08-01-2018 Tri-City Area History Page

The all-seeing eye A few nights ago I was running through the different programs just to see what was available on TV. You know, that all-seeing eye that sits in the corner of your living room. Almost every station I’d hit on a commercial and have to wait for some loud-mouthed pitchman to make his sale. And I can’t stand them. Confession: I have worn the mute button right off, blanking them out! had to get a new wand. Now I don’t mind a little “Blooey-blooey.” That’s what my uncle Roy Merrill used to call the shoot-em-up westerns. He liked his stories with a little “Blooey-blooey.” He’s the one for whom I am named. He is also the one who never became a golfer. He said one time, “When I get too old to chase girls, then I’ll chase that little white ball around.” And I’ll admit that’s something to think about! We do have a lot of heroes… I’ve been reading a series of books that I might mention. It is the Jack Reacher stories by Lee Child. I also saw a program on TV… Child was being interviewed. I must say, he looks a lot like I imagine his hero to look! There’s plenty of violence in his stories, and at least one was made into a film. Titled “Reacher,” it starred Tom Cruise. Now Jack Reacher is supposed to be 6’5” tall… Cruise doesn’t come nearly up to that, but I must say he played it well. I am not a die-hard fan of that actor, but he did a creditable job. Well plotted story (of course), and in it they wrecked some beautiful classic cars. I might also mention the Jesse Stone stories. Taken from novels by one of my all-time favorites, Robert B. Parker (God rest his soul). That writer did so many stories… his favorite hero, named Spenser, is truly iconic; and he has provided me with many hours of reading pleasure. Several of those stories were made into films and even a TV series. It starred Robert Urich, who left this world at way too young an age. The Jesse Stone stories, made into feature TV films, are leisurely paced and have some depth of character. They also star one of my favorite actors, Tom Selleck. First they establish a mood and a story line. Then they develop the characters. That’s what I look for in TV viewing. And I’ve found many satisfying tales in the lists of Netflix offerings. Our kids gave us a subscription to Netflix as a present… and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed using it. I’ve also found some terrific viewing in looking through British TV mystery series. Those people make some really engrossing programs. My tastes run to cold-war spy tales and police procedurals. Some years back we watched all of the Inspector Morse stories. Then they became The Inspector Lewis Mysteries. These all proved so popular they went back to Inspector Morse’s youth and produced some tales about his beginning police work. This series is titled “Endeavor.” We also just finished watching one that keeps you on the edge of your seat. American made, it is titled “The Assets,” it is about the CIA and the spies they were running in Russia during the 1980s and 1990s. One little gem I think is almost perfectly plotted. The title is “Page Eight.” Innocuous sounding? It held me enthralled and I have watched it several times. It is about an over-the-hill British secret service guy. He is at the end of his career and wants to get out. He finally does, embarrassing his government but saving a Middle Eastern family that has been caught in the crossfire of international espionage. Now this has been made into a series with three segments. The first one I believe to be the best. So there are plenty of good adult stories on TV, and also plenty of kid programs. Usually, the later the evening hour, the more adult the programming. So get the little ones to bed! And don’t let them see all the decomposing bodies! I say enough with the flesh-eating Zombies! And bodies that have been unburied for too long. One night I was channel surfing, and my Chief Accountant said, “Please, no more ‘Bones.’ They always start out with a gruesome unburied body. I don’t need any more autopsies!” What do we want our next generation of little kids to grow up to be like? I think in our society we are already reaping the problems we get from the junk with which we are filling them in these story-book towns without the entertainment gurus adding to it. And you know the great electronic baby sitter is right there in our living rooms. Parents should not let the TV entertain small children. It’s so easy, and saves baby-sitter fees too! One TV commercial from a while back has some kids playing thumb punching electronic games, and the mother pulls the breaker switch, plunging the living room into gloom and quietness. In desperation, the kids have to go outside in the fresh air and play basketball. Poor discriminated-against boys! Why doesn’t she just go in, turn off the TV and say, “All right! Everybody out and get some healthy exercise!” We need more of that if we are going to survive and prosper as a civilization. OK, now I’ll get off the soap box and put it away until I have another spasm. After all, I want only the best for all of us in these storybook towns of ours along the Paw Paw River!

Watervliet District Library News In Stitches Knitting Group Aug. 10, 2:30–4:00 p.m. It’s never too hot to knit! Limited supplies are available for beginners, too! Third Monday Book Club Aug. 20, 7-8 p.m. Great books, fabulous conversations! The Milk Lady of Bangalore by Shoba Narayan; ask for a copy at the desk. Volunteer Nothing looks better on a resume! Best times to help out: Mondays & Thursdays, program times. Stop by to pick up a form. Library Garden Park Purchase a Legacy Walk brick and celebrate a memory! Bricks are $75; 13 characters, 2 lines. Pick up a form at the library. Yoga Monday 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesday 7 – 8 p.m.; Chair Yoga – Wednesday 6 – 6:30 p.m. Call 463-6382 with questions on any Watervliet library activity.

Coloma Library News Library Book Sale The library’s annual Glad-Peach Book Sale will be this Saturday, August 4 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The library will be CLOSED during the sale. Don’t miss out on this HUGE sale of gently used books, DVDs, videos and more! Story Hour Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Toddlers and preschoolers are invited to hear a story, make a craft and sing a song with Miss Amy. There is no sign-up or fee required. It is asked that all children be supervised by an adult during Story Hour. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, August 9 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “The Lightkeeper’s Daughter” by Jean E. Pendziwol. 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. Newspaper Archives Past issues of the Coloma Courier (November 1899-1969), Watervliet Record (1890-October 1984) and Tri-City Record (1984-Feb. 2013) are available for searching and browsing on their website www.colomapubliclibrary.net, click on Resources. Call 468-3431 with questions on any Coloma library activity.


100 years ago – 1918 Merchants are making plans for a big picnic at Paw Paw Lake. They hope to secure the “Jackie band” from the Great Lakes Naval Training Station. If plans are carried out, retail business will be at a standstill during the gala. Do you want the good name of Coloma injured? Of course you do not. Then invest of your savings in the Thrift Stamps or War Savings Stamps. Buy some today at the booth near Scott’s store, at the State Bank of Coloma or at the post office. 60 years ago – 1958 Bids are asked for the five mile stretch of super highway near Coloma. This is the first major section of the Detroit-Chicago expressway in Western Michigan. All teaching vacancies have been filled as Coloma Community Schools completes the consolidation process. The new year begins with a staff of fifty-seven. Work continues on the new 100,000 gallon water tank for Coloma. Chicago Bridge and Iron Works has command of this job. New Postal Rates go into effect. They now require four cents postage per ounce for regular first-class letters. 30 years ago – 1988 We Asked You… What do you enjoy most at the Glad-Peach Festival? “Peaches, Bake-off, Fireworks, Parade” are popular, but Audrey Henschell said it best with, “I like all of it.” This year, F. Rosanne Bittner is Grand Marshal for the big Parade as the 21st year is celebrated. The brakes in the borrowed car Teresa Phillips was driving failed to work. It put her over a low cement wall, landing on its nose. She was not injured. The owner is promptly looking into the situation. Coloma Township Board gave the go-ahead for road re-graveling. Supervisor Rodney Krieger indicated that other townships will share in costs if the road is shared. 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 – 1918 Although only 100 people gathered at Ely Park last Sunday for Hartford’s initial Sunday afternoon patriotic program, the event proved a nucleus upon which it is expected to build a series of inspiring programs during the remainder of the summer. The Lawrence band came to Hartford last evening and rendered a most excellent concert on Main Street. The only regrettable incident of the evening was the failure of somebody to provide proper lights on the street for the accommodation of the musicians. Hartford’s siren fire alarm was sounded for the second time last Thursday evening and called the department to the Mrs. H.L. Stratton home on Center Street where a flooded gasoline stove had burst into flames. 75 years ago – 1943 The systematic work of Hartford firemen and the owner of a flaming workshop, Albert Olliney, prevented a serious explosion. Under cover of a steady stream of water, Olliney crawled into the burning building and removed four boxes of dynamite caps and fuses. The fire at his residence was believed by Mr. Olliney to have been caused by the sun’s rays on a lens of an automobile headlamp. To the list of Hartford women who have assumed leadership in business may be added the names of Misses Blanch and Una Mason, operators of the Conaway studio. The sisters have taken over the major portion of responsibility for the photographic shop since the illness of their aunt, Miss Blanche Conaway. Miss Dee Garrison is another of the Hartford women who are insurance agents. She maintains her residence on north Maple Street. 50 years ago – 1968 Dan Malaski, son of Mr. and Mrs. George Malaski of Hartford won grand prize in the children’s pet parade at the Van Buren Youth Fair with his float he built. Named “The Good Ship Lollypop,” the float carried Ronda Watkins, 2-1/2 year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dewey Watkins of Hartford. Shipfitter Fireman Apprentice Melvin H. Schmalfeldt, USN, is serving aboard the nuclear powered guided missile cruiser, USS Long Beach in the Gulf of Tonkin. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Melvin H. Schmalfeldt. 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 – 1928 August Morlock has sold the local milk route delivery business to Isaac Pettit of Plainwell and the latter has taken over the delivery. Mr. Petit will use Mr. Morlock’s milk from his herd of registered Guernsey and will give the same service that patrons have been receiving. Mr. Pettit is planning to purchase a place in Watervliet and install modern dairy equipment. Mr. and Mrs. C.J. Jensen, who recently came here from Port Edwards, New York, have moved into Robert Smith’s house on Elm Street. Mr. Jensen is employed with the Watervliet Paper Company. There were 46 present at the annual reunion of the Spencer-Johnson family, held at the Congregational Church basement. 60 years ago – 1958 Miss Frances Ishmael, 13, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Ishmael, Watervliet, was a first place winner in her division at the International Friendship Gardens, Michigan City, Ind. This award will make her eligible to compete at the Chicagoland Music Festival at Grant Park in Chicago. Earl Sprague, who recently purchased the grocery and market at the corner of M-140 and Forest Beach Drive, has switched his gas pumps and related auto services over to the Cities Service line. Of more importance to many of the store’s customers is the announcement that a new walk-in cooler has been installed. Second Lt. Victor L. Wilkinson, Watervliet, recently completed the officer basic course at the Army Engineer School, Fort Belvoir, Virginia. 30 years ago – 1988 The Watervliet 11 & 12-year-old boys all-star team was victorious over Chikaming in the final game, 5 to 4. This is the first time in eight years any Watervliet team has finished in first place in this division at Eaton Park. Army Pvt. Keith R. Higgins, Watervliet, son of Lindon and Nancy Higgins, has arrived for duty in West Germany. Higgins is a fighting vehicle infantryman with the 36th infantry. The Frank Hanks family of Watervliet has been hosting Matt O’Keefe of Kilkenny, Ireland. O’Keeffe is in Michigan to study American farming practices. 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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