Climax Crescent Newspaper


G-A Hosting Charity Basketball Game March 23
  
 On Thursday March 23 at 6:00 pm, Galesburg-Augusta high school will be hosting a district-wide “Staff vs. Students” charity basketball game benefiting our local Galesburg-Augusta Loaves and Fishes food pantry. The event is intended to be a collaboration of our school district’s student leadership/service organizations, parent organizations, sports boosters, administration, and district staff. Our goal is to host a fun, family friendly event, that promotes community pride, celebrates our history, fosters and strengthens parent-student-staff relationships, while helping local families of need within our community.
 
Event Highlights:
8 Periods (8 minute running clock)
a.The 1st period will be played by the 7th grade girls.
b.The 2nd period will be played by the 7th grade boys.
c.The 3rd period will be played by the 8th grade girls.
d.The 4th period  will be played by the 8th grade boys..
e.The 5th period will be played by the JV girls.
f.The 6th period will be played by the JV boys.
g.The 7th period will be played by the Varsity girls.
h.The 8th period will be played by the Varsity boys.
In house DJ
Inflatables for children at the opposite ends of the court
Intermission entertainment
Hype Squad/Cheerleaders performances
T-shirt launcher
Ram mascots
Free G-A spirit face-paint
Student produced G-A pride video
Staff and Student “Game Faces”
Galesburg Boy Scout Troop #265’s Trailer Found But Equipment Is Missing

   The Galesburg Boy Scout Troop #265 equipment trailer that was stolen January 30 was found in Wakeshma Township, however the equipment was gone.
   Troop Leader Michael Way said the equipment trailer was found in southern Kalamazoo County at 42nd St. and V Avenue.
   The thief did leave the troop banner, a spare tire and the legs to patrol kitchens the troop uses.
   The thief even took all of the plywood decking off the steel shelf frames.
   The local Boy Scout Troop reminds the public all of the stolen equipment is marked Troop #265.
   The equipment trailer, which contained all of the troop's camping gear including: tents, dining canopies, stoves, cooking gear, backpacks & sleeping bags, was taken between 8:30 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. January 30 from Scoutmaster Ralph Guitar's home on N Ave in Kalamazoo County. Several of the tents were new from a community fund drive effort in 2014. 
   If you spot any of this equipment at a garage sale, flea market or anywhere else please contact the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department. Scoutmaster Ralph Guitar can be reached at (616) 813 9248 or rmguitar@att.net.
Vicksburg awarded $33,100 for blight demo  to make room for nature trailhead

Michigan Land Bank allocates nearly $305,000 in grants to combat blight in five communities

VICKSBURG, MICH. – Vicksburg residents are one step closer to enjoying a new nature trailhead in their neighborhood with help from a Blight Elimination Program grant awarded by the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority.
"Vicksburg is one the fastest growing communities in Kalamazoo County and the Blight Elimination Grant would aid in the revitalization and beautification of the Village of Vicksburg by turning abandoned, uninhabited property into a brand new public park," said Rep. Brandt Iden, R-Oshtemo. 
The money will be used to demolish an old car wash on the future site of the Vicksburg Nature Trailhead. The proposed trailhead will be a municipal-owned public park that connects Vicksburg Recreation Trail to the north and the new trail development to the south that will run through downtown Vicksburg to Angels Crossing Golf Course.
"The Vicksburg Nature Trailhead provides residents with the opportunity to utilize the park for recreational purposes and provides a new route for visitors to explore the Historic Village, adjacently located to the park, which will ultimately increase local tourism and boost economic growth," Iden said.
In October 2015, the Michigan Land Bank Fast Track Authority received a $1 million grant from the Michigan State Housing Development Authority to continue efforts to demolish vacant and abandoned structures and promote public safety.
“These are projects that make our communities safer and stronger,” said Steve Arwood, director of the Department of Talent and Economic Development. “Eliminating blighted properties promotes public safety, stabilizes property values and boosts economic development efforts – improving the quality of life for everyone.”
To be eligible for this round of funding, demolition projects had to be blighted residential structures or blighted buildings in business districts, downtowns or commercial corridors.
“Fighting blight aids in future community growth and revitalization in neighborhoods where Michigan residents live, work and play,” said MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer.
The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.* 
*MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.

Scotty “Bud” Melvin Still Enjoying Life Behind A Microphone

Popular Kalamazoo Radio Personality Now Program Director At WZUU

By Bruce Rolfe

Although Scotty “Bud” Melvin has been in radio for nearly 30 years and faced some challenges along the way, one of Kalamazoo’s most popular radio personalities is having just as much fun today as he did when his budding career started in 1987.

Melvin got his first break when he was hired as a disc jockey at 107.7, WRKR in 1988. He eventually soared onto the radio scene when he joined Mike McKelly and the two quickly became one of Kalamazoo’s most popular radio disc jockey teams.

A little older and wiser, but still possessing the same humorous approach and professional on air manner as he did when he first started in the industry, Melvin now works as a disc jockey and Program Director at Kalamazoo’s WZUU, FM 92.5.

Melvin, who grew up in Portage and graduated from Portage Northern High School in 1981, started attending Western Michigan University out of high school, but enlisted into the Air Force, serving from 1983 to 1987. He went back to WMU with an eye on a radio career, winding up at WMU’s radio station WIDR.

“That’s (radio) what I wanted to do since I was 10 years old,” he said.

It was while he was working at WIDR, a part-time position was posted at WLKM in Three Rivers. He got the job and remained at the Three Rivers radio station for about a year and a half.

Aspiring to move up like any young radio personality, Melvin learned through an aunt that worked at the Portage City Hall, about a local business man who was trying to secure a radio broadcasting license for a new radio station he wanted to launch in the Portage and Kalamazoo market.

It was WRKR, 107.7 and when Melvin learned the new radio station fit the on air format he was comfortable working with, he jumped at the opportunity and contacted the radio station about his interest in becoming one of the station’s radio personalities. He was interviewed and hired as one of the inaugural part time radio personalties in October, 1988 when the station went on the air for the first time.

“There was three of us part timers. I wasn’t quite good enough to be a full timer,” said Melvin, who said he also enjoyed hosting a sports radio talk show at WRKR Saturday mornings from 8-10 a.m for five years.

The veteran radio personality recalls it was while he was working nights at WRKR, one of his big breaks came when he was asked to sit in on the morning show, reading sports stories. He always incorporated a humorous twist to the stories, which listeners liked.

His approach quickly got the attention of the owner and he was paired with McKelly on the morning show. 

The two quickly formed an on air chemistry, incorporating their own comical twists to stories that drew listeners back every morning.

Melvin became recognized for many of the promotional pieces he helped put together while he was at WRKR. “That’s how we got popular. We were out doing stuff. That was when the ownership was local here. Promotionally, we wanted to be out so that we could get to more listeners,” said Melvin.

One promotional piece he recalls that gained a lot of attention was when he sat on a WRKR billboard high above Kalamazoo for 36 hours.

But probably the first promotional stint that helped connect Melvin with his listeners was in 1991 when he walked from Kalamazoo to Tiger Stadium for the Tigers home opener to pay off an on air bet he made in 1990 when he predicted Tiger slugger Cecil Fielder would be the MVP of the American League, but Fielder fell short in the MVP voting. “The bet was, what if he (Fielder) doesn’t do it. I’ll walk all the way to Tiger Stadium. It was kind of an off the cuff remark type of situation and I ended up doing it,” said Melvin, who said he walked back roads about eight hours a day, with the long walk to The Corner taking him about a week. 

Of course the radio station monitored his progress each day, offering live updates, which generated more listener interest.

There were many promotional skits that tied in with the holidays each year as well. He recalls one year he and McKelly were lowered into a large vat of chocolate by a crane for Valentine’s day. “Anything to get attention, we would do it to get onto the T.V. news or get into the newspaper. More people would see us. The goal was to be No. 1 and we eventually accomplished that,” recalls Melvin.

There was also a morning show that was devoted to the dangers of drinking and driving during prom season. The two radio personalities actually consumed alcoholic beverages during the show with a police officer present with a breathalyzer to monitor the two disc jockey’s alcohol levels. Melvin said as the show went on they accidently played a recorded phone call of a winner that called in, twice. 

Probably the most popular regular on air segment the two developed was the Clem and Carl piece they developed each week. Melvin is a big fishing enthusiast and the two regularly made fun of T.V. fishing personalities.

They set up the skit by making it appear they were fishing on an actual lake in the area. After some bickering between the two, a new fishing lure was evaluated, but the lure typically tied into a popular figure or current event that included a comical twist.

“We did four or five Clem and Carl segments at our live shows,” recalled Melvin, who said Clem and Carl were a part of the WRKR morning program for about 10 years.

Melvin appreciates his job put him in a position to interview and introduce some famous people, but he is especially pleased his career has  allowed him to be involved with many charitable organizations and events.

“We (WRKR) invented our own promotional things. We did the homeless thing. Lived out here on Westnedge Avenue in a card board box. We did it over Thanksgiving. We did it three years in a row and raised money, food, and clothing for some of the downtown area non-profits. Over the years I’ve had a hand in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, food, items and things to help people. I never thought I would be doing anything like that,” said Melvin, who said other memorable events included an interview with Mohammad Ali, introducing Ted Nugent at Wings Stadium, and Stevie Ray Vaughn at the Kalamazoo Fair just three days before Vaughn died.

He said his favorite era at WRKR was with co-hosts Diane Vunovich and Stephanie John.

Many radio personalities have different on air names but Melvin said he uses his real name, however “Bud” was added. He said it was while he was working the over night shift at WRKR in 1989 the name emerged. A group of radio station people were at a party and started watching the David Letterman show. A guest named Larry “Bud” Melman was introduced on the show. “One night, Jason Fox, who used to work with me, he goes, hey, it’s Larry Bud Melman, just like Scotty Bud Melvin. Boom. I didn’t like it at the beginning. The overnight guy started saying it on the radio on the air. so when I would go meet people or talk to people, they would remember that. It stuck. So we had to make a decision whether to use it or not and decided to go with it,” said Melvin, who was also the public announcer at Kalamazoo Wings games two different times totaling about six years.

Scotty “Bud” remained at the “Rocker”, 107.7 until November, 2005, a time when he experienced one of his first major challenges in radio.

Melvin said he did not want to leave the popular radio station. His three-year contract was expiring and Melvin feels the program director at the time, who he admits he did not get along with very well, wanted to hire somebody else.

“They told me they were not going to renew my contract,” said Melvin, who said he always felt a little disappointed his partner at the time, McKelly, didn’t try to stop or discourage the radio station from letting his morning partner go.

After some time off, Melvin landed a position at WZUU in July, 2006 and has remained entrenched at the radio station ever since, with a current on air time slot of 2-6 p.m. weekdays.

While his responsibilities have grown at WZUU, he is thoroughly enjoying himself.

He said WZUU, owned by Forum Communications, has local owners, creating a much more relaxed atmosphere to work in. The owner also owns an oldies station, 100.9, that is operated out of the same building.

“It’s local radio. We try to be as local as we can. It’s smaller. The building is smaller, the staff is smaller. But I still get to do a radio show. You can’t beat that,” said Melvin, who is also the Program Director at WZUU.

Some may think a radio personality works the four hour on-air shift and the job is done, but Melvin said his routine day is 8 hours or more. He said before he goes on the air, he studies the news and what’s going on around the world. He then begins to prepare for the show, recording any commercials that will air on WZUU or 100.9. His time is also spent preparing audio and promotional material in the production studio, recording jingles or one line scripts for voice overs. He then lines up the music he plans to play during his show and performs interviews that will be used on his show later in the day. The veteran broadcaster is also in charge of maintaining the WZUU website and social media pages.

Melvin said he’s lived through the same pattern many other media outlets have gone through, downsizing, which he said can degrade the overall quality of the product.

“You’ve got less people doing more work and it doesn’t equal one hundred percent any more. We used to never miss anything. We used to always have somebody always doing something to get what ever needed to be done. Now stuff falls through the cracks,” said Melvin, who said there are only two full time and one part time on air radio personalities at WZUU, but syndicated shows Bob and Tom and Alice Cooper are broadcast on the station. “Back in the day, somebody was on that. That was somebody’s job.”


He adds computer generated content is also used in place of radio personalities, noting pre-programmed music inputted into a computer is played at WZUU from midnight to 6 a.m.

Melvin also has his own personal media business called, “Scotty ‘Bud’ Melvin Media” performing voice over services, aerial photography and video generated by a drone he owns, short website videos, audio, photo and video digital transfer services. You can learn more by logging onto his website, www.scottybud.com.

Melvin and his wife have been married 27 years and have a daughter in college.

 

Bond Conversation Launched By C-S School District

Local School District Looking At May, 2018 Proposal

By Bruce Rolfe
After briefly discussing the option of putting a bond issue before Climax-Scotts voters in the future at previous meetings, the C-S Board of Education seemed more receptive to the idea at the February 20 regular school board meeting and appear ready to move ahead with the plan.
When weighing long-term current and future needs of the district against an enrollment figure projected to increase slightly along with a state foundation allowance that is expected to increase but no where near levels that would allow the district to pay for costly future needs out of its general fund, a bond proposal looks more appealing rather than using general fund dollars earmarked for the classroom or using all of the district’s fund balance.
C-S Superintendent of Schools Doug Newington said current needs like completing the driveway replacement process, a new parking lot at the Jr./Sr. High School and elementary school, and long term needs like new busses, new roofs, secure entrances, technology, HVAC improvements at the Jr./Sr. High School and some classroom aesthetic enhancements, are very costly. Even with staff reductions that could impact the classroom the district would not be able to afford the improvements.
Newington said the local school district will have its State Loan Bond fund paid off in May, 2018, which is the earliest the school district could put a bond proposal on a ballot.
Newington said he has already met with a contractor and the next step will be bringing in an architect, who will conduct a facility needs study at no charge. He hopes a 3, 5 and 10-year plan can be performed to identify long-term needs for the district.
“The trick will be to identify all of our construction needs. We would then have meetings with the community and get their input and provide some what if scenarios,” said the C-S superintendent.
The district is looking at extending the levy to 2033 as part of the bond proposal, keeping the tax rate at the same level instead of raising the levy for taxpayers. If a bond proposal is offered to the voters and rejected, taxpayers would see a gradual reduction in their tax levy after the State Loan Bond Fund is paid off in May, 2018.
Class Size, Future Budget Scenarios Reviewed
C-S Superintendent of Schools Doug Newington gave an overview of the budget process and what the budget could look like in the immediate future.
The Superintendent explained the initial budget was adopted in June based on estimates because enrollment and funding from the state were still unknown.
A revised budget was adopted in December and the board will soon begin to look at the 2017-2018 budget as well as tweak the current budget for final approval.
The general fund budget, which operates the school district, is based on a student enrollment of 501 students and state foundation allowance of $7,511 per student. Included in the student enrollment figure this year are 22 C-S students enrolled in the online Virtual Academy. Newington estimates the Virtual Academy February 2017 enrollment will increase to 25.
Newington said the current budget shows $5,364,063 in revenues and $5,462,615 in expenses for a deficit of $98,552. The district’s audited fund balance as of July 1, 2016 is $903,044 (18.40 percent). If the deficit remains $98,552, the district would still have a healthy 14.73% fund balance ($804,492). 
When forecasting the 2017-2018 budget, the district projects a deficit of about the same as this year, $98,552. The district projects a slight increase in enrollment to 506 and a state foundation allowance increase of about $150.00 per student, which would turn a deficit into a surplus of approximately $14,000. 
     However the superintendent said if the district reaches an enrollment of 506 students, negotiated contract language kicks in for teacher step increases that will put the district back in a deficit at approximately $50,000.
Class sizes are looked at and proposed revenue increases or decreases are all taken into consideration when building a future budget.
The 2017-2018 budget will also be impacted if the district chooses to add another teacher. Looking ahead to next year, if the district keeps two first grade teachers there is projected to be 14 students in each class. The district currently has one second grade teacher and two third grade teachers, however if the district added a second, second grade teacher there would be 22 kids in each second grade class and approximately 15 students in each of the third grade classes.
When looking at class sizes, if the district adds another teacher Newington said that would add approximately $60,000 more to the projected deficit, leaving the district with a deficit of $109,819.   
He said typically, between 80-85 percent of the district’s general fund goes towards wages and benefits, however Newington said about 24 percent of the district’s general fund budget does not cover wages and benefits.

Can We Talk?

By Crystal Rolfe

   A very touchy subject that is difficult to share and open up about is the topic of addiction. The dictionary defines addiction as: a compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance (as heroin, nicotine, or alcohol) characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; persistent compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.

   So whether it be to food, alcohol, drugs or really anything that gets in the way of living a meaningful productive life, we are all susceptible to this human condition.  One man who was a 1986 graduate from C-S High School has been following a dream of his for many years and has finally achieved his dream by becoming a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor for the State of Michigan as well as the entire United States. His name is Todd Korteway. “It’s so sad to see the turmoil and emotional pain that a husband, wife or kids or anyone that has a loved one that has an addiction problem goes through. I think that sometimes that is almost worse than the person who is suffering from the addiction”, states Korteway. 

   In preparing for this endeavor Todd took the non-traditional avenue. He and his wife Catrina went through their journey/practitioner training together. They both received certification through an intense program known as “The Journey by Brandon Bayes”. On her website it explains that Brandon is an internationally acclaimed speaker, best selling author and mind-body healing expert. In 1992 Brandon was diagnosed with a basketball-sized tumor. It goes on to say that she has a strong background and belief in natural treatment and holistic healing. Bayes put into practice all she has learned about nutrition, herbology, kinesiology, meditation and guided introspection with a carefully planned natural healing regimen. Brandon amazed herself and her doctors when after only six and a half weeks after she was diagnosed she was completely healed, using no drugs, no surgery and no pain. Todd also completed his Leadership Coaching training in the spring of 2009.

   Todd explained that a Journey practitioner and Leadership Coach works in a holistic approach where a certified Counselor works in a more clinical approach to addiction. Todd likes the combination of all of them but prefers the holistic approach better.

   Korteway now has his own business “Journey Into Bliss and Beyond”, which is located in Battle Creek (phone (269) 532-2304.) Korteway works two days a week there helping people to help themselves with Emotional Trauma, Low Self-Esteem, Addiction, PTSD, Depression, Anxiety/Panic Attacks, Anger/Stress, Relationship/Behavior Problems, Food Addiction: Emotional/Stress Eating. “Journey Into Bliss and Beyond also has it’s own facebook page. He also spends three days a week working as a Holistic Facilitator at “A Forever Recovery/Drug Rehab Center” also located Battle Creek (Toll free (888) 738-4579 or see their facebook page for more information).

   “Meth and heroin addiction is growing at a scary rate, said Korteway.” “You may be surprised to know how many people in our little community are affected by addiction or know someone that is going through this.” People struggle with many forms of addiction. There are a lot of other addictions as well that they need help to recover from. One of the most accepted forms of addiction is the addiction to food. The difficulty in treating this addiction is that it is not something you can work at staying away from. Everyone has to eat, a drug addict or sex addict can find ways to stay away from what is their vice by learning and incorporating new behaviors to resist them. All addictions can be overcome by dealing with the core emotional triggers, thoughts and behaviors around the emotions. Korteway is someone who has developed the tools needed to help someone live an addiction free life. A quote on Todd’s “Journey Into Bliss and Beyond” facebook page says: “ Sometimes good people make bad decisions. It doesn’t mean they are bad people. Everyone makes mistakes. Forgive and move forward.” He continues by saying, “No matter how much we want the addict to be free, until they are ready to start doing the work themselves and really want it, there’s nothing you can do but stand back and watch. That’s where a lot of the parents have a hard time. I talk with parents all the time about their kids in and out of jail, have been to six to a dozen or more rehab centers, have a week or two clean and then back out and hitting it again,” said Korteway.

   Todd looks forward to building his practice by helping people to help themselves by becoming free from their emotional, physical behaviors, and issues by making a conscious choice to release them once and for all. 

Growing Up Magic

By Crystal Rolfe

    Growing up in the small lake village of Colon, I recall the first time I ever saw a real magic trick. It was during the annual Magic Week in August and I was probably around 3 or 4 years old. My folks, my younger sister, baby brother and I lived in a trailer just across the field from the High School. My dad walked with me up town that day with me struggling to keep up with his wide gate. When we got to the bridge at what we Colonites call “the dip and dam”, I remember seeing scads of people surrounding the first block intersection in town. I knew something special was going on, but as we got closer my Dad lifted me up on his shoulders and pushed his way to the front of the crowd where there was a man in a black tuxedo with a black cape and tall brimmed hat talking to a lady that was dressed like “Nancy Sinatra” in some of the movies my dad loved to watch,( “scantily clad” is what my mom would have called it - all I know was it sparkled!) Anyway, as I sat perched on my dad’s shoulders I watched as this fancy dressed man laid this girl down on the backs of two chairs facing each other. Then he walked around her a couple times and finally pulled out a bright red sheet and covered her with it. I was impressed. How did he get that girl to balance on the backs of the two chairs, I didn’t know. The crowd was mesmerized. He then took out some sort of wand with a white tip and said some words I hadn’t learned from any Lone Ranger show and then pulled out the chairs one by one out from under her until all you saw was a sheet with a body underneath, just floating there in the middle of State street. It was amazing!  The magician then took a hula hoop and went all the way around the floating body to show us that there were no strings or ropes keeping this girl floating in mid air. At that moment I think I became a little scared and so I asked my dad how that was happening and he told me that it was magic, a trick of the eye. Then he laughed his hearty deep laugh, so I wouldn’t be scared. So I laughed too. The magician then pulled the sheet off the girl and there she was just suspended or levitated right there in the middle of Colon. 

   At first it was like no one was breathing, just waiting for this woman to fall to earth, but then the crowd went wild with clapping and shouting. It was my first introduction to magic.

     I didn’t realize it back then and really only have some other brief memories of the Magic Week in Colon, but I was born to be part of my small town’s magic as you might say. Even though I never really embraced the passion for magic tricks and illusions, they were the triggers that helped form my imagination in my adolescent years. Through many hours of playing by myself or with the neighborhood kids, I was able to let my imagination literally fly or float away from anything dangerous or frightening.

     The impression Colon made on me was not lost on another 7 year old boy who came to Colon from Muncie, Indiana on a vacation with his family in 1965. Rick Fisher says that “My folks rented a trailer from my best friend’s Uncle Ed out on Sturgeon Lake down on Blackstone Avenue that really hot summer”.  He remembers it was super muggy and recalls that the bugs almost carried them away. But one afternoon his folks took him to town to visit Abbotts Magic Shop, and it was there after seeing all of the great illusions the famous magic company was building and performing, something stirred in Rick. That summer he recalls is when he found a passion for magic. He told his folks on the way home “I LOVE this place, I’m gonna live here some day”.  After Rick got home he went to the library and started reading every book he could get his hands on about the art of magic. There were few mentors of Magic in Muncie at the time, so he learned tricks and illusions the hard way, practicing day after day until he would perfect that trick.  

    What Rick didn’t know was that years later after several jobs that he loved being lost through consolidation and sell outs, he found himself having to have stent surgery for his heart. It was after that surgery that Rick asked himself, “what am I going to do with the rest of my life?  And the answer came pretty easily. Rick wanted to make magic, and he wanted to do it in Colon, Michigan.  So he got on the phone and started to call many of the magician friends he’d gotten to know over the years, the famous Abbott family from Colon being among them. He asked what it would take for him to purchase Abbotts manufacturing in Colon and although they were surprised, he received great backing from them as at the time the owner was willing to sell.

   Well it turns out that Rick didn’t end up buying Abbott’s, but instead he opened up his own Magic manufacturing company in Colon and called it FAB Magic. That was eleven years ago.

   When Rick opened up in June of 2003, he took a great risk in opening a second manufacturing business for Magic but says that “Colon has room for both... after all, it is the Magic Capital of the World!”

   Fishers facility is a 7,000 square foot building which he stocks 4,000 magic products and has access to thousands more. Rick told me that “Most of the products we sell here are hand-made right here in our shop. They are all American made and he uses only local suppliers as well as hiring many of the local Amish to help build the magic tricks.” The store, which is located at 212 E. State Street, holds live magic shows every Saturday at noon, Memorial Day thru Labor Day, and is a great way to start your weekend fun.

   In the 11 years since he waved his magic wand, he has seen great growth in the small village, and much is due to his amazing work ethic. Rick is responsible for organizing an additional Magic Festival called MagiCelebration, which takes place July 23 - 26, 2014. (The 80th Annual Magic Festival to celebrate Abbott’s 80th Birthday, is held August 6 thru 9, look for an upcoming story on it too!) MagiCelebration has spectacular evening shows beginning at 8:00 p.m. at the newly renovated Colon High School gymnasium. Wednesday and Thursday nights are Family Fun Pack where for just $25.00 you can bring the whole family (maximum 7 people) down to watch an evening of great magic and comedy. There will also be a MagicIdol 2014 with a $2000 Pay out. Just go to his website, www.fabmagic.com for further details. 

   On Friday, July 25th Fab Magic will celebrate the Grand Opening of their Visitors Center in their newly renovated store with surprises for everyone. Rick has commissioned several magicians to perform “user friendly” tricks for the guests and there will be the newest addition to his store “Magic Capital Coffee” who will be giving out samples of the famous “Magic Iced Coffee” as well as selling their coffee beans and mugs. (Note: I thought up the idea for making a special coffee for Colon and designed the logo and with the help of my mom, Mary Hall, we sell 5 different types of coffee beans with names like: Levitation, Hocus Focus, Escape Artist, Conjured Up Cherry and Hypnotic Hazelnut) along with ceramic and travel mugs all available at the Fab Magic store, which is open Monday thru Fri. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Closed on Sundays.)

   In addition to all he has done to promote Magic in the Magic Capital, Rick helped organize the “Magic Walk of Fame” where sponsored star plaques with famous magicians names on them are placed in the sidewalks in downtown Colon. Famous magicians such as Monk Watson, Neil Foster, Carl Karl, Percy Abbott, Bill Watson, Harry Blackstone Sr., The Amazing Conklins, Richard Tanis, Wilma Rench, June Horowitz, Harry & Gay Blackstone Jr. are already in place, and they have Star #14 ordered for Terry Graczyk who will be installed in front of the newly built “Curly’s” bar and restaurant.  The idea for the “Magic Walk of Fame” came from local Five Star Pizza owner, Annette Thornton who along with her husband Carl, run the popular eatery.

   An old neighborhood friend of mine started a facebook page called “You may be from Colon Michigan if...” and it now has 1,162 members. Many of the entries are from Rick who puts in great historical photos of Colon and has gotten a lot of response from people who love to talk about them. Rick loves and is very knowledgeable about Colon’s history. But he also states“You can give Joe Ganger most of the credit for the pictures and history, he has been President of Colon’s Historical Society for over 25 years and he is a great guy!” Their website says this: “The Community Historical Society of Colon was organized in 1974 to promote interest in all aspects of the history of Colon and the surrounding area. To help fulfill its purpose the society established and today maintains the museum which opened on July 4th, 1976. 

   The society purchased the residence next door to the original museum and in 1992 moved the displays into the Farrand-Hoekzema annex. In 2002, the society added a 24' x 70' addition to the church building to house the Express print shop and other displays. We hope to have the print shop and displays in the old Lutheran-Catholic church ready by 2007. The museum is open from June 1st to Labor Day from 2:00 - 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday afternoons and by appointment.” 

   Getting to know Rick has been a great pleasure for me as he not only has a passion for Magic but a love for Colon. “I like it here. I like the people, I like the location... you can’t put a price on that!” says Fisher. Rick is very involved with all aspects of Colon’s growth. He is president of the local Downtown Development Association, helping to improve and promote the Village of Colon. He is also the Vice President of Colon’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Rick has two sons, both who have served in the military, and he is also raising his granddaughter. 

   I know that Colon is not the first place you think of taking a day trip, but when is the last time you got the whole family in the car for a 28 minute drive down lovely country roads to a spot far from the highway traffic and noise?  With places to eat (4 downtown and the famous River Lake Inn a couple miles out), you can swim at Colon’s public beach, visit their museum, fish on the dam, watch a magic show, visit Blackstone Island, go to the Farmer’s Market which is open every Saturday from 8 to noon in the new park, get haircuts, look at cars, shop for groceries, the list goes on. 

  This weekend Colon starts the holiday weekend off right with the “Lighting of Flares” around the shoreline of all three of it’s lakes, on Thursday night, July 3rd. July 4th starts off with the parade at 11:00 a.m., games on the midway all afternoon, all kinds of fun activities with food wagons everywhere. But the thing to stay around for is the fireworks by Colon’s Elementary School, which start at dusk and are amazing over Palmer Lake where I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to watch them on my parent’s pontoon boat on the channel. 

   At the end of the day you will just feel good about supporting another small town like Climax, Scotts, Fulton, or Leonidas where we need it the most. 

  I feel so fortunate that I was able to grow up in Colon and that I get to now live in Climax... two small towns which have my full support and my heart.  And whether it is with the slight of hand or making you feel like you can fly, it’s magical really what living in a small town can do to a person. 

Southwest Michigan to benefit from road improvement grant

Resurfacing Project In Vicksburg, Work In Schoolcraft Part Of Grant

State Rep. Margaret O’Brien today announced special road funding projects in southwest Michigan that will allow road improvements to take place while a sustainable long-term solution is agreed upon.

“The announcement of new road repair projects across the state illustrates the steps being taken to make improvements in Michigan’s deteriorating roads and bridges,” said O’Brien, R-Portage. “We still have a long way to go to make up for the time when the state neglected our roads but recognizing the issue and working toward sustainable solutions is a first step in the right direction.”

The Michigan Legislature set aside a total of $230 million in grants from the fiscal year 2014 budget for road improvements across the state. Half of the existing state funds were available for appropriation late last year, and the other half is now being appropriated.

“I am pleased to see that the funds are being responsibly allocated to improve local roadways to ease the travel and minimize unnecessary vehicle repairs for residents due to poor road conditions,” O’Brien said.

Local road projects include:

• A $467,000 grant for resurfacing on W. Prairie Street from N. Boulevard Street to the Village of Vicksburg;

• Filling and drainage repair using $360,000 for US-131 from CN Rail North to Lyons Street in Schoolcraft.

This funding is in addition to $285 million the Legislature approved for roads and bridges in June, which is part of the fiscal year 2015 budget.

Although the state has allocated almost $870 million to improve roads and bridges since fiscal year 2012, the state spent zero general fund dollars on roads during fiscal years 2003-11.

 

Galesburg-Augusta School Board Selects Dania Bazzi As Superintendent

The Galesburg-Augusta Board of Education has extended an offer to Hamilton Community Schools Director of Teaching and Learning Dania Bazzi, Ph.D. to serve as their new superintendent. The board voted unanimously to offer Bazzi the position after the completion of second round interviews Tuesday night.

  G-A Board President Richard Fletcher said Bazzi conveyed that she is eager and excited to serve as the G-A Superintendent. “I was treated very well by members of the staff and community during my visits, and I look forward to getting to know everyone. I am honored to have been selected,” said Bazzi.

  The selection process included two face-to-face interviews, and opportunities for the board, school staff, and business and community leaders to interact with the two finalists. 

      “Members of the community and staff members provided great feedback throughout the selection process,” said Fletcher. 

Search Consultant Gary Rider, of the Michigan Leadership Institute, said the board was responsive and purposeful throughout the process. “The Board did an outstanding job of listening to their community and staff, and making an informed decision,” added Rider.

Bazzi has served as Director of Teaching and Learning at Hamilton Community Schools for the past two years. She was previously a School Data Consultant for the Jackson County ISD and a Mathematics Teacher for both the Battle Creek Public and Wayne-Westland Community Schools. She holds a Master’s in Teaching from the University of Michigan - Dearborn and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction from Wayne State University.

According to Fletcher, the board was fortunate to have two outstanding final candidates to choose from, Dania Bazzi and Scott Karaptian, the High School Principal of Parchment High School.  “Both candidates were very well qualified and would do a great job taking over the reins at Galesburg-Augusta.  The board felt that Dr. Bazzi displayed a unique quality that will help her be successful in our district,” said Fletcher.  He continued, “We all look forward to working with her to move our district forward toward our vision of being the preferred small school district in the area.” 

Misfits Car Club Car Show July 12

Twenty-Nine years and counting. Join us on July 12th (rain date July 13) for our 22nd Annual Benefit Cruise/Car Show, 5:00 p.m. at the Beckley Road Taco Bell. All proceeds from this event will be donated to this years recipients, HONOR FLIGHT, TALONS OUT MICHIGAN.

An “Honor Flight” is an all-expense paid trip to Washington D.C. for our WWII Veterans to visit the memorials built in their honor. “Their dedication never faltered, and neither shall ours.”

Come join the festivities. Look at the classic vehicles and support a very worthy and patriotic cause.

PUBLIC WELCOME!! Any questions call President Jim at (269) 986-2216. 

Red Cross Blood Drive To Honor Those Who Serve

All branches of the military join forces to help save lives

Kalamazoo, MI—June 27—The American Red Cross and members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Air National Guard are partnering to honor military veterans and help save lives.

The ‘Honoring Those Who Serve’ blood drive will be held from 11:00AM – 4:45PM on Wednesday, July 2 at the Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites (100 W. Michigan Avenue) in Kalamazoo. There will be a special flag-raising ceremony beginning at 12PM and each branch of the military will be on site offering information and complimentary gifts to donors.  Also, everyone who comes out to donate can enter for a chance to win two (2) tickets to the August 17 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

The American Red Cross’ unwavering commitment to members of the U.S. military, its veterans and their families continues to grow and develop more than a century after Clara Barton first recruited nurses to support the U.S. Army.  Today, the Red Cross provides a number of services to all branches of the military.  This includes linking military families during an emergency, connecting families with local community resources, providing resiliency training and supporting Wounded Warriors and military hospitals.

The American Red Cross asks blood and platelet donors to help prevent a summer shortage by making an appointment to roll up a sleeve around the Independence Day holiday.

“Vacations and other summer activities often conflict with donation appointments for regular blood donors, which makes summer a very difficult time to collect blood donations,” said Todd Kulman, Communications Manager for the Great Lakes Blood Services Region. “Donations decline further near summer holidays like Independence Day. A blood or platelet donation now can help sustain an adequate blood supply this summer.”

To donate blood or find other opportunities contact the Red Cross at redcrossblood.org or 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). 06/14AP231

How to Donate Blood

To schedule an appointment to donate please call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or visit  redcrossblood.org for more information. Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet weight and height requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height) and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. Please bring your Red Cross blood donor card or other form of positive ID when you come to donate.

About the American Red Cross

The Great Lakes Blood Services Region serves 65 counties, and needs to collect about 650 units of blood a day to meet patient need in hospitals. In addition to supplying about 40 percent of the nation’s blood, the American Red Cross teaches lifesaving skills, provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization—not a government agency—and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. 

 

BE AWARE OF CARBON MONOXIDE DANGERS

LANSING, Mich. – As temperatures continue to hover around 0 degrees with wind chills at 25 below or colder, citizens are encouraged to be aware of the dangers associated with carbon monoxide poisoning when using alternative heating sources to warm their homes.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas produced when fossil fuels—such as coal, gasoline, natural gas and oil—are burned. In only minutes, deadly fumes can develop in enclosed spaces. When you breathe carbon monoxide, it enters the bloodstream and cuts off delivery of oxygen to the body's organs and tissues.

The first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may be headache, dizziness, confusion, fatigue and nausea. As more of this gas is inhaled, it can cause unconsciousness, brain damage and even death. If you do suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, move yourself, your family and pets to fresh air quickly and immediately call 911.

“Think twice before using a gas stove or gas heater to heat your house or garage,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD). “Within minutes, the fumes could overcome you and your family and ultimately cause death.”

Families are encouraged to follow these carbon monoxide poisoning prevention tips:

Never use generators, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline or charcoal burning devices inside of homes, basements, garages or near a window. These appliances give off carbon monoxide which can build up quickly in a home.

Follow operating and maintenance instructions for fuel-burning appliances and equipment.

Do not use a cooktop or oven to heat your home as these appliances are not designed for this purpose and may result in carbon monoxide poisonings.

Do not let a vehicle run in an attached garage. • Do not sleep in a room with an un-vented gas or kerosene space heater. • Ensure your home has a battery operated carbon monoxide detector, which can be

purchased at local home improvement and retail stores. • Get your furnace checked every year to make sure it isn’t leaking carbon monoxide.

For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and poisoning prevention, visit www.michigan.gov/carbonmonoxide or www.cdc.gov/co.

The SEOC is the Emergency Operations Center for the State of Michigan located in Lansing, and is overseen by the MSP/EMHSD. The SEOC coordinates response and recovery efforts of state agencies and local government. The SEOC is staffed by members of state agencies for decision making and information coordination of disasters or emergencies in the State of Michigan. 

Over The One Million Dollar Mark

Passionate Effort By Local Churches, Volunteers Leads To First Food Resource Bank Growing Project Nationwide To Reach Milestone

By Bruce Rolfe

A passionate collaborative effort by six local churches and volunteers has helped a local Foods Resource Bank Growing Project exceed $1 Million in proceeds for overseas food security.

After 10 years of harvesting crops for the Foods Resource Bank through the partnership with growers and volunteers, the Kalamazoo County-Calhoun County growing project has raised $1,007,018 for world hunger by 2013.

Farmers and volunteers from the community and participating churches -- Climax United Methodist, Newton United Methodist, Pine Grove Mennonite, Portage United Church of Christ, Scotts United Methodist, Wakeshma Community Church – brought this about with collaboration and teamwork.  

The local effort is the first FRB growing project nationwide to have reached one million dollars in growing project dollars that support small holder farmers in growing their own food in some of the world’s most challenging places.

Rural church members and friends donated the annual use of land. Farmers donated their time, equipment, and management expertise. Everyone worked hard to get donations of seed, herbicides and insecticides, and fertilizer. They grew crops – mostly corn and soy – that was sold on the local market in the U.S., and sent the proceeds to FRB to be used overseas on food security programs at the village level. 

The local funding has brought practical solutions to hunger and poverty to families overseas supported by FRB programs in Kenya, Armenia, Bolivia, Paraguay, Zambia, Palestine, Nicaragua, and Colombia, India, Mozambique, Honduras, and Serbia. No food or grain was shipped: this program is not a handout but a hand up.


C.T.S. Telecom owner Gilbert Collver, who joins his wife Lila as active participants in the program, feels a big key to the success of the program locally was a domino effect that took place after a number of individuals embraced the idea when he invited Norm Braksick, the director of the local Foods Resource Bank in Kalamazoo County, to speak at the Climax Rotary Club.

Collver, who pledged crop profits on approximately 46 acres of land on P Avenue in Climax Township he and Lila own, said the idea was well received by local Rotary Club members. That led to a warm reception by the Climax and Scotts United Methodist Churches and eventually local community members and agricultural leaders wanted to get involved as the idea spread.

“The fundamental key is we’re an agricultural community, but it was networking where it picked up speed and started to play well in the local area,” said Collver, who met Braksick at the Vicksburg Rotary Club meeting, inspiring the local businessman to invite him to speak at the Climax Rotary Club.

As local residents and agricultural leaders learned about the idea, it wasn’t long before there were many contributors to the local Foods Resource Bank project, giving it a positive jolt that continues today.

“Little by little, the acreage under commitments, grew and grew and grew. And the price of corn tripling didn’t hurt either,” adds Collver.

Collver stressed the collaborative effort between local businesses, and partnerships with local farmers and community members has been pivotal in the outreach of the program.

Pledging land to use for the program has been huge, but business partners have been generous with seed and fertilizer donations or sales at reduced prices. Local farmers have donated equipment and time to harvest the crops for the program.

The project’s farm partners include: Christophel Farms – Eldon, Robert & Sanford; Pine Grove Mennonite Church, Tom & Leanell Schwartz; Jan & Nellie Lou Vosburg; Tim Vosburg; Gary Gensch; Keith & Ellen Ball; Eric & Michelle Hiscock; Russell & Joann Myers; Doug & Theresa Myers; Gil & Lila Collver; Richard & Dawn Myers; Jack & Melanie Manis; Bob & Martha Gibson; Jim & Theresa Elwell; Wayne & Peggy Elwell; John & Jennifer Knowles; Dennis Schug; Peter & Chris Bailey; Pete Schrontz; Norm Turnier.

Seed suppliers include Green Valley Ag, Caledonia, LaRaine Salmon for N/K, Asgrow, DeKalb Seeds; Mycogen Seeds, George Galloway, Dow Agro Sciences, Otsego, MI; Great Lakes Hybrids, John Herbst – Battle Creek.  Fuel Supplier -- Crystal Flash, Cliff Lipscomb. Grain Marketing -- Battle Creek Farm Bureau; Bunge, Inc., Decatur, IN; Ag lenders -- Green Stone Farm Credit, Greg Hotchkins;  Ag equipment – John Deere Corporation;  Audio/Visual, AVS Inc., Bruce Hood; FRB, Bev Abma.

Over these ten years the project’s “city partner” – Portage United Church of Christ members and friends – provided $193,394 in “extra-mile cash giving” for the FRB project, to help cover any items not donated, so that all of the proceeds from the annual crops could go to FRB. Portage UCC members saw their cash multiply over 5 times because of the unique leveraging effect of the growing project model.  

In the 10 years, the local FRB growing project has helped to bring food security specifically to over 105,000 people for less than $10 per person per year. That’s an average of 5,835 individuals in 18 communities that the area efforts have helped with seeds, tools, drip irrigation, training, farmer field schools, nutrition education, small animals for protein, water catchment, and more. Whatever was identified by the farmers and their communities to begin growing their own food sustainably, to feed their families and have enough extra to share, barter or sell for income to purchase needed medicines and household staples and get all their children in school. 

In addition to these primary beneficiaries are untold numbers of family members and neighbors and nearby communities who benefit from the shared knowledge of improved farming practices, or from the availability of food produced by the program farmers. The overseas programs supported by the local growing project are implemented by FRB and UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) for the United Methodist Church; FRB and MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) for the Mennonite Church; and CWS (Church World Service) for the United Church of Christ/One Great Hour of Sharing. FRB’s remaining 12 member organizations are mainline Christian organizations, or their agencies, which also have in-country presence and proven indigenous partners to carry out the programs.

FRB’s website www.foodsresourcebank.org contains a wealth of information on each overseas program and how growing project dollars have helped people lift themselves out of poverty toward hopeful, healthy, productive lives.

FRB has become a positive force for change for literally millions of people around the globe who now experience the dignity and hope of providing food for their families. The Kalamazoo County-Calhoun County Growing Project is proud of its part in FRB’s effort of “growing lasting solutions to hunger.”

The growing project invites you to become involved. Every person has some unique gift to give to the effort to overcome world hunger. Please contact Keith Ball (269-979-2171) or Norm Braksick (269-806-0502) to discuss the many ways you might participate. 

Climax Library Needs Donations

As the Lawrence Memorial Library is working to automate or digitize its catalog and checkout system, the Friends of the Library group wants to help. The group has donated $1000. to the Library for this large project but more is requested so that the Library Board does not need to deplete its investments. $6000. is still needed to do this project without dipping into that fund. The Library has secured a grant to offset some of the cost. The Friends group was formed a couple years ago to support our outstanding all-volunteer library - the only all volunteer one in the state! So please donate what you can to support reading/learning in our community and this project. The Friends of the Lawrence Memorial Library is working on obtaining 501(c)3 status and it may come through in 3 months if you desire that tax exempt status or are part of a matching grant program. You can pledge an amount to be given when the status comes through. That will help greatly with planning. 

The project will digitize the libraries catalog with new software, making it searchable (from the old-fashioned card catalog), checkout of materials will use bar codes, new library cards will be coded to each patron, the library can regain its status in the regional cooperative and perhaps have inter-library loan of materials again, and more.

This is a valuable project so please consider donating. Make out checks to Friends of Lawrence Memorial Library and mark it as a donation to the Library Automation. Drop it off at the Library or send to FOLML, 107 North Main Street, PO Box 280, Climax , Michigan 49034

 

G-A Graduate Completes Navy Basic Training Regimen

(FHTNC)--Navy Seaman Apprentice Sabrina O. Weld, a 2011 graduate of Galesburg-Augusta High School, Galesburg, Mich., recently completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill. 

During the eight-week program, Weld completed a variety of training which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, and shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

The capstone event of boot camp is "Battle Stations". This exercise gives recruits the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the fleet. "Battle Stations" is designed to galvanize the basic warrior attributes of sacrifice, dedication, teamwork and endurance in each recruit through the practical application of basic Navy skills and the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Its distinctly ''Navy'' flavor was designed to take into account what it means to be a Sailor.  

New Shipment Of TV-DVD’s Have Arrived At Lawrence Memorial Library

Submitted by Ingrid Purk

I remember years ago sitting on the edge of the chair waiting for the first episode of the new season of BONANZA to start. Not only was I in love with “little Joe” Cartwright (Michael Landon’s character), but the first show of the season was when Chevrolet unveiled their new line  of cars! Every year GM changed the look of their automobiles and it was so exciting to see the new cars and get ready for the new adventures of the Cartwright family.  

Does this bring back any memories for any of you because if it does the Lawrence Memorial Library now has the complete first season of BONANZA and the excitement that took place on the Ponderosa. 

In fact, we have a whole slew of first season TV-DVD’s on our shelves. Another western that was quite popular “way back when” was BIG VALLEY staring Barbara Stanwick. We have GUNSMOKE seasons one and two. Oh, how I often wished Matt Dillon would tell Kitty how much he loved her, give her a big kiss and carry her off into the sunset. Instead, she stayed in the background; behind the bar serving up drinks while she prayed that Matt would survive his next gunfight. Also new this year we have the complete LONESOME DOVE series. It is an exciting adventure story of the first cattle drives in the old west filled with danger, intrigue, and friendships. For some laughs with a little mystery thrown in, we have ZORRO, the swashbuckling man behind the mask that saves the day for the common people with lots of sword fights thrown in for extra entertainment.  And on the modern side of law and order we selected JUSTIFIED, staring a good-looking, tough as nails lawman who still wears a cowboy hat!  We also have the entire season of DEADWOOD and select programs of the ADVENTURES of KIT CARSON. 

My all time favorite is the mini-series CENTENNIAL, taken from the book by the same name written by James Michener. It’s the best story about the migration west and the trials and triumphs of the western expansion that I think was ever written. We have also added to the RAWHIDE and Dr. Quinn series. Remember that hunk strutting around in Indian skins and long hair!! WOW!! There are several more western TV-DVD’s on the shelves you should look at and choose from like CHEYENNE, WILD, WILD WEST, starring Robert Conrad as a secret agent working for the president to foil terrorist plots of the old West, WAGON TRAIN and SKY KING the pilot sheriff out to save the West using the “sky” to trap those bad guys. There are 16 western series in all!

Want to see what I mean? Check them out! Remember, everything that you see in the Library can be checked out free of charge! You can’t beat that in times of financial worries. There’s bound to be something inside those four walls of that building that captures your interest! I figure you younguns’ don’t have a clue about these shows, but I bet your grandparents do, so encourage them to make the trek to the Library.

Check out this spot in the Crescent for further up-dates on the other TV DVD’s recently purchased.

 

Local Climax Area Business Directory Created by Library Friends

‘Shop local’ and ‘Support your local economy’ not only are popular concepts but also make good business sense and support your neighbors. There are many products and services available in the greater Climax and Scotts area but finding them is not easily done at store fronts or even in the phone book.  The Friends of the Lawrence Memorial Library group in an effort to establish a more direct contact between our local businesses and potential customers has developed a Business Directory.

The reference book will include listings of services and flyers of a wide variety of local businesses like automotive repair services, hair services, plumbing, meat packers, and even home party services like Tupperware! The loose-leaf book will include local product contacts like gift sellers, hobbyists, and home business that are hard to find. Even local government office contacts will be included for convenience. Businesses will be organized by categories for ease of finding information. The book will be located at the Climax library reference desk.

Businesses are invited to support the Friends of the Lawrence Memorial Library through yearly memberships. The group advocates, educates, and raises funds on behalf of the Library to the continued development of the community. Distinctive in the state the Lawrence Memorial Library is the ONLY all-volunteer library in the entire state. This is a real tribute to this community’s dedicated volunteers. Please support them with donations and memberships. Membership forms are available in local businesses like the bank, and hair salon. Look for the yellow form or call for more information, 746-4171.


Reuniting With Man’s Best Friend Is Special For One Soldier

By Bruce Rolfe

After reuniting with family members at a Welcome Home ceremony in the Portage Central High School gym last Saturday, First Lieutenant Jake Della Pia had one more reunion he was looking forward to in the parking lot following the ceremony.

As Jake carried his duffle bag towards an automobile in the parking lot, his four-year-old golden retriever, Mahoney, came running to his owner he hadn’t seen in nearly a year. The golden retriever jumped on Jake and pranced all around his master with his tail wagging uncontrollably.

   On a long leash, Mahoney carried Jake’s military hat in his mouth around the soldier. “Anything with my scent on it, he loves it,” said Jake..

Jake said he was happy to reunite with his family, but he had a big smile on his face about seeing his dog for the first time since he left on the deployment to Afghanistan.

“It’s just surreal. Words can’t express it. It’s truly amazing to be back and seeing him and my family. It’s really special,” said Della Pia, who said Mahoney has been living with his parents during his deployment to Afghanistan.

Della Pia, who lives in Manistee, said he got Mahoney before he was deployed to Iraq on another tour of duty in 2009.

Della Pia said he was also moved by Saturday’s welcome home ceremony that nearly filled the large Portage Central High School gym with cheering family members, relatives, friends and residents of the area.

“It’s nice. It’s a good way (for) closure. Put some closure to our deployment and a way for the young soldiers to be reunited with their families. It’s really something special,” said Della Pia. 

Contact Bruce Rolfe or comment at mailto:scribe@ctsmail.net

  An officer searches for evidence at the corner of Norscot and 36th Street. (Photograph by Bruce Rolfe - Property of The Climax Crescent)

Shooting In Scotts


Multiple gun shots rang through the town of Scotts Friday afternoon as Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Deputies attempted to stop a vehicle containing home invasion suspects.

Accoridng to the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department, Kent County Sheriff’s unit requested assistance to stop a vehicle containing home invasion suspects.

A Kalamazoo County Deputy observed the suspect vehicle in the area of South 36th Street and Norscot in Scotts and attempted to stop it.

Suspects began shooting at the police vehicles and fled southbound on 36th St. The purust continued into St. Joseph County with the suspects firing at the pursuing police vehicles a number of different times during the chase. The speeds reached as high as 90 mph and the suspect vehicle eventually headed towards the City of Three Rivers. Officers from Schoolcraft, St. Joseph County, Michigan State Police, Vicksburg and Three Rives Police and Dept. of Natural Resources assisted and attempted to intercept the fleeing suspects. Spike strips were deployed and as a result, the suspect vehicle received a flat tire. The suspect vehicle continued to be driven at a high rate of speed until the driver lost control and struck a tree. The vehicle became disabled and one 41 year old white female and one 35-year old white male were arrested and trasnferred to the hospital for their injuries.

Officers converged into Scotts to begin looking for evidence, shutting down traffic into the town for a period of time on Friday afternoon.

Officers continue with a joint investigation and intend to pursue charges on both subjects for assault with intent to commit murder and a number of other related charges.

Names of the subjects involved will not be released until after arriagnment.

  These two officers review information Friday in Scotts. (Photograph by Bruce Rolfe - Property of The Climax Crescent)

    Police search an area on 36th Street in Scotts for evidence (Photograph by Bruce Rolfe - Property of The Climax Crescent)

Sinclair’s Spartan Store Has A Whole New Look


For the last few months the employees at Sinclair’s Market have been working hard on a major reset of a good portion of the items in our local supermarket. The changes were brought on by a government dictated change in the location of tobacco, the need to eliminate spots for many items no longer available, the need to make room for new items and the need to create additional room for large pallet displays.

Sections of the store that were decreased include general merchandise, film and batteries, magazines, video rentals, brooms and mops, automotive, coffee, tea and cocoa. Additional room was created in all departments for new items and a small aisle was created for special pallet displays.

The Sinclairs are very aware of how difficult it is for shoppers to learn new locations for items. Mark and Ann promise not to make any major moves for a very long time. They are planning a special “We are NOT moving it again Sale” from September 13th through September 26th, which will offer some sensational pricing. The super low pricing for that sale is intended to help make up for the inconveniences that customers endured during the reset. 

Pictured above are Mark and Deb Thornton who were treated to a Detroit Tigers baseball game last summer at Comerica Park.

 When Life Throws A Hardball - Part 1

by Crystal Rolfe

   It’s funny how the older one gets, the more significant and sentimental your childhood years become. Growing up in a small town, under the safety net of family and neighborhood friends who looked out for you and whose lives became intertwined with yours may sound “pollyanna like”, but that feeling of security is what helped us move on when the unfortunate situations of life happened.  And as in most everyone’s life, just when you think you have life under control, life throws you a hardball, and bad, sad, tragic things can happen. 

   As a child, one of my greatest fears was that something would happen to my mom & dad. I remember talking to my cousin Mark Thornton about that. Mark was the youngest in his family and I was the oldest in mine, but we were close to the same age, so we played together often. I remember playing cowboys and Indians with him after he received a Lone Ranger gift set for his birthday. I of course had to be the Tonto. One of my earliest recollections is of him in his flannel cowboy pajamas, and me in my flannel nightgown watching the Lone Ranger on their black & white television set while we laid, head in our hands on the floor, mesmerized. We mostly played with his Matchbox cars though. He had a great collection with the multicase holder and plastic tracks we would spend hours racing on. 

   Mark had experienced loss at a young age when his father was killed in a car accident. I remember trying to understand just how something bad like that could happen to his dad and to our family.  Of course we didn’t talk about feelings, or how losing Uncle Jay-Dub (His name was J.W. Thornton, but we all called him Jay-dub) affected him. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. Now, looking back, I see that his oldest brother, David stepped in and is to this day, is probably as much a father like figure to Mark as he is a brother. 

   When I turned twelve, my greatest fear came true, my parents divorced, and my Dad left us with my mom.  Suddenly there was that shocking revelation that as hard as you might try, there are some things you have no control over. My mom’s family was a huge support system for us after my dad left. Especially my Aunt Norma (Mark’s mother) who lived on a farm outside of Colon. We spent hours at the farm, and Mark and his brothers and sister were an ever present source of entertainment for my family.  When my mom was put in the position of taking on a large debt my father had left her with, it was my Aunt Norma that came to our aid financially, helping us keep the house on Palmer Lake that I to this day can call home. 

   Jump forward 20 years or so and the story I’ll tell you is about a boy who became a man. Mark graduated from Colon High School in 1978, attended Western Michigan University getting his degree in Automotive Service & Management, and soon afterwards married an upper classman from Colon, Debbie Decker (‘77).  Deb, who graduated from the Bronson School of Nursing, was from a large family who for several years owned and operated Decker’s Dairy in Colon.  Mark & Deb set up house in Colon and continued to work, play and pay taxes and soon became parents of three lovely children. Taylor their oldest son, then Jared another son followed by their beautiful daughter Paige. The couple continued to raise their children, work hard and improve their home, living the all american dream. 

   David Thornton, Mark’s older brother say’s this about their family, “One can tell a lot about the parents by looking at their kids. All three honor roll kids, well adjusted and athletic. Raised with love and structure. Confident and empathetic.”

   Soon before Jared was born, Mark’s mom (my Aunt Norma) was diagnosed with uterine cancer.  Norma was the eldest in my mom’s family, and was remarried to a man who owned and operated a furniture/appliance/antique business in the old Lamb Knit factory in Colon. His name was Cal Shoop, and the couple combining their families lived many happy years together, retiring to Florida for the winters, but enjoyed their families back in Michigan during the summer season. The shock and disbelief of Norma’s illness turned to sorrow when after a couple years and a long battle, Norma passed away in  at age 62.  Once again, the family relied on their strength and character to overcome a loss they had no control over.

   But life went on, and like everyone else, Mark & Deb knew they wanted the best for their children, they knew they would have to save a lot of money to send them all on to higher education.  So both Mark and Deb took on extra work. Mark for years worked in construction, factory work, worked as a service manager at a dealership, whatever job would help them put away a nest egg.  Often when I would see Mark, we would tease him about how hard he was working and how little sleep he was getting.  He spent years working night shifts then sleep a couple hours then go on to work all day doing something else.  But he didn’t mind, he knew what he wanted for his family, and hard work was the one thing he’d been taught and knew he could control.  Soon Mark landed a job at Pfizer in Kalamazoo and when he decided that he could work 2nd shift, he took on day jobs as an electrician. 

 Mark & Deb’s two boys graduated from Colon High School, Taylor attending U of M and Jared was accepted at Olivet College. Their life seemed like many, tough at times, but full of hope and promise. The couple even started to look to their future years, talking of when their children were older and what they might spend their years as empty nesters doing. Deb dreamed of taking trips where her and Mark could walk warm sunny beaches. Mark talked of mostly being able to get more sleep. But life went on, and it seemed that all was going according to plan.  That is until mere minutes would change everything they knew, everything they had somehow took for granted.

   Mark was working a second shift at Pfizer when he was asked to work an extra 4 hours for a guy. Being the kind of man Mark was he consented. It was the first day of November, 2007 at about 4 o’clock in the morning when Mark finally got off work and was driving home to Colon when he fell asleep coming down Swonk Rd.. He crossed Correll Road and crashed through a steel fence hitting a large rock which flipped the car trapping him inside.  Mark awoke on impact, but when the car landed he knew something was very wrong. He could not feel his body, he could not move his legs. He was trapped in his car, unable to move in the cold dark field in the early morning hours, not knowing how long it would be before someone came along to help him. But someone did come by and spotted the accident. He tried to call 911 on his cell phone, but had no signal. So he went to the farmhouse down the road and had them call for help. The Colon ambulance was the first to arrive that morning, and soon after seeing Mark’s condition, a medical helicopter was called and landed in the field taking Mark to Bronson Hospital.  

   Dave Thornton remembers the moment he heard the call, “The voice on the answering machine was halting and full of emotion. I could hardly glean what was being said but the words “your brother was involved in an accident” came thru and shut down my brain to anything being said after that. I listened a couple more times through the “I don’t know’s and the crying as my sister-in-law tried desperately to get out the information I needed to know. All while she was driving to the hospital not knowing herself whether her husband would pull through this or not. All she knew was that the paramedics said they thought he was paralyzed.”

    The relief came when Deb arrived at the hospital to be told that Mark was alive, surviving the accident with only minor scrapes and scratches. But the tragic truth was that his 5th & 6th vertebra had been irreversibly damaged and that he was paralyzed from the chest down.  The hours and weeks ahead would be long, fraught with tough decisions. Even as family and friends gathered around the hospital to pray and do what they could to help, the feeling of what was ahead for them was heartbreaking. Mark came close to death several times after the accident.  Complications due to the paralyses left the family reeling from one operation to the next. At one point, Mark was so close to dying that Deb was asked to gather the kids and family around to say goodbye, only a decision on her part to take a risky procedure that could possibly save Mark’s life would have to be made.  At that moment Deb recalls having to make a decision that was harder than anything she had imagined, let Mark go, or take this risk to keep him here knowing how difficult his and her life would be.  Well Deb made the choice, she chose to take the risk. And at that very minute she

knew her love for Mark, their love for each other would have to sustain them, as it has, Mark stayed here on earth with us.  

   The next months were full of back and forth trips from Bronson Hospital in Kalamazoo to Mary Free Bed in Grand Rapids. Dave his brother recalls, “Mark was not with us too much in the first few weeks, he was working internally to survive. He did receive good care at Bronson. His family was with him most all the time. They are a joy to be around and the doctors and nurses enjoyed them immensely, going out of their way for them. A family who has such empathy and consideration for others naturally always receives it back in a time of need. Empathy and a genuine concern for others can not be faked for long. If you have it then it is a part of your makeup, your personality, and this family has always given of themselves to others. Now, that mental aura brought others, selflessly, to their aid. It also helped that Mark’s nurse thought he looked like George Clooney and brought all the other nurses around to see if they thought so too.”  

   Mark received such excellent care for months of rehab at Mary Free Bed in Grand Rapids. Dave said this about his brother’s time there; “He has a personality that draws you to him and a kindness and interest in you that keeps you with him. The first thing nurses would hear from him when they came into his room, most times, was “how is your day going?” His genuine interest would many times sit a nurse on the side of his bed as she opened up her personal life to such a good listener and counselor. All the care professionals looked forward to Mark’s family’s visits also; the family was always so upbeat and fun to be around. Their visits always seemed to enliven Mark tremendously. Even after Mark’s release the occasional MFB nurse would make the trip to Colon to visit him and his family.” Dave, who always kept the family up to date with Mark’s condition emailed us regularly. But he remembers a time when he  says, “The injury to Mark’s neck created the inability for him to regulate his internal temperature. Many weeks went by with an elevated temperature. Usually an elevated temperature means the body is fighting off an infection so doctors had to monitor him carefully so as not to miss them. Infections did come however and Mark was pumped full of antibiotics more times than one can remember. Bad infections that persisted. Deb, with her medical background, was there to ask the right questions of the doctors and monitor his medications. After a while the medical help was at a loss as to what to do about Mark’s temperature. All they could do was pump Mark full of antibiotics and cover then uncover him as his body tried to regulate itself. All through this ordeal Mark never complained. He was strong. He would ask for what he needed in a positive and affirming way. People seemed to be honored to be able to assist. One of the saddest memories in my memory was when a breathing tube restricted Mark’s ability to communicate and he was mouthing what he needed. Not able to interpret the request I asked over and over again for him to repeat. One knew if a request was made that it was truly needed. Finally Mark just shook his head, unable to get his request across to this willing brother. Creating a deep moment of sadness. The happy ending came when we could spell out, one letter at a time, what was needed.” 

   On  March 20, 2008, Mark was finally able to come home. But to what? Being fitted with a remote wheelchair that weighs over 300 lbs. would mean renovating much of their house. He would need wheelchair access to the bathroom, bedroom and surrounding areas. As well as around the clock care. So much had to be prepared, but right away Deb knew that she would have to quit her nursing job to stay home and care for Mark.

   In the meantime, Mark’s family and friends went to work. The Colon American Legion as well as the Masonic Temple put on benefit meals to raise money for the family. Many of Mark and Deb’s closest friends and family helped renovate their home with a wheelchair deck built around their home. They replaced doors, enlarged and renovated the bathroom for shower accessibility as well as their bedroom which had to be fitted with a hospital bed and lift for Mark. They renovated one of the kid’s rooms to use for Mark’s physical therapy table. The donations of materials and labor were priceless to the family who find it hard to express with words how grateful they are to everyone who gave so unselfishly. Life seemed to be giving them a break from their sadness, and with help from physical therapy nurses and insurance paying their medical and living expenses, they felt like they might be able to handle it.  

   The first time Deb recalls having to take care of Mark all by herself, she was overwhelmed by the amount of strength it took.  She said that after all the years of working in nursing, she never remembers having to work so hard or being so tired as when she first started to care for her paralyzed husband. “He needs to be lifted and moved to get dressed, bathed, into his chair.” It took all the strength I could muster to just get him rolled over which has to be done several times to keep him from getting bed sores.”  Deb recalls crying and saying to herself,  “there is no way I’m going to be able to do this by myself, everyday for the rest of our lives!”  “It was the hardest work I’d ever done. I did get some relief from other nurses who would come in and could give me a chance to run errands, go do things that I had to do outside the home. But it has been the most difficult thing I ever imagined”. 

   The accident has understandably also changed their marriage. Now their relationship is more like patient and caregiver. And that has been hard. Yet when I asked Mark how he felt about Deb, he responded in the most tender way, he said, “I’m just so thankful for my wife, every morning I wake up and look at her sleeping in the separate bed next to mine and say, “Good morning my beautiful wife!” And to that Deb with tears in her eyes, says “yes, that is what he says to me every morning!” At that moment their love was so evident and tangible that it was awe-inspiring. 

   To Mark, the change in his life had to be devastating. Once able to physically work several hours a day, he was exhausted just to sit up in his wheelchair, let alone what the physical therapy did to him. To lose control of ones own body must be such a devastating blow to the mind and spirit that most of us cannot even imagine how we would get through it. But 

Mark has taken everything with a grace and strength that is so admirable, if he does feel angry or depressed, you wouldn’t know it.        

Dave Thornton says this of his youngest brother, "Probably the most likeable person one would ever meet is Mark, partly because you never hear him complain about anything, with the possible exception, later in life, of a bad call against one of his kids by a referee. So he adapted as he always does to his new situation and never complained. Throughout his school year days he was the one who could instill confidence in others and became a very good athlete. It was a quiet confidence but one always felt the situation was under control when Mark was around. His level headed and common sense thinking always made him one of the most desired friends anyone could ask for. He is a sincere friend."

   Now almost three years later, Mark is still living at his home in Colon. Mark is able to move his arms and hands to a point, but needs much more therapy to be able to feed himself and become more independent. Mark wants to someday be able to get a job doing something so he can once again earn a paycheck. He has come a long way, but has a very long road ahead of him.

   What has changed in the last year and a half is a whole other story that I will cover in next week’s paper.  Why some people are given so many challenges in their lives is a mystery I cannot answer. But what I can say is that as someone who loves them both dearly, I could not sit by and watch them struggle financially without doing something to help.  That is why I created “Mark’s Fullest Potential Fund” and was inspired to create our family cookbook/memory keepsake called “Pickles & Pansies”.  If you would like to purchase a cookbook and would therefore contribute to Mark’s fund, please stop by the Crescent office and pick one up for $20. each.  Or if you would like a cookbook mailed to you the cost will be $25. which includes shipping and handling (see page 4 and fill out the form to mail in). All proceeds go directly into his fund. The books are also available at Sinclair’s Market or Trilogy Salon in Climax, and Double Features Plus in Galesburg.











When Life Throws A Hardball - Part II


By Crystal Rolfe

   While composing the second part of this article I am struck by how much easier it was to write the first.  Even though part one was about difficult physical and emotional realities of life, this second half is more about what can happen afterwards which can often be as traumatic. How do I tell you about what has happened without giving all of the details? That is the technical part which has had me frustrated.  But then again, frustration is where Mark & Deb have been living for the last year and a half.  

    It was a sunny hot day a couple weeks ago when I went to visit my cousins Mark & Deb at their home in Colon.  Mark, who was paralyzed nearly three years ago in a automobile accident, had just finished up having some arm compression therapy done and was not sure at all how to go about explaining this ordeal to me. He even tried to con me into making the story about myself instead of about him and Deb. Truthfully, the couple have always been very private people like many of us who don’t relish giving details of our personal lives, especially financially. They have gone back and forth about what they should do, sit still and wait for an answer as they have done for many months or tell their story and hope that others can avoid having to go through what they have. So as I sat there in their living room for several hours listening to what I could not believe they spent a year and a half going through, I knew I must try the best way I could to tell of their dilemma.  

  For the first year after Mark’s accident, insurance seemed to be doing it’s job.  The medical bills were paid through Mark’s health insurance, and the car insurance was paying for his living expenses, nurses at their home etc.  This was getting them just some of the therapy they needed, but more it was giving Deb a break to do other things. But soon after the year was up, the coordination of benefits between the health and auto insurance became an issue. Thus the battle started.

   Mark’s older brother Dave explained it like this: “Mark & Deb always put family first. Working hard, before the accident, with two jobs and Deb’s full time job, financially they were able to provide a good life for them and their children. Life insurance, Health Insurance, Auto and Home Insurance and a financial plan. They thought they were on the right path. It has been over 2 ½ years since the accident. The auto insurance company is battling Mark’s work health insurance to see who is responsible for his care. Neither insurance denies that care is needed but the auto insurance has a “clause” in their policy that states they are the secondary payer. In other words, they push responsibility onto any other insurance an insured person may have. Regardless of it being an auto related accident or not. Mark’s home health care was not being paid. The health care provider, after about sixteen months of non-payment, stopped sending their representative to care for Mark. Mark needs 24/7 care. It is by luck that Deb is a registered nurse and can provide all the skilled care he needs, along with a therapy program and assist with the activities of daily living.”

   Because of their situation, they were forced to get legal advice. And they did. Their attorney told them that they would need to start a lawsuit against the insurance companies for payment. Mark & Deb, feeling they had no other choice, agreed. And so the process of litigation began. The problem is that after litigation begins, it is anyone’s guess as to when it will end. Never having gone through this kind of legal matter before, Mark and Deb had no idea the situation they were getting themselves into.  Now, a year and a half later, not only do they not have a resolution financially, but no one is allowed to answer any of their questions when they call, and they get nothing but delays in an emotional void that is not being filled. 

   Also irked by the family’s situation, Dave responded by adding, “There is almost no income coming into this household as the two insurance companies are battling it out. Court dates come and go with no resolution, or get postponed, all the time putting an enormous strain on the meager resources of this family. Extended family is helping as they can but there is also concern for the mental strain on Deb who is required to care for Mark without a break. There is also concern for the recently graduated youngest daughter and how it has altered her senior year. Being one of Colon’s star athletes her parents have attempted to keep daily life as “normal” as possible. They attend most all the sporting events she participates in. Mark, many times, all wrapped up in coats and blankets in an attempt to keep his body temperature constant. Never complaining, happy to see his only daughter do so well.”

   So the battle continues, not just in court, but in the daily frustration that is ever present in Mark & Deb’s life. How many of us could be in this same situation? How many of you are? And when will this emotional battle end, is a question that only those with the power to make that decision can answer.

   Mark’s brother Dave further describes what the couple has gone through by saying: “Both Mark & Deb are very competent people. Very intelligent and above average in “common sense”. They are navigating the legal world, attempting to decipher all the legalese and insurance papers they need to deal with. Requests for documentation come constantly and repeated requests for previously provided documentation come continuously. Making them wonder if anyone has control of their case or if it is simply getting passed around. One wonders how many in a similar situation who are not as adept at providing insurance requests can navigate the system. By delaying benefits the insurance companies must know that many an insured will finally give up, or die.”  “One can see, though, the frustration and occasional anger coming through that was never there before. When speaking of how this situation is being ignored, the frustration is palpable. Understandably so. With family and friends Mark is always the affable and upbeat person he always was but becomes incensed when speaking of their insurance hassles. People are changed by a trauma such as this, can’t be helped, but the change should come from the injury, not the hassles after the accident. Situations such as this are exactly what we invest in insurance for.”

   When you look at how Mark’s accident has left him without control of his physical body, it is hard to imagine having so many other situations in his life be beyond his control as well.  If we all look at ourselves in the sense that we enjoy having “control” over what we do and how and what happens to us, perhaps we can empathize with those who have lost so much control and yet remain confident.

   Mark has not given up hope, hope that this legal situation will soon be over and the worries of this past year and  half will be in the past. He hopes to concentrate on his recovery to the point where he can someday ride a handicapped bicycle in a race with Deb, or that he will someday even drive a car, throw a basketball, make his own meals.  Mark said that most of all he would like for his wife Deb to be able to not feel the anxiety of leaving him to go do normal everyday stuff, “I would like for her to be able to take a trip with some of her girlfriends, go and not have to think about me every minute,” said Mark.  

   “Mark will pull through this because of the support he receives from friends, his confident, upbeat personality, the professional care from his 

wife and the deep love from his family. But sometimes one wonders; when they say we are given no more than what we can handle; someone up there must have a lot of confidence in this family,” Dave acknowledges.

   I suppose in the end, what this story was written to show is that when life throws you a hardball, sometimes the result is not that you’ve been hit as much as who comes to pick you up, who dusts you off, and who puts the bat back in your hands.  It may not be those safeguards you’ve set up for yourself, it may be those around you who are just trying to live each day with grace.  People like our families and friends who have given to the Thornton family in numerous ways, and those who have rallied so strong behind this idea of mine to do a family cookbook, selling them to everyone and anyone they know or meet. People like those in my home town of Colon and my home here  in Climax who are taking this endeavor on as their own and selling to everyone they know.  I feel more than blessed to call these communities my own. From Colon to Climax, and all the surrounding areas in between, are “chuck full” of great, caring and giving people. It remains like I said earlier, family and community bonds can be like a safety net that will help us through the darkest hours of our lives. And this goes without saying that the road that leads from Colon to Climax is long and winding, but that gives us plenty of opportunity to see the beauty in between.  

   Editors Note: I received many responses to the first article in that people said that they were brought to tears by it.  The emotion of this story is one that brings that kind of response, I have shed many as well. But more important to me is that you make a choice to see the good and honorable side of what can be. That is one thing we can control. How we react to the situations life brings us.  

      One of my inspirations has been a song by the Dixie Chicks (please set aside their political views) called: I HOPE, the chorus goes: I HOPE, for more love, more joy and laughter, I HOPE, you’ll have more than you’ll ever need... I HOPE, you’ll have more “happy ever afters”... I HOPE, we can all live more fearlessly, and we can lose all the pain and misery, I HOPE, I HOPE.

   To those of you who have supported Mark’s Fullest Potential Fund by purchasing “Pickles & Pansies” and to all of those who have given more, you are the beauty of humanity. 

   Special thanks to David Thornton for contributing so much to these articles, and to Mark & Deb for letting me invade their privacy and tell their story, you are a symbol of strength to a world that is full of injustice.



Still filling the Library shelves with Great Literature

By Ingrid Purk

The Lawrence Memorial Library shelves are briming with so many new novels just waiting for a pair of warm hands and imaginative minds to grab them, to get carried away to distant lands filled with mysterious characters, dangerous encounters and romantic interests. 

All the better known authors have outdone themselves such as Clive Cussler’s “The Spy”, James Patterson’s “Private”, Steve Martinis “The Rule of Nine”, Brad Thor’s “Foreign Influence”, Christopher Reich’s “Rules of Betrayal”, and Nora Robert’s “The Search”. 

Of course Danielle Steel has another story called “Family Ties” and 

“Whiplash” is Catherine Coulter’s newest edition.

For those who like more inspirational stories such as “Sixteen Brides” by Stephanie Whits and “She Walks in Beauty” by Siri Mitchell. One of the hottest books on the best seller list is: “The Shack” by William Paul Young. It is a story about a young father who, with the help of his faith, must confront his sadness at the loss of his daughter and find eternity. In the “Mountain Between Us” by Charles Martin, is a story of two strangers who have to survive a plane crash in a stretch of harsh and remote area of the U.S.  The second in a series from Nelson DeMille, “The Lion” follows after where “The Lion’s Game” left off, which is also on the shelf.

The one series that is creating quite a stir, written by Stieg Larsson, are the books with characters named Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blonkuist. The titles are #1: “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, #2 “The Girl who Played with Fire”, and #3 “The Girl who kicked a Hornet’s Nest”. 

Now, if you like your childhood classics a little skewed try Jim C. Hines’ “Red Hood’s Revenge”, “The stepsisters Scheme”, or “The Mermaids Madness”. These are take-off of Little Red Riding Hood,  Cinderella and The Little Mermaid. These should surely keep any reader entertained. After all that’s what literature is supposed to do! Check out all these selections and more at the Lawrence Memorial Library here in Climax.


 

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