Rockford Rotary Club

Work underway, funding needed for pavilion remodel

September 1, 2011 // 0 Comments

Building is at the heart of downtown  by BETH ALTENA Visit downtown Rockford any day of the week and you are likely to find people hanging out in the Rotary Pavilion, reading a book, eating or talking. On any given weekend in the summer—and sometimes in the winter—the building will be the site of an auction for a good cause, a chicken BBQ dinner—coming up quick; buy your tickets from any Rockford Rotarian—a business event, a costume contest, concert and more. The structure, however, has seen better days and is due for a remodel. Sponsorships for the project are still available, as fundraising for the project has not yet reached the level required. According to Rick Schroeder of Nugent Builders, who is the chair of the project, Rockford Rotary Club has committed $12,000 toward the remodel and so far the community has pledged $5,600. The building was built on city property 25 years ago and badly needs repairs, a new paint job, and would benefit from a heating system to make it usable year around. Also planned are overhead doors with glass windows for lighting. Currently the building has limited use when the weather turns cold. The club has picked out a weathervane that would add a lot of class and charm, but funding for that has not yet been realized. “There is a lot we can do if the sponsorships come in,” Schroeder stated. “Mostly what we have done is fix and repair,” said Schroeder. “The cupolas needed work. The paneling needed replacing. We’ve been scraping and prepping for painting.” Nugent Builders has donated planning and staff hours for the remodel, and Schroeder is sure other area businesses will step up to help fund this project. The structure is located in the heart of downtown Rockford and is the focal point in so many events held there. “We are taking donations on a sponsorship level so Rotary can work on this and other projects for the community,” Schroeder stated. To find out about options, call Schroeder at his work at (616) 866-7663. In addition to being a sponsor at a gold or silver level, a way any business can help is to purchase Rotary Chicken Dinner tickets for the Harvest Fest event. All businesses that […]

Patent attorney offers advice about keeping ‘secret sauce’

August 25, 2011 // 0 Comments

Inventors need more than good idea  by BETH ALTENA Dan Girdwood, Grand Rapids patent attorney, was a speaker before Rockford Rotary Club members, offering good advice on how to plan and promote an invention without giving up the “secret sauce.” Girdwood said he specializes in the field of intellectual property issues, a field of endeavor just as open to the “little people” as big corporations. He is affiliated with the Grand Rapids Inventors Network (GRIN), a nonprofit organization that helps inventors, marketers and creative people further their ideas. At the Rotary Club meeting, he described how GRIN could help would-be inventors move forward with their idea and hopefully make money in the process. “It’s not about a patent. It’s about your business plan,” he said. “The point is to support your business plan.” A patent gives the owner credibility in negotiation and finance, Girdwood said. It also gives owners control over employees and a stepping stone toward an exit strategy. A first step in deciding whether your invention is a good one is to do a good search and see what is out there, and good research to see if your idea is saleable. A good idea is one with broad potential use, not a narrow field of use. Once a patent is filed, vigilance is required to make sure it isn’t being violated. “You have to take it upon yourself to do something about it if your patent is being violated,” Girdwood advised. “A patent is not a panacea. Usually a patent that is violated is a profitable one.” Laws are in place should a patent prove to be violated, and those in violation have to pay triple the damages to the holder plus court fees—a deterrent with some teeth in it. Timing is also of the essence, Girdwood stated. He used the example of the Sequay. Girdwood said the inventor of the single-person device now common among police for crowd control came out about 12 years ago. He said it took that long for it to be realized that police use was the prime market for the device. Provisional applications for patents last only one year and would have been long expired in that case. He said patents themselves are good for 20 […]


July 28, 2011 // 0 Comments

Rockford Rotary, Rockford schools celebrate reading  by DR. RYAN KELLEY Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Rockford Public Schools An important skill to develop at an early age is reading, as it is the foundation for all future learning. There is truth in the saying, “Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” Recognizing this, the Rockford Rotary Club and Rockford Public Schools are co-sponsoring the Third Annual Reading Rocks in Rockford Festival. The primary objective of the festival is to promote the joy of reading for all ages. This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festival kicks off with a parade through downtown Rockford. Kids and adults are invited to dress up as a storybook character and join in the parade, meeting at Krause Memorial Library at 9:45 a.m. Following the parade, there are many scheduled activities including a publishing center, book bingo, fish for books, readers theater, meet the authors, garden park entertainment, VIP Readers and providing recognition to some of our finest elementary school readers from this past school year. We hope that your summer is filled with memorable experiences, including the reading of many quality books. Additionally, we hope to see everyone at the Reading Festival on August 13. A special thank-you goes to the Rockford Education Foundation for providing additional financial resources to make the festival extra special. If you have any questions, please contact me at (616) 863-6556 or Sue Bodenner of Rockford Rotary Club at (616) 866-2002.

STRIVE scholarships announced

June 9, 2011 // 0 Comments

Rockford Rotary Club and Rockford High School are proud to announce this year’s recipients of the STRIVE scholarship. Angelina Lipzinski and Alicia Walter are seen here with their mentors, Candy Lancioni and Pat Schaub. Rockford Rotary awarded each graduating senior with a $1,200 scholarship for their college. To date, 41 seniors have participated in STRIVE. This was the fifth year of the mentorship program. If you are interested in becoming a mentor to a high school senior next school year please contact Katy VanCuren at Rockford High School or Ramona Hinton at Young Insurance Agency.  

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