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…
JULY 6, 2017
Watervliet City Commission denies allowing chickens
The Watervliet City Commission shot down an ordinance amendment to the animal ordinance that would allow chickens in residential areas.
“In addition to the above, no more than four domesticated chicken hens may be kept on single-family parcels or lots in the R-1 district. They must be kept within a hen house or restricted fenced in area and only in the required rear yard and not less than 15 feet from a side or rear yard lot line. A restricted fenced in area shall comprise of no more than 200 square feet or one-quarter of the total rear yard area, whichever is less,” was the verbiage of the amendment.
It also said that roosters were not allowed. The motion was voted down by commissioners Rick Kinzler, Duane Cobb, Luke Strunk, and Dave Brinker. Commissioners voting yes were Deah Muth, Billy Whitney, and Larry Hehl.
“We have an ordinance that stands and we should stand by it,” Strunk said. Following the vote, Kinzler commented it was tough saying no with Muth following that it was tough saying yes. Kinzler added that he just didn’t want it to get out of hand.
At their July 17 meeting the Watervliet Township Board passed an amendment to their zoning ordinance that will allow chickens in the township. The amendment allows for the keeping of up to four domesticated chicken hens on residential property in the township with restrictions.
Four domesticated chicken hens may be kept on single family parcels or lots in the R1-A and R1-B districts within a hen house or restricted fenced in area, and only in the required rear yard and not less than 15 feet from a side or rear yard lot line.
A restricted fenced in area shall comprise no more than 200 square feet or one-quarter of the total rear yard area, whichever is less. Roosters and accumulations of fecal matter, in quantities sufficient enough to where odors of such are detectable from adjoining properties, are prohibited.
OTHER JULY HEADLINE NEWS
Watervliet celebrates the 4th with fabulous festival, fun events
Van Buren Youth Fair will run July 17-22
Dale and Connie Hawks celebrate their 50Th Wedding Anniversary
Hartford City Council considers potential funds generated from legalizing medical marijuana
Judge asks us to remember how they lived. Memorial Walk and Candlelight Vigil held for Court Bailiffs Joe Zangaro and Ron Kienzle on one-year mark of their deaths
Coloma City Commissioners OK signs for Paw Paw River access; office staff to receive pay increases
Interest kindled in Hagar’s idled APL site
School is in session for the Watervliet Board of Education
James and Betty Lull celebrate 75th Wedding Anniversary
Coloma High School awarded bronze standing on the U.S. News & World Report’s Best High Schools List
Bainbridge working on Township cemeteries, seeking bids for monument repairs and approves cost of tree removal
Fate of former Huffman building in Hartford sealed, city taking demolition bids
Detour scofflaws get ticketed. Dangerous intersection at Red Arrow and County Line being reconfigured; residents disobeying traffic signs
AEP Foundation donates $375,000 to Lakeland Medical Center Pavilion
Paranormal investigators at historical museum July 21
Dick and Barbara Robinson celebrate 65th Wedding Anniversary
Coloma Township sets public hearing for Little Paw Paw Lake Cleanup District
Summer programs going well in Coloma Schools
Mixed test results for Tri-Cities’ municipal water systems; all report low lead
It was a real “Fair” week for Van Buren County Youth
Coloma’s Glad-Peach Festival is coming up; festival-goers can expect some changes
Hartford seals nominations for Mayor and City Commissioners; special meeting set for August 16, to discuss Medic 1 contract
World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series at Hartford Speedway for “Battle of Michigan” this Friday
Hartford Board of Education appoints new Middle School Principal; Board member objects, says low test scores needs stronger academic leadership
Coloma City Commission meets briefly; approves added funds for road work
Hartford Township opts out of marijuana operations; Surplus equipment to be auctioned
AUGUST 3, 2017
Coloma is the place to be this weekend for the 50th Anniversary of the Glad-Peach Festival
The Coloma festival that is a summer staple and can always be counted on to usher in the month of August is celebrating 50 years this year. That is quite the feat for a local festival put on solely by volunteers with generous donations from the community and surrounding area. It speaks well of a community that can pull together and get things done.
According to the North Berrien Historical Museum, the first festival was held in August of 1946 one year after World War II ended to celebrate the anniversary of V-J Day. In subsequent years a gladiolus show was added and it was eventually named the Gladiolus Festival.
The Festival was successfully held until a controversy led to it being cancelled in 1955. The flower show was then held in Watervliet before becoming the Southwestern Michigan Gladiolus Society. In 1967 the Coloma Jaycees were a key part of bringing back the Coloma Gladiolus Festival.
At that time, it was mostly a flower show and parade. In the mid 70’s the interest in the flower show was declining and so the festival continued without it. In 1981 a local farmer, Paul Friday, who was involved with the Michigan Peach Grower’s Association purposed that peaches be added to the festival name. The peach growers were offering financial support so the name was officially changed to the Glad-Peach Festival in 1981.
Through the years the festival continued to grow and became known not only for the parade but also the fireworks show, youth parade, a huge car show and two stages with live music. Over the years a strong band of volunteers has kept the festival going.
Every year is a little different as some events come and go, but Coloma’s Glad-Peach Festival is still a wonderful, family oriented weekend for everyone to enjoy
OTHER AUGUST HEADLINE NEWS
Four Grand Marshals named for Saturday’s Glad-Peach parade; Mary Collis, Erica Hensel, Julie Pupedis, and Dale Stover
Glad-Peach Community Spirit Award for 2017 honors deserving community members, Sieg Freitag, Dee and Don Schultz
Don Stewart receives Glad-Peach Festival Community Service Award
Bear Cave restoration at Hays Park is community outreach project for church congregation and Watervliet
Coloma Watervliet Area Chamber of Commerce holding ribbon cutting at Some Things Different in Watervliet
Watervliet City Commission approves multiple improvement expenses; 14 areas of Main Street sidewalks on the list
Glad-Peach Festival celebrates a successful 50th year
North Berrien Historical Museum hosts “Native American Sugar Bushing” August 15
Hartford Federated Church to inaugurate new senior Pastor, Benjamin Williamson on August 20
Salem Lutheran Church in Coloma welcomes the new pastor, Reverend Alex Hoffmeyer
Berrien County Youth Fair opens this Monday
Watervliet grads capture eclipse photos, “During totality the horizon was the colors of a sunset in every direction, it was amazing”
Hartford City and community band together to battle the use of heroin and to save lives
Senior Day at the Berrien County “Youth” Fair offers them a chance to shine
Coloma Schools kick off year with new Principals and freshmen orientation
Bainbridge Township audit for last fiscal year reflects increase in net position; Trustees OK contract for furnace work
Berrien County Commissioners announce Public Hearings concerning Road Commission
Watervliet Township officials considering rule changes to help keep properties in good condition
The School bell rang, and 200 Watervliet alumni answered
Hartford City Council continues discussions to retain Medic 1 at special meeting, then, at workshop, proposes to vote on resolution to drop service contract at August 28 meeting
Hartford City votes 5-2 to opt out of Medic 1 ambulance service contract
Wonder-full murals to greet students returning to Watervliet Elementary
Lansing legislators ease the grip of zero tolerance school discipline
Coloma DDA contemplates hiring coordinator, Coloma City Commission told
Host of new staff to greet students at Hartford Public Schools on Tuesday; Redwood Elementary may not open on time
College bound seniors struggle to retest the SAT; out-of-state students test at ‘nearby sites’
Area township supervisors favor County takeover of the Road Commission
SEPTEMBER 7, 2017
Area township supervisors favor County takeover of the Road Commission
The supervisors of Watervliet, Coloma, and Hagar townships have spoken out in favor of a Berrien County Board of Commissioners’ takeover of the Berrien County Road Commission.
The supervisors did so in a letter written to the Berrien County Board on August 21, 2017. “It has become apparent that the Berrien County Road Commission is experiencing operational problems and has for some time, leading to numerous rumors that, perhaps, the Road Commission will be replaced in authority and function by another entity. In light of this, the undersigned believe that dissolving the Berrien County Road Commission, and putting the operation and maintenance of all county roads under the responsibility of the County Board of Commissioners, would, in our minds, lead to a more effective and efficient operation that would be more responsive and attentive to all districts within the county. We highly urge the Board of Commissioners to undertake this step.”
The letter was signed by Kenneth Parrigin, Coloma Charter Township Supervisor; Izzy DiMaggio, Hagar Township Supervisor; and Dan Hutchins, Watervliet Charter Township Supervisor.
The Board of Commissioners received the letter in their weekly communications at their August 24 meeting. On that day, the second public hearing was held on the subject of transferring the powers now held by a 5-member Road Commission, to the Berrien County Board of Commissioners. Another public hearing on the subject will be held September 7 at the Administration Center in St. Joseph.
Following the third and final public hearing September 7, on the subject of the Road Commission, and a lengthy discussion of a draft resolution that would cement the takeover by the Berrien County Board of Commissioners, some County Commissioner’s were still unwilling to proceed.
September 13 Judge Donahue ruled Hodge’s offices as Bainbridge Township Supervisor and as Road Commissioner were incompatible; meanwhile Berrien County continues discussion to take over management of Road Commission (Tri-City Issue #38).
Berrien County Road Department established; Road Commission is no more. Action taken during the September 28, 2017 Berrien County Board of Commissioners meeting finalized, once and for all, that the Berrien County Road Commission is now dissolved and the business of maintaining miles of county roads, bridges and culverts will fall under the responsibility of the Berrien County Road Department. The action taken at last week’s Board of Commissioners’ meeting follows months of information gathering and discussion.
OTHER SEPTEMBER HEADLINE NEWS
Paw Paw River County Park progress waiting on permits: County moves to return remaining paper mill lands to Watervliet City and Township
Hartford Public Schools to open September 11, delay caused by unforeseen issues of construction project
2nd annual Hartford Back-to-School Bash fun for all
Back the Blue 5K and Berrien County Sheriff’s Office to host first annual 5K run this Saturday
Hundreds of old tractors and engines expected at 34th annual show at Michigan Flywheelers Museum
Hartford League of Miracles holding fundraiser Saturday to benefit special needs kid’s sports
Sinking fund basics presented to Coloma School Board; Voters would be asked to OK millage funds to save up for future projects
North Berrien Photo Contest winners announced
Scholarship started by alumnus to support Coloma High School marching band students
North Berrien Historical Museum presents Wanted: Homes for Children, Dowagiac’s Orphan Train story
Eleven teachers join Watervliet Public Schools
Hagar Board reflects on Texas and Florida events
Ghost hunt Friday, MIPRO paranormal event at Hartford’s historical museum
Coloma City Commission observes a moment of silence for 9-11 victims; another theft at cemetery reported
Watervliet Recreation Council officer selection meeting this weekend
Watervliet Police Chief wants safer, secure parks; seeks locked gates for Hays and Flaherty parks, resident suggests Sterner Park for a dog run
City of Hartford asked to make final decision on marijuana dispensary
Coloma Township approves Little Paw Paw Lake Special Assessment District
Watervliet Township moves to make ordinances available online; approves site plan for proposed Casey’s General Store
The Watervliet motorcyclist injured in the crash last week was taken off life support Tuesday
Busy agenda for Bainbridge Township meeting; includes vote against marijuana related businesses
Coloma’s first Music in the Park a success
Lakeland Health welcomes B. Allyn Behling, DO, new medical director
County Road 687 construction in Hartford Township nearing completion
Andy and Joyce Thomas celebrate 68th Wedding Anniversary
Tri-City CROP Hunger Walk – helping end hunger one step at a time at Jollay Orchards this Sunday
Southwest Michigan Planning Commission offering free workshop on wetlands to landowners
Public Service Commission trim’s Consumers’ buyout proposal for Palisades
Hartford City begins search for new ambulance service
Coloma citizens worried about ordinances and the lack of an enforcement officer
Menasha Corporation Foundation donated a generous $900 to the Paw Paw River Project
Creative funding looked at for community good in Watervliet through Public Spaces Community Places program
Voter registration deadline is October 10, register to vote before November election; Every vote counts, new voting equipment to be used in 48 counties
NEWS & NEWSMAKERS OF 2017
CONTINUED NEXT WEEK