Readers’ Voice

Dear Editor,
   Van Buren County United Way would like to thank everyone who supported our 6th annual Stuff the Bus Food Pantry Drive on Nov. 4. Winter is just around the corner and as many families face difficulties with keeping up with higher utilities bills and feeding their children when schools close for the holidays, they will be looking to our local food pantries for assistance.
   We are most grateful to the many individuals and businesses who stepped up to help us this year. The grocery store managers at Harding’s, Wagoner’s, Family Fare and Village Market, as well as Dollar General in Covert, all welcomed our efforts and posted signs announcing our event. All our local school districts agreed to provide buses and drivers from throughout the county and volunteered their time to drop off and pick up buses.
   Troops from Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan staffed the entrances of the grocery stores, along with food pantry and honor society volunteers, greeting shoppers and handing out food pantry wish lists.  Many also helped shoppers carry their bags, and helped load donated items for delivery to the food pantries. United Way Board members showed their support by visiting the sites and greeting participants.
   And of course, we want to thank the many, many citizens of our communities who gave so generously - from caring seniors to little children who brought donations from their piggy banks. The bags and bags of food filling every seat on every bus are a testament to what  great communities we live in.
   We thank you all - you are the embodiment of United Way’s mission: Live United.
Vera E. Tanier-Sebree
Executive Director
Van Buren County United Way


Dear community of greater Paw Paw,
   Southwest Michigan Artists’ Association (SMAA) greatly thanks you for your fantastic support at our “Art of Plenty, Auction for the Art of it” held on Saturday, October 28 at the Paw Paw Lions Club. There was such an outpouring of generosity by merchants, service providers, and artists, as well as attendees.
   We would especially like to thank the following:
   Our auctioneer, Tom Kennedy from Valparaiso, IN; the main scholarship provider, PNC Bank of Paw Paw and Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker for presenting it; the main table sponsors, Walmart of Paw Paw; Vineyard Press; Brookside Blueberry Farms of Paw Paw for the pies and April’s Country Buffet at Tea Pot Dome for the cakes for dessert after dinner; the Senior Girl Scout troops of Mattawan and Lawton; Steven Lockwood, Mike Newman and a few others for helping with tables and kitchen duties.
   The top auction item donors were quite generous: Hartwell & Wolf, CPA; beautiful artwork by so many of the SMAA artists, West Michigan Carpet in Mattawan, Studio One Creative in Paw Paw, Rod Lawrence in Kalkaska, Bronson Health Club in Oshtemo, Oz in Mattawan, and so many others with art loving generosity. There were over 80 donors and more items as many gave more than one item.
   Dinner guests had the opportunity to win one of five door prizes donated by Lawton Ridge Winery, Paw Paw Brewery, Lois & Ron Reist, Paul DeRyke, and Edgin Creations.
   Due to your generosity, SMAA is now able to supply scholarships for some needy area students, provide the teachers with supplies for their classes, and continue operations for another year. We are also able to save some of the proceeds; so, we can plan to provide a larger variety of art classes such as pottery, weaving, and more to Southwest Michigan art lovers at affordable rates.
See you next year!
Southwest Michigan
Artists’ Association


Dear Editor,
   This letter was stimulated by last week’s Paw Paw Village Council meeting relative to the failure of the dam retaining Briggs Pond waters.
   This failure presents an opportunity to be creative in dealing with the arsenic-laden sediment. Using earth-moving equipment, we could create a sledding hill adjacent to the dike and leading into Rotary Park. On the south end of the pond, hills could be created next to the vacant shores. To prevent the hills from eroding, and to prevent arsenic exposure to children, the hills could be covered with sod and planted with vegetation. This was done when Maple Lake Park (amphitheatre) was created more than 20 years ago.
   Getting back to the council meeting, five engineering approaches were presented by Wightman & Associates. The estimated costs ranged from $189,000 to $405,000. The selected approach will have to be approved by the Department of Environmental Quality. Wightman will provide the council with additional information and designs to assist in the application process.
   The restoration of the pond is very important for two reasons. First, it serves as an effective sediment trap protecting Maple Lake; second, the water in the pond serves as stored energy when released through the turbine at the hydro electric plant on the north end of the lake.
   In this week’s news, an outside firm wants to dump its waste near Paw Paw. The proposed dumpsite is on the old Hoina Farm (103 acres), located east and adjacent to M-40, north of Paw Paw. The wetland farm is about one mile north of Ackley Lake and across M-40 from the Brookside and Leduc blueberry farms. The proposed dump site is in the Southwest corner of Almena Township.
   The Almena Township Planning Commission conducted a meeting on the proposed waste dump site on Monday, Nov. 6. A very large crowd packed the meeting hall building.
   The Paw Paw area enjoys many visitors, particularly during the summer because of the beautiful vistas. What’s beautiful about a dump site?! The following is a listing of what we can expect once a dump site is established.   
   First, the smell which can be wind-carried for miles; then,  the waste dump trucks passing through Paw Paw. The presence of a dump reduces property values and inhibits new home construction. The proposed site near the north branch of the pristine Paw Paw River would lead to dump liquid wastes via the existing ditches, polluting the river.
   A dump site typically attracts large flocks of birds, which would deposit their waste in Maple Lake while spending the nights on the lake’s surface. The adjacent (across from M-40) you-pick blueberry farms would lose business. Let’s - all of us - vigorously support the citizens of Almena in stopping the intrusion of the Cocoa Corporation from violating our beautiful area.
Ted Major
Paw Paw


Letter to the Editor:
   US Salon Supply/Great Lakes Beauty is proud to work with the Community Transition Center, Vendors With a Cause, and Freshwater Church to raise funds for the Community Transition Center’s Scholarship Program. This program allows their students who normally couldn’t afford to attend events to be able to.
   US Salon Supply along with many other businesses have been lucky enough to have some of the CTC students volunteer their time to gain additional knowledge about different workplaces and job styles. We hope you can make it out to this event on November 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Freshwater Church, 600 E. Michigan Avenue, Paw Paw. We will have numerous vendors along with some of the CTC students selling different things. Admission is free!
   This is a great way to give back and get some Christmas Shopping done!
Thank you,
Tammy Vandenbos
Paw Paw


To the Editor,
   I agree with the stance that Alan Brockway took in his letter to the editor last week. We should not rebuild the dam. I think we should take the money that we are saving by not rebuilding and use it to dredge the lake.
Dave Tomas
Paw Paw

The Courier-Leader reserves the right to edit or reject any submission to be considered for publication in the Readers’ voice column. To submit a letter, your opinion or comments, mail to The Courier-Leader, P.O. Box 129, Paw Paw, MI 49079; or e-mail to


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32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
Paw Paw, MI 49079
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