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Mendon man creates directories for community

October 4th, 2009 Posted in Arts and Life

By Kade Delis

MENDON — Phone books may be free, but Mendon city resident Cary Ruggles publishes directories of his community from his home for everyone to use.

Ruggles, 54, author of Discover Wheat and Other Grains, decided to make a directory of Mendon in 1994. It started as a fundraiser and flourished into a popular icon among the community. On the cover is a picture of the sun setting on Gene Hiibner’s house, who resides there today. Ruggles sells them from his home for $10 a book and each one contains over 45 pages.

Ruggles said he got the idea after his wife, Patsy, was working in a young women’s church organization and needed a fundraiser to go to camp. Two years later, it became a family project done with help from the church. Because of Mendon community’s small size, they thought it would be a good idea. It was published at Watkins Publishing.

“It gets well received by the community,” says Ruggles. “Eighty-five percent own one.”

Ruggles confirms that all of the addresses in the directory are accurate. To obtain everyone’s address, he says it has become a science.

“I redo a map update each time,” Ruggles explained. “Once the map has been updated I go through the last version then call people up from the last version. All information is verified every time we go though it. We verify all names, addresses and phone numbers when we go down to a few houses.”

“It typically takes 500 hours to complete,” Ruggles said. “It is a laborious process. This one took longer because of the firefighter emergency service version which makes it so fireman can respond to an emergency. Let’s them know where the nearest fire hydrant is. This one took an extra 100 hours.”

Despite his history of writing, Ruggles says he does not consider this directory a writing deed.

“I wrote a book a couple of years ago about using grain,” Ruggles said. “I’ve shared it with other people. It explains the differences with using it. It shows people how to cook with it.”

One of the residents whose uses it frequently is postal worker Kevin Wright. He said he prefers the directory rather than a phone book.

“I use it daily,” said Wright. “Only in a town as cooperative as Mendon would you find a directory as comprehensive and as accurate.”

Ruggles currently sells them from his home in Mendon. For now the directory has not been republished since 2006. He said that most of this recent 2006 directory was done by himself and he is currently working on a new one.

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