All posts by justingibson

Knowles Mourns Sue Moore

By Jef Rietsma

Vicksburg Community Schools Board President Skip Knowles honored Sue Moore, a former school board member and founder of the South County News, at the board’s June meeting. “We’ve all sustained a horrible loss in the death of Sue,” Knowles said. “Sue was a school board member and just super active in a lot of things, sat on the county commission, amongst other things. Always had the heart of the school system and made sure that things got reported accurately. Not the way we needed them necessarily but that they got reported accurately and told the whole story. I know all of us have a huge hole in our heart for the loss of Sue … just can’t leave that unsaid.”

‘I Have Never Seen Your Equal’

By Debra Christiansen

There’s a moment in the movie “The Princess Bride” when, prior to a duel between Inigo and the Man in Black, Inigo hands his sword to the Man in Black for him to inspect. The Man in Black looks the sword over and says, “I’ve never seen its equal.”

As an occasional contributor to the South County News over the years, when challenged by Sue to produce copy about Schoolcraft goings on for the paper, there was always great trepidation on my part when clicking “send” to email my paltry copy to her.

Sue’s blood ran news. In her words, “My parents started in the newspaper business in 1935. I was born into it in 1938 so you can see I had no choice but become a journalist.” Her wit and mind were razor sharp, and her standards were high. I could probably turn out a fairly good article for most occasions, but for Sue, I had to produce my best AND expect the article to come back for re-editing. “Write in the third person!” she would say. “Use quotes!” she would always add. I had a dream that one day I would submit copy and have Sue’s only response be, “CUT! PRINT!” Never happened. There was always a question to be answered, sentences to be tightened, and more quotes needed. I have never seen her equal.

There’s a moment in the movie “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean” (1972) (which incidentally is the spoiler for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood) when at the end of his life, Judge Roy Bean pours his heart out to his idol, Lily Langtry, with the line, “It has been an honor to adore you.”

Sue fought tooth and nail to stay out of the newspaper biz. She said, “Tried everything not to run a newspaper until the community came to me in 2012 and asked if I would get something together. I was 74 at the time and said, ‘Well, I will show you how it’s done in the first three issues and then turn it over to a paid person to run.’”

Never happened. Sue ran a schedule for the paper with a voracity and veracity that would have crippled the lesser, and always with the heart that knew and cared for everyone. I consider myself lucky to have been able to stand in her light and declare myself (Judge Roy Bean to Lily Langtry). And to Sue, (and you can quote me on this) “I have never seen your equal” and “It has been an honor to adore you.”

WOOF! From a Lucky Dog

Where have you gone? After just a short time together, we had become pals. What fun it was to go on walks with you and always get a treat. Good food and fresh water were waiting when I was hungry and thirsty. The best part was the rubs behind my ears. I’d give you a face lick for that.

Every day I got excited when I heard your car in the drive. We shared a lot of happiness. I apologize for chewing on your best purse. It felt good to sink my teeth into that soft leather. After obedience school, I learned what “NO” means and that shoes and purses are off limits for me.

Now I have a new home. I thought it was “Heaven on Earth” to be living with you, but my new caretaker is giving me treats and earning my affection. Things change, but I miss my best friend.

Trooper

Moore Was ‘Omnipresent’

Sue Moore orchestrates yet another photo shoot. Photo by Taylor Kallio.

By Darby Fetzer

We all knew when Sue Moore left this earth she would leave a big hole. We will miss her as editor and chief of the South County News, we’ll miss her as a positive community leader and community advocate, and we’ll miss her as our friend.

Sue was omnipresent … she was everywhere all the time reporting on local news. When I attended a board meeting or community event, I found her presence comforting. She was a friend in the room with a warm, supportive smile and a happy twinkle in her eye.

In her reporting, you could always count on Sue to cover a story with fairness and a positive, community-building approach. Her mere attendance at a function pulled people together. Sue was clear in her personal and professional intention: fortify, enrich, and grow local communities. She achieved that through supporting education, the arts, local businesses, municipalities, and people.

For the last year, I was blessed to enjoy a monthly luncheon with Sue and four other community-minded women. We called ourselves the “Wild Women.” This lunch was scheduled a day after the paper went to print. This was when Sue could finally take a breath. We thoroughly enjoyed this rich time of scintillating discussion around the topics of the paper, local politics, and our personal lives. We were aptly called the “Wild Women” as our table would often erupt in laughter. Martell’s restaurant finally got smart by seating us in a corner all to ourselves.

It’s been nearly a month since Sue’s passing. I still can’t quite believe it. She’s done so much for Vicksburg, Schoolcraft and South County in print and simply through being herself.

Perhaps we could all be just a bit more loving and generous of spirit as we connect with our community members; maybe then, Sue’s spirit can live on in all of us.

What I Admired About Sue

By Linda Lane

What I admired most about Sue:

She was inclusive. She gave new people a chance to be included and tapped them for their skill set. 

She believed each of us could make a difference. She knew some would, and some wouldn’t.

She was dedicated to working hard for what she was committed to.

She would fight for truth. And she would tell the story. But she knew life was complicated.

She always tried to do what was right and what was best for all.

She was an inspiration to many. She was a trailblazer for women to be involved and active in the government and the community. She was a good leader.

She had a big heart. She shared it with many people.

She was humble. She gave credit to others and shied from being in the spotlight.

It was hard for her to say no. She wanted to do it all, and although it was hard for her to ask for help, she knew when it was necessary.

There is no replacing her. She’ll be immensely missed, because she truly was extraordinary.

VCAC Rethinks Summer Programming

Layla, Ilya, and Cooper Keesler of Schoolcraft tested the VCAC collage kits.

By Syd Bastos

With social distancing requirements and concerns for safety, the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center needed to figure out how it could continue to deliver on its mission to inspire, educate and enrich Vicksburg through cultural and artistic experiences.

First, it created a virtual gallery called “art2share,” a way for people to share their art works based on a weekly theme. Although the program ended June 21, the virtual gallery can still be viewed at its website, vicksburgarts.com. It also created “Your Square Matters”, a collage of pictures provided by people in our community. Pictures represent special places, people and things that matter to those who submit their photos. The collage is in the window of the VCAC at 105 S Main and it is continuing to accept photographs to add to the collage.

But what could it possibly do to replace the cancelled week-long summer camp originally planned for June? The Board of Directors looked at what others around the state and country were doing and came up with “Art to Go.” Each week during the summer, the VCAC is creating a new kit suitable for kids from 5 to 18 with all materials needed, along with instructions to make at least one project. The kits are between $5 and $10 and include weaving, clay molding, painting, mixed media, collage and even metal forming! Scholarships are available.

The VCAC’s current location is a wonderful cozy venue for small concerts. But that just won’t work in this Covid-19 environment. Krista Grotelueschen, VCAC’s Acting Executive Director worked with Vicksburg Village Manager Jim Mallery to come up a plan that could provide a great venue while complying with safe distancing. “Concerts at the Park” was born! Concerts will be held on consecutive Thursday nights July 23 and 30, and August 6 and 13th from 7-8:30 p.m. and will be centered around the gazebo on the Historic Village grounds on Richardson Street in Vicksburg. Krista said, “We have confirmed the Duffield/Caron Project, The Phillips Boys and Jerry Phelps and are working on final details for the last band. We invite everyone to attend – bring a blanket, lawn chairs and enjoy being out in our community!” Current guidelines for distancing will be strongly encouraged.

Lastly, the Tournament of Writers normally announces winners of the annual writing competition at the Schoolcraft Public Library with a packed crowd filling its Community Room. The Library is currently open for curbside service only, so instead, the VCAC promises a fun Live Facebook event on June 15 at 5:30 p.m. to announce the winners with posts on its website and social media immediately after.

For more information, contact VCAC at info@vicksburgarts.com, follow on Facebook or call (269) 200-2223.

Vicksburg Library Reopens

By Eric Hansen
Director, Vicksburg District Library

The staff of the Vicksburg library is happy to announce that we have re-opened. We are implementing some additional programming and new safety measures to serve the community!

Please return items that you have had for several months. We are waiving fines accrued during our mandatory closing.

Be aware that we have added curbside service to help patrons receive our services without leaving your car. This service relies on our reservation system that many patrons have used before. If you call the library or go to the website then you can place holds on items. After our staff pull the items, we will call you and set an appointment for pick-up, and after you arrive, we will bring the items down to your car. For more details please call (269) 649-1648 or go to the library’s website at http://www.VicksburgLibrary.org.

Please be aware that we are adding some online services for adults and children. Information about these programs is available on the library’s Facebook page, or by visiting the library’s calendar online at http://www.VicksburgLibrary.org/calendar/

When you visit the library, we require that you wear a mask and observe the safety and social distancing guidelines required by the State of Michigan. Information about these requirements is posted at the building and on our website.

If you have questions then please call the library at (269) 649-1648, or e-mail us at Info@VicksburgLibrary.org. Thank you!

Local and State Races, 911 Tax on Aug. 4 Primary Ballot

South Kalamazoo county residents will nominate partisan candidates for federal, state, county and township offices in the August 4 primary.

Candidates in contested primary races were asked to submit a 200-word statement about themselves and their positions along with a photo.

Residents on Aug. 4 will also decide a ballot issue to pay for a central public safety communication system and 911 service system.

Polls will open at 7 a.m., close at 8 p.m.

The ballot question:

“For the purpose of funding a central public safety communication system and 9-1-1 service system, shall the constitutional limitation upon the total amount of taxes which may be assessed in one (1) year upon all property within the County of Kalamazoo, Michigan, be increased in an amount up to but not to exceed 0.65 mills ($0.65 on each $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of ten (10) years (2020 – 2029 inclusive), to be distributed to the Kalamazoo County Consolidated Dispatch Authority for countywide 9-1-1 facilities, functions and services as provided in the Kalamazoo County Emergency 9-1-1 Service System Plan? If approved and levied in full, this millage would raise an estimated $6,111,513 in the first calendar year of its levy based on taxable value.”

GOP Senate Primary

John James.

Republicans Bob Carr and John James are competing in Michigan’s Aug. 4 U.S. Senate primary to oppose incumbent Democrat Gary Peters in the Nov. 3 election. The six-year term pays $174,000 annually. Carr did not submit a biography and statement.

John James has lived his life placing service before self.  As a combat veteran, businessman, husband and father, John believes Michigan deserves leadership dedicated to protecting our freedoms for the next generation. 

As a teenager, John decided to serve his country in the U.S Army. He graduated from West Point and went on to become a Ranger-qualified aviation officer. John served with distinction in Operation Iraqi Freedom where he logged over 750 combat flight hours, leading two Apache helicopter platoons.

After eight years of service to the nation, John James returned to Detroit to work in the family business, James Group International. As president, John grew the company into a major trading partner with Michigan’s auto industry.

John’s main priorities when elected to the U.S. Senate:

• Reforms to our healthcare policy that protect pre-existing conditions and at-risk populations without passing along undue burdens to patients, providers and businesses.

• Reducing barriers to entry for entrepreneurs who want to create jobs in their community.

• Champion national security policies that secure our positioning as leaders in the global marketplace.

John and his wife, Liz, have made their family home in Farmington Hills, where they are raising their three boys.  John looks forward to serving his country and protecting our Constitutional freedoms as a member of the U.S. Senate.