By Sue Moore
Lockdown at the High School
A scrawled message in one of the girl’s bathrooms at Vicksburg High School, precipitated a lockdown of the building on February 10. Coincidentally, the school had scheduled a routine practice lockdown at 1:45, just before the bomb threat message was discovered. Principal Keevin O’Neill immediately notified the Vicksburg police who were right there on the scene. All students and staff were evacuated to the Vicksburg Middle School until the police department could provide assurance that the building was safe. Subsequently, a state police bomb-sniffing dog was brought in to be sure it was just an idle threat. The perpetrator was not found, but O’Neill was contacted by other police departments in the area to congratulate him on the way the incident was handled.
Local Theater a Special Treat
Entertainment in Vicksburg and Schoolcraft hits a high point at the end of February and March. There must be something to the feeling that we need to break out of the cabin fever mode. The two communities have a rich heritage in supporting the arts, especially with the Performing Arts Centers in both high schools.
The high point in Vicksburg is the Showboat, sponsored by the Rotary Club. It brings the whole community into the production, with very accomplished singers from all walks of life performing. The 63 years of continuous performances have enabled the club to give generously to the many charities that need a helping hand to others less fortunate.
A great feeder system for the Showboat’s all-male chorus is the high school musical performed in March. The young people under the guidance of Melissa Sparks and Dusty Morris, have learned to love the stage. They sing their hearts out for their two mentors. This year there are at least ten members of the Showboat chorus that have matriculated from high school to singing in Showboat.
In Schoolcraft, the high school musical, offered in March, is led by dedicated director Christine Sargeant. Her musicals are also an incubator for young people who go on to other theatre endeavors as part of their adult lives.
Then there is the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center, a much smaller venue that has opened in the last few months to offer a place for solo performers with great talent to showcase their skills. It’s a little bit of off-Broadway out in the boonies, but oh, so very professional!
Maple Syrup Weekend
Another source of getting rid of cabin fever can be had with a trip to Butternut Creek Sugar Shack at 24890 Flach Road, Mendon, just over the county line into St. Joe. The treat is watching maple syrup be boiled down and then offered on homemade pancakes and syrup. On March 19 and 20, Terry Moyer and his friends open their maple syrup production facility to all comers for these two days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They provide free tours of where the trees have been tapped and show the boiling process inside the sugar shack. This is an age-old endeavor but not practiced as often as it used to be.
Bob Crissman’s Little Free Libraries
Little free libraries are sprouting up in Schoolcraft, due to the carpentry work of Bob Crissman. He taught the Schoolcraft building and trades class for many years and then after retirement, called on many of his students to volunteer help to build out the Schoolcraft library when the need was there to finish the job. He builds these little libraries for $100 each and is happy to sell them, not as a way to make money, but as a way to encourage people to read more often and share their books with each other. He can be reached at 269-267-5395.
Vicksburg Farmers’ Market Survey
Although snow is on the ground, the Vicksburg Farmers’ market managers are thinking spring. They have concocted a survey that seeks to answer what customers want to buy at the market and what they like and don’t like about the offerings at the pavilion each Friday. It is available on Survey Monkey at: surveymonkey.com/r/HFMYN9W
They urge you to take the time to respond. The more answers they receive, the better the market will be as it enters its seventh year in Vicksburg.
Visitors to the market will notice that the long debated sheathing of the sides of the pavilion has been completed. John Polacek of the Lions Club had feared that water damage was eroding the structure. He finally convinced the village and the Historical Society to do something about it. Enter Frederick Construction which was instrumental in getting this fine facility built in the first place. With the Lions Club members oiling the wood for the enclosure, there wasn’t enough time left last fall to complete the job. Once again, Mike Frederick and his crew stepped in, during some of the coldest days in February, and completed the job at no charge to the village. This should keep the facility high and dry for many years.
Ann Linton’s 105th Birthday
As the oldest living graduate of Vicksburg High School, Ann Linton has attended her share of alumni gatherings for the class of 1930. She celebrated 105 years in February with family and friends at her assisted living residence at Bickford Cottage. She is the daughter of Pete and Mary Matz who immigrated from Italy to live in Chicago and landed in Vicksburg in 1923. They owned a confectionary store on S. Main Street for many years and made all of their candy and syrups from scratch. It seems that all that sugar in Ann’s diet must not have done her any harm.