01-16-2020 Hartford Twp. still seeks Zoning Administrator; F.D. will install free smoke alarms; Nort

FREE SMOKE ALARMS FOR HARTFORD… Hartford Fire Chief Robbie Harting (left) and Assistant Chief Kevin McGrew want to make sure every Hartford resident has a working smoke alarm. Thanks to a grant from the American Red Cross, the Hartford Fire Department is offering free smoke alarms to the community. Some stipulations apply. To see if you qualify, simply contact the HFD for more information at (269) 621-4707.


THIS KUTE KID IS… Norah Belle Isbrecht, at 5 months old. She is the daughter and only child of Joe and Kerri Isbrecht of Watervliet, and a tiny Panther. Her dad is the head coach of the varsity wrestling team at Watervliet. Norah sometimes assists with his coaching! Norah’s proud grandparents are Watervliet residents and school employees Mark and Laura Isbrecht. She is also cherished by Grandpa Scotty Hall and Grandma Danielle along with Grandma Karen Quigley.


Hartford Twp. still seeks Zoning Administrator; F.D. will install free smoke alarms

By Jon Bisnett Only last month the Tri-City Record reported the approval of long-time local resident Jennifer Meachum as the township’s Zoning Administrator/ Noxious Weeds Officer. Since that time Supervisor Ron Sefcik said, at the Jan. 9 Hartford Township Board meeting, he received a call from Meachum rescinding her application. The position remains open and the board will continue to seek applicants for the void created by the resignation in December of 2017 by Jim Lechenet following some 14 years of service. Supervisor Ron Sefcik had covered some duties of the post in the interim, as have duties been assigned to the township’s dedicated Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department officer until a full-time administrator could be found. Guests County Commissioner Mike Chappell reported that following a positive evaluation by the Board of Commissioners, the Commission approved a three-year extension of John Faul’s employment contract. The contract provides for a 2% salary increase each year of the contract. The health care, retirement and other fringe benefits are identical to those offered to all county employees.

Commissioners also approved three-year contract extensions with numerous employee groups. These groups include: Sheriff’s Office Command Unit; Sheriff’s Office Corrections Unit; Sheriff’s Office Deputies Unit; Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Unit; All AFSCME Units; Judicial Officers Association; Assistant Prosecutors’ Association; Prosecutor’s Legal Secretaries Association; Non-Represented and Elected Officials. These agreements provide a 2% salary adjustment for each year of the contract. Health care, retirement benefits, time-off, and other fringe benefits, etc., are the same across the board.

The Board of Commissioners approved the appointment of Cindi Compton, Paul DeYoung, Matthew Newton, and Zach Morris to the Land Bank Authority Board. The county treasurer completes the five-person board. Commissioners further appointed: Dave Foerster, Sandra Hanson, Judy Jansen, and Matthew Newton to the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission through December 31, 2021. A private landowner, with property adjoining county-owned property on Lake Michigan, received approval to apply for an erosion control permit for the property. He will extend his erosion control system to a portion of the county property. All costs will be borne by the private property owner.

Sheriff’s Department Van Buren County Sheriff Deputy Chad Hunt logged 1,580 miles in Hartford Township for the prior month including 14 arrests, two felonies and a pair of traffic accidents.

Fire Department Hartford Fire Chief Rob Harting reported 25 township calls for the month of December and noted a January grass fire encompassing some three acres north of the Gala-T-Inn restaurant. Total calls for the year numbered 673, eclipsing all prior totals. Harting reminded of the department’s free smoke alarm distribution program. A grant from the American Red Cross will fund the program available to all Hartford residents. Call the HFD to arrange an installation at (269) 621-4707. The annual joint HFD meeting with city and township is scheduled for Feb. 12. On Feb. 13 the HFD will participate in the Auto Safety for Kids program, offering free inspections of child car seats at the station on Red Arrow Highway. Harting also noted that throughout the entire state, firefighters are no longer using any PFOS based foam fire suppression chemicals. Old business Supervisor Sefcik gave on update on PFOS, stating funding has been applied for and awaits approval in regard to 13 affected homes near the former Du-Wel site. The board continues its search for alternate members to serve on the Board of Review. New business The Board gave unanimous approval for 2020 Property Tax Poverty Exemption Guidelines. Approval was given in the amount of $3,360 for the township share of maintenance of the Paw Paw River Water Trail. The board acted favorably on the Peddler’s Application from Brian Smith, Financial Advisor with Edward Jones. A quote in the amount of $6,800 from Jack’s Excavating was approved for cleanup of property located at 50541 County Road 687. The board passed a resolution funding the Interlocal Recreation Council agreement in the amount of $5,000 plus an additional $1,360 as equal share of the cost of the annual audit as required by state law.

DECEMBER PANTHERS OF THE MONTH… Pictured (from the left) are: Bryson Barr, Johnny Clark, Zaylea Pates, Alivia Raymond, and Violet Smith. These Watervliet North School Panthers show their strong character every day by being hard workers, wonderful classmates and outstanding citizens. Congratulations to all Panthers of the Month!


Reserve a 2020 Super Book

The 2020 Super Books will be available soon. Paw Paw Lake Rotary will be selling them again this year. Reserve a Super Book by calling 269-468-8638.

Burger Night tonight at Coloma American Legion

Everyone is invited to Burger Night Thursday, Jan. 16 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at American Legion Post 362 in Coloma. They will be serving hamburgers, cheeseburgers and French fries. Post 362 is located at the corner of East St. Joseph and Sassafras streets.

North Berrien Historical Museum presents Annual History Trivia Showdown, Tuesday, Jan. 21

The North Berrien Historical Museum invites the public at large to participate in its 6th Annual History Trivia Showdown on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at 7:00 p.m. This friendly competition will include categories such as United States, Michigan, and local history along with a couple of surprise categories. Teams shall consist of no more than six people. Guests may arrive in teams. Individual participants are welcome to join existing teams in need of members. The winning team will receive prizes provided by local businesses including B&B Grocery, Eddie’s Drive-In West, Harding’s Friendly Market, Mattson’s House of Decor, Mike’s Pit Stop, and Silverstone Gardens Greenhouse. There will be refreshments available for all participants. No RSVP is required for this free event! Please contact peter@northberrienhistory.org with any questions. The North Berrien Historical Museum is located at 300 Coloma Ave. in Coloma.

CELEBRATING A STORIED CAREER… Drs. Ed and Sue Liebenthal greeted a steady stream of patients, friends and well-wishers at an open house honoring their four decades of dental service in the community of Hartford, Saturday, Jan. 11 at the His Place Outreach Center. There is a wonder irony in celebrating an iconic dental practice with sugary cake and bridge mix chocked full of M&Ms, but rest assured there was also an assortment of free toothbrushes and dental floss decorating the tables. The Liebenthals describe themselves as truly blessed and extremely grateful to the multi-generational patient base they have come to know more as friends. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)


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