01-25-2018 Free preschool offered in Watervliet; Lakeland Hospital Watervliet Auxiliary holding flow

KING AND QUEEN CANDIDATES… for Winterfest this Friday, January 26 at Watervliet High School. Senior boys running for king are (from the left): James Bell, Nick Swanson, Brad Scott, Jordan Leoni, and Tyler Eyerly. Queen candidates pictured are senior girls (from the left): Ariana Rowe, Ellie Troyer, Arianna Dolge, Kylee Warren, and Valarie Wells. Crowning will take place during halftime of the 7:30 p.m. varsity boys’ basketball game against Martin. This year’s theme is “Panther Throwback.” Student Council is holding the Winterfest dance immediately after the game until 11:30 p.m. with DJs, Benny Loshbough and Hunter Wright from WIRX.

WINTERFEST PRINCE AND PRINCESS… will be crowned Friday afternoon during the pep assembly. Candidates pictured are (from the left): Freshman Kade VanNiel, Sophomores Madelyn Wilkinson and Jay’Shawn Scruggs, and Juniors Payton Priebe and Eric Kehrer. Missing from the photo is Freshman Sophie Tavolacci. There will be 50/50 raffle tickets for sale during both varsity basketball games which begin at 6:00 p.m. Friday evening at Watervliet High School. All proceeds will benefit the WHS Post Prom event. Tickets are $1 each or 6 for $5 and that drawing will take place during halftime of the boys’ game.


Families have the opportunity to learn if they qualify for free preschool thanks to programs being offered in Berrien County through GSRP (Great Start Readiness Program) and Tri-County Head Start. Children living in Berrien County who are at least 4 years old, but not 5, by September 1, 2018, and 3-year-olds who meet Head Start guidelines may qualify for these programs. An event to determine eligibility is being held on Thursday, March 22, 2018 from 5:30-8:00 p.m. at South Elementary School. The Berrien County Health Department will also be on site providing vision and hearing screenings. Families are encouraged to attend. Families will need to bring a legal birth certificate and proof of income to help determine if they are eligible for FREE Preschool. (Please bring one of the following: 2017 tax return, 2017 W-2, or two months of current pay stubs.) School personnel and program representatives will be available to assist families in this process. Berrien County FREE Preschool programs are available at numerous sites throughout Berrien County. For more information contact: Berrien RESA at 269-471-7725, Watervliet Public Schools at 269-463-6755 or Tri-County Head Start at 1-800-792-0366. If you would like more information on Berrien County FREE Preschool please contact Early Childhood Services, Berrien RESA at 269-471-7725. This program complies with all federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination and with all requirements and regulations of the United States Department of Education and the Michigan State Department of Education.

Lakeland Hospital Watervliet Auxiliary holding flower and candy sale on Valentine’s Day

Lakeland Hospital Watervliet Auxiliary will host their annual Valentine Flower and Candy Sale. The sale will be Wednesday, February 14, 2018 in the hospital lobby located at 400 Medical Park Dr, Watervliet. Proceeds go to hospital projects supported by the auxiliary.

Hartford School Board moves into the New Year: 2018 Consent Agenda approved; board considers reviewing trustee compensation By Jon Bisnett The Hartford Public School Board began their January 11 annual organizational meeting with senior board trustee Jason Meachum serving as temporary chairman to address the brief agenda to begin the year 2018. At a brisk pace the board handled the tasks of electing officers. With all trustees present except Lisa Johnson, Meachum entertained a motion for a unanimous ballot, subsequently approved in a roll call vote. Ben Chamber will continue to serve as president, with Mike Banic, vice president. Secretary Jason Meachum continues along with Kurt Kuhnle as treasurer. Consent Agenda The 2018 Consent Agenda had no changes, and was approved as follows: The administration recommends continuing to use PNC Bank as the school depository; the administration recommends that the superintendent and business manager be authorized to sign checks, contracts, agreements and purchase orders; the administration recommends that the business manager assume the responsibilities of the treasurer; and the board recording secretary assume the responsibilities of the secretary The administration recommends that the business manager is the authorized electronic transfer officer. The administration recommends continuing with PNC Bank and Chemical Bank as the district’s banks. Due to the variance in interest rates offered by financial institutions it is recommended continuing to authorize the administration to invest district monies where the optimum return may be obtained with the legal investments allowed by law. The administration recommends continued use of Thrun Law Firm of Lansing, Michigan as the district’s primary law firm. The Board of Education has used Gerbel & Company of St. Joseph, Michigan as auditors since 1993. Administration is recommending continuation of their services. The administration recommends that the Superintendent be used as the copyright compliance officer. Board salaries Board salaries were fixed at the same $30 per meeting. Committee meetings are to be paid at a rate of $15. During discussion, Vice President Mike Banic questioned the trustee compensation, contending it has not kept pace with inflation. Banic further stated that when he brought the matter up back in 2015 it was deferred to a later date and now three years later has never actually been addressed. Banic expressed concern that what he considers sub-par meeting compensation may discourage a potential trustee candidate from running for a seat. Giving the example of Hartford Township officials at a rate of $40 he pointed out the last raise the School Board received was over a decade ago when in 1987-88 school year the rate went from then $25 to the current $30. President Chamber agreed the matter should be reviewed and could always be amended at a later date. Hubbard suggested using Van Buren Intermediate School District resources to poll the other school districts of Van Buren County for an accurate comparison. Citing the current rate to be as much as $15 to $20 out of step, Banic then cast a solitary “nay” vote on the Consent Agenda motion to illustrate his point. Board reports President Chambers recommended that all standing committees remain the same at this time. Brief discussion came up regarding dissolving the Personnel Committee, since in fact the only employee of the board is the superintendent. Hubbard agreed that per the Michigan Association of School Boards (MASB) recommendation many other districts were doing just that. Trustee Rick Vawter further questioned the validity of the Building and Site Committee saying “it’s all just about finances anyway…”, but was then given examples by Hubbard as to justify keeping the committee intact. Vawter is scheduled to attend MASB training in Lansing barring any weather issues. Board policy Hubbard briefly commented on a conflict in the District Policy Manual that required a suspension of the rules at the start of the evening’s proceedings. This issue stems from old verbiage referencing term length of officers versus the call for a bi-annual organizational meeting. The MASB recommended such districts simply vote to suspend the rule in order to elect officers and then going forward, edit policy to get the terms in sync for future dates. Superintendent’s report Superintendent Andy Hubbard presented the schedule of meeting dates for the year. Hubbard noted a meeting has been scheduled with representatives from Kind Media to present a marketing proposal to the district. Regarding the Redwood Elementary campus, Hubbard reported the gymnasium floor did not get painted over the holiday break as planned due to a question of the cleaning process applied to the surface and additionally a question of the incorrect type of paint received. Free throw lanes have been created using temporary tape until the floor can be properly lined which will now have to wait until spring break. Aside from the gym there are sinks yet to be installed in the art room and couple of lighting switches to be completed as the punch list is now down to just a last few items. VP Banic questioned Hubbard about snow removal at the newly revised campus. Hubbard indicated plowing was not so much of an issue, but that the increased amount of sidewalks has been a challenge to maintain. Transportation Supervisor Mark Clauser has been authorized to explore the purchase of a truck mounted salt spreader that could be used to salt the sidewalks. Banic further questioned that with all the additional Redwood parking to plow it may be wise to consider outsourcing the snow removal. Expressing concerns over paying overtime to custodians along with wear and tear on the districts only plow truck; Banic noted the district had privatized snow plowing in the past. Hubbard said that Clauser would be the one to work with Business Manager Rebecca Drake to determine if seeking bids for private snow removal contractors would be prudent. Having no further business President Chambers adjourned the first board meeting of 2018 in well under 30 minutes. The board returns to the table again on January 18 for the first formal business session of the New Year.


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