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02-06-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

Not many readers may remember cranking a vehicle to start it. Here Gordon Umphrey (Chief Engineer) and Fire Chief Leonard Dolezan are pictured with a Coloma Fire Truck with the cranking mechanism visible. Are there any photos or stories of the Coloma Fire Department anyone wishes to share? If so, please contact No. Berr. Historical Museum at 269-468-3330,, or stop by Tues-Friday 10am-4pm.

The Paw Paw River Journal

Being ‘In the Moment’

Since starting a new life in assisted living I’ve had a lot of time to think… not necessarily a bad thing! In fact, that time has become necessary to my well being. I live at the crossroads of the world. My apartment is at a junction of hallways, so if I leave my door open I can hear people coming and going. I like that. It sort of keeps me connected unless I want some time alone to contemplate the verities of life. And I’ve been thinking that as time passes there are more and more of us old people. I’m talking now about the “baby boomers.” Probably many of you fit into that category. It was the time when more and more people got married, and more and more had babies. It was a great period of expansion for our country. Now the baby boomers are retiring, and they don’t have as many children. This means fewer young people to take care of old people. There will have to be more places like this one where I live. A lot of young people come in as new hires. Some of them stay, and some of them don’t last. I don’t believe the work ethic is as strong in this new generation as it was in former years. However, I love talking to the young people who work here. And there are all kinds. For some it is a career… just doing what they are doing, and most do it well. For others it is a steppingstone in their education, or perhaps a job while they are going to school. Many are planning a career in the medical fields. If they keep their eyes and ears open they can learn a lot right here with us old people. Whenever I discuss that with them, I watch to see the reaction they have. If there is time, we have a seminar. The first time I did that I was a patient in Bronson Hospital. It was morning. I was waiting to go home, and I was all geeked up on steroids. It was for running some tests. The hospitalist (staff physician) came through with a class of five new residents. They gathered around while we talked, and I figured she wanted me to give them some advice. So I told them the following: “If I were training hospital staff I would make sure of what I think is most important. You have to be ‘in the moment.’ You can’t be dreaming about last night’s date or tomorrow’s party. You have to be right there with all your senses trained on what you are doing. There is nothing more important than that… perhaps life and death important! If you can’t do that, you’d better find another career. And I can tell when someone is not entirely in the moment! “Next most important thing… you’d better like people! If you don’t, what in the world are you doing in a career where liking people makes all the difference in how you relate to them. Sure, there is room in the medical field for someone who is not good at people skills. Think about research and some of those related areas. But most medical careers you have to be in tune with how people feel. That can make the difference between life and death for a patient. “Third thing… you’d better like old people. There are more and more of us. As time passes and our population ages, there will be much more emphasis on geriatric care. Just look how all these new assisted living venues are springing up everywhere. Admittedly, I have a worry on this point. The baby boomers are aging, and they are having fewer children. Will there be more old people than there are young people to take care of them? It’s not something I’m going to worry about very much because we’re not there yet!” Those are the main points I hit in that seminar as the staff physician had her bright and shiny new residents grouped all around, sitting on my bed, and in chairs. After our seminar, she gathered them all and on to the next patient. As she passed me she nodded her head and gave me a Mona Lisa smile. I could tell she liked what I had said. Back in former times I gave little thought to hospitals and care and healthcare workers except as it affected me. But then something happened… I got old! And I find the problems of older people are much more real. I still walk, albeit with some difficulty. And I practice every day, walking most of the way down to the dining room one way. But if I want to get somewhere fast, I get one of the girls to push me in my wheelchair. They seem to be most willing. The only way I can reward their enthusiastic help is to praise them. And I try to do that every time. I like people, so I ask them about their families and their dreams. It’s kind of a two-way thing, and we swap stories. I’ve made some great friends that way. I have watched the way other residents interact with the girls who work here. Some of them treat them like servants. They get service anyway but perhaps a little grudgingly! I don’t want to be that way. And I think my philosophy is more fun anyway. We are all on the wheel of life, trying to get through this existence as best we can. And it goes a lot better if we treat everyone as we wish to be treated ourselves. It brings a golden sheen to the threads we are weaving into the great tapestry of life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.

Watervliet District Library News Teen Table Projects – February Friendship Bracelets – Make them, wear them, and don’t forget to share them! Reading Delights, Adult Reading Program – Jan. 20 to Feb. 29 Two Grand Prizes: $100 Harding’s Gift Card. Adults read two books per each entry. Free eats once a week! Participants can bring in their favorite family recipe and be part of the WDL Scrap Cook Book, too. Sensory Bin Blast Tuesday, Feb. 11, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. The perfect time for a perfect mess! For 0 – 5 year olds and their families. In Stitches Knitting Group Friday, Feb. 14, 2:30 – 4 p.m. The second Friday of every month, knitters can bring their current project or interest to learn! Arm knitting supplies and 1-on-1 instructions, too! Third Monday Book Club Feb. 17, 7 – 8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! Ask for a copy at the desk. This month – Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. 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. 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. 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.

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 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 Family History Anyone can research their 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. Users can access census data, birth, marriage, death, and military records. Patrons must use the database within the library. Library staff will show users how to start learning their history today! Homework Help Coloma Public Library provides area kids with free online access to Learning Express Library. Learning Express can help students with math and English language arts. These resources can be accessed from home or library computers. Call 269-468-3431 for more details.


100 years ago – 1920 All public meeting places were ordered closed by Health Officer W.T. Bertrand. This order is a precautionary measure to prevent further spread of the influenza. Coloma’s largest store, George W. Grant & Sons has closed their store. Their stock and fixtures have been sold to the Cooperative Mining Company of Lordsburg, New Mexico. All women who possess the qualifications of male electors will be entitled to registration. Please provide proper application to William W. Hocker, Village Clerk. 60 years ago – 1960 The remodeling of the Loma Theater for Tom DeRosa’s furniture store is near completion. It will be known as the Loma Furniture Company. The March of Dimes drive exceeded their quota, bringing in $1,021.92. Chairman Police Chief Harold Nitz was assisted by Mrs. Leon Brown. Coloma High School was host for the first time to the solo and ensemble music festival. In charge of the event was George Smart, high school band director. Assisting him was Ronald Drum, Washington School band director. Mrs. Emily Elson and Mrs. Lucille Ashbrook are two members of the all girl barber shop quartet, “The Three Specs and a Dot. 30 years ago – 1990 Tiffany Mary Bailey was crowned Miss Coloma 1990. First runner-up was Laura Allen. Second runner-up was Heidi Kibler. Miss Congeniality, selected by fellow contestants, was Kimberly Titus. Harriet Turner will fill the Township Trustee position, following the resignation of Robert Nelson. Also, the Board approved the proposed F.O.P. Sports Park, located east of the Coloma Exit. Steve Torres, Troop #696, will display his collection of Boy Scout memorabilia at the Library during Scout Week. Junior High Honor Roll for 8th and 9th Grades include: Anthony Kraiger, Billy Coleman, Christine Dickenson, Rebecca Fredricks, Alan Selvidge and Sherry Ulleg. 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 That the influenza epidemic is fastening a serious grip upon Hartford and vicinity this week is declared by health authorities and physicians, but they also state that a majority of the cases are in light form and that the disease is not expected to reap the heavy toll of lives that it exacted a year ago. The Hartford schools have been hard hit by the epidemic in the lower grades nearly one-half of the pupils being absent because of illness. Last week two teachers were absent all week, while this week one teacher is absent from her post. Five other teachers are suffering from severe colds, but are clinging to their work. An alarm of fire Saturday afternoon called the department to the E.M. Johns home on Maple Street, where some papers under the stairway had become ignited in some unknown way. The blaze was extinguished by the use of the chemical engine and the damage was light. 75 years ago – 1945 The Hartford Art Study class gave a farewell party for Mrs. J.H. Powers at the home of Mrs. Elinora Chamberlin. Refreshments were served by Mrs. George Shepard and Mrs. Mary Burkholder. Mrs. Ray Fowler presented Mrs. Powers with a cake and Mrs. May Deane sent a box of candy. The subjects of study during the next two weeks will include the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. and the Andrew Mellon gallery. The class will meet with Mrs. Minnie Fox and Mrs. Alice Bennett on February 12 at the Fox home on Church Street. The scrap paper collection last Saturday, sponsored by the Parent-Teachers association, netted 14,390 pounds of magazines, newspapers, books, cartons and other salvaged paper materials. Into the PTA treasury went $86.34, paid by the Hartford Paper Grading Company at the rate of 60 cents per hundred pounds. 50 years ago – 1970 Fifty members of the high school junior and senior bands will go to Niles to participate in a solo-ensemble festival. Twenty-one groups will represent the local bands. Each solo and ensemble entry will be rated by a judge and comments given. The purpose is to encourage musicians to perform in small groups. A representative from a uniform company will display uniforms at a meeting of the Band Boosters on Tuesday, February 10. The meeting is one week later than usual. The Southwest Hartford Thursday Club will meet Thursday afternoon at the home of Mrs. Robert Rush for a day of poetry. 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 Miss Lucile Soule has been appointed to the clerkship in the Watervliet Post Office. She is a graduate of WHS and Western State Normal. Five homes on Hennessey Road are now having electric service. Extension of the Indiana & Michigan lines to accommodate them was completed during the last week of Jan. 1930. Paramount Theatre – Watervliet showing “Light Fingers” with Ian Keith & Dorothy Revier; and another laughable Laurel Hardy Comedy “Habeaus Corpus”. Regular admission: children, 10 cents; adults, 35 cents. 60 years ago – 1960 Ila Miller, Watervliet, an employee of the Watervliet Paper C. for the past 47 years has decided to retire. Ila’s tenure with the paper extends back to 1913 when the coating mill had been in operation less than a year. During the man-power shortage of WWII she served in quality control holding down a post in the coating mill test station. Watervliet scouts Donald Jove and James Cole will receive scouting’s highest honor – the Eagle award – at the Golden Jubilee Court of Honor Meeting. Watervliet band members received five Division 1 ratings at the Southwestern Michigan Band and Orchestra Festival. 30 years ago – 1990 Todd Christopher, 8th grader, has been chosen Watervliet’s “Student of the Week”. Todd is an enthusiastic, self-motivating, hard-working student. He is Vice President of the Honor Club, Student Council member, and he plays baseball. The Watervliet South School is in the second year of the SHAPE art program. SHAPE is a three-year Kellogg Foundation grant with representation from the Krasl Art Center. It is targeted for the 3rd graders. Project D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program completed by Watervliet’s fifth-graders is a preventative program. Its aim is to equip young people with the skills to resist drugs and the peer pressure to use drugs. It teaches, using seventeen lessons, eight ways to say “NO”, decision-making techniques, as well as many other valuable lessons. The unique feature of Project D.A.R.E. is the use of specially trained, uniformed police offices as instructors. 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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