“The Blues Series is one of the most anticipated events of the year. Once again, United Bank has shown its strong community spirit to ensure the success of this event for years to come,” says Michael Young, City Manager. Area residents have enjoyed the Blues Series in downtown Rockford since its beginnings in 2003. The success of the series is evidenced weekly as families and friends gather in Downtown Rockford’s beautiful Garden Club Park to hear the sounds of local area musicians. This free musical series has grown from a 4-week to the current 10-week series. The 2015 United Bank Rogue River Blues Series begins on Tuesday June 9 and runs through August 11. The 2015 line up of musicians will begin June 9 with Hannah Rose and the GravesTones performing. Hannah Rose was recently named the 2015 WYCE Jammie winner for Best Blues/Soul Album of the year by the local music awards. She is another great example of the success of our very own Rockford High School graduates. Billy Strings and Don Julin will please the audience with the sounds of bluegrass. This duo on guitar and mandolin are in high demand, touring nationally this summer. The United Bank Rogue River Blues Series was thrilled to book them for July 7. Back by popular demand, The Crane Wives will be in the musical line up this summer. It has been said that they have “contagious energy.” Always a fan favorite. “The Blues on the dam is a wonderful place to experience some of this area’s best music. Maybe more important though, it provides a beautiful occasion to socialize with friends and neighbors. I truly feel it instills a sense of community in Rockford” states Jim Wendling, Mr. Open Mic by the Dam Tammy Uecker, United Bank Branch Manager says, “I am thrilled that we are able to support the City of Rockford and this community as sponsor of the blues series. I am excited to be a part of this great community and hope to meet many of you on Tuesday nights this summer. Come and join the fun!”
Rockford Rotary Club has provided scholarship funding for the Rockford Public Schools (RPS) Summer Reading Program for several years. Last year, the funds raised fell short of the increased need. “Reading is critical for success in school and life,” said Lisa Jacobs, executive director of RPS Community Services, “and the summer reading program is an important strategy to help young students be successful readers.” The three-week program, each July, helps young students maintain what they learned in the previous school year and prepare for the new school year. Rockford Rotary President Sue Bodenner designated this year’s annual Duck Race as the fundraiser to fund the summer reading program at a higher level and have additional funds for a special literacy project. As Jacobs reviews summer reading program needs and ideas with Bodenner, another type of planning is happening. Local businesses are sponsoring Big Daddy Ducks for $100 each for the first race on June 9 during Start of Summer. “There are just two rules for the Big Daddy Duck Race of 22 large ducks: no motor and no whining if you lose!” stated Rotarian Erik Luxhoj, chair. The Facebook page has evidence of ducks going through training and enhancements and “all in support of better readers” said Corner Bar Manager John Vanaman. Rogue River Red Hats to the staff of Rockford Ambulance all agree that it was an irresistible way to raise funds for this good cause—and they might just win the unique traveling trophy designed by Justin Kauffman and Gary Davis. There is just one big duck left. The 2,000 tickets for the regular Rockford Rotary Duck Race go on sale before May 1. Check Facebook page “Big Daddy Duck Race” to find out businesses involved, where to get tickets and the prizes being offered to get readers of The Rockford Squire involved to help young readers in our community. For more information e-mail to email@example.com or call Erik Luxhog at (616) 884-0694.
by BETH ALTENA United Bank’s CEO and president Art Johnson, honorary chair of the West Michigan Healing Fields, has stepped up to present his bank as Field Sponsor for the memorial tribute to those killed on 9/11. The bank gave the project a $10,000 check Tuesday, May 24. According to Nancy Martin, manager of the Rockford branch of United Bank, the area tribute to those lost in the terrorist attack is likely to result in national media coverage. Martin said the tribute will take place on the 10th anniversary of the attack—a milestone memorial—and this Healing Fields event will be one of the biggest in the country. “It’s very expensive to put on, but we felt we had to go full bore with it.” The parent organization of the West Michigan Healing Fields is the Rockford Area Community Endowment (RACE), which put up the $50,000 required to stage the event. The public, organizations and businesses are invited to buy one of the three-by-five-foot flags at just $75, which are limited to 3,200—the number of people who died in the September 11, 2001 attacks. Martin said she is excited her company CEO wasted no time deciding to be a major sponsor and is already joined by such familiar names as Meijer, Grand Rapids Press, Ingraberg Farms and others. Flag sales are currently underway as well. “This is going to be so huge,” she noted. Johnson spoke during a press conference held at Cannonsburg Ski Area, where the display and associated memorial events will take place. He talked about the affect the attacks had on the country and the world and how all Americans’ lives have changed as a result. For United Bank, there was a personal connection to the tragedy. The legal team employed by the institution was located in the Trade Towers and every one of them lost their lives that day. Johnson himself, the former chairman of the American Banking Association, had been scheduled to fly to Washington, D.C. that day and had a late morning, so he postponed his flight. The flags will fly on eight-foot poles, a “living display of heroism,” which will be a temporary tribute to the strength and unity of Americans. Flags may be dedicated in honor of an […]
by ANA OLVERA Courtney Betten, 5, and her brother Gavin, 4, of Rockford looked at all the dolls inside United Bank, at 155 Marcell Dr. in Rockford, with great excitement, gasping and pointing at every doll they liked. Courtney’s favorite doll was dressed by Lisa Banas. “It has a cute little doggy! I like her eye color and I definitely like the braids in her hair,” said Betten. The bank buys 100 unclothed dolls, and friends, customers and people from the community can pick a doll they would like to dress. Then the public can go to the bank and vote for their favorite doll. Voting will run until December 4. The winning doll is kept for a year and is then sent to the North Kent Service Center (NKSC) along with the rest of the dolls. Parents can go to the NKSC and choose a doll for their child. There will also be a donation box for NKSC’s boys’ toys at United Bank. For the event’s seventh anniversary, United Bank decided to do something new. The business did not have the time or talent to dress the dolls, so other businesses were asked to sponsor the dolls. The bank asked for $35, but some businesses gave more. River Valley Auto decorated a doll as a “grease monkey” with a smudge of oil on its left cheek. Frenz Coffee House dressed a doll in an apron with a cup full of coffee beans. Beverly Combs decorated “Little Princess Running Deer” in fur and moccasins. “We have some people that are so loyal and start calling, wondering when the Dress the Dolls contest will start,” said Nancy Martin, manager of United Bank. With money being so tight this year, the bank thought about cutting back, but realized the need is even more present. Thanks to the generosity of Jane at DollarVille, the bank is able to get the dolls at a bargain price. The dolls are dressed in a variety of ways. Knit or elegant dresses and even cultural outfits adorn the dolls. Some even come with accessories ranging from pets, purses or backpacks to sunglasses or a second outfit. The dolls also have many themes, from a biker to a pharmacist, Ram fan, and even […]