Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a time to honor those who have served our country and celebrate those who have sacrificed and continue to sacrifice so greatly for each and every one of us.

Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was set aside as a time to honor those killed in the Civil War by decorating their graves.

During the war, mothers, wives, daughters, sisters and other loved ones would clean confederate soldiers’ graves that were dusty and overgrown with weeds.

I would like to thank the families of those who serve for your sacrifices, for sharing your son or daughter, brother or sister, husband or wife with our community and our country.  Their service provides freedom for all Americans and spreads democracy across the globe.

I encourage the community to take the time to thank veterans and honor their memory and sacrifice through your actions.

We owe it to them to raise our children with a strong foundation of patriotism.  It is our duty to teach them to cherish the principles that grant us our freedom and to honor those who have put their lives on the line.

Our actions must show our respect, thanksgiving and honor to those who have given everything. In doing so we also honor the families who have given so much. It is this sacrifice that allows us the many freedoms that we enjoy each day.

As always, I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback on these important issues.

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New Museum Ready to Rise in Three Oaks

Harbor Country Gazette

By John Gunner Gooch
Gazette Correspondent

LAKESIDE — Guests at the May 22 Region of Three Oaks Museum Gala fund-raiser at Chikaming Country Club enjoyed more than a pleasant evening of dinner and dancing.

They also received an update on plans to construct a new museum building — a project expected to begin in the very near future.

During a Powerpoint presentation on the new facility in Three Oaks that will house artifacts originally part of the collection of the Chamberlain Memorial Museum that closed in 1952, Three Oaks Township Supervisor Chuck Sittig explained that the museum’s holdings were transferred to Michigan State University.

“In recent years, MSU agreed to start returning items to Three Oaks, and many of those items have been put out on display on the second floor of the Three Oaks Township Public Library,” he said.

According to the supervisor, the original plan involved incorporating the empty third floor of the library building to display more of the returned artifacts; however, a historical architectural review revealed that it would be more cost-effective to move to a new building rather than trying to undertake an extensive and expensive restoration project on the third floor.

Thanks to donations and two grants from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, 40 support footings for the new building, to be located on Featherbone Avenue west of the library, should be put in place soon. The work will be done by Carey Brown Construction, which has been contracted to build the new museum. Fund-raising efforts are now being focused on getting money that will be used to complete the building’s interior.

Sittig told the audience that a delay in the original construction timeline was caused when it was discovered that a sewer line was located running diagonally across the property where the building was to be erected. Fortunatey, a donation of additional adjoining land by the Wojdula family has allowed the building to be repositioned so that the plan could move forward.

Architect Chris Rudolph of Rudolph Architects said that his blueprint for the building incorporated a simple and efficient design that would be cost-efficient to operate and could be expanded as the museum’s collection continued to grow.

“In keeping with the character of the area and what the building is going to be used for, there will also be some historic components incorporated in its components, such as using reclaimed barn wood and incorporating an archway reminiscent of the famous ‘Three Oaks Against the World’ arch that was present in Three Oaks during the Spanish-American War and helped encourage citizens to donate funds that led to the village being awarded the Dewey Cannon,” Rudolph said.

He said the building’s interior design includes a mezzanine and allows for a “very flexible display area.”

“In addition, the building’s exterior will make a nice backdrop for some of the larger museum items that may be better suited for display outside,” he added.

Museum Board president Harold Russell said that some of the bigger items from Three Oaks that MSU is still holding include a vintage fire engine, a stage coach, and a hearse.

“It would be nice to get some big items like that back here now that we’re going to have much more room in our own building,” he said.

As a rule, Russell said most libraries usually have about 30 percent of their collections out on display at any one time, with the remaining 70 percent in storage, and they try to rotate the display items on a regular basis.

“We’ve come a long way to this point, but we still have a long way to go, so we continue to welcome volunteers to join in our efforts,” he said. “And, of course, we could always use more donations, Thank you all for your support, and we look forward to keeping this going.”

Proos Proposes State Office to Aid Small Business Start Ups

WSJM

Andrew Green

A bill was introduced this week in Lansing by State Representative John Proos that would create a new office within the Michigan Economic Development Corporation designed to help small businesses get off the ground and generate jobs. Proos says that the Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Services would be a way to centralize various programs that could help start-out entrepreneurs.

He told us later that the MEDC has done a good job of looking for big businesses to provide employment in Michigan, but this new office would focus things on those small start-ups.

He believes this idea can be done with the current MEDC budget.

Proos says that, among other things, the new office would be designed to promote a positive customer service culture of state employees who interact with the public…provide step-by-step instructions on the government requirements of how to start a business…and coordinate programs across state government to create and retain small business jobs.

Proos Backs Plan to Legalize More Fireworks in Michigan

WSJM

Andrew Green Reporting
Michigan businesses would be allowed to sell higher-grade, more powerful fireworks under legislation approved by the State House this week. On Wednesday, the bill passed by a 79 to 28 vote. State Representative John Proos says that it would change the summer routine for state residents who now drive into Indiana to buy fireworks that aren’t legal here.

Supporters of the bill figure it could raise more than five million dollars a year, a portion of which would go to fire safety training programs. Proos says that the Michigan Professional Firefighters Union backs this plan.  He calls it common sense legislation.

The plan would allow a business to sell fireworks after it goes through a licensing process. Retailers would have to obtain a Consumer Fireworks Certificate each year…have at least one management level employee take part in all firework handling training…and have their facilities inspected by the Michigan State Fire Marshal. The bill passed in the House, and now goes to the Senate.

Made in a Homemade Kitchen

WTVB

COLDWATER (WTVB) – Enjoying homemade food from local roadside stands and farmers markets around Branch County seems like what could be part of a good recipe for a leisurely summertime drive.

State regulations currently don’t allow for it, but the Michigan House Agriculture Committee this week reviewed bipartisan legislation to permit venders at roadside stands and farmers markets to produce goods in their own homes, but require all products to be labeled with “Made in a home kitchen that has not been inspected by the Michigan Department of Agriculture.”

State Representative John Proos, one of the sponsors of the bills, said there are upwards of 20 states that have enacted similar legislation, including jobs competitors Indiana and Ohio. By not doing anything, Proos said Michigan will fall behind by not taking advantage of one of the most diverse selections of goods in the country.

The Michigan agriculture industry generates $71 billion per year. Backers of the legislation say it removes a lot of the bureaucracy and costs that often prevent small agricultural and food businesses from getting off the ground and bringing their products to market. Many local growers that are involved with farmers markets are small family farms that also boost Michigan tourism, which supports the local economy .Proos says he’s working closely with the Department of Agriculture to improve these bills, as the department is responsible for food safety in Michigan.

May is Healthcare Month in Michigan

May 3, 2010

Families in our great state are going to be presented with new challenge imposed by the federal government: the implementation of the federal health care law.

I have heard from many constituents who are concerned with losing their current coverage under the new laws. I support giving Michigan citizens the freedom to choose whether they would like private or public health care coverage, and have cosponsored a resolution to commemorate May as Michigan Healthcare Freedom Month.

The resolution states that “the U.S. Constitution neither enumerates nor grants the federal government power to control healthcare nor supersede the natural right of the citizens of Michigan to choose their own healthcare; Residents of this state should have the freedom to choose their insurance provider and coverage without interference from the federal or state government.”

There is another solution to the health care crisis in Michigan: put families back to work. Too many Michigan families don’t have health care coverage because they are unemployed or underemployed, and by addressing the root of the problem, families will be better served.

I recently served as chair of a Strategic Task Force on Jobs, which outlined a specific policy agenda to put Michigan families back to work, and I will continue to focus on job creation and economic growth in Lansing to provide relief to Michigan families.

As always, I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback on these important issues.