Suzie’s salad dressing

Sue Moore made this salad dressing for several potlucks in the early 1970s. It was a favorite dressing, and, of course, it was served with iceberg lettuce, which was the only lettuce available in area grocery stores during this time.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup oil
½ cup white sugar
2/3 cup catsup
½ cup white vinegar
1 T lemon Juice
1 t paprika
2 T finely chopped onion
1 t pepper
1 t salt
1 t dry mustard

INSTRUCTIONS:

Combine ingredients in a blender, or shake in a jar that seals well. Refrigerate. Shake well before serving.

A senior moment

By Danna Downing

The phrase “a senior moment” is often used to apologize for losing your train of thought or for not being able to find the right word or a person’s name in conversation. It has a negative connotation because it is linked to our fears of aging. So, I asked myself: “Is this a good name for a column that is intended to be helpful and uplifting?“ “YES,“ was the answer . That is because it catches people’s attention and is a very relatable phrase for most of us. It is also a phrase that invites a more positive attitude about aging.

The goal of this column is to share information that will help you navigate and enjoy your later years in life or those of your loved one. Another goal is to help us reframe our approach to the aging process. Over time, we want to share personal experiences, visit research and recommendations for healthy aging, and inspire each of us to be more intentional about what some call our second adulthood. The column is also one of my personal retirement adventures.

I did not really feel like a senior until I decided it was time to retire. The closer I got to retirement, the more concerned I became about what would I do with all my time. My work was my passion and very meaningful to me. Work and community life were a daily blend. I do not watch much television or play golf. I like to read, but that is a sedentary activity for a highly active person. Then came the pandemic!

The COVID-19 lockdown brought the gift of time and limited focus. I knew that I would have to concentrate on letting go of my work roles. I knew that being physically active was critical for me. I knew I needed to adjust my budget to live on a fixed income. I knew that I wanted to be of service to the community. I knew I was luckier than most. But I did not know quite where to start the retirement adventure.

One of the first things I did was to read an excellent book recommended to me by a very dear friend – “Women Rowing North”, written by Mary Pipher. The subtitle to the book is “Navigating Life’s Current and Flourishing as We Age”. Her work keeps the promise on the cover and was just what I needed. Pipher is a psychologist specializing in women and the effects of our culture on mental health. Like me, she is a fan of Barbara Kingsolver’s writing. She cites Kingsolver’s observations that “happy people have found a use for themselves.” This resonated with me deeply and seemed like a good starting point.

Through her work, Pipher has found that “all life stages present us with joys and miseries.“ She reminds us that it is “fate and circumstances that influence which stage is hardest for any given individual.

“But, most importantly,“ she adds, “attitude and intentionality are the governors of the process.” Her book provides important guidance about working on attitude and intentionality and was a great resource for me during my first year of retirement.

During this year I have carved out a niche for service to others that fits my situation. It builds upon my work in assisting seniors meet their needs during my career. It allows me to work with professionals who inspire me deeply. And, best of all, it allows me to help them achieve their goals for seniors like myself and others in my community.

I am fortunate to now be serving on the Kalamazoo County Older Adult Advisory Council (OASAC). Early in the pandemic, the group did not meet. However, by virtue of that affiliation, I was invited to help during the pandemic. It was a great comfort to see how Kalamazoo County’s public health department worked with our local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to be there for older adults in Kalamazoo during this critical time. The committee I am on (OASAC ), works with AAA staff and administration to advocate issues and concerns of older persons in their service area and meets monthly. In this position, my responsibility is to help build awareness of AAA services for older adults and convey the needs of South County senior residents and their caregivers to AAA.

I have also been appointed to represent our AAA at the state level. The State Advisory Council on Aging (SAC) is the research and advocacy arm to the Michigan Commission on Services to the Aging (CSA). Our research project for 2021 is on the topic of Aging in Place (AIP). This is a hot topic for most older adults because for most of us, there is no place like home.

“A Senior Moment” is intended to be a gift of information and a resource for persons who want to build the best possible life for themselves and their loved ones as they age. It can also serve as a conduit for connecting citizens and decision makers who advance older adult programming and services.

Each column will end with a lesson to share. The lesson to share for this month: The gift of time during retirement allows us to look at our skills and interests to determine if there are some we want or need to transplant into a new stage of life.

Each month we will explore a new topic and I would welcome you to share your thoughts, suggestions, and concerns with me to make this column one that you want to read – and one that will link you to key experts that care about what you have to say. My hope is that traveling together during our second childhood by using this column, will be beneficial to all involved. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Danna Downing is a member of the Kalamazoo County Older Adults Advisory Council and the Michigan State Advisory Council on Aging. Reach her at dannadowning@gmail.com.

Student wins online art competition


Vicksburg Middle School student Mason Kreitner is the winner of an Artist of the Week contest, a voting competition held on Artsonia.com, which claims to be the world’s largest collection of student art portfolios with more than 80 million pieces of student art. 

Mason said he was excited by the news. “It was pretty cool.” He said he enjoys trying different kinds of art.

“The students are the artist and are given as many choices as possible in order to create artwork that is personally meaningful to them,” said his teacher, Anna Lacey, who has taught the subject for 12 years. “Choice-based art education has become a passion of mine and I see students more free and happy when they are allowed to lead their learning. It makes me so proud to see that their hard work has paid off and earned them the recognition they deserve. Often times they don’t realize how good they are until something special comes about. It is a huge confidence booster.”

Lacey is one of thousands of art teachers from more than 100 countries who use Artsonia to showcase their student art, crowd-source lesson plans and help raise funds for their classrooms. Artsonia lets family and friends of student artists create and purchase organic keepsakes from the student art, and then gives back 20 percent of all revenue to the local art classroom, the company said in a press release.

Winners receive a $50 gift certificate; their school receives a $100 certificate. Both are from Blick Art Materials.

Local teen gets creative for a cause

Ella Johnson and her art.

By Kathy Oswalt-Forsythe

When Ella Johnson’s babysitting money dried up last year with COVID restrictions, she knew she had to get creative to earn money to pay for the care of her pets. Her pets are numerous: three guinea pigs, two bunnies, three lizards, land snails, two dogs and a fish tank with a population of 40.

Johnson, a 16-year-old South County resident, discovered she could combine her interests and skills in the visual arts to build an online business. In the past, Johnson had used her parents’ Facebook page and auctioned some of her art. She then donated the proceeds to Generous Hands, a local non-profit created to help provide food for children during the weekend.

She was confident she could make some money to help with the food and care of her pets, and she soon began selling her art and some old clothes on Depop, an online marketplace where individuals can buy and sell unique merchandise. She also began posting her art on Pinterest.

Johnson has gained traction with about a million views on her tutorials on Pinterest which demonstrate how to make resin rings. She also has created videos demonstrating painting, found at https://www.pinterest.com/ellaspaintings. Her sales have gradually increased to over 500 transactions. And true to her heart, she has been giving back to the community: She continues donating to Generous Hands to support its backpack program, and she and her family have begun serving meals at the Kalamazoo homeless camp.

Johnson offers a few tips for people interested in marketing on these various platforms. “Look at what is selling at the time. Trends go in and out so fast, but if you are able to catch up and follow the trend, you can make some money.”

She also cautions against “under-selling” art, stressing it needs to be worth the time and effort spent. “Don’t be afraid to price your items. No one is making anyone buy it.” Johnson is entering her senior year at Portage Central High School and plans to North Central Michigan College to study business.

Student recognitions

Albion College
Kasmyn VanMaanen of Vicksburg recently graduated with a degree in biology education, a minor in psychology education and a concentration in the Fritz Shurmur Center for Teacher Development.

Concordia University, Nebraska
Nathan Johnson of Vicksburg, named to honors list for the spring 2021 semester.

Grand Valley State University
Julia Fagaly of Vicksburg, Academic Excellence for Cell and Molecular Biology
Logan Pauli of Vicksburg, Academic Excellence for General Business

Ohio University
Sandra West of Vicksburg graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Baccalaureate Nursing) from the College of Health Sciences and Professions.

Vicksburg village proposes 2021-22 budget

By Jef Rietsma

Vicksburg’s Village Council was scheduled to hold a special meeting June 28 to consider approval of a 2021-22 budget with an unchanged tax rate of 15.163 mills, $15.163 per $1,000 taxable valuation.

Village Manager Jim Mallery provided a copy of the proposed budget to the South County News. He said the council has reviewed requests for funding the necessary projects, programs and operations for the 12-month period covering the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The proposed budget, Mallery said, supports the village’s 2015 master plan, its parks and recreation plan of 2014 and its downtown development plan adopted in 2014. It was prepared based on input from the seven-member council, Mallery himself, sub-units of government and citizen input through five public meetings held via Zoom. Mallery said more than 60 people participated.

Here’s a breakdown of the proposed 2021-22 fiscal year budget:

Mallery said the general fund is set for about $1.4 million in expenditures, while revenues are anticipated to be more than $1.6 million. He said the village’s general fund amount has increased by 35 percent since 2016.

Other proposed expenses include $249,850 for its Major Street Fund, $109,625 the for Local Street Fund, $832,900 for Department of Public Works, $116,000 to Downtown Development Authority, more than $1.1 million to Angel’s Crossing Golf Course, $3.6 million to its Sewer Fund and more than $1.5 million to its Water Fund. Several of those funds are supported from outside funding sources.

The average household will realize a slight increase in sewer and water rates. Mallery said the new rate will reflect a 3% increase for sewer services and 7% for water. On average, Mallery said, that amounts to an added $1.57 per month for sewer and $1.51 per month for water.

He said the village’s property tax revenue, $702,400 in the 2016-17 fiscal year, is projected this year at $1.1 million. The increase is due to the growth of the industrial park and residential properties – most along 22nd Avenue, Mallery said.

Mallery explained the budgeting process started in February and was subject to many levels of input.

“We do it differently than most … we work off a ‘needs, wants and wishes’ list, where department heads turn in their needs, wants and wishes, and we do that with public works, parks and recreation, and planning commission – which is also the Downtown Development Authority,” Mallery said. “We sent a survey to all the businesses in the DDA, held five neighborhood Zoom meetings, the Historical Society had input and some ideas we hadn’t thought of have been implemented from those neighborhood sessions.”

Parking aplenty during downtown construction

Despite all the construction in downtown Vicksburg, it is still possible to visit and support village businesses. Three parking areas are available to the public and are close to downtown shopping: a lot north of the post office, a lot behind the laundromat and Main St. Pub and a lot behind the hardware store and The Distant Whistle.

While the construction project is inconvenient for customers, continued support for businesses is vital. Residents just need to take a few more steps to provide the continued support village businesses need.

Schoolcraft eyes replacing lead water lines

By Rob Peterson

Schoolcraft Village has until 2025 to complete an inventory of its water service lines and develop a plan for replacing them if they’re lead pipes, one of several requirements under a 2018 Michigan law. The law also gives communities 20 years starting from this year to replace all lead lines, at the municipalities’ expense.

The topic was raised at a Village Council discussion of infrastructure with Tom Wheat, an engineer from the consulting firm of Prein & Newhof.

“There is a mandate, and the clock is ticking,” said Wheat.

While the water in homes is testing free of lead, Wheat said that replacing lead pipes should be a priority after what happened in Flint, where a lead water crisis reached national news and prompted the 2018 legislation.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has published a chart showing numbers of water service lines in the state’s communities and the proportion of those lines which may contain lead. It indicates that 51% of Schoolcraft’s 635 service lines may need replacement. That proportion is slightly lower in Vicksburg, where an estimated 46% of its 1,403 lines may need replacement. Separately, the state agency has published results of lead testing of municipal water supplies. It shows that Schoolcraft measured no lead in sampling conducted in 2018. Vicksburg measured 2 parts per billion in 2019 testing.

Wheat said the village needs a second well for its the water system. While the current well is not unsafe, it’s not where one would put a well today. “There is always a risk when you put a water source in the middle of the village, especially next to a railroad.”

His suggestion was to put a new well north or northwest of the village, away from potential contamination sources.

Wheat said he had reviewed a 1969 sewer study and noted that not much has changed since then. If the village chooses to build a sewer system, he recommended it install sewer lines under the streets rather than through back yards. The process for taking property through eminent domain has become more difficult, he said.

Asked about grants for a sewer project, Wheat indicated that there are none. The best option, in his opinion, is a rural development loan with a low interest rate, a 40-year term and no early payoff penalty.

In other discussion, village resident Jennifer Doorn presented a proposal to allow chickens within the village limits. She indicated that chickens are quieter than dogs typically. The potential for odor is entirely based on how well they are cared for.

Doorn recommended that the number of chickens be limited to four per household, and that roosters not be allowed. She suggested a requirement that the chickens be kept in a coop, and that the coop be kept 10 to 20 feet from property lines.

Council president Keith Gunnett wants to see if there is enough interest before the village spend time and money on an ordinance change. The issue will be taken up again in July.

Gunnett noted for the council that the Department of Public Works has recently lost a temporary employee. It has a full plate with right-of-way code enforcement and the inventory of the water system. The two existing staff members are struggling to keep up, and a third employee is needed. The Village will be posting a new position in July, according to Village Manager Cheri Lutz.

Ken Hoving of Waste Not Recycling described a new transfer station proposed in Kalamazoo Township which would handle trash as well as recycling, construction and demolition debris. According to Hoving, this is a rare capability. If approved, would be the only such facility within two and a half hours of Kalamazoo.

It requires approval from two-thirds of the governmental units in the County; Kalamazoo Township, has already provided its approval. The Village Council voted to support the facility.

Obituaries


James “Jim” Barrett, passed on June 23, 2021, after a long battle with dementia. Jim was born on September 27, 1938, to Delbert J. and Mary A. (Clancy) Barrett in Kalamazoo. Jim attended St. Augustine Elementary, Milwood Junior High and graduated from Portage High School in 1956. In February 1960, he married Sharon Golyar and had three children. Jim retired after 36 years with the Upjohn Company. In October 1989, he married Phyllis Norris. They had 32 years of marriage together. Jim enjoyed hunting, fishing, football, baseball and bowling. Jim was preceded in death by his parents; siblings Eleanor, Jack, Bob Pat, Dennis, and Gerry; and special friend Ed Hageman. He is survived by his wife Phyllis; children Phillip (Deb) of Scotts, Monica (Paul) of Delton, and Chantal (Jack); brother Nick; and stepchildren Julie (Gary), Jerry, Shelley (Lou), and Steve. A memorial will be held on Friday, July 2, at St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church with a visitation at 10 a.m. and a mass at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at Vicksburg Cemetery. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice or a charity of one’s choice. Visit his page at avinkcremation.com.

Elsie L. (Wolthuis-Desness) Carvell, 92, passed away peacefully June 1, 2021 at Rose Arbor Hospice. Elsie was born February 24, 1929 in Vicksburg, the daughter of John R. and Myrtle (Hendricks) Wolthuis. Elsie grew up on the family farm on “Dutchman’s Road” with her five siblings. Elsie graduated from VHS in 1947, married Willis R. “Bill” Carvell on June 28, 1947, and raised three sons. Bill died in 1956. Elsie married William A. “Bill” Desness on June 7, 1961. They retired from Upjohn and became snowbirds, living between Kline’s Resort and Stuart, Fla. When Bill died in 1993, Elsie settled near Lawton before a final move to Amber Place. Elsie is survived by sons David (Karen) Carvell of Portage and Richard Carvell of Kalamazoo; daughter-in-law Catherine Carvell of Goodlettsville Tenn.; six grandchildren and several great-grandchildren; siblings John Wolthuis, Betty Wheeler and Bill Wolthuis. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husbands, her son Michael and siblings MaryAnn Klimek and Louis Wolthuis. Donations may go to Rose Arbor Hospice or the charity of one’s choice. Visit her page at mccowensecord.com.

William A. “Bill” Couchenour, 87, Vicksburg, passed away at his home on May 11, 2021. Bill was born in Uniontown, Pa. on August 5, 1933, the son of William and Gladys (Waltonbaugh) Couchenour. He was a member of Saint Petersburg High School’s State Championship basketball team and graduated in 1951. He served in the US Army for two years. He then attended Eastern Nazarene College where he met Ruth Andrews. They married in Royersford, Pa. on August 31, 1957 and raised five children: Diane, James, William, Kathleen and Kenneth. Bill is survived by his wife, Ruth; children Diane Bosworth of Vicksburg, Jim (Dixie) Couchenour of Eaton Rapids, Rev Bill (Rhonda) Couchenour of Sterling, Colo., Kathy Demaray of Mason, Mich., and Ken (Cheryl) Couchenour of Mason; grandchildren Briana (Dustin), Brooke, Tyler (Julienne), Austen (Melanie), Kaylee (Kamron), Jonathan, Will, Rachael, Christina, Joshua, Michael (Bansari), Daniel, Caleb, McKenna; 10 great grandchildren with one on the way; his brother, Jim Couchenour of Columbiana, Ohio; and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother Melvin Couchenour, sister Gladys “Sis” Hofacker; sisters-in-law Pat and Betty Couchenour; brother-in-law Chauncy Hofacker; and grandson-in-law Caleb Starr. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com. Donations may go to the William A. and Ruth Andrews Couchenour Scholarship Fund at Olivet Nazarene University.

Ronald L. Eaton, 74, passed away with his son by his side on June 1, 2021. Ron was born January 28, 1947, to Kenneth and Dorothy (Born) Eaton. Ron married the love of his life, Karen Oswalt, September 25, 1971. Ron served his country proudly along with his brother as a Navy corpsman, acquiring the nickname “Doc”. He served in Vietnam and was awarded two purple heart medals. Ron retired from the Post Office after 30 years as a letter carrier. He had a passion for softball and golf, and he began building golf clubs. Ron loved his family and adored his cat. He was a huge Notre Dame and Cubs fan. He was a gifted storyteller. He is survived by his son, Jason (Tracy) Eaton; grandchildren Shan (Mollie Hageman) Pileri, Taylor (Emily Nachtegall) Misel, Brooke (Chase Fricke) Misel, Jarrett Eaton and Jaden Eaton; great-grandchildren Brenden and Noah; siblings David (Viola) Eaton and Robert (Sue) Eaton; several nieces and nephews and his favorite cat, Millie. He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife, Karen. Donations may go to Give Kids the World in honor of Cambri Dorko or Section 1776 in honor of veterans. Visit his page at mccowensecord.com.

Harold Heikes, 96, Kalamazoo, died on May 29, 2021. He was born on August 1, 1924, in Vicksburg, the son of Harry and Esther (Dalton) Heikes. He graduated in 1942 from VHS and served in the US Army Air Corps. He was a top gunner on a B-25, serving in the south Pacific. He began work as a millwright at the paper mill and retired after 38 years. He married Eleanor Woodhams on November 29, 1968, and her five children became his own. The family enjoyed many holidays together on Pine Lake. Harold and Eleanor enjoyed dancing and traveled extensively. Since Eleanor’s death in 2013, he focused on hobbies and family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Members of Harold’s family include children Terri (Scott) Dunlop, Gary Heikes, and Bonnie Heikes; and grandson, Brian. In addition to his children, he is survived by Eleanor’s children: Ronald Woodhams, Alan (Cynthia) Woodhams, Barbara (Gregory) Deibert, and Robert (Margaret) Woodhams; 10 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren. Besides his wife, Eleanor, he was preceded in death by his brother, Everett, and stepson, Michael Woodhams. Visit his page at BetzlerLifeStory.com. Donations may go to Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes.

Marilyn J. Kozar, 85, Schoolcraft, passed away June 6, 2021, at Rose Arbor Hospice with her family by her side. Born November 30, 1935 in Kalamazoo, she was the middle child of George and Gladys (Werner) Kozar. She married Edwin David Wood. She was preceded in death by her husband; son Michael Wood; parents Gladys and George Kozar; and sisters Geraldine Povenz and Shirley Heuser. Marilyn leaves behind children Eddie Wood, Jennifer (Wood) Duff, and Wendy (Wood) Boutell; grandchildren Edwin (Woody) Wood, Matheson Wood, Alex Andrea (Wood) Bond, Zachary Wood, Jenny (Duff) Dines, Lauren (Chapman) Bienemann, and Shannon Chapman; and many great-grandchildren. She also leaves behind Russ Povenz, who was married to Geraldine, and John (Jack) Heuser, who was married to Shirley. Marilyn was a longtime member of St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church in Vicksburg. Her Catholic religion was an important part of her life, and she was looking forward to being reunited with her family in Heaven. Donations may go to the American Cancer Society. Visit her page at avinkcremation.com.

Rusty Wire Shelburne, 61, Scotts, formerly of Rochester, passed away June 11, 2021 from injuries sustained in a fall at home. Rusty was born in Noblesville on August 3, 1959, the son of Howard Dale and Rebecca Jacquelyn “Jackie” Wire Shelburne. He graduated from Rochester High School in 1977. Rusty married Laurie Drenth on June 3, 1978, in Kalamazoo, and they shared 43 years of adventures. Rusty earned an associate degree in law enforcement from KVCC and began a nearly 40-year career with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department. His badge #131 was retired in October 2018. Since retirement, he wintered near Apache Junction, Ariz. where he and Laurie could be near their son, Derek, and the grandchildren. Rusty enjoyed riding his motorcycle, racing his remote-control car, golfing. Rusty is survived by his wife Laurie, of Scotts; son Derek Shelburne of Phoenix; grandchildren Devereaux, Deklan, Audriana and their mother, Juanita; sisters Tammy Shelburne-See of Rochester, Betsy Shelburne of State College, Pa., Misty (Timothy) DePoy of Rochester, and Mindy (Hector) Navarro of Rochester; brothers Jeffery (Jeanie) Shelburne of Rochester, Rodney (Darla) Shelburne of Warsaw, Randy (Carol) Shelburne of Rochester, and Barney (Lorraine) Shelburne of Stillman Valley, Ill.; numerous nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews, many friends, as well as his Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department Family. He was preceded in death by his parents; brothers Gary D. Shelburne and Scott B. Shelburne. Visit his page at langelands.com.

Caroll Emaline Wise, 94, Scotts, died June 11, 2021 at her home. She was born in Wibaux, Montana on Nov. 2, 1926, the daughter of Hezekiah and Laura (Harkins) Keller. After graduation from high school, she went to cosmetology school. She worked briefly as a hairdresser in Athens, and for over 34 years at Margo Shick’s Salon in Vicksburg. Caroll and her late husband, George, operated a dairy farm in rural Vicksburg and were active at the Kalamazoo and St. Joseph County Grange Fairs. She enjoyed square dancing, gardening and playing cards. Many enjoyed her homemade pies and peanut brittle. Caroll is survived by her son and daughter in law, Richard (Carolyn S.) Wise of Scotts; grandchildren Scott (Jill) Wise and Shellie (Bill) Gibson, both of Battle Creek, and Alisha Wise of Climax; great-grandchildren Gavin and Allison Wise and Grace and Emma Gibson; several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, George Wise; daughter, Carolyn L. Wise; two brothers and four sisters. A memorial will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 10 at the Prairie Baptist Church followed by a luncheon. Donations may go to the St. Joseph County Fair, Dairy Department. Visit her page at eickhofffuneralhome.com.

Vicksburg schools honor 10 retiring employees

By Jef Rietsma

June 11 may have been the final day of class for students at Vicksburg Community Schools, but for several staff members, it marked a new beginning.

Ten district employees are retiring. Superintendent Keevin O’Neill said the employees collectively made Vicksburg Community Schools a better district because of their commitment to its students.

“I can’t thank this group of VCS employees enough for all the years of service, dedication and commitment to our precious students and families,” O’Neill said. “They will be missed and I hope they enjoy their well-deserved retirement.”

The retirees are:

Gary Boyle-Holmes, 37 years, all at Vicksburg High School.

Angie Getsinger, 30 years in all. Getsinger was hired as part-time physical education teacher at Sunset Lake after coaching volleyball and softball. Getsinger moved to Illinois and taught there through 2007. She moved back to Michigan and taught the balance of her career at Sunset Lake.

Ruth Hook, 23 years total. Hook started her career as a fifth-grade teacher in Illinois before spending 12 years at The Gagie School in Kalamazoo. She joined Vicksburg Community Schools as an instructional consultant starting in 2010 and was named principal at Indian Lake Elementary in 2012.

Tammy Iobe, 25 years, all at VCS. Iobe started as a substitute bus driver in the fall of 1996 and became a regular driver the next year.

Dave Nette, 27 years, all at Vicksburg High School.

Krista Ragotzy, 22 years in all. Ragotzy worked at Croyden School in Kalamazoo until securing teaching-certificate credentials. Ragotzy went on to work at Vicksburg High School her entire teaching career.

Patty Stoll, 22 1/2 years at Vicksburg Community Schools. She was hired in 1995 as a part-time middle school band teacher and resigned in 2002. Stoll was re-hired in fall 2005 in the same position until retirement. She spent six years before that teaching at Lawrence Public Schools and Marcellus Community Schools.

Jenny Taylor, 23 years, all at Vicksburg Community Schools. Taylor was hired as a kindergarten teacher at Sunset Lake, where she later taught third grade.

Toni Thole, 25 years. Thole was hired as a part-time health sciences teacher. Thole continued to teach health at both the middle school and high school until retirement.

Bob VanderStraaten, more than six years at Vicksburg Community Schools. VanderStraaten worked as a custodian for six months. He was rehired as a mechanic in 2015 and began driving a bus in 2018.