South Haven Sunset -- Monday, September 21, 2020


SPOKES VOL. LXVII NO. 11                                                                              September 22, 2020


President Thompson called the meeting to order at 7:00 AM this morning with the ringing of our Rotary Bell.  He employed the University of Illinois Marching Band to perform the National Anthem for our meeting.  Art Ayers followed with the invocation, including prayers for Pete Swanson and Mike Livovich.


Our guests include potential Ministerial Association Representative Jeffrey Dick, soon to be inducted Angelica Gallegos and our speaker Bill Hunter.



  • Thanks to Don and Carol Hodgman for their generous donation to our Rotary Charities account in memory of Dale Lewis.

  • Jerry Gruber reviewed the ceremony to add Earl Janosky’s name to the plaque commemorating those who lost their lives fighting for our country.  Earl died during the Korean War and the ceremony included a “fly over” (pictured above) on Saturday.

  • We have sold all of our allotted District Raffle tickets.  Thanks to all who chipped in.

  • We heard from the Rotary Region Foundation chair with an update on that foundation’s assets.

  • Bob Copping introduced us to the “dragon” at the George and the Dragon Pub in rural England.

50/50 and Fines

Rhonda Wendzel was delighted to be the winner of our big prize today while Pete Swanson was the $2 winner.  Tom Ruesink is keeping track of the fines each of us are being charged and will collect the money when we resume in person meetings.  He did not mention if he was keeping track of who was winning the prizes so they could collect at that future date.


Fines were charged to:

  • Bill Roberts noted that his son has a birthday this week.

  • Angelica Gallegos’ husband is a year older this week.

  • Mary Due Lyons celebrated the marriage of her grandson this weekend.

  • Tom Renner’s daughter Becky has a birthday this week.

  • Bob Copping complimented Tom for being the gentleman we all know he is when Tom did not mention his daughter’s age in his announcement.

  • Once again, we serenaded the celebrants by singing a Ludington version of the birthday song, vigorously led by our own Larry Wittkop.  Unfortunately a few of us were unmuted during the song and so we had to listen.


Bill Roberts introduced our speaker this morning, Director of Public Works for the City of South Haven Bill Hunter.  Bill, who had a long career in the navy, also served as public works director in North Muskegon, Muskegon and Grand Haven prior to taking the position here.


Bill began by introducing us to the six divisions of the DPW and its six divisions with a total budget of 35.3 million dollars.  There is a division for Operations, Electric, Wastewater, Water, Engineering and WSG.


He then talked about a couple of street projects, including finally getting Dunkley Avenue dried out.  He mentioned that at least four streets will be resurfaced this coming year, including portions of Kalamazoo, Hubbard, Prospect and Michigan streets.


He noted that the river front lights are currently out due to a short in the system which will be fixed at a later date.


The city is moving to put in an advanced meter reading system for all electric meters which offer many advantages and could offer customers many money saving options in the future, in spite of what might be falsely published in the Internet.  Bill noted that the gas company is also going ahead with the addition of an advanced meter reading system in town at this time.


The water and sewer authority is currently working on a facilities replacement plan to cover the next 40 years.


Bill was asked a number of questions by members, including:


Electric rates and upgrades:  We are currently buying electricity on the open market and saving a significant amount of money which will be used to pay for system upgrades, including a new substation to serve the southeast portion of the city.


Unfortunately he did not have such good news for the water system.  First, the big white concrete standpipe on Blue Star Highway has reached the end of its useful life and needs to be replaced.  Also a new pumping station and other infrastructure needs to be added to the system.  Beyond that, we have to replace any service lines that contain lead.  All of this will lead to a probable rate increase for water users although it is Bill’s plan to apply for grants to cover a large portion of these replacements.


In response to a question about Kid’s Corner, he noted that a plan is being developed for that park and the general South Beach area.  We are in line for a grant to cover half of the costs of an upgrade but may not see the money until 2022.


Two concerns were raised about the small park at the end of North Shore Drive.  First, a three foot high sea wall will be added to the park area, paid for, in part, by residents.  That will not alleviate the bubbling up of water from the storm drain but will keep the area drier and safer.  Bill is going to work with Bob Copping about moving some donor bricks to a more visible spot in the park area.  The clock has already been raised so it can continue to keep time for our harbor and walk way users.


Lastly, Bill said that the bids for the library renovation are about to go out and they feel that they have a good contractor ready to go.


President Thompson thanked Bill for his informative presentation and presented him with a gift certificate to one of our fine local eateries.


We closed the meeting with the Four Way Test

NEXT WEEK:  Bill Roberts will introduce three South Haven leaders, including Acting City Manager Kate Hosier, Chamber of Commerce Director Kathy Wagaman and Visitors Bureau Director Scott Reinert.

Editarian:  Dene Hadden