Pedal Press

Fast Track Index

New World Record Established at Recovery Party

In an exquisitely coordinated effort that revealed much prior training and preparation, members of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club drained brewmeister Chris Howard?s 1/6th keg of Recovery Red Ale in 36 minutes on Saturday night, shattering the old record by an hour or more.

Bystanders witnessing the event expressed admiration and respect for the group?s effort. ?I?ve never seen anything like it,? one shocked and awed gawker was heard to remark. ?It?s like the whole keg was there ? and then it just disappeared. These guys, they really know what they?re doing.?

In a departure from prior years, when some bicyclists at the Recovery Party expressed interest in ?watching carb intake,? many reverted to form in indulging ? for just this one night, honest! ? in hearty eat and drink.

Social Directors Jelania Haile and Renee Mitchell, and hosts Megan, Fred and Rebecca James put together as fine a Recovery Party as ever took place. The venue was the James?s palatial home, with its many separate entertainment areas. There was an interesting variety (and large quantity) of food, highlighted by Jim Kindle?s chili offerings and enough desserts to satisfy any sweet tooth; a slide show; a raffle with many useful prizes; and as much lively conversation as anyone could handle. Kurt Sherwood even put on a display of dance moves to a gaggle of admirers?

Doug and Kathy Kirk presented their annual Bicycle Pasta Awards to, among others, Victor Van Fleet (for Comeback Story of the Year, for his nearly complete recovery from a deadly aortic aneurysm), and to young Tyler Birmann (the Diaper Dandy award, for being recruited by a professional mountain biking team). Chris Howard walked away with the coveted ?Mr. Smooth? title by garnering the ?Best Wheel to Suck? award because, as Doug pointed out, Chris is not only smooth, he?s fast and big ? and that is a great combination of attributes to ride behind.

KBC President Mike Boersma chose FlowerFest veteran Amy Lehman for Volunteer of the Year. Unfortunately, she was not at the Recovery Party, but will be awarded a 50 dollar gift certificate to a local bike shop that goes along with this honor.

KBC wishes to thank Megan, Fred and Rebecca for generously opening up their home for the Recovery Party. It worked out ideally for the size of the crowd and for the various events that took place during the course of the evening. Be sure to send KBC Treasurer Tom Keizer the cleaning bill?

Thanks also go to Renee and Jelania for coordinating and organizing the party. A testament to their planning was the seemingly effortless way in which the party unfolded.

Finally, effusive thanks go to our generous local bicycle shops, Alfred E Bike, Breakaway Bicycles and Village Cyclery for donating the many raffle prizes. Although most of them seemed to go to the Barnes family (Steven, were you stuffing the ballot box?), nearly everyone who came to the party walked away with something that could be used in the upcoming biking season. Although it has been said many times and in many ways, patronizing these local shops is a good way to say ?thank you? for partnering with KBC not just at the Recovery Party, but also at the many other events they help us ? and the local biking community ? with.

Great job everyone! And Chris, can we try a larger keg next year?

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Kal Haven Trailblazer Back in Business!

The Friends of the Kal Haven Trail group announced recently that they will be conducting their popular early-season Kal Haven Trailblazer Bike Tour on Saturday, May 13th.

A flyer about the ride says it will feature food stops and SAG wagons operated by Alfred E Bike, Breakaway Bicycles, and Village Cyclery. There will also be a shuttle service that will transport riders and their bikes to South Haven so they can ride back to Kalamazoo on the Kal Haven Trail.

Profits from the Trailblazer go into the Friends coffers and are used to fund projects along the trail.

At this point information is not available concerning the start time, signup location, and routes available. Look for that information in the PedalPress closer to the event.

If you would like to volunteer to help staff the Trailblazer, please call Ron Stolk at (269) 373-9013.

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Active subscriptions in KBC: 213


Eric Carter * Zolton Cohen * Joel Dinda * Terry Hutchins * Megan James * Celine Keizer * Arianne Kindle * Jim Kindle * Tyler Kindle * Cheryl Kucharski * Joe Kucharski * Jason Machnik * Michael Miller * Thomas T. Moore * Mary White

New Members

James Cates * Jeffrey Hamilton

Expiring Memberships

Phil & Jini Caruso * Michele Intermont * Lisa Kaplan * T.J. Seiwert

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Bike Shop Job Openings

Paul Wells, owner of Breakaway Bicycles in Portage, got in touch with the PedalPress recently to ask if he could post a ?help wanted? notice. His shop is in need of sales staff and another mechanic. If you?re interested and would like to apply for one of the openings get in touch with him by visiting the store at 185 Romence Road in Portage.

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Farewell to a Faithful KBC Friend, Randy Putt

It is with great regret that the PedalPress must report that Randy Putt, KBC?s Ride Captain for as far back as anyone can remember, is leaving town due to a change in jobs. As part of Pfizer?s restructuring plan, Randy?s job was eliminated, and he and his wife Jenny will be moving to Cincinnati in the early spring.

It would be hard to envision a more enthusiastic bike rider than Randy ? or a better one. He was always up for planning a new ride, encouraging people to ride more, and endlessly recruiting others to take on ride leader positions. But his duties and position in the bike club in no way hindered his performance on the bike. Known as one of the smoothest pedalers and best bike handlers in the club peloton, he could pull at the front as long and hard as many bikers 20 years his junior. He led out many a sprint during the Friday night Tour de Gull and was always in good position at the end, competing for bragging rights that week. Randy is also known for his distance cycling ability; he was part of the Kalamazoo group that rode across the country several years ago.

Yet despite his prowess, he always had time to devote to those less experienced. He loved to share his love of bicycling with everyone.

This notice of Randy?s departure sounds similar to a eulogy. And to some extent it is. Few people are willing to commit the time and effort it takes to do the job that Randy has done these past years. His leaving is a great loss to our bicycle club.

On the other hand, Cincinnati?s bike club is going to gain an enthusiastic, knowledgeable member who will enhance their operations measurably. And Randy will probably even get in more riding time than ever ? the weather, after all, is supposed to be warmer down there.

KBC wishes the best of luck to Randy and Jenny as they embark on this new phase of their lives. Knowing Randy, he?ll make the best of it. And thank you Randy, for all you?ve done for the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club.

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KBC?s Kevin Biek Spearheads Bike Donation Effort

The Kalamazoo Gazette, on Saturday, January 7th, published an article detailing how KBC?s Kevin Biek (past president of the Trikats Triathlon Club), coordinated putting together a bicycle for a Kenyan man, Didan Ireri.

A Loy Norrix graduate, Rob Blunt, saw Ireri biking around Nairobi on a patched up steel bike that was in poor condition. Ireri had been hit by a bus at the age of 13 and has only one foot, yet he competed in bike races and routinely beat riders who do not have handicaps.

Blunt contacted his stepmother to see what she could do to get Ireri a different bicycle. His request eventually reached Biek. Using contacts at Alfred E Bike and his friends at KBC, Biek swung into action. He donated a new cyclocross frame to the cause. Mike Peterson, Tom Cross, Scott McAlister, Jeff Weber, Jonathan Evans, Matt Berner and Alfred E Bike supplied parts to complete the bike. Don Zielenga built it.

In the space of a week and a half, the bike - a cross between a cyclocross and a mountain bike - came together. Blunt?s wife?s family took it with them when they went to visit Blunt in Kenya.

Biek is quoted in the Gazette article as saying, ?We just thought it would be cool because the guy shares the same passion we do.? Ireri was reported to have been ?overwhelmed? by the gift, and intends to continue to compete in races. The bike also may improve his quality of life. Handicapped people are discriminated against in Kenya, but owning a new bike and being able to compete successfully against intact competitors may raise Ireri?s hope of being able to achieve a better life situation. He aspires to start up a bike courier business.

Congratulations to Biek and his team of generous donors who gave not only bike parts, but of themselves, to help another human being.

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The Road Report - Bridge Rebuilding Projects

Doug Kirk contacted the PedalPress to report that he received written confirmation from the Michigan Department of Transportation stating that when MDOT rebuilds the Oakland and Lovers lane bridges over I - 94, each bridge will have six foot bike lanes headed in each direction.

The Lovers Lane bridge is to re rebuilt in 2006 and Oakland Drive sometime between 2007 and 2009.

Also, according to Mark Geib at MDOT, the Parkview bridge over US 131 will be rebuilt in 2007 as a 3 lane bridge with 10 foot bike lanes on each side.

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Kalamazoo Valley River Trailway Project

On Wednesday, January 18th, KBC?s Doug Kirk, Mike Boersma, and Zolton Cohen attended a meeting about the Kalamazoo Valley River Trailway Project, at Brook Lodge in Augusta. The KVRT is an 8 million dollar bike and recreational trail building effort that will eventually link the Kal Haven Trail to the Battle Creek Linear Park and, in the future, is planned to continue to points east of there.

Thus far, several portions of the trailway have been completed. The Kal Haven, of course, has been in use for several decades. The Battle Creek Linear Park consists of 22 miles of trails that start at Dickman Road on the west end of Battle Creek and end near the Verona Dam outlook on the Battle Creek River on Wagner Drive to the east. The new project will connect these two existing entities ? and will construct some other trailways that will run north and south of Kalamazoo.

Short sections of the new trail have already been completed. A stretch by Riverview Park and Mayor?s Riverfront Park in downtown Kalamazoo is in place, as is a portion that runs through the Fort Custer Recreational Area. When complete, the midsection of the trail between Kalamazoo and Battle Creek will total about 30 miles, all of which will be designated for non-motorized use.

As with any visionary project, this one will take years to complete. The good news is that heavy hitters like the WK Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek, the Michigan Transportation Enhancement Program and the National Park Service Rivers and Trails Program have already allocated some funding to the effort. A community fundraising effort is underway as well. KBC will periodically publish updates on the trail?s progress.

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KVCC Fitness Fest a Showcase for KBC

KBC Safety and Education Chair Victor Van Fleet wrote in to offer up a volunteer opportunity. This event could raise the profile of the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club in the community.

Van Fleet writes: ?On Tuesday, April 18, 2006, KVCC is sponsoring a community-wide fitness fest. KBC, along with several other organizations and businesses that zero in on fitness, are invited to join with KVCC in an all day, 9 AM to 3 PM, program that involves lectures, product and service displays, workshops and demonstrations.? 

?This is a terrific opportunity for KBC to showcase our value to the community and we need volunteers to provide booth information service and seminar presentations. Extolling the virtues of our Club can and should have a dramatic impact on our Club membership.?

Please contact Van Fleet (email address and phone number at the end of this newsletter) for more details on how you might be able to help out.

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Mid-Winter Ramblings from the Ride Captain

As many of you know, my position at Pfizer in Kalamazoo has been terminated, as is the case with several other KBC members. My last day worked at Pfizer is February 3rd. Since I?m not ready to retire yet, I have located a new job. A great opportunity recently surfaced. I will be starting as a Project Manager at Patheon Pharmaceuticals in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 3.

As a result of this major life change for Jenny and me, I must regretfully resign as KBC Ride Captain. Deciding to leave Kalamazoo and this great cycling community was a difficult one. Since my daughter and her family still live in this area and we have many friends here, we will likely be returning periodically. I hope to join many of you for a ride or two this summer in Kalamazoo. If you get to the Cincinnati area, please look us up. I can be reached via email at .

If any of you are interested in taking on the role of Ride Captain, please contact me or any KBC board member as soon as possible.

Thanks to many of you, KBC has a developed a successful ride schedule over the years and the routes are well established. There are 5 weekly rides on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday (both morning and evening), and Friday. There are 6 special weekend rides. KBC also sponsors a time trial series two Tuesdays each month from May/June through August/September. I will be happy to discuss the duties of the Ride Captain with anyone who might be interested. I am available to help someone get started in the role over the next couple of months.

The annual holiday party was held on January 21 and for the first time in recent memory there was no snowstorm. The party was well attended and I had great time. It appeared that all in attendance enjoyed themselves. Many thanks to Megan, Fred, and Rebecca James for opening their house to all of us, and to Social Directors Jelania Haile and Renee Mitchell for organizing the event. The James home was a wonderful venue for a party. It was great to see many familiar faces and a few new faces as well. KBC is stronger than ever with many new KBC members in leadership roles. The 2006 ride season will be starting before we know it.

The weather is still wintry, so we warm weather lovers can only hope spring is on the way. It is the end of January and the weather forecast is for snow flurries with temperatures hovering in the 30s. However, the forecast could change at any moment since this is Michigan. The calendar says it's the middle of January and we can usually expect a lot of cold weather in Feb and March. It is never too early to start planning the upcoming 2006 KBC ride season, especially this year.

2005 was another great year riding with the Kalamazoo Bicycle Club. The Monday, Wednesday, and Friday rides were very well attended. The Thursday ride had a dedicated following of 10 ? 15 riders. Renee Mitchell and Jelania Haile initiated a Thursday morning women?s ride in 2005 with a small group and plan to continue in 2006. The KBC rides calendar just keeps getting better and busier. I expect this year to be no different.

I recommend we plan to continue the Monday (Texas Drive Park), Wednesday (Kal-Haven Trailhead parking lot), Thursday (Texas Drive Park) & Thursday morning ride from KVCC, and Friday (Billy?s Bike Shop in Galesburg) rides for the 2006 season. The routes for all the weekly rides are well established. We are always open to route changes, as well, and the new Ride Captain may want to make some changes. Stay tuned for updates on these rides.


Descriptions of the regular weekday rides are listed below and the full ride schedule will start in May at 6:15 PM. KBC plans to offer at least a partial weekly ride schedule in April (after daylight savings time starts) at 6:00 PM as weather permits. Look for details in the March and April Newsletters.

The Monday Ride at Texas Drive Park will consist of 5 ride groups, which should provide a pace to suit riders of all abilities:

The 10-15 miles groups will generally ride the same route and are recommended for new riders. These groups will sometimes combine depending on the number of riders present. The group has gained quite a following, usually 10 ? 15 riders in 2005.

The 25-30 mile groups will typically ride the same route in the early part of the season. KBC recommends the 16 ? 18 mph group for more experienced riders who are new to the club. This group is very steady and one of the club?s most popular ride groups. The 19 ? 20 mph group is a steady group as well for riders who want to ride a bit faster. The leaders for the 16 ? 18 mph and 19 - 20 mph groups plan to keep the groups together and at a steady pace.

All riders who want to push the pace can do so in the 20+mph group. The 18 ? 19 and 20+ mph groups will most likely start riding the more hilly routes after May at the discretion of the riders and leaders.

Plans for the 5th year of the Tuesday Night Time Trial are in the works. The Barnes family plans to run the time trial once again this year and plan to use the same route as last year. The route starts at the Pavilion Township Hall at the corner of Q Avenue and 28th Street. The time trial will run every other Tuesday starting in May or June.

The Wednesday ride meets at the Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot. KBC plans to offer 3 ride groups:

The Wednesday night Hammerfest will start at Kal-Haven Trail Parking lot at 6 PM when daylight savings time kicks in. The pace of the ride is typically greater than 23 mph and the route goes to Bloomingdale and back (about 46 miles). Since the route is well known to most of the regular riders, no maps are available for this ride. This group is typically large (more than 15 riders) and consists of racers and other experienced riders. Typically, there is no designated ride leader. The group may fragment into smaller groups and the riders oftentimes do not finish together. This ride is hard and is not suitable for inexperienced riders. Some riders can expect to be dropped from the main group.

Women?s Morning Ride ? Would you like to meet other women in cycling? Join Renee Mitchell and Jelania Haile for a women?s-only ride on Thursday mornings. Meet at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC- south-west parking lot by the tennis courts) at 10AM. The pace will be 15-16 mph with a distance of 20-25 miles.

The Thursday Night Ride is a nice and easy social ride night at Texas Drive Park and has a small loyal group (10 ? 15 riders), which is growing in size. Riders of all riding abilities are welcome. The pace is typically 15-17 mph and distance is 20-25 miles (led by Dave Jones).

The Friday Tour de Gull meets at Billy?s Bike Shop in Galesburg and the pace varies depending on who shows up (led by Randy Putt). We did have a 16-17 mph group periodically as well as a large 20+ mph group last year. The fast group typically leads itself. The route for this ride is well established so the ride leader job is easy.

Also, I recommend continuing the special weekend rides in 2006. The rides were successful last year, once again. The Ride Around Kalamazoo County was, unfortunately canceled because of rain this year. We had 10 ? 20 riders on each of the other special weekend rides and we had a great time. We now have 6 special weekend rides and there is always room for more. Mark your long-range calendars for some special weekend rides this summer. Several rides are being planned for the summer months.

The dates for these rides are not firmly established for 2006, yet. If you have comments about the above-mentioned rides or have suggestions for other rides, contact Randy Putt by phone or e-mail.

Impromptu weekend rides can happen anytime the weather is suitable and someone is willing to organize, especially in February, March, and April. Contact a few friends and spread the word via email and riders will likely come. If anyone would like to lead a weekend ride in February or March, give me a call and/or send me a description of the ride via e-mail, or send the ride info to the KBC e-mail group. If the roads are dry, there will be riders ready to ride. I have a lengthy e-mail list of riders, so the ride information can be transferred quickly and on short notice. If any of you would like to be added to the e-mail list, send your e-mail address to me at . In March these impromptu weekend rides are likely to become more common. KBC plans to offer at least a partial weekly ride schedule in April as the weather permits. Look for details in the March and April Newsletters.

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Be a Ride Leader

Not much warm weather so far this year, so riding your bike on the road is a rare event at this time of the year for all except the most dedicated cyclists. The last time I was out riding on the road was just after the New Year. I hope everyone has been doing some sort of off-season training. If you have, you have been doing a lot better than I have. There is just too much to do at work and at home. I know there are a few of you who have ridden outside in spite of the cold weather and slippery roads. You are dedicated to be sure. Even more riders have been riding regularly on a wind trainer or rollers, in spinning class, or maybe have traveled to some exotic location this winter. The road conditions are good at the moment so get out and ride. It is time to start to think about the upcoming ride season. Spring is just around the corner?

KBC had a great group of ride leaders last year and the 2005 ride season was another great year. Attendance at the rides continued to increase with many new faces. This is my annual and maybe my final solicitation for ride leaders for the upcoming ride season as the KBC Ride Captain. Since I will be leaving the area for a new job in Cincinnati, it is even more important that KBC members step up to lead rides.

The usual cadre of ride leaders and the new ride captain could use some help, and KBC can always use more ride leaders. New leaders bring different perspectives to the rides. We especially need leaders in 17 mph and under groups. The more ride leaders we have the better. Volunteer to lead some rides. It?s fun and it is a good way to get to know other KBC members. The routes are well established for the Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday rides. Also, check out the route maps on the KBC web site ( If you have a favorite route to include, send the file to the Webmaster, Kathy Kirk for inclusion in our map library. Give it a shot. The club will be happy to help get you started leading rides.

If anyone is interested in leading rides this year, please give me a call at 649-1814. I will be more than happy to discuss how to lead rides with you. In fact, most any experienced KBC rider would be happy to discuss ride leader responsibilities with you. You do not have to wait to be asked. No experience is necessary; you just need the willingness to ride with a great group of people who enjoy riding their bikes.

An Invitation to Ride

One of the primary functions of KBC is to offer an opportunity for club members to participate in group rides with other club members. To this end, KBC offers road rides for casual riders, families, tourists, fast tourists, and racers. The club has also offered mountain bike rides from time to time. KBC offers regular rides from 10 to 35 miles at ride paces from 10 to 20+mph. There is likely to be a ride suitable for you in this schedule.

KBC also offers longer weekend rides. If you have never ridden in a group, the club weekly rides are a great way to get started. Riding with a group is great fun. Kalamazoo County is blessed with many good low-traffic roads that are suitable for group cycling. If KBC does not offer a ride that suits your needs, contact any club board member or the ride captain and volunteer your services to lead a new ride. We will be happy to get you started.

You do not need to own an expensive bicycle or clothes to ride with KBC. We do, however, require riders to wear a helmet, and recommend cycling shorts, bringing a water bottle, cycling gloves, a pump, a tube patch kit or a spare tube, and tools (especially tire levers to remove a flat tire) for minor adjustments or repair along the road.

Flats and other mechanical breakdowns do happen on occasion while riding. If you have never changed a tire on the road, there may be someone on the ride who can assist you. WE DO REQUIRE THAT ALL RIDERS WEAR A BICYCLE HELMET. This requirement is a matter of safety and common sense.

How to Lead a Club Ride

Ride leaders play an important role in our ride program. There is room in our monthly ride schedule for any ride. Leading a ride is your opportunity to share your cycling pleasures with other club members. It is our opportunity for others to learn from your experience.

There are nine easy steps in leading a ride:

If you have any questions about ride leader duties or would like to lead a ride, call the ride captain at 649-1814.

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Axel Kleat

A Shameless Plug

I?ve been writing these stories for ten years now, so I have quite a collection. A few months ago I thought about organizing them, writing an introduction, and seeing about getting the whole thing published. Out of a total of about a hundred, about seventy-five were good enough to use, and writing the introduction turned out to be pretty easy.

Well, now The Adventures of Axel Kleat has been published and is available for purchase - as an ebook only - at least until I find a traditional publisher, which might be never.

The book is available from just one source, but it?s a great source - This website is a terrific resource for almost any road rider, no matter how (in)experienced. It is run by Ed Pavelka, an ex-editor of both Bicycling magazine and Velonews. Ed has biked over 250,000 miles and is a team transcontinental record holder.

I met Ed and his semi-retired partner, Fred Metheny, at two of Lon Haldeman?s Pac-Tour training camps. Both were giving presentations on aspects of training and riding. These are two great guys and two great riders. They are absolute fountains of knowledge about riding, bike fit, strength, health, fitness and riding skills. They have been in the business for years and are extremely well-connected.

Ed publishes a weekly newsletter - which is free once you sign up at the free website. It?s a great ten minutes of reading each Thursday. And no, you won?t get any spam as a result. Several ebooks are available for purchase via the newsletter/website each week, mostly on subjects like strength training for cyclists, racing tactics, long-distance cycling, and proper nutrition. Axel Kleat is the first book of stories, character and trip descriptions, and anecdotes about everything from freezing fingers to frame geometry. It contains nearly every story published in the KBC PedalPress.

The fact is that yes, I stand to make money on each one sold. The price is $12.95. At that price, you can afford several.

On a related subject, I?ve written enough of these stories that oftentimes the hardest part is thinking up something to write about every month. So I?m going into semiretirement. I?m only going to write a story when I get the urge to do so - rather than trying to meet a monthly deadline. And to tell you the truth, I don?t know just how often the urge will hit. We?ll see?

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KBC Contact Information

2005 KBC Board of Directors

President Mike Boersma
  Phone: 269-720-1409
Vice President Jim Kindle
  Phone: 269-382-8053
Secretary Chris Haddock
  Phone: 269-624-5418
Treasurer Tom Keizer
  Phone: 269-382-4737
Database Manager Paul Bruneau
  Phone: 269-343-6016
Newsletter Editor Zolton Cohen
  Phone: 269-344-0200
Ride Captain Randy Putt
  Phone: 269-649-1814
Social Director Jelania Haile
  Phone: 269-345-1274
Social Director Renee Mitchell
Safety and Education Chair Victor VanFleet
  Phone: 269-375-7691
Webmaster Kathy Kirk
  Phone: 269-388-5045
Flowerfest Director Dave Jones
  Phone: 269-760-8869

KBC Membership Fees

Monthly club meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month February through December at the YMCA on Maple Street in Kalamazoo. Time is 7:00 PM. All members are encouraged to attend.

Please go to our website at to sign up for membership and for more information about KBC.

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