The remaining flags from the West Michigan Healing Field continue to travel the area for display and inspire local residents. Currently residents, staff and visitors of Meadowlark Retirement Village, 65 Ida Red in Sparta, are enjoying a display of the flags. The remaining flags are available for purchase and each represent one of the people killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Those who sponsor one of the flags will receive the flag and pole, a biography of who their flag represents, and a certificate. Flags may be purchased at Bishop Hills Elder Care Community or Herman’s Boy, both in Rockford.
First responders drill for worst-case scenario by BETH ALTENA No one ever hopes to use the skills they develop under federal guidelines by the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), but if the worst happens, they will be ready. Area first responders—police, fire, paramedics and more—fight explosions, toxic disasters, potentially fatal injuries and other potential catastrophes to be ready for anything. Sue Barthels arranges the volunteers and rescue personnel who have been rotating through potentially dangerous industry locations for years. She said it is a chance to practice skills and review protocols in potentially hazardous materials situations. “It is the equivalent of running a drill,” she described. This year’s spring practice was held at Reisters Grower Services in Sparta. Emergency responders included Rockford Ambulance. Barthels said the practices are required by federal mandate and are taken very seriously. She said every site in Kent County that houses potentially hazardous materials has been evaluated and has an emergency plan in place should a disaster occur. Reisters provides farm chemicals and so qualifies as a potential hazardous material site. LEPC conducts the drills once a year and has been since 1989. This spring’s took place in May and included 110 people including 10 volunteer “victims.” The victims are coached prior to the incident, and include make-up and “injuries” consistent with the disaster scenario. Barthels said the training has come in use in the county for several hazardous materials incidents, including issues with refrigeration ammonia that resulted in no injuries. In Kent County there are 243 locations that have extremely hazardous materials, and LEPC has a plan for every one. The Hazardous Materials Response Team operates out of Grand Rapids, but different groups participate in the scene to hone protocol. Depending on location, local agencies participate as they would should a real incident occur. Incident training has taken place at Ten Mile Road and Alpine Avenue, and the Sparta Airport. Volunteer emergency personnel, such as members of the Civil Emergency Response Team (CERTS), the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) and others have also participated, as they would in a real emergency. “What is important here is a rural fire department got a chance to practice,” said Tom Boyle, assistant director of engineering for Kent County, who was present […]
ROCKFORD 8:45AM Opening Flag Raising Ceremony—Community Cabin, 220 N. Monroe St., Rockford 9:00AM Parade—FromCommunity Cabin north to Lewis St., west on Lewis St. toMain St, south on Main St. to Bridge St., east on Bridge to Lincoln St., south on Lincoln St. across 10 Mile to Rockford Cemetery. 10:50AM Wreath Laying Ceremony and Open House—Merritt Lamb Post. Food and beverages will be provided. ALGOMA 1:00PM Algoma Township Memorial Park—10515 Grange Ave., (south of 13 Mile Rd., between Pine Island Dr. and Algoma Ave.). The memorial service will include the American Legion, V.F.W., Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. There will be a tribute to Algoma Township servicemen who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. They include Daniel Louis Behm (Vietnam) and Craig Yates (Vietnam). BELMONT 2:00AM Veterans Memorial Park—5747 Belmont Ave. NE. Welcome given by Plainfield Charter Township Supervisor George Meek, followed by invocation by Pastor Jeff Williams and the Pledge performed by Tim Cooper, followed by State Representative of the 73rd District Pete MacGregor. Color Guard (Sons of American Legion Squad #258) and placing of the wreath are followed by the 21-gun salute and the playing of the “Taps.” A Scholarship presentation will be given by Sons of the American Legion Squad #283. Supervisor George Meek will give the closing remarks, followed by the closing prayer. CEDAR SPRINGS The American Legion Glen Hill Post #287 will hold their annual Memorial Day program on May 30, with Michigan state Representative Peter MacGregor as guest speaker. They will be at Elmwood Cemetery at 9 a.m., Solon Cemetary at 10 a.m., East Nelson Cemetery at 10:45 a.m., and Veterans Memorial Park, (corner of Main and Oak in Cedar Springs) at 11:30 a.m. There will be no program at the senior center this year. In case of bad weather, services will be held in the American Legion Hall at 9am. SAND LAKE The Sand Lake/Cedar Springs Tri-Corner Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7912 will have ceremonies on Monday, May 30. They will be at the VFW Post in Sand Lake at 10:30 a.m., and then in Pierson Cemetery at 11 a.m. The Tri County Marching Band will also participate if weather permits. SPARTA The Sparta American Legion Post #107 will hold a Memorial Day program on Monday, May 30, at 10:30 a.m. in Lamoreaux Park, 150 Park Street, in Sparta. Services will include the Sparta high School Band, Color Guard, […]
Gabrielle Sara Doman has been named valedictorian of Sparta High School class of 2011 at commencement ceremony on June 2. In addition to ranking at the top of her class with a 4.12 GPA, Gabrielle was chairperson of Relay For Life representing NHS and lettered four years in volleyball. Her parents are Mark and Jane Hess of Rockford and Jim and Stacy Doman of Sparta. Gabrielle will attend Northwood Unversity in Midland.
Book signing this Saturday at Great Northern Trading Co. The real diary of early pioneers who homesteaded in the wilds of Sparta was the basis of a book of historical fiction by author Dean Cumings. With imagination and the factual basis of the diary, Cumings tells the story of the difficulties the area’s first settlers faced, from cutting a wagon path through the dense forest to surviving harsh winters. Check out “Ellie” and talk to the author this Saturday, May 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Great Northern Trading Company in the Squires’ Street Square. “The story is typical of the way virtually all our ancestors first settled here, in what was then the Northwest Territory,” Cumings said. A review by Dennis Allen in the Historical Society of Michigan Chronicle Magazine, Vol. 34, No.1, Spring 2011, stated, “Ellie may be a fictional account of a young girl’s journey west, but it’s historically accurate to the place and times of rural Michigan in the antebellum period. In fact, author Dean Cumings was inspired to write the story after reading a distant relative’s journal, which described the family’s migration to the frontier of territorial Michigan in the 1840s. ‘Ellie’ sees the world through the eyes of a young girl, and Cumings channels that persona into an interesting mix of historically accurate fact and fiction.” “We are pleasantly surprised to note the majority of the purchases comes from adults,” said Cumings. “They tell me they appreciate all the detail we used to describe just how our people forged their way into the complete wilderness of that era, some fifteen years prior to the Civil War.” Cumings said the process of publishing a book was also interesting and he is in his third print of 500 books with only 40 left of the current printing. Cumings has spoken to and will be presenting at local historical societies, genealogical societies, library programs (such as June 30 at the Cedar Springs Library’s adult program). The book is the work of a Kent County author and reflects how the Rockford area was settled, and how the settlers prepared the way for our way of life: agricultural first, industrial, political, religious, economical, et al. The book is also available for purchase […]