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01-30-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

Has anyone ever worked the logging industry? Have you seen logs stacked as high as in the photo? If so, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330,, or stop by Tues-Friday 10am-4pm they would love to hear your stories.

The Paw Paw River Journal

Baby, it’s cold outside!

That little tune about the eternal mating dance of men and women has been turned into a political football. So, ladies and gentlemen, today’s seminar is going to be about political correctness! I hope you don’t mind, because it’s been on my mind this past Christmas season. And I am serving a warning right now that I like to be politically incorrect every chance I get! When I think about how I got that way… sort of corrupted, I think clear back to when I was twenty years old. I had been made an officer and a gentleman by Act of Congress, and was now licensed to fly our government’s airplanes in the war against the Japanese, World War II. I was part of a group sent down onto the plains of Burma to reopen an air base we had just captured from the Japanese. There were several of us pilots. When I think about it, I believe most of us were misfits in some way. I was newly minted and had no experience! Most of the guys were older, wiser, and did not fit the mold of political correctness! One of my best friends, John Heatherton, was 33 and would now be well over 100 if he were still alive. He had been everywhere, flown every kind of airplane, and had been taken into the Air Force as a civilian pilot and given a commission. He taught me more about flying than I had learned in flight school! He also taught me to stand up for my rights! We had the opportunity one day for a milk run. A plane had to be delivered back to Jorhat, a base back down the line in India. Beautiful day, easy flying, and we leapt at the chance. We would then catch a shuttle plane back to Burma. We delivered the plane safely and decided we would try the Quartermaster’s Supply to see if we could get any goodies to take back with us. The Sgt. in charge looked us up and down and said, “You sure look like a couple of scroungers to me! What do you need?” “We’re from Burma,” John said, “and we don’t get many goodies. How about some beer and some fruit juice?” Well, he allowed as to how he could spare a case of beer and a case of grapefruit juice. We accepted his offer with no hesitation. At night in our tent if we weren’t flying, we’d have a card game going and we found that grapefruit juice when mixed with native gin made a palatable drink. So we headed to the flight line carrying our parachutes and me a case of fruit juice, and John a case of beer. There the two pilots were, checking passengers in for the shuttle flight back to the wilderness. When they saw us, one said, “The juice is okay, but no beer on government airplanes!” And this is where rebellion set in! We both retreated a few feet and sat down on the boxes… “If the beer doesn’t go, we don’t go!” This was my first act of defiance on anything like that! They conferred, whispered back and forth, and finally said we could get on board but the beer would have to stay in the pilots’ compartment!” John said, “Okay, but you leave the door open, and we sit where we can see the beer!” And thus we made it back with our goodies. That simple act of defiance felt so good I never forgot it! Now, let’s fast-forward a few years. Marion and I got married and started a family. Fortunately we both grew together, and we found that we were both political incorrect on some of the niceties of society. For instance, we never did anything ‘just because everyone else was doing it.’ We did have a group of young couples… we would get together and go out to dinner or to each others’ houses for an evening of cards or dominoes. One night they were all going out to this very nice restaurant. It was expensive and known for its marvelous dinners. Marion told them we were sorry but we couldn’t go. It just didn’t fit into our budget for the month. We stayed home that night, content with our own company. Later one of the girls confessed to Marion, “You know, we shouldn’t have gone out to dinner. I had to use some money from our house payment. Then I had a Dickens of a time making it back up… should have used common sense like you and Bud did!” So that’s been part of the story of my life. And when I heard people complaining about that Christmas song, I had to laugh. No… that’s about date rape! The girl is fighting off the guy’s advances, and losing the battle! Well, really! I think it’s a cute song. She could leave anytime she wants to. How did she get in that position in the first place… “I’ve brought some corn for popping.”… the girl will tell her aunt that she really tried! It’s the old mating dance, with a couple circling around each other. And it’s been going on in these storybook towns forever. It’s how we weave some of the Golden threads into The Great Tapestry of Life here along the Paw Paw River. If the girl is smart, all she has to do is wait… not settling for second class. He will come around! After all, does the mousetrap have to chase the mouse? Meanwhile she can be politically incorrect!

Coloma Public Library News

President’s Day Story Time Join special guest “Abraham Lincoln” for a President’s Day Story Time on Monday, Feb. 17, 1:00 p.m. at the Coloma Public Library. There will also be a fun craft as well as photo opportunities. Pre-K Story Times Miss Alicia will host Story Times Tuesday mornings at 10:30 a.m. This interactive story time also includes a craft activity. Registration is not required to participate. Book Sale on Saturday The library is having a special book sale in the Community Room on Saturday, Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. There will be a special emphasis on art and theology books as well as clearance overflow from the bookstore. Book Club The Coloma Public Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, Feb. 6 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. Depending on demand there may be titles available for checkout at the front desk. New members are always welcome. Learn your history Research your family tree for free. The Coloma Public Library offers Ancestry Library Edition, an online database with genealogical records dating back as far as the 1400s. Access census data, birth, marriage, death, and military records for free. Patrons must use the database within the library. Stop by and they will show you how to start learning your history today! DIY car repair Save money by repairing your own vehicle. The Coloma Public Library can help. They provide free access to Auto Repair Source, an online service with repair information including diagrams, step-by-step instructions, service alerts, and recalls. Thousands of domestic and import vehicles are included.

Watervliet District Library News

Computer Upgrade The Watervliet District Library has received a $7,000 Frederick S. Upton Foundation matching grant to purchase badly needed new public computers. Help meet the goal with donations, and have fun at the same time! Reading Delights Adult reading program from Jan. 20 to Feb. 29 with two Grand Prizes: $100 Harding’s Gift Card. Read two books per each entry. Free eats once a week, on the library! Since this program is all about food – take in a favorite family recipe and be part of the WDL Scrap Cook Book, too. STEM Kit Programs Snap Circuits – LEGO Robotics – Little Bits Electronic Inventions STEM kit programs designed for small groups to work together to make an endless number of inventions. New groups are set up with participant’s schedule in mind. Anyone 8 years and up that is interested can sign up at the desk. Story Hour Story Hour for ages 3 – 5 is on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. (choose one) for the months of October to April. Picture books, crafts & fun designed to inspire the love of reading! Yoga Mondays 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesdays 7 – 8 p.m.; Fridays 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.; Chair Yoga – Wednesdays 6 – 6:30 p.m.

Subscribers can read the Tri-City Record online! Email: for a link


100 years ago – 1920 A hearing of objections was held for the building of the Covert Act road. The road is from Coloma north to the Van Buren county line, also known as No. 11. The meeting was held at the State Bank. The objections were due to misunderstandings. The proposition of building a tuberculosis sanatorium in Berrien County will be put to vote in April. Coloma, let your voice be heard. 60 years ago – 1960 Funeral services were held for Mrs. Charles (Edith) Dorstewitz. Along with her husband, a son Virgil and daughter Waivia survive. Mrs. Harriet Dorstewitz attended the funeral. She spent the weekend with her sisters, the Misses Cora, Marjorie and Marie Furman. Mr. and Mrs. Henry Kilmark left for St. Petersburg, Fla. They will return in April. Coach Don Pobuda’s reserve basketball squad tripped the Decatur Raiders 51 to 33. High scorers were Wes Hazen, Len Feury and Dale Bronson. Coloma Rural Route Carriers received the Regional Operations Director’s Award for Safety. Postmaster Gordon A. Young is “proud to have been singled out for this honor.” 30 years ago – 1990 Parents and teachers picketed Washington School protesting involuntary teacher transfers. Principal Joyce Tutton stated, “I have no authority to transfer teachers.” Miss Coloma, 1989, Monica Bansen, will perform her final duty as she crowns the new Miss Coloma. The Courier wishes the best of luck to the 24 young women. Tickets available at Piwacki Women’s Apparel. Gerald Biggart and Alice Mow are officers of the Coloma Citizens Council to the DDA. The committee meets weekly, preparing a master plan for downtown improvements. Rick Nielsen, magician and humorist, will present assemblies at the high school. He speaks about drug and alcohol related topics. The club, “Students Against Drunk Driving” is sponsoring the event.

Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Fri, 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tue, Wed & Thu, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1920 Heavy snows of the past week have interrupted automobile traffic for the first time this winter. For weeks scores of new automobiles have passed through Hartford daily en route from factories in the eastern part of the state. Drivers who reached the village this morning had spent two hours plowing through the snow between Lawrence and Hartford. The Hartford High School team won the debate over the Otsego team at the local high school auditorium Friday night. This places Hartford another lap ahead in the state contest, they having won over Mattawan two weeks before. The debate was a close one, the decision being rendered by a two to one vote of the judges. The question was on universal military training, the same question being used in all of the debates in the contest. 75 years ago – 1945 The Hartford Woman’s Club met at the home of Mrs. W.H. Fox. After a report by Miss Agnes Weir of the nominating committee, the members decided to postpone the election of officers until the next meeting. Miss Dee Garrison spoke to the members on “The Price Panel” and Mrs. Amanda Bowman on “Etiquette of Flowers”. Sgt. Betty Ament, stationed with the WAC in San Francisco, writes, “I want to thank the citizens of Hartford for the lovely Christmas present. It really makes a person feel good to think the people of your home town think of you while in the service. I am still in California and I’m stationed with the largest WAC company on the west coast. They keep us busy from morning until night.” Fred Ward, the file man and the town’s newest tavern keeper, is dolling up the Main Tavern he recently purchased from Al Hardenbrook and will make it resemble the better metropolitan spots where libations are served with appeal to the elite thirsty. 50 years ago – 1970 The Blossomtime organization will hold a bake sale Saturday, starting at 9 a.m. at Harding’s. The group’s next meeting will be held at Friday at the home of Mrs. Arthur Loomis. State police from the Paw Paw post are investigating a break-in early Saturday morning at the Hartford Shopping Center. Troopers said thieves made off with 124 cartons of cigarettes and 80 bottles of liquor, but that no money was taken. Entry to the building was made by breaking glass in main front door of the supermarket. No arrests have been made, but police are continuing the investigation.

Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Mon, Tue & Wed, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1930 Watervliet won their twelfth and thirteenth game of the 1989-90 season by administering defeat to the Cassopolis and Covert teams in the local gym. Watervliet was able to extend its record of consecutive wins by turning back the invasions of the two teams after hard fought contest. Mr. and Mrs. H.G. Geisler and daughter Betty are in Chicago for a couple of days. They will attend a meeting of the Ben Franklin chain stores, and also will purchase a line of spring goods for his store in this city. Mr. Geisler’s store is a member of the Ben Franklin Organization. Wm. James, brother of the late Jesse James, arrived here recently from Pennsylvania, and is at the home of his sister-in-law on Paw-Paw Avenue, where he plans to make his home. 60 years ago – 1960 Miss Irene Martin of Watervliet was initiated into Rho Chapter of Alpha Tau Delta, the national fraternity for women in nursing, on Jan. 17, 1960. Diane Besemer of Watervliet is going to Western Europe, probably Western Germany the latter part of June. While there she will live with a host family. This trip is sponsored by the Michigan Council of Churches. She was chosen on an all-around basis. Watervliet’s post office now has a “Drive-up” mailbox for the convenience of its patrons. 30 years ago – 1990 Laurel Woodruff of Watervliet was awarded a Ph.D. in geophysical science at Convocation Exercises conducted Dec. 15, 1990. Laurel is a 1969 graduate of WHS. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan in 1973 and her M.S. degree from Michigan Tech University in 1977. Anne Bayer was recently named Lioness of the Year by the Watervliet Lioness Club. Anne is a charter member of the club and has held every office. The plaque reads: “Presented to Anne Bayer, 1988-1989, for Outstanding Dedicated Service given to Humanity.” Exit 41 Inn in the former Watervliet Junior High School officially opened Dec. 31, 1990 with the booking of its first tenant. Carol Moore, CEO of Exit 41 Inc., said the first phase of the planned 51-room inn was completed with the occupancy of the room.

Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Wed, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tue, Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 269-463-6382


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