By BETH ALTENA Sale of contaminated half-acre of city property included Passionate, even tearful comments against approving a 51-unit condominium development were heard by Rockford Planning Commissioners on Thursday, March 26 before the board voted five to one to recommend Rockford City Council give the final go-ahead to the project. Developer Marcell Burger and two associates were present to answer questions The public comment session was almost entirely taken up by residents of the stretch of Monroe between Courtland and Lewis streets, although several non-residents spoke, both for and against the development. City attorney Dick Wendt was present, along with City Manager Michael Young, Clerk Chris Bedford and commissioners Tammy Bergstrom, Cliff Hill, Chair Jim Scales, Tom Sturr, Dave Rasmussen and Jon Minor. Young opened the meeting with a summary of the process of approving the Tamarack Run development, explaining what steps have been taken since the development plan was submitted to the city in October of 2014. He outlined the public meetings held since, including a two-and-a-half hour City Council meeting on February 9. Many of the same people who spoke at previous Council and Planning Commission meetings spoke at the Thursday meeting, voicing mostly the same objections to the development. New to the discussion was an explanation of steps necessary to sell to the developer a parcel of property belonging to the City within the boundaries of the development. Young said a piece of land approximately 212 feet by 100 feet was identified as city land, although it has been used as part of the former inhabitant Burch Body Works for over 100 years. The parcel, just under a half-acre, has been identified as including one of several contaminated areas on the entire seven-acre plat. As part of the development all contaminated lands will be removed and disposed of in an appropriate landfill at the developer’s expense. The Tamarack Run condominiums will occupy about half of the seven acres with wetlands on the other half being preserved. Burger spoke before the public comment session began and told commissioners that more room for snow removal had been added to the project by adding more space between homes. He said more parking had been added in response to residents’ concerns about parking on Monroe Street […]
By BETH ALTENA The EXPO doesn’t lie. It just doesn’t know who it is talking to. According to Rockford Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Southwick, it is guaranteed, for sure, absolutely going to happen that one lucky person will win an all-expenses paid two person trip to Mexico paid for by the Chamber from Antor Travel and Apple Vacations. Plus, four people will win $500 in cash. Plus, if you aren’t one of those fortunate five, you are guaranteed not to leave empty-handed. Hundreds of booths will be staffed by many hundreds of friendly people who work and live right here in West Michigan, all happy to offer some sort of goodie—a tree seedling, candy, pen, awesome drawings, such as free trips, free services, games with prizes, samples and of course, once again A Taste of Rockford with Flo’s, Uccello’s and Candlestone Inn offering delicious tastes from their kitchens for tickets which sell for a dollar each. The eleventh annual Rockford Community EXPO is slated for Saturday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Rockford High School. Amazing, you think. What does it cost to get into this wonderous event? It’s free. The best thing about the annual EXPO, besides all the great people to see and things to do, is that each EXPO is different and you never know what might be happening. Absolutely you will see Rockford’s fine public safety officers and there are always other local law enforcement members with stickers for the kids and a talking, lively mascot. At the first one a pair of local businessmen teamed up to try to beat the Guinness Book of World Records by grilling the largest every burger. Entertainment is all day and top quality. Local celebrities MC the event from beginning to end. This year’s line-up is Andy Rent, Chuck LaTour, Michelle DeSelms and Juliet Dragos. Rockford students will perform for you from the stage in the gymnasium, ending with the Rockford High School Jazz Band. This year again there will be a dozen and one selling booths, where visitors can buy products, goods or services, including the Rockford Lions taking orders for hams. The wide range of service and product providers will highlight what a talented and diverse […]
The Rockford Rams Varsity Hockey club ended the 2014/15 season with a solid playoff run. The Rams dismantled Grand Haven in the first round of the playoffs 9-4. Two days later, Rockford thumped Northview 5-1. In the Regional Finals, the Rams fell to Traverse City West 3-0. On Monday, March 2, Rockford squared off against Grand Haven in the first round of the MHSAA Regional Playoffs at Griff’s Ice House. The Rams took control early in this game, and never let up. Rockford scored four powerplay goals in the first period: Jeff Benda (from Jacob McNamara), Brandon Perry (from Jarrett Ullrey and Benda), Brock Johnson (from Benda) and Matthew Baker (from Connor Foss and Braden King). Grand Haven netted one goal in the opening period. Rockford scored 3 more goals in the middle period: Ullrey (from Benda and McNamara), King (from Baker and Johnson) and Ullrey again (from McNamara and Perry). Grand Haven scored two goals in the second period. In the final period the Rams netted two more scores: Tanner Vesche (from McNamara and Niklas Baumgardner) and Johnson (from Foss and King). Grand Haven scored one goal late in the third period to make it a 9-4 Ram victory. Rams goalie Brendan Coolbaugh secured the win. On Wednesday, March 4, Rockford faced Northview in the second round of the MHSAA Regional Playoffs. This game was also at Griff’s Ice House. Once again, the Rams took control early and didn’t let up. Rockford scored three goals in the opening period: Ullrey (assisted by Vesche and McNamara), King (assisted by Johnson and Benda) and McNamara (assisted by Baker). Northview scored their only goal of the game in the opening period. Rockford added two more goals in the second period as McNamara (unassisted) and King (assisted by Johnson and Benda) each scored their second goals of the game. There was no scoring in the final period. When the final buzzer sounded the scoreboard read: Rams 5, Northview 1. Netminder Matthew Hill recorded the W for the Rams. On Saturday, March 7, the Rams traveled to Ferris State to face Traverse City West in the MHSAA Region 1 Championship game. The game was a hard-fought battle between two solid teams. The game was scoreless after the opening stanza. […]
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL On a bluebird Friday afternoon, the first day of Rockford’s Annual Harvest Fest, the Bishop Hills Elder Care Community hosted its annual fall Petting Zoo. Present was guest of honor, Bishop Hills resident Clarence Blakeslee (Mr. Rockford). Clarence would never miss such a photo opportunity and he came, as always, equipped with a camera. Also present for the afternoon, in no particular order, were the critters from Rockford’s “Farm Animals on the Go”, the pre-schoolers and kindergarteners from Our Lady of Consolation School accompanied by classroom teachers, aides, and parents, and last but not least Jack Bolt, representing the Rockford Historical Society. Bolt was on hand to present Clarence with a copy of Images of America – Rockford, a pictorial book of Rockford’s history by author Roberta (Bobbi) Schirado. The author had personally inscribed the book and wrote on the title page, “To Clarence Blakeslee, a Dedicated Historian”. Clarence thanked Bolt and the Society for the book. He expressed great pleasure because the book was a pictorial history of Rockford. In a quote that couldn’t be more fitting Clarence said, “Pictures are the story of my life.” Indeed, for Clarence, they are. He was never seen about town without a camera, or two, or more hanging around his neck. Clarence spent decades of his life recording, in picture, the lives and times of his beloved Rockford. The presentation of the book was all the more appropriate because it was very likely that some of the pictures contained therein were taken by Clarence himself and donated at a later date to the Rockford Historical Society. Clarence Blakeslee will celebrate his 95th birthday on October 30 (the day before Halloween). He would love to hear from you. Birthday cards can be sent to Clarence, care of: Bishop Hills Elder Care Community, 4951 ll-Mile Road, Rockford, MI 49341.
Cub Scouts from Pack 3285 at Crestwood Elementary School took part in the 9/11 Remembrance Salute at Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in downtown Grand Rapids. This annual event is held to honor those who lost their lives and those who gave so much love and help following the horrific acts of Sept. 11, 2001. The sun-up-to-sun-down salute conducted by Girl, Cub and Boy Scouts, law enforcement, area fire services, EMS, active military and veterans, and citizens is the only memorial held in the nation for the entire day. This year, 966 Scouts and 656 adults took part in memorial service. In addition to the salute, the Cub Scouts also had the opportunity to send their support to our active deployed military through Operation Pillow Talk. Sponsored by the West Michigan Family Military Support Group, the boys were able to decorate pillows that will be sent to our military troops to show our appreciation for the work they are doing for our country. To learn more about Operation Pillow Talk, visit their website at www.wmmfsg.com.