Bygone Days: A look at the past in NE Allegan County

(Taken from the archives at the Then & Now Historical Library in downtown Dorr)

25 Years Ago — April 10, 1996

The Pinned Pratt Pony truss bridge in Hopkins Township now is for sale, and it won’t be replaced this year.

Anita Otis of Orangeville pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor mistreatmentof animals. The prosecutor in the case said media sensationalism of the trial blew everything out of proportion. Otis was accused of killing two horses found dead on her property and seriously endangering 13 others.

Monterey Township officials are grappling with the issue of either bringing down the ancient brick community building or renovating and saving it.

Leighton Township officials have decided to have a new library facility built after Dorr Township vacated the old Moline Library and made plans to build a new one in Dorr Township.

Larry Amborski, responding to the previous week’s Soapbox by State Senator Alma Smith Wheeler, insisted that getting more people access to vote will only continue to favor greedy politicians. “They’d better start realizing that it’s middle class working people who pay their wages and keep this nation going.”

Patty Birkholz, Jack Pettet and Leighton Township Supervisor Dar VanderArk have expressed interest in seeking the two-year term for the 88th District State Legislature with recent announcement that longtime State Rep. Paul Hillegonds is retiring.

Pam Rookus and Gary Stout will challenge Wayland school board incumbents Mike Kelly and Diane Butler in the June election.

Bette Fockler presented a personal portrait of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt at the Martin United Methodist Church to help raise funds for Sylvia’s Place.

Eena Frances Herb, 97, matriarch of the Herb Chevrolet family and widow of Roman Herb, died at the Sandy Creek nursing facility in Wayland.

50 Years Ago — April 7, 1971

The Southwest Michigan Regional Science Fair in Holland included local high school winners, particularly sophomore Bob Grafford runner-up with “Effects of Antibiotics, Prep and Medication on Bacteria.” First in their categories were Deb Kirkby and Joy Multer, Roger Calkins, Gib Goodwin and Eric Weber, and Melanie Alflen.

Laverne Lussenden, clerk, and Ed Marcinek, supervisor, have been appointed to succeed Supervisor Arnold Ross and Clerk Frank Dyer, resigned.

Tom Lanning in boys’ oratory, Bob Grafford in extemporaneous speech and Cathy LaValley in girls’ oratory all earned first place accolades in the district forensics competition.

Incumbents Max Barnes and Don Shafer won their seats on the City Council, along with newcomer Robert Swartout. There were seven contestants for the three seats.

The Wayland City Council adopted a resolution to annex the property it chose for the lagoons and sewer treatment plant just north of the city limits on 137th Avenue. The 131-acre property, sold for $64,000 over objections by the Leighton Township Board, formerly was owned by Victor Alflen and Carl Dorman.

Peter Sinke, 84, of Moline died one week after his wife passed at the Brookcrest Nursing Home in Grandville.

The Rev. George Vanderweit of the Christian Reformed Church penned a letter to the editor taking issue with Irv Helmey’s call to support Lt. William Calley, on trial for the My Lai massacre. “Lt. Calley cannot be excused for the butchering and executions of Vietnamese civilians,” he maintained.

Navy Seaman Erwin Doublestein, a 1966 graduate of Wayland High School, is serving aboard the USS Cochrane in the western Pacific.

WHS senior Brent Irwin, who competed in track, wrestling and cross-country, was presented with the annual Japinga Award.

Three Dog Night took over first place in the nation’s music listings with “Joy to the World.”

75 Years Ago — April 12, 1946

Editor-Publisher Rollo G. Mosher insisted the village water shutoff and reboot demonstrated a lot of rust. “It should not be necessary to upset the village’s water supply of clean water,” he wrote. He recommended the village install shutoff gate valves.

Second Lt. Murray Houseman, 24, son of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Houseman, has been declared legally dead after his aircraft was brought down at Showen Island on April 5, 1945.

William H. Sweetland, born in Wayland Township in 1858, died in Florida at his daughter’s home. He owned two retail music stores and worked at International Harvester and his wife of 56 years preceded him.

The Henika Library has received a check for $112.26 from the State of Michigan Equalization Fund.

A chicken pie supper is scheduled at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Church at Gun Lake and a country-style ham dinner is planned by the Catholic Ladies at the Legion Hall.

Artist B. Beverwyck will draw two calvary scenes at a special Good Friday service at the Moline Congregational Church.

Albert Kotrba, 53, died at his home near Robbins School. He had lived at Gun Lake since 1920. He lost son Leonard Kotrba in 1944 during the war in Hawaii.

An operetta will be performed at the Wayland High School auditorium May 2 and 3 by students at the high school.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre:

  • Carol Landis and William Gargan in “Behind Green Lights.”
  • Allen Lane and Jean Rogers in “Gay Blades.”
  • Veronica Lake, Sonny Tufts and Joan Caulfield in “Miss Susie  Slagel’s.”
  • Errol Flynn and Alexis Smith in “San Antonio.”

100 Years Ago — April 8, 1921

A state-wide ballot proposal for a soldiers’ bonus for those serving in the recent world war was approved by voters handily.

Republican Samuel Hanna narrowly defeated independent Charles Ellis, 118-112, for supervisor iun Leighton Township, but the rest of the ticket was dominated by Republicans running unopposed.

Despite customarily being a Democratic township, Dorr was swept by Republicans Robert Williams, William Graczyk, John C. DeWitt and attorney John B. Stockdale.

The Regent Theatre in the village was showing, “Once to Every Woman.”

Regional ministers Dr. F.W. McKendrick and Dr. Ernest Burnham may both drop in at the Wayland Methodist Church Sunday evening as special guest speakers.

Walter Barnum has established a battery shop and the Ehle Building on Superior Street after buying that department at the service garage.

There have been complaints from local citizens about chickens running around the village, damaging newly-planted gardens.

Wayne B. McKlintock director of athletics and head of manual training at Marquette State Normal College, visited Wayland and his parents last week.

Robert Latourette was the first prize winner in the Ladies Library Club’s Musical memory contest, earning $5 and Alta Broughner won a new pair of shoes from the Beall Brotherr for finishing second. Helen Burchardt’s third earned her a Kodak and film.

Howard Tobin of Leighton suffered a bad cut to his scalp when he was struck by a pulley that fell from the top of a windmill.

W.W. Briggs also suffered injury in a fall, hitting the iron gate at the local election booth. He and Tobin were treated by Dr. E.O. Hanlon.

Irene Yeakey was elected president of the Ladies Library Club and Willa Rankins was chosen vice president. The ladies will attend the Camp Fire Girls’ play at Frank’s Opera House.


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