Tag Archives: Sparta Community

With the help of ChoiceOne Bank, Sparta Area Schools teacher Larry Carter and the Sparta Township Historical Commission (STHC) have made substantial progress in their efforts to open a museum that displays various artifacts from Sparta’s history in a downtown Sparta building.

Originally named the House of Flavors, the building was built in 1963 and holds special significance for Carter, a community leader of this effort, who used to spend time at the store as a teen. The STHC is currently renting the building from ChoiceOne Bank. Thanks to ChoiceOne’s generosity, the STHC is in the process of purchasing the building for a great price.

“Sparta has a rich and interesting history that I am proud to be a part of,” said Carter.

The town is currently using another historical building to house its current museum, which represents a one-room schoolhouse. As more artifacts were donated, the STHC realized that they were going to need much more display space.

“We’ve had a building fund for about five years now. There are some generous donors who got our fundraising started with very large cash contributions. We also have published and sold books, plays, and held other fundraising events to raise the money. Because of the generosity of Jim Bosserd and ChoiceOne Bank, we are able to purchase the building, repair the basement and remodel the space,” said Carter.

ChoiceOne is proud to call itself a community bank that focuses on the needs of its town and responds eagerly to the people of Sparta. When Bosserd, president and CEO of ChoiceOne Bank, was called upon to help with this project, he didn’t hesitate to lend a hand.

“I immediately recognized the importance and value of this project,” said Bosserd. “Celebrating Sparta’s history and putting it on display for everyone to see is a great way to boost community moral. I wanted ChoiceOne to help in any way possible to make this museum great.”

With a large, wide open space for displays, a bank of computers for research, and greater visibility in Sparta’s downtown, this building is a great space to expand the museum and educate Sparta’s citizens about the history of their town.

Carter said, “We are moving full steam ahead with our renovation. It’s too soon to put a timeline on it, but our goal is to be up and running and ready for the public as soon as possible. Next year for sure… we will be ready to go!”

Area students make deans’ lists

Brothers Ethan and Caleb Post have both made the dean’s list for the winter quarter of 2011-12 at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, by achieving a 4.0 winter grade-point average.

Calvin College has also announced its fall 2011 dean’s list. To earn a spot on the dean’s list at Calvin requires that a student maintain at least a 3.5 grade-point average for the semester and have at least a 3.3 cumulative grade-point average at this, one of the country’s top Christian, liberal-arts colleges. The Rockford students who were named to the dean’s list are graduate Allison Thomson (speech-language pathology), senior Cassaundra Bell (English), senior Alexander Harris (biology), sophomore Elizabeth Huizenga (psychology), junior Tanya Kolenbrander (nursing), senior Samuel Lefurge-Mcleod (speech pathology and audiology), sophomore Bethany Radius (speech pathology and audiology), and senior Heather Sanderson (integrated science studies).

Sparta students who were named to Calvin College’s dean’s list are freshman Stephanie Anderson (biochemistry), freshman Kendra Burmeister (speech pathology and audiology), sophomore Morganna Piegols (literature), freshman Joseph Vander Weide (undecided), senior Mark Vander Weide (nursing), and senior Logan Knoppers (music).

Established in 1876 in Grand Rapids, Calvin has a 2011-2012 enrollment of 3,967 students, representing almost every U.S. state, many Canadian provinces and more than 50 other countries from around the globe. Thirty-six percent of that student body achieved dean’s list status during the fall semester.

Hope announces Dean’s List

Hope College, located in Holland, Mich., is pleased to announce its Dean’s List for the first semester of the 2011-2012 school year. To be named to the Dean’s List, a student must have a minimum 3.5 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale.

Among those listed are Rockford students: senior Alyssa Brillinger, freshman Sloan Ouellette, junior Megan Kelley, freshman Taylor Rummel, sophomore Lauren Girard, freshman Kaitlin Cress, junior Patrick Malley, senior Rachel Doud, sophomore Peyton Wells, sophomore Katie Carlson, senior Lisa Markham, senior Karli Rowe and freshman Paige Fawcett.

Other local students listed are junior Bennett Riddering of Belmont, senior Amy Veltkamp of Cedar Springs, and senior Rachel Jantz of Sparta.

Hope College is a four-year, co-educational, liberal arts college with an enrollment of 3,249 men and women and is affiliated with the Reformed Church in America.

Migrant Council awarded grant

The Sparta Area Migrant Resource Council (Sparta MRC) is one of nine Migrant Resource Councils in the state of Michigan that are overseen by the Department of Human Services. The Council is a collaboration of public and private agencies, growers and concerned citizens, working together to serve the needs of migrant farmworkers in the greater Sparta area. The Council identifies unmet needs in the migrant community, develops appropriate programs to meet those needs, coordinates the delivery of existing support services, serves as a forum to exchange information among agencies, and educates the community about the needs of the migrant population.

The Sparta MRC supports migrant farmworkers and the greater Sparta community through annual events such as food distributions, cross-cultural activities at Sparta Town and Country Days, the Camp Clean Up event, a distribution of winter clothing and household items, and the annual Farmworker Appreciation Day where a “Head-to-Toe” event is held that enables migrant children to receive haircuts and shoes before they go back to school.

The Sparta Community Foundation awarded the Sparta MRC $2,550 for the 2012 season. This will allow the MRC to hold various food distributions for the migrant and seasonal farmworkers that come to the area throughout the harvest season.

All Sparta MRC meetings are open to the public. For more information or donations, contact any of the officers. The Sparta MRC meets on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. at Holy Family Catholic Church, 425 S. State St. in Sparta.

ChoiceOne Bank challenge generates donation to Sparta Education Foundation

Pictured are (l–r) Amy Homich of ChoiceOne Bank, President Robert Liscombe, Vice President Leo Maki, Trustee Robert Shirado, and Treasurer Vicki Brown.

ChoiceOne Bank recently donated $560 to the Sparta Education Foundation (SEF). Sparta Area Schools employees were given the challenge: for every Health Savings Account (HSA) they opened at ChoiceOne Bank within a certain time frame, the bank would donate $10 to the SEF.

“As the local community bank, we are proud to assist the Sparta Area Schools employees with all their financial needs,” said President and CEO of ChoiceOne Bank, Jim Bosserd. “HSAs are great accounts for the schools and their employees as they help save money for medical expenses now and into retirement. This challenge was a win-win for everyone.”

Customers who open HSAs at ChoiceOne Bank can access their HSA funds to pay for their “qualified medical expenses.” Access to their account is easy with an HSA debit card, HSA checks, electronically or in person. HSAs are a tax-advantaged way to save and pay for healthcare.

By issuing this challenge to the Sparta Area Schools employees, ChoiceOne was able to help the community with their donation of $560 to the SEF.

ChoiceOne Bank is a full-service financial institution with offices in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Newaygo counties. ChoiceOne Bank offers insurance and investment products through its subsidiary, ChoiceOne Insurance Agencies Inc. ChoiceOne Financial Services Inc. is the holding company headquartered in Sparta, and the parent corporation of ChoiceOne Bank. For more information, please visit ChoiceOne’s website at www.choiceone.com.

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