Posted by Dene Hadden
SPOKES VOL. LXV NO. 15                                                                               October 9, 2018
Dan Liehr and Larry Wittkop  were our greeters this morning, with assistance from Tom Rummel.
President Mark Odland opened today’s meeting with “America the Beautiful” and Art provided an invocation including our prayers for Julie Weber, Missy Thompson, and Don Hixson.
Our guests included the lovely Jane Copping along with Scott Reinert and our speaker, City Manager Brian Dissette.
Scott Reinert from the Visitor’s Bureau took a few minutes to run down some of the local activities going on in town over the next few months.
  • Saturday is a preview of the movie “Alaska is a Drag” shot in South Haven a couple of years ago.
  • October 19 & 20 is Haven Harvest.  Two bands are scheduled for the pavilion on Saturday evening.  We are heavily invested in this event, serving beer and wine and food.
  • October 22 is the Chamber summit.
  • November 2nd is a planned Christmas lighting event and volunteers are needed to hang Christmas lights all around town.
  • November 8 – 11 is Women’s Only Weekend and numbers look really good for that event.
  • November 23rd is Holiday In the Park with the official tree lighting ceremony
  • New Year’s Eve will see the advent of a new festival, a New Year’s Eve Bash with Phoenix Street closed and a number of activities planned, including a “beach Ball Drop” at midnight.
  • Ice Breaker will be in February
  • South Haven is looking to become one of the first Pure Michigan Trail Towns in the near future.
  • Signups are needed for workers at the Haven Harvest – a list has been sent around.  We will be selling product from Three Blondes, Codgill and McIntosh plus serving food prepared by Taste.
  • Blessings in a Backpack is scheduled for the next two Fridays at Lincoln School, 1:30 PM.
  • The Ram Boosters are looking for some concession stand help on Friday, October 19th
  • Fire Fun Safety Night is this Thursday at the SHAES building.
We had a special conductor this morning as Larry Wittkop took over the baton to lead us in a fan favorite, “Stodola Pumpa” Under his direction we sounded great!Our second song brought back many memories to several of our members as they recalled their own “School Days”. We finished with a rousing “Sing Rotarians”, based on the Otsego High School fight song, “On Otsego”.
Dan Thompson had the lucky ticket this morning and he excitedly looked forward to drawing the winning card.  He drew the lucky seven but being lucky did not turn into winning money.  Scott Mark, however, did win today, taking home $2.
  • Deb Davidson celebrated her grandson Sean’s 13th birthday and her and John’s 21st anniversary.
  • Richard Swanson celebrated a grandson’s birthday
  • Scott and Sue Mark celebrated their anniversary this week.
  • Dene Hadden silently celebrated birthdays for his grandson and son tomorrow.
  • The basket was passed around for folks to pay appropriate fines, including for wins by both U of M and the Lions this weekend.
  • Don’t forget that Big 10 Tuesday has commenced and you can save $.10 a gallon on gas from now through basketball season.
Bob Stickland introduced our speaker, City of South Haven City Manager Brian Dissette
Brian began by describing a scene from the movie “Alaska is a Drag” in which Bob Burr took great pride.
In city business he covered four significant topics.
First, he talked about the Commercial Rehab Act which would allow property owners in the Central Business District and East Broadway to rehab their property and get a tax abatement.  One business is being considered for this currently, at the sight of the former Baptist church on Center Street.
His next topic concerned having Southwest Michigan First from Kalamazoo hold a number of focus sessions to pinpoint needs in our community.  They highlighted four areas to work on:
  • Skills needed
  • Business secession plans
  • Business retention
  • Partnerships with schools
Also completed was a housing market analysis.  This study highlighted three areas of housing that are needed in South Haven, including senior rentals, affordable rentals and affordable workforce rental housing.  There is an immediate need for 60 apartments in town right now.
Brian finished by talking about the possible purchase of All Season’s Marina.  This is an important piece of property for the boating industry in South Haven and its 1200 boats so the city is looking to purchase it to keep the harbor business thriving.  The asking price is between 5.5 and 6.5 million dollars and the city is looking for grants to help cover this cost.
In response to questions, Brian indicated that the city cannot impose a sales or head and bed tax but that  the visitor’s bureau keeps local residents in mind as the develop their programing.
He also indicated that the Hamlin-Overton property is currently under remediation for contaminates but once cleaned it is expected to develop interest from developers.
President Odland thanked Brian for his informative presentation and presented him with one of our valuable speaker’s pens.
President Odland closed the meeting with the Four Way Test
Next week’s program: Larry Lewis will introduce Joel Lautenbach from Samaritas
Next week’s Greeters:  Art Ayers and Jerry Gruber
Editarian:  Dene Hadden