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Macgregor honored with 2011 Crime Fighter Award

July 12, 2012 // 0 Comments

Lawmaker honored for leadership for children, youth, families State Rep. Peter MacGregor was recently honored with the 2011 Crime Fighter Award from the Michigan chapter of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids. Fight Crime: Invest in Kids is a statewide crime prevention organization led by Michigan police chiefs, sheriffs, prosecutors and crime survivors. The organization cited MacGregor’s role on the House Appropriations subcommittee on Community Health in leading the effort to certify funding for voluntary home visiting and parent-education programs aimed to improve family functioning. “Investing in programs that keep our children safe is very important to our state’s success, and I appreciate the recognition for my efforts, but the credit truly belongs with the organization,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford.” Through my work on the Appropriations Committee, I interact with many organizations and have been extremely impressed by the work of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids in our local communities.” MacGregor was honored during a May 23 awards presentation at the state Capitol.

ATF investigating Nelson’s Speed Shop fire

July 5, 2012 // 0 Comments

The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been activated by request from the Michigan State Police to investigate a fire at Nelson’s Speed Shop, 4566 South Greenville Road, in Greenville. A fire was reported to the Montcalm Township Fire Department Friday, June 22, at approximately 1:30 a.m. Montcalm Fire reported heavy flames through the roof of the structure upon arrival. The Greenville Daily News reported that 11 fire departments and about 75 firefighters fought the blaze and cleared the scene 10-12 hours later. The fire reportedly started in the back of the business, where fuel and oil was stored. The structure and contents are a total loss. The structure occupies approximately 50,000 square feet and the total estimated loss exceeds $5,000,000. “ATF will utilize all resources available and necessary to help determine the cause of this fire,” said Acting Special Agent in Charge Arron Graves. “Our activation of the NRT speaks to the seriousness of which we hold this fire. ATF along with our partners will work tirelessly to determine the cause of this fire.” This is the 10th activation of the NRT in fiscal year 2012 and number 731 since the inception of the team in 1978. The NRT includes 20 team members and arrived on scene on Monday, June 25. ATF is investigating this fire jointly with the Michigan State Police, the Greenville Department of Public Safety, the Montcalm Township Fire Department and the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department. In addition to ATF NRT members, ATF is utilizing special agent investigators from the ATF Grand Rapids office as well as special agents from the Detroit Field Division. Nelson’s was also destroyed in a fire in 2001. Two men were convicted of arson in that fire, and a third with having knowledge of it and failing to report it.

Endowment gives nearly $58,000 in first responder grants

June 28, 2012 // 0 Comments

‘We said from the beginning it all goes back to rescue’ by BETH ALTENA  Fourteen fire or police departments have funding for life-saving equipment they needed thanks to the generosity of those who supported the West Michigan Healing Fields (WMHF) memorial to 9/1/1 held last September. The Rockford Area Community Endowment (RACE) met last month to give away the money raised by the sponsorships of the 3,200 flags—each representing one of the people who died 10 years ago in terrorist attacks that changed the U.S. in one horrific day. According to Rockford City Manager Michael Young, the project was brought to RACE by Susan Bodenner, who heard about the program. It allows communities to honor those lost while raising funds for grants to first responders, many of whom were among those killed. She brought the idea to the RACE board, where it was enthusiastically embraced. “We said from the beginning it all goes back to rescue,” said Young. “The franchise was $50,000, so RACE could either lose $50,000, break even or make money.” In addition to covering the initial franchise fee for the WMHF, the project raised nearly $60,000 more given away at the RACE annual meeting held at Rockford City Hall on Tuesday, May 18. Not all of the 20 grant applications or all of the grant request amounts were approved, but an amazing $57,840 in grants were given for worthy needs of local rescue. The grants included $5,000 each to Cannon and Courtland township fire departments, the City of Rockford Police and Fire, and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department Mounted Division, which is located in Rockford in Plainfield Townshhip. Plainfield Fire Department received $4,900 to purchase thermal imaging unit equipment; Algoma Fire Department received $4,882 for needed equipment; Sparta Fire Department received $4,785; Grand Rapids Police Department received their entire grant request of $4,473; Wyoming Police and Grandville Police departments were given $3,500 of their grant request; Grattan Fire Department received $2,400 of their requested grant; and Grandville Fire Department received a check for $2,200 of their requested grant. Polly VonEschen, who is an at-large member of the RACE board, said the grants represented the most the board has given since her tenure on the board. The endowment was formed in the early […]

Rockford resident organizes Azerbaijani Boys’ Leadership Experience

June 28, 2012 // 0 Comments

Activities benefit thousands of community members around the world Throughout the summer months, Peace Corps volunteers worldwide facilitate educational, empowerment and environmental summer camps for girls and youth of all ages. Many volunteers raise a portion of the funds for each camp through the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP), which helps support Peace Corps volunteer and community projects worldwide. Today, five percent of Peace Corps volunteers work in the youth development sector, working with communities to form youth groups, clubs and sports teams. Volunteers also develop extracurricular activities that help local youth build confidence and develop decision-making, communication and leadership skills that promote positive relationships with peers, parents and adults. One example of Peace Corps volunteer-led camps taking place this summer is Peace Corps volunteers Colin Jones of Las Vegas, Nev., Nate Storey of Phoenix, Md., Jacob Winn of Falmouth, Maine, and Richard Wiersma, 24, of Rockford, Mich., are working with local community members and Peace Corps staff to organize the seventh annual Azerbaijani Boys’ Leadership Experience (ABLE) camp from July 14 to 16 in Azerbaijan. During the camp, 50 boys aged 13 to 17 will participate in sessions on topics including leadership skills, teamwork and how to make a positive impact locally. A portion of the funds for ABLE camp will be raised through the PCPP. “The primary objective of ABLE camp is to show campers how they can make a positive difference in their communities,” said Wiersma, alum of Liberty University and Grand Rapids Community College, who has been serving in Azerbaijan since 2011. “We guide them in a process of defining community, identifying needs and assets, and leading initiatives that benefit their communities such as park cleanup campaigns or creating educational opportunities for students. We also emphasize teamwork, motivation, and respect for others.” One hundred percent of each tax-deductible PCPP donation goes toward a development project. Those interested in supporting camp ABLE can visit The project number for the camp is 314-098. Since President John F. Kennedy established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, more than 200,000 Americans have served in 139 host countries. Today, 9,095 volunteers are working with local communities in 75 host countries. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 […]

Rockford firefighters hose down students

June 28, 2012 // 0 Comments

For some relief of a very hot day, the Rockford Fire Department brought a pumper and hoses to the Rockford Public Schools (RPS) administration building to cool kids off. Much to the delight of the students in the preschool through fifth-grade summer care program, firefighters sprayed water for the kids to run through. Many thanks from RPS and students to the Rockford firefighters for their kindness!

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