Se habla español? Now everyone knows that Floyd Havemeier, of Rockford’s Herman’s Boy, likes to keep his thumb on the pulse of Rockford. (Huge understatement!) So it came to pass that Floyd and wife Sharon would not embark on a well-deserved two-month winter R&R hiatus to the Gulf coast of Florida unless the boys back at the store would promise to, each and every week, Express Mail a current edition of Rockford’s hometown newspaper, The Rockford Squire, to their vacation retreat. During the couple’s two-month absence (mid-January to mid-March) much occurred in Rockford. Wolverine World Wide did an about-face, Herman’s Boy was honored as the “2010 Business of the Year” by the Rockford Chamber of Commerce, Frenz Coffee House ended a four-year struggle by closing their doors, the Rockford City Council rejected the Rockford Area Historical Society’s proposal to relocate to the Rockford-owned and vacant 63rd District Court building, and a planning consultant for the City renamed the Northland Drive business corridor: “Mish-Mash Dr.” Reading of all of these issues in the Squire sent Floyd’s heart racing but, at the same time, he was consoled by a newfound friend “Jose.” It seems that Floyd’s host in Ft. Meyers had made Jose available to Floyd and Sharon as their personal butler during the duration of their visit. Floyd quickly took a special interest in the silent, smiling and ever-attentive Jose. When the time came to return home to Rockford, Floyd had become convinced that Jose would make a perfect addition to the Herman’s Boy team. Jose was a tough sell, however, and it wasn’t until the ever-persuasive Floyd told him that the 2010 Census had revealed a huge increase in the Hispanic population in the greater Grand Rapids area that Jose agreed to come on board. Now residing in Rockford, Jose has become the official greeter of customers as they enter the “one store worldwide” Herman’s Boy in Rockford. Entering the front door of the store, be sure to say “Buenos dias” and “welcome” to the diminutive sombrero-wearing hombre with a big heart. P.S. Grandson Mike Havemeier is perhaps the most thrilled of all by the addition of Jose, saying, “It’s fine with me. Now I’m not the low man on the totem pole!”
The Rockford Squire
Kym Steffes is an account representative at The Rockford Squire newspaper. She has been with the paper for two years now. Kym and her husband David have lived in Rockford for over 12 years, previously long-time residents of Grandville. Kym and Dave will be celebrating their 37th wedding anniversary this June. They have three adult children and two grandchildren (Kaeden, 5, and Kendall, 3). In her spare time, Kym enjoys golf, gardening, cooking, and spending time with her family. Besides her grandchildren, Kym loves her home and property along the Rogue River. “I enjoy waking up everyday to the sounds and scenes of nature. I am truly grateful to live in and be a part of the Rockford community,” Kym stated. Kym covers advertising for the Sparta/Greenville/Cedar Springs/Rockford (Cedar Rock) area businesses for the Squire. She has been in sales for the majority of her career, in fact earning top sales awards with Robert Half International Inc. Kym considers herself to have an outgoing personality and having the “gift of gab.” “That can be good and bad at the same time. I sometimes wonder if my sales are truly successful or if my clients just say yes to shut me up,” she added with her infamous sense of humor. But however you measure it up, she’s happy to work for The Rockford Squire and loves living in the area.
by BETH ALTENA “I can’t believe it’s been ten years,” said Rockford photographer Dan Davison of Douglas Photography. Davison brought the Examples in Excellence program to Rockford Public Schools (RPS) a decade ago. In the years since RPS, Davison and The Rockford Squire newspaper have been working together to recognize a very special group of students. Rockford is known to be a powerhouse in athletics with dozens of state championships. It is also a leader in education, known as one of the state’s most desirable districts and the only district of its size to have every building a Blue Ribbon Exemplary School. The district is the only one in the state, however, that has a formal ceremony to recognize students for an entirely different reason than either academic or athletic achievement. In Rockford, students are also honored and recognized for strength of character. Examples in Excellence, Rockford Students Making a Difference is a three-part program. Staff from each school in the district, from elementary on up to the alternative high school, pick a student on the basis of being a good community citizen and for what they do for others. After meeting with the students, Davison creates a portrait which tells about the young man’s or woman’s personality and activities, which he then mounts on a board which is on prominent display at the administration building for a full year. The Squire contributes by producing biographies of each student and publishing them, along with the portraits, in an heirloom, keepsake publication on high-quality paper to last a lifetime. This year’s students, as in the past, are the ones who are often overlooked, despite their good deeds. “Examples” kids are students who don’t necessarily command attention or make a big deal out of their efforts. They might not be the star in the athletic arena and might not be the first to raise their hand when teachers ask for answers. What they are, are people who, at a young age, already get what is really important in life: looking out for others and doing the right thing. This year’s students include a girl who volunteers at the Kent County Humane Society, a ten-year-old who has a mind for business and a girl with a spirit of […]
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Recently the City of Rockford installed a plaque recognizing Steve Anderson of Anderson’s Metal Sculpture. Squire readers will recall last May’s installation of the beautiful stainless steel “Water Dance” sculpture on the face of the Rockford Dam. Located above the three-fish sculpture, the plaque honors the sculptor for his work of art and his generous donation of all labors in bringing “Water Dance” to life. Also recognized were the Downtown Development Authority, the Rockford Area Arts Commission, and the City of Rockford for their financial support in part. “Water Dance” has transformed the face of the dam and has been enjoyed by countless visitors since its installation. An informal survey conducted by The Rockford Squire following the installation indicates that most viewers believe the cement wall background of the sculpture should be painted to showcase and make “Water Dance” more highly visible. In viewing the sculpture from the dam overlook or the Bridge Street bridge, one finds the work of art blending into the background. A background color suggested most often was “flat black.” Most believed that the gleaming stainless steel fish would really “pop” leaping against a black background. What do you think? Call the Squire office at (616) 866-4465 and give us your opinion.
by BETH ALTENA Anyone visiting the Squire office may have noticed a yellowed newspaper framed and hanging on our wall. It’s old, but you would have to look closely to see the significance. Dated February 8, 1871, the print on the brittle paper reads that it is Issue 1, Volume 1. This week The Rockford Squire newspaper, then in business as The Rockford Weekly Register, passes a milestone of its 140th year in operation, the oldest business in the City of Rockford. Happy birthday to Rockford’s original hometown newspaper! The newspaper is an important member of the community, and we are excited to see another year of publishing for the residents of Rockford. Our coverage area is the Rockford school district—100 square miles of people with stories to tell and news to share. When kids visit our office, we show them old cameras and photos and hold up copies of the paper going back more than 100 years. We tell them about how the industry has changed—we publish in color, with photos. Cameras are digital and computers deliver our “pages” to the printer. We still have the original lead letters that were used to put stories in, one letter and space at a time for each article, but those days are long gone. When the paper was young, Rockford didn’t have electricity, cars or telephones. The paper was here to report all that new stuff coming to town. Today, in our 140th year, technology is beyond those first editors’ imaginations, but essentially the business of newspapering is exactly the same. Advertisers pay for the newspaper and residents receive it free. We have news we write ourselves about people we sit down and talk with. Readers call and tell us when we make a mistake—which we do appreciate. Part of reaching and passing a milestone anniversary is the opportunity to reflect. When attending Rockford Area Historical Society meetings, much material comes from the editions of the old Register. People also often come in to get back issues or photocopy the bound books we have of all of our editions going back a number of years. We have 30 years worth, but the historical society has issues going back to that first issue in 1871. You can […]