The Rockford Chamber of Commerce (RCC) is proud to present its annual “State of the Community” Luncheon. The luncheon is part of the RCC’s popular Bi-Monthly Luncheon Series. This special event is scheduled from noon until 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12 at Rockford High School, 4100 Kroes Street. The luncheon is open to the general public. The RCC has partnered with many entities to bring attendees an informative, comprehensive overview of many aspects of their community. Those attending can enjoy a lunch while featured presenters highlight their area of expertise. Special guests, and their topics, include: • State of the Michigan House of Representatives: Rep. Pete MacGregor, 73rd District • State of the County: Roger Morgan, chair, Kent County Board of Commissioners • State of the City of Rockford: Michael Young, city manager • State of the Rockford Public Schools: Dr. Michael Shibler, superintendent • State of the Rockford Chamber of Commerce: Dr. Carl Stites, president The RCC is also working with the offices of Senator Debbie Stabenow. Stabenow is unable to attend due to the senate meeting that afternoon. However, she has graciously agreed to tape a message specifically for the RCC event. Congressman Justin Amash, Senator Mark Jansen and the local townships have been asked to give a comprehensive written overview of their areas to keep you up-to-date with issues that affect the community. Information will be compiled into an informational packet that will be distributed at the luncheon. This special installment of the Bi-Monthly Luncheon is one you do not want to miss. To attend this timely presentation, please call the RCC at (616) 866-2000, or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to register. Cost, which includes lunch, is $15 for RCC members and $20 for non-members.
Uccello brothers expanding new business by BETH ALTENA David and Daniel Uccello, ages 20 and 25, were confident the location at 1259 Post Drive was a winner for their new restaurant and sports bar, and after four months of success and even expanding the business, their confidence has been proven. Florentine Pizzeria Ristorante and Sports Bar is not only doing good business, but has expanded to offer banquet facilities for parties of up to 120 people. The restaurant and sports bar is hopping with sports fans watching the games on the large plasma screens and with dining fans enjoying the authentic recipes and flavors from Italy. “We draw from Rockford, Sparta, Comstock Park and Northview,” said David. “This is in the heart of those areas.” David and Daniel had reason to expect their establishment to do well. Their family is in the restaurant business with father and uncles as owners of 10 restaurants in West Michigan. The entities are known for authentic Italian flavors, also with good reason. The Uccellos come from Sicily, Italy, where both David and Daniel were born. Their father, Salvatore Uccello and mom Franca, moved the family to West Michigan because his brother was making a success here of the first Uccello’s family restaurant. David was just seven when he moved here, Daniel 12. David started working in the family business at age 15, making pizzas, with his brother alongside, also learning the trade. David is grateful for the opportunity to continue with the restaurant he and Daniel co-own. “He came here for a better life,” said David of his father’s move to the United States. David said owning a business in the old country means doing business with the mafia, paying for “protection.” Sicily in particular is known for the strong mafia presence. West Michigan, by comparison, is a better place to own a business. Still, the two are able to visit family remaining in Italy, and appreciate the cooking of their two grandmothers, who passed recipes on to Salvatore. “My dad taught us to cook and our mom, too,” David noted. “My mom couldn’t cook. Most people assume it’s the other way around.” David said that when he visits Italy he tries to incorporate some of the recipes from […]
James “Isaac” Nelson, of Rockford, was chosen to be a member of the Olympic Development Program (ODP) soccer team for the state of Michigan. ODP is the program from which our Olympic Team is chosen. They pick a team at each age group and eventually, through much development, select the national team to represent our country in the Olympics. Isaac is eleven years old and is the only one to make it in his age group from the west part of the state. Statewide around 50 kids tried out in his age group and they selected the top 28 or so. Its pretty rare for kids to make it from the west side of the state since all the coaches are from the east side. He plays striker/forward and just finished 5th grade at Roguewood Elementary. He played 5 years for Flying Kick soccer club and this year will be playing for Alliance FC. “It’s a huge honor,” described Tim. “Needless to say, he was delighted.” Nelson admitted that “Dad shed a tear of pride and joy for him. He has worked hard and absolutely loves this sport. He plays with joy and passion.”
Should nonprofits participate in political campaigns, lobbying? Last week, I discussed the advantages of a nonprofit, charitable organization qualifying for 501(c)(3) status. There are specific activities, however, such as political and lobbying, in which these qualifying organizations should be very careful if they choose to participate. The penalty for participation is the potential loss of the entity’s 501(c)(3) status. Participating in political campaigns is potentially big trouble for nonprofits. I attended a seminar recently and the instructor used a visual aid to illustrate how much leeway a nonprofit has when it comes to political activity. Imagine having your hands bound together quite tightly in front of you and then bound quite tightly to your body. There isn’t too much activity that you can partake in when you can’t separate your hands and you can’t move them away from your body. If you try to stretch, you might break a finger or sprain a wrist. If the nonprofit stretches into the political arena, it takes the chance of losing its status. Nonprofits just don’t have much leeway when it comes to political activity. They can promote a voter registration drive as long as it’s conducted in a non-partisan manner. If they promote registering to vote for a particular candidate or party, that is not allowable. They can participate in a get-out-to-vote drive. However, if they promote getting out to vote for a particular candidate or party, that is not allowable. They can publish voter guides, but it must include all candidates and all issues to be voted upon. The voter guide can contain a comparison chart as long as it is non-biased. If the voting guide appears to be biased in favor of one candidate or party, there could be trouble. These are small exceptions to the rule that says nonprofits should stay out of the world of politics. However, what about lobbying? Apparently, a nonprofit can stretch a little bit into the lobbying arena. They do have to report the lobbying activity as part of their annual tax return filing. They have to allocate their income and expenses between lobbying and non-lobbying activities, and may have to pay an excise tax on the lobbying income. This paragraph comes from the Internal Revenue Service’s Publication: “In general, no organization […]