SHORELINE COUNTIES ARE IN THE RED… on this chart courtesy of the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids showing many SW Michigan snowfall totals exceeding 24” in many coastal communities along Lake Michigan. Combined with near record temperatures there has been no reprieve as the lake-effect snow continues to accumulate in the Tri-Cities. Following a mild October and November, Christmas week alone accounted for well more than the historical monthly average 18” of December snow throughout the area. Long range forecasts predict more of the same with “warm up” to around 30 degrees scheduled for next weekend while midweek temps fall in the single digits with dangerous wind chill all accompanied by an additional 12” plus of snow. According to extended forecasts the much anticipated “January Thaw” is currently nowhere in sight.
News and Newsmakers of 2017 revisited
By Angela Stair
In the first weeks of the New Year it is an annual tradition of the Tri-City Record to recall the headline stories of the past year.
Following the News and Newsmakers feature, the Record will publish noteworthy stories and photos from the Press Box columns of 2017.
Complete pages of each issue are archived at www.tricityrecord.com. They are also available for viewing on the Coloma Public Library website resources in newspaper archives at colomapubliclibrary.net.
Continued from last week…
APRIL 13, 2017
$1.7 million left over; Watervliet School District completing more projects with bond proceeds from recent building improvements
Due to the lower cost of projects the Watervliet School Board will be able to complete additional facility improvements with the previous bond proceeds. Superintendent Kevin Schooley told the Board at their April meeting that the staff, facilities committee, and the architectural engineers have reviewed a list of potential projects for the possibility of being included in the bond package and ensuring that they fell within the language of the original bond proposal.
Some of the projects include replacing the gym floors at the North and South Elementary Schools (these are the original floors installed in 1954); an additional cooler for the kitchen area; adding more security cameras in areas needed in the middle and high schools; replacing the old heavy restroom doors for the students at the elementary schools, replacing 11 sinks at the elementary schools (originals); adding another classroom at the high school, upgrading the science labs, replacing additional lighting at the high school for better efficiency; upgrading the boys locker room at the high school; addressing the drainage problem at the North Elementary School; and replacing the exterior doors of the computer labs.
Schooley did address the need for an auxiliary gymnasium. While he doesn’t argue that there is a need, Schooley said that with all of the other priority things needed as well, the district will have to look at other ways to address that issue. The estimated cost of that project alone is $2.1-$2.5 million.
OTHER APRIL HEADLINE NEWS
WHS graduation rate 4th highest in state
Michigan education; classes, conferences, mascots, and graduation requirements… how issues impact local schools
Art show at Red Arrow Elementary a hit
Hartford elementary schools hold framed art shows
CAJIR CrossFit opens in Hartford
Final payment calls for a party at Coloma Lanes April 15
Area Agency on Aging seeks music CD donations for Music & Memory Program
Millage proposal on May 2 ballot to expand Van Buren County court complex
Developers to build Dollar General in Hagar Township; Zoning Board of Appeals approves numerous variances
Reorganization begins at Watervliet City Hall; Manager makes hourly jobs salaried positions
Hagar Township appoints interim township clerk, Sarah Cook; Supervisor presents schedule for roadwork
Keeler Township gets county and state updates
Consumers Energy interest in Palisades plant misreported; power giant looking for a natural gas fired plant to generate electricity
Budding business opportunities present themselves to City of Hartford; Huffman building eyed as pot dispensary; Thomas Mansion as a bed & breakfast; Red Arrow School as a community center
Exhibit celebrating 50 years of Glad-Peach Festival now open at North Berrien Historical Museum
Coloma Township considers request for allowing late night softball games at Washington Park
Watervliet Township finalizes support of Skate Park
Coloma School District stays School of Choice
Michael Van Horn publishes book on Christianity
County donates paper mill property to City, waives payback of $92,000; Watervliet Mayor says there is some interest for an event center on the site
Van Buren County Courthouse millage proposal on May 3 ballot; tour and Public Forum set for April 27, 2017
HOPE Resources seek support of Coloma City Commission for use of the old Lion’s Park building to assist those in needs
Bainbridge Township finalizes annual budget
Hartford adopts middle school math program
Watervliet City Commission approves School Resource Officer agreement; Mayor and Township Supervisor clash over terms
MAY 4, 2017
Vanderlyn Community Center million-dollar infusion breathes new life into idled Red Arrow school building; Library, Senior Services and adult education stated as tenants.
When Hartford voters narrowly approved the recent school construction bond, many expressed deep concern over the disposition of the Red Arrow Elementary building to be idled at the close of the school year this June (2017). “Who will buy it?” “How would the property be maintained?’ “Would it fall into disrepair?” “Hope they don’t tear it down? -At what cost?” …On and on the list of questions went.
But with vision for the good of the community and the philanthropic checkbook to back it up, the coming of the new Arthur and Bonna Vanderlyn Community Center now stands to preserve the integrity of an iconic Main Street building fueled with new purpose to better serve the community.
“Who would have ever thought we’d still be here after all these years,” mused Bonna during the celebration of the 50th anniversary of her local Harding’s store back in 2013, then went on to reveal the secret, “It was all about following Art’s dream.”
A young ambitious Art Vanderlyn graduated and went to work at the Hartford Kroger Grocery at the bottom as just a kid. Hardworking Vanderlyn found he had a real knack for the business and quickly became a rising star and in his early 20s became, if not the youngest Kroger store manager, then one of them. At this time, he met and married the love of his life, local farm gal Bonna Modro. They built a home in Hartford in which Bonna still lives.
Vanderlyn went on to join forces with Mel Harding, built Watervliet’s Harding’s and went on to build the Harding’s store in Hartford where they settled. His dream was to give back to the community that had supported him over the years. The duo worked side-by-side until the late 60’s when Art was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in 1970 at the young age of 40-years old.
Bonna now found herself at a crossroads. “It would have been so easy to just walk away,” said Bonna, “But I just couldn’t let Art’s dream die with him.” She was given the opportunity by Mel Harding to buy the store outright and she did. “I think I made the right decision,” she said with a wink.
Now as the undisputed Tri-City Queen of Retail enters her twilight years, it is with the full knowledge and feeling of contentment that she and her beloved Art will forever have left their mark on the hearts of those small-town folks that supported their remarkable success all these years.
OTHER MAY HEADLINE NEWS
Lakeland Health named one of the nation’s 15 top health systems
Hartford Township takes measures to stabilize annual budget
Blossomtime Festival: A life that Blossoms; Grand Parade is Saturday
Van Buren County rejects millage for courthouse, jail renovation project
North Berrien Fire Rescue will wait longer for a chief; Fire Board splits on options, could vote at next meeting
Watervliet Skate Park to reopen May 13 with ribbon cutting; boarders rejoice
Sun shines on Grand Floral Parade; Hartford and Watervliet win float awards
Gladiola contest returns for Glad-Peach 50th Anniversary
Coloma commissioner seeks volunteers to help plant 5,000 glad bulbs this Saturday
In their honor…Hartford High School seniors Mariel Hallgren, Miss Hartford 2017, and Hunter Ackerman, Mr. Hartford/Mr. Blossomtime 2017 attended a luncheon at His Place Outreach Center held in honor of this year’s Hartford Royal Court
Coloma schools investing in students; purchases 314 Chromebooks for 6th and freshmen classes
Watervliet Commission gets requests for help; resident wants to keep chickens, woman injured by Main Street banner
Watervliet Township OKs School Resource Officer; accepts former paper mill property from county
Coloma Township wants rate study on water system, “We’re losing money”
“He raped me” Non-consensual sex is sexual