12-26-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

Scamming the scammers

You know how we get those telephone calls, usually right about dinner time, and somebody on the other end of the line has a sad story, one of our grandchildren is in jail, or we’ve got a problem with our medical insurance and need to check the pin number. Or we’re in trouble with the IRS and need to provide some more information. What this means is that somebody is trying to get either your credit card numbers or your Social Security number. It also means if you give it to them your bank account or credit card account will be sucked dry! And somewhere in Africa or some Eastern European country a con artist will be counting your money into their account! And rubbing their hands together gleefully! But Americans are most ingenious and some have found ways to combat this! I would like to tell you a few… Our cousin, Bob Spies, had a simple solution. When some scammer called him at dinner time, he would listen most sympathetically, and then he would say, “Oh, just a minute, someone is at the door. Could you hold?” What could they do but agree. He would put the phone down and go back and eat dinner. When he was through he would just hang up the phone which by then was beeping a dial tone! I have used a more direct confrontation… the phone rings, I answer and a voice tells me that I am one of the winners on a sweepstake ticket. I say, “Am I talking to a real person? If so, listen to me! God is watching you! You are doing something very bad… hurting people. Some day you will have to pay for all the wrong things you have done. Why don’t you go out and get an honest job?” I hear a soft hanging up of the phone on the other end! I was talking with one of the girls who work here, Brittany, and I told her about this story. She said she had one experience with a phone scammer. One day she got a call! The man confirmed her name and then he asked her if she had any children. She knew right away what was happening, so she decided to play along! And I must say she is excellent at playacting. Putting on her best little old lady voice, she said, “Yes, I have two boys – Elliott and Jimmy. Why?” “Well, one of them was in an accident, and he needs your credit card!” She replied, “If it’s Elliott, forget it! I cut him off, and I don’t want to hear anything about him! I’ve written him right out of my will! He’s a very bad boy!” “No, it must be the other one… Jimmy!” So she asked him what color his hair is and he hemmed and hawed around and finally she told him if it’s kind of blonde, that must be Jimmy. “Yes, yes… it’s Jimmy and he needs your credit card so he can be treated in the emergency room.” “Just a minute while I look for it! I’d do anything for Jimmy!” Then she told me she started banging drawers and rattling papers. She could just imagine the guy on the other end rubbing his hands together gleefully! “You don’t mind waiting while I find it, do you? I know its right around here someplace! After a few minutes of that, she picked up the phone again and said, “I just used it the other day and I know its right around here someplace!” “No, no… that’s all right. I’ll wait!” And she went ahead opening and closing drawers and rattling papers. After several minutes of this and checking with him, she picked up the phone and there was only a dial tone. So he had finally given up. And she wondered if he turned to the other people working phones and said, “I just got a little old lady who was absolutely nuts… or I wonder. Could she have been scamming me????” Whichever they thought it was, I hope they took her name off the list so she will not be bothered anymore. The people who do it know how we all feel about those calls. We once met a man who ran one of those “boiler rooms,” as they are named. It was a social situation, and with the guys, as it usually does, the talk turned to what we do for a living. When it came to him (a very nice-looking businessman), he told the group that he was in the telephone survey business… and it finally came out! He was one of those scammers! We all made light of it, but I really would like to have told him what a blight it is on a day’s activity to have such a call, usually at dinner time. After that we saw him and his wife several times, usually in church. What a nice-looking couple! One would never dream he was in the business of trying to scam unsuspecting people out of their money. I think the ploy his callers used was… “Hello! You have won a great prize! A trip to the Caribbean…” and thus it went on. That seemed to be the kind of call that was going around our area at the time. I would be tempted to say, “live and let live” except for the fact that I believe a man’s home is his castle! Or hers, whichever the case may be. We have a right to privacy in our own domain. And I don’t believe those birds are weaving threads that we want to have in the Great Tapestry of Life in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River.

id you ever snowmobile downtown Coloma? Do you remember being snowed-in for long periods of time? Do you have a wintertime story? If so, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330, office@northberrienhistory.org, or stop by Tues-Friday 10am-4pm they would love to hear your stories. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

Hartford Public Library News

Christmas Break movies The Hartford Public Library will be showing movies between Christmas and New Years at 2 p.m. every day. Check the library website for the schedule of movies. Free popcorn and beverage included. The library will be closed on Tuesday, Dec.31 and Wednesday, January 1, 2020. Be a Census Taker Learn to be a census taker; extra income, flexible hours, weekly pay and paid training. A census representative will be available for applications on Wednesday, January 8, 2020 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library. The library is located at 15 Franklin Street, next to General Dollar in Hartford. For information and questions call (269)621-3408 or 1-855-JOB-2020.

Watervliet District Library News

Huge Library Book Sale Two weeks only! Dec. 23 – Jan. 4, 2020 all sale items are “Buy one – Get one free.” 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 them meet their goal with new donations, and have fun at the same time! Teen Table Projects December – Holiday Rocks: All the stuff teens need to make and take a festive rock of their own! 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.

Good Grief: Bereavement Sharing and Education Program

Good Grief is a free program that covers topics such as how to cope with loss, guilt, and regret; why you feel the way you do; and finding a sense of peace. Each seven-week session meets for one and a half hours of meaningful information and sharing. For more information, and to find out about other ongoing bereavement programs, call Caring Circle at 269-429-7100. Sessions are taking place Tuesdays, January 7 to February 18 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at Caring Circle, 4025 Health Park Lane in St. Joseph and Fridays, January 10 to February 21 from 2:30 to 4 p.m. at Caring Circle, 05055 Blue Star Highway in South Haven.


100 years ago – 1919 A Merry Christmas to you from The Coloma Courier. F.W. Cochrun, Publisher. The Self Culture Club Library will be closed on account of the Christmas holiday. Home Service workers are visiting returned soldiers. The purpose is to determine whether they have their government insurance. The Israelite colony has put up an ample ice supply for the winter. Come next summer, you may find yourself in need. 60 years ago – 1959 Merry Christmas Greetings to all – from The Coloma Courier. The Comets presented Coach Ted Lenhardt with a Christmas present when they dealt the Hartford Indians a 59 to 42 loss. Do not park your automobile along curbs with yellow markings. Police Chief Harold Nitz warns parking tickets will be issued. The annual cherry pie contest will be held in the high school homemaking foods room. Instructor Mrs. Wretha Alwood will act as advisor. The cherry pie queen will be crowned between halves of the varsity basketball game. Funeral services for Leo C. Davis were held in the Davidson Funeral Home. Casket bearers were: Raymond Weber, Richard Becht, Donald and Robert Whitney, Sam Norton Jr. and Virgil Umphrey. All are nephews. 30 years ago – 1989 Mr. Fryling’s 4th grade students put on a Native American program. In preparation, students researched, used critical thinking, wrote, and created. Meanwhile, Washington Elementary 2nd graders had a visit from Diane from Sarett Nature Center. This concludes their feathered friends study. All full-time media centers have been reinstated. Volunteer Phyllis Boyle donated oversized pillows for children to relax on with a good book. Staff Sgt. David A. George has been decorated with the Air Force Commendation Medal in England. He has demonstrated outstanding achievement or meritorious service in the performance of his duties. 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 & Thur, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1919 W.E. Steel, an employee of the Ned Cook implement store, had three fingers of his right hand badly crushed when his hand became caught in a corn shredder while working at the Frank McConnell farm northwest of town. The business district of Hartford was threatened when fire was discovered in rooms above the W.H. Dunbar meat market, occupied by Wm. Moore as a shoe shop and living quarters. The chemical fire truck, the hand chemical engine and one line of fire hose were brought into play, and this combined apparatus probably saved the village from a disastrous fire. 75 years ago – 1944 The ice skating rink in the north parking lot has been flooded and is being used by Hartford youngsters this week. The rink is lighted to accommodate many night skating. The village is supplying the site and the water for flooding the area. Work of preparing the rink was the co-operative effort of Francis Mullauer, Leonard Pierce, E.M. Smith, Pete Rudell, E.A. Miller, Clarence Pomeroy, Fred Modro, Harold Walker and a group of high school boys. Mrs. Clare Clover was hostess to members of the Philharmonic Club for their regular meeting December 13. Members welcome home their president, Mrs. Mrs. Floyd Lammon, who has recently returned from a visit with relatives in Oregon. The program of the afternoon was in harmony with the Christmas season, and included reading of a paper on “Christmas Oratorios and Cantatas,” by Mrs. Edward Johnson. A cycle of Christmas carols, illustrating the story of the Nativity, was found in the Gospel of St. Luke, was arranged by Mrs. Letha Combes. 50 years ago – 1969 Hartford almost didn’t have a nativity scene in Ely Park this year. The scene was all but demolished by vandals during the 1968 holiday season. Costs of replacing the scene were prohibitive, so the Hartford Junior Mothers Club and city public works employees teamed up to repair the damage. Members of Boy Scout Troop 96 and assistant scoutmaster, Claude Snider presented Scoutmaster Larry Olds with a scout jacket at a recent meeting of the troop which is sponsored by the American Legion. 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.; Thur & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1929 Walter Doolittle, Watervliet, was the winner of a pair of Junior Johnson skates in a contest broadcast by “Uncle Bob” through KYW. A pair of aluminum skates was awarded to three children who submitted the best verses. The Watervliet Public School has in 1929, two different ways by which they keep the parents informed concerning the progress of the school. There is the school newspaper, better known as the “Wapuscho” and a paper for the parents, known as the “School Digest”. Even though the night was the coldest of the season thus far and the roads and streets were icy, nearly 100 members and friends of the Methodist Episcopal Church gathered in the church parlor for their second “Church Night” social meeting. 60 years ago – 1959 Army Pvt. William H. Western, Watervliet, completed the food service course at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. Western received training in cooking, baking, meat cutting and preparing a field kitchen. Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Briney are the proud patents of their baby boy, Mark Steven, born Nov. 21, 1959 and weighed 9 pounds, 2-1/2 ounces. Did you know that in 1959, Michigan had more developed ski areas than any state east of the Rockies? There are more than 70 ski areas. Announcement was made this week by Mrs. Thelma Moody of the resignation of Mr. Clayton Rowe as manager of the Boston Store. Beginning Jan. 4, 1960, Mr. Gordon Krell will assume the duties being relinquished by Mr. Rowe. Mr. Krell is at present bookkeeper at Bridges Garage. 30 years ago – 1989 Printed Dec. 20, 1989 – The Legend of Santa Claus: As far as St. Nicholas, himself, a variety of legends claim the creation of this elfin giver of gifts to “good little boys and girls” the world over. Originally, he appears to have been a Catholic saint whose generous acts were repeated in exaggerated tales after his death. The church chose this saint to replace pagan gift givers, such as the god ‘Woden’ who rode across the frozen land of the North to present his subjects with gifts during the hard winters. St. Nicholas Day is traditionally celebrated on December 6. Today’s version of St. Nicholas, that is, Santa Claus, did not actually appear until after Clement Moore’s 1848 poem, “A visit from St. Nicholas”, now often retitles “The Night Before Christmas”. In 1870 Moore’s description of “that jolly old elf” was illustrated by Thomas Nast and renamed “Father Christmas” for Harper’s Weekly. This illustration has remained as the image of today’s Santa Claus. 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, Thur & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 269-463-6382


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