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  • Local QuickBooks Meetup Club Offers Unique Learning

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Expanding your knowledge of QuickBooks software is a bit easier these days for local residents thanks to the free local “Meetup” group, called the “Michigan QuickBooks Users Club”. The next free quarterly meeting will be held on Thursday, June 9th from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. at 28 W. Chicago Street, Suite 2-D in Downtown Coldwater. The forum allows participants to learn features and techniques to get the most out of their QuickBooks software while allowing members to benefit from discussions with other QuickBooks users.

    Charlene Hudson, M.B.A., owner of Hudson Business Services LLC, will be facilitating the meeting.  Charlene holds the credentials of Intuit Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor as well as Certified QuickBooks Consultant with the nationally acclaimed Sleeter Group.

    The learning topics for June’s Meetup will feature “Going green with QuickBooks,” “Common payroll errors” and “Exploring Third Party Software: Intuit’s Commission Manager”. “This is a great way to expand your knowledge," says Hudson, "Everyone has something unique to contribute, and everyone is welcome.”

    QuickBooks Users Club Meetups are free and open to the public, but you are encouraged to join the on-line group and RSVP for events at the group’s Meetup page at www.meetup.com/Michigan-QuickBooks-Users-Club.com.  The web page includes more information about meeting events, and membership entitles you to participate in the on-line discussion forums, share messages with the community, and sign up for group announcements.  On-line registration isn’t a requirement for attending local meetings.  You can simply RSVP by calling 278-7576.

    ABOUT Hudson Business Services LLC

    Hudson Business Services LLC is located in Downtown Coldwater at 28 W. Chicago Street, Suite 2-D and provides accounting, consulting and tax services to individuals, small business owners and entrepreneurs throughout the tri-state area.  With a focus on QuickBooks services and small business coaching, Hudson Business Services LLC goes beyond traditional accounting services and takes a proactive approach when serving clients in order to increase, preserve and sustain the worth of their business.  For a complete listing of services, along with valuable tips and resources, visit www.hudsonaccountingservices.com or call (517) 278-7576 for a free one-hour consultation.

    ABOUT Charlene F. Hudson, M.B.A.

    Charlene F. Hudson resides in Coldwater with her husband, Coldwater native, Doug Hudson.  She is a licensed Ohio C.P.A. and obtained her Master’s Degree in Business from the University of Toledo.   Charlene is an Intuit software Certified Quickbooks ProAdvisor and one of seven-hundred nation-wide Certified Sleeter Group QuickBooks Consultants.  She is a Non-Michigan CPA Association Member of the Michigan Association of Certified Public Accountants, a member of the Ohio Society of CPA’s, and a proud member of Altrusa International.  Mrs. Hudson currently serves as Board Treasurer for Pansophia Academy.

  • Southern Michigan Bank and Trust Title Sponsor

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    The Coldwater Township Sunrise Rotary Club announced today that Southern Michigan Bank and Trust will be the Title Sponsor for their 7th Annual Golf Outing to be held on Friday, June 17 at the Bella Vista Golf Course.

    “Southern Michigan Bank and Trust is a community bank committed to supporting the efforts of the Sunrise Rotary Club for such a worthwhile cause,” stated Chairman and CEO John Castle. President of the Sunrise Rotary Club, Mike Beckwith, expressed his gratitude, “We are pleased to have the opportunity to partner again with Southern Michigan Bank and Trust. They’ve always been a generous supporter of our projects.”

    The golf outing will raise funds for the Coldwater Township Sunrise Rotary Club’s current project, the renovation of the Coldwater High School Baseball and Softball facilities. There are still sponsorship opportunities as well as room for additional golfers. For more information on the golf outing or the current project, visit the club’s website at www.coldwatersunriserotary.com or contact a club member. 

  • “H.E.P. Open House Held by CHC Volunteers”

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    The CHC Volunteers’ annual open house of art by students in Branch County schools was held at CHC on Friday, May 13, 2011. The Hospital Enhancement Program (H.E.P) is in its sixteenth year of offering area students an opportunity to have their individual artwork displayed at the hospital as well as receive monetary prizes for first, second, and third place awards. Thirty-four pictures were framed and hung throughout the first floor of the hospital. Programs were available in the main lobby to help visitors identify the artwork.

    During the open house,Randy DeGroot, President & CHC’s Chief Executive Officer, and Rick Devries, Monarch Community Bank CEO and President, presented certificates to Jenny Poindexter, grade 11 of Quincy for first place; Hussain Atwain, grade 11 of Coldwater for second place and; Jessica Synder, Grade 10 of Union City for third place; and Adycus Yockey, grade three of Ryan Elementary in Bronson, won in the elementary division.

    Monarch Community Bank was once again the exclusive sponsor of this project. Monarch has generously sponsored the H.E.P. program for the past several years. Without Monarch Community Bank’s generous support and that of other community members, the program would not exist. Sponsorships provide the funds to have the artwork professionally matted and framed.  Framing was supported by Voss Art, Ltd.

    Local schools were encouraged to have student art submitted for judging.  Participating schools includedUnion City, Coldwater, Bronson,Quincy, Pansophia,St. Charles, St. Paul Lutheran, and Tri-State Christian schools.  CHC Volunteers on the HEP Committee picked up the pictures on March 21 and 22 with judging on Friday, March 25.

    The H.E.P. Committee spends many hours each year on this project. Letters are sent to all area schools in the fall with committee members following up with phone calls. Letters are also sent thanking the art teachers for participating, to remind them of upcoming dates, and to all students whose art was showcased the previous year. Committee members Marilyn Ashdown, Romaine Dollar, Jan Robinson, Pat Sampsel, Dorothy Witmyer, and Cathy Butler disassembled last year’s pictures not purchased by the student, and once the current year’s pictures are chosen, either match the art with existing frames or purchase new ones. The frames and pictures are then taken to a professional to be matted and framed.

    Judging is done by a committee which includes CHC’s Chief Executive Officer, CHC Volunteer Services Director, a member of the Branch County Art Guild, an art teacher from one of the participating schools, and the entire H.E.P. Committee.

    The Community Health Center of Branch County Volunteers are a group of dedicated men and women who donate thousands of hours of their time every year to support, assist, and advocate for CHC and provide services to assist in meeting CHC’s mission and vision. They serve in nearly every department of the hospital. Some volunteer as much as 20 hours per week while others work as little as two hours a month. Volunteers do everything from delivering mail and mowing grass to assisting cancer patients and helping with fund raisers.

    Volunteers help in patient areas such as the emergency room and nursing units. They lend clerical assistance in many of the office areas. They assist with patient and guest relations at the information desk and help in dietary and environmental services. Volunteers knit or crochet hats for every baby born at CHC to prevent heat loss and provide bereavement layettes as well as booties and blankets. A group of sewers stitch pediatric surgical hats to help alleviate the anxiety of the littlest patients having surgery as well as make cough pillows for patients having abdominal surgery. 

    In addition to the individuals who volunteer on a regular basis within the hospital, many volunteers focus their activities on fundraising for CHC. Their efforts help to run the gift shop and plan events throughout the year, such as their annual used book sale, bake sale, and raffle.

    For more about the H.E.P. Project, to donate towards the matting and framing of the prints, or to learn more about CHC Volunteers, please call the CHC Volunteer Services office at 279-5282.



  • Sen. Caswell Offers Michigan Fairs & Event Directory

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    LANSING  –  The summer vacation season is almost upon us and to help you plan for your summertime activities Senator Bruce Caswell is making available the 2011 Michigan Fairs & Events Directory to all those who are interested. 

    The Michigan Association of Fairs and Events produces this compact pamphlet each year, highlighting the major county fairs and festivals throughout Michigan.  The guide contains a calendar of events for the entire year up to October 2011.

    To obtain your copy of the 2011 Michigan Fairs & Events Directory contact Sen. Caswell, toll-free, at 1-866-305-0316, or via e-mail at SenBCaswell@senate.mi.gov.  Please include your name and mailing address in any message leave or email you send.

  • Quincy After Business Hours

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    The Quincy After Business Hours will be held Thursday, May 19, 2011 starting at 5 pm.  The event will be held at Handy Landscape, 898 East Chicago Rd., Quincy

    The Presenters will include, Handy Landscape, Boaters Marine, Sugarbush Farms, Beach House Salon & Spa and Carefree Dock & Lift

    If you spend $100 locally, $68 stays in the community.  If you spend $100 online, $0 is returned to our community.  The Quincy Chamber would like to encourage you to BUY LOCALLY.

  • CHC Presents Jill Duke with March Employee of the Month Award

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    A model Employee of the Month is made up of team work, customer services, and leadership. Jill Duke exemplifies all those parts and more, which is why she was presented the Employee of the Month Award at CHC for March.

    Jill was hired in August 31, 1987 as a Medical Lab Technologist on second shift.  Through the years Jill has also worked as a Medical Tech Chemistry Supervisor and is currently the Laboratory Supervisor.  She serves on the CHC Management Team, Products Analysis Committee, Meditech Implementation Committee, Community Fest Planning Committee, Recruitment and Retention Committee, and is the team leader of the Meditech order entry team.  According to her nominator, “Jill is a long term employee that consistently puts the hospital, patients, and staff first.  She is always willing to answer questions and help in any way she can.  Jill played a large role in the successful upgrade of the Meditech system.  She is conscientious about providing good leadership to her employees and leads by example.  I feel Jill deserves to be a CHC Employee of the Month!”

    Jill graduated from Bronson High School in 1984.  She went on to receive her associate’s degree fromKelloggCommunity Collegein Medical Lab Technologist in 1986 and bachelor’s degree fromWesternMichiganUniversityin 1994.  In August of 1994 Jill became a ASCP Certified Medical Technologist.  She is currently attendingBakerCollegeand is due to receive her master’s degree in October 2011.  Jill has been married to Tom for 20 years.  Tom is an account executive for Swick Broadcasting at WBET inSturgis,MI.  Together they have three children, Haley, 19 years old; Brady, 15 years old; and Carly, 11 years old. 

    Jill enjoys reading, playing games, doing music activities, and watching her children’s sports.  She is a member of St. Charles Catholic Church.  Jill is on the BACC Health Academy Selection Committee, Baker College of Jackson MLT Program Advisory Board, volunteers at Coldwater Public Schools, and presents at the CHC Diabetes Support Group.  Jill teaches part time for Baker College of Jackson at the Coldwater Campus.

    The Laboratory provides a wide range of services which includes routine and STAT testing in the following areas:

                Hematology              Coagulation              Urinalysis                  Chemistry    

                Special Chemistry    Blood Band               Histology                   Cytology                      Microbiology                        Serology                    Virology

    All sections of the department provide routine and STAT testing for both inpatient and outpatient populations.  The majority of the testing is processed as it is received and there is very little “batch” testing.  For those tests not done on site, CHC utilizes MLabs at theUniversityofMichiganfor the majority of reference laboratory services.  CHC’s Laboratory provides blood and blood products for transfusion.  These blood products are received from the American Red Cross inLansing,Michigan.  The Laboratory also provides over sight for point-of-care testing done by the nursing as well as testing done in any of CHC’s clinics.  The Laboratory provides community health screenings at both Community Fest and the Older American Health Fair.  On average the Laboratory department does approximately 24,000 billable tests per month.  There is an average of 100 outpatients per day.  In addition, the lab draws patients at The Laurels of Coldwater, Maple Lawn,Drews Place, and Masonville on a weekly basis.

    The Community Health Center of Branch County is a non-profit acute care hospital providing access to safe, comprehensive, high quality healthcare services and accredited by The Joint Commission.  For more information about CHC, please call the CHC Marketing Department at 517-279-5008 or visit the CHC website at www.chcbc.com or health website at myhealth.chcbc.com

  • Duke Visits Preschool Class for Teach Children to Save Day

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Rebecca Duke, Marketing Director at Century Bank and Trust recently visited the Preschool class of Kim Jones and Jeannie Prater in Bronson in honor of Teach Children to Save Day.  Duke read two stories about saving to the students and talked about the importance of saving versus spending.  Each student received a savers certificate, a two dollar bill and take home material.

    Sponsored by the American Bankers Association Education Foundation (ABAEF), National Teach Children to Save Day is a day when bankers make presentations in schools across the country to students about financial responsibility.

    “I’m proud to be able to represent Century during National Teach Children to Save Day. Educating our young people is not only a rewarding experience, but teaching the future generation how to be financially responsible will help our community to grow and benefit in years to come,” Duke commented. “You can never start too early!”

    Century Bank and Trust was founded in 1890, as an independent community bank.  Over 120 years later, Century Bank and Trust continues to provide a comprehensive range of corporate, trust and retail products and services throughout Branch, St. Joseph and Hillsdale counties.  To learn more about Century Bank and Trust visit CenturyBankandTrust.com.

  • Altrusa to Hold 13th Annual Golf Scramble”

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    There are only two weeks left and just a few team openings for the 13th Annual Altrusa Golf Scramble to be held Friday, May 27th at the Bronson Golf Course, Bronson, Michigan. This is a great way to support the community and have a good time golfing before the Memorial Day weekend.

     Altrusa thanks the generous sponsors for the event:

    Gold Sponsors

    ¡  Kiess Jewelry

    ¡  Southern Michigan Bank & Trust

    • $10,000 Hole In One Prize - Sherry Haylett Homes and Recreational Properties
    • Hole sponsors

    ¡  The Laurel’s of Coldwater

    ¡   Monarch Community Bank

    ¡  Cutco/Marissa Welch

    ¡  Work Health

    ¡  Biringer, Hutchinson, Lillis, Bappert & Angell, P.C.

    ¡  Coldwater Lake Marina

    • Golf ball giveaway - Community Health Center of Branch County

     Tee and hole signs are donated by Michigan Graphic Arts.

    The scramble begins at 9:00 AM with a shotgun start and ending with a fun lunch complete with over $1,000 in team cash prizes plus numerous door prizes.

    Registration before May 21 is $280 for a 4-person team, including green fees, golf cart and lunch.  After May 21, the cost is $320. Businesses can also get involved through $200 hole or $75 tee sponsorships and prize donations.

    Altrusa is a professional service club. All proceeds from the event are used for community projects in the Branch County area. The Golf Scramble is one of Altrusa’s major fund raisers to support Altrusa Teen S.H.A.R.E., the Literacy Council, Tibbits Opera Foundation, CHC Breast Cancer Screening Clinic, Presbyterian Free Health Clinic, Vocational Scholarships, Branch County Food Pantries, Happy Feet, and many more.

     For more information, to sign up to play, or for sponsorship opportunities, contact

    • Susan White, Southern Michigan Bank & Trust 517-279-5503 or
    • Alicia Cole, Century Bank and Trust, 517-278-1569.

    Checks should be made payable to Altrusa of Branch County and mailed to P O Box 631, Coldwater MI 49036.


  • Stuff-N-Things Opens In Downtown Coldwater

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Pat Rubio and Steven Zinn announce the opening of Stuff-N-Things at 28 S. Hanchett Street (next to the Tibbits Opera House) in downtown Coldwater. 

    Pat Rubio is originally from New York, but has worked for over 21 years at the Laurel’s here in Coldwater.  A medical issue forced her to rethink her life’s ambitions.  Pat saw a definite need in the community for her new store which will offer new and used clothing, jewelry, household items and all kinds of children’s clothing, equipment and toys at a moderate to low price. 

    Stuff-N-Things offers another new twist.  The business has hooked up with 911 and other social service agencies to provide immediately needed items in case of emergencies at no cost to the individuals.  Thus they are always looking for donations of new and gently used items plus they have lay away and senior discounts.

    Dave Nagel, President of the Downtown Business Association (DBA), commented he “is pleased that Pat and Steven have located their business in downtown Coldwater.  The DBA welcomes new businesses that reach varied individuals.”

    Stuff-N-Things is now open Tuesday thru Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Pat and Steven encourage and welcome one and all to come visit their store to view all they have to offer.  You may call them at (517) 736-4925.



    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Monarch Community Bancorp, Inc. (Nasdaq Capital Market: MCBF), the parent company ofMonarch Community Bank, today announced earnings for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 of $110,000 based on net income available to common shareholders compared to a net loss available to common shareholders of $1.3 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2010. Basic and diluted losses per share for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 were $.06 compared to $(.67) for the same period in 2010.

    “We are pleased with the continued improvement in the bank’s performance,” statedRick DeVries, President and CEO, adding that, “We have undergone two external commercial loan reviews over the past eight months, and just completed our annual combined FDIC/OFIR examination.  None of these events required additional provisions for commercial loans.  These results reflect our continued focus on reducing the level of problem loans as we continue to grow key sources of fee income.”

    The net interest margin for the first quarter of 2011 decreased 11 basis points to 2.97% compared to 3.08% for the same period in 2010.  The decline in the margin is largely due to a shift in the composition of earning assets.  The balance sheet reflects elevated levels of liquidity in anticipation of repayment of scheduled maturities of wholesale funding including Federal Home Loan Bank advances and brokered deposits.   The Bank anticipates the deployment of excess liquidity in investment and lending opportunities. 

    The provision for loan losses was $260,000 in the first quarter of 2011 compared to $1.8 million for the first quarter of 2010.  The reduced level of provision is reflective of management’s efforts in previous periods to identify potential problem loans and establish adequate reserves and/or charge-offs to address those problems.  Non-performing assets totaled $16.4 million at the end of the first quarter of 2011, a decrease of $1.4 million from December 31, 2010 and a decrease of $10.9 million from June 30, 2010.  Net charge offs for the quarter ended March 31, 2011 were $599,000 compared to $1.4 million for the same period in 2010.  Net charge offs year to date consisted of primarily of one to four residential mortgages.

    Non-interest income remained relatively unchanged for the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period a year ago.  Declines in fee income from loan origination and the overdraft protection program were offset by increased income from the gain on sale of other repossessed property. 

    Non-interest expense decreased $130,000 for the first quarter of 2011, compared to the same period a year ago.  Cost control remains a focus of the Company.  Costs associated with non-performing assets and foreclosed properties such as collection and maintenance costs, and impairment charges related to the disposition of other real estate have decreased $118,000.   

    Total assets were $255.8 million at March 31, 2011 compared to $256.9 million at December 31, 2010.  Total loans decreased $8.2 million (4.5 %), to $174.6 million at March 31, 2011 from $182.8 million at December 31, 2010.  Deposits increased $4.7 million, or 2.3%, to $210.7 million during the first quarter from $206.0 million at of the end of 2010. 

    Stockholder’s equity increased to $12.2 million at March 31, 2011 compared to $12.0 million at December 31, 2010.  The Bank must meet certain minimum capital requirements to satisfy federal and state laws. Monarch Community Bank’s tier 1 leverage ratio increased to 4.67%, an increase of .31% from December 31, 2010.  The Bank’s total risk based ratio was 8.46% an increase of .38% from December 31, 2010.  In May of 2010 the Bank agreed with FDIC to develop a plan to increase its tier 1 leverage ratio to 9% and total risk based ratio to 11%.  The Bank is pursuing all opportunities to raise capital and was considered adequately capitalized according to the FDIC definition as of March 31, 2011. 

    Monarch Community Bank is headquartered in Coldwater, Michigan and operates five full service retail offices in Branch, Calhoun and Hillsdale counties.


    Posted by Pat Thomas

    It is with excitement and enthusiasm that Cameron Memorial Community Hospital announces the selection of a new logo to represent the hospital.

    Cameron’s previous logo had been in place representing the hospital for more than 25 years.  As administrators make plans for serving the health and wellness needs of the region Well into the Future and prepare for building the newCameronMemorialCommunityHospital, it was decided it was an opportune time to consider implementation of a new logo to represent the hospital.

    The Asher Agency, a Fort Wayne advertising, marketing and public relations agency, was selected to work with the hospital in creating the new logo.  Asher gathered and reviewed information aboutCameronHospitalincluding its services, the communities and people it serves, and the things about the hospital that are most recognizable to its customers. 

    A key finding was that the customers know the hospital as “Cameron”.  It was determined that Cameron would be a very prominent element of the new logo.  Graphic designers with the Asher Agency developed a variety of logo options that were reviewed with the Community Relations Department and hospital leadership.  The top designs were presented to the Public Relations and Marketing Committee of the CMCH Board of Directors.  The logo recommended by the Committee was enthusiastically approved by the full Board of Directors. 

    While symbolic of our hospital as a whole, the logo features the following elements:

    • Cameron is very prominent
    • “Community” along with “Memorial” and “Hospital” are all part of the logo
    • The graphic icon is a strong design that communicates professionalism, sophistication and confidence
    • The cross is strongly associated with health care
    • Beginning at the left side, the icon incorporates the initials of CMCH, a “C”, “M”, backward “C” and “H”
    • The varying shades of blue are strongly associated with water and the 100+ lakes in the region we serve.

    For more information, call (260) 665-2141 ext. 2337.


  • Tibbits Golf Tournament

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    It’s time to tee-up for Tibbits as plans are underway for Tibbits Annual Golf Tournament to be held Monday, June 20, at the Golf Club of Coldwater. A benefit for the general operations of the Tibbits Opera House, organizers are seeking event sponsors, hole sponsors and golfers.

    Working on the event, the Tibbits Golf Committee consists of Mike Beckwith, Hillary Eley, Rolla Frisinger, Rachel Herbig, Paul Herbig, Jody Lewis, John Rohloff and Pat Sampsel.

    The committee has been working on event sponsors; two title sponsorships are still available at $500 or $1000. The committee is also seeking hole sponsors at $100 and, of course, golfers. Businesses as well as golfers interested in joining the event as an event or hole sponsor may contact Tibbits or a member of the committee to learn more about the advertising, recognition and tax benefits available.

    The tournament is a handicapped, 18-hole scramble, and opens with a 9 am shotgun start. Four-person teams in men's, women's and mixed divisions will compete for cash prizes for net and gross winners. The event also offers door prizes, games, and hole events including a chance to win a $10,000 hole-in-one prize. A raffle sponsored by the Foundation Golf Center will offer a chance to win a complete set of top grade Adams Irons.

    The golf tournament is one of the major fundraising events for Tibbits. Committee chair Mike Beckwith says, “This is a fun community event. We’re thankful for all the past support for Tibbits and really just hope everyone turns out for a good time and a worthy cause.”

    Early bird registration for the tournament is $100 per golfer and includes golf cart, range balls and lunch by the Club House Bar & Grill. To become an event sponsor, a hole sponsor or register a team, call Tibbits at 517-278-6029.