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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 — May 1, 1996

A 13-year-old lad who said he deliberately planted two fake bombs at Martin School just to see how authorities would react will be spending a lot time doing community service after a juvenile court ruling.

Architects have revealed “preliminary” plans for $19 million worth of renovations and additions for Hopkins Public Schools in anticipation of a vote on a proposed bond project.

The Wayland community is preparing for the annual Dahlia Springfest celebrations, which this year will include a host of hot-air balloons.

Waitress Edna Hilaski of Dorr, now 80 years old, has outlasted the iconic eight-foot chicken outside the Byron Center Hotel Restaurant as a server.

Roger Wiersema wrote a letter to the editor asking why the Dorr Township Library charges 50 cents apiece for rental of books on tape while Henika Library in Wayland rents them out free.

Fulton Sheen of Otsego has announced his candidacy for Allegan County Treasurer. Of course, he is a Republican. The job pays more than $45,000 annually.

Jan Westendorp wrote a feature piece on area storyteller Bette Fockler, wife of former Wayland City Manager Carl Fockler, who has been practicing her craft in front of a variety of groups for a long time.

The “homeless” Wayland High School track teams won two dual meets in the past week without performing on their own facility. The Wildcat boys are 4-0 in league dual meets.

Randy Orr of Martin, son of coach Joe Orr, has coached Lake Michigan Catholic to five straight state championships in competitive cheerleading.

Hopkins’ Todd Frazee set school records in the 100- (11.1 seconds) and 200-meter dashes (23.47) for Hopkins and Bill Griffey tossed the shot a record 38-73/4, edging out teammate runner-up Rick Mathis.

Toni Newell tossed a one-hitter and Jessica Gilder collected five runs batted in as Hopkins won 19-0 over Kelloggsville in the O-K Silver Conference opener. The Lady Vikings now are 9-3 overall.

The Wayland High School baseball team hiked its overall mark to 6-3. Highlights were home runs by Jason Burgess and Jason VandenBerg. Derek VanLonkhuizen threw a two-hitter and Jason Hilaski unleaded a homer and three RBIs and Tony Paul a solo shot in another victory.

Hopkins now is 10-2 overall in baseball, despite letting a lead slip away against Kelloggsville. Jerry Funk crushed a homer and two singles.

50 Years Ago — April 28, 1971

Brownie Troop 190 members stopped in at the Globe office to get a first-hand look from Robert Riedlinger on how newspapers and other materials are printed.

Only five local residents attended the Wayland Township Board’s annual meeting, where a resolution was adopted to use environmentally friendly materials when paving and constructing township roads.

John DeWeerd, son of Fire Chief Hugh DeWeerd and school board member Dorothy DeWeerd, made the dean’s list at Michigan Technological University in Houghton.

The four-year terms of school board members Donald Lapham and Keith McBride are expiring for the annual Wayland school elections in June.

Achieving perfect 4.0 grade point averages for the fifth marking period at Hopkins High High School were Barbara Merbs, Patricia Pawloski, Darlene Rankins, Sarah Reinhart, Rita Stankey, Katherine Rewa, Lisa Rewa, Linda Bellgraph, William Cabot, James Childs, Debbie Kiser, Carol Wilson, Brownen Haefner and Phillip Lenhart.

United Church of Wayland Pastor James Smith of the Priorities Committee said the group plans to send Republican Congressman Ed Hutchinson a telegram urging him to take action to stop the war in Southeast Asia. Hutchinson unveiled a survey of constituents that showed 49.7% favor continuing President Nixon’s Vietnamization program, 44.9% opposed.

Wayland City Manager John Heffner wrote a column outlining things residents can do while making the transition from septic systems to the city’s sanitary sewer system.

Navy Petty Officer Walter Messer, a 1966 graduate of Wayland High School, is serving aboard the USS Hoel in the South China Sea.

The Globe bowling team, made up of Neil Bultman, Harold and Alvin Truax, Duane Klunder and Arnie Wilde, won the Tuesday night League trophy at Airport Lanes, edging the team sponsored by Nicolai Gulf.

The Wayland track team lost 70-48 to Hamilton, despite strong performances by milers Elwyn Powers, Jim Graham and Mark Predum and sprinters Wayne Thomas and Rich Worfel. Dan Hall added a first in the shot and Mark Schipper in the high jump.

The Wayland golf team carded a school record 156 for nine holes, led by Randy Sandmeyer and Evan Siefert.

75 Years Ago — May 3, 1946

Roscoe French and his English bride, the former Cynthia Mary Lonton, arrived in Wayland after his discharge from the U.S. Navy. He served during the war as an officers’ cook while in Italy and England.

Mrs. Harriet Bostwick suffered a fall from her porch and was taken to Crispe Hospital in Plainwell, which was so busy she was sent home and was treated for her knee injury the next day.

A new church is being formed in Wayland. The Calvary Church is holding services at the former site of the International Odd Fellows Hall (IOFF) until a permanent location can be found.

The Wayland Community Band will have its first rehearsals for the upcoming season at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Tiny Hill, billed as “America’s Biggest Bandleader,” weighing it at 368 pounds, will bring his orchestra to perform Sunday night the Dixie south of town.

Herbert O’Meara, who owned and operated a general store in Hopkins until ill health forced him to retire, died at his home at age 63.

Fire destroyed the farm home of Mr. and Mrs. Hollis Maurer in Hopkins. Firefighters were able to save the barn. Hollis Maurer is a veteran of the world war.

The Allegan County Riding Club will sponsor horse races at the fairgrounds on the first Sunday of each month with as much as $700 in cash prizes.

Albert Deal has been discharged from the U.S. Navy and is returning to Hopkins, where he had served as athletic director and basketball coach.

Recent Wayland High School graduate Donna Jean Blue served as mistress of ceremonies at the Little Symphony Concert in Kalamazoo.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre:

  • Ken Curtis and Cheryl Williams in “Rhythm Roundup.”
  • Wally Brown and Alan Carney in “Radio Stars on Parade.”
  • Jack Haley, Helen Walker, Rudy Vallee, Ozzy Nelson and Art Linkletter in “People Are Funny.”
  • Gene Tierney and Cornell Wilde in “”eace Her to Heaven.”

100 Years Ago — April 29, 1921

A guest lecturer from the health department spoke to the boys at Wayland High School Tuesday morning.

Miss Carol Havens, food specialist at Michigan Agricultural College, presented “The Stuff That Sturdy Children Are Made Of” to the Pomona Grange.

The Martin Community Council is furnishing milk for the demonstration being carried out on 12 underweight children at Martin School.

Onion and potato farmers “find themselves in a very bad predicament, owing to very heavy production thrown on the market right in the middle of a business slump,” opined Alfred Benthall, county ag agent.

August A. Brocker, 66, died at his Wayland-area farm. He was described as “a kind and affectionate husband and father, and though his physical ailment was a great hardship for years, he endured and lived his life with sunshine and happiness to the end.”

Charles Nelson, proprietor of the Wayland Implement business, has sold half his interest to brother, Fred. It will now be known as Nelson Brothers Implement.

Leaders of the Methodist Church are calling attention to the problem of too few young people attending Sunday School.

A community business dinner at the Dixie and meeting at Yeakey’s Hall attracted about 150 people. Fred Ottman of Herpolsheimer’s in Grand Rapids and Lee Higgins of the Watson-Higgens Milling Co. were guest speakers, focusing on difficulties in advertising. It was generally agreed that local newspapers were the best avenue for marketing businesses.

James E. Tanner, 81, died at his rural home in Wayland. Preceded in death by two wives, he was lauded as “a true patron of husbandry.”

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