01-18-2018 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… OCTOBER 5, 2017 New neighbors in town; increase of Amish families is positive change to community, making neglected property productive The communities of Hartford, Lawrence and Bangor have some new neighbors in their area. Amish families have been steadily increasing their presence in the area over the last couple years. These very private, hardworking people are making a positive change in the communities by buying run down or neglected farms and cleaning them up to make them productive again. Amish church groups seek to maintain a degree of separation from the non-Amish world, i.e. American and Canadian society. The young couple that spoke with the Tri-City Record was willing to speak with us, but asked that the paper not use their names, exact location, or pictures of them to maintain their privacy. The paper will honor their request. The young man said he, his wife and four young children (most families have 6-7 children) had been living approximately 100 miles north and wanted to move toward the south. When reaching this area, they liked it so much that they decided to settle here. When asked if all the new people were from the same area, he said no. The people arriving are from all over, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana and other places. When researching the size of an Amish District, it was found that most districts consisted of from 20 to 40 families that are looked after by a Bishop, several ministers and deacons. There are between 12-18 families now in the area with more coming soon.

OTHER OCTOBER HEADLINE NEWS

Palisades’ closure delayed to 2022 as Entergy and Consumers continue Power Purchase Agreement Hartford Schools to seek replacement for long-time business manager Coloma Library Has Meet the Author Night with local writer, Rosanne Bittner School Board starts meeting with Lockdown Press Release for Coloma Jr. High & High School; Student said to have a weapon, police and staff find none Governor approves bills related to property tax exemptions; Vacation home tax scofflaws targeted by LaSata bill Sheriff’s training facility gun range back in State Supreme Court sights; Locals won first Supreme Court case in 2008 Supreme Court agrees to hear case of training facility; 12-year court battle pits Coloma Township against Berrien County insistence to operate gun range for deputies Chili Hop, 5K Run/Walk at Watervliet Municipal Airport Coloma Commission working at finding an ordinance officer; Chief Roe reports on school lockdown Hartford School Board thanks Redwood staff; Positive outlook of first 30 days Watervliet City receives good audit; Commissioners approve fireworks show for Panthers vs. Comets football game Coloma Township Board pledges to continue court battle with Berrien County over gun range on Angling Road; Police Chief says public safety millage increase needed for long-term police and fire services Watervliet Township gifts property in industrial park to city business; County police coverage cost increase has Supervisor looking for other options Kevin Mann’s Tale of the Hunt includes 1,400 lbs. bull moose and small boat ride in eight-foot waves Bainbridge Township amends policy on NSF checks, increases collection fee Save the Sidetrack Café campaign has kicked off Blast into Scouting at Watervliet Municipal Airport on Saturday Hagar Township Board looking for public input on unused baseball field; annual audit complete, township is debt-free It’s Green Gang versus Maroon Platoon Friday night; Coloma Comets meet Watervliet at Panther Stadium… continuing 100+ year tradition Watervliet Middle School students show off websites to Board of Education Keeler Township seeking recreation plan input; holds hearings for lake weed control assessments Former Hartford firefighter, Kyle David Norden, admits to numerous arsons Hartford and Watervliet seek gridiron glory as playoffs begin Friday City of Coloma seeking ordinance officer contract with Sieg Freitag Trick or Treating in the Tri-City Area Great Pumpkin Derby in Coloma this Saturday Safe Trick or Treat at Woodland Terrace in Coloma Trunk or Treat is Saturday in Coloma

NOVEMBER 2, 2017

City of Hartford voters to decide first mayoral race in decades as Johnson is challenged by Mayor pro-tem Hall The City of Harford’s last actual mayoral race was back in the mid-90s. Now incumbent Ted Johnson faces his first challenge in over a decade from his own Mayor Pro-Tem, City Commissioner Rick Hall.

KUDOS TO HARTFORD MAYOR TED JOHNSON… came in the form of a Gover-nor’s proclamation delivered by 66th District State Representa-tive Beth Griffin Monday, No-vember 20, recognizing his dec-ades of service to the citizens of the City of Hartford in the role of mayor. The presentation was the first of two such awards on the evening as City Manager Yemi Akinwale also presented Johnson with a plaque on behalf of the city saluting the Mayor on his final evening presiding over City Commission proceed-ings. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)


Incumbent, Mayor Ted Johnson is seeking his 12th term in the office. Johnson retired as an engineer from Whirlpool Corporation in 1998 and continuing on as a contract hire for an additional 10 years. In the past two years the 81-year-old Johnson stood as a principal pundit in the debate ultimately leading to the city’s decision to opt out of the Medic 1 ambulance contract. Johnson has also been steadfast in his position to adamantly oppose any attempt to consider the possibility of any phase of medical Marijuana operations in the city, citing “Marijuana is the gateway drug responsible for the nationwide opioid epidemic,” and further stating, “We don’t need any more drugs on our streets.” Challenger 59-year-old Rick Hall is an 18-year veteran commissioner now running for the Mayor’s seat. The acting Mayor Pro-Tem serves as treasurer on the Hartford Recreation Council and is a member of the Hartford Public Schools Bond Construction Steering Committee. Hall and his wife Susan have one daughter attending the University of Michigan. Owner of Rick Hall Construction, his expertise in the construction trade lends itself to his strength in areas of infrastructure. “I’ve always believed in weighing all options and ultimately do what is best for the City,” Hall said. November 9, 2017, Tri-City Record headlines read, Hall wins as Mayor of City of Hartford. Hall won his challenge of incumbent Mayor Ted Johnson with 155 votes to 49. Just 13% of the registered voters cast 206 votes. Kudos to Hartford Mayor Ted Johnson… came in the form of a Governor’s proclamation delivered by 66th District State Representative Beth Griffin, at the November 28 City meeting. It recognized his decades of service to the citizens of the City of Hartford in the role of Mayor. The presentation was the first of two such awards on the evening as City Manager Yemi Akinwale also presented Johnson with a plaque on behalf of the City saluting the Mayor on his final evening presiding over City Commission proceedings.

OTHER NOVEMBER HEADLINE NEWS

Hinch & Stockdale headed to state finals for cross country; Panthers seek to continue unbeaten football streak Police confirm investigations for arson in Berrien County Local Cub Scouts hosting food drive, will drop off donation bags this Saturday 4-H says “Thank You for Your Service” will honor Veterans with dinner on November 9 Coloma Lioness Holiday Fashion Show & Luncheon is November 11 at West Street Station Bruce Krall’s Tale of the Hunt; coyotes took a toll Watervliet student-athletes Kara Liles & Bryant Kieft recognized as School Winners in Wendy’s Heisman scholarship program Despite wet and chilly weather, Tri-City area Halloween events delighted many Hartford Commissioners will not close crossing in trade for repair; Mayor critical of fire board Thank you, WWII Veteran Clarence Gunn, of Watervliet Veterans Day Services in the Tri-City area Pickens nearly perfect as Panthers pick off Delton Kellogg in wild showdown for District Championship; quest continues for perfect football season this Saturday Ordinance updates on tap for Keeler Township Board; heavy rain run-off into Keeler Lakes sparks concern Hartford’s Holiday Bazaar is golden this Saturday It’s a Home Town Christmas in Watervliet December 3 Medic I give Watervliet and Hartford townships deadline to pay more for service Holiday open houses in downtown Watervliet feature specials, refreshments, and entertainment Watervliet discusses Medic 1 ultimatum, will consider Pride Care offer of ambulance service contract at no charge to Township Watervliet Township Board wants park land to stay public; nixes talk of Pomona Park sale Hagar kickboxer, Jennifer Tohtz, wins bronze medal in Budapest Watervliet City Commission considers infrastructure work with drain project looming Tri-Cities honor veterans Coloma School Board meeting highlights students Watervliet Public Schools receives audit report; Peer to Peer Program highlighted Coloma Township meets North Berrien Fire Chief, Mike Mattix Coloma Commission reviewing contract for Ordinance Officer North Berrien Historical Museum presents “A Michigan Polar Bear Confronts the Bolsheviks” Hagar aids Monte Package expansion with tax help Tri-City Record Thanksgiving Turkey winners announced Christmas comes early to Hartford Schools 4% plus enrollment increase, employee raises and new Business Manager Watervliet Township rejects sales proposal and plans to keep parks as parks; will seek contract with Pride Care for ambulance service Chloe Williams crowned 2018 Miss Teen Coloma Special ambulance meeting brings Hartford Township officials up to date; Supervisor advises “Stay the course” with Medic I while City searches for new ambulance service Bainbridge Township to go forward with Safety Grant Hartford Commission ignores bid to save Huffman building, says goodbye to outgoing Mayor Johnson and OKs medical marijuana ordinance Watervliet county park project going out to bid in December Tri-City Angel Tree, a way to help those in need this Christmas Hartford Community Blossomtime Pageant is Sunday North Berrien Fire Chief makes Coloma home Coloma tables ordinance officer discussion until next month due to absent officials

DECEMBER 7, 2017

Hagar Kayak Park grant among over $40 million in recommendations of the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund In a press release dated December 8 from the office of Governor Rick Snyder, the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund board this week announced its approval for over $40 million in grant recommendations for outdoor recreation development and land acquisition projects to the state Legislature. The State board gave the thumbs up to a grand total of $40.3 million of applications for projects slated for 2018, including $19 million to recreation development and $21.3 million in land acquisition projects. Hagar Township is expected to be one of the largest recipients with a grant request in the amount of $300,000 for the development of a Riverside Kayak Park on land the township owns along the Paw Paw River on Coloma Road. Hagar Township Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio who has been cautiously optimistic throughout the process was thrilled to say, “This has come as a result in a large part to the excellent project work by the good folks at Abonmarche to begin with, the letters of recommendation from the 19 members of the Paw Paw River Group, the 12 local government units of the Cornerstone Alliance Best Practice group, the support from our Board and DDA, the excellent application put together by Joelle and Kathy, and the recommendation from Erin Campbell of the Department of Natural Resources.” The project entails development of a recreation area that will include universally accessible paved parking, accessible road, boardwalk and kayak launch to connect users to the Paw Paw River and its water trail network. Additional support amenities developing this 112-acre parcel include vault toilet restrooms, accessible picnic tables and grills, and a pavilion. Developing this land will provide the public with valuable access to Michigan’s natural resources, support paddling enthusiasts and create a public recreation area where none currently exists. Capitalizing on the unique features within the township will serve economic development within the community, enhance quality of life for residents and improve accessibility to recreation for all others.

OTHER DECEMBER HEADLINE NEWS

Coloma School Board passes resolutions to speak their opinions… “I don’t want any guns on our grounds at all” Members opposed to proposal that could allow concealed guns in schools and favors legislation to research true costs of education in all schools Work continues on Watervliet District Library’s Garden Park; Pergola completed, inscribed walkway bricks available Bob Clark addresses PPL Rotary Club on bout with polio Hagar Township ends 2017 with a positive note Entergy continues improvements and plans to close Palisades Hartford celebrates “A Fair to Remember” at 2018 Miss and Mr. Hartford contest; Angela Saldana crowned Miss Hartford, Garrett Brandt crowned Mr. Hartford Snow Prince and Princess crowned to host Home Town Christmas in Watervliet; Snow Prince Thomas Sando and Snow Princess Ella Harris North Berrien Historical Museum holds successful Holiday Open House “If we don’t do something we will lose our police department” Coloma Township Board to ask for additional millage for police department; Will also look at $300,000 annual contract with City New Hartford City Mayor Rick Hall takes oath of office at December 18 meeting Watervliet Township makes budget amendments; works toward not allowing storage containers to be used as accessory structures Hartford Township wants burned house demolished Watervliet City Commission makes personnel changes Buggies from a growing Amish community located in Hartford Township are becoming a much more common site; Motorists are cautioned to be vigilant as they share the road with the familiar 1-horsepower shuttles, especially in early morning and evening hours Local vegan fare to delight the senses now open in Arclight Brewery, Water & Wheat Café, coffee and bakery Coloma School Board adopts Governance Standards, among first in the State of Michigan to do so Hartford Schools look forward to the New Year Free youth mental health first aid courses offered County Treasurers help promote state program to help save homes Bainbridge staying with present fire protection Coloma Commission determines not to copy checkbook register for public view at meetings, “Nothing is being hidden” Bill Smith told Hallgren and Banic retire with 70 years combined service to Hartford Schools Like father like son… December 11 Cadet Paul Chappell of Harford Fire Department became a full member Firefighter/Medical First Responder Keeler Township Board seeks public input on parks

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