Rockford’s earliest veterans were remembered on Memorial Day Monday, May 31 at Pioneer Cemetery, at North Rockford Middle School, visible from Ten Mile Road. Flags were placed on graves by members of the Rockford Historical Society. This year will be a great time to visit the cemetery, which is now being generously maintained by the City of Rockford.
Rockford Historical Society
Paws has 25 trainers on staff and 150 employees in 35 states. Dogs are all raised by foster families, who rear the animals to be very familiar with many different situations and pay for all the costs incurred during the puppy’s early life, including spaying or neutering. “Some people have done this nine times in a row,” said Boes, who called these people heroes. After a year of living in the foster home, the dog returns to Paws for training, and begins with a four to six-week boot camp reviewing basic commands. The three-phase training follows basic commands with learning to pick up items before the dog is chosen for a particular individual and learns skills specific to that person’s needs. Boes said that once an individual has been selected to receive a dog, their needs are reviewed, including in-home visits to determine what skills the dog will need. After filing an application, a dog may be selected quickly, or as long as a year may pass before a suitable dog becomes available. In a wheelchair herself, Boes said she put off applying for a dog, even though she worked at Paws. “I didn’t want to accept that I needed one,” she said. Suffering from a degenerative disease, Boes said she put off taking a dog as long as possible before she partnered up with Argon. Once she saw him in the kennel, she felt a bond and knew she had to have him. Shortly after bringing Argon home, Boes struck her head badly and was bleeding heavily. Argon brought her a phone and she was able to call for aid. Her doctor told her if she hadn’t had the phone and had waited for help she would likely have bled to death. Despite the value of these animals—in Boes case, lifesaving—dogs are occasionally returned. If a dog is returned twice, the organization does not try to place them again, but instead gives them to another organization, such as the border patrol, airports, police agencies or other groups that use dogs. Boes said dogs don’t all perform the same tasks, but all know basic skills, such as answering the phone and pushing elevator buttons. She had Argon pick up a dime and other objects […]
RPS’s Mike Cuneo offers breakdown on millage spending It may look as though the lion’s share of $45.8 million in remodeling for Rockford’s schools went to athletic fields, but that could not be further from the truth, stated Mike Cuneo, Director of Finance at Rockford Public Schools. Cuneo said improvements to athletic fields throughout the district are easy to see, while improvements in the school and to the buildings themselves may be less obvious to the public. He shared this information Thursday, November 5 at the Rockford Historical Society meeting. Cuneo said building improvements took up 70 percent of the money slated for the building fund that voters approved in May of 2008. The vote, just as this November’s was, was a renewal that did not increase taxes. According to Cuneo, technology improvements took up 17 percent and the athletic field improvements constituted only 13 percent of the spending. “We cannot use any of this money for operations,” he reiterated. Some have questioned updating technology and buildings at a time when the school faces dire cuts from state funding. “There is a building fund and there is an operation fund,” Cuneo said. “It is two different monies that cannot be co-mingled.” For technology, much of the money was used to put projectors in every classroom. On the elementary schools, classrooms were added to bring students out of mobile classrooms outside schools. “With as many schools as possible we have tried to increase parking,” Cuneo said. Cuneo received a bit of a grilling over the question of a second high school. He explained that Rockford could likely build a second high school, but there isn’t money to operate a second high school in the district. Rockford’s Superintendent Michael Shibler has also addressed this issue in the past, pointing out that the high school seems huge, but is actually not at capacity, where many elementary schools in the district are over capacity. Cuneo told the audience that it costs $3 million to operate a high school annually.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU—All turning 94 this fall, these Rockford residents were honored at the Thursday, November 5 Rockford Historical Society meeting. Pictured are Norine Elkins, Hellen Hessler and Clarence Blakeslee. Blakeslee turned 94 the end of October while Hessler and Elkins have their birthdays coming up shortly. If you see these folks around town, be sure to wish them well. Clarence Blakeslee has long been known as Rockford’s most famous photographer. Always carrying a camera, he has literally taken thousands of pictures of Rockford people over the years. Blakeslee was also a political photographer and has taken hundreds of celebrity photographs. Many of his pictures are on display at the Rockford Squire, along with cameras from Blakeslee’s life-long hobby of collecting cameras. Stop by the Squire office at 331 Northland Drive during regular business hours to view the photos of such famous personalities as Gerald Ford, Ted Kennedy, Liz Taylor and Pearl Bailey.
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL On a bluebird Friday afternoon, the first day of Rockford’s Annual Harvest Fest, the Bishop Hills Elder Care Community hosted its annual fall Petting Zoo. Present was guest of honor, Bishop Hills resident Clarence Blakeslee (Mr. Rockford). Clarence would never miss such a photo opportunity and he came, as always, equipped with a camera. Also present for the afternoon, in no particular order, were the critters from Rockford’s “Farm Animals on the Go”, the pre-schoolers and kindergarteners from Our Lady of Consolation School accompanied by classroom teachers, aides, and parents, and last but not least Jack Bolt, representing the Rockford Historical Society. Bolt was on hand to present Clarence with a copy of Images of America – Rockford, a pictorial book of Rockford’s history by author Roberta (Bobbi) Schirado. The author had personally inscribed the book and wrote on the title page, “To Clarence Blakeslee, a Dedicated Historian”. Clarence thanked Bolt and the Society for the book. He expressed great pleasure because the book was a pictorial history of Rockford. In a quote that couldn’t be more fitting Clarence said, “Pictures are the story of my life.” Indeed, for Clarence, they are. He was never seen about town without a camera, or two, or more hanging around his neck. Clarence spent decades of his life recording, in picture, the lives and times of his beloved Rockford. The presentation of the book was all the more appropriate because it was very likely that some of the pictures contained therein were taken by Clarence himself and donated at a later date to the Rockford Historical Society. Clarence Blakeslee will celebrate his 95th birthday on October 30 (the day before Halloween). He would love to hear from you. Birthday cards can be sent to Clarence, care of: Bishop Hills Elder Care Community, 4951 ll-Mile Road, Rockford, MI 49341.