Planning Commission asks public for input on development

March 10, 2011 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Planning Commission will be holding a public open house on Thursday, March 17, between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00 p.m. at the Rockford City Hall. The purpose of the open house will be to review and discuss proposed amendments to the City’s Land Use Master Plan for an identified subarea. The subarea includes that part of the City from the Wolverine World Wide tannery property east to Northland Drive. The plan update will focus on proposed future land uses for this subarea including public and private development. Once approved, the Master Plan update will become part of the City’s comprehensive Master Plan and will serve as a guide for the Planning Commission and City Council when making development decisions. This will be a true open house style meeting where residents and interested parties can come and go as they wish and discuss the proposed amendments with Planning Commissioners, City staff and consultants. City Manager Michael Young and consultants from LSL Planning will be making initial presentations at the beginning of the open house at 6 p.m., and then repeated at 7 p.m. A copy of the draft plan amendment will be available on the City’s website prior to the open house. For further information or questions regarding this meeting, please contact City Manager Michael Young at (616) 866-1537 or at

Letters to the Editor—April 29, 2010

April 29, 2010 // 0 Comments

Home grown scientist comments on climate column With regards to changes in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms over time, the status of current research is, as you note, inconclusive. The problem of extracting definitive conclusions from the data is complicated by many factors, including the evolution (and variety) of measurement techniques, gaps in the historical storm record, diverse methods of quantifying storm intensity, and the complex and localized nature of tropical storms themselves. The most accurate and consistent long-term data sample comes from studies of the North Atlantic, so let’s avoid some of these complications by restricting our focus here. For example, the Pew Center on Global Climate Change claims that the average number of named tropical storms in the North Atlantic since 1996 has exceeded the previous historical maximum set in the 1950s by approximately 40%. You may argue that this is merely the result of spotty historical data being compared to complete modern data; you may reference other studies or measures of storm frequency that show no statistically significant trend; you may claim that the change is a normal multi-decadal variation; and you would be right to so! Nevertheless, it is just one of many studies that at least suggest a long-term trend of increased storm frequency. Clearly, further study is required. But tropical storm frequency, as it turns out, is less meaningful than intensity, and here the research becomes rather abstruse. You cite Ryan Maue, a Florida State University PhD candidate, whose studies of net global “Accumulated Cyclone Energy” (the integrated sum of all cyclones’ maximum wind speed squared) are very interesting. ACE is a convolution of global storm frequency, intensity, and duration, so it falls a bit outside the stated bounds of discussion. Still, as a comparison, let’s also consider MIT Professor of Meteorology Kerry Emanuel’s “Power Dissipation Index” (the integrated sum of cyclones’ maximum sustained wind speed cubed). Although similar in definition to Maue’s ACE, Emanuel’s PDI indicates a ~60% increase over the past thirty years in the North Atlantic. It is highly correlated with the surface sea temperature, which itself is correlated with global warming. There’s obviously a good deal of natural variability in the frequency and intensity of tropical storms, and, as discussed, making conclusions about […]

Rockford’s Heckman returns with billboards for ArtPrize

September 24, 2009 // 0 Comments

Cancer-stricken artist vows ‘If it’s the last thing I do’ Rockford artist Mark Heckman refuses to be down in the mouth about his health when winning ArtPrize could give him another shot at realizing his dream of creating a lasting monument to Grand Rapids. Heckman, who is battling stage III non-Hodgkins lymphoma, is unveiling a series of artistic billboards to draw attention to his renewed effort to erect a giant tooth sculpture to honor the city as the first in the nation to fluoridate its water. “I don’t want sympathy – I want votes,” said Heckman, who has adopted the persona of The Tooth Fairy for his artistic campaign. “I’m going to keep fighting tooth and nail for this project—if it’s the last thing I do.” His ArtPrize entry centers around a number of CBS outdoor billboards in downtown Grand Rapids, including the tongue-in-cheek “First In Fluoride” which depicts George Washington and the Tooth Fairy crossing the city’s Grand River with a mammoth molar. “It’s a fact that the father of our country had terrible dentures,” Heckman said, noting that Washington had lost all but one of his teeth by the time of his inauguration. “He probably should have spent more time brushing and less time cutting down cherry trees.” Heckman, who has garnered worldwide attention with his billboards about AIDS, racism and various environmental issues, has also painted a pair of side-by-side billboards that promote Grand Rapids Tap Water with the advertising slogan, “Tastes Great. Less Fillings.” “I feel the art world has a giant cavity that is waiting to be filled with my project,” he said. “There is no question that a giant tooth would draw attention to Grand Rapids’ place in dental history.” ArtPrize, which has drawn artists from around the world to the biggest competition of its kind, will be decided by a public vote between Sept. 23 and Oct. 7.

News Bits – August 27, 2009

August 27, 2009 // 0 Comments

North Kent Service Center to retain summer hours The North Kent Service Center (NKSC) is keeping the summer hours of Monday-Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., as new service hours for their clients and the community. NKSC has found that these hours have been beneficial for everyone during the summer months. With the longer hours, NKSC is able to meet the need of clients who are working, and community members wishing to drop off items at the donation center after work, and saves on operational expenses. The donation area will also be open Fridays and Saturdays, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Please do not drop off donations at the front door on Sunday or when gates are closed.)

Reds celebrates third anniversary with big thank-you to West Michigan

August 6, 2009 // 0 Comments

When it comes to clichés, food is often a common subject matter. “The proof is in the pudding… the cream rises to the top… fine as wine… taken with a grain of salt… that’s icing on the cake…” Fortunately for West Michigan, and specifically Rockford residents, many of these sayings ring particularly true with respect to one of Rockford’s newer businesses, Reds on the River. Reds is celebrating its third anniversary in August (having officially opened on August 11, 2006), and with each guest served, the restaurant has continued to excel in its efforts to create a warm, comfortable, fun venue with their food, beverages and service. To thank the many guests who have supported Reds over the past three years, the restaurant is rolling out its new dessert menu in August and offering guests a complimentary dessert (with the purchase of an entrée) whenever they bring in this article. Reds will also award lucky winners gift cards each week throughout the month of August. To enter to win, sign up to receive Reds e-mails on special events, Wine and Cooking School, and happy hour offerings. Reds’ Executive Chef and General Manager Glenn Forgie notes he and his culinary team “are thrilled to have the opportunity to serve Rockford and West Michigan.” Much is in the works for the coming year. One new event will be Reds Heirloom Tomato Festival (co-sponsored with Ingraberg Farms and New Holland Brewing), August 22, 2009, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Promenade parking lot. Enjoy free tomato testing, a kids tent with several activities, three live bands, a salsa contest and Best of Show judging on the main stage, plus beverage specials on Reds’ deck. Reds’ new small plates, lunch, dinner, dessert and happy hour menus can also be looked forward to in the coming year, along with the expansion of Reds’ cooking and wine schools. Reds on the River welcomes the community in celebrating the restaurant’s third anniversary throughout the month of August.

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