EDMORE — Karl Kluwe is giving himself a special birthday present this year.
Kluwe will be retiring as Edmore’s police chief and village manager on May 3, the day he celebrates his 60th birthday.
“I’m tired of waking up to alarm clocks,” Kluwe said. “I’ve got a Harley I don’t ride enough.”
Kluwe made his retirement announcement at a recent Edmore Village Council meeting. Council members did not take any action regarding hiring a new police chief or village manager. Village President Chester “Chet” Guild did not return a call from The Daily News seeking comment.
Kluwe grew up in Edmore, graduating from Montabella High School and then Grand Valley State University with a degree in criminal justice. After college, he took a job with the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office in Stanton, starting as a road deputy in the summer of 1977. He was named a sergeant in 1982 and a lieutenant in 1986.
After retiring from the sheriff’s office in 2010, Kluwe took on Edmore village manager duties, a position his brother Paul had held from 2005 to 2009. Karl Kluwe was already the village’s police chief, having pulled double duty as such while working for the sheriff’s office.
“Becoming a village manager was a learning curve,” he said. “I had to learn all about millages and government programs. I worked with the council. We were a team. I think we’re in a good state right now financially. We have a healthy fund balance. We’re completing a program with the lagoon and sewer system. The DDA is making great strides in taking one of the worst looking sections of Edmore and turning it into one of the nicest looking sections. That’s still a work in progress.”
The work in progress Kluwe was referring to involves plans for a four seasons farmers market at the old General Bag Corp. factory building and land. The DDA is currently awaiting the results of a grant application to continue to move the process forward.
Kluwe credits many community members with helping the small village continue to move forward in a positive manner, including Village Office Manager Tracy Clark, members of the village’s Department of Public Works, DDA President Jack Miller, Farmers Market manager Aaron Hadley and Chamber of Commerce members Rich Adgate and Karen Nesbitt, to name just a few.
“The things that are done day-to-day in the village wouldn’t get done without our great team,” Kluwe said. “If it wasn’t for them, Edmore would be stagnate. I’m just happy that I was part of it.”
Lon Leonard formerly served as village president and worked alongside Kluwe on many projects.
“He was very instrumental in helping keep our farmers market going, working with the DDA and anybody else he could,” Leonard said. “We’re real proud of him. That’s going to be a big hole there in the village office.
“We’re hoping that our council in the future will continue to invest money in that project and keep it going because I think it’s really important to the village and to the area,” Leonard added.
Kluwe plans to spend some of his newfound free time with his sons, Lance and Evan. He plans to continue to reside in Edmore and stay tuned in to the community. But no more early morning alarm clocks and no more late night police runs.
“Thirty-six years is enough,” he said of his career in law enforcement.
A brief history of Edmore village managers
• Karl Kluwe has served as Edmore’s village manager since April 2010. He will officially retire on May 3.
• Art Schuitema was village manager from September 2009 to March 2010. He resigned after being asked to do so by council members.
• Paul Kluwe served as village manager from July 2005 to September 2009. He resigned to take a position in the automotive industry in Paris, Tenn.
• Heath Kaplan was village manager from June to October 2004. When Kaplan was on the job in Edmore, conflict broke out among the council, causing the treasurer and three council members to resign. Those who left all cited “new leadership” as the reason for their departures. Kaplan went on to work in Capac and Wayland before taking a city manager job in Crandall, Texas, in July 2008.
• Chris Wilson served as village manager from July 2003 to February 2004. An Arkansas native, Wilson left Edmore to become the city manager in Algonac. He later became village manager of Beverly Hills, Mich.
• Eric Dodson served as village manager from October 1996 to December 2001, when he left to become an attorney with the office of Ryan Villet in Stanton. He was later hired as city manager of St. Ignace.
• David Arking served as village manager from September 1992 to August 1996. He left to become the village manager of Middleville.