Category Archives: Schoolcraft

Fetzer Resigns as Schoolcraft Board President Opening Vacancy

img_1126By Travis Smola

After 14 years of service on the Schoolcraft school board, Darby Fetzer announced her resignation effectively immediately on Monday.

“This is likely to be the most difficult decision of my professional life,” Fetzer said a letter to district leadership and staff. “I care deeply about this district.”

In a phone conversation Monday she cited several reasons for the decision including a desire to spend time on emotional intelligence (EG) programming workshops and to better care for her mother. “Never in my wildest imaginings could I have scripted it this way – campaigning hard with Michael Rochholz, being sworn in for my 4th term only to hear my inner “still small voice” loudly bellow that it’s time to be done,” Fetzer said.

Fetzer was not present at the Monday night board meeting, but offered to help with the transition and as a resource to the district as they need it. “I’m very excited for the future of Schoolcraft Community Schools and will look forward to watching more visions take flight,” she said.

At the board meeting, the trustees elected Secretary Jennifer Gottschalk as the new president. “I just want to say thank you for placing your trust in me to do this job only two years in,” Gottschalk said at the close of the meeting. “I feel very fortunate this group chose me to be the President this year. And I hope I can live up to the job.”

The board elected ­Jason Walther as the new Vice President, Ryan Ledlow as the new Secretary and Kathy Mastenbrook to remain in her role as Treasurer.

The Fetzer resignation now opens up a vacancy in the board which will be appointed by the board. The district is asking anyone interested in the position to submit a letter of interest and qualifications to the district office in the high school no later than Jan. 25 at 4 p.m.

Anyone with questions about the position is asked to contact Superintendent Dr. Rusty Stitt at 269-488-7390 or or President Jennifer Gottschalk at 269-207-2335 or The school board then plans to review all applicants and do interviews on Feb. 11 before their regular board meeting.

Eagles Basketball Ends 2018 on a High Note

sch boys 2
Kobe Clark battles for a rebound against Constantine. Bryce VanderWiere is backing him up.

By Mark Blentlinger

The Schoolcraft Eagle boys varsity basketball team has started out the 2018-19 season on a high note. The team held a record of 7-1 at the winter break with wins over Sturgis, Watervliet, Constantine, Delton Kellogg, Saugatuck, Lawton and Kalamazoo Christian. Its only loss was at the hands of Kalamazoo Hackett prep.

The Irish were able to capitalize on the 22 turnovers committed by the Eagles. It was a rough night all around, since the Eagles only shot 36 percent from the floor. The team was able to work on its shortcomings and walk away with a win at Kalamazoo Christian, 49-34. The defense of the Eagles was able to keep the Comets in check and win the battle of rebounds, 37-25. The Eagles three-point shooting was on fire going 7-17 (41 percent) for a season best so far.

Leading the offensive attack was Chris Cooper with 11 points. Bryce VanderWiere led the team in rebounds with 8, followed by Tyler DeGroote with 7. Kobe Clark had a good night, adding 8 points, 7 assists. 3 rebounds and 2 takeaways. The last game of 2018 saw the Eagles head over to Battle Creek Central to take part in the Chuck Turner Basketball Classic, where the Eagles were able to come home with a close win against the Bearcats, 41-38.

Lady Eagles off to a 6-0 Start

By Mark Blentlinger

The Schoolcraft girls varsity basketball team in June graduated two great leaders, Lydia Goble and Kennedy Leighton. The underclassmen sent a statement of thanks to their former leaders by starting the current season at 6-0 and 5-0 in conference play.

The Lady Eagles finished out 2018 by defeating Kalamazoo Christian 53-38. Anna Schuppel led the team in scoring with 22. Leading up to the final game of 2018, the team had wins against Constantine, Delton Kellogg, Saugatuck, Lawton and Kalamazoo Hackett prep. The game against Kalamazoo Hackett saw Gabi Saxman hit her third game of the season with a double-double, finishing with 13 points and 10 assists. Anna Schuppel was the leading scorer with 18 points. Olivia Ingle scored 9, Mackenzie Miller added 6, Chloe Outman 6, Adrienne Rosey 4 and Allie Walther 1.

This year’s team is loaded with some very determined young ladies that have set out to do their very best at bringing home more hardware to place in the school’s ever-growing trophy case. The 2019 part of the season began early this month at Schoolcraft High School against Bronson.

Schoolcraft Sports Teams

The 2019 Schoolcraft Winter Sports Teams are pictured below.

On the Corner

By Sue Moore

Syd Bastos is calling on anyone in the community who loves to perform onstage to audition for the Showcase (see story on page 3) and to contact her at 269-501-1347 or Auditions will be held at the Vicksburg Performing Arts Center on Jan. 13 so it would be important to get on her schedule.

How Area Legislative Representatives Voted in 2018

The Kalamazoo south county area has been represented by Republicans Margaret O’Brien in the Senate and Brandt Iden and Dave Maturen in the House the last two years. O’Brien and Iden had perfect records for attendance at all roll call votes. Maturen had a perfect record for four years, but missed 61 votes after he was in an auto accident on his way to a session in Lansing. Many of their contemporaries missed some or many roll call votes, according to

Joe Timko’s Train Exhibit at the Historic Village

For 10 years or more, Joe Timko has been involved in setting up the toy train exhibit at the Historic Village at Christmas time. It was usually open on Saturdays in December with an average of 50 or more dropping by to replay their childhood memories of the small O-gauge trains. He had grown a bit despondent over the lack of interest due to the amount of time that goes into the setup. Much to his surprise, this winter he was deluged with onlookers in the Township Hall, largely because the reindeer display was standing right next door. Kids and parents flocked to both. It was nice to see the smile on Joe’s face as the little folks’ eyes widened with excitement upon their discovery.

Donations to the South County News

In November the management of the South County News ran a full-page ad on the back page asking for donations from anyone who hadn’t previously stepped forward to give in 2018, sensing, as many other nonprofits do, that people are more inclined to give at Christmas time. That you did, and generously. The money raised with this one-time request will carry the newspaper into 2019 for several months. Our expenses are usually greater than the amount raised through advertising so it’s the donors who sustain this publication now and in the past. This is an unusual model in the print newspaper world, but it seems to work on a local level, where the everyday activities of the population would only see the light of day on Facebook, Instagram or some other online medium.

Thank you just isn’t enough, but we hope that our continuing effort to highlight our schools, government, events and people will be all the thanks you need.

Looking Up in Downtown Vicksburg

Plans are underway to rehabilitate buildings and construct a new streetscape in downtown Vicksburg in 2020. Until then, some terrific art work can be seen in the upstairs windows of the Hill’s Pharmacy building. Nine of the panels are the combined art work of students in Jake Biernacki’s third grades at Indian Lake, Tobey and Sunset Lake elementary classes. Three of the panels were done by art students in the Vicksburg Cultural Arts Center’s summer art classes. Frederick Construction rented a scissor lift to get their workers up 20 feet to install them.

Arts Center Director Syd Bastos said the paintings were focused on the way kids see the world through their own community. They certainly brighten up the space and will hopefully retain their luster until the time comes to remodel the front of the buildings and get new businesses inside to add more vibrancy to the downtown.

Another Transformation

Driving over the railroad grade crossing on West Prairie Street in Vicksburg is a lot like taking a ride on a spring-loaded jumping machine. Village President Bill Adams recently announced that a grant from the state of Michigan has been obtained to repair this and two others of the five railroad crossings in the village.

Event Calendar


1/13 – Sun. Vicksburg Rotary Club Showcase talent tryouts at the high school choir room. 4 p.m. Contact Syd Bastos 269-501-1347 with any questions.

1/21 – Mon. Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce Mixer, Vickers Lakeside Tavern, public is welcome, 5 p.m.

2/8 – Fri. Strive Beef Raffle at the Vicksburg High School basketball game. Tickets to the raffle are being sold by Vicksburg Rotarians.

2/9 – Sat. Euchre Tournament, Project Graduation fundraiser, $20 per person, Centennial Clubhouse.


1/19 – Sat. Schoolcraft Band Boosters will be hosting a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the high school.  This event will help fund the costs of uniform dry cleaning, student travel and equipment repairs.  Please come out and support these talented musicians. $20 per family or $5 per individual.

Schoolcraft’s Annual Christmas Walk Celebrates 30 Years

By Linda Lane

Celebrating 30 years, Schoolcraft’s Annual Christmas Walk through the village will be from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8.

“It’s a great tradition, started by Norma Tackett out of her love for our town to encourage people to visit the area, said Deb Christiansen. “It’s our special celebration of Christmas. It gives the town something to dress up for, because we’ve got company coming!” Tackett was the original owner of Norma’s Antiques, formerly in Schoolcraft.

Kelly Bergland and Deb Christiansen teamed up together again to coordinate the annual Christmas Walk. Both have made substantial donations to organize and publicize the event for the community.

“After Norma Tackett passed away several years ago, people wanted it to go on, and Deb and I jumped in to help with it. I found some old fliers in the archives of the Schoolcraft Ladies Library when Norma started the Annual Christmas Walk. This was really her baby,” Bergland said. “One of Norma’s fliers read, ‘All of us in Schoolcraft want you to take a Christmas Walk. You are cordially invited to browse, eat, drink and talk. We hope that this will get your Christmas spirit on its way and you’ll want to visit us another day.’”

“It’s a heartfelt endeavor on our part. It’s a community building experience. This village – they’re our friends. We really believe in the outcome of what we’re doing; it’s about getting people to work together,” Bergland said.

An annual highlight with children, Santa will be in town for photos at The Beauty Bar on Grand Street, with pictures being taken by Reflections Modern Photography from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, December 8. Cost for the photo is $10 and includes a goodie bag. Kids can also decorate cookies with the Girl Scouts from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. that Saturday at the Schoolcraft Library. A craft and cookie sale with refreshments and a tour of the historic Schoolcraft Ladies Library will be held Friday from 6-9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Festivities at the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church will include a sloppy Joe and pie supper Friday, December 7 from 5-6:30 p.m. with the “Forgot to Shave Quartet” and other musicians playing that evening. The next day will offer a homemade soup luncheon and cookie walk from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. The church will also have a bake sale, white elephant sale, craft sale and a silent auction on Friday and Saturday.

The First Presbyterian Church will offer craft items, baked goods and raffle tickets on Friday evening at the DeVries Law offices. They will also host a “pasties and chicken ’n biscuits” on Saturday at their Westminster Hall from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. There will also be clothing boutiques, attic treasures, crafts, a bake sale and a raffle.

This year, a “Christmas Vendor & Craft Event” will be hosted Friday evening and Saturday at the American Legion on Clay Street with a chili supper on Friday evening.

Bryce Cooley will sketch live caricatures at the Grand Antique Gallery, and other area shops will be celebrating the event including Schoolcraft Antique Mall, Nana D’s Attic, Abby’s Shop, the Kalamazoo County State Bank and the Schoolcraft Lions Club.

For the latest information on the Christmas Walk, visit the interactive map at