Bloomingdale council survives recall

March 1, 2010 - Leave a Response


For the Tribune

BLOOMINGDALE — Voters in Bloomingdale Village are making it loud and clear they’re not interested in voting for a new council.

This past Tuesday voters headed to the polls to determine if five members of the village council would keep their elected posts, and by the end of the day, all retained their jobs by more than a 2-1 margin.

For President Tom Rock there were 45 votes in favor of recall, 118 against; President pro tem Tom Barczak 49-115; Council member Shirley Noble 52-111; Council member Toni Rankin 40-123

and Council member William Rawlings 54-109.

“I am happy with the outcome,” said Village President Tom Rock. “We will continue to proceed to do business as usual. We did not let this recall affect the operation of the village. Apparently, the people are happy with the council.”  The other council members could not be reached for comment.

The election ends six months of controversy that was sparked when village resident Steve Spiece, organized a recall effort claiming that the council’s decision to fire former Police chief John Josten was contrary to the will of the citizens. The council chose to terminate Josten’s position after he had been convicted for misdemeanor domestic violence.

Prior to the recall election, Rock defended the council’s decision.

“We have addressed health, safety and welfare of the village residents,” he said. “We would not rescind any decisions that we have made and we are proud of what we have done for the

village of Bloomingdale.”

Spiece could not be reached for comment after the election.


Nine area wrestlers qualify for Palace – Three each going from Bangor, Covert, and South Haven

March 1, 2010 - Leave a Response


Tribune Staff Writer

Although their teams have already been eliminated in post-season wrestling, nine area grapplers will head to the Palace in Auburn Hills to compete in the individual competitions at the state finals this weekend.

South Haven Rams making the trip are Jose Zuniga (119 lbs), David Ward (145), and Allen Antonson (189). Zuniga was the regional champion and will start the competition against a #4 seed wrestler. Antonson was a regional runner-up and will face a #3 seed, and Ward took third in the Hamilton region. “We hope they get two wins before they get two losses. That’s what gets them in to the placing round,” said Ram Coach Tim Simpson.

Covert sends Ivan Gallegos (103 lbs) who took second place at the regional held in Bangor while his teammates Kysean Wright (152), and Juan Aburto (171) took thirds. Gallegos and Aburto are making their second trips to the Palace. “They kind of know the drill,” said Bulldog Coach Vincent Gervais. “Hopefully there’s not that ‘awe’ factor thing (for them).”

Corey Wollin (112 lbs), David Tyler (160), and Dan Efting (125) will battle in the three-day affair from Bangor. Efting and Tyler were both regional champions and gained top seeds for the Auburn Hills starts while Wollin starts as a #3 seed.

All three coaches mentioned the difficulty of getting past the enormity of the competition, especially for wrestlers getting their first shot on the Palace floor. Bangor Coach Dennis Paquette explained it best, “This is David’s (Tyler) second trip and Dan’s (Efting) third so they will not be as intimidated by the size of the floor. Nothing will be new to them. What we try to say is ‘Let’s not let the bright lights get us.” One year as we were getting out of the car we had one of our young kids look at the building and ask ‘This is where we’re wrestling?’ and we literally watched all the blood drain from his face. He went ghost white and we thought he was going to faint.”

The matches run from Thursday through Saturday starting at 8 a.m.

Feb. 28, printed obituaries

March 1, 2010 - One Response

Eva Roslyn Janda

Eva Roslyn Janda, 82, of South Haven, died Monday, February 22 at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo.

She was born December 24, 1927 in Adrian, Mich. to Robert M. and Eva V. (Fish) Cummings.  Eva worked as a Nurse’s Aid for 25 years at Restwood, Martin Luther Nursing Home and she worked most recently at the Maritime Museum in South Haven.  She was a member of St. Basil Catholic Church.

She is preceded in death along with her parents by two daughters – Mary Louise Burrows, who died in 1971, and Kellie Wright; and sisters – Marian Burrows, in 1965, and Lolita Evans.

She is survived by two daughters – Linda (Walter) Nachtigal of South Haven, and Eva Marie (Jim) Hunt of Holland; seven grandchildren — Bobbie Sue Bariess, Ron Howe, Jamie Pentinga, Darren Wagoner, Kristina Howerton, Heather Lorenzi, and Jon Nachtigal; fifteen great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren; one sister, Jean Price of Lake Wales, Fla., also survives.

Family graveside services will take place in the spring at Lakeview Cemetery in South Haven.  Memorial contributions can be made to St. Basil Catholic Church or Michigan Maritime Museum.  Kindly share your thoughts and memories on the Family’s online guest book at

The family is being helped by the Filbrandt Family Funeral Home of South Haven 637-0333.

Mary L. Johnson

Mary L. Johnson, 64, of Bangor, passed away, Thursday, February 18, 2010 at South Haven Community Hospital.  

She was born June 21, 1945 in Altheimer, Ark. to Charlie and Allene Harris.  On January 14, 1967 she married Rufus Johnson.  Mary was well known at the Bangor Community Center for helping others and served as the director for four years.  She was an avid fisher and enjoyed gardening.  

Surviving are her husband, Rufus Johnson; two children — Denise and Rufus Jr.; a granddaughter; her mother, Allene; and a host of nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.  

She was preceded in death by her father, Charlie Harris in 2004.  

The family met friends Friday, February 26, at the Bangor Chapel, D. L. Miller Funeral Home, and a memorial service is planned for 2:00 p.m. Sunday, February 28, 2010 at the Bangor Seventh Day Adventist Church, with Pastor Kevin Scott officiating.  The family suggests memorials be made to the SDA Community Services “Bangor Community Center”.

Walter Paul Neubauer

Walter Paul Neubauer, 89, of Watervliet, died Tuesday, February 23 at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo.

He was born November 20, 1920 in Radegast, Germany to Herman and Luise (Anke) Neubauer.  He married Ruth Heinenbruch in 1955 in New Jersey. Walter worked as a tailor for Saks 5th Ave. in New York, Detroit and Ann Arbor for over 30 years. He also worked as a master tailor for James Davis Clothiers in Memphis, Tenn., retiring in 1984.  Walter was baptized in 1991 and was a member of the Lakeshore Church of Christ in South Haven.  Walter enjoyed HO model trains.

He is preceded in death along with his parents by his wife Ruth Neubauer, who died in 1983; and three brothers – Herman, Gregory and Albert Neubauer.

He is survived by his two sons – Holger (Gloria) Neubauer of Watervliet, Mich., and Eric (Elizabeth) Neubauer of Elpaso, Texas; one daughter, Germaine Smith of Chesapeake, Va.; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren also survive.

Memorial services were Saturday, February 27 at 10:00 a.m. at the Lakeshore Church of Christ with Brother Holger Neubauer officiating.  Burial took place at Memorial Park Cemetery in Memphis, Tenn.  Memorial contributions can be made to Lakeshore Church of Christ at 19979 M-140 Hwy. South Haven, MI 49090.  Kindly share your thoughts and memories on the family’s online guest book at

  The family is being helped by the Filbrandt Family Funeral Home of South Haven 637-0333.

Jimmy D. Petty

Jimmy “Jim” D. Petty, 67, of Grand Junction, passed away Friday, Feb 19, 2010, at his home.  

Jimmy was born October 5, 1942, in Milan, Tenn., the son of Arthur and Pearl Petty.  Jimmy loved hunting, fishing, golfing, playing poker, and shooting pool.  He had served the Bloomingdale community in many ways from being Village Clerk, firefighter, member of the Jaycees and being a lifetime member of the Bloomingdale Conservation Club.  

He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Shirley; three children — Mendy (Edward) Swearingen of Grand Junction, Tandy (Steven) Larson of Allegan, Carrie Levering of Grand Junction; six grandchildren — Jennifer, Michael, Eddie, Elaine, Jenny Lynn and Robby; five great-grandchildren — Andrew, Alyssa, Alex, Zack and Kory; a brother, Haze Petty of Tenn.; several nieces, nephews and cousins.  

He was preceded in death by his parents and a sister, Inell Clardy.  

Services were held Wednesday, Feb. 24, at the Bloomingdale Chapel, D. L. Miller Funeral Home,, Pastor Tim Secord officiating.  The family suggests memorial contributions to the American Heart Association. 

Allan W. Reinmuller

Allan W. Reinmuller, 48, of Grand Junction, passed away Sunday, Feb. 21, 2010 at his home.  

Allan was born Oct. 29, 1961 in Haledon, NJ, the son of William and Dorothy Reinmuller.  Allan enjoyed target shooting, photography, writing Christian short stories, telling stories of his days as a skydiver and a private pilot.  He also enjoyed Christian books and movies.  He was a devout Christian and attended Merson Church.  He especially loved spending time with his family and friends.  

He is survived by his wife, Cathy, whom he married Aug. 16, 1986; three sons — Casey, Zachary, and Alex; two daughters — Mandy and Rachel; his in-laws — Robert Baxter and Mildred Creighton; two cousins — Jeff and Wayne Kuehn; two uncles — Art Kuehn and Hal (Maryalice) Reinmuller; two aunts — Amy Masarek and Charlotte Neary.  

He was preceded in death by his parents; an aunt, Lois Kuehn; two uncles — Steve Masarek, and Bob Neary.   

A private burial has taken place.  A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 6 at 1 p.m. at Merson Church.  Memorial contributions may be made to the family to assist with funeral expenses.  Arrangements by the BLOOMINGDALE CHAPEL, D. L. Miller Funeral Home,

Five Bloomingdale Village Council members face recall

February 22, 2010 - Leave a Response


For the Tribune

BLOOMINGDALE — The five Bloomingdale Village Council trustees that are subject to a recall election are ready to make a unified statement before voters head to the polls on Tuesday.

Former council member Steve Spiece successfully circulated recall petitions against President Tom Rock, President pro tem Tom Barczak and trustees Toni Rankin, Williams Rawlings and Shirley Noble after

they voted last year to fire Police Chief John Josten following his conviction for misdemeanor domestic violence.

The five members had a chance to file justifications for their actions that would have appeared on Tuesday’s ballot, however, none of them did so.

After last week’s village meeting, however, the trustees, minus Barczak, who was absent, agreed to a group interview to address the allegations being made against them.

“The five of us being recalled would make the statement that we have performed in a responsible manner,” said Rock. “We have addressed health, safety and welfare of the village residents. We would not rescind any decisions that we have made and we are proud of what we have done for the village of Bloomingdale.

“There is a lot of untruths to the statements and the allegations,” Rock continued, “that the news media has failed to respond to.”

The petitions allege that the trustees voted against the majority of village residents, who wanted to retain Josten. Spiece also alleged that Rock, Rankin and Rawlings each has an alleged personal bias against Josten. Therefore, they should have abstained from voting.

Rock’s alleged bias resulted “from his arrest and conviction for assault by Chief Josten.” Rankin’s alleged bias stemmed from “the arrest of her grandson by Chief Josten.” Rawlings’ bias was allegedly due to “his arrest for domestic violence by Chief Josten.”

In checking with Seventh District Court records, Rock had been charged with assault and disturbing the peace in 2008. The assault charge was later dropped, and he pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace.

Josten served as the village’s police chief since 1993. The council decided to remove Josten following his arrest and guilty plea to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in Allegan County. If he complies with court requirements for a year, the assault and battery charge can be dropped.

After he was fired, Josten brought a lawsuit against the village alleging breach of contract. In the settlement, the village paid him $19,000, of which $10,000 was covered by insurance.

The Village Council has not chosen to replace Josten’s position. Since he was the only person on the police force, the police force has been inactive.

Cash-strapped South Haven Schools considers selling lakefront Packard Park property

February 22, 2010 - Leave a Response


For the Tribune

South Haven’s Packard Park is one of several city’s  beach parks on Lake Michigan, and quite a popular spot in the summer months.

Unlike other city parks, however, Packard is actually owned by South Haven Schools, which is now considering sale of the site as part of a number of ways to reduce its budget. 

Board members last week asked Superintendent Bob Black to look into details related to the possible sale of the site, including discussions with city officials about the idea.

Board Trustee Joe DeGrandchamp brought up the proposal during a lengthy board discussion on possible ways to increase revenues and reduce costs.

“To me (the sale of the park site) is the biggest bang for the buck,” DeGrandchamp said. “Lakefront (property) is one of those properties that, while not immune from the recession, certainly does not take the hit that other properties do.”

Some board members said they had concerns about the sale, due to the long-term lease the city currently has to operate the park.

But Vice President Corey Davis said he wasn’t concerned about that.

“It’s our property. We can sell it,” Davis said. “We are the owner of the property. We don’t have to ask (the city’s) permission.”

Some other properties owned by the district could also be sold, including a site near Maple Grove Elementary and one near Baseline Middle School.

Another major discussion topic for reducing expenses is cutting the athletics budget. The board agreed that Athletic Director Dave Gumpert make recommendations on what to cut from the athletics budget.

Athletic cuts that have been considered include reduced pay for coaches and reducing or eliminating transportation. The board consensus, however, is not to eliminate freshmen sports.

The district is considering budget cuts due to the continued loss of state funding.

Now is the time to study possible future budget cuts, before there is a full-fledged crisis at hand, DeGrandchamp stressed.

“If we don’t make plans in advance, and the shoe falls, we’re going to be scrambling and it’s going to be ugly,” he said.

In other district news, a special board meeting will likely be held next month to interview architect firms for next year’s planned high school bond effort, Black said.

The district received 11 proposals from firms interested in helping the district with the design work related to the proposed high school renovations.

District officials earlier thought that the board would be ready to interview two or three firms last week, but more time for review is needed, the superintendent said.

“We’re still reviewing them,” Black said. “We hope to have our review done by the end of the month. If we can get our short list, we can get them in for interviews before the regular March meeting (on March 17).”

Ideally, a special meeting will be held for that purpose sometime between March 4 and March 16, he said.

Also last week, high school custodian Patty Bales urged the board to carefully consider a possible shift to privatizing custodial services. She said the board should make sure it is comparing “apples to apples” when analyzing possible cost saving and the services to be provided.

Trustee Charlie Dotson has been encouraging more district residents to attend the ongoing School Improvement Committee meetings. The next meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, in the high school media center.