A look at eliminating Personal Property Tax Since being elected to the Rockford City Council last November, that position has enabled me to look at events and issues in an entirely new light. In addition to my running-a-business-in-the-Rockford-area point of view and my member-of-the-community-living-on-Longview Drive viewpoint, I now look at events and issues from the position of being a representative of the residents of Rockford. I feel that I am obligated to speak for all of us living in Rockford. For example, our Michigan legislature has made a myriad of changes to our overall tax situation since Governor Snyder took office. All of us either are, or will be, affected by those changes. Some of these changes have negatively affected the funding for not only the Rockford Public Schools but also the City of Rockford. Reducing the funding for the schools could negatively affect the vitality of our public schools. Reducing the funding for the city could negatively affect the services provided to residents. As the superintendent of Rockford Public Schools, Dr. Michael Shibler has fiercely defended the school’s funding to fight against any loss of vitality. As Rockford’s city manager, Michael Young is fighting daily to keep Rockford on an even keel. We are so very fortunate to have these two men leading these two organizations. They work day and night on our behalf. Of course, they have good people working on their staffs, but they set the tone of the organization. We all know people who have moved to the Rockford area because of our schools. It’s a known fact that people move to and visit this area when they encounter the charm of our downtown area. I submit the claim that the two are interdependent and if either suffers, they will both suffer. They suffer and our community as a whole suffers. I believe an appropriate conclusion to reach is that any further reduction in funding from Michigan for either the schools or the city will have a detrimental effect on both, and that affects you and me. That brings me to point of this lengthy discourse. There is a current discussion in Lansing regarding the elimination of the Personal Property Tax (PPT) with no plan for a replacement revenue stream. The […]
September 29 2011
1 Kim Bartlett, Linda Ruehs, Aaron Welch 2 Iona Klinger, Carole Lenon, Arthur Ross, Marcia Shanken, Nancy Winks 3 Kimberly Smith 4 Suzanne Grover, Matthew Mawby, Nicole Renee Poddig, Linda TenBrink 5 Ellie Landheer, Marion Miller 6 Rebecca Bartlett, Shirley Gilman, Michael Kunkel Jr., Donna Mitchell, Nancy Seeley, Opal Sutliffe 7 Judy Raible
‘Light use’ could include hotel, research facility by BETH ALTENA Wolverine Worldwide attorney Ken Grady described himself as a “tour guide” through a presentation designed to educate the public on the company’s efforts to redevelop riverfront acreage in downtown Rockford. On Wednesday, Sept. 21 he spent two hours outlining the steps the company made prior and during the demolition, as well as speculating on possible future use of the property. He said there was no definitive plan yet for the site, and the ideas the company had for future use would depend on needs to the community as time progresses. Addressing first and foremost safety concerns, Grady pointed out to the crowd of about 100 residents that Wolverine partnered with experts and the state’s Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Natural Resources with each step of demolition of the 100-year-old tannery, warehouse, mechanical building, offices and water treatment facility, as well as conducting ongoing environmental hazard testing during the process. Further testing is being conducted on three test wells where substances—ammonia and cyanide—were found. Grady pointed out that this is no threat to city water, which comes from aquifers east of town and are not connected to water from the Rogue River. Grady said the results of their tests are available to the public and results of further tests will also be made available to the public. He said the arsenic found in one well and cyanide found in two wells were “really small to slightly low exceedences. We believe these are not going to be issues going forward and there is no risk to people at the site,” he stated. Grady described how crews spent 16 months cleaning any potential hazards within the properties prior to beginning any actual demolition and had testing done to ensure the components within the buildings—pipes, walls, floors and tanks—were uncontaminated before demolition or removal. He said the company focused on the trilogy of “reduce, reuse and recycle” in the disposal of the buildings. Any historic artifacts were retained, perhaps for reuse in the design of future shoe stores, but Grady said items had been replaced during the 100-year-old life of the tannery and buildings and experts found fewer significantly historical memorabilia than expected. Grady also explained the […]
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Whether it’s purchasing and consuming healthy and just harvested local farm produce at Rockford’s award-winning Saturday morning Farmers Market or planting and tending your own garden in one of two Rockford Community Gardens, this has been a banner year. Rockford’s Farm Market was named America’s Favorite Farm Market in an online contest and Rockford Public Schools two Community Gardens have been a huge success in their inaugural year. Rockford is a diverse community of people interested in wellness, nutrition, the environment, stewardship, and civic responsibility, not to mention “Green Thumbs”. Seeking to further their mission of stimulating the love of gardening, The Rockford Garden Club recently received permission from Lisa Jacobs, Executive Director Rockford Schools Community Services, to undertake a project to beautify the west gated entrance to the Community Garden located directly behind the Rockford Administration Building on Main Street. Garden Club President Kathy Healy tells us the Club will initially beautify two 11’ x 8’ sections on either side of the main entrance to the Garden. In future years, the Garden Club members plan on adding to, and extending, the beautified area outside the fenced perimeter of the Garden. “We think a beautiful eye-popping perimeter will add to the outdoor learning laboratory consisting of 39 raised planting beds within the fenced perimeter of the garden,” Healy said. Preliminary work on this project began Monday evening, September 19, when the two sections of ground were rototilled in preparation for the planting stage to follow. Some plants and shrubs will be placed this fall with the remainder to follow next spring. Plantings will include seasonally colorful and flowering shrubs, perennials, and possibly annuals for additional pizazz. Some of the plantings will be native to Michigan. Some, if not most, of the plants will come from the club members own gardens and others will be purchased locally. “All costs associated with the project will be underwritten by The Rockford Garden Club,” said Healy, adding, “We do this to encourage home and community beautification, to promote better horticultural practices, and to encourage all forms of conservation.” Organized in 1924, The Rockford Garden Club currently boasts 50+ members. Their work over the years has been in evidence throughout the greater Rockford community. The […]
Adults and children being active together. That’s just one goal the West Michigan Action for Healthy Kids (WMAHK) set for their nonprofit coalition. Teaching kids, families and schools to become healthier through good nutrition and physical activity is the mission of this locally based group. “We focus on total health, not weight. All kids, no matter their shape or size, need to move everyday and make healthy food choices,” said Dawn Davies, co-chair of WMAHK. “Enjoying activity as a family sets a better example, and makes it more fun! The Race for Healthy Kids is the perfect place to start.” Last year, the October morning was crisp and cool as runners poured onto the Rockford High School campus for the 5K and kids run. The energy in the air was high as 5K runners, both novice and seasoned racers, stretched and prepared to walk or run the course. Music pumped through the air and the children at the event knew something exciting was going on. Some youth ran or walked the 5K, while others were anxious to watch their “grown-ups” finish the race, and then run around the high school track to complete the Kids Fruity Fun Run. Among participants was first-time 5K runner, Lisa. She was there for self-empowerment, but also to set a healthy example for her four children. They cheered her on as she crossed the finish line of her first race ever. After grabbing some well-received healthy snacks, all four of her kids participated in the Kids Fruity Fun Run—even the 1-year-old! Lisa said, “It was a fun morning together as a family. We were active and demonstrated the importance of a healthy lifestyle for [the] children.” The 2nd Annual Race for Healthy Kids is right around the corner. With the success of last year propelling the race forward, more participants are expected to be pledging to set a great example for all children to be physically active and to eat healthy every day. Are you ready to make your stance on October 8, 2011? Sign up today at www.actionforhealthykids.org/michigan. Registration closes Monday, Oct. 3.