Monthly Archives: November 2016

Vicksburg Volleyball Knocks Off Plainwell

By Travis Smola

The Lady Bulldog volleyball team just keeps on winning. Vicksburg swept Plainwell in Coloma to move on to the MHSAA Regional Championship where they will face Buchanan.

While the Lady Bulldogs swept the Trojans, Plainwell didn’t make things easy, especially in the second set. That was where Plainwell attempted to set the pace early and had a lead much of the game. “We had to re-adjust, once we did, we were OK,” Head Coach Katrina Miller said.

An ace serve by senior Ashton Bjork helped keep the Bulldogs in the match early on, but the Trojans held a three or four-point lead much of the game. Eventually things got down to a 24-20 match point in favor of the Trojans. This was where the Vicksburg defense stepped up again.

Morgan Preston and Grace Welch then came through with crucial kills to even things up to 24-24. After that, momentum seemed to get on the side of Vicksburg again and they took the set 27-25. “We have been working so hard on our block,” Miller said.

The first and third sets provided a little more breathing room as the Lady Bulldogs took set one 25-18 and set three 25-15.  The girls came out all business early in the first set and Miller noted that at first, a few of them struggled.

Miller took them aside to repeat something she’s told them all year. “You have to have fun,” she said. After that, they settled down and focused better.

The Lady Bulldogs will be back in action again Thursday night where they will face a Buchanan team that eliminated a very good Harper Creek squad in four sets. The Bucks will have a size advantage on Vicksburg, but the Lady Bulldogs are playing some of their best volleyball of the year right now.

That match-up will happen in Coloma at 6:30 p.m.

Schoolcraft Loses a Cliffhanger

By Sean Budlong

Schoolcraft has won 19 out of the last 21 games played.  Unfortunately, both losses ended a season in overtime.  After gaining revenge for last season’s OT playoff loss to Constantine, the Eagles faced 9-1 Jackson Lumen Christi in the Division Six District Finals.  Ricky Clark and Nolan Anspaugh accounted for four touchdowns and over 300 total yards, but the Titans won on an overtime field goal, 37-34.

There were five lead changes during the game.  The Titans took a 7-0 lead, which Kobe Clark cut to one point with a 41 yard run.  The extra point attempt was missed on a bad hold, and the Eagles were down 7-6.  Late in the first quarter, Clark and Anspaugh hooked up on a 47 yard touchdown, but the two point conversion was no good.  The first quarter ended with Schoolcraft leading 12-7.

The second quarter was all Lumen Christi, as the Titans scored on two long drives.  Down 20-12 with less than one minute remaining in the half, Clark found Anspaugh alone in the middle of the field.  Collin Tone, Scott Macfarlane, Marc Shaink, River Fox, and Mark Phelps gave Clark all the time he needed, and Anspaugh gave the Eagles a first down at the four yard line with 4.1 seconds left.  Clark scored on a run with no time remaining, and connected with Anspaugh for the two point conversion.  The game was tied 20-20 at half.

The defenses stepped up in the third quarter.  Ethan Sharp, Spencer Fox, Aaron Lenning, Jakob Huysken, and Phelps held the Titans to a single score.  With five minutes left in the game, and the Eagles down 26-20, Shaink, Tone and Lenning combined to stop Lumen Christi on fourth down at the Schoolcraft eight yard line.  After two short runs, Clark stepped back to pass but was flushed from the pocket.  Scrambling, Clark followed outstanding blocks by Macfarlane and Ben Crofoot 94 yards for a touchdown.  An extra point by Kameron Snyder gave the Eagles a 27-26 lead.

Lumen Christi came right back with a 68 yard touchdown pass, but Schoolcraft refused to back down.  With 3:14 left on the clock, Clark found Anspaugh crossing the middle of the field.  Blake Bales and Crofoot made devastating blocks to free Anspaugh for a 77 yard touchdown.  Thomas Meadows and Phelps made key stops to make sure the Titans didn’t see the end zone for the rest of regulation.

In overtime, Schoolcraft attempted three passes, but the third was intercepted.  Three runs for 7 yards set up the game winning field goal for Lumen Christi.

“This game was all about heart,” Phelps said.  “We knew this was going to be a tough game, and we knew we had to man up.  We played a great game, but came up a little short.  We just have to practice that much harder to get ready for next season.”

Schoolcraft’s seniors should take great pride in their accomplishments.  The Eagles have made the playoffs in each season during their high school career.  They have completed undefeated seasons in both of the last two seasons, easily winning their SAC division.  Clark, Sharp, Anspaugh, Fox, Lenning, Tone, Macfarlane, Hoskins, Meadows, Morris, Crowfoot, and Bales are all players that opposing teams will be happy to see graduate.  However, with players like Huysken, Kobe Clark and Phelps back the future looks bright in Schoolcraft.

Vicksburg Volleyball Wins District Title

By Travis Smola

The Lady Bulldogs seem to have saved some of the best volleyball for late in the year after sweeping Paw Paw and Edwardsburg to capture a District 34B Final title Thursday on their home court. “Our team, when we play well, it’s like a well-oiled machine,” Head Coach Katrina Miller said afterwards.

The girls have improved every outing this year and on Wednesday they downed a tough Paw Paw squad in three straight sets 25-12, 28-26 and 25-18. The second set was especially dramatic as the two teams traded scores back and forth before the Lady Bulldogs were able to buckle down to win the two remaining points.

Against Edwardsburg, the girls played some of the most flawless volleyball they’ve played all year. “I’ve never seen a team play so well together,” Miller said as the team celebrated with friends and family.

Junior libero Morgan Preston had three ace serves against the Eddies. Fellow junior Anna Schriemer also had one and was a force all game long. Players like seniors Grace Welch, Amy Kosiba, Kellie Goole and Kendall Hall made it look like the Eddies were trying to spike the ball against a brick wall at times.

All the girls seemed to feed off the energy from an extremely fired-up home crowd and turn it into a marquee performance.

And the season is not done yet. The girls will move on to Regional action on November 8 at 7:30 p.m.

Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center to Host “Arts & Moore Auction” to Help Secure its Future

By Syd Bastos

The Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center (VCAC) has been open for just a little over a year. In this time, it has hosted 38 events and has seen over 4,000 visitors come through its doors. More than 100 artists have engaged with the Arts Center, exhibiting art works in the gallery and surrounding community and accounting for over $18,000 in art sales. Poets and musicians alike have also had the pleasure of sharing their talents with the community in the cozy atmosphere created by the Arts Center staff.

To help insure its future, the Arts Center will hold its first fundraising auction at the Angels Crossing Golf Course on Friday, November 11 from 5:30-9 p.m. TV personality Lori Moore will be the guest MC and auctioneer for what is sure to be a very entertaining and delightful evening.

The Arts Center has of necessity operated on a shoestring and hopes the auction success will allow it to continue supporting the arts in Vicksburg with paid staff and paid entertainment. The auction is meant to ensure this will happen, with lots of people donating treasures and even more community members willing to purchase the unique items.

The wide variety of items to be auctioned during this event range from original paintings to special package – the “Man Cave”, golf memberships and even a pig roast! All auctioned items will be, or will contain, an element of art.

One art work item up for auction is a custom pastel drawing of a building of the bid winner’s choosing. This painting will be created by Helen Kleczynski, internationally recognized pastel artist and owner of Art House in Vicksburg. Local artist John Sweezy will create the custom frame.

Another featured item is the Distant Whistle Brew Pub package. Recently opened, the Distant Whistle Microbrewery sold out of their Mug Club membership program even before their grand opening. A private donor acquired Mug Club # 95 for the VCAC auction. In addition to this coveted mug club membership, the bid winner will work with local potter, Lisa Beams, to create a custom mug. A private tour of the brew room, a tasting for 10, a Growler and Distant Whistle glasses round-out this beer lover’s package.

Too many to mention here, follow the event on Facebook (https://facebook.com/vicksburgarts) or stop at the Gallery for an updated list of auction items.

Tickets are $25 and include hors d’oeuvres created especially for this event by chef Joe Tsui. Cash bar will be available. Tickets are limited to 100 total patrons and can be purchased at the Vicksburg Arts Center Gallery at 200 S. Main Street in Vicksburg and at http://www.vicksburgdda.com/events.

Veterans Day 2016 Ceremony

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Vicksburg’s VFW members from Post 5189 will be in Oswalt Park for the Veteran’s Day observance at 11 a.m., November 11.

By Jim Hamrick, SMSgt. (USAF Retired)

Veterans Day is November 11 and will be observed for the public at 11 a.m. in Oswalt Park in Vicksburg.

This year is the 98th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice ending World War I. For many years this was known as Armistice Day. In 1954, with hostilities ending in Korea, several veterans’ groups asked President Eisenhower to drop the word Armistice and replace it with Veterans to create a day to honor all veterans of all wars. Veterans Day has become that special day to honor and remember fallen comrades while celebrating with those who returned home to build families and this great nation.

The local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5189, named after Capt. Charles E. Osborne, will be conducting its annual flag ceremony with guest speaker Major Richard R. Furney (Retired U.S. Army Major) of Vicksburg.

The local Veterans of Foreign Wars post may be small in numbers, but it remains active in support of veterans and the community. Recently, Commander Butch Wesoloski and Sr. Vice Commander Robert Rainwater completed the necessary documentation to replace antiquated 1903 Springfield bolt action rifles with new M-1 Garand semi-automatic rifles. The new rifles will improve the performance of the rifle squad at memorial services for fallen comrades.

The generosity of the greater Vicksburg community during the May fundraising Buddy Poppy sales provided increased opportunities to support other agencies assisting veterans. The Memorial Day Parade and Flag ceremony that the VFW participates in was also well attended. Many residents expressed their gratitude to the post for remembering their fallen loved ones.

The Post visited three service organizations in September making donations to South County Community Services, Vicksburg Boy Scout Troop 251 and the St. Joseph County Commission on Aging. These groups provide services to the less fortunate, especially fellow veterans.

The Post commanders are encouraging any interested veterans to visit a meeting. They are short and usually have an interesting war story or two. The meetings convene in the Community Center on the second floor at 7 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of the month. The November meeting will be Tuesday November 22.

Schoolcraft Retirees and Seniors Invited to Holiday Dinner

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Phyllis Hoyt Heacock, left, attends the alumni banquet each year. Mae Harris Shelley is on the right.

If you’re a Schoolcraft resident retired and over the age of 60, the Schoolcraft Community School’s Board of Education would like to celebrate your contribution to the community by hosting a complimentary Holiday Dinner. This is the third annual dinner and this year the board has expanded the invitation to include retirees.

Darby Fetzer, school board president, personally extends an invitation to this group of school district residents to join with her and the other members of the school board for this event. It will be held in the High School Cafeteria at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, December 5. It will include dinner and a program featuring student music, Schoolcraft school district updates and an engaging question and answer period. Superintendent Rusty Stitt and James Weiss will be overseeing the informational part of the evening. After the program, those interested are invited to take a virtual or in-person tour of the Elementary building to see it’s many upgrades, up close and personal.

The Holiday Dinner menu prepared by Brenda Lynn and her staff of food service members includes: Spinach salad, Lasagna (meat and vegetarian), Hawaiian rolls, vegetable medley, traditional and blondie brownies, coffee and tea.

Fetzer encourages every senior and retiree to come join the Board of Education who will be serving the dinner to friends and neighbors, for an evening of conversation, entertainment and newsy school updates. Please RSVP by Friday, November 25 to reserve your seat by calling Darby Fetzer at 569-5557.

Fulton Little Store Celebrates Opening Day

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Janet Mendocha stands in front of the assortment of nuts and bolts for sale in her store.

By Sue Moore

“We need our own store. It’s too far to go to get the daily necessities when you are as far away from anywhere if you live in Fulton,” said Janet Mendocha as she greeted customers on her opening day.

What used to be Thrashers store in Fulton closed several years ago, leaving the community of about 650 people with the nearest store 15 miles away in Vicksburg, 20 miles in Battle Creek or about 10 miles in Athens. Mendocha has lived just across the street for 24 years from her newest endeavor, the Fulton Little Store which she purchased in a tax sale from Kalamazoo County in a roundabout way.

Since she had worked for the previous owner Mindy Jones, Mendocha knew the business and wanted to save it for the community; she felt Fulton would be dead without a general store. She approached the Wakeshma Township board to purchase it before it went to auction and it did. It then turned around and sold the property to her for the purchase price from the county.

She and her husband Jim, sons Matt and Mike went to work cleaning, painting and stocking the vacant building for the grand opening on Saturday, October 15. Her mom, Yvonne Prosser, who lives in Vicksburg has been helping out with moral support every day.

Mendocha worked with Kalamazoo County State Bank (KCSB) for the loan to restock the store. “They were amazing. They helped me negotiate with Mary Balkema, the county treasurer, to make sure that I got the best deal possible.”

The shelves contain everything from bread and milk to hammers and nails, most anything that one would need at a moment’s notice. Its interior is clean and bright with quilts hanging on the walls from Cindy Prosser’s Big Island Quilt store in Schoolcraft.

Mendocha’s husband Jim is a retired contractor and a great cook, she said. He will be completing a Health Department Servsafe certification this fall. The plan is to open the kitchen by early 2017 for nice, warm, hearty food that farmers need especially in the middle of the day to keep going so they don’t have to drive an hour away to eat. The kitchen will provide breakfast, burgers, lunch specials and pizza, all as carry out items because the store lacks public bathroom facilities.

The hours are 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. The phone number is 269-365-5677.

Schoolcraft Alumni Association Meet and Greet

By Sue Hendriksma

The Schoolcraft Alumni Association’s first “Meet and Greet” for alumni at Bud’s Bar after the Homecoming football game on September 16 was a success, the group agreed. Over 40 alumni of Schoolcraft schools attended, many with guests. They seemed to have a great time seeing old friends. Many in the crowd were graduates from the 80s and 90s, but there were a few folks from the 60s and 70s and others from 2000+. Former Principal Richard Moon was there as were retired teachers Bob Crissman and Mike Stiles. They seemed to enjoy catching up with former students as much as alums enjoyed catching up with them.

As a result of this event, nearly $800 was raised toward scholarships that will be awarded to Schoolcraft graduates in spring 2017. The president of the group, Judy Oliphant, pointed out that the Alumni Association is now an official organization of Schoolcraft Schools. She encouraged alumni to stay in contact with the Association through its link on the Schoolcraft Schools website, its Facebook group, or by email at alumni@schoolcraftcs.org. Major objectives of the Alumni Association are to continue to provide ways for alumni to stay in contact with each other and the schools and to support current graduates with scholarships for further study.

Bus Trip to Chicago

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Kathy Forsythe and her friend Annette Smitley on the bus trip to Chicago in 2015.

A bus trip to Chicago is being offered by the Vicksburg Community Schools Foundation as a fundraiser, but it is also a “fun raising” trip according to Kathy Forsythe, a trustee of the Foundation. “I look forward to this event every year. The Schools Foundation provides the bus, which makes travel into downtown Chicago stress free. Over the years my family and friends have enjoyed some unique shops, wonderful food, and the beautiful architecture of downtown Chicago.”

The trip is scheduled for Saturday, November 12, leaving at 7 a.m. from Sunset Lake Elementary and returning there around 10:30 p.m. The 66 riders get dropped off by Water Tower Place and picked up at the corner of State and Superior at 7 p.m. Central Standard time. It is $50 per person with snacks and beverages provided on the bus. Contact Amy Manchester at 269-321-1006, or amanchester@vicksburgschools.org for further information and tickets.

Historical Homes Tour Set in Schoolcraft in December

Tickets are now on sale for the Historical Homes for the Holidays tour in Schoolcraft on December 10 from 4 to 8 p.m. for a trip into Schoolcraft’s past. Four owners of Schoolcraft’s historic homes and the Schoolcraft Ladies Library will open their doors for ticketed guests aged 16 and up for the tour.

Tickets are $25 per person, are limited to 200 attendees and are available at the Schoolcraft Library or online at: http://www.folschoolcraft.org. The big event is sponsored by Friends of the Library.

Deb Christiansen will be creating a booklet for the tour that will include a little of the history of the homes and ads from the historic Schoolcraft Express. Included on the tour are four homes, two churches, and the Ladies Library building.

The Berglund home at 328 W Clay St., is an 1831 Greek revival built by young attorney Lyman Daniels and is said to be one of the oldest homes in Kalamazoo County. The Flinton home at 228 W Cass St., is the former residence of Dr. Nathan Thomas, the first doctor in Kalamazoo County and whose first home was the historical Underground Railway House. The Truesdell house at 158 S. Grand St., was built in 1884 by gentleman farmer Thomas Nesbitt. This home has been restored using decorative techniques appropriate to 1884. The Dehart home at 14025 S. 14th St., was built around 1872 when Louisa Cobb bought the 120-acre lot. Her father-in-law was an attorney and one of the most well-known people in Kalamazoo County.

The Schoolcraft United Methodist Church has been on the corner of Grand and Clay Streets since the early 1850s started by the Reverend Clements. The congregation was originally organized in Prairie Ronde Township in 1832. The Presbyterian Church is actually the new building replacing the original one that was built in 1851. This brick building at the corner of Cedar and Cass was built in 1892 and cost $4,278. The Ladies Library at 163 N. Hayward St., was built in 1896, and is a registered Michigan Historical Site. The Ladies Library Association was founded in 1879 to provide educational opportunities to local women and is still active today.