Top News Stories

The Hut coming to Rockford

June 25, 2009 // 0 Comments

The “bread store” (Butternut Bread discount outlet) in the front of the Rockford Meijer is down and a strip mall is on its way. According to Rockford City Manager Michael Young, the Ten Mile Corridor planning committee has no objections to the retail shops that will occupy the mall. “It was already zoned commercial because of the bread store,” Young said. Planned to fill the mall will be a restaurant, The Hut (formerly Pizza Hut), a coffee shop, a cell phone store and a tanning salon. “I would expect that construction activities will commence very shortly and move at a quick pace, in that they are already behind schedule,” Young said.

Firefighters take on propane blazes

June 18, 2009 // 0 Comments

The public is safer from the threat of a propane disaster, thanks to training offered by the Michigan Propane Gas Association (MPGA). Cannon, Courtland and Oakfield Township firefighters practiced defeating propane fires on Monday, June 15. “This may be the only propane training any of them ever receive,” said Derek Dalling, spokesperson for the MPGA. Firefighters followed classroom-style training with hands-on practice turning off the fuel source of burning propane tanks. They used a hose technique that allows a firefighter to get close to the huge blaze and reach through the wall of protective water. “No other fire burns like propane,” said Dalling. Michigan uses more propane than any other state in the country. Grill fires are the most common type of propane emergency to which firefighters respond. Tanks should only be filled to 85 percent because propane expands in heat. Fires can also be caused by homemade fixes of damaged hoses. Although firefighters have to  literally reach into the fire to stop the flow of fuel, they also face frostbite due to the temperature of the escaping fuel. The fire practice was interrupted when a call came in about a fire with flames showing. The first responders quickly realized someone had called in their practice as an out-of-control  fire.

Sports complex proposed for former landfill property

June 18, 2009 // 0 Comments

by Dan Harland from our news partners at Even with first class sporting venues like Van Andel Arena and Fifth Third Ballpark, the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) thinks there is something missing on the area’s sports scene. The WMSC hired an independent party that found West Michigan is the only community of its size without a tournament ready complex for baseball, softball, soccer or lacrosse. Last week the WMSC presented the Kent County Commission a plan to build a 12-field baseball and softball complex on a 90-acre piece of land on Ten Mile Road in Algoma Township, adjacent to the North Kent Transfer Recycling Center. “We believe that very conservatively over a ten year period, we could generate around $49 million worth of hotel revenue only,” said WMSC board member David Hoogendorn. Hoogendorn says the project would cost an estimated $5.6 million with the hopes of financing much of the complex privately. WMSC member Peter Secchia told our partners at the Grand Rapids Business Journal that he had a private donor willing to donate half of the $5.6 million needed, but that individual withdrew the offer due to economic circumstances. Hoogendorn hopes the complex will draw tournaments featuring between 60 and 72 teams during baseball and softball seasons.

Casnovia woman dies in weekend crash

June 18, 2009 // 0 Comments

Alpine Avenue was closed Saturday, June 13, while rescue workers responded to a fatal accident at M-37 and Sparta Avenue. Jane Carlson, 63, Carl Carson, 64, and a 12-year-old child, all of Casnovia, were passengers in a 2006 Ford van.The van was driven by Todd Carlson, 40, and was traveling southbound on M-37. A 2004 Ford Explorer driving by Linda Liscombe, 66, of Sparta, entered M-37 southbound off Sparta Avenue. The Explorer struck the Carlson vehicle, which ran off the roadway into the median before rolling several times. Jane Carlson, who was in a rear seat of the van, was ejected and was pronounced dead at the scene.  The other occupants of the vehicle were treated for injuries and were transported to Spectrum Hospital Downtown.          

Highest praise for longest-serving City Manager

June 18, 2009 // 0 Comments

This year marks 14 years that Michael F. Young has presided as City Manager for the City of Rockford. He is officially the longest serving City Manager of our City. The Rockford City Council recently evaluated Young on ten (10) criteria based on a five (5) point scale. The combined average ranking as determined by the evaluation instrument was a 4.45. This equates to a 94 percent overall performance rating. Young received particularly high marks in the area of presentation and preparation of oral and written reports and the overall fiscal health of the City including the tax rate and fund equity. Other areas receiving high marks include budget development, grant writing and initiative to provide new and approved methods of service to the residents of Rockford. As a result of the excellent evaluation, Young was granted a contract extension through the 2012-13 fiscal year. Mayor Janiece Rogers stated, “Council is very pleased with Michael’s performance and his evaluation reflects this.” Rogers further stated that, “Council relies on Michael to guide the City in the right direction and with this tough economy, he has done just that.”

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