Victory Park – Band Shell Theatre – Work Well Underway

Written/Photos by John Face

June 7, 2023

Many of you know that the Band Shell Theatre in Victory Park is seeing significant renovations this year. I suggest you stop and see what is happening. Upgrades include repairing, priming, and painting the band shell. Also, extensive concrete work and walkways will extend to the street and across the sitting areas. Grading the area around the band shell also is being done to help with drainage.

Unfortunately, at this time, the public bathrooms at the Shell will not be repaired. Current funding is for the above-stated work. Organizers are working with the City Administration to determine how the restrooms can be done and protected from the number one problem, which seems to be vandalism. For the coming Swingin’ at the Shell concert series, provisions have been made to bring in Porta Potties.

The DeNicola family fund from the Community Foundation and the William and Karen Dobbins Foundation is funding the current project.

Take a moment and look at these photos taken the morning of Wednesday, June 7, 2023.

Donations needed for fireworks in Albion

Dears Members & Community,

The Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau is in need of your help to keep the tradition of fireworks down by the river a tradition here in Albion on Monday, July 3, 2023. With only 4 days remaining in this year’s Fundraising Campaign, we still need $9,005.00 to reach this year’s goal.

If you’re planning to donate, please let us know so that we can count these funds towards this year’s goal before a decision needs to be made on whether or not we’re able to host them again in 2023. The Fundraising Campaign ends on Friday, June 9, 2023.

Donations may be dropped off Monday – Thursday between 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at 403 S Superior Street, Albion, MI 49224 (simply look for the blue door). If we happen to miss you, please utilize the mail slot to leave your donation. Donations may also be mailed to P.O. Box 238, Albion, MI 49224 (Memo: Albion Fireworks).

All donations make an impact. We greatly appreciate your support in coming together to keep fireworks down by the river at dusk a tradition year-after-year for the Annual Fourth of July Celebration.

Thank you,

Billy Beers
Greater Albion Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau


Superior Arts – Event to Host Black Artists in Albion for Juneteenth Celebration

Press Release

Superior Arts will help celebrate Juneteenth by showcasing local Black artists. The event will be open to the public at Salem United Church Fellowship Hall, located at 113 W. Pine St, on June 15 from 4 to 7 pm and June 16 from 2 to 7 pm. To enter the event, take the ramp on the west side of the building. There will be an exhibiting artists’ reception at 5 pm on June 15

The collaboration with Salem Church, the Albion Branch of the NAACP, and Superior Arts will feature various forms of artistic expression created by local area Black artists.

Albion resident Jerome Washington will have an exhibit of drawings with contact information to commission his artwork. Delma Washington will offer her handcrafted greeting cards. In addition, local artist Dennis Reid will be sketching his caricatures during the event.

PHOTO CAPTION: Dennis Reid’s self-portrait caricature will be among artworks displayed at
the Superior Arts Salute to Albion area Black artists. The event June 15 and16 will be held at
Salem United Church of Christ 113 W. Pine St. This event is also sponsored by the church and
the Albion branch of the NAACP. Exhibit hours are June 15 from 4-7 pm and June 16 from 2-7
pm at the church Fellowship Hall. An artists’ reception will be at 5 pm June 15.

Other local exhibitors include author Octavia Crawford-Turner with her book “Expressive Moments” and Donisha Brewer with her line of special tea. Kendall Gamble will exhibit drawings, and Diane Bell will display and sell her fabric bags made from African-sourced cloth obtained from her travels.

The Superior Arts showcase honors Juneteenth’s history, which began on June 19, 1865, about two months after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, VA. A Union general, Gordon Granger, arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved African Americans of their freedom and that the Civil War had ended. General Granger’s announcement put into effect the Emancipation Proclamation, issued nearly two and a half years earlier, on Jan. 1, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln.

The local NAACP, Salem United Church of Christ, and Superior Arts promote the celebration of this important holiday on June 17 in Albion with activities centered around Holland Park.

The Superior Arts concept was to gather Albion and area artists to highlight various artistic talents. Slater plans to feature different types of art by rotating area artists at events throughout the year.

Slater and her husband, Richard Lewin, moved to Albion in 2004 to open the Albion Heritage Bed & Breakfast, which closed in 2019 when the couple retired. During that time, they hosted the annual December “Cozy Up With Art.” After the B & B closed, Slater said she missed hosting people. At the same time, they enjoyed local artists’ work and decided to open Superior Arts on a limited basis throughout the year.

Calhoun County Dispatch Seeks Input About Accidental 911 Calls


Sunday, June 4, 2023

911 accidental calls have increased recently. Other 911 centers in Michigan are seeing this trend as well. This week, Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Authority answered 24 percent more 911 calls than the same week last year. While some of that may be attributed to weather, some is also influenced by these accidental dials.


  • If your phone calls 911 on accident, don’t panic! Please stay on the line and let the 911 telecommunicator know. 
  • If your phone has called 911 accidentally since May 1, 2023, we would like to hear from you! We are trying to collect data to determine if there is a commonality in the cause for the increase of these calls. Please complete this brief survey,

For information, contact

Michael Armitage, Executive Director

Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Authority

315 W Green Street, Marshall, MI 49068

Phone: 269-781-9709



Scouting gives local youth opportunities for new experiences thanks to help from a recent
Albion-Homer United Way grant.
Local area scouts will head this July for the National Scouting Jamboree in West Virginia
to participate in a day at the official gathering. As part of traveling to the Jamboree scouts from
Troop 158 B and 158 G will take a weeklong camping trip. Along the way they will practice
skills learned in scouting activities.
According to Scoutmaster Sam Porter these boys and girls will “have outdoor and indoor
education adventures which will present them with opportunities these young people have never
experienced.” He explained that the scouts will visit national park historical sites, go whitewater
rafting, caving and hiking.
In preparation for this trip the scouts have planned their itinerary and menus for this
camping adventure. They have learned to budget for nutritious meals and how to prepare for
outdoor activities through scouting lessons.
Albion-Homer United Way’s commitment is to help fund non-profit programs through
grants. On-going donations throughout the year are needed for funding these efforts.
According to AHUW Executive Director Marcia Starkey there are several good reasons
to donate to the local United Way including that donations fund Albion and Homer specific
programs and funding decisions are made by a local board.

Donor lists are never shared with other agencies and payroll deductions make donating
easier. Donations can be mailed at any time to AHUW P.O. Box 55, Albion, MI 49224, made on-
line at or by contacting Starkey at 517-499-2563.
AHUW board members are Virgie Ammerman, Carolyn Amos, Donisha Brewer, Chris
Burdette, Art Kale, Michael Leskowich, Isabell Nazar, Eddie Williams and Shane Williamson.

PHOTO CAPTION: Albion area Scouts learn to start a campfire as part of preparation for a trip
to the National Scouting Jamboree in West Virginia. Boys and girls from Troops 158 B and 158G
will camp along the way and put their scouting skills to use. The Albion-Homer United Way
helped these scouts with a grant to help cover expenses for this scouting adventure.

Breaking: Albion College CFO Gary Black Out at College

Written by John Face

June 1, 2023

Photo by John Face

City Watch News reports that Albion Colleges Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Gary Black, is no longer employed by the college, effective June 1, 2023. Black came to Albion College as a new hire of former Albion College President Mat Johnson in February of 2021. Currently, there has been no official notification of Blacks leaving the college. Black came from Finlandia University that closed its doors permanently at the end of this current school year.

City Watch sources state that Black has not been in his office since Saturday, May 13, 2023. The Albion Department of Public Safety received a report from an Albion College employee of a jeep in the “yard area” behind W.G. Construction located at 101 S. Monroe, the old lumber yard.

That call came in at 8:32 A.M., and police responded. They found Black and another unidentified man in the rear area working inside one of the storage areas in the southeast corner of the property. Black advised the officer that, as CFO, he was allowed to be there.

According to the police incident report, which City Watch received via a Freedom of Information Act request, police called the employee who placed the call and advised who was on the property. According to police, the caller told them someone had been “infiltrating the cameras at the business and deleting footage.” The police left the scene.

Calhoun County dispatch received another call from the original caller at 9:21 A.M., stating that there was a red Ford Escape in the yard and that he did not know who it was. Police again responded and found the same two individuals in the property’s southeast corner. According to officers, “they appeared (Black and unidentified man) to be cutting up something but unknown what.”

City Watch was contacted about the incident, and this writer went to W.G. Construction later in the morning and found the gate to the yard unlocked and open. I drove around the front of the business on Monroe Street.

Gary Black at W.G. Construction May 13, 2023

I walked up to a locked gate near the street, observed a parked car, and heard what sounded like sawing or drilling. I was using my phone to take pictures when a man appeared from the storage area. One of those pictures shows a man, later identified as Gary Black, and his vehicle, walking carrying a drill.

Notice the car in the picture is not a Jeep. That means that he used three different vehicles that morning. City Watch shared the photo with some individuals who identified Gary Black in the picture.

City Watch has learned that Black has not been in his office since the day of this picture.

Black, along with Jeff Ott, have been the primary people who worked with the Michigan Attorney General during the investigation of the college.

City Watch will update this story when needed.

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Press Release

Women who give back to the community will meet on June 13 as the Albion Area Philanthropic Women (AAPW) gather to select the next non-profit recipient. The quarterly meeting will begin at 5:30 PM at River Dell Venue, 26450 H Drive S in Homer. The country setting is made available to AAPW by owners Afton and Branden Maksimchuk. 

A sandwich-supper catered option through Albion’s Foundry Bakehouse & Deli will cost $12. Ordering selections will be available closer to the meeting date. AAPW was founded in 2007 by Cathy Campbell and the late Maggie Konkle. To date, AAPW members have given nearly $650,000 to Albion area non-profit organizations. Those seeking AAPW funding need to be sponsored by a current member.  

Potential recipients give short three-minute presentations with details of their funding requests. Members who are present vote, and the non-profit organization selected will receive the money.

AAPW is a volunteer organization, with all the donations going to the non-profits selected by the members. The 100 women in this “Giving Circle” agree to donate $100 quarterly to support AAPW. Organizations may only receive funding once a calendar year.

New members are always welcome. The only requirement is that women have a heart for giving and a desire to make the Albion area a better place for all. Members need not live in the area. Many current AAPW supporters live out of town but regularly send checks to support the philanthropic group’s efforts.

For more information, contact AAPW volunteer leaders Nancy Roush at, Gwen Tabb at, or Marcia Starkey at

Haadsma June Coffee Hours in Springfield and Albion



Jim Haadsma


Who: State Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek) 

What: State Rep. Haadsma will be holding coffee hours in Springfield and Albion to meet with constituents.

When & Where: 

Saturday, June 3, 9-11 a.m. at Mr. Don’s Restaurant, 341 N. 20th St., Springfield 

Saturday, June 3, 1-2:30 p.m. at Stirling Books and Brew, 119 N. Superior St., Albion

Background: State Rep. Haadsma hosts coffee hours on the first Saturday of the month to give residents the opportunity to discuss the most important issues happening at the state Capitol and around the community. 

Haadsma on Funds for Albion Dam, Increasing Public Safety



Jim Haadsma

BATTLE CREEK, Mich., May 23, 2023 — The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has announced 16 Michigan dams will receive safety upgrade funding through a $15.3 million risk reduction program. Included in the Dam Risk Reduction Grant Program is $1 million granted to the city of Albion for removal design of the significant-hazard, poor-condition Albion Dam, as well as four other unregulated dam structures. 

“This is yet another great funding win for Albion. It’s an important step toward opening up the waterways in the city — this will improve the floodplain and help in maintaining our beautiful recreational areas,” said state Rep. Jim Haadsma (D-Battle Creek). “Importantly, it will also reduce safety hazards — that means increased public safety for the people of Albion and an all-around more protected community.”

“The City of Albion is thrilled to have been awarded these funds by EGLE,” said Hayley Snyder, city manager of Albion. “This is a significant funding source to help address one of the many extensive infrastructure repairs needed in the city of Albion. A feasibility study found that removing the dams is the best solution for reducing safety hazards, restoring the waterways to their natural flows and enhancing the area for more recreational activities.” 


Albion-Homer United Way’s recent grant to the Albion Health Care Alliance Health and Safety Expo shows AHUW’s commitment to healthy communities. The annual Expo will be held June 24 from noon to 2 pm at Stoffer Plaza in Albion at the Farmer’s Market area.

The AHCA partners with local organizations to provide helpful health information and supplies to area families, emphasizing children’s health. Booths, displays, and free health information along with vaccine clinics and other health testing that particularly benefits families in and around Albion and Homer. In addition to the Albion-Homer United Way, Oaklawn Hospital and other local agencies are sponsoring this Saturday afternoon event.

The 2023 Health & Safety Expo is expected to have even more participation than last year’s event. The Expo on June 24 from noon to 2 pm will be in Stoffer Plaza in Albion behind downtown and near the Grace Health building. The Albion-Homer United Way grant money will be used to promote the health and safety of area residents through this Expo event.

Albion-Homer United Way’s commitment is to help fund non-profit programs through grants. On-going donations throughout the year are needed to support these efforts. According to AHUW Executive Director Marcia Starkey, there are several good reasons to donate to the local United Way. Donor lists will not be shared with other agencies, and payroll deductions make donating easier. Donations can be mailed to AHUW P.O. Box 55, Albion, MI 49224, online at or by contacting Starkey at 517-499-2563.

AHUW board members are Carolyn Amos, Donisha Brewer, Chris Burdette, Art Kale, Michael Leskowich, Isabell Nazar, Eddie Williams, and Shane Williamson.

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