Category Archives: Vicksburg

Lady Bulldogs Have an Even Record Early in the Season

GirlsBB20192By Travis Smola

The Vicksburg girls varsity basketball team has a 3-3 record and is trying to figure some things out in the early part of the season after wins against Comstock, Allegan and Paw Paw and losses to Three Rivers, Otsego and Wayland.

“We haven’t beat Comstock in five years, so it was good to get that first win under our belt,” Head Coach Tim Kirby said. “We didn’t really shoot well in that game either. We missed several layups and we shot 1 for 11 from the foul line, but Hannah (Vallier) came out hot at the beginning and scored the first nine points of the game. We never really looked back. It was one of those things where it was never really in doubt even though we didn’t shoot the ball well.”

The 37-28 win led into a home opener against Three Rivers that was a completely opposite type of game. The Lady Bulldogs struggled all night to contain the Wildcats’ Kali Heivilin. “If you can’t keep her (Heivilin) off the glass, she’s going to eat you alive and she did tonight. That was really the difference,” Kirby said.

Three Rivers got out to an early 10-0 lead and led 20-1 after the first period. The girls mounted a little bit of a run in the second. Sydney Finos was the leading scorer of the game with seven points. Kelsey Diekman had three, and Paige Yant, Vallier, Chloe Hatridge and Sophia Blankenship each had one. Allyson Naster had a free throw to round out the scoring.

Kirby believes Three Rivers may be one of the toughest matches they’ll have all year. “It’s really early and that’s a really good basketball team,” he said. “Honestly, I think they’re the favorite to win the conference this year with the depth and experience they’ve got coming back.”

He says the Bulldogs need to improve in shooting and a few other areas. The girls did improve their record to 2-2 after they beat rival Paw Paw 58-45 a week later and then went 3-3 with a 54-35 win over Allegan right before holiday break.

“I have a lot of girls returning but we are still just trying to figure some things out,” Kirby said. “We’ll keep working and hopefully we can get back on our winning track here.”

Kyle Rose to Play Football for the Air Force Academy

kyle rose 1By Sue Moore

“I hate to lose and try to win at everything I do, especially in the weight room,” said Vicksburg senior Kyle Rose. He has proven that by gaining between 20 and 30 pounds each year in high school. At 290 and 6 feet 3 inches, football scouts were interested, especially from the Mid-American Conference, Cincinnati and Navy. The one that mattered the most to Rose was when Air Force came knocking on his door.

“I’m humbled to represent our small town at such a prestigious place as the Air Force Academy. I want to serve my country and believe this is a great opportunity,” Rose said. “I’ll be fine with the highly regimented, disciplined structure of the Academy.

The Academy’s defensive line coach, Ron Vanderlinden, sat down in the Rose’s living room and outlined what would be expected and how the opportunity to be around other kids like him would be beneficial to his future.

Rose’s dad, Ken, looked back on his son’s freshman and sophomore years of football. “We didn’t really dream that big. Then he attended the IMG camp in Florida before his junior year, which was eye-opening.

“They wanted him to come to their school and play. That possibly added a little motivation, but Kyle didn’t want to play in hot weather and came back home to perfect his talents. He had started on defense and changed to offensive tackle. With his agility and quickness, he could pick up and block linebackers and defensive backs,” Ken explained.

Vicksburg’s football coach, Tom Marchese, extolled Rose’s ability to lead the blocking downfield and get to the second level so quickly. “I’ve never had a player like Kyle. He’s been a three-year varsity standout. He showed what hard work will accomplish while still being a quiet modest kid. He doesn’t like the spotlight even though he was a two-time team captain. When I asked him to speak up, he did, becoming a team leader. The Academy is a great fit for Kyle, football-wise and academically. He will not get outworked, I know that,” Marchese said.

Rose will dress for home games but won’t play his first year as there is so much to absorb, the recruiter told him. In high school he carries a 3.8 GPA and hopes to major in engineering or business. His mom, Trudy, remembers Kyle as always being bigger than the other kids, even in day care. “All the little kids would just be hanging on him. We have to feed him a lot, especially bread and sub sandwiches. We pack a lunch of these for school each day so he won’t get too hungry.

“He has always been calm with an easy-going demeanor. It takes a lot to get him riled up but he can focus on what is important to him,” Trudy said. His brother, Hunter, played baseball in college at Ave Maria University in Florida and now is in investment planning for State Farm. “But football is where Kyle can let it all hang out when he hits someone as hard as he can with contained energy,” his coach exclaimed.

He likes football as a team sport even though he played travel baseball and is on the Vicksburg basketball team.

KVCC Recruits Vicksburg’s Kari Key to Play Softball

kari key
Kari Key signs to play softball at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

By Sue Moore

Kari Key, the third base standout on Vicksburg’s softball team, has signed a letter of intent to play softball for Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC).

She has played softball since she was 10 years old and always loved it. Besides third base she can sub at second or anywhere in the outfield with her favorite being right field. “I like diving for the catches,” Key said. She has been in the Vicksburg school system since kindergarten but lives in Portage. She plays travel ball with Elite in Grand Rapids now but started with the Hurricanes, playing with them for 8 years. “I love my teammates and just playing the game,” Key said.

“Travel ball prepares a person for life, not just about the sport,” Key said. “It shapes who you are and helps overcome some obstacles in life. I chose Valley because I loved the coaching staff. It’s a good place to start and then go on to a four-year school, perhaps at Ferris State or Saginaw Valley. I’m considering elementary or special ed as I’ve always loved helping people.” Key participates in Peer to Peer at the high school where students are paired with kids with special needs. She has been doing this for the last two years while carrying a 3.0 GPA.

“My parents have been very supportive through the years, driving me to my practices. They have always been there for me and help me get where I am today,” Key said. “I’m an only child with two dogs who are like a brother and sister to me.

Her dad, Mark, manages the Eimo plants on Portage Road. Her mom, Marion, works at St. Joseph County community mental health as a counselor. They come to all of her games. She takes hitting lessons in the winter and works out almost every day of the week.

Camille Wadley to Play Two Sports at KVCC

camille wadley
Camille Wadley will be a two-sport contributor for Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

By Sue Moore

Camille Wadley has set big goals for herself by signing with Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) to play two sports her freshman year. The coaches have encouraged her to play both softball and volleyball her first year out of Vicksburg High School. Valley’s volleyball coach Jennifer Buikema said, “We are excited to add Camille to our volleyball roster! She is an intense player with amazing leadership capabilities. Her setting skills alone make her a great player but add her intensity and leadership and you get the full package,”

Catching is her primary role on the Bulldog softball team. Or she could be a utility infielder. “I could play where ever they need me, even pitching,” Wadley said. “I love how I need to be thinking about the next play but still, I don’t want to overthink it. I’ve got to be aware of all the situations going on, have to know the game and everyone’s duty.”

She was recruited for catching but will have to work her way in to the lineup. She knows the current catcher at KVCC and is friends with her. “She is really good so I’ll have to go head to head with her.”

Wadley said she loves the pace in volleyball and how fast the game goes on. “Every point gets us there for each other while we can celebrate the good moments in life as teammates. I still go into the middle and try to say something encouraging, even if we have lost a point. I want to be a leader and assure my teammates it’s ok and try harder to get the next point and get the ball back.” She is a setter on Vicksburg’s District championship team. She started setting when she was 8, and likes being constantly in the play and involved. “I love having so much pressure on myself. There is adrenalin on every point.”

The coaches are happy for her to play two sports. By playing two sports she will get to meet many more people and expects it to be easier to make friends.

Wadley carries a 3.5 GPA and expects to major in kinesiology as she loved taking anatomy in high school. The major could lead a specialty in chiropractic, she mused. She is looking at going four years but doesn’t know which four-year school she will end up at. This year changed the sport of volleyball for her, so she couldn’t pass up participating in two sports while in college.

She has played softball for 10 years and is still playing travel ball for the Hurricanes. She has a job at Journey’s shoe store in the Crossroads Mall. Wadley said it’s hard to have a hobby when playing sports all the time. She enjoys working out while training at the high school.

Brandon and Tammy Wadley are her parents. She credits her dad with working with her to be the best she can possibly be. Her mom is her number one fan.

Vicksburg Spring Sports Teams

Spring sports team photos for Vicksburg High School:

It’s a Fine Life – The Winter of Redford

fine life 3By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe

December through February in Michigan we experience something described by local meteorologists as the perma-cloud. As far as I can tell, this simply means days –sometimes weeks – with no sunshine. Period. It must be hard to imagine if you reside in Arizona, or California, or even New Jersey. Here in the mitten we have become so accustomed to the grayness of these months that when the clouds do occasionally part, it is like hearing the voices of an angels’ chorus. We stop what we are doing, we pause mid-sentence, we look up from our books or smile from our all-wheel-drive cars and trucks.

We Michiganders learn to make our own light during our winters, always seeking a new pastime, a recommended Netflix series, or even a new flavor of Cheez-its.

A dear friend moved into my neighborhood early last winter. And for the first time in our lives, we are within walking distance of each other, within the “what-cha doin?” stop, and within the cuppa-sugar-borrowing range.  As last winter’s darkness approached, we decided we could weather the predictable gloom together, determined we wouldn’t feel soulless by March.

And so it began: our winter of Redford.

I have been a Robert Redford fan since I was thirteen and sat in the darkened theatre, mesmerized by his boyish charm in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. My piano teacher tempted me with the sheet music to “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” and before the next lesson I had it memorized. I had a full-length black-and-white poster of Robert that traveled with me to my dorm room at Michigan State University. I guess I’ve always been a fan.

So where to begin?

We opened our first December with Out of Africa. Imagine the lushness of Africa juxtaposed against the moonlit, snow-covered yard illuminated in my friend’s bank of windows. It was delightful. We wanted to stay in that world for a few more hours with Kenya’s sun and that gorgeous Redford smile warming us during this winter darkness. Many more films followed, a welcomed escape each winter week.

As with time spent with all good friends, this weekly evening is much more than simply watching a screen. We share a meal, always something warm and soothing. We have tried new recipes—burgundy beef, chicken pies, chowders—yet the old standards still please us: chicken and rice casseroles, meatloaf, or our mother’s pot roasts. Nothing has disappointed us so far: the films, the food, or the fellowship.

Early last month, we resumed our evenings, something along the lines of the “Monday Night at the Movies” from our childhood.

Yes, we have broadened the scope of our films, but we have saved some of Bob’s films for the heart of winter.  Only his youthful glow will do. And, much to our surprise, we looked forward to this annual cover of clouds, the storms the season brings, and another Winter of Redford.

It’s a Fine Life.

You can follow Kathy at her blog itsafinelife.com.

On the Corner

By Sue Moore

The Christmas parade winners in Vicksburg’s Christmas in the Village event found Frederick Construction staff outdoing itself to take first place with a lighted float. It’s really great to see such imagination and participation in the parade as all of the entries displayed. Second place went to the Vicksburg village Department of Public Works for its lighted decoration of its plow truck. Third place went to the Special Olympics float.

Alex Lee, assistant to the village manager, was charged with obtaining judges for the parade. They included Congressman Fred Upton, Portage City Mayor Patricia Randall, County Treasurer Mary Balkema and Stephanie Mallery.

Mike Frederick described his company’s entry: “Our float was designed by Chad Kandow, our estimator, and Brandy Wisz, our comptroller. The costumes were designed and created by Brandy Wisz, Julie Stoll and Rachael Dedes. The basic idea came from the movie “How to Train your Dragon”.

“The lead builders were Greg Dedes, Chad Kandow, Ryan Collins, supported by the Frederick Construction employees. The float deck and dragon jail were constructed out of wood framing material, metal conduit, and concrete reinforcement fabric. It had approximately 9,000 individual LED lights, 18 special-effect motion lights, 180 feet of LED rope lights, a lighted fog machine and a sound machine. The dragon was constructed out of metal tubing, wire mesh , and 55 cans of spray foam. The wings were constructed out of metal tubing and sheets of pipe insulation.

“We intend to repurpose all of the material, some of which will be used for next year’s float. Who knows where the dragon will end up? The Frederick team really enjoyed walking the parade route watching the reaction of the kids and their parents.”
“All of the floats were outstanding,” Frederick said. “The competition was tough and knowing the competitors that will be part of the 2020 parade the Frederick Team has already started the planning for next year! Stay tuned!”

Toy Train Display at the Historic Village

A total of 339 visitors caught the excitement of the toy train setup in the Historic Village over three weekends in December, according to Joe Timko, who sets up the display each year. “The attendance on the afternoon of the parade is always plus or minus since so many people come in a relatively short period of time. A better estimate would be “a whole bunch” he said.

He collected $117.37 in donations. “Our operation was greatly aided by two very generous toy train donations in 2019. The first was a postwar group of trains which were not suited for our layout. But I sold it and then purchased a badly needed replacement set of Grand Trunk Western diesels for $400, at no cost to the Society. On the day of the parade we also received a Grand Trunk Western collection of very nicely custom decorated engines and cars, some of which we immediately incorporated into our running layout, much to the delight of the donor,” Timko said. “Most importantly, we couldn’t have done it without the help of Ben Maxey (set-up), Rick Davison, Phil Timko, and Justin Plankenhorn (running the trains) and the Historical Society members supplying us with cookies to keep the guys who run the trains running.”

Brownfield Presentation in L.A.

The Mill at Vicksburg was featured in a talk by Jackie Koney at the 2019 National Brownfields Training Conference in Los Angeles. Entitled “All Roads Lead to Vicksburg”, Koney told about the public-private partnership that is saving the former Lee Paper company mill from the wrecking ball. Cosponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the National Brownfields Training Conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties.

Prairie View Park Update

The attorney for the Johnson family that was litigating to keep control of their property inside of Prairie View Park in Schoolcraft Township reported on a small success in their effort against Kalamazoo County. The issue was first mentioned in the South County News’ November edition.

Attorney Randell Levine had sued the county for the Johnson family, alleging a violation of the state open meetings act in 2019. In his plea, he said the County Board of Commissioners had decided in a closed meeting to “take” the property which had been in the family since the 1930’s.

Circuit Court Judge Curtis Bell’s opinion in December ruled that the county commissioners violated the Open Meetings Act and “jumped the gun” in an attempt to condemn a family-owned lakefront property inside the park. He said the county board had made the decision without public input following a series of meetings conducted behind closed doors. He threw out the board’s decision and ruled the issue must be revisited in open session at a future meeting.

Judge Bell also said the land-owners had a right to talk with their county commissioner, John Gisler and ask him to hear them out but they were denied that by the county attorney, Beth White. She was subsequently fired from her job, likely not about this issue alone.

Beekeepers Meet on Feb. 5

While bees are the furthest thing from most people’s minds right now, the Kalamazoo Bee School is attempting to beat winter blues with its annual bee school. It’s February 15, at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and offers classes for new-bees, experienced beekeepers and nature lovers. More information may be found at http://www.kalamazoobeeclub.com.

Schoolcraft’s own Charlotte Hubbard is president of the club and will be teaching bee keeping classes. Dr. James Tew is the keynote speaker.