On the Corner

sue col 4By Sue Moore

Senior Millage Proposition Gets a Hearing

“A senior millage to augment services for Kalamazoo County’s aging residents, batted around for some time, has been placed on the county’s Aug. 6 ballot. That was approved by the county Board of Commissioners in a 6-5 vote, with this area’s commissioner, John Gisler, opposed. The board discussed several options: approving letting voters decide the millage – .35 mills for six years – looking for other funds or taking no action.” South County Community Services (SCCS) sent a large delegation to the board meeting, all of whom were in support of giving voters the choice.”

The issue was whether to place the decision on the August ballot and let the greater community decide if it wanted to be taxed .35 for six years or try to find the funds from some other pocket or not fund services to seniors at all. South County Community Services (SCCS) sent a large delegation to the board meeting, all of whom were in support of giving voters the choice.

Danna Downing and her associate, Diane Durian, work to help seniors in every way possible with the limited funds they have available at SCCS. They see the need up close and personal. It was clear that the support split down party lines with the six Democrats in the yes column and the five Republicans voting no after an honest and thought-provoking debate on the issue.

Now the real work begins for the supporters of the senior citizen millage. Kalamazoo County is one of only 10 counties in the state of Michigan without some sort of millage for seniors. The campaign will need to begin with leadership from Downing and her team at SCCS. Stay tuned to one of the biggest challenges of Downing’s life in public service.

I would lay odds that with Downing and the many she will muster to the cause, it will be successful. When Downing’s two boys were in grade school in Vicksburg, she walked into the Vicksburg Commercial-Express office in 1979 with a gleam in her eye. She wanted to get a plug in the paper for the school millage campaign that she was in charge of. This effort along with many others, yielded the first big successful millage campaign in many years. All millage requests since then have passed, allowing the schools to grow and prosper.

The dedication to this community has been Downing’s greatest contribution and I for one would not want to let her down, nor will any of the others that she has helped in this way down through the years.

Reaching the Century Mark

A good example for seniors is Ann (Matz) Linton who turned 107 in February. She graduated from Vicksburg High School in 1930 and is known to be the oldest living graduate of the school. Her parents owned a homemade candy and ice cream shop in downtown Vicksburg in the 30s, 40s and 50s. It must have been good for her health, consuming all that chocolate. Her daughter Mary Ann Hayward does a lot to take care of her but acknowledges that she has been failing a little more with each passing year.

Simmons Ford Has New Owners

Gene Simmons announced that he has sold the family dealership to DeNooyer in Kalamazoo in February. His father, Rovelle, began to sell cars in Vicksburg after World War II where the Dollar General store is today on E. Prairie Street. He moved to a new building at the corner of Boulevard and W. Prairie Street in the early 1950s. The community will really miss this local ownership but with the full knowledge that DeNooyer’s has been a standup dealership in Kalamazoo equally as long.

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