VOL. LXVII NO. 20                                                                              November 24, 2020


I am pleased to be back at the keyboard, writing Spokes again for our club.  I would really like to thank Tom Renner and Art Ayers for stepping up and stepping in as I had my left shoulder repaired.


We began our virtual meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and invocation by Art Ayers with special mention of Jerry Portman and Mike Livovich as they deal with medical situations.


Our guests this morning included Chief Natalie Thompson from the South Haven Police Department (and her three rescue dogs).  We were joined a little later by prospective member Jorge Diaz.


Thanks to those who served at last week’s Thursday Night Dinner where 70 meals were served in 10 minutes.  Our next scheduled day to serve is December 17th.

Bob Stickland wants everyone to know that we will be Bell Ringing on Saturday, December 19th.  He has eleven spots filled already, with only one 10:00 spot left at the bakery.  Lots of spots left at Walmart!  Call Bob to sign up! (269)-214-0376  Call him right now, while you are reading about it

President Thompson mentioned that he called Jerry and Mike last week and enjoyed talking to both men, said it was uplifting, and encouraged other members to give them a call.

President Thompson noted that the current District newsletter has several articles about our club thanks to the hard work and publicity efforts of Tom Renner.  Great job Mr. Renner.  (If you are not getting an email with the newsletter attached, you can see it at the District webpage or check your junk mail.)
We have a Board meeting on December 8th and there will be a club assembly for the last meeting of 2020 on December 15th.  We will elect our officers for the 2021-2022 Rotary year at that time.

A Touch of Humor

Bob Copping provided his usual subtle humor, dealing with pounds and turkeys as is appropriate, this week.

Member Spotlight

Our member spotlight this week focused on new member Dave Campbell.  Dave, who has been a member for about a year, is originally from Lake Orion on the east side of Michigan.  He went to school there and lived almost all of his life there, meeting the future Mrs. Campbell, Kathy, while attending high school and church sponsored sex education classes.  After graduation from Ferris State in accounting, Dave married Kathy who had just graduated from MSU.  He began a career in banking, eventually becoming a key figure in Comerica Banks commercial real estate division.  He retired two years ago and Kathy a year ago and they moved to South Haven, eventually purchasing the former Claude Mann/Dave & Mary Waaso home on Phoenix Street.  They enjoy traveling.  They have three sons, two in the Kalamazoo area and one in the Houston, Texas, area.  Dave and Kathy are also both excellent golfers.  Thanks Dave, for letting us get to know you.

50/50 and Fines

Natalie Thompson selected Tony Martorano’s number for the big prize this week and Steve Larson for the $2 prize.


Fines were charged to:

  • Mary Sue Lyons is celebrating a birthday this week.

  • Jeffrey Dick wishes his wife a cheerful birthday this week.

  • Bob Brickman has a grandson who is 20 this week.

  • Larry Wittkop led us in an unusual “Gobble” birthday song, appropriate for the week.



Dan Thompson introduced our police chief and his niece, Natalie Thompson, as our speaker today.


This writer has had the pleasure of watching Chief Thompson grow in her career at South Haven, from temporary summer officer to patrol officer to Sargent to Assistant Chief to now chief.  What fun!


Natalie is a 1987 graduate of Lawton High School and lateer Western Michigan University.  She has worked in the South Haven Police Department since 1992, becoming Chief of the 20 officer department in 2017.


She began her presentation talking about a topic that is always a high priority with her, the safety of her officers.  She indicated that there was a lot of focus on preventing the spread of COVID-19 to her department and they were fortunate to have access to necessary PPE through the county’s emergency manager.  At this point they have not any officers contract the illness and hope to continue that record so they can continue serving our community at full strength.


She is also a big believer in training, and while she prefers in person situations, knows that that cannot happen right now.  Their current training centers on learning de-escalation and intervention techniques and enforcement.  What she really likes to do is get the community involved in training which makes it even more effective.


She meets regularly with Ward 1 residents and believes that being open and willing to listen and being transparent are key factors in successful community policing.


Our membership had a number of questions for Natalie:

  • Temporary Officers:  There are simply not enough applicants to fill the spots.  She believes that fewer young people are going into law enforcement right now.

  • Township Coverage:  South Haven Township asked to have the South Haven department provide coverage to them several years ago and the city agreed.  It provides more timely service than they were able to get previously.

  • Beaches:  Officers do not go into the water to enforce beach conditions but can warn people about water conditions.

  • Masks:  The department has taken calls asking them to enforce mask wearing.  They just let the offender know that they will need to leave the business if they do not want to wear a mask.

  • Pandemic Changes:  During the pandemic they have noticed an increase in the number of welfare checks and mental health calls they are receiving and maybe some increase in larcenies.

  • Winter travel:  The department will do property vacancy checks if you contact them with the pertinent information.  Jorge Diaz added that he received a call late one night when an open door on his church was spotted by a patrol.

  • Marijuana:  The biggest problem is that some folks think that it is legal anywhere, including public parks and spaces.  That is not the case.

  • Golf Carts:  Natalie expects that they will be doing vehicle inspections on golf carts this spring as the new city ordinances take effect.

  • Mopeds:  Not so much for mopeds.  They are usually up to “code” but the operators may not be experienced.


Uncle Dan thanked Chief Thompson for her very informative presentation and her work for our community, wished her the best of luck in the future and presented her with a gift certificate to Taste, along with a subtle hint about who she should invite to join her.


We closed the meeting with the Four Way Test

  • NEXT WEEK:  Jeremy Burleson will introduce Dr. Trevor Kubatzke, President of Lake Michigan College  

  • GREETERS: Melinda Gruber and Rosalie Plechaty

  • Editarian:  Dene Hadden