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10-29-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

Cast of a performance on Watervliet High School’s stage circa 1935… Students identified are: on the far left standing, Clara Lightener and next to her Gordon Rosenbaum, and second from right standing, Durand Kibler. Does anyone know the other thespians? Contact the North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330 or North Berrien Historical Museum is open for private tours, Tuesday through Friday 10-4. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma



May 4, 1994 We can learn from the great local teachers of the past This week I’d like to start off “beyond” the above and sneak over into Roy’s column. A few weeks ago, I read the interesting letter from Ray Sreboth, admittedly a Hartford boy but whose career went ‘’beyond.” I taught in the Benton Harbor school system when Ray came into administration there and I feel that many of the eulogizing words he used to describe his Hartford friend, Larry Olds, could easily be applied to Ray himself … like “larger than life,” “a gentleman,” etc. How well I remember his first instructional presentation to teachers: He used a huge “Dick and Jane” reading chart with simplified statements. I don’t remember the exact instructions but they ran like this: 1. See Jane hurry. 2. See Jane get forms in 3:00 p.m. Friday. 3. See Dick come. 4. See Dick come to school by 7:45. If there are readers who did not grow up with Dick and Jane you wouldn’t appreciate this, but during one era it was a basic reading text for first-graders and has become a symbol for “older-fashioned” teaching, like McGuffy’s Reader. At any rate, his creative use of it turned the usual boring first-day meeting into an enthusiastic response to his directives. My sister, Allene, who also taught in Watervliet, taught under Mr. Sreboth when he was principal in Covert and through those years felt the warmest friendship and respect for him, admired his understanding with students, support of teachers, and rapport with parents. He encouraged creativity, with which Allene was highly endowed. Recently I came across photos of the Hawaiian night for parents which culminated their second-grade study of Hawaii. Desks were arranged in little islands with lifelike-looking palm trees in the center of each group and leis and pineapples and even small orchids, which Allene had ordered from Hawaii to give out to parents. There is a challenge today for great teaching and while I do not have solutions for our many problems, I’m sure we agree that dedicated educators are at the heart of them. I know many creative projects going on in classrooms of our area. But I also think we can learn from great teachers of the past. Not long ago, I was asking Emily Shoup, one of our oldest consultants – now 91 years young, to recall her favorite teachers and any special things they did that made them good. (She herself was a math teacher in Marshall and Holland.) “Indeed I did have good ones,” she said, and mentioned several, like Hattie Crumb, Belle Carter Beech, and Cora Furman. “Sometimes I have to smile when I hear educational experts of today sound as if certain innovative projects were brand new … like field trips. My fifth-grade teacher was Neva DuVall and we had a field trip I’ve never forgotten. We were studying The Village Blacksmith by Longfellow, so we all walked down the hill to Simon Hawks’s Blacksmith Shop below the Congregational Church. We watched the smithy, asked questions, and then recited the poem together. That picture will remain m my memory forever.” There’s a framed poster up in the Museum which had been found in a bottle under a tree planted for Arbor Day, 1913. On it are the names of 35 students and their teacher, Belle Carter, with the program given around the planting that day. One poem stirred my memory, at least the first two lines: “We have a secret, just we three. The robin, myself, and the sweet cherry tree”. Of course, the secret is that spring is coming. Perhaps some reader will recall it all. Most of that class has passed on. Doris Grant is one who lives in the South and still keeps contact with Emily. Others some of you may remember: Allen Cutler, Zelma Kniebes (I remember she played piano for the old silent “picture shows”), Neah Umphrey, Harry Emhoff, Jennie Enders, and Bernard Grahn. I can envision a whole series of columns on great local teachers of the “good ol’ days.” If you have a favorite, or a school lesson that sparked your educational career, how about sharing it with the rest of us, including the younger generation? Since I began this column with a small eulogy of Ray Sreboth, I should conclude it by adding that Ray retired a few years ago from the position of Superintendent of the Berrien County Intermediate School District. The last I knew he was devoting much time to his hobby, the Circus. If your group wants a good slide show, you’d love it. He delved into that with all the zest he put into education. I’m inclined to think that it takes that child-like delight in learning to make the greatest teachers.

Coloma Library News Library service hours Coloma Public Library is open. Hours are Mon – Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. for curbside service only. Visiting information Masks and social distancing are required. For patrons medically unable to wear masks, the library has set aside Tuesdays from 4 – 6 p.m. for safe visiting. Curbside services also continue to be available. Reach staff at 269-468-3431, through Facebook Messenger, or emailing at Free online tutoring In support of patrons, the Coloma Public Library offers provides online tutoring, homework help, and test preparation for kindergarten through 12th grade, plus early college students, and adult learners. Any Coloma Public Library card holder can connect with an expert tutor in a safe and secure online classroom. Contact the library for more information.

Watervliet Library News Change in hours After consultations with local health authorities, and following the library’s Infectious Disease Pandemic Policy recommendations, the Watervliet District Library is moving back to curbside service with computer access limited to appointment only, and only for emergency use. “We are sorry to have to take this step, and will do all that we can to provide the public with all of the library’s resources. But our number one priority is the health and safety of our beloved community of users,” states Library Director Sharon Crotser-Toy. Crotser-Toy shared that the decision will be revisited every week. The library’s hours of operation for curbside will continue as follows: Monday-Saturday: 10-2; Monday & Wednesday evening: 4-7. This change went into effect Wednesday, Oct. 28. Board opening Watervliet District Library Board of Trustees is looking for interested applicants to fill a board vacancy. The position requires someone residing in the City of Watervliet, rather than the Township. Board meetings are held monthly at 6:30 p.m., the second Tuesday of each month. Anyone requiring more information or wishing to be considered should contact the library at 269-463-6382 or Home delivery Library staff is assessing the need for, and/or interest in home delivery of books and other materials. If you or someone you know could benefit from this service, please contact the library.


100 years ago – 1920 The national campaign for the election of 1920 is drawing to a close. The biggest issue is President Wilson’s proposed League of Nations. As a loyal American citizen, it is your duty to cast your ballot. Mr. and Mrs. Allen C. Stark sold their farm in North Coloma to Fred Fanslaw. Mr. Stark will move to Coloma and has accepted a position with The Courier office. County Scout Master Green has organized two patrols of scouts. Chester Hawker and Ford Ochaneaugh were chosen patrol leaders. 60 years ago – 1960 An explosion of a natural gas pipeline interrupted gas service for 12 hours. Leonard Segal, 20, was operating a crane near the explosion. He was uninjured. The board of education will hold a series of monthly meetings at various neighborhood schools announced Charles K. Smith, president of the board. Clymer School will be the first location. The Keck family celebrates five generations; baby Laurie, father William, grandmother Mrs. Norman Erickson, great-grandmother Mrs. Eva Smith and great-great-grandmother Mrs. Mary Keck. The Kecks are a pioneer Coloma family. 30 years ago – 1990 Trick or treating hours are 5:30-7:30 for the City and the Township. Welcome new teachers: Mary Cuddie teaches typing and Art Stephenson is the art teacher, both at the Junior High. Tonya Townsend is a classroom teacher while Ron Pape teaches science. Both are at the Middle school. A Veterans Day program will be held at Washington Elementary. Breakfast will start the program, pictures will be shown and finally a performance by the Super Choir. The Doug Heminger Fund has topped the $6,000 mark. The fund-raiser organizers thank everyone for their support at the dance and spaghetti supper. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon-Fri 12-6; Curbside Service only, Sat 10-2. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1920 With the closing of the grocery department at the F.W. Hubbard & Son department store, Hartford’s oldest clerk Lester G. Smith will go to the A.Z. Perry Co. grocery. He has spent 30 years at the corner of Main and Center streets, having been almost continuously at the head of the grocery section of the department store. “Federation Day”, Oct. 26, was well attended and the program thoroughly enjoyed by all. Mrs. Zula Tyrell gave a report. Mrs. Stowell sang “He Was a Prince.” And as an encore sang “By the Waters of Lake Minnetonka.” 75 years ago – 1945 Final plans were completed this week for the annual Parent Teacher Association Halloween Party for Hartford children, being staged in the north parking lot from 7:30 to 9:00 p.m. Opening the evening will be a parade by the uniformed high school band. Chester Hyde’s public address system will be in use for the program. Wood is being collected for a huge Halloween bonfire. A dance at the high school will conclude the evening’s festivities. Construction of a hangar at Leach Aero Service airport is nearing completion. A corrugated metal roof is being put on the building and will finish the structure work. Installation of doors and windows and pouring of a concrete floor will made the building ready to use. The airport will be in use throughout the winter both for instruction and private flying. Members of the Commercial-Farmer club teamed up with this week upon request of Chairman J.C. Van Lierop to stage a last ditch campaign to keep Hartford from failing its task in the National War Fund drive. 50 years ago – 1970 Ghosts and goblins will take to the street this weekend for Halloween. Trick or treat times in Hartford will be from 6:30 to 9 p.m. The Hartford Chapter of the Future Homemakers of America will conduct a trick or treat canvass for UNICEF on Saturday. Area police agencies cautioned motorists to be especially alert during the early evening hours for small youngsters in the street. Trick or treaters often wear dark costumes and masks that prevent them from seeing cars easily. Parents are urged to accompany their children. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Mon 10am-6pm; Tue-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat 10am-2pm. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1930 On Nov. 9, 1930, the local independent football team took Three Oaks with a score of 13 – 0 in a return game at Three Oaks. The local aggregation showed its usual strength on defensive work and not once was its goal line threatened. Isaac Pettit has sold his milk business here to Ward Morlock. He will be returning to Plainwell, where he will take over the milk business of his father-in-law. Wheat is the lowest price since 1892. Charles Sterner, manager of the Watervliet Milling Company, says the local buying price at the Watervliet elevator, based on car lot shipment, would be 55 cents a bushel. However, local growers are not offering any of the grain for market at this price. 60 years ago – 1960 With 56 seniors, the class is planning its biggest project. It’s called “Senior Work Day”. Each senior hopes to have some kind of job for that day with their wages, which would be 65 cents per hour, to be paid directly to the Senior Class Trip Fund. Marine Pvt. Richard A. Ray, Watervliet, completed recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego CA. The 11-week course included instruction in all basic military subjects and infantry weapons. Mrs. Laura Hammel celebrated her 94th birthday, Oct. 22, 1960, receiving many callers and gifts at her home on Elm Street. Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Chase of Galan brought a complete dinner in the evening and Mr. and Mrs. John Abernethy of Covert brought the accessories – a table spread, dishes and a beautiful four-layer birthday cake. 30 years ago – 1990 The faculty of WHS is proud to recognize sophomore Nic Watson as “Student of the Week”. Nic is a 4.0 student and top performer for the cross country team and has been running with them since seventh grade. As a freshman he was recognized as the most improved runner. As a sophomore, Nic earned medals in three invitationals, finished first for the Panthers in every meet and was chosen as a member of the All-Conference Team. The Watervliet girls cross country team finished the season in a first place tie for the Red Arrow Conference Championship with Hartford. The girls had an 8 – 2 overall record while suffering only one conference loss. They also finished first in the conference meet held at Watervliet, fourth in the Berrien County meet, eighth in the Bangor Invitational and eleventh in the “Class C” regional. Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Curbside Hours only: Mon-Sat 10-2, Mon & Wed 4-7 Phone: 269-463-6382


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