Bainbridge Township drain contamination may cost landowners; Sheriff to investigate diesel spill
By Annette Christie A work order from the Berrien County Drain Commissioner to jet and clean the Brant and Dix Drain located in Bainbridge Township, led to the discovery of a fuel spill. On Wednesday, January 2, 2019, B & Z Company went to the area of the drain manholes near Napier Avenue and Park Road. Workers from B & Z located an obstruction in the drain. When removing the manhole lid of manhole 2, the employees saw discharge in the drain. Drain Commissioner Christopher Quattrin and employees of engineering firm Spicer Group went to the spill site. The discharge was red in color and had a strong scent of fuel. The landowner who called in the original work order happened upon the workers and mentioned that he had smelled fuel this summer but did not investigate it. Workers from Schultz Inc., pit cleaning service out of Lansing, were brought to clean out the drain and dispose of the nearly 500 gallons of water/fuel mixture. Quattrin said while there was some signs of water/fuel mixture in a nearby wetland area, Quattrin said that no fuel was found in the soil and was pretty much contained to that one area. Reports were sent to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, however, Quattrin told the Berrien County Board of Commissioners on Thursday, Jan. 10 that they had no interest in investigating this incident further. That leaves the question of who will pay for the cleanup which Quattrin said right now is about $25,000. Quattrin said the district has about 69 property owners. The normal payees of maintenance to a drain is billed to the landowners in the drainage district, however, the purpose for this bill is very unusual. Jon Hinkelman, Berrien County Commissioner for District 2 which includes Bainbridge Township, asked the Board of Commissioners to authorize County Administrator Bill Wolf to look into the spill, and to look at options for funding the clean-up. With the board’s support, Wolf will work with Sheriff Paul Bailey to investigate it.
Elvis will be at FOP Feb. 16 On Saturday, Feb. 16 Coloma FOP Lodge 147 is hosting a St. Jude Fund-raiser “A Night With Elvis” starring Tim Dudley. Tickets are $10 and includes an all you can eat spaghetti dinner served from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. The fund-raiser is 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. with showtimes of 6 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. This event is open to the public. There will be raffle prizes and a 50/50 drawing. The lodge is located at 3470 Angling Rd. in Coloma. Call Herb Fickett at 269-208-3380 for more information.
Hagar Township makes cost of living wage adjustments, Board OKs own 3.5% raise
By Jon Bisnett Quoting a commonly accepted 8.5% cost of living increase in the last five years, Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio initiated motions to provide a conservative non-retroactive 3.5% raise to board compensation. In a series of five separate resolutions the increase was unanimously approved at the township board meeting on Monday, Jan. 14 with verbal support from the gallery in attendance. Compensation for election workers and other appointed positions will additionally come under review for adjustment at the upcoming budget hearing scheduled for March. Guests County Commissioner Dave Vollrath visited reporting the county is working on the 2019 budget. Latest figures indicate an $825,000 surplus as the 2018 budget passes through its year-end adjustments. Two new county commissioners have come on board following the November election. Vollrath also mentioned the county’s intention to schedule seven evening meetings throughout the year 2019. The meetings seemed quite well received in 2018, giving unprecedented access to citizens around the county. Sheriff’s Department Report In a report delivered by Deputy Van Kampen of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, Hagar Township experienced a total of 48 complaints for the month of December, with four tickets issued and two arrests. Supervisor’s Report Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio updated the board with a short report on the kayak park stating the DDA has received the required permit from the DEQ and now awaits permits from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Assuming those permits are without issue, the next step would be to put the project out for bid. Clerk’s Report Clerk Sarah Rodriguez reported Pride Care Ambulance activity for December with 10 Priority I calls at 8:55, six Priority II runs averaging 13:48 and one Priority II transport at 19:36 with an overall response time of 11:16. Treasurer’s Report Treasurer Marlene Davis presented expenses for the prior month in the amount of $102,110.03 with nothing remarkable. Parks and Recreation Beth Raiser is bidding out various services for the coming season, while parks remain idle. New signs are installed at Hagar and Roadside parks. For the time being Raiser reports that Hagar Park actually has beach and hopes the lake levels will continue to be kinder to beachgoers in 2019. Fire Report DiMaggio reported the North Berrien Joint Fire Department responded to 26 calls during the month of December with eight fire runs in Hagar Township, eight in Coloma Charter Township, seven in the City of Coloma and two Mutual Aids. The annual Fire Budget in the amount of $131,108 was presented and subsequently approved, representing only a 2.6% increase over the prior year. NBJFD saw 243 calls in 2018 with 100 in Hagar Township, representing roughly 40% of all fire runs. Building Inspector’s Report Butch Kelley issued two building permits in December totaling $134,000. Summarizing the year 2018, Kelley granted a grand total of 54 individual permits for $4,150,825 including six new home starts which alone accounted for $1.9 million. Old business Trustee Andy Ulleg reports the Planning Commission will be conducting a special public hearing in regard to special use