SPOKES VOL. LXVII NO. 12                                                                              September 29, 2020




We were called to order at 7:00 AM this morning after several minutes of cordial conversation.  President Thompson opened the meeting by introducing Irving Berlin who, accompanied by a chorus of Girl and Boy Scouts sang “God Bless America”.  Art Ayers provided the invocation which included words of prayer for the family of Rotarian Dick Averill who passed away this weekend.  Dick joined Rotary in 2002 and served as president in 2007-8. Art also included Marty Graber who suffered a blood clot in his lung, and Mike Livovich with his continuing cancer treatment in our prayers.


Our guests include potential Ministerial Association Representative Jeffrey Dick, and our speakers Kathy Wagaman and Scott Reinert.


  • The family of Dick Averill indicated that they have asked that donations in his memory be made to our club.  Our website can handle that.

  • Greeters – You will need to resume your duties!  Next week Kaileigh Eddy will take on the role and how the membership committee would like to move forward.  Tune in to see what we are trying to accomplish and then check the list on the website to see when your turn is scheduled.  It will also be posted in Spokes each week.

  • There will be a breakfast survey distributed later this week as we reevaluate what we want to do about breakfasts once we get back to in-person meetings.

  • Congratulations to Kaileigh Eddy’s husband Mark and his South Haven Varsity Football team on their victory over Niles last Friday, the first victory for South Haven in several years.

  • Also congratulations to Kevin Schooley’s daughter Katy who was named Miss Blossomtime runner up this weekend.

  • President Thompson promises some “lively music” to help get us moving at the beginning of our meetings in the future.  How about the Rolling Stones’ “Start Me Up”?

  • Bob Copping told us the story of someone’s “shrinking patience”.

Induction of a New Member

President Thompson presented Angelica Gallegos Dickerson to the club and her sponsor, Rosalie Plechaty provided her to the club for induction.  Angelica has her masters in management and is manager of occupancy at the South Haven Housing Commission.  Rosalie describes her as friendly, outgoing and a hard worker.  President Thompson presented Angelica with her membership paraphernalia and welcomed her into our club.  Welcome aboard!! 

50/50 and Fines

Melinda Gruber was the big winner this week while Korky Ingersol has the opportunity to try and collect the $2 prize.


Fines were charged to:

  • Art Ayers’s son Graham turns 35 this week.

  • Jeffrey Dick has several birthdays in his family:  Son Joshua, daughter Jasmine and daughter-in-law Shawnda are all a year older.

  • Deb Davidson’s daughter is celebrating a birthday this week.

  • Once again, we serenaded the celebrants by singing a Ludington version of the birthday song, led vigorously led by our own Larry Wittkop.


Bill Roberts introduced our speakers this morning:  Scott Reinert from the Visitors and Convention Bureau and Kathy Wagamon from the Chamber of Commerce.


Scott Reinert reminded us that when he talked to us in May he was beginning to get the impression that things were going to pick up after a pretty dismal April and May and he was right.  Lifting of some of the travel restrictions by the governor and the desire of people to travel locally led to overnight stays increasing.  Since May, visitors to town have increased with July and August numbers within 15% of usual and September numbers possibly above normal.


Scott was pleased with the cooperation the business community has had with the Van Buren Health Department and Bronson Health Group in keeping the COVID-19 virus under control so far.


Kathy began with two pieces of not-so-good news.  First revenues for local small businesses were down, as expected, so far this year and that businesses were having difficulty finding workers with many help wanted signs posted around town.  She did say that unemployment is down significantly since earlier this year and consumer spending is nearly back to normal.  She also indicated that the housing market was exceptionally strong, keeping realtors busy.


An interesting aspect of the economy is the increase in the number of new businesses starting up, about 125% higher than normal.  Kathy attributes that to a couple of factors, including people who were unemployed or under employed deciding to start something for themselves.  Perhaps an idea they had been working on or something entirely new.  Kathy was confident that some of these new startups could become significant employers in our community in the future.  She reminded us that her office has many resources to support new businesses and anyone in this position or who knows someone thinking of starting a business should contact her.


She also indicated that several local businesses applied for and received COVID loans and grants through government programs and they are working with them to make sure they follow the correct procedures to get loans forgiven, if possible.


She wanted to thank her 419 members for remaining strong throughout this crisis and they hope to continue to support them as things head back to normal.


She reminded us that they will be holding their annual Business Awards Celebration on Tuesday, October 6th, virtually.  If you buy a ticket you get a chance to win a big screen TV!  She was also pleased to announce the our club will be receiving an award that evening and the Mark Odland and Dan Thompson will be there to accept it, along with any other club members who want to buy a ticket.


We finished the presentation by reminding everyone that South Haven Monopoly games are available at the Convention Bureau office and make great Christmas presents.


President Thompson thanked Kathy and Scott for their updates and presented them with gift certificates to Phoenix Street Café and Clementine’s as thanks for joining us.


We closed the meeting with the Four Way Test

  • NEXT WEEK:  Kaileigh Eddy will introduce Al Pscholka, Vice President, Public Relations and Government Affairs at Kinexus: Economy, Workforce, Community 

  • GREETER: Kaileigh Eddy


Editarian:  Dene Hadden