SPOKES VOL. LXVIII NO. 9                                                                              September 21, 2021


President Bill Roberts called our meeting to order with the Pledge of Allegiance.  Jeffrey Dick provided our invocation, including thanks for the upcoming Fall season and for our opportunity to serve.


Our guest this morning included prospective members Dan Hullinger and John Mellein, transfer in waiting Sondra Reno and our speaker Jennifer Sistrunk


  • Sandro Reno will become our new Editarian, transitioning in over the next few weeks.

  • Board Meeting Results:
    - Approval of our two new members John and Dana who will be formally inducted in a minute.
    - Approved a $250 grant to SHAES for educational materials Fire Safety Training.
    - The board approved the nomination of the Marcoux family for the district Golden Trowel Award. If our nomination is selected the award will be given at a dinner on October 26, 2021 in Hastings Michigan.
    - Approved a donation of $500 dollars to Peace Church for the use of their facilities. Research continues into when we make a donation for the use the storage facility for our pancake breakfast trailers.
    - The board had previously approved a grant to Foundry Hall to support the Jazz Festival which was later cancelled. We had not yet sent them the check and decided to rescind the grant since the event was canceled.
    - The board reviewed the $150.00 annual dues that each member pays and voted not to increase dues at this time. I believe that this was a campaign promise from the current president.
    - The Christmas Party planning is in full swing headed up by Rhonda. 
    - September 21st will be the rotary visioning session at Peace Lutheran. Board members and attendees have been contacted.
    October 11th is the We Care Golf Outing.
    - Salvation Army Bell Ringing committee is Griffin Graham, Mike Livovich and Sondra Reno.

  • Marty Graber is back in Kenya and attended our meeting via Zoom. Amazing!

  • There is a great article on the Kenya project in today’s Herald-Palladium

  • Brochures about last week’s meeting: The Hope-Western Prison Education Program were provided to members.

  • We were encouraged to sign up for Amazon Smile, a program which donates a small amount of each purchase amount to the charity of your choice.  (Select South Haven Rotary in your Amazon account)

  • Discover New Horizons. Rotary International Convention will be in Houston Texas USA, June 4-8, 2022. Register today at convention.rotary.org

 New Member Induction
President Roberts Inducted two new members into our club this morning.  He centered the induction around Rotary’s objectives and our motto, “Service above Self”.  Dana Hullinger, sponsored by Bob Straits and John Mellien, sponsored by Tom Fleming, were officially inducted and provided with their badges and new member folders.  Welcome Dana and John!

50/50 and Fines
For the third week in a row, Sondra Reno had the winning ticket.  This time, however her luck ran out as she drew the ace.  After several tries, Tom Rummel was discovered to have the $2 winner.
Bob Boerma’s grandson is celebrating a birthday this week.

  • Jean Stein’s granddaughter turns 4 this week.

  • Jerry Portman has a granddaughter turning 18.

  • Larry Wittkop arranged for Louis Armstrong to sing our Happy Birthday song this week – no easy task

  • In Happy Buck News:

  • Kaleigh Eddy reminded us that the Ram’s of South Haven are celebrating Homecoming this week.

  • Many members were happy with the results of football games this weekend (Not including Monday) as the Blue, the Green, the Brown and Gold and the Purple and Gold all won.

  • Deb Davidson was proud to watch her grandson in his new SHHS Purple Pride uniform Friday night.

  • Jerry Portman’s grandson’s father became a Principal in the Watervliet School system.


Deb Davidson introduced our speaker this morning, Jennifer Sistrunk, Executive Director of the South Haven/Van Buren Visitor and Convention Bureau.  Deb had the pleasure of working with Jen on several projects through the DDA.


The CVB is funded through P.A. 59 that allows organizations like the CVB to assess lodging establishments a room fee for each room they have occupied.  In Van Buren County that assessment is 5% added to the cost of each room.  Each lodging establishment with 10 or more rooms is required to sign a contract and pay the CVB that assessment.  Currently there are thirty-eight establishments that belong to our CVB.  Airbnb’s and short term rentals are not members currently unless they are under a management company.  There is work being done on legislation that would require establishments like these to be included in the assessment group.


Jen introduced the staff in the office, including their cat!She explained how the Bureau promotes South Haven, including in print via the brochures they design and print for distribution here and places far and away.  They also do lots of digital work including on-line advertising and accounts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other Internet programs.  Many of us have seen the three consecutive double billboards on I-94 south of the US-31 exit that do a great job of showcasing our community.  They also work in partnership with other organizations to promote our town and help media like TV, Radio and other broadcast media cover South Haven.


The CVB also sponsors event that they hope will bring guests into local establishments.  This year the Year Year’s Eve Celebration will return, including fireworks and they hope the Jazz Festival will return next fall.


Jen di say that occupancy during COVID-19 was down here by about 8% where other places saw a 50% drop off.  Occupancy is back up now, setting a record this summer.


One of the other areas of work for the CVB is community enhancement projects.  They played a part in getting the disc golf course set up, contributed to the splash pad and provides signage for out Pure Michigan Trail Town designation.  She noted that we are the western end of Trail 1 in the Michigan bike trail system which runs from here to Saginaw.


They also provide a program to local 5th grade students, introducing them to the Kal-Haven Trail and other outdoor possibilities for them to enjoy our community.


Future projects include the installation of a Kayak launch ramp on Phoenix Street, downtown restroom renovation and murals.


They are also working with the Michigan Maritime Museum to provide space of small conventions or regional meeting space.


Basically, Jen says, they promote everything South Haven.


President Roberts thanked Jennifer for her excellent presentation and presented her with our speakers’ thank you gift, a Shell gas card.


Bill adjourned the meeting with the Four Way Test at 8:00 AM

  • NEXT WEEK:   Adam Verseput, Athletic Director at South Haven High School and the president of the Ram Booster’s organization.

  • Editarian:  Dene Hadden