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City opens church time capsule to find waterlogged papers

By David Porter

A small crowd gathered at Tuscola City Hall Monday evening in anticipation of the opening of a time capsule from the old Presbyterian Church.

The copper box was found inside the cornerstone of the building, which had not been used as a church for many years. After serving as a retail outlet under the name Castle Mall, the building was unoccupied when it burned last year July 9. The city acquired the property to ensure its timely demolition in April of this year. The wrecking crew found the time capsule and gave it back to the city.

The box was crammed full of old newspapers including the Tuscola Journal Republican, The Tuscola Review and a couple of Chicago newspapers.

Most of the papers were from 1902, when the contents were sealed, but the Review was a special edition published in 1899 containing photos and drawings of local homes, businesses and people. Also in the box were publications from Tuscola High School and several local churches.

Unfortunately, the contents were waterlogged. The fragile pages were stuck together. Mayor Dan Kleiss and Treasurer Alta Long spent nearly an hour after the meeting carefully separating pages and spreading them out to dry in an effort to preserve the papers.

Judy Landeck asked the Council what the plans are for the cornerstone. She noted that the cornerstone for the old high school (which became the second North Ward grade school) was on display at Festival Corner downtown, and she said she thinks that would be a good place for the church stone.

Following the opening of the time capsule, the City Council continued its meeting, which included approving emergency repairs to a water main and waiving formal bidding for them. Cross Construction did the work. Drew Hoel, city administrator, said he did not yet know what the bill will be.

The whole city and some residential customers were without water over the weekend when a water main on Main Street was broken just south of the railroad tracks. After water service was restored, the city was under a boil order. More information can be found in the article titled “Old water main break causes loss of water services” in this week’s Journal.

Kleiss thanked the community for its patience during the boil order over the weekend. He said there is a lot of good information about boil orders on the city’s website at

Also in the city’s website is information about its emergency notifications, he said. The city now uses a program called hyper-reach to alert residents about local emergencies.

If residents signed up for alerts under the Code Red system, they will need to sign up again under hyper-reach, Kleiss said. On the city’s website, click the button that reads “residents” and then the button that reads “emergency notifications.” There, residents will find another button that reads “hyper-reach Douglas County sign up.”

In other business, the City Council

• swore in members who were reelected to office;

• approved the consent agenda, which included the Pace for Petey 5K run and walk Sept. 30, outdoor movie nights with street closures June 2, July 7 and Aug. 4, and the Tuscola GSA Booster Club Pound the Pavement for Pride 5K Color Run/Walk June 10;

• appointed Dalton Donnals, Brian Endres, Rob Hardwick, Bill Hemmer, Bill Schweighart and Bryce Yantis to the foreign fire insurance board, which Hoel said allows the fire department to receive about $14,500 annually from the state for equipment and tools;

• approved spending $17,850 with Air One Equipment for fire department equipment;

• approved an audit engagement letter with LWA, a CPA firm;

• approved changes to the city’s health insurance plan;

• approved a revised pvroposal for roof repairs to the library with I-57 Roofing in the amount of $36,732.12;

• renewed the lease with Gina Romine for the Tropical Sno stand at the pool;

and approved a revised list of summer employees.

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