Posted by Dene Hadden
SPOKES VOL. LXV NO. 44                                                                               May 14, 2019
We were greeted by Jean Stein and Don Kitchin this morning..
President Odland opened the meeting with “God Bless America” and Art Ayers provided the invocation with special thoughts for Jane Copping and Tony Martorano and quick healing.
Our only guest this morning was our speaker, South Haven Police Chief Natalie Thompson.  Her assigned seat was at our “troublesome” table.
No Spotlight this morning.
  • Blessings in a Backpack last filling will be on Friday June 7.
  • On Tuesday May 7th South Haven was announced as one of the first four Pure Michigan Trail Town.  At the event our own Tom Renner was recognized for his service to our community in so many ways.  Congratulations Tom!
  • Thank you to the volunteers for the Sesquicentennial Picnic last Friday.  It was a little cool but also very cool as more than 1,000 people attended.
  • The We Care Golf Outing will be held on June 3rd at Hawkshead.  They are also raffling a Taylor Made driver.  See Bob Straits for tickets and information.
  • The South Haven Theater Series begins this week with a presentation entitled “The Belle of Amherst”, the story of Emily Dickenson.
Not a good day for songs today.Jim Davis drew the short straw and had to lead us in the rather dullish “”Cuddle Up a Little Closer”, a 1908 classic.We followed that with a 1920’s dance craze, “Ballin’ the Jack.We finished much stronger with “Roll Rotary”,
We have a winner!!After weeks of no one drawing the four, or even the three, Richard Swanson pulled out the four and won the pot, collecting #120.00, which he donated back to the club.Don Hodgman again had the lucky $2 ticket.
  • Richard Swanson celebrated the anniversary of his daughter and son-in-law this week.
  • Art Ayers is celebrating the birthdays of two grandsons’ this week.
  • Dene Hadden had numerous celebrations including daughter and son-in-law’s anniversary, different son-in-law’s birthday and birthdays of two granddaughters
  • It was an impressive Ludington Style birthday song this week.
  • Bob Copping reminded us of the South Haven Theater Series performance this week.
  • Tom Renner is getting back in the habit of celebrating the Cub’s being in first place.
  • Bob Stickland is disheartened the U of M will have to find a new basketball coach.  Other member echoed his feelings.
  • Ross Woodhams will be traveling to Germany for two weeks, including attending the Rotary International Convention in Hamburg.
  • Don Hodgman expressed thanks for all of the hard work that Rosalie and Sue and their team did to put together the Sesquicentennial celebration last week.  Job well done!
Don Hodgman introduced our speaker this morning, South Haven Police Chief Natalie Thompson.
Soft spoken Chief Thompson is proud to have risen through the ranks in her twenty-seven years in the SHPD, beginning as an officer and then moving to Sergeant, Deputy Chief and being selected as Chief in 2013.  She is also the niece of Rotarian Dan Thompson.
She began by talking about a new addition to the department, NARCAN kits.  Each officer was trained in the use of the kits.  Since officers are on all SHAES calls and are often the first to arrive, this gives officers the tools they need to potentially save a life.  They also provide information to those treated to get additional treatment to help them.  Since the kits have been assigned, they have been used three times.
The biggest drug problem in our area seems to be heroin and most of that tracks back to the Benton Harbor area where the Southwest Drug Enforcement Team works on tracking major suppliers and sources.  South Haven has two officers assigned to that team.
While Chief Thompson has her concerns about golf cart safety on our streets, there have been no serious accidents over the past two years.  She also was asked about bicycle safety and while they work with kids and bike safety, she believes that more adult education for both bicyclists and drivers is an important next step.
Answering a question about staffing, she indicated that the staffing of her department now stays the same throughout the year, although the number of complaints goes from an average of 250 a month most of the year to as many as 500 a month from May to October.  The addition of South Haven Township to the department’s area has added a big section of I-196 to their patrol area.  She said that there have not been any seasonal officers hired the past two years because there are simply not enough applicants to fill the need.
As concerns about legalized marijuana are brought up, most departments are kind of waiting for county prosecutors to provide some guidance on this issue.  Currently if small amounts of marijuana are found on traffic stops or other situations, no action is taken regarding the marijuana.  She said they have not been involved in any situations during the Curve Inn’s pot events, the liquor commission has cited them for some issues.
Some officers have been trained to identify “under the influence” issues beyond alcohol and she hope to have the entire department trained in the future.
Chief Thompson and her officers are big fans of police body cams and all of her officers use them.  They are easy to use and save video automatically and allow officers to flag situations that may be needed for court at a later time.
Her department has very little contact with ICE and immigration issues.  Most of the few issues that occur in Van Buren County are handled at the county jail.
Don Hodgman made a special point of thanking the chief for her department’s presence at the ice rink and in the Phoenix street area during Halloween.  Natalie thanked Don for the compliment and emphasized her belief in community policing and having officers out of their cars.  She said it has been a struggle sometimes but has been well worth it.
Don Hodgman thanked Chief Thompson for her excellent, well-spoken presentation and for her long and outstanding service to our community.
President Odland closed the meeting with the Four Way Test.
Next week’s program: Bob McAlear: Dr. Michael Vasko “The Other Side of Pot”
Greeters:  Bob Straits and Larry Wittkop
Editarian:  Dene Hadden