01-05-2017 Tri-City Area History Page

Paw Paw River Journal

A New Beginning

 Well, here we are… a brand new year in front of us.  A blank page on which we can write whatever we wish.  How did the old one go?  It gets mixed reviews when you check a cross section of folks.  Out on the West Coast where anything can happen and often does, some famous people said they would move to Canada if Trump were elected.  Have they gone yet?  I wonder why not?

I don’t think they will enjoy the winters up there anyway.  If they don’t like the country that made them wealthy, and they stay to keep on doing whatever they were doing to entertain us, why should we buy tickets to see them do whatever they do?  Stuff that is sometimes inane, meaningless, and contributes little to the common good.

Who are the people beating their collective breasts and hollering the loudest?  I suspect it is those who are getting entitlements!  Don’t worry, folks, your checks will not stop coming… at least right away.  Some people who are riding the gravy train may eventually lose their stuff… perhaps there are a few who don’t deserve a free ride with the rest of us paying for them anyway.

And Middle America, all of the hard working people who had their say this time will go on working for a living and hoping for some equity in life.  This country started out with so much promise.  We have been a beacon for the world.  Everyone would like to live here.  And some people now would like to live here and change us to the way other countries have gone… to their sorrow.  Just ask many of the citizens of Germany and France… if they could only go back!

Well, this is still a country for everybody.  That is… a country for everyone who will live by our rules! The rules laid out in the Constitution.  I hope we can live under the Constitution and keep that document at the center of our lives.  Let’s look at the positive side of things.  Hopefully there will be more jobs.  Wouldn’t you like to see the airports and railway systems rebuilt?  Wouldn’t it be great to have the rust belt sanded, primed and painted, and going full speed ahead!  Sounds good.  Let’s give it a chance!

And the poor people who live crowded together in cities… they need a chance at a better life.  Amidst all the promises of the past 50 years nothing has changed for them.  Now is the time to get them jobs.  Some of them have never had jobs!  They need to have a chance at education and a better life.

Most people in the entertainment industry fought tooth and nail to keep the system as it was.  But a few have stepped forward now with a calming voice.  One of them is actor Tom Hanks.  He is a liberal, and he has said something really worth listening to.  I found the following quotation on Wikipedia:

“The way Hanks sees it, the U.S. Constitution will always keep us safe.  He said, ‘That document is going to protect us, over and over again, whether or not our neighbors preserve and protect and defend it themselves.

“‘We are going to be all right, because we constantly get to tell the whole world who we are,’ Hanks continued. ‘We constantly get to define ourselves as Americans. We do have the greatest country in the world. We may move at a slow pace, but we do have the greatest country in the world because we are always moving toward a more perfect union.’”

This past November, America stood on the edge of the abyss.  We looked in at the blackness and drew back.  Some will still say, “No, that’s not the way it was!  We missed a chance at greatness!”  So I guess it just depends on your point of view.

Well, admittedly around here we have more of our life behind us than ahead of us.  And we are pleased to be still following the Constitution. Our Founding Fathers were wise men.  They didn’t always agree, but they hammered out a document that has served us well for over two hundred years.  I see no reason not to follow it now.

Many, wiser than I, have said that our next generations would be the first not to have a better life than we have had.  Well, that all has changed, and now there is hope that we will be climbing to new heights.  Let’s all pull together and see if we can make it happen as we weave more golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in these story book towns along the Paw Paw River.

Watervliet District Library News

 Buy a brick from the Watervliet District Library as a legacy gift to honor the cherished people in your life.  Help create a new Garden Park for the community.

Story Hour – Wednesday 10:30 to 11:30 and Thursday 1:30 to 2:30.  This class is offered for ages 3 – 5 and includes stories, crafts, show-and-tell and snacks every week through the end of April.

Words of Wisdom Book Club – Third Monday of every month beginning Jan. 16, 2017. Read something great – or something awful! – cannot wait to talk about it:  Here is your chance!  At the first meeting bring something you are dying to share.  Together we will come up with February’s riveting title.  Registration is required; sign up by giving the library a call or stopping by.

Teens Table – January 2016 – Community coloring table, all set up for you to commune around.  Stop in any time and add to the design.  We will frame the finished product.

Yoga at 9:00 a.m. every Monday morning and Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m.

In Stitches, Knitting Group – Second Friday of every month – 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.  Who wants to sit and knit all by themselves?  Bring your latest project to the library’s community room for an always entertaining “group knit-together”.  Limited supplies are available for beginners, too!

Adult Coloring Class! – Last Monday of every month – 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Photo is of unidentified people at the construction site of the Coloma Masonic Lodge.

 North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in your photos, stories and sharing of information.  Contact us at 269-468-3330 or northberrienhistory.org.


100 years ago – 1917

 The Jolly Minstrels will appear at the Coloma theatre. The principal “characters” are: G. Royal Benson, Mannie Fritz, Lynn Arent, Martin Kilmark, Carroll Grant, and Miss Leta Fritz. The show will benefit the Self Culture Public Library.

The Coloma Independent basketball team will start off the 1917 season with a whoop and a hurrah. They play Pardon’s Academy of Benton Harbor. This game is for the Berrien County high school championship.

60 years ago – 1957

 Mrs. Virginia Sturdevant suffered a brain concussion when hit by a car near the MyKoloma curve. She attempted to cross the dangerous highway and was struck.

The Davidson Funeral Home was filled for the funeral of Mrs. Ora Sawatzki. Her husband Felix survives, along with son Dorl.

Coloma’s annual pie baking contest will be held at the school. Judges will be Mrs. Louise McConnell, Mrs. A.C. Stark and Mrs. Howard Wooley.

Mrs. Dorothy Hansen will serve as chairman for the 1957 polio drive. There will be blue crutch day, coffee chains and peanuts for polio day.

30 years ago – 1987

David Coungeris has been named Director of Area 17 Special Olympics. Coungeris is also President of American Home Repair and a paramedic. He is an instructor for the Boy Scouts, the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross.

Coloma High School continues to be a leader and innovator in teaching students to use computers. Keeping in touch with Whirlpool and Zenith, the courses are continually being revised to meet the demands of college and business.

Sisters, Denise Hilliard and Erica Moffatt were awarded scholarships to Southwestern Michigan College. Both entered the student art show and won from those entries.


100 years ago – 1917

 The ladies of the Sunshine Needle club gave the scholars of the Brown School, southeast of Hartford, and their teacher, Miss Ethel Kemp, a surprise at the school house on December 22, with a dinner of oysters, fruit salad and cake. Miss Kemp had planned a fine program for the afternoon.

Extensive logging operations are in progress at the former Davis Olney farm, three and a half miles southeast of town. The timber has been purchased by L.P. Walker who is converting it into logs and heading bolts, which are being hauled to the Walker mill in the northeast part of the village.

75 years ago – 1942

 Paul E. Richter Jr. and Richard Olds volunteered for military service in the United States Army and will leave Hartford to begin their training. Richter announced his intention of entering either the medical or chemical divisions, while Olds will be assigned to aerial photography. Carl Day, son of Mr. and Mrs. William Day, has also volunteered and will accompany Richter and Olds to the Benton Harbor induction center. Carl is planning to enter the aviation ground mechanic division.

The Hartford Mother’s club held their regular meeting at the home of Mrs. Ward Plants on Monday. Mrs. Thomas Pollard gave the lesson which was on “Nutrition”.

How world wide the war has become was illustrated recently when the government revealed the extent of restrictions on sale of automobile tires. Thousands of automobiles may be forced off the highways. In England tire blowouts have caused thousands of deaths.

50 years ago – 1967

 Pvt. Michael J. Moore, son of Mr. and Mrs. Dave Moore, arrived in Germany just before Christmas. He had been home visiting with his family and friends and left here December 15 for Fort Dix, NJ before departing for Germany.

Pfc. Lawrence L. Larsen, son of Mr. and Mrs. Aage Larsen, arrived in DaNang, Vietnam, on Christmas day. He wrote his parents that they had turkey, dressing and all the trimmings for dinner and heard Billy Graham speak. Bob Hope and his troupe were expected soon.


90 years ago – 1927

 The Watervliet Independents, a new basketball team recently organized, defeated the Sensational Five of Benton Harbor by a score of 46 to 30. This was the first game played by the local team which is composed of Watervliet and Hartford players and managed by Wm. Stenback Jr.

Frank C. Smith of the Smith Ice Cream Company started a force of men and trucks cutting and hauling the ice from Paw Paw Lake. The ice is eight inches thick and Mr. Smith says it is of as fine a quality as he ever harvested.

A daughter was born to Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Baker on January 19, 1927.

60 years ago – 1957

 Ronald J. Hurley, Fire Control Technician Seaman Apprentice and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Tuka, is attending instruction in the class “A” fire control technician school in San Diego, CA.  He will be indoctrinated to maintain and repair the electrical and mechanical equipment which is required to compute and resolve the factors which influence the accuracy of naval gunfire and missiles.  This rating is considered to be one of the most technical ratings in today’s atomic, electronic and supersonic “New Era Navy”.

Private Wayne Gay left January 7, 1957 to return to his base at Fort Leonard Wood, MO after enjoying a 16-day leave at home in Watervliet.

30 years ago – 1987

 Dave Gould, son of Carson and Connie Gould is the Student of the Week for January 14, 1987.  Dave is a senior whose activities in school include wrestling, drama, and working as a library aide.  He is also active in a church youth group.

Mrs. Barbara Weaver, bus driver, is nominated for Watervliet Public Schools’ “Employee of the Month” award.  Barb has transported approximately 143,000 students to and from school in her 12 years of employment and has logged 120,000 miles – all accident free.  She is extremely dedicated to the students and the school system which is evidenced by her willingness to volunteer when a need arises.


P.O. BOX 7


CALL: 269-463-6397
FAX: 269-463-8329

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