Wes Schmitt loves to receive donation checks.
Sheri Freeland is always on the prowl for advertising.
Bob Ball is judicious in his editing, always with good suggestions.
Justin Gibson designs the newspaper each month with the help of his three-year old son, Gus.
By Sue Moore
Recently, I put on my best bib and tucker, some makeup that I haven’t used in many weeks, combed my hair and got ready for my first Zoom meeting. The camera on my computer that sees all and reports all means I can no longer laze around in the morning in my pj’s until noon.
To Zoom with the best of them, one needs to sit up straight, stop drinking out of the water mug, pay attention, no scratching of any body part, don’t let the dog in, no waving of hands in front of the camera – so distracting to others and draws way too much attention my way. Maybe I need to practice getting the background of my office just right, so folks will think the housekeeping is in good order around here.
If you haven’t had to Zoom, it’s your good fortune. This is what public and even private meetings have come down to these long days of the coronavirus malaise. I prefer to attend governmental meetings in person, just to get the tenor of the participants as they speak their parts. But, I must admit, it’s been a blessing to stay home in front of the computer while attending the many meetings that I usually have on my calendar.
It’s hard to even remember what day it is, given that they all seem to blend in together, even with the Zoom meetings being scheduled that I’m trying to remember.
Accolades to the South County News Staff
The May issue of the South County News marks a full seven years that we have been publishing the newspaper. The years have gone by so fast, it’s pretty much a blur. What I know is that the team that is responsible for bringing the print and electronic version to you each month is dedicated to the cause.
The unsung hero behind the scenes, keeping track of the finances, is Wes Schmitt. He has been on board since the very beginning. It just wouldn’t happen without him making sure we had enough money in the bank to pay our printer and the post office each month.
Sheri Freeland is our advertising sales guru that we lured into service when it appeared we needed a better system to contact advertisers, who along with individual donors are the backbone of this local newspaper. Through her work, our readers can find services that would never be able to get the word out any other way to the general public. She is a delight to work with and a good communicator in a business that is all about communications.
Justin Gibson, our graphic designer, has put up with my dubious deadlines for almost six years. He is a saint. Never complains, always steady, extremely talented, gets it done every month, just as the bell rings for our 8 a.m. press date. He makes our ads beautiful and the pages pop so artistically, you would think he was an art major in college. Instead he teaches writing at WMU (Graphic designer’s note: I double majored in art and writing).
Our intrepid copy editor, Bob Ball, keeps me in particular along with all of our writers, more professional than we really are, due to his sharp pencil and great knowledge of the English language. He also has a gift for ferreting out the details in a story that we may have missed or just assumed everyone would know. I’m very proud of how the written word in the South County News is received by our readers. It’s due in large part to Bob’s efforts to dot the i’s and cross the t’s.
The “stringers” who keep reporting each month are the editor’s eyes and ears. They get paid a pittance but are loyal and hard working beyond belief. They all answered the call this month as I couldn’t leave the house to go collect information or interview anyone, other than by phone. I am deeply grateful to the following writers: Rob Peterson, Jef Rietsma, Travis Smola, Bob Ball, Syd Bastos, Kathy Forsythe, Betsy Connolly, Linda Lane (who, like Wes, Sheri and Bob, also serves on the SCN nonprofit board), Deb Christiansen and John Fulton. Mark Blentlinger and his wife, Stephanie, are usually present to cover sports in Schoolcraft, there wasn’t much for them to do this month.
Your support means everything to keep this newspaper alive and well.
P.J. Callahan, Vicksburg High School graduate and recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad, took a job with the Seattle Mariners last fall as their environmental and sustainability coach. I’m happy to report that he still has a job, even though the team isn’t on the field and the fans are not in their seats. He came back to Michigan to ride this out and is working remotely for the Mariners these days.
“My role has included managing $4 million in capital upgrades to the stadium in building systems. I am leading sustainability efforts at T-Mobile Park with the installation of LED lighting and more efficient HVAC systems. I lead the team’s Earth Day initiatives. In the uncertainty of COVID-19 and the state of our season, I am working to ensure the health and safety of our office members while trying to explore new ways to engage in sustainability in a newly shaped economy,” Callahan said. He once was a pitcher on his high school and college teams, never dreaming he would end up with the Mariners.
“I am looking forward to getting back to Seattle and back to the ballpark, although I don’t expect to see any baseball in Seattle in 2020,” Callahan said.
Bob Hayward Takes a Lawnmower Ride to the Doctor
When MaryAnn and Bob Hayward returned from their winter stay in Florida in early April, the Vicksburg couple learned the battery in their Prius was dead. Their motorhome didn’t have insurance on it, and Bob couldn’t activate it quickly – he had retired from his Vicksburg insurance business.
Next day he had an early morning appointment with Doctor Dave, only a few blocks away from his home. It was cold and he didn’t want to walk. What to do in order to get there on time? Hop on the riding lawnmower seemed to be the best solution. Its battery was working, so off he went and parked it in a regular car space, since he’s not handicapped. He said he did think about parking it on the lawn, but he thought the lawn care guys might come by and claim it.