Celebrate an evening of fun and friendship with local law enforcement officers during National Night Out in Rockford, the seventh annual event for the town. Families are invited to come on down to downtown in this event which was designed nationally as a way for neighborhoods to “take back the night” from crime and criminals. It is a time to get to know your local law enforcement officers, enjoy fun activities. In Rockford’s National Night Out officers from the Michigan State Police, Kent County Sheriff Department and Rockford Police will be among the gathering. Last year the event included hotdogs and cake. Booths from the area’s many Neighborhood Watch organizations will be informative or entertaining. Rockford Ambulance will be on hand and the Michigan State Police K-9 unit is usually an attraction for youngsters. Law enforcement officers enjoy the chance to interact with the public in a positive way and build relationships with the community. Giveaways, such as stickers, fliers and safety material is usually a part of the event, which takes place each year the first Tuesday of August.
First responders drill for worst-case scenario by BETH ALTENA No one ever hopes to use the skills they develop under federal guidelines by the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), but if the worst happens, they will be ready. Area first responders—police, fire, paramedics and more—fight explosions, toxic disasters, potentially fatal injuries and other potential catastrophes to be ready for anything. Sue Barthels arranges the volunteers and rescue personnel who have been rotating through potentially dangerous industry locations for years. She said it is a chance to practice skills and review protocols in potentially hazardous materials situations. “It is the equivalent of running a drill,” she described. This year’s spring practice was held at Reisters Grower Services in Sparta. Emergency responders included Rockford Ambulance. Barthels said the practices are required by federal mandate and are taken very seriously. She said every site in Kent County that houses potentially hazardous materials has been evaluated and has an emergency plan in place should a disaster occur. Reisters provides farm chemicals and so qualifies as a potential hazardous material site. LEPC conducts the drills once a year and has been since 1989. This spring’s took place in May and included 110 people including 10 volunteer “victims.” The victims are coached prior to the incident, and include make-up and “injuries” consistent with the disaster scenario. Barthels said the training has come in use in the county for several hazardous materials incidents, including issues with refrigeration ammonia that resulted in no injuries. In Kent County there are 243 locations that have extremely hazardous materials, and LEPC has a plan for every one. The Hazardous Materials Response Team operates out of Grand Rapids, but different groups participate in the scene to hone protocol. Depending on location, local agencies participate as they would should a real incident occur. Incident training has taken place at Ten Mile Road and Alpine Avenue, and the Sparta Airport. Volunteer emergency personnel, such as members of the Civil Emergency Response Team (CERTS), the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) and others have also participated, as they would in a real emergency. “What is important here is a rural fire department got a chance to practice,” said Tom Boyle, assistant director of engineering for Kent County, who was present […]
Organizers have one year to come up with funding by BETH ALTENA After passing last month on contributing city funds to development and maintenance of a public dog park on a former ball field at Richardson-Sowerby Park, Rockford City Council voted this month to dedicate the land for that use for one year. Organizers are confident they can raise the money needed to develop the 180-by-160-foot property into a dog park. In their May 9 meeting, City Council had considered helping to fund the park’s estimated $20,000 cost, perhaps splitting the difference with volunteers who have been hoping to forward the project. Bringing water to the property was $5,000 of the estimate, with the remaining $15,000 representing the cost of purchasing and installing fencing. City Manager Michael Young said it was possible to use Rockford Department of Public Services staff to do the work, which might have lowered the expense to $12,000. According to Young, volunteers had a commitment from Rockford Ambulance to raise $3,000 toward the project, and they had been working with pet supply companies in hopes of receiving more funds. Councilman Brien Dews last month questioned the speed at which the project seemed to be moving forward, considering other proposals, such as a skate park, were making no progress. Members of the audience also commented—one asking if the City couldn’t locate a dog or skate park on the property where Burch Body Works had been located. Another asked about liability and safety issues of a dog park. Young pointed out that the City does not own the Burch Body Works property and is not likely to budget the hundreds of thousands of dollars that would be required to purchase that land. “The idea before you is: Do you want to pledge money for development of a dog park,” Young reminded council. “There isn’t a skate park group asking for money.” Councilwoman Mary Eadie said she was firmly against seeing a dollar of tax money going to a dog park and that she would vote against any City money going to the project. Dews also pointed out that City staff had been asked this year to freeze wages, including negotiated raises, and they had made that sacrifice. “I think maybe in these economic […]
The Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) is proud to present the June installment of its popular Bi-Monthly Luncheon Series. The event is scheduled from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, June 6 at the Rockford Ambulance building, 8450 Shaner Avenue NE. Lunch will feature the delicious fare of Cannonsburg Grist Mill. This month’s luncheon will be an overview of the new format of the luncheons, which will feature more networking opportunities for the participants. The Networking Committee has worked hard to research ideas so the membership can enjoy unique opportunities for networking and expanding their circle of contacts. Representatives from the committee will present the changes planned for the bi-monthly luncheon format. Also on the docket is an overview of Chamber University. “Chamber U” will be the educational arm of the RCC. Chamber membership will have the opportunity to attend classes sponsored by the RCC, and “students” will be able to explore a variety of subjects to help them get the most out of their businesses. Tuition will earn participants an overview of such subjects as the art of networking, marketing, business planning and social media. This educational opportunity is exclusively for RCC membership. To attend this informative luncheon, please call the RCC office at (616) 866-2000, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to register. Cost, which includes lunch, is $15 for chamber members and $20 for non-members. Please note that if you have registered and are unable to attend, you must call and cancel prior to the event or you will be charged. The Bi-Monthly Luncheon Series is a wonderful way to enjoy good food and excellent company in a relaxed atmosphere. Drawings for prizes are conducted at the conclusion of the event. The luncheon is a great networking opportunity, so participants are reminded to bring their business cards.