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‘Pure Michigan’ tale of two bridge walks

September 13, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Labor Day morning found the Hills in Mackinaw City to again participate in this year’s 55th annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk. This is a tradition we began many years ago and plan on continuing for as long as we’re able to walk or can find somebody willing to push us across in a wheelchair (as many do). As usual, we were on one of the first school buses transporting walkers across from Mackinaw City to the walk’s origin in St. Ignace in the U.P. “eh”. We stepped off promptly at 7 a.m. right behind Gov. Snyder and his entourage in the vanguard of what would be some 45,000 participants to follow. It was a “bluebird” morning with a hazy sun rising on the eastern horizon. With cool temperatures and no wind it was, in our opinion, one of the best 5-mile “strolls across the Straits” we’ve ever taken. We finished the walk in Mackinaw City in a very respectable one hour and three minutes. This being a Presidential election year, we were schmoozed by what seemed like hundreds of politicians at the finish line. Enough of politics already, we headed off to our favorite breakfast spot, Darrow’s Family Restaurant just blocks away and were seated just before a waiting line of famished bridge walkers snaked out the front door and down the block. The place is just that good, and we certainly didn’t forget a piece of their famous homemade pie for breakfast dessert. However, what follows is about an idea we have been toying with for the past few years, so here’s the rest of the story. For the last three years we have been lodging a short drive of 20 miles southeast of Mackinaw City in Cheboygan, MI. We love Cheboygan; it is a special can-do City full of friendly and caring people, much like Rockford. Best of all, we are afforded reasonable room rates and no one is taken advantage of by the exorbitant holiday lodging rates in Mackinaw City. Situated on the shores of Lake Huron, Cheboygan lays claim to being the homeport of the USCG Cutter Mackinaw. Cheboygan is a small city and with a population of 5,250. It reminds us of our own […]

Student door-to-door donation drive nearly doubles goal with 16,000

September 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

‘This is an example of Rockford students giving outside of their community’ “What did you do on your summer vacation?” This ageless question can be answered unexpectedly by two Rockford students and a host of their classmates. They knocked on over 5,000 doors asking for a small donation for underprivileged kids and ended up with more than $10,000 worth of school supplies. It started as the vision of one Rockford High School senior, John Malley, now attending Notre Dame University. He envisioned donating school supplies to the attendees of the Grand Rapids Boys and Girls Club, a school which works with the Grand Rapids Police Department to help underprivileged or at-risk students. When Malley graduated and left the area, his sister Megan Malley thought the project so worthy that she took up the cause, joined by friend Alison Lang. Today, because of their efforts, there is a new school-sanctioned club in the Rockford district with 21 students working on the cause and with a whopping donation of over 16,000 individual school supplies donated to the Boys and Girls Club. Advisor Marcy Mayle, a teacher at the Rockford Freshman Center, is the overseeing adult of the club, but admits she doesn’t have much to do. “Basically I am just opening my door to these kids. They are doing all the work.” The club, Rockford RH, for Rockford Honors, meets at the center where students are already making plans for next summer’s collection efforts as well as a winter donation drive for hats, gloves and socks. The girls had a unique and smart plan for their collection efforts. With a hot-pink flier in hand they went door to door, starting in the Bella Vista area where John Malley had begun with his project, and asked residents to donate a dollar to buy school supplies or to leave school supplies on their porch for a future pick-up date. “We asked them to staple the flier to the bags so we would know they were for us,” explained Megan. The response was overwhelming and overwhelmingly positive. Four people gave the girls $50 checks, one person gave them a check for $50 and a popsicle each. “We took the popsicles—it was hot,” admitted Alison. “It was pretty amazing,” Megan said. […]

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.

Rockford woman wins discussion with governor

August 23, 2012 // 0 Comments

‘I wasn’t there for the lunch’ by BETH ALTENA When Rockford resident Sandra Cox includes in her preference of job openings the word “dental” because she formerly worked as a dental hygienist, employment programs include in her list of choices jobs that offer dental benefits. This is just one observation Cox was able to share with Governor Rick Snyder during a luncheon discussion of ways to help unemployed or underemployed Michiganders find work. “I wasn’t there for the lunch,” Cox shared with the Squire after her July 25 visit in Lansing. As a single parent, a woman and a person over the age of 50 in a challenging employment atmosphere in our state, Cox thought her experience very valid. “I felt I was representative of a lot of people in this economy,” she said. In late 2011, Cox entered a contest offered by Michigan Talent, the state’s online resource for those seeking jobs in the state. With over a million resumes online, her chances to win one of three spots for potential employees may have seemed very low, but Cox felt she had a good chance to win and wanted very much the contest’s main prize—a sit-down with the Governor. Cox may well represent many Michigan residents and their difficulties finding appropriate employment. She now works in manufacturing at less than 10 dollars an hour. Others who work there, like her, are qualified to offer much more to society. Cox grew up in a third-generation General Motors family and graduated summa cum laude from her high school, 16th in her class of 444. She continued her education at Ferris State University, where she was on a waiting list for dental hygienist school. Two years and still waiting, Cox attended Grand Rapids Community College and there earned an associate’s of applied arts and science in dental hygiene. While in college Cox worked two jobs, including one as a cashier at the Plainfield Meijer, eventually moving on to the corporate offices in Walker, where she worked as the corporate receptionist. At that time, Meijer had a 75 percent reimbursement rate for tuition, so she took the opportunity to return to college for a degree in business administration-marketing/sales, graduating from Grand Valley State University in 1993. In January […]

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