SPOKES VOL. LXVI NO. 41                                                                              May 12, 2020


We continue to meet via ZOOM for the time being and will resume weekly meetings via ZOOM next week.  President Odland called the meeting to order at 7:00 AM with the ringing of the bell and playing God Bless America.  Art Ayers turned his invocation duties over to our guest, Reverend Jeffrey Dick, who provided an excellent opening prayer.


Background noise caused some feedback problems early in the meeting.  We would ask members to use the mute function on their screen when they are not speaking to the club.


Our guests included member-to-be Mary Sue Lyons, the aforementioned Reverend Dick and our speaker, Ryan Kilpatrick.



  • Our next club meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 19th at 7:00 AM via ZOOM.  We will continue to meet weekly via ZOOM until we can meet face to face in a safe environment.

  • The 4th of July Parade and Art Fair have been canceled.  A decision about our 4th of July Pancake Breakfast will be made in the next few weeks.

  • Exactly how we will meet to induct our officers is still being discussed.

  • We have two openings on our Board beginning at our induction dinner.  We are in need of a Vice President (who would become President in July of 2022) and of a Grants Chairman.  Dan offered a very sincere thank you to Tom Renner who has been the Grant Chair for the past few years and who has done a great job of sorting out the grants that we give and of finding grant money for our club’s support of community projects.

  • If you get a phone call from someone from Pearl River, New York, it is likely from Dan Thompson.  You can choose to answer it or not.

  • The list of Program Chairs and Greeters has been mailed to all members and is on the club website.  Please look it over and begin planning for your program now.


This week Kaleigh Eddy was our 50/50 winner and she generously donated her prize back to the club.


  • Tom Rummel emailed in two birthdays, his son Joel turns 20 and son Ales turns 18 this week.

  • Ann Gruber celebrated a birthday since our last meeting as does Jerry’s daughter Amy and granddaughter Sierra who is a senior at SHHS.

  • Tom Renner is celebrating daughter Susie’s birthday.

  • Kaleigh Eddy’s daughter Opal, also a senior at SHHS celebrates her 18th birthday this week..

  • Art Ayers celebrates the birthdays of two grandson’s this week, Nathan and Adrian.

  • Jerry Portman and his lovely wife Julie are enjoying an anniversary celebration this week.

  • David Campbell has a birthday this week.

  • Our birthday song came out Ludington style even if that was not our intention..

  • Because of some speaker feedback interference, a couple of birthdays may have been missed this seek.  My apologies.  Let me know and I will add them next time.



President Odland proceeded with the induction of our newest member, and first member inducted via the Internet, Mary Sue Lyons.  Mary Sue, who grew up in northern Michigan and attended MSU, spent most of her working life in Chicago, including long stints with non-profit trade associations.

She moved to South Haven in 2017 after owning a second home here for many years.  Welcome to our club.  Our membership now stands at 60 active members.

President Mark Odland introduced our speaker this morning, Ryan Kirpatrick, Founding Executive Director of Housing Next.

Ryan talk focused on what affordable housing looks like, including who needs it, why we need it and the next steps South Haven is looking to take to get more affordable housing in our town.

Ryan reviewed the standards used to determine what affordable housing looks like:  up to 30% of a household’s income.  He mentioned that until the last decade or so, especially in our area, housing has been cheaper, often just 15 – 20 % of income.

The cost of building a single family home runs to $190 - $200 a square foot, putting the cost of a single family home at $300,000, well above the 30% mark for an average Van Buren County household income of $51,800.  He noted that this income would be common for a four person family with one full time worker and one part time worker.

Ryan then talked about housing styles and how they have changed since WWII.  Prior to that, most homes were in relatively dense neighborhoods with townhouses, multiple home buildings and apartment buildings.  After WWII, more single family homes were built, becoming the dominant housing choice.  However, the high cost of building this type of dwelling has made them difficult for many families to afford.  

The way to solve this problem is to build multiple dwelling buildings, like the townhouses and stacked building like those build in the past, but with more care to make sure there is green space of various sizes for residents.  He indicated that affordability, walkability and park use are key factors in designing these kinds of neighborhoods.  He also said that the starting price point of a 3 bedroom 3 bath unit in this kind of building would be $185,000, or about $115,000 cheaper than a single family new home.  About 20% of potential residents are expected to qualify for some type of assistance.

Ryan pointed out the area of town that is being considered for this type of neighborhood, near the corner of Elkenburg and Indiana Streets.  He showed us designs that include at least three types of buildings, ranging from the 3Bed 3Bath with two car garage to a stacked arrangement that might include one bedroom homes or apartments.

The next steps will include the city putting together the requirements a potential developer will need to meet, the selection of a developer and getting zoning planned.  The goal would be to have financing set by the end of 2020.

Dan thanked Ryan for his informative presentation and presented him with a virtual speaker’s pen.

We closed the meeting with the Four Way Test.

Our next meeting will be a virtual meeting on May 19th .  Details will arrive in an email from Dan Thompson.

May 19th  Program:  Brian Dissette, Kathy Wagaman and Scott Reinert who will discuss action plans to Promote the South Haven area economy, Help businesses during this critical time and keep us safe going forward.

On May 26th our speaker will be U. S. Congressman Fred Upton.

Greeters:  Don Dobbin and Jerry Gruber

Editarian:  Dene Hadden