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South Haven Pier at Lake Michigan - file photo by WMUK

South Haven is celebrating an anniversary. 150 years ago on May 10th, 1869 it was incorporated as a village. Tom Renner, a member of South Haven’s Sesquicentennial Planning Group says the first historical records of the area’s existence date back to 1787 “The Native Americans back then called this land, ‘Ni-No-Kong’ which meant beautiful sunsets.”

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South Haven is now called “the blueberry capital of the world.” Tom Renner says in the early 1900’s, the town was known for growing pears. In the 1950’s he says it was peaches. Renner says agriculture has been an important part of South Haven over the last 150 years. 

A celebration to mark South Haven’s incorporation as a township is being held Friday May 10th at Stanley Johnston Park. It will include free food, entertainment and activities for children. Renner is a member of the Sesquicentennial Planning Group. A long-time resident of South Haven, he was part of the Centennial Planning Group in 1969. 

President Bush, center, greets Tuskegee Airmen Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson, left, during a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, Thursday, March 29, 2007, awarding the Tuskegee Airmen with Congressional Gold Medals. AP Photo by Susan Walsh
Susan Walsh / The Associated Press

A former Tuskegee airman says he and his fellow pilots suffered discrimination from their white counter parts, but ultimately proved they were as good as anyone else in protecting the country During World War II. Retired Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Jefferson will speak at an event at the Air Zoo Friday night. 

Polar Bear Monument in White Chapel Cemetery, Troy, Michigan, sculptor Leon Hermant. Photo by Bolandera from Wikimedia Commons
Bolandera / Wikimedia Commons

When President Woodrow Wilson agreed to send American troops to northern Russia in 1918, it was only to guard stores in Archangel. But it didn’t take long for the Americans to find themselves in combat with Bolshevik soldiers. Author James Carl Nelson tells the story in his book The Polar Bear Expedition: The Heroes of America’s Forgotten Invasion of Russia, 1918-1919.

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Author James Carl Nelson says as World War I was winding down on November 11, 1918, fighting in northern Russia was getting more intense. He says it was frustrating for American troops who wondered what their mission was.

Nelson’s book is called The Polar Bear Expedition: The Heroes of America’s Forgotten Invasion of Russia, 1918-1919. He tells the story of men, most of them from Michigan and Wisconsin, and their strange trip from what was then called Camp Custer near Battle Creek to Russia, 600 miles north of Moscow for a mission that went beyond the end of World War I.