Grossman Law to Become Grossman, Horne & Cannizzaro

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Brett Grossman, Annelore Cannizzaro and Andrew Horne in their office that displays an aerial photo of the village of Vicksburg on the wall.

By Sue Moore

“Families will continue to be well-served by our growing law practice,” said Brett Grossman in announcing his new partners, Andrew Horne and Annelore Cannizzaro. “Our practice areas complement each other as we look out for our clients’ best interests.”

“The practice of law has changed since I graduated from Wayne State University law school,” Grossman said. “People want quick responses from their attorneys. It’s more of a nuts and bolts situation now with less formality. We have found that members of this community are loyal clients as they’ve gotten to know us both personally and professionally.”

The three attorneys were from other cities before they settled into Vicksburg. They joined service clubs, took responsibility for helping others less fortunate and placed their children in the local school system. “We kind of married into Vicksburg,” said Grossman. He met his wife, Katie, at Wayne State when she was in medical school and decided to settle in her home town. Similarly, Horne’s wife, Tiffany, is from Three Rivers. She wanted to return from Florida where they were both teachers. Cannizzaro went to Michigan State University for undergraduate study and then veterinary school before settling down with husband Charlie in Vicksburg.

All three of the partners have ties to MSU although Horne doesn’t wear it on his sleeve quite like the other two. He graduated from Michigan State’s law school but did his undergrad work at Saginaw Valley State University. Grossman is a Lansing area native with a bachelor’s degree from MSU. What each acknowledges is their love of this small-town community and not having to practice in a large law firm in a big city.

“Our practice is growing,” Grossman said. After large firm life, he hung out his shingle on N. Main Street in downtown Vicksburg in 2008, then moved to a remodeled building at 610 Spruce Street for much larger quarters, anticipating the eventual need to take on partners.

The support from the two other attorneys she is joining was a big factor in Cannizzaro’s decision to leave her solo practice in Kalamazoo. “I can bounce around ideas with someone close by,” she said. “I actually started my professional career as a veterinarian, first at Denney Veterinary Service in Vicksburg, then at the Sprinkle Road Veterinary Clinic in Kalamazoo, and then I decided to do something different.

“I like variety so I went back to school at the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, which is now part of Western Michigan University.” Her practice centers on probate law, with a focus on estate administration, guardianships, conservatorships, and assisting clients with mental illness or developmental disabilities. “I look out for people’s best interests,” she said.

Horne loves researching a project and has jumped headlong into municipal government issues and real estate law. He works closely with the village of Vicksburg’s planning commission on ordinance writing and researching. A big challenge recently was the work he did for the village on The Mill Planned Unit Development (PUD).

Grossman’s work now concentrates in real estate and agricultural law in conjunction with estate and trust planning and administration for area residents.

“We’re looking forward to continued growth in Vicksburg,” they all say in one way or another, about working together.

Concert Pianist Originally from Vicksburg to Play at Carnegie Hall

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Pianist John C. Carpenter.

Vicksburg native John C. Carpenter, a virtuoso pianist living in the Cincinnati suburb of Colerain, has won first prize in the Artist/Pro Division of the BMTG Intercontinental Piano Competition 2018. He will perform in a winners’ concert at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Auditorium in New York.

He will perform on his 65th birthday.

Carpenter grew up on Barton Lake and graduated from Vicksburg High. He was deeply involved in the music program while growing up and also wrote for the Vicksburg Commercial.

The winners were selected in two video rounds from among 140 competitors living in 15 countries and six continents. Carpenter recorded his videos at Mother of God Church in Covington, KY where he is an organist.

Music in the first round was from the standard piano repertoire. The second round included pieces by living composers. Carpenter teaches privately in his home studio, the True Virtuoso Piano Studio, and also at Arts Connect, and an arts center in Springfield along with his wife, Suzanne. He has a master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music.

In the past three years he has played with the Dayton Philharmonic, in concerts in Los Angeles and on WAIF Radio, where he discusses empowerment and community development.

Carpenter returned to competitive playing after a long hiatus in which he worked in retail.

The Rally Call of the Schoolcraft Community

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The field was cleaned up just in time for the football players to get dirty.

By Mark Blentlinger

Overnight on November 10, the football field in Schoolcraft was blanketed with just over five inches of snow. The Schoolcraft Eagles football team would be facing the Montague Wildcats at 1 p.m. on Saturday for the Regional championship game and a chance to play on, with hopes of making it to Ford Field the day after Thanksgiving.

The Schoolcraft field crew knew what had to be done. At 6 a.m. the clean-up started. The call went out for anyone willing to help and to bring shovels, snow blowers and high-powered leaf blowers.

The call was answered. Community residents, parents of players, farmers and businesses showed up to do whatever they could. They did an amazing job of clearing the field by game time, according to Athletic Director Jeff Clark. All of the icy snow had been removed and piled high along the sidelines. Owners of Pine View Golf Course showed up with a tractor, pulling a huge leaf blower to help loosen the remaining ice. J & J Farms brought in heaters to be used on the Eagles sideline to help keep players and coaches warm.

Every single one of the volunteers deserve a huge thank you, Clark said. He credits the following and hopes that no one was forgotten. But in case any contributor was left out, he said, “Please forgive and know your help was deeply appreciated.” His list: Matt and Marc Fox, Wendy Fox, Jennifer Gottschalk, Jason Walther, Wade Rutkoskie, Kristin Flynn, David Knowlton, Michelle Hamlin, Jason Crouch, Jeff VanderWiere, Pat Wujkowski, Jason and Josh Jager, Jeff Clark, Bret and Teri Blalock, Lori Hart, Nick Perez, Eric McGehee, Tim Pastol, Dan and Jack Devries and were all there to help.

Talons Out Honor Flight Began in Vicksburg

The enormous value of Honor Flights for WWII veterans came close to home when the southwestern Michigan chapter, called Talons Out, brought 89 veterans and many more of their guardians and helpers to Rim & Rail in Vicksburg on October 26. The veterans were honored with a “meet and greet” by Talons Out volunteers with a chance to tell their war story to the whole audience.

The veterans boarded an early-morning chartered flight to Washington D.C. the next day. They were escorted through the city to see the war memorial in their honor. It was an opportunity for the veterans to share their stories if they desired to. The whole experience can be a very emotional time, said lead volunteer Bobbie Bradley from Three Rivers.

The Oswalt family, owners of Rim & Rail, made their new facility available to Talons Out at no cost. They felt compelled to help make this a worthy occasion for the 200 plus who filled the dining room. They weren’t the only ones who gave their time to make the trip a special memory. Volunteers and guardians from all around the area were present, including some from Vicksburg and Schoolcraft, Bradley said.

It costs $90,000 to charter the plane that departed from the Kalamazoo Airport. The overall cost runs on average $110,000 for meals and lodging as the trip is entirely free to the veterans chosen to embark on this sentimental journey. All of these costs are covered by donations, Bradley said.

The veterans are selected from applications made by their family, with those who are terminally ill getting first dibs. For the first time this year they are accepting veterans from the Korean War and a few from the Vietnam fighting.

Grubers Celebrate 50 Years Together

Joe and Betty Gruber of Mendon celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on November 2 and held a small celebration on November 3 at Main St. Pub in Vicksburg with family and close friends. To honor their 50 years together, they took an Alaskan cruise in August.

Joe and Betty met in 1968 in Elkhart, Indiana where they both were born and raised. Joe was a graduate of Elkhart High School and Betty a graduate of Bethany Christian High School when they met and fell in love. Betty worked at White Hall Laboratory at the time and Joe was an auto mechanic for a local company. After less than a year they were married and after a couple of more years started a family.

In 1975 the couple moved to Vicksburg after Joe accepted a job with Aamco Transmission in Portage. They settled in Vicksburg to raise their three daughters. Joe and Betty spent many years as members of the Coon Hunter’s Association and coached their daughters’ Little League softball teams. Joe umpired in the Little League many years even after his daughters had finished their playing days.

The couple moved to rural Vicksburg in 1994. Joe continued his career as a mechanic with Doerr GMC and eventually retired from the Portage Schools bus garage in 2015. Betty worked at Simmons Ford in Vicksburg for more than 20 years and volunteered as an EMT for the Vicksburg Ambulance Service. She then switched to a career as an executive secretary for State Farm Insurance before she retired in 2016.

Both have been members of the Vicksburg United Methodist Church for more than 20 years and volunteer for the American Red Cross. Betty continues to spend a lot of her free time helping the Red Cross at local blood drives. Joe enjoys tinkering around outside as well as maintaining the grounds at the church. He also enjoys fishing with his family and friends.

The couple has three children. Joanne (Gruber) Craddock of Vicksburg, is married to Doug Craddock. Their son, Mitchel Craddock, was wed to Kristen Olsen in 2016. A second daughter, Therisa Gruber of Vicksburg, has two daughters, Marianna and Kellie Hiemstra, and a son, Robert Gruber. Marianna has a son, Elliot Hiemstra. The third daughter, Marsha Gruber, has a son, Nisajwen Topash of Mendon.

Giving Big to United Way

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Rachel Phelps and Alyssa Thompson tabulate the United Way donations received by staff of Vicksburg Community Schools.

The Vicksburg Community Schools United Way campaign has exceeded its goal for the second year in a row. Alyssa Thompson and Rachel Phelps of the Community Education department headed the information and solicitation for the schools. They are proud to report great success with staff giving at an even higher level than before with 120 making donations totaling $11,263.

All of the funds for the Vicksburg United Way will stay in the community to be used by local agencies in need, according to Fawn Callen who heads up the allocation committee.

Of more than $6.56 million the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region of United Way has invested in 125 programs during 2017, $1.8 million was being targeted at education, $1.37 million was aimed at improving incomes, $1.47 million was focused at improving health and $1.9 million was set to help satisfy the basic needs of families and individuals.

The Vicksburg United Way contingent will wrap up its campaign in early January.

Fines and Notices at the Vicksburg District Library

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Adrianne Schinkai demonstrates the computer system at Vicksburg District Library.

By Adrianne M. Schinkai,
Vicksburg District Library Head of Circulation and Reference

There’s a general understanding with libraries when a book is checked out, it must be returned by the due date or a fine will need to be paid. The Vicksburg District Library does this with all its items and has a system of notifying patrons when those items are overdue.

The Vicksburg District Library has more than books to check out. But do items like audiobooks and DVDs have fines if they are turned in late as well? The answer is yes. On the library’s newly renovated website, the FAQ section answers the question simply. “All books, audiobooks, and CDs are assessed a 10-cent per day fine. Video games and DVDs are assessed a $1 per day fine. Items overdue for an extended period are assessed a replacement and staff processing fee.”

With more high tech items such as DVDs and video games being assessed at $1, this can lead to heavier fines in short order. For example, say a patron borrows two books and three movies and is five days late returning them. While the fine for the two books is only $1. (two books at 10 cents each for five days), the fine for the DVDs is $15 (three DVDs at $1 each for 5 days), bringing the total due to the library to $16.

Why the higher fees for video games and DVDs? It’s because of the original cost of the item. Should a video game need to be replaced, it could cost the library around $50 as opposed to the $10 needed to replace a book. This is where receiving reminders about due materials comes in handy.

When a patron forgets to return items for a period of time, how are they notified? That is completely up to the patron. When they register for their library card, they can choose one of two options to alert them that items are overdue: a postcard in the mail or a message sent via email.

“The database we use generally takes care of everything,” says Barry Raifsnider, the library’s cataloger. “Once a week, the database gives me a list of patrons with overdue items. From there, I just print out postcards notifying them and send them out.” While the automatic email sent by the library’s database is an easier process and free of charge, the cost to the library for the postcard and postage is about 45 cents each. An average of 20 cards go out each week.

When books are not returned, however, more official action needs to be taken. Once a month, the library prints up and sends notices that items need to be returned and paid for (especially if they have been lost or damaged), or the patron’s account could face action. A patron’s account is locked when it reaches $5 in fines. Hansen explained, “Items owned by the library are maintained for the purpose of serving the community. When a patron doesn’t return items on time the library has to contact the patron to ask the person to return an item that other citizens might need.” In the past there have been a few instances where other libraries have sent patrons to collections due to overdue, lost, or damaged materials and it becomes a legal matter.