01-04-2018 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

Fire and Ice, tale for a New Year

 Here we are with a brand new year starting… what shall we do with it? What kind of an impression will we leave for future generations? We stand at a cross road, and I thought of a little poem by Robert Frost called “Fire and Ice.”

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.

Fire and ice, desire and disgust, love and indifference. Are you surprised that I didn’t put hate as the opposite of love? Well, I don’t think the opposite of love is necessarily hate! I think it is the cold of indifference… not caring at all! We have those opposites in our country right now. And it has been getting worse!

Here we are in the greatest, most powerful country on earth. We’re not perfect, but we are working on it! We’re trying to see that everyone is fed, housed, educated, and insured against calamity. We’ve had our ups and downs… and disagreements. But thousands clamor to get in. Must be something people like about what we are doing!

And among all those trying to get into America, there are a few who have a burning desire to destroy us! We usually find them after they have murdered some citizens, people just going about their lives.

Look at the world… what is happening in other countries, especially the Middle East! Are people trying to get in or out? That is a measure of our success on the world stage! Must be we have something really special in our Constitution that has kept us going this long. And made so many people want to come here.

But what are we doing about it? We are pulling in opposite directions. People in the business of keeping us informed are so corrupted now! It has gotten so we cannot trust what some newscasters tell us on TV. People, whom we used to trust, lie and make up news. Some large, once respected newspapers are part of it. Do they think the end justifies the means? Do they hate our government and our president so much they will do anything… and I mean ANYTHING to make his job more difficult… perhaps get him out of office?

What they are really doing is debasing, diluting the honesty that is so sorely needed now! Truth of the matter is that we are all on the same ship. I’d like to think it is not The Titanic. Instead, it is The United States of America! If we sink, all those nay sayers will go down too!

Some years back we had a vice president named Spiro Agnew. He had a way with words, but he got into trouble and had to resign. I didn’t like his politics, but he said some things that I have remembered ever after. He called his political enemies Nattering Nabobs of Negativity. My Webster’s says that to natter is to chatter idly and talk on at great length. A nabob is an East Indian official, or someone rich and important. Negativity is having doubts and being opposed to ideas.

I believe that we have a lot of nattering nabobs of negativity right now! And I feel almost helpless to do anything about it! In the heartland there are millions and millions of good-hearted people who want to keep our country strong. Are so many consumed with exercising their thumbs on those little ipads that a paralysis has set in?

Many of us served our country in war and peace… my part in the Big One, as Archie Bunker called it, was admittedly small. But it taught me something. If we are going to keep what we value, we have to fight for it! So many of our citizens have fought and bled, or have died.

There has been a lot of talk about ‘draining the swamp,’ and I feel there is a certain ironic justice in what is happening to some of the nay sayers. But I’m not going to get into that. I would like to put out a thought. All of those who have been manufacturing news, putting out stories that are designed to hurt someone’s reputation… bring down those in high places… all of those people must have families! To them I would like to say, “Don’t you care about your own wives and children? Are you so consumed with bitterness that you would bring their world crashing down?”

Because that’s what will happen if they keep on! We are all Americans! We are citizens of the greatest country in the world! And we should all be building it up… not trying to tear it down! How about making a New Year’s resolution to do better? There has never been a more grand experiment in history than the country we have built… and in which we have woven golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River and other places!

Coloma Library News

Read with Spirit

 Spirit, a certified therapy dog will be at the library on Tuesdays from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Children may sign up for a 15-minute slot by stopping in at the front desk or calling the library at 468-3431. Reading to therapy dogs is a fun way for children to build reading confidence and fluency.

Book Club

 The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, January 11 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “The Address” by Fiona Davis.  Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday and is always looking for new members.

Watervliet District Library News

Tea-Time Month

January 2018

Take the chill out of January with a nice hot cup of tea! Enjoy some tea-themed trivia, learn about the plants and their folklore, peruse our china display and pick up some great tea-time read! Open hours throughout the month.

In Stitches Knitting Group

Friday, Jan. 12, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

Second Friday of every month sit & sip, chat & knit. Limited supplies are available for beginners.

Third Monday Book Club

Jan. 15, 7-8 p.m.

The Charm Bracelet by Viola Shipman

The Red Skirt: Memoirs of an ex nun

Author Presentation

Monday, Jan. 22 – 6:30 p.m.

 Author Patricia O’Donnell-Gibson will read from her book, talk about how it came to be and share her knowledge of the memoir writing process. Copies of her book will be available at half price. Refreshments will follow. Free, no registration required.

Adult Reading Program

January 22 – March 3

 This year’s theme is: Solve it @ Your Library, anyone 18 years and older is invited to warm up those brain cells with winter reading. Great prizes await you:

1st prize: Puzzle books

2nd prize: Brain teasers

3rd prize: Magnifying glass

Grand Prize Drawing: Everyone who’s read six books or more: Tickets for two to the Mendel Center, “Rockin’ Road to Dublin.”

Adult Crafting “Pinteresting”

Monday, Jan. 29, 6:30–8:00 p.m.

Last Monday of every month, Pinterest, anyone? Have fun trying out a Pinterest inspired craft, on the library! All supplies provided; sign-up required.

Teen Table Projects: January

 Post-it Note Tangles & Art Show! Demonstrate your skills and put Rembrandt to shame! All supplies provided.

Story Hour

Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. & Thursdays, 1:30 p.m.

December to April, show-and-tell, stories and crafts for children ages 3 – 5 and their families. Sign up to share our structured literacy program with your preschooler!

Library Garden Park

 Purchase a Legacy Walk brick and celebrate a memory! Bricks are $75; 13 characters, two lines. Pick up a form at the library.


Mondays, 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.; Wednesdays, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.; Chair Yoga on Wednesdays, 6:00 – 6:45 p.m.


100 years ago – 1918

 The marriage of Lyle J. Mott and Jennie Carpenter was solemnized Friday morning. Mr. Mott is son of Mr. and Mrs. D.W. Mott of the Hotel Pitcher. The wedding dinner was served at the Hotel Pitcher. The happy couple left for Chicago for a wedding trip.

Jacob Friday was re-elected president of the Berrien County Horticultural Society. George Friday gave a talk on farm labor problems at this important meeting.

60 years ago – 1958

 The Detroit-Chicago expressway, which follows US-12, just south of Coloma, has top priority in highway department plans.

Enjoying dinner at the Pelican Restaurant at Clearwater Beach, Florida were the Fridays, Emhoffs, DeRosas, Dorstewitzes, Randalls and Noacks.

The Comets will host the Little Eight league-leading Berrien Springs’ Shamrocks. Coaches S.L. McDaniels and Lyle Patterson have been sending their squads through practice drills.

Your New Standard Agent for Coloma is Dale Antes. For service call WAlnut 5-9026.

The Fireside Forum members plan a supper in the First Congregational Church dining room.

30 years ago – 1988

 The township officials purchased a 1988 LTD Ford police car, Chief of Police Cottier reports. Supervisor Rodney Krieger advises the board to reevaluate policy on sick day pay, holiday and vacation pay.­­

Harding’s extends an open invitation to Hilltop customers. Come and shop our store for a pleasant experience. We offer double coupons all day Wednesday.

A remedial program is set up for students who scored poorly in the MEAP test, Assistant Superintendent David DeFields announced. High School Principal Harold Wheeler reported there will be a Lakeland Academic All-Conference Team named this year.

Orchards of Coloma – 1984 Buick Regal with t-top; 1981 Camaro; 1985 Pontiac Parisienne with overdrive, air, tilt, cruise. Stop in and see Bob or Doug today.


100 years ago – 1918

 Two new names have been added to Hartford’s list of soldiers this week, George Fox and Nick Spillers.

Taken suddenly ill at their home in the east part of the village last Saturday, Mrs. Will Mix fell upon a heating stove and was seriously burned about the face. Their daughter, Miss Celia Mix rushed to the home of a neighbor to telephone for aid. Dr. R.N. Dunnington attended her injuries.

Last week a Chicago merchant from the South Halsted Street district paid a visit to Hartford and purchased a considerable quantity of merchandise from M.O. Oppenheim and Jacob Oppenheim. The goods consisted mainly of out-of-date clothing and furnishings, some of them having been in storage since Jacob Oppenheim operated the local clothing store under the name of “Jake the Cobbler.”

75 years ago – 1943

 Fred Ward, owner of Ward’s File Farm is scheduled to address the Commercial Farmer Club at the first January meeting. Operating Hartford’s newest industrial plant, Mr. Ward has directed a rapidly growing enterprise, extending the field of operation to include contracts with many plants producing war materials.

The Southwest Hartford Thursday Club was host to members’ families at a New Year’s Eve party held at the Brague school house. A co-operative dinner was served to 60 members and guests under the direction of Adeline Richmond and her assistants.

The subject of Rev. Lester Clough’s address before the Hartford Woman’s Club Tuesday afternoon was “Ministry of Thoughtfulness.” The meeting was at the home of Miss Marcia Corbyn.

50 years ago – 1968

 A New Year’s night fire swept the home of Mr. and Mrs. James Parker at 10 Hilliard Street. Flames had broken through the roof by the time the firemen were summoned. The Parkers had left the house an hour or two before to visit Mrs. Parker’s mother. Parker said that earlier, he and a friend had been attempting to thaw water pipes by burning newspapers in the basement. The house is owned by John Ruggio Sr.

Storm, a television star and registered German shepherd owned by James Weideman of Hartford, died last week at the age of 2-1/2 from epilepsy. Weideman said that the disease was a recessive trait in the dog’s lineage. Storm performed on numerous television programs including roles in “Mission Impossible,” “The Fugitive,” “In Like Flint” and “Our Man Flint.”


90 years ago – 1928

 Owners of ice houses who are dependent on the natural supply of ice for their summer refrigeration are beginning to have considerable concern over the ice harvest situation. With the middle of February 1928 close at hand, and no ice in their houses and none of the desired thickness on the lake, the situation is not so good. The fields are kept cleared of snow so that a few days of hard freezing weather would probably do the trick. But the temperatures when they have come during the present winter, remained for only a day or two.

Miss Isabelle Schoonover was pleasantly surprised on Feb. 2, 1928 when thirteen of her friends gathered at her home to help celebrate her eighteenth birthday.

Master Robert Brown very delightfully entertained eighteen friends at his home on Feb. 4, 1928 in celebration of his sixth birthday.

60 years ago – 1958

 Seven-year-old Patricia Smith of Watervliet is just about the proudest young lady in the city. She received a letter from Red Skelton on his personal stationery in response to a “get well” letter she sent him while he was convalescing from an asthmatic attack. Patricia, unfortunately, also suffers from asthma and has for six years. She sent very comforting words and he appreciated it very much.

Miss Martha Minor, daughter of the Rev. and Mrs. Emerson Minor, who was selected as the Watervliet Cherry Pie Champion, sold one of her pies for $30 on January 22, 1928.

Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Wieser are the proud parents of their baby boy, Kirk James, born Jan. 22, 1928 and weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces.

30 years ago – 1988

 Mrs. Debbie Pawielski, teacher of the learning disabled, and Mrs. Pat McClurg, an aide to WHS physically disabled students, were honored on Jan. 27, 1988 by the Southwestern Michigan Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children. Mrs. McClurg received the association’s Golden Nugget Award while Mrs. Pawielski got the outstanding special educator award.

In January of 1988, eleven 7th-grade Watervliet students scored a perfect 100 on both the math and reading sections of the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP). These scores placed them in the top 10 percent of all the 7th-grade students in Michigan.


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