September 6 2012

Walk through history at encampment

September 6, 2012 // 0 Comments

The West Michigan Living History and Educational Association would like to invite the public to the 26th Annual Grand Rogue Living History Encampment on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 15-16. Every year on the second weekend after Labor Day, visitors can view first hand what life in early America was like at the annual Grand Rogue Living History Encampment. This is a timeline event featuring military and civilian living historians demonstrating our country’s history from colonial times to the present. The event is supported by generous local citizens and businesses, and is open to the public at no charge. At the Encampment, historical re-enactors will be wearing authentic period clothing and living in period shelters. Traditional artisans will demonstrate their historic skills, including blacksmithing and woodworking throughout the weekend. Activities will also include musket and cannon firing and multi-period military tactical demonstrations. The average participant has invested upwards of $1,000 in authentic clothing and equipment, and countless hours of research to perfect their historic portrayals. Many of them have participated as consultants and extras in historical films and documentaries, including “The Last of the Mohicans” and the award-winning History Channel series “Frontier: Legends of the Old Northwest.” On Friday, prior to the main event, about 400 children—fourth-grade level, from several schools—will be arriving for an all-day event (invitation only) to participate in a historical educational program. Eight stations are set up, such as Jacques LeBlanc, period surveyors, music and storytelling, blacksmiths, colonial woodworkers, French and British soldiers, French voyageurs and an Indian camp. The day’s activities will be culminated by the firing of an authentic six-pound British field gun. The Encampment is held at the Grand Rogue Campground, 6400 West River Road, Comstock Park. Hours for the public are Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, you may visit the website at Handicapped parking is available.

Village race raises two grand for NKCS

September 6, 2012 // 0 Comments

by JOHN HOGAN Sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 80s provided ideal conditions for nearly 150 participants in the second annual Honey Creek Duathlon held Monday in downtown Cannonsburg. Racers covered more than 18 miles on bike and on foot, and then returned to Honey Creek Inn for an afternoon of food, drink and family fun. The Labor Day event raised more than $2,000 for North Kent Community Services and The Kids’ Food Basket, an organization seeking to eradicate childhood hunger in the greater Grand Rapids area. Attendance was up more than 20 percent from last year’s inaugural event, said race organizer Don Kurylowicz, who finished in 2 hours, 7 minutes. “I am ecstatic with the turnout, both for the race and the post-race activities,” Kurylowicz said. “What a great way to celebrate Labor Day and help those who are less fortunate.” Monday’s duathlon winded its way through Cannon, Vergennes, Grattan and Ada townships. It started at 9:30 a.m. with a 2.5k run, followed by a 22k bike ride and ending with a 5k run. Participants ranged in age from 14 to 70. Among the racers was world class distance runner Greg Meyer, the last American to win the Boston Marathon. “What a great way to draw people together,” said Meyer, 56, who finished in 1 hour, 24 minutes. “It’s like an old community event similar to those we grew up with.” Meyer received a moose pendant for the best finish in the 55 to 60 age group. “This is going right next to Boston,” he said. The overall duathlon winner was 33-year-old Jimi Minnema, who completed the course in 1 hour, 2 minutes and 42 seconds. Participants could complete the duathlon solo or participate in relay teams of up to three people. Mike Jonkman, who participated in last year’s event, opted for the biking portion, covering about 13.5 miles, while his son, Kenzie, 17, did the two running segments. Having Kenzie, a Rockford High School senior, run the combined 4.6 miles was a godsend, Jonkman said. They completed the three segments in 1 hour, 51 minutes. “I can’t run like I used to,” Jonkman said. “And the biking portion killed me with all the hills. I wanted to get off the bike a […]

Courtland man arrested on CSC charges

September 6, 2012 // 0 Comments

A Courtland Township man and former firefighter has been charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct (CSC). According to Kent County Undersheriff Jon Hess, the incident allegedly occurred at the home of Terry Lynn Welch, 51, the evening of August 16, or the early morning hours of August 17, and involved a juvenile. Welch was arrested and arraigned that same day, August 17, in 63rd District Court. According to the court, he was charged with one count of CSC second degree (relationship), one count of CSC second degree assault, and with being a habitual offender, for already having a felony on his record. Bond was set at $20,000 cash/surety, and he bonded out. He has a preliminary hearing set for this Friday, September 7, at 10 a.m. Prior to the incident, Welch was deputy fire chief at Courtland Township. According to Fire Chief Mickey Davis, Welch resigned immediately from the fire department, and Steve Mojuk is now deputy chief. Welch was previously arrested in November 1988 and pled guilty in 17th Circuit Court on August 28, 1989, to attempted breaking and entering an occupied dwelling with intent. He received 24 months probation and $1,321 in fines and costs.

Bikes and Smiles were the order of the day at Wolverine Worldwide YMCA

September 6, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL The Kent County Sheriff Department, in collaboration with the Wolverine Worldwide YMCA and Devos Children’s Hospital Safe Kids Coalition, conducted a bicycle give-a-way and safety event for 29 area children on Tuesday, August 28. Making it all possible were 29 new or gently used bikes that had come into the possession of the Kent County Sheriff Department. Bikes needing repair were completely refurbished to safe operating conditions by Kent County Jail inmates. “The inmates take a great sense of pride and ownership by playing a part in this worthwhile program,” said Sheriff Larry Stelma who was on hand for the give-a-way event. “It’s a win-win for everyone involved today including the inmates.” “The 29 children chosen to be recipients of the bikes had been identified by the Wolverine Worldwide YMCA as area kids who lack the financial means to afford a bicycle,” said Toni Szczepanski, Volunteer and Community Outreach Coordinator for the Rockford area YMCA. Thrilled kids received an age appropriate bicycle that had been previously tagged for them, and them alone. Before they were allowed to test-drive their bikes around the parking lot, the kids had a sit-down bike safety lesson. After which, each was personally fitted with a brand-new bicycle helmet provided by Devos Children’s Hospital Safe Kids Coalition. Personally attending to that task was Amy Horn, the hospital’s Safe Kids Program Assistant. With helmet in place, each kid on his new ride headed through a mock riding course, complete with orange cones, which had previously been set up by Sheriff Deputies. Also on hand were two Deputies and their beautiful chestnut horses from the Kent County Sheriff’s Mounted Unit. For some of the kids (Sienna Gorby, 8, in particular) the horses were the highlight of the day. “Today’s presentation was but one of many community service and outreach events provided by the Kent County Sheriff Department every year,” said Sheriff Stelma. As the afternoon’s festivities drew to a close, the new bicycle owners loaded the bikes up to return home for many years of out-of-doors riding pleasure. Enjoy kids, and to quote Roy Rogers (and Fred Meijer) “Happy trails to you”.                

Local theatre group reaches higher level

September 6, 2012 // 0 Comments

The curtain is opening on a whole new approach to community theatre in Rockford, with the debut of the Rogue River Community Theatre Company (RRCTC). “The nonprofit corporation, formed this summer, is taking local theatre to a higher level of professionalism and community engagement,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Homrich, head of an 11-member board overseeing the new group. “We’ve enjoyed tremendous support over the years and I am confident this change will improve local theatre and ensure it’s around for many years to come,” Homrich said. “We are building on a foundation of success and integrity established more than a decade ago.” The Rogue River Community Theatre Company will be led by a board of directors, including a four-member executive board consisting of Homrich, Vice President Mike Jonkman, Treasurer Stephanie Gamble and Secretary Shannon Rop. Board directors are John Bagin, Kirsten Bagin, PJ Bevelacqua, John Hogan, Tracy Strome and Brian Thomas. The 11-member board is rounded out by Director of Theatre Patricia Rose. “Having this level of the performing arts in Rockford is a real community treasure,” said Jonkman. “Everyone in the Rockford area should take advantage of this unique asset.” Rogue River Theatre started in the late 1990s as a fledging group of Rockford residents offering stage productions once or twice a year. Beyond traditional spring and fall plays, the all-volunteer cast expanded its mission to include Reader’s Theatre productions for adults and Actors del Arte’ Ensemble, which performs dinner theatres in the Grand Rapids area. The three ensembles collectively present about eight productions a year. In 2003, Rogue River Theatre launched an annual Summer Theatre Arts Camp for school-age children grades K-12. This year’s weeklong summer camp had 62 participants. The theatre group has been under the umbrella of the Rockford Area Arts Commission (RAAC) and in recent years has been a key contributor to its annual income. “We don’t look at it as a defection, but a cause to celebrate,” said RAAC Chairman Jeff Lewis. “We’re ecstatic to have community members who are excited to take the helm and expand the arts one audience member or one actor at a time.” RAAC was founded in 1975 to encourage and sponsor programs and services promoting the arts and cultural activities in […]

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