By Sue Moore
Who says manufacturing is dead in the United States? Or, for that matter, in South Kalamazoo County?
In preparing the stories which appear in this month’s South County News, it was exhilarating to interview the owners and managers of five local firms which are expanding at a rapid rate. And it still left out some growing companies–Greenstone and Rettenmeier in Schoolcraft and Summit in Vicksburg.
It is a hopeful sign that new jobs are coming to this area, many of them high-tech with commensurate high pay. There are implications for the Schoolcraft, Vicksburg and KVCC school systems to build up their Industrial Arts programs to get students ready to perform these jobs upon graduation.
What is even more impressive is the enthusiasm the owners and managers of these businesses have for their work and their future. To a person, they were optimistic about the economy, the community, and the potential for growth.
Lions Club B & B Was a Great Success
For all these hard working men and women in the community, there needs to be an outlet or two to have some fun. The Vicksburg Lions Club provides that avenue every year with its Summer Festival, a.k.a. Beer & Brats.
This year’s event was a great success according to Doug Stafinski, long-time B & B chairman for the Lions Club. Attendance was great even though the heat and humidity were pervasive. The hope is that revenues when they get calculated will pour lots of money back into the community. That’s what this service club does every year.
Alumni of Vicksburg High School Gather
The Lions Club helps to facilitate the alumni gathering for VHS classmates who have been out of school fifty years or better. Again this year 328 who attended honored the class of 1965. Ann Matz Linton who graduated in 1930 was the oldest graduate present. Coming close to her in longevity were Bob Springer, class of ‘32 and Mason Bishop, class of ‘34.
Several returning classmates toured the Depot Museum and Historic village. There are lots of memories stored in those walls, books, and pictures for those who come from afar. Janet Reece took it all in as she toured the print shop, remembering what it was like to work there during high school and college. Just seeing all the old equipment that is now anachronistic, conjured up all kinds of special memories for her. She taught school in California, then in school administration for many years. She decided to make her retirement home in downtown Chicago, along with her brother Tom and his wife Sandy Miller Reece.
Fourth of July Celebration in Schoolcraft
It seems like the 4th of July was eons ago but it was still within the month of coverage that this newspaper provides. Schoolcraft did itself proud with a terrific turn out for the parade, the car show, the food served by the VFW, Methodist Church, and families who proudly gathered to celebrate this country’s independence. The fireworks as usual capped the day, with a new team performing the honors on the field near Schoolcraft’s high school.
Taste of Vicksburg
Even further removed in calendar time was the Taste of Vicksburg, which drew good crowds amidst a rain-soaked weekend. Top winner of the Taste was the newest entry, China One. Apple Knockers, Stubby’s, and the Vault tied for second, Rise-n-Dine was third. Congratulations!
W Avenue, better known as Highway Street in Vicksburg, is underwent major resurfacing starting in July. Although something of a bottleneck for drivers, when it is finished, this east-west road that connects all the townships in south Kalamazoo County will be in premier shape. This writer remembers that Meredith Clark, who authored this On the Corner column for 40 years under the Vicksburg Commercial-Express banner, ran a box at the top of his column each week, advocating for the county road commission to make W Avenue an all-weather road. He would be happy to know that finally the surface is in tip-top condition. This means the county plows W Avenue as a high priority.
Vicksburg Schools Rebuild Parking Lots
Along with the road building, the school system has also been buying tons of asphalt. The parking lots in the high school, administration building, and the elementary schools have been dug up and repaved this summer. They aim to be finished by the time the school bell rings on Sept. 8.