Serving Vanderbilt and environs since 1956

June 20, 2018


‘June Bug’ Dance This Saturday

by Tom Serino

Where can you find live music for your dancing enjoyment? Right here in Vanderbilt. A June Bug dinner dance, starting at 6 p.m. with live music, a nice hot meal, and beverages has been set for this Saturday, June 23 at the Elkland Center, 7910 Arthur Street in Vanderbilt. The dance will give everyone a chance to get their dancing shoes on, and have a great night. The dance lasts from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and is for adults of all ages. And if you don’t dance, you can still enjoy the music, eat some great food and watch the dancers, all for only $5 per person. That is a great price for four hours of fun, food and great fellowship. A wide variety music including country, slow, fast and polka and even some ballroom dancing is provided by ‘The Lucky Stars’ and breaks only for an intermission while dinner is served, around 8 p.m. There is always plenty of food, since anyone wishing to bring their favorite dish to pass is welcome and encouraged! Also, the Elkhorn Grill and Mill Street Pizza donate great pizza for our event every dance to make sure we have plenty of delicious food for everyone! Beverages provided include coffee, punch, or tea or you can ‘bring your own’. Bring a friend, or family member to enjoy some great fun! The dance is sponsored by the Otsego County Senior Citizen’s Housing Corporation.

VAS Hosts Magical Summer Reading

by Debbie Badgley, Kindergarted teacher

Vanderbilt Area Schools is hosting a Reading is Magical Summer Reading Program. It began on June 13 and will continue until Aug 15th. However it will be closed July 4th. The program will be held at the VAS Reading Room from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. with stories and activities beginning at 11 a.m. The event will be hosted by Vanderbilt school teachers Mrs. Badgley, Ms. Edgmon or Mrs. Respecki. During this six week program, Vanderbilt Area School K-6 students may come with an adult and check out books to take home or read in the reading room. Students can drop in at any time during the two hour time frame.

Family Reading Night a Success at Vanderbilt School

by Cece Edgmon, 1st Grade Teacher at VAS

The annual VAS Family Reading Night held March 20th had a great turnout. Children learned about how the average person can make a difference and help save the planet. It was a cooperative effort through the donations and hard work by Doug and Shelley Slagel ofMill Street Pizza, who prepared a wonderful spaghetti dinner, complete with breadsticks and salad. Our wonderful and generous VAS/PTO members prepared a delicious dessert table with plates of pies, cookies, and brownies. As if that weren’t enough goodies, the PTO made popcorn to munch on and Pigeon River Baptist Church had plates of cookies at their table. Not to be outdone, Tools to Teach donated six items ranging from books to educational puzzles, and Saturn Booksellers donated four $5.00 gift cards. The Pigeon River Discovery Center, Otsego County Library, and many Early Childhood tables who gave away book bags for young readers, are some of the many organizations that were in attendance.

My Vacation 2007

By Tom Serino

Well, here I am back from my vacation to Japan. The first trip back there in 18 years. It was a fun trip, with lots of things to do, great food to eat, and lots of my wife’s family to meet and spend some time. The trip was eventful with a lot of new experiences. Things have advanced greatly in the past 20 years. For example, the new trains are faster, very roomy, with very nice bathrooms. I say that since on the last leg of my journey there, after landing in Sapporo, I took the express train to Wakkanai, about a 5 hour trip. I had to use the bathroom and there is one conveniently located every second car, so that passengers don’t have to travel too far to get to one. The doors open easily at the push of a button. They also close easily, but you have to remember to push the button. As I left the bathroom, I touched the door to enter the passenger car and the door opened, but then I noticed that the bathroom door was still open, so I stepped with one foot and pushed the button, so the door closed. That left me with my legs spread wide apart, as well as my arms, so that when the train shifted around a fast corner my body went crashing into the wall, giving me my first view of stars during daylight hours and a black eye. At age 58, it was painful, but I can take it. I went and sat down. The next day, my son and I ventured to Rebun. Rebun island is the most northern island of Japan and south of Sakhalin, Russia. The weather there is bitterly cold in winter time. However, it does contain many beautiful scenery for one to see. It is also called the Island of Flowers because there is a great variety of flowers over the island in summer time. Anyway, there are two courses, an 8 hour trek and a 3 hour trek. My son agreed to the 3 hour trek with his Dad. The 3 hours meant 3 hours up, and it took us about 2 hours to come down the mountain, and another hour to walk back to the main town Kafuka, to eat and then catch the ferry back to Wakkanai. I suggested taking the bus, but Kenichi thought it was a great weather for a walk, which it was. It would have only cost us a dollar each for the bus ride to the ferry. And I figured it would be a buck well-spent. But we walked. It took my legs 3 days to recover. At my age it takes longer, I guess. Lastly, the trip to the main family farm, owned by brother in law Haruo Watanabe. It is a dairy farm with 84 cows, and since we stayed there, I felt compelled to help, along with my wife Fumiko and son Kenichi, in the barn. My wife and son had been there off an on during their two month stay in Japan, and I was only there 4 days, and it was nice to help out and learn about the dairy farm business. Helping out meant twice a day, once at 6 a.m. and later at 5 p.m. cleaning out the barn, the stalls with the cows in them, and then feeding them hay. I became good friends with the cows, as they became intimate with me, licking every part of me as I tried to clean manure from under their feet and inside the stalls. One cow especially gave me a rough time. I struggled three days, thats six times, with this one cow who seemed to like me a lot. On the third day, she pushed me so hard I lost my footing and I don’t know what I hit, but found myself holding on to a post in the stall, so I wouldn’t be on the floor, and the cow was right up against me. I was dazed and suffered a large scratch and bruise to the top of my forehead. I did manage to stay off the floor, and also learned how to use the other cow in the stall to keep the seemingly agressive cow away from myself. On the last day, I dreaded going into that one stall, but I figured I had to meet my fear head on, so I did, keeping the tamer cow between myself and the agressive cow. About a minute or two before I completed cleaning the task, and after what seemed a lot of maneuvering of the two cows, my wife came over and cautioned me, saying, “You need to watch out for that one cow, she’s in heat.” At my age, I’m still learning.

Vanderbilt Adopts $166,363 Budget

by Tom Serino

The Village of Vanderbilt adopted a $166,363 budget for the 2018-2019 fiscal year, beginning April 1st. at budget hearing held Monday, February 5, 2018. The budget hearing was held in conjunction with the Village meeting. The new budget excedes last years’ budget by only $2,539, and is tied to the increase in expenditures. There is no increase in millage rates for Vanderbilt residents which remains at 9 mil for the general fund and an additional 1 mil for local streets. Annmarie Deeter, Clerk and Office Manager for the village explained in a 2018-2019 Budget Hearing Letter to the Public that the revenue figures were “estimates” as final numbers from Vern Kassuba, Corwith Township Assessor, may change due to Board of Review hearings as well as other tax adjustments over the next coming weeks. Deeter went on to highlight some of the projects planned for the village which will include: the Village work on the upcoming Trailhead Project with the township. That work includes street work on Cheboygan Street, new parallel parking along the Trailhead Project; and an improvement to the drainage system on Cheboygan Street. Deeter also highlighted a revitalizing the Vanderbilt Memorial Park. As far as wages, the only pay raised allowed was that of the zoning administrator, Judi Yurack. Councilman Ray Musall cited the pay raise as necessary due to the large number of hours that the zoning administrator has been working. That pay raise was minimal, going from a very low $65 per month to only $85 per month. In other news, the village council appointed Randy Cherwinski as code enforcement officer for the village. Cherwinski is a new face on the council, being appointed in December 2017 to fill a vacant trustee position. Both Yurack and Cherwinski have also been recently appointed to serve as the village representatives on the Parks and Recreation Committee, which acts in an advisory capacity to the Corwith township board, and its duties will include reviewing the plans and specifications of the GatewayTrailhead Project. The Gateway Trailhead Project will consist of building new park facilities along Cheboygan Street in Vanderbilt. That project is being made possible with a $300,000 grant from the Michigan Dept. of Natural Resources DNR, along with matching funds from the village of Vanderbilt, and area businesses and Otsego County. Finally, the village voted to host Settlement Night on April 2, with the regular monthly meeting adjourned until Monday, April 9th at the Corwith Township Hall.

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Publishers Note:

by Tom Serino

HEY! We make mistakes! While it is not our policy to make mistakes in every edition of OUR HOME TOWN News, that has been our practice ... If you find a mistake, please feel free to point it out to us.

Gas Savings Tips for the Thrifty

by Tom Serino

At $2.91 per gallon of gas prices are high, but there are some ways to save gas that are well worth consideration. According to energy tips at Yahoo, MSN-Money you can get up to 50 m.p.g. if you drive your car with a goal to save gas. Some of the tips found at Yahoo, and MSN-Money include: 1. Jack rabbit starts burn gas. When leaving a stop sign or green light, press lightly on the gas.. you will still move forward, albeit slower, but the you might be surprised at how little it takes to get the car up to the speed limit in town. 2. Racing up to red lights While driving you see a red light up ahead. Take your foot off the gas. If you’re still doing 45 m.p.h. when you reach the light, you’ll be burning up your disc brakes to stop. It’s a lot cheaper to let your car coast to the stop while braking gently. As an added benefit, your brake pads will last longer, too. These two tips alone can improve your fuel economy around town by as much as 35 percent, according to tests conducted by automotive information on the Web site Edmunds.com. 3. Highway driving. On a recent trip to Grand Rapids, I drove my Honda CRV, a small S.U.V at or below 62 m.p.h on the expressway, and on M-55 and other places where it was 55 m.p.h. I drove only 52 mph. You would be surprised at how many cars passed me. And as they passed me, they dragged my S.U.V.. I actually attained 34.9 miles per gallon on that trip. According to the Yahoo site, in tests by Consumer Reports, driving at 75 miles per hour instead of 65 miles per hour reduced fuel economy by between 3 and 5 miles per gallon, depending on the vehicle. 4. Tailgaiting People tailgate, thinking they can stay inside the vacuum zone, to be dragged by the car in front of them, as in Item 3 above. Actually, tailgaiting is dangerous and wastes gas. Every time the driver ahead taps his brakes, you need to slow down considerably, and faster. The biggest problem is that you can’t see what is happening in front of the other driver when you’re that close to him. Take a lay back attitude, put a couple of car lengths between you and the other driver. You’ll be able to drive more smoothly and use less fuel. A good rule of thumb is to allow two seconds of space between your car and the one ahead. You can figure that out by counting off two seconds after the car in front of you passes an obvious landmark like an overpass. 5. Saving gas at stop lights With modern fuel-injection engines, it takes very little extra gas to restart a car once it’s warmed up. So, if you are stopped for more than 14 seconds, according to MSN - Money, shut it off. At a long line of cars, at a traffic light in downtown Gaylord - by the way, if you travel at the correct speed, you will be stopped by at least one of the lights since they aren’t synchronized yet... Maybe in another 20 years. In the meantime, once you are in a long line waiting for a left turn, or at one of those fast-food restaurants, shut off the engine. Idling burns about a half-mile worth of gas every minute, according to the California Energy Commission. By the way, you will get more exercise going into Burger King for your meal.


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Eagles Jackpot to Reach $2,000

by Tom Serino

Last Friday, the $1,886 jackpot did not go at 58 numbers or less. So this week, the jackpot should reach over $2,000 with 59 numbers or less. Hope to see you there!!

Hall Rental Prices Lowered

by Tom Serino

The cost to rent the Elkland Center (Bingo) Hall has been lowered to only $75 per day. The hall is located at the south end of the Horsell Manor Apartment Complex, at 7910 Arthur Street in Vanderbilt. The decision to lower the cost was made at the regular monthly meeting of the Otsego County Senior Citizen Housing Association which owns the building. There will be an additional $50 fee to use the kitchen, and the security deposit will remain unchanged at $50.

Seniors Group Pays off Mortgage

by Tom Serino

Elkland Seniors of Vanderbilt and members of the Otsego County Senior Citizens Non-Profit Housing Association (OCSCNPHA) Board celebrated a day of festivities Sunday, Nov. 29th as they gathered together to burn the mortgage of the Elkland Senior Center. While the Board maintained control over funds used, it was only due to the hard work of many Vanderbilt folks and their Gaylord friends that the 40 year Mortgage was paid off in 17 years. After burning the mortgage everyone also enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by some of the best cooks in Vanderbilt. It all started in the 1980’s at a time when it was not the most convenient time to think about building a Senior Citizen residence and a recreation facility for Seniors in Vanderbilt. But three individuals active in overseeing Alten Zimmer-Richard Yuill, Gerald Noffzinger, and Ken Arndt were instrumental in starting the activities that eventually in Horsell Manor and Elkland Senior Center. Money, or the lack of it, played a big part in how difficult it was to achieve this goal. Ralph Woodard, a life long Vanderbilt resident was active in fund raising and construction activity. Finally in the early 1990’s with mortgages from Rural Development (RDA) the two buildings were built. Who would have believed that a mortgage could be obtained based on “Bingo Money” The OCSCNPHA, sponsor of Gaylord (Alten Zimmer) Bingo and Vanderbilt (Elkland Bingo) managed to persuade RDA that the 2 games sites could cover at least the Elkland Center’s Mortgage. It was difficult to get the apartments rented, expenses were high for furnishing for Elkland Center and a shortage of funds developed. In 1995-96 the OCSCNAPHA appealed to the state, township and Village for tax abatements. By Ordinance in 1997 a Pilot Program was set up, with an annual payment of 4% net profit as payment in lieu of tax. While the Pilot Program was helpful, it was difficult to meet all of the monthly expenses of Elkland Center and the quarterly Mortgage payments. The management company overseeing Horsell Manor was responsible for payment of that Mortgage. More than once the OCSCNAPHA had to lend Horsell funds to meet Mortgage and utility payments.  In 2000 the membership of the board (OCSCNAPHA), changed with greater representation for Vanderbilt residents. At that time it was discussed how great it would be to have Elkland out of Mortgages (there were 2) In 2003, the Small $40,000.00 Mortgage was Paid In Full. And then began a big push to pay off $160,000.00+ Mortgage # 2. Both Bingo Groups worked very hard to increase their contributions. It was with much elation when the final payment was made on the Mortgage early in 2009. Paper work releasing the Board took time, and in November 2009, the Board proudly held a “Mortgage burning” open house. Ella Chidsey, a regular at the Elkland Seniors dinners commented, “If you’ve never been to the senior center, come and stop by. Friday evenings there are various activities such as card games, dominoes or a pool table or just good snacks and great fellowship. The Center serves lunches on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.

Letter to the Editor

By Phil Williams

This past week I received a schedule of fees from my propane gas company (at bottom). As I read through it, I could not believe that in a time when gas prices are skyrocketing that they would have the nerve to add additional fees or better yet to send me a notice at Christmas. And heaven forbid—You run out of gas——Because you are low income and don’t have regular refills—It will cost you $150.00 if you call after 4:30 or before 8 am or $250.00 if it is on the week end. Then add $85.00 for the leak check fee (because you ran out of the gas that you can’t afford anyway) then another $100.00 if you can’t afford the 200 gal minimum! So now for running out of gas on a Holiday weekend you will need $435.00 to make the call to get any gas…Gas fee not added in yet. The more I read the angrier I got. But after some reflection I realized that this is just a great marketing plan and I began to think of ways that I could also benefit.. Here are some of the concepts I came up with: Driveway usage, every time they deliver… $100.00. If unable to back in with one try additional $50.00 per attempt. Per minute fee for using our property $5.00 per minute or $100.00 whichever is greater. $100.00 fee for arriving before 9am and disturbing my morning coffee. $100.00 a month advertising fee for having their company name on the tank in MY yard. Obviously the days when Customer Service mattered are gone. When a Company was just darn happy to have you as a Customer… Now it is about the money. Needless to say, I will be shopping for a friendlier Gas Company, one that wants my business, not my Soul. Maybe you should too. But first I will have to save up the $100.00 fee for the tank removal! Phil Williams

My Vacation 2009

By Tom Serino

From time to time, your editor takes a vacation... I can usually find something to bore our readers with.. So here is a summation of one of my vacation days in South Africa. Easter Sunday was special in South Africa. I did want to go to a Catholic church, but my son, a journalist for the South African Press Association (SAPA) had been given an assignment to do a story on a political rally for the President of the African National Conference (ANC) so we went there instead. While my son was able to take some time off work, it was great tagging along to see him do his work. Actually, it was fantastic! As we approached the main church, we were met and challenged by one of the church’s deacons, who turned out to be the media spokesperson for the church. My son presented his credentials with the media. Then the PR person for the church asked me for mine. I had to say, “I don’t have any credentials, I’m here just visiting my son.” The man asked where I came from. I responded, “The United States.” That resulted in a broad smile and a “Come on in!” That gave me a great feeling of welcome, and pride of my home country. And that happened on other occasions, as well. But I digress. It was a great event. besides seeing the President of the ANC up close.. he even smiled for me a couple of times as I took some pictures of him, as my son did his work.. taking notes for the story.  The President of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, age 67, is the most likely winner of the Presidential Election for S.A. which was held April 22, so this was a huge story. Interesting that he showed up at the International Pentacostal Holiness Church IPHC, for a campaign stop... He was there from Noon to about 3, because there was also scheduled for that same religious service 400 weddings of 150 men... you ask how do 150 marry 250? easy.... some men married 2 or 3 wives on the same day... I was shocked... and in the procession of the couples to be, the wives would lead and the husband would walk behind the wife.... Sometimes the wife-to-be would have at her side, the current wife or wives of the man she is marrying... I took pictures because I didn’t think anyone would believe me.. One guy, a young man, married three women the same day... Can you imagine what was going through his head? And the decisions he had to make later in the day?  I was impressed. In all cases, the wife’s bouquet of flowers contained a color matching the man’s suit, or vest, or tie at least. The reason so many got married this day, was because Easter is a special day for this religion, and it is considered an auspicious day for weddings, in particular. After the procession of the wedding parties to the music of a great choirs and large band (with some great sax.. even got me dancing) Yes, most of the newlywed couples ‘danced’ down the aisle.. not just walked... The President to be, J Z as he is called, has four wives... and his fourth wife MaNtuli, while the youngest of the others, age 33, may take the front seat as the FIRST LADY, when he becomes President of S.A. Anyway, what is especially interesting is the fact that the Leader of the Church, welcomed J.Z, the politician, into the church.... i.e. they have no separation of Church and State here... After the rally at the IPHC, which featured about 30,000 church members attending, J Z went to a Muslim celebration, and spoke there as well... We followed him there as well.... all very interesting... As my son interviewed and I listened to people’s response, it was mixed.. some liked J Z, some did not... their most important concern was crime against their people... Africa has a 40% unemployment rate, and 70% of blacks are unemployed... so it makes for a lot of crime, thievery, muggings and the like... As such residents live in compounds, homes with 6’ cement or steel bar walls. By the way, the car of the day was the Rolls Royce which the leader of the church showed up in... the President of the ANC rolled up in a BMW... It turned out to be a nice Easter. Tom Serino

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