Local Epicurian organic herb infused hand-crafted noodles, to name a few of many. Chef Robin thought, “Why not make all this great food available locally year-round?” Seeking a space for a larger hummus production kitchen of her own, she decided to also include a retail storefront and make this dream a reality. In a Grand Opening scheduled for Thursday, October 11, Chef Robin plans to also offer Veggie Bites – all natural pickle chips, Daily de-lish Organic Oat Granola, Amos and Maude’s seasoning mixes, Grassfields organic cheeses, Englesma’s Apple Barn cider, and the Dancing Goat Creamery’s goat cheeses – fresh chevre, traditional Greek feta, soft-ripened cow’s milk cheese. This is but a partial list. There you have it! Food Art – local food for local people.
October 4 2012
by Randy Gregory The stats don’t jump off the page at you, but Rockford senior quarterback Kyle Short played a huge role as Rockford knocked off West Ottawa 24-14 at Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium in Rockford on Friday, September 28th. Short has been battling a stress fracture in his foot since before the season even started and Friday’s contest marked the first time this year he was able to go all the way for the Rams. Rockford coach Ralph Munger stressed that having Short on the field helps in myriad ways for the Rams offensively. “It really allows us to open up the playbook when Kyle is in there,” said Munger. “Take nothing away from Austin (McKellar), he did a great job for someone with little experience at the position filling in. But Kyle is a calming senior influence on the field and we really need that with so few returnees offensively. And even though he is not back to full strength you could see that Kyle was much more mobile tonight and that adds some new facets to our offense.” The Rockford defense also continued their season-long trend of solid play as well. West Ottawa entered the contest averaging nearly 30 points a game but the Ram defense allowed only one touchdown in a prevent defense situation late in the first half. Their other score was a 42-yard interception return at the 5:14 mark of the opening quarter that gave the Panthers an early 7-0 lead. The Panthers opening drive was crisply run and got down to the Ram 7 yard line before KC Zenner made a leaping interception for the Rams that temporarily halted West Ottawa from scoring. The interception return for a touchdown by the Panthers happened on the subsequent possession. On their first six carries of the game West Ottawa garnered 42 yards. Their next 18 carries netted a loss of 12 yards as the Rams completely stifled a previously potent Panther ground game. West Ottawa had little more success passing the ball as they went 8 of 21 for 121 yards. To further illustrate the dominance of the Ram defense, the Panthers went three plays and out on their first five possessions of the second half. “We really wanted to […]
by RANDY GREGORY Coming into this season it was expected that the Rockford defense would have to carry the weight of the team early. The defense returned six starters and a few other players with extensive playing time from last year. The offense on the other hand returned only a pair of starters and a passel of question marks. That was in addition to a seemingly endless string of injuries that have permeated the offense all year long. Factor in contests against two of the top teams in the state in Lowell and Muskegon and it appeared to be a difficult to impossible task that awaited them. But they have proven more than equal to the task. Through six games the Rockford defense has only allowed an average of 12.5 points per game to a slate of opponents that probably equivocates to that played by anyone else in the state. Top-ranked Muskegon scored the most against the Rams with 21 points. The Rockford defense has pitched one shutout with a 22-0 victory over Holt. “We have played pretty well defensively over the course of this season so far,” said Rockford coach Ralph Munger. “Coach (Randy) VanderVeen and his staff do a wonderful job of preparing for our next opponent on a weekly basis. But we can’t rest on our laurels and expect to accomplish all of the goals we wanted to this year. We need to continue to get better on a week in and week out basis.” Junior inside linebackers Brent Showers and Randy Garvin have led the way for Rockford through six games with 55 and 46 tackles respectively. Senior outside linebackers Jeff Baldwin and Blake McDonald have also been pivotal to the success of a stellar linebacker corps. Senior safety KC Zenner sat out the first two games after a lengthy rehab from a severe knee injury. He limped through the first two contests he played in but has somehow gutted his way to four interceptions as he fights to get back to full strength. “Brent Showers is just a day in day out football player,” said Rockford coach Ralph Munger. “He plays the game with a passion that you can’t teach. You can add KC Zenner to that list too. Those […]
by RANDY GREGORY The Rockford football team got out of the gates a little slowly this year while they battled a slew of injuries and a front-loaded schedule. Rockford has gotten a touch healthier every week and the slate of games also got a bit kinder. Subsequently the Rams have run off a three-game winning streak that has them at 4-2 on the season and, more importantly, 2-0 in the OK Red. This week the Rams will make the trek to Hudsonville on Friday, October 5 at 7 p.m. to take on an Eagle team that has fallen on tough times recently after an extended run of having state-ranked teams. The Eagles record stands at 1-5 so far and they have been thumped 59-13, 28-6 and 21-6 in their last three games against Grand Rapids Christian, West Ottawa and Grandville respectively. The Eagles haven’t finished above .500 since 2008 and haven’t beaten Rockford since an 18-14 victory in 2007. The Rams have taken the last four games but the Eagles triumphed in four of the first five meetings in this relatively young rivalry. Every one of the early games came down to the final seconds with the outcome always in doubt. But though the tables have turned recently, Rockford coach Ralph Munger expects this game to be another difficult game for the Rams. “Hudsonville really likes to get after you on defense and they will blitz constantly,” said Munger. “They are a power offense that plays with that same aggressive style of play that the defense does. It doesn’t matter what the records are when these two teams get together. They would like nothing better than to knock us off and we had better be prepared or it will be a long night for us.” Hudsonville’s other two losses came in down to the wire contests against Holt (24-21) and Zeeland East (15-14). Their lone win came against Muskegon Reeths Puffer by a 14-6 margin in the second game of the year.
By Cindy M. Cranmer A Rockford artist and participant at ArtPrize is among those giving hands-on demonstrations at the venue where her work is displayed. Stacy Niedzwiecki, a graphic designer and photographer, enjoys photographing nature. Niedzwiecki has earned numerous awards for her work and has been published. Niedzwiecki’s third and current entry focuses on her From the Shores collection. The photography collection features “unique, new images captured not only from the Great Lakes but from streams, rivers, inland lakes and may include important flora and fauna naturally found in these locations.” Her ArtPrize entry was taken on Sept. 1 at Ludington State Park. “The unusual cloud formations were a result of the remnants of Hurricane Isaac as the northern edge of the weather system passed over the Great Lakes,” she said. While Niedzwiecki spent an art residency and the summer months concentrating on “seeking unique perspectives and objects discovered literally ‘from the water’s edge’,” she could not resist the image taken in early September as her entry. “The sky was just amazing. I knew it was a short time, but that had to be my entry,” she said of her ArtPrize choice. Niedzwiecki’s work can be purchased at her ArtPrize venue, which is Peaches Bed and Breakfast at 29 Gay Ave. SE, or through her website. The website is www.stacyn.com. Niedzwiecki has spent 25 years in graphic design. She has been a photographer for about eight years focusing on travel, nature and event photography. Her work has been featured in the MI Blue magazine and for such projects as hospital design work. There were 64 of her photographs used at the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion. “That was really a life changing experience for me,” Niedzwiecki said. A book was produced based on that work, which was titled Healing Images – A Selection from the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion. She also was one of 10 artists selected as part of a book that was developed for Pure Michigan. Niedzwiecki was an artist selected for the residency program at ISLAND, which stands for the Institute for Sustainable Living and Natural Design. As part of her time in Bellaire, Niedzwiecki was able to stay in a beautiful log cabin for almost two weeks taking nature photographs. Niedzwiecki said she loves […]