09-14-2017 Scholarship started to support  Coloma High School marching band students; North Berrien

WATERVLIET CLASS OF 1977… held their 40th class reunion, Saturday, July 22, 2017, at West Street Station in Coloma. The Class of 1977 is very proud to have held a class reunion, every five years, since graduating from Watervliet High School, on Friday, June 3, 1977. A total of 34 class members made the trip in for the reunion, with 32 of them shown here. Besides driving from various places in Michigan, there were attendees from six other states. Topping that, one classmate flew in from France for the reunion. Pictured (from the left) Front row: Kathy (Coburn) Summers, Diane (DeYoung) McClure, JoAnn (Johnson) Camp, Cheryl (Hindes) Yoder, Debbie (Rushing) Delmas Renoux, Sherry (Cutlip) Burtchett, Jackie (Bush) Coleman, and Diane (Sonnenberg) Hinkelman. Second row: Cindy Zvonar, Marge (Steffens) Snyder, Sandy (Nimtz) Strenk, Neta (Story) Rice, Renee (Anderson) LeVeque, Dorothy Bohn, Denise (Jones) Crumb, Dianna Richardson, and Kathy (Rodriguez) Hook. Third row: Eddie Holland, Greg Krell, Val Landeck, Laura (Balfour) Hess, Debbie (Eggers) Brown, Art Frank, Curtis Johnson, Amy (Borrelli) Schaus, and Jeff Anderson. Back row: Jim Weaver, Mike Van Loon, Sue (Bahm) Herman, Weldon (Jon) Bisnett, Kurt Birmele, and Jon Hinkelman Attending, but not pictured were Debbie (Bradford) Ashley and Brad Wendzel, along with teacher, Jeanne (Bridges) Marschke.


Scholarship started to support  Coloma High School marching band students

 When Rodney Weir graduated from Coloma High School in 1988 and headed to the University of Michigan, he didn’t know he would end up on national television leading the University of Michigan Marching Band as the drum major for two years. Coloma High School band members also didn’t know they would end up as the beneficiaries of his experience through the creation of the Rodney Weir Scholarship for Coloma Marching Band at the Berrien Community Foundation.

Weir’s experiences with the bands at Coloma and University of Michigan helped him to learn about teamwork, discipline, and the importance of hard work. To help other students who are in band and want to continue at the college level, Weir decided to start a scholarship specifically for local students who are going to continue with band participating at a collegiate level. “I went on to receive a degree in physical therapy and I carry the values I learned from being in the band into my professional work,” Weir said.

He also wanted to do something to encourage students from Southwest Michigan to think and dream big. “Leading the University of Michigan Marching Band was never something I dreamed was possible. But, with some hard work and determination, it happened. There is no reason that other students from area high schools shouldn’t chase big dreams.”

Weir was the drum major during the 1992 Rose Bowl in Pasedena and was proud to have not just his name announced to the large crowd but his home town of Coloma, Michigan. “I ran in the Pasadena Half Marathon in January and it ended on the Rose Bowl Field,” he said. “I stood there and remembered them announcing my name and that I was from Coloma. I would love to provide a scholarship and have another student have that same feeling.”

“This is such a great opportunity for our students,” said Coloma Band Director Cheryl Thomas. “Band teaches so many life skills – leadership, teamwork, commitment, dedication. Rodney Weir is an example of putting those skills to work and going out and achieving your dreams. We are just so thankful for what he is doing.”

The scholarship will begin by offering one award of $1,000 to a Coloma High School student who intends to continue to play in a collegiate band. Weir hopes to extend the opportunity to other schools as funds become available.

“So many students are overwhelmed by the cost of a higher education,” said Berrien Community Foundation President Lisa Cripps-Downey. “These scholarships not only help relieve some of that burden, but also let the student know that someone believes in their ability to succeed.”

Weir is seeking further donations for the scholarship from others who are interested in supporting students who have participated in band and see the value it brings. To support the scholarship fund checks can be sent to: BCF/Weir Scholarship, c/o Berrien Community Foundation, 2900 S. State St., Ste 2E, St. Joseph, MI 49085.

Online donations can be made at berriencommunity.org/donate. Donors should note Weir Scholarship in the instructions line.

North Berrien Historical Museum presents Wanted: Homes for Children, Dowagiac’s Orphan Train Story, September 19

 On Tuesday, September 19 at 7:00 p.m. the North Berrien Historical Museum will host “Wanted: Homes for Children, Dowagiac’s Orphan Train Story,” presented by Steve Arseneau, Director of the Dowagiac Area History Museum.

In the mid-1800s, thousands of homeless children roamed the streets of New York City. To help deal with the orphaned children, Charles Loring Brace founded the Children’s Aid Society in 1853 to provide the basic needs for some of the children. In 1854, he sent a group of 46 children west, via steamboat and train, to find new homes with farm families. The train had one destination—Dowagiac. After they arrived in Dowagiac, the children were examined by local residents, who then selected the orphans to take home. After several days, 37 of the children had been taken in by local families and the first trip was deemed a success. Because of the success of the 1854 trip to Dowagiac, the Orphan Train placed out over 200,000 children to almost every state in the nation until 1929. Steve Arseneau will provide a telling of that first trip to Dowagiac and more in “Dowagiac’s Orphan Train Story.”

No RSVP is required for this free program. For questions, contact the museum at (269) 468-3330 or at kristen@northberrienhistory.org.

FUN RUN TO REMEMBER TIMMY… New Life Christian Center would like to invite everyone to the 2nd Annual Timmy Louder Memorial 5K on Saturday, Sep. 30 in honor of their dear friend. Timmy’s parents, Daniel and Judy Louder, have said many times that Timmy never met a stranger because once he met you, you were his friend. They had such a great time remembering Timmy last year that they have decided to do it again! SWMI Racers is helping to put on a 5K Fun Run/Walk in his memory. The 5K will start at 10 a.m. at New Life Christian Center, 6674 Paw Paw Ave. in Coloma.

Registration fee is $20 through September 23 and $25 for same day registration. Children 14 and under have a $15 registration fee. Pre-registered participants will receive a short sleeve t-shirt. All participants will enjoy refreshments at the finish line and entry into random drawing for door prizes. The proceeds from the 5K will be donated in Timmy’s name to the Youth Fund at New Life Christian Center. They are raising funds to build a youth building.

Following the 5K, New Life Christian Center will be hosting a Carnival, FREE of charge, open to the community! There will be bounce houses, obstacle courses, carnival games, hot dogs, snow cones, cotton candy, and popcorn! Please join them and help honor one of the greatest young men they’ve ever known!

Questions can be directed to Tiffany Hughes at 269-277-4155.

Van Buren County 4-H free carnival & annual youth/ volunteer recognition

 Van Buren County 4-H members invite all local youth and their families to a FREE carnival at the Van Buren Youth Fairgrounds, followed by the annual 4-H awards.

The Van Buren County 4-H clubs invite all local youth and their parents to attend this fun filled afternoon. It takes place Sunday, September 17, 2017 at Van Buren Youth Fairgrounds in Hartford from 2-4 p.m.

Free activities include: Pony Rides, Corn Hole, Slime, Archery, BB Gun, Casting, Water Biology, Bowling, Plinko, Horseshoes, Duck pond with prizes AND MORE!! Activities will be held inside if weather does not cooperate. It is an opportunity to learn more about 4-H.

At 4 p.m., Van Buren County 4-Hers and volunteers will be recognized for their achievements over the past year.

4-H is about more than just farming and animals. Please spread the word and mark your calendars for Sunday, September 17t from 2-4 p.m. 4-H: To make the best better!

For more information about this event or Van Buren County 4-H contact Janice Zerbe, Extension Educator at rajzerj@anr.msu.edu or 269-657-8213.

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