by Cliff and Nancy Hill From his second floor office in the Natureview Properties Building, Tom Mall enjoys looking down on the bronze Abraham Lincoln statue that he was instrumental in bringing to Rockford. Mall particularly enjoys the reactions of those who discover the statue for the very first time. Ideally sited on a spur of the White Pine Trail that leads to a boardwalk along the Rogue River, the life-size and lifelike Lincoln statue is discovered and enjoyed by people on a daily basis. Lincoln is seated on a bench that invites passerby to sit and engage Lincoln in what Mall says appears to be, “ A silent conversation, perhaps in thanks, to one of our greatest Presidents.” People interact with the statue in many ways. Photo opportunities are common throughout the day. Some stand in awe of the exacting detail of the statue. Others reach out and touch Lincoln’s hand or face. Still others simply wonder what is on Lincoln’s mind as he sits with his right arm on a stack of books, and in his other hand perhaps a draft of the Gettysburg Address. Mall tells us that his very favorite sighting, one day, was that of a young woman who stood before the statue for some time and then bent over and kissed Lincoln on the forehead and then walked away. A chance photo taken soon after the statue was installed is one of Mall’s favorites. The photo is that of the children of three out-of-town families from Grand Rapids, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. Surrounding Lincoln on that day were eleven young children, two were black, one of which was seated in his lap. This being 147 years after Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address, a just over two-minute speech regarded as one of the greatest in American history, adds poignancy to the photo. The City of Rockford has recently placed additional benches trailside adjacent to the statue that invite visitors to sit and, perhaps, contemplate where we have come as a nation since the Civil War. If you’ve not already discovered Rockford’s Abraham Lincoln statue for yourself, now is the time! We already know of many Rockford area schoolteachers who are thinking of using it in their itineraries for class field […]
September 2 2010
Rockford downs Davison 27-10 by TIM COOPER After three weeks of practice under the hot August sun, the Rockford Rams walked onto the field in front of a large crowd for their opening game August 27, at the Ted Carlson Memorial Stadium. Rockford has opened each of the last three seasons against the Davison Cardinals, and this year was the same. Davison, having won the coin toss, elected to receive the opening kickoff. Steve Mette’s kick would go through the end zone, forcing Davison to start their first drive on their own 20 yard line. Four plays later, Davison would be forced to punt the ball to the Rams, who would start their first drive just inside Davison’s territory, at the 46 yard line. The Cardinals’ defense would limit Rockford to 16 yards on their first possession, forcing a 46 yard field goal attempt by Steve Mette. Mette split the uprights, giving the Rams an early 3-0 lead. The Rams second possession started from their own 20, after a Davison punt went into the end zone. On the first of play of the possession, Rockford quarterback Mark LaPrairie, hit wide receiver Neil VanderLaan with a perfect pass down the left sideline. 75 yards later, VanderLaan was standing alone in the end zone. Davison, trailing by ten, retaliated with a 30 yard field goal to complete their following drive. Rockford countered with a 40 yard field goal by Mette after Davison turned the ball over on their own 17, giving the Rams a 13-3 lead midway through the second quarter. Again, the Rockford defense shut Davison down, forcing them to punt. The Rams’ final possession of the first half ended with a 12 yard LaPrairie pass to Zach Schmuck, putting Rockford ahead by 17 with just over three minutes remaining in the half. Davison’s final drive saw quarterback Jake Thompson connect with Jacob Jacobs, for an 80 yard gain, placing the ball inside the Rockford five. Four plays later, Brandon Cooper plunged into the end zone with seconds left in the half, making the score 20-10. Rockford’s final score of the evening came when Nate Sanders broke off tackle for seven yards into over the goal line, making the final score 27-10. Following the game, […]
Rockford Boy Scout Troop 264 celebrated its 100th birthday with a three-day Scout Exhibition at the Rockford Community Cabin August 26 to 28. The Exhibition was planned and executed by the Scouts themselves under the leadership of John Reedy and Michael Julien with guidance from Assistant Scoutmaster Jennie Betz and Troop Committee Chair Beth Reedy. Each day began and ended with a flag ceremony. A model campsite was set up featuring tents, an ax yard and first aid station. Scouts demonstrated the safe use and care of axes and hatchets and various first aid techniques. An archway was constructed with poles lashed together and the Scouts demonstrated knot tying and even built a bridge over Rum Creek using only poles, planks and rope. Inside the Community Cabin, were a display of Scout memorabilia and a history of the Troop from its founding as Troop 1 by Merritt Lamb in 1910 to the present. Saturday, the Scouts built a bonfire which they used to retire American flags according to the flag code. A Court of Honor was held to present the Scouts with merit badges and rank advancements they had earned. A total of 188 merit badges were earned by 41 different Scouts and 27 of the Scouts earned rank advancements. Gerald R. Ford Council Scout Executive Michael Sulgrove addressed the assembly on the importance of Scouting and congratulated the Troop on being the first in the Council to complete 100 years of service.
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Rockford resident, Michelle Jennings knew she had a winner. The stained glass artist and President of Sorrelle Insurance Agency in Grand Rapids had been told by ArtCapsule organizer Jeff Lewis that an informal verbal poll had been taken at the ballot box during the first ever Rockford ArtCapsule event. Voters were asked what their favorite entry was. Overwhelmingly their response was, “Eyes on the Trail”—Jennings’ beautiful 2’ x 3’ stained glass panel of a peacock. Beautiful indeed, it was a kaleidoscope of color. Monday evening, August 23, the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) announced monetary prize awards to the top three winners as follows: • Best of Show – $275: Michelle Jenings, stained glass peacock • Best 2-D Artwork – $175: Dan DeWard, phtographic fish-eye view of the Rockford Dam • Best 3-D Artwork – $175: Michael Bieri, driftwood sculpture Jennings was thrilled with her “Best of Show” award. Having for the past four years learned her craft under the tutelage of Eric Brown she has become an accomplished stained glass artisan herself. “When I began four years ago, I couldn’t give my stuff away and today I am creating commissioned stained glass works,” said Jennings, adding, “This is my very first competition and I’m overwhelmed and honored by the voters response.” ArtCapsule was held in concert with the first-ever Taste of Rockford and both events playing off each other, created a win-win afternoon for everyone involved. There were many winners that afternoon. The multi-talented Rockford artistic community had the opportunity to display their creative endeavors in many venues scattered throughout the business community drawing in countless residents and out-of-town visitors. Rockford area restaurants, who participated in the Taste of Rockford, had the opportunity to “strut their stuff”. What was not to like? Eric Brown Stained Glass and GeneAnn Schaefer of the Frame and Mat Shop both tell us that as ArtCapsule venues more people had passed through their doors than on any prior given business day. “It was a stroke of pure genius to have scheduled both events on the same day,” said Brown. City Manager Michael Young and ArtCapsule organizer Jeff Lewis couldn’t agree more. Combined these two events are a potential powerhouse that might well rival the popular […]
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL The banner across the front entrance to the large Townsend Park picnic shelter read, “Welcome and Thank-you”. On a beautiful Friday evening, August 27, Rockford’s Morris Builders celebrated 25 years of servicing the Rockford community and beyond. The multi-year recipient of the Remodeler of the Year Award, from the Home and Building Association of Greater Grand Rapids, along with the 2006 Business of Integrity Award, from the Western Michigan Better Business Bureau, held its first ever Customer Appreciation Open House to thank past clients for the company’s 25-year success story. A close family business owned and operated by Kirk and Joy Morris, Morris Builders, Inc. offers design, build, and remodeling expertise and prides itself on being trendsetters in their industry. “Everybody’s (our clients) been taking care of us for the past 25 years, so now it’s time for us to begin a tradition of thanking the multitude of clients we’ve been privileged and honored to serve,” said Kirk Morris. It was obvious that evening that past clients in attendance reciprocated a mutual feeling of respect and appreciation. Rockford resident Sandy Karl, who has used Morris Builders in remodeling projects twice in recent years said, “Morris Builders stands 100% behind what they design and build. If you have a problem, they want to know about it right now! They treat you just like family.” It seemed to us that evening, from comments we heard from those present, that complete satisfaction is the cornerstone of Morris Builders success. Being reporters has its perks and this event was no exception. Everyone present was personally thanked and then treated to a sumptuous catered picnic buffet complete with famous Herman’s Boy pulled pork sandwiches and chicken wings along with various sides some of which were secret Morris family recipes prepared by Joy. And, of course, a picnic isn’t a picnic without a moist and decadent piece of thickly iced chocolate sheet cake (from baker Chef Steve of Herman’s Boy). Beverages galore went without saying. Nobody left that evening hungry. We are still stuffed.