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Mitchell’s Run thru Rockford

Annual 5K race raises awareness, support for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

Each year, Mitchell Peterson’s parents, Steve and Sandy Peterson, are amazed at the support they receive from the community. Over 100 volunteers help to make Mitchell’s Run thru Rockford go smoothly and to bring awareness and money to be donated to Parent Project MD, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1994 by parents of children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Mitchell’s Run thru Rockford has more than doubled in size and scope since the Petersons established it in 1999. Since then, the event has raised over $600,000, all donated to PPMD in the name of their son Mitchell Peterson, age 15 of Rockford. This year will be the 13th annual run.

“After our son was diagnosed, my wife and I wanted to make a difference. We’re thrilled this race has helped to raise awareness and support, at least in our neck of the woods. More people now know about Duchenne MD, which is important because this disease can happen in any family and currently affects many boys and their families here in West Michigan,” explains Steve Peterson.

This year’s event takes place on Saturday August 20 at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Rockford. The race starts at the bridge and travels along the scenic White Pine Trail and Rogue River.

The Kids for Kids K starts at 9:30 am. This is a competitive race but also a family event featuring a silent auction during and awards ceremony following the race.  For more race details, visit: www.mitchellsrun.org.

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Rockford Springs or Cedar Rock?

by Bob Fitzgerald

As sales manager for The Post I sometimes find myself learning about things before they actually happen. One example is starting to pick up a full head of steam. Due to the economy, there have been record numbers of foreclosures in northern Kent County. It seems the amount of taxes coming in from homeowners has dropped significantly and that has really caused problems in two of the best known towns in the area—Rockford and Cedar Springs. The rumor has begun to circulate that the two cities are in talks to combine into one. Could it be?

From what we have been told it may happen—Rockford and Cedar Springs may soon become one. City officials in both municipalities confirmed there have been many meetings behind closed doors about the two cities merging. One source said that the Rockford and Cedar Springs police departments would combine into one department and be relocated in a new building to be built on 14 Mile Road next to the movie theater. That merger alone would save close to $1 million for the cities.

“The closing of the Rockford court house would not have happened if we had been one,” said a judge who asked not to be named.

Discussions are also underway to decide what the name of the city would be. Rockford Springs or Cedar Rock are two names that have been mentioned. We even saw preliminary drawings for a new mascot to represent the cities—a hush puppy wearing red flannels with the drop seat unsnapped.

“I’ve always wondered what it would be like to wear red flannels,” said a Rockford councilor.

We also found out that Sand Lake has also been a part of the discussions and may want to be included in the merger of Rockford and Cedar Springs. “Cedar Rock Lake has a nice, affluent ring to it,” said one Village official. “I can see that name alone bringing in big business and new development. Of course, we might have to create a lake with the same name so people aren’t always asking, ‘Where’s the lake?’” he noted.
He also added that if Sand Lake becomes part of the merger, they wouldn’t have to worry anymore about being de-villaged. “We’d get the respect we deserve,” he said.

The school officials we talked with said the school systems would remain unchanged except for the possibility of having the busing done by a private company. Or, they may just cancel busing all together. “We tried that once in the 1980s and it worked pretty good,” recalled one former school bus driver.

The municipalities are scheduled to discuss the merger at a joint meeting on Friday, April 1.

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Runner finishes in top 100 of Boston Marathon

Sixth fastest time among Michigan runners

By Alixan Spaulding

Everyone suffers from stress on a day-to-day basis, and everyone handles it in his or her own way. One local man chooses to relieve his stress through a passion he discovered at a young age—running. That passion came through last week, when Joshua L. Miller, 26, of Rockford, competed in the Boston Marathon and not only finished in the top 100, but was sixth fastest out of the runners from Michigan.

Miller has been running for many years. He ran track and cross country during his enrollment at Belding High School and later at Aquinas College. “It was a great group of people,” he said, in reference to the Aquinas team.

Joshua Miller  (pictured right) with his friend and running companion Robert Rinck.

Joshua Miller (pictured right) with his friend and running companion Robert Rinck.

Miller enjoys running so much that he has run in several marathons, including the La Salle Bank Chicago Marathon of 2006, where he finished in 125th place. On April 19 he joined over 25,000 men and women to run in the 118th annual Boston Marathon. Miller ran the 26.3-mile race in 2 hours, 30 minutes and 15 seconds. He placed 78th overall, 73rd among men, and 68th in his division. Among Michigan runners, he had the sixth fastest time. The top Michigan runner was Drew Polley of Rochester Hills, who finished 16th overall, with a time of 2:16:36.

Miller’s wife, Lisa, joined him at the finish line. Lisa was there for any encouragement her husband needed, and was tolerant of his training schedule. She also joined him occasionally in his training, which included running approximately 75 miles a week, biking, swimming, and other core exercises. His friends and family were also supportive. “They were all really excited, not so much when they found out I was participating, but when I finished,” said Miller. Miller’s friend, Robert T. Rinck, and his wife traveled with the Millers, and Rinck also ran in the marathon, placing 1755th with a time of 3:04:34.

When asked how it felt to cross the finish line, Miller replied with a laugh. “It hurt. After running a race like that all the muscles in your back and legs are tense. You want to cry, you are so happy you finished,” he explained.

Miller also ran in the 6th Annual Kent City Ridge Run on March 27, and placed first in the 15K run.  To anyone thinking of running in a marathon Miller says, “You have to start out small, then build up your mileage. You can’t overdo it!”  Advice from someone as determined and experienced as him is something to hang on to!

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Author publishes photographic history of Rockford

By Hope Cronkright

N-Rockford-bookShe’s in the business of “family history mysteries.” On August 10, 2009, Cedar Springs native and Local Family Historian Roberta Schirado put her first book on the shelves. The book, titled Rockford, is part of the Images of America Series preserving the history of communities throughout the country.

N-Rockford-book-buggy“You don’t know where you’re going until you know where you have been,” said Schirado. Her passion for writing and history are well displayed in the book.

Rockford is a collection of photo-essays covering the late 19th and early-to mid-20th century. Done in conjunction with the Rockford Historical Society, the scans from the book will be kept on permanent record at the museum.

By knowing the history of a location, Schirado explains, “you can avoid making the same mistake over and over and over. Not only being aware of the mistakes, but remembering them.”

Schirado resided in Cedar Springs for 18 years until moving to Rockford. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Central Michigan University. She has also served eight years as an editor for Michigana, a quarterly journal for the West Michigan Genealogical society.

Currently, Schirado is working on her second book, a mystery. “It’s about a woman who is a genealogist and a mystery that comes along, with several of her friends,” said Schirado. She explained that the book shows people what you have to do to figure out your family history.

To order Rockford or find out more information on the book contact:

Rockford, $21.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available at local retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.

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Special speaker at Crossfire harvest celebration

David Ogren, International Russian radio and television North American representative to speak

ENT-Speaker at Crossfire dave ogrenEach year Crossfire Ministries celebrates a Harvest Celebration featuring a key international speaker from an effective Missions Ministry.  On Sunday, September 20, Reverend David Ogren will be the special speaker at the 10:00 a.m. worship service, in the conference room adjacent to MVP Health Club at 515 E. Division, Rockford. The public is cordially invited to attend this service.  Special music will be provided by Crossfire’s Worship Team led by Pastor Judy Hemmila. Chili, cornbread, and pie will be served for lunch following the service.

Dave Ogren has pastored four congregations over the past 35 years. He pastored two churches on the West Coast in Washington State and two congregations in the Midwest. Pastor Dave has been married for 37 years to his wife Colleen and is the father to three children and the grandfather of four. While pastoring Philadelphia Church in Seattle, WA, from 1996-2007, Pastor Ogren served as the Mission’s Director for International Russian Radio and Television.  After he resigned his church in 2007, IRR/TV asked him to be the U.S. and Canadian representative for this Mission’s Ministry. He now travels throughout North America casting vision for IRR/TV and ministering to pastors and churches.

International Russian Radio and Television is a non-denominational, modern mission’s organization, which focuses on taking the Gospel to the nations of Russia, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Missions are the heart of God for all people groups in our world today.  This service will help you understand how the Gospel of Jesus Christ is communicated in a different culture.  Pastor Ogren will inspire and challenge you to make your Christian witness relevant in the world in which you live. Don’t miss this opportunity.

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Rockford Rebels Cooperstown trip a success!

The Rockford Rebels 12U travel baseball team recently returned from Cooperstown, NY with a lifetime of memories.

S-Rockford-Rebels-at-CooperThe Rockford Rebels 12U travel baseball team recently traveled to Cooperstown New York to play in a national baseball tournament hosted at the Cooperstown Dream Park, minutes from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The 5-day baseball extravaganza, limited to 12-year-old and younger teams, draws over 100 teams weekly from all over the country throughout the summer months.  During tournament play the Rebels faced teams from as far away as San Diego, California and finished with 3 wins and 4 losses.  “The boys played great ball the entire week and grabbed a couple of impressive victories over top-rated teams from around the country,” commented Mark Stephens, head coach.

The week was topped off by a team visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame after tournament play was concluded. “We didn’t come home with a trophy, but playing at Cooperstown and visiting the Hall of Fame was really cool, and something I will remember all my life,” said Connor Jackson, Rockford Rebel.

The Cooperstown Dream Park is home to weekly tournaments beginning in early June and running through September each year.  More information about the Dreamspark can be found at www.cooperstowndreamspark.com.

The Rockford Rebels Travel Baseball organization was founded in 2007 and for 2010 will be expanding to three teams encompassing 13, 12 and 11 year – old age groups.  The 2010 12U team will be returning to Cooperstown, New York, in addition to playing in the 7 to 10 Michigan weekend tournaments.

Tryouts for the 2010 Rockford Rebels travel baseball team will be held on Saturday, August 15th from 10 AM to 2 PM (participants should arrive 15 to 30 minutes early to warm-up), at Rockford Christian School on Belding Road.  More information can be found by visiting www.rockfordrebels.com.

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