Riding the rails this week? You're not alone. MDOT reports Amtrak's passenger train service is entering its busiest travel week of the year right now. Looking at you, Bangor, where the "Pere Marquette" line (they have names, see) stops daily on its way both to Chicago and to Grand Rapids. This train line running through Bangor increased its passenger service four percent in Amtrak's fiscal year 2017.
Get free rail travel tips now at the MDOT website but the easiest tip I can tell you is buy your tickets early because the price rises later.
This week exclusively Amtrak is adding an entire train to its "Pere Marquette" schedule because of the crush. Over the whole state they're moving every available spare railcar into service this week as well.
There’s a few seats still open however. I know, I just now tried.
I know projects sometimes get away from you. This might help. Or at least provide you with a little change of scenery.
Take a stroll with me up Phelps Street in charming Decatur.
Crime scene investigations, medical examiners, officer force, emergency response, drugs, courts ... even jail? If you've got crime on your mind then you'll want to read my story about the free Citizens Police Academy.
My Facebook video of the beautiful rural countryside was taken on CR 669 between Lawton and Decatur.
What LegionTown.org says about this book by local writer Drew Cooper and his dad:
"Making a Marine in the 21st Century is the ultimate guide to Marine Corps Recruit Training. Aspiring new recruits, recruiters, parents, family members, loved ones and Marines of all generations will want to read this book. "
"This father and son journey sets forth what every new recruit will need to know; what everyone in the recruit's family will want to know about the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. This is a detailed account of what it takes to become a Marine in the 21st Century. This is a father and son story told through correspondence and heartfelt analysis of working to become a Marine. Here is the foresight on what to expect and the encouragement to complete the journey to become a United States Marine. "
"This is a wonderful account of the full experience of Marine Boot Camp as told through Lance Corporal Drew Cooper and his dad. Not only does a new recruit learn what to expect; but the entire family learns what is needed to endure as the Recruit works his way to becoming a Marine."
This book is available now at:
Walt and Marie's Country Market, 44947 Red Arrow Hwy., Paw Paw, across from Reits Flea Market, phone 269-254-9729, open 7 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday.
And online at Amazon.
Pastor Gary in cage
Journey Family Church in Gobles recently hosted their Family Night with rides, games and activities. Pastor Gary Napp said, "It was a great time for all!"
But Pastor Gary, Pastor Josh, and even Children's Director Pam spent time that summer evening confined in the dunk tank "three throws for a dollar."
Pastor Gary did tell me though, "The dunk tank felt good on a hot summer night!"
About 400 attended the July 25, 2017 early evening event in Gobles including 180 kids. Think about it: No children were turned away because they couldn't pay.
"This event is designed as an opportunity for families to come out and have some affordable fun together ... and for us as a church to be able to hang out with the awesome people of this community," Pastor Gary explained.
"Freshwater Community Church has welcomed the Village Players with open arms and we are so looking forward to performing on that fabulous stage," the theater group announces. Congratulations Players! See them in 2017 at their new home at 600 E. Michigan in Paw Paw. And read important updates about their schedule at the Courier-Leader.
At Senior Odyssey a team solves a problem and then presents a skit about it. State coordinator Julie Lake told me the Van Buren team members are "pioneers" in this program.
Congratulations to Senior Odyssey 2017 first place winners Norm Bober, Jane Quigno, Antonette Meabon, and Rita Bober.
Unattended, suffering pets left alone in vehicles will now cost the driver how much money? says this new South Haven ordinance.
Comment Glen Thomsen of Thomsen Construction in Lawrence and I were having another wide-ranging discussion, this time about high expectations, when he pulled this cartoon from an old file. Click to enlarge it. Somewhere our dream building and reality have to reach a compromise. I told Glen I'd share it.
Comment I talked to Fire Chief Derek Babcock about the Bangor Community Fire Department's charitable work.
Firefighting is dangerous and his team does an important job.
But the Fire Department also raises funds for charitable and civic endeavors like Relay for Life, Project Santa, Adopt-a-Family, Tragic firefighter incidents, Fireworks, Make-a-Wish, and so much more.
Watching the Recognition Photo Display tells me how much these men and women truly care about their community. See for yourself.
So how do they raise the money for their charitable work? Sponsoring the circus is one.
And your generous donation at the Pancake Breakfast is another.
Follow the Bangor Community Fire Department at their Facebook or call (269) 427-8980 to learn how you too can donate to this valuable community resource.
Hi my name is Chuck Williams and I'm writing this new website about the county.
What do you think? Send me your comments anytime at
All your likes and shares at facebook.com/aroundvanburen are very appreciated. Thanks!
In Lawrence. Contact me for date and time. Chuck Williams:
I'm not particularly good at do-it-yourself and I'll admit I've broken a few things in my day.
But I cleaned out my first carburetor to get my lawn mower running again.
So miracles do happen I guess. Comment
– Chuck Williams
"What do you have on your farm?" Justin Rhodes asks. Youngster pauses, thinks. "Pigs, corn ... sheep."
In Mattawan recently on his Great American Farm Tour, Rhodes is boosting small-scale farming. Watch the full video of the Mattawan meetup at his YouTube.
Comment So, tell us, what are you growing?