September 23 2010

‘Balls of fire’ over Rockford a mystery

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

A Rockford resident who prefered to identify herself only as Kelly called The Squire on Thursday, September 15, to ask if anyone else had reported mysterious balls of fire that she, her teenage son and another resident witnessed the evening before. Kelly said she was on Fremont Street near Ten Mile Road when she noticed her son looking up into the sky. When she looked up, she saw what appeared to be two spheres filled with fire floating westward. As she watched, she said the fire dimmed from the balls, leaving a dark outline of the floating spheres. “A man walked by and I asked him if he had seen them and he said no,” Kelly stated. As she was talking to the man, two more balls floated overhead and then more until a total of about ten to twelve had floated over. “They looked like those large bouncy balls or balloons,” Kelly stated, “but I know they couldn’t be filled with fire. People driving on Ten Mile must have seen them.” Kelly said it appeared the balls came from the woods up behind the Dollar General store or near the Rockford Cemetery. Kelly said after the incident was over, she drove up through the neighborhoods where the balls appeared to have originated, but saw nothing unusual. Calls to the Rockford Police, the Michigan State Police and the Kent County Sheriff Department all reported no other sightings the evening of Wednesday, September 14. According to Kelly, the incident happened just as it was getting quite dark, so she believes it must have been about 8:30 p.m. A call to Pederson Funeral Home confirmed there have been no burial ceremonies that might have included the release of floating lanterns. “I can’t believe no one else called this in,” stated Kelly. At the Squire we are very curious about the “balls of fire” floating over Rockford and hope anyone who can clear up this mystery will call Editor Beth Altena at (616) 866-4465. Anyone with photos is asked to email them to We will keep names out of the story if requested. While looking around on the Internet for any postings regarding balls of fire in the sky for Rockford Michigan, the following report was located […]

Chicken dinner, urban camping, first weekend of Harvest Festival

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

Hayrides, scarecrow, art kids events all three weekends “If the Colonel [Sanders] had our recipe he’d have been a General,” said Rotarian Rick Ehinger of the annual Rockford Rotary chicken BBQ dinner sale to be held this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The sale takes place at the Rotary Pavilion on the corner of Courtland and Squires streets beginning at noon on Friday, September 24. Friday kicks off the first of three weekends of Harvest Festival with returning entertainment, The Great Pumpkin at Garden Club Park, a beer tent at Grill One Eleven, a brand new urban camping event and more. Among the three weekends of activities will be an art show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Herman’s Boy, 220 Northland Drive, each Saturday with working artists and art for sale. Throughout downtown there will be childrens activities, including face painting at Frenz and a pumpkin contest at Sweet Tooth. The urban camping event takes place off Main Street and will feature a local Air Stream camper with modifications, a Volkswagon camper and more. The self-contained units will be open for public inspection and may become an annual event. Jim Bodenner, owner of the Air Stream, said urban camping is a new idea and allows campers to an urban area to enjoy shopping, dining and other local ammenities. The Rotary BBQ dinner is the organization’s largest fundraiser. This year money raised from the $9 dinners will go toward improvements to the Rotary Pavilion (where the sale is held). In addition to sit-down dining, a drive-up service is offered for your convenience. See more Harvest Festival savings and events on pages 10 and 11 and watch next week’s Squire for more Harvest Festival news.

Board, MDOT harassment investigations find nothing

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

‘It is difficult to validate their accusations’ —Supervisor Meek Two different investigations of claims of threats and harassment are concluded in Plainfield Township. An MDOT investigation regarding the Kent County Road Commission’s (KCRC) actions in securing agreements to grade Belmont Road property frontage found there were no threats to residents in order to receive permission for grading. An extensive investigation initiated and paid for by Supervisor George Meek and trustees Charles Weldon and Vic Matthews—threatened with recall—also found no basis for the claims of threats made by residents. A small group of verbal and accusing residents have been condemning the board members, as well as the KCRC staff, of disregarding the will of voters, breaking the law, and complaining of threats to health and home. Several of those claiming wrongdoing by KCRC and the board refused to talk to Gene Debbaudt, a former FBI investigator who was hired to look into the accusations. “While we respect their right not to talk to our investigators, without the information they claim to possess, it is difficult to validate their accusations,” said Supervisor George Meek following the board’s Monday, September 20 meeting. “We are satisfied that the issue of threats and intimidation has been meticulously and extensively investigated, not only by Mr. Debbaudt and his associates, but also by MDOT. We now consider this matter closed,” said Meek.

Police department participates in Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

The Rockford Police Department, working with the Drug Enforcement Administration and other law enforcement partners, will participate in a one-day event intended to collect potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs. On Saturday, Sept. 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. a collection site will be set up in the lobby of City Hall located at 7 S. Monroe in Rockford. This service is available to anyone wishing to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs. The Rockford Police Department also offers a prescription drug drop-off box located in the City Hall lobby daily during business hours. Additional information about the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day may be found by going to or by calling the Rockford Police Department at (616) 866-9557.

Rockford Rotary exchange student attends conference in Petoskey

September 23, 2010 // 0 Comments

Club is looking for outbound exchange student This past weekend the Rotary District 6290, which Rockford is part of, sponsored a conference for all inbound exchange students for orientation, learning, and a chance to get to know each other.  The event was held on beautiful Walloon Lake at Camp Daggett, Petoskey, Mich.                  Rockford’s inbound exchange student from Germany, Julius Loebbecke, attended along with the Rockford Rotary Exchange Officer, Tony Astras.  Also attending were 34 other inbound exchange students from 22 different countries: Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey.                  The conference included training workshops for the Youth Exchange program presented to over 20 Rotarians from the various clubs.  One unique situation that our district has is that our district is international in that it crosses over into Canada.  Consequently, there were inbounds being hosted by clubs from Sault Sainte Marie, Blind River, and Wawa, Ontario in Canada.  These international students (all of high school ages from 15 through 18) have an excellent support system not only of their school, but of all Rotarians, their clubs, their communities, and these students who are bonded together in this experience.  This system continues. There will be additional conferences for these kids at the Kettunen Center in Tustin in November, in Wawa, Ontario in February, again at the Kettunen Center in April. Finally, before their departure home there will be a multi-district multi-state final conference at Calvin College with over 1,000 students.  These students will consist of the inbounds leaving, our outbounds getting ready to leave, and rebounds which had been previously in the Exchange Program. Rockford Rotary also has an opportunity upcoming for new outbounds for the school year beginning in 2011-2012.  Rockford Rotary has an opportunity for a prearranged exchange with the group’s “sister” club in Germany, where Julius is from. In addition, Rotary offers opportunities available to other countries as well.  Not everyone might qualify, but an earnest desire is a prerequisite.  The student also should be in the top fifty percent of their class.  There is some financial help available to those that may need it.  This program is one of the best kept secrets of Rockford.  Rockford […]

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