Archived Story

Building better community

Published 10:05pm Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Building better community is our goal at Leader Publications. The best way to do that is to get out and about.
I crashed the Niles Main Street (DDA) board meeting last week. Chairwoman Chickie Landgraf was kind enough not to kick me out. The DDA is planning events for next year to bring a better experience not only to our residents but also to make Niles more inviting to visitors.  While not a moneymaker, I learned that the recent Hunter Ice Festival is their greatest marketing expense. The DDA believes the big draw and sense of community pride make this event worthwhile.
I also picked up a few other tidbits from the meeting. Tom Majerek told me that while this year most likely will be the last Bluegrass Festival in Niles, he promised that it would be replaced by something even better. Too bad — I really enjoy bluegrass music.
Debra Johnson from Lakeland Hospital said they are nearly ready to go paperless. That will mean your medical records will be easily accessed through a computer database. This will allow medical providers to see your history quickly to provide us all with better service. Their go-live date is this Saturday.
I was in Dowagiac meeting Friday with Tom Carlson from Hannapel Home Center. Tom started with them in 1974 and after 38 years is the vice president. Working for one company your entire career is almost unheard of these days. Tom also is active on the board of the Dowagiac Union Schools Foundation. It raises funds for scholarships and a variety of field trips for the students. I feel a story coming.
I was in Edwardsburg Saturday for the Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for the Special Olympics. Leaders’ own press supervisor, Bob Bell, braved the icy waters of Pleasant Lake for this great cause. It was nice to see the former strip club complete with leopard skin carpet house this event.
From Niles to Dowagiac, Edwardsburg to Cassopolis, St. Joe to Buchannan, and all parts in between, Leader Publications will be looking for the stories of our communities.
We can’t cover this large area alone. If you have a good photograph or a good story we’d like to see it. You can email me at michael.bennett@leaderpub.com.

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