By Sue Moore
A Personal Story
I am totally surprised that I’ve lasted this long as your editor and publisher of The South County News. Why? Because when I originally said yes to prototyping a newspaper for the Vicksburg and Schoolcraft area I agreed to three issues and no more. The Kalamazoo Gazette had stopped publishing what had once been my family’s newspaper. There was probably a little bit of hubris in my agreeing to accept the challenge.
Here we are at three years later with the June 2016 issue and actually going strong. Why? Because the community has embraced this effort with financial support and kind words with every monthly issue. Why? Because the staff we have on board truly cares. They aren’t getting paid worth their commensurate talent, but it doesn’t seem to be a factor in their devotion to producing a monthly product. We feature the good in people, their daily lives, and their exceptional contributions to the community. That was the decision the board members made going into this experiment over three years ago. The South County News has now become the poster child for the Michigan Press Association which is losing members to the social media giants while we are alive and feeling very well.
I often get callers wanting to know where our office is. Well, it isn’t. We are a virtual office, meaning all the staff works from their home computer, cell phone or iPad. That allows us to cut overhead. The downside is I rarely see our contributors, our copy editor, our advertising sales people or our graphic artist. At our now annual Christmas party we have to introduce ourselves to each other because the face is so unfamiliar.
I’d like to give a shout out to the people behind the scenes of this newspaper. Wes Schmitt, our treasurer, labors in obscurity and loves it. He keeps track of everything financial and is the reason we are still afloat. Steve Ellis, board member and advertising guru, counsels Sheri Freeland and Brian Decker, our advertising representatives. Steve gives generously of his time and talents while publishing his own newspaper, the Spark. Our copy editor and board member, Bob Ball, joined up a year ago as a retiree from the Royal Oak Tribune. Through his thorough knowledge of writing and editing he has lifted our editorial content to a new level. Recently Linda Lane joined the board. She has brought a keen eye to questioning our habits because she is willing to speak out. She has also contributed her writing expertise, while going through some tough times with her elderly parents who live in Grand Rapids.
Justin Gibson, our graphic designer, has been with us for almost two years now. I rarely see him in person as we converse through the information you see on the pages of the South County News. He is so patient, so talented, and has such a keen gift of eye in choosing just the right image to complement each story. He works long hours, particularly on the week before we go to press. He designs the advertisements first, lays them into the pages, places the editorial content to fill the news hole, all without meeting any of our contributors face to face.
Our writers have helped with significant contributions to these pages. Sheryl Oswalt, with her restaurant reviews; Travis Smola and Sean Budlong, our sports reporters for the two schools; John Fulton, our religion writer, have become staples in this newspaper writers gig. A big thank you to Stephanie Blentlinger, who has produced some beautiful images of Schoolcraft athletes for the newspaper.
Without our local advertisers and the readers’ contributions we wouldn’t exist. We urge you to help sustain this newspaper with your gifts and your support of our advertisers. We hope you will come to our birthday party a year from now as we celebrate just “staying alive.”
Angels Crossing Chef Gets Rave Reviews
Joe Tsui, the former chef at The Vault, has moved to Angels Crossing’s new kitchen at the golf course. He has elevated what used to be a heat and eat to a new level, according to Jerry Kott who recently held a surprise 80th birthday party for Norma Suess there. He has not stopped raving about how good the food was for his 50 guests, so he called this editor to make sure that his satisfaction with the chef and what he produced from the new kitchen is known far and wide.
Bob Cohrs is Recuperating from a Fall
Bob Cohrs of Vicksburg, fractured his right hip the last week in April. Surgery to repair it was done – a titanium shaft in the right femur plus two screws to hold the fracture together were put in – and he was in a Charlotte hospital for a few days. Then on May 4 he celebrated his 96th birthday in a rehab center in Charlotte. He’s over there because he was visiting his daughter Nancy when he fell and fractured the hip. Although he is shown here with a U of M hat, he wore a Spartan hat into surgery after he discovered that the orthopedic surgeon was a Michigan State graduate.
VHS Grads Enter the Military
Three Vicksburg High School graduates have elected to serve their country and have enlisted. Walker Polsinelli will join the Air Force and report in August. Zach Fenwick is also planning on joining the Air Force while Maria Hetrick has chosen to join the Navy. It is a four year commitment and each were given applause when their name was announced during the graduation ceremony on Sunday, June 5.