by Cliff and Nancy Hill According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture – if every Michigan family would buy just $10 a week of local Michigan fruits and vegetables, it would keep $37 million new dollars each week working for you right here at home. For the past eight years Rockford has been way ahead of the curve by its overwhelming acceptance of the Rockford City sponsored Farm Market. About to enter its 9th season, the Rockford Farm Market returns this Saturday, June 6, and continues every Saturday thereafter until October 31, 2009. From the Market’s inception in 2001, Rockford City Community Development Director Jody Greco has assembled an eclectic mix of vendors who compliment one another and the Market during its five-month run. The Market is anchored by a core of vendors who fell in love with the Rockford Market that first year. Returning every year thereafter, each vendor has built a strong local following that can’t wait for their favorites to return. All of last year’s vendors are back this year along with George Miller of the popular “Miller’s Cave,” a vendor of marinated mushrooms (secret recipe), who was missed last season. Not wanting to spoil a good thing by creating an unmanageable larger market, Greco tells us that the hard part of her job every year is turning away new applicants. Greco has been graciously referring those applicants to last year’s newly formed Plainfield Market and an about to be formed farm market in Walker. Personally, we are looking forward to the return of Great Harvest Bread Company and their deliciously decadent cinnamon bread and the first of the season homegrown tomatoes that were planted in January, then grown and ripened in Deimer’s Winter Gardens greenhouses. We also won’t forget fresh Michigan hand-snapped asparagus from TerAvest Farm and, of course, a bouquet of fresh cut flowers from Casey Lemieux at The Flower Garden stall. The Market is more than just a cornucopia of locally grown fruits and vegetables, organic produce, homemade pastries and breads, cheese, eggs, fresh jerky, honey, floral planter arrangements and nursery and greenhouse stock. In Rockford the Market is a social phenomenon and has been since day one. That is what Jody Greco must have had in mind […]
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Bring blankets or beach towels, chairs or just hang out on the grass Tuesdays in downtown Rockford. The Huntington Bank Rogue River Blues series begins this Tuesday, June 9. The free concerts take place at Garden Club Park near the dam on the banks of the Rogue River and run from 7 to 9 p.m. each Tuesday through August 11. In its seventh year this season, the concerts draw thousands and have been popular since song one. Paul Chimienti, office manager of the Rockford Huntington Bank, said his business was looking for something wonderful to sponsor in the Rockford community. They chose the Blues concerts because they are enjoyed by so many. “There are many wonderful events in Rockford. We chose this because it is good for everyone, the City, the merchants because so many people come to downtown for it and the public loves it,” he said. In addition to great free blues music by live, professional bands, the concerts have giveaways such as t-shirts, balloons and more. “We did this as a commitment to be a community business and it’s a winner,” said Chimienti. “The people who enjoy it are all ages, from four to 84 or more. It’s in a beautiful setting, it’s family-friendly and it’s safe. There are never any incidents.” The series starts with favorite The Weezil Malone Band. Other popular bands scheduled by organizer Steve Jazwiec, who began the series and is known for his “Blues Brothers” look, are Root Doctor, James Reeser and the Backseat Drivers, Harper, the Steve Hilger Blues Band and more. This is an Rockford Arts Commission event, one of many musical events that are free and for public enjoyment.
by JUDY REED The old Swedish Baptist church was remembered Monday, when Algoma Township, in conjunction with the Algoma Township Historical Society, dedicated a memorial park where the church once stood. The park, located on Grange Avenue, south of 13 Mile, is at the Algoma Township Cemetery, across from the current Algoma Baptist Church. The bell from the old church is part of the monument that was erected there this last week. “We didn’t want to lose the history of the church,” Julie Sjogren, president of the Algoma Historical Society told the Cedar Springs Post recently. The Swedish Baptist church was organized in 1903 and first met in a house in Sparta. In 1910, it moved to Algoma Township, on Grange, and held services in the church building owned by the United Brethren church. The name was later changed to Algoma Baptist. In 1968, they purchased 20 acres across the street and built the existing building. In 1999, the old church building and property was donated to Algoma Township with hopes it could be restored, but it was too costly to renovate. So Algoma decided to create a park, memorializing the church and veterans at the same time. The street side of the seven-foot monument memorializes the church with the bell, and the veteran brick courtyard side of the monument memorializes veterans, living or deceased. On Monday, Memorial Day, the park was dedicated, with Rep. Tom Pearce on hand for the unveiling. Clerk Judy Bigney gave a history of the park, Sjogren recognized the donors, and Carl Lambert Friske shared words about the old church. After the dedication, the township held memorial services there, and with representation from the C.E. Schumacher Rockford Memorial Post #3946; Boy Scout Troop #304, and 3rd Michigan Volunteer Infantry Co. F-Civil War. Guests of Honor included WWII POWs Russell Powell and Harold “Hap” Teesdale.
Golden R luncheon will be held Saturday, June 27 at 10:30 a.m. at Rockford High School. The group will welcome the Class of ’59 into its ranks of Rockford graduates of 50 years or more. For information, call Dan VanDyke at (616) 942-0208 or for reservations, call Trish Armstrong at (616) 889-0416. ROCKFORD HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF ’59–(Pictured from left to right): Row 1: Helen Reed, Tony Homminga, Mona Gillikin (D), Andy Pogee, Marilyn Jackson (D), Chuck Polonowski, Maureen Murphy, Bernard Brosink, Lorraine Schemerhorn, Clarence Matthews, Jerry Neer, Charles Fiers, Carol VanderMolen, Reginald Craft (D). Row 2: Gene Sawyer, Louise Lilley, Tom Krause (D), Ricki Minion, Allen Brownell, Betty Blakeskee (D), Ed Brodowski (D), Bill Critchell, Don Hunt, JoAnne Waid, David Kendall, Agnew Veenstra, Paul Seely (D), Carol Noxon. Row 3: Terry Stoiker, Charles Haling, Joanne VanDriel, Ralph Wilson, Superintendent E. J. Kleinert, Principal Gerald Fox, Sheldon Christianson (D), Pat Streeter, Don Stinson, Alma Stuthard (D). Row 4: John Cutler, Sandy Liefbroer, Arnold Hammer, Alice Beckett, Class Advisor Stanley McBride, Assistant Class Advisor Mildred Hackett, Barb Paas, Mel Hoekstra (D), Wendell Saladin, Willy Young. Row 5: Pat Nelson, Joel Jannenga, Nadine Frances, June Fonger, John VanNoord, Judy Lichnowsky, Vicki Nelson, Lee Blayden, Phyllis Parter, Kay Wooden (D), Don Rusk, Karen Bellamy, Gary Barnes, MaraLeigh Sowerby. Row 6: Lois Ellens, Gwen Mason, Tony Graves, Pat Bloomfield, Ruth Lanning, Lynn Bird, Gail Hanthorn, Milton Barry, Annette Burrows, Everett Ryan, Virginia Weller, Jim Adams, Rosalie Tompkins, Ken Duncan (D). Row 7: Janet Winquist, Marilyn Foster, Charlene Fisk, Darlene Ashley, Ron Wilson (D), Jerry Carlson, Rowland Schreiber (D), Doug Wozniak, Barb Neumann, Jim Sheehan (D), John Shevock, Don DeWald, Jack Briggs, Mary Alice Haight. Row 8: Ron Peterson, Diane Cassone, Ann Pratt, Sarah Sullivan, Gordon Tucker, Linda Pinckney, Janet Barker, Judy Dolan, Gary Boltinghouse, Mike Woven, Mel VanDriel, Dale Tyrell, Dorothy Parks, Todd Sloan. (D) = deceased
by BETH ALTENA What did you do for spring break? One Rockford man and his family spent it in war-torn Sudan, Africa, seeing the result of ten years of passion, faith and miracles. Dave Bowman, with his wife, sons and daughter and their children, underwent a 24-hour trip to Sudan to see the dedication of a hospital that is the only one of its kind in a country where the people literally had no medical options. The trip, with family members ranging in age from 11-year-old Sarah Hammond to Dave and his wife Nancy, who had her 72nd birthday on the trip. The experience included close proximity to scorpions, termites “on steroids” and two choices of toilet: the long-drop or short-drop outhouse. Still, each family member considers the venture a journey that changed their lives profoundly and permanently. The ten family members went to see the result of ten years of passion, prayer and hands-on work: a hospital in Sudan. At the outset of the effort to build the hospital, organizers were told it was a humanly impossible endeavor. “Imaging building a hospital in New York and you have to bring the supplies to build it from Florida and there are no roads in between,” said Bowman. “Supplies either came from Nairobi, 16,000 miles away or they came from Grand Rapids, Michigan. That’s what gives me goose bumps.” In a way, the hospital is the result of a diagnosis of severe heart disease and diabetes Bowman received. His doctor recommended he no longer work and he was forced to re-evaluate his life. At the time, there had been news stories of a genocidal war in Sudan where entire tribes of people were killed so their land could be taken. Children, primarily boys as young as four, were without living family members and fending for themselves in a harsh and desolate landscape. Bowman had heard about these “lost boys” who were being brought to the United States by the U.S. government. “I thought, ‘I can’t work, but maybe I can be a father to these boys.’” Bowman picked up his new sons at the airport in December, 2000. “At that time I had absolutely no idea I’d have a second career like this.” As […]