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02-07-2019 County officials visit Keeler Twp. meeting; Coloma choirs perform at Walt Disney World’s

County officials visit Keeler Twp. meeting

By Annette Christie The February 5 Keeler Township Board meeting began with a visit from many Van Buren County officials; recently appointed Treasurer Trisha Nesbitt took over following the retirement of Karen Makay in January. Nesbitt said her office is working with county residents that are past due on their taxes, in hopes of avoiding foreclosures. Nesbitt said that many options are available including the Step Forward Michigan program, financial counseling, veterans’ assistance, legal assistance, and monthly payment plans. She said that local treasurers were provided a list of folks that are facing foreclosure so that they can direct them to the county office for assistance. Rick Boze with the Van Buren County Road Commission informed the board that the lengthy problem spot on C.R. 352 is soon to have a remedy. Boze said it will be closed for another day or so due to flooding. The county has signed an agreement with the land owner and that the owner will be paying a large portion of the road repair. Boze said it should be taken care of for next year. To remedy, the road will be lifted almost a foot and a half. Mike Chappell, Van Buren County Commissioner, announced that Commissioner Godfrey was re-elected as the Chairman of Board of Commissioners. The county received a grant for a county Veterans Officer, in the amount of $50,000. The Board of Commissioners recently approved a bid for the replacement of the roof for the County Courthouse in the amount of $503,595. Fire, ambulance & police reports The Sister Lakes Fire Department reported that they responded to 10 calls in the month of January. One of the calls was in Keeler Township and the remainders were in Silver Creek, Bainbridge, and Dowagiac. The Keeler Township Fire Department also responded to 10 calls, of which five were fire calls. The largest was two weeks ago with the Klett Construction building. The department was assisted by many neighboring departments for the early morning fire that was fought in really nasty weather. Keeler also covered for Sister Lakes while they assisted Dowagiac in a large structure fire as well. Pride Care reported that last month they responded to five priority one calls, nine priority two calls, and two priority three calls. Van Buren Deputy Ray Hochsprung, who provides police service in the township, said that he investigated 17 complaints three of which were criminal, 10 general assists, four motorist assists, 12 traffic stops, and two citations.

Upcoming meeting dates The Planning Commission will be holding a meeting on February 26 at 7:30 p.m. for the purposes of a public hearing on solar panels and sign ordinances. In addition, a site plan review will occur as well for Laperla. The 2019 March Board of Review will be held as follows: March 11 from 2-5 p.m. and March 12 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1-4 p.m. The Board will hold a budget workshop on February 27 at 5:00 p.m.

Applications available for Coloma St. Patrick’s Day Parade The Coloma St. Patrick’s Day Committee invites community members to participate in the Saturday, March 16 Evening Lighted St. Patrick’s Day Parade at 8:30 p.m. in downtown Coloma. Applications can be picked up at Coloma City Hall and the Coloma Watervliet Chamber of Commerce website at or call Chana Kniebes for more information at 757-2457. Watch for more information in the coming weeks.

Coloma choirs perform at Walt Disney World’s Epcot Theme Park In January 2018 Rebecca Selvidge, director of vocal music at Coloma Jr. and Sr. high schools, announced that the high school choirs would be auditioning to perform at Walt Disney World’s Candlelight Processional for the following fall. The Candlelight Processional is a unique experience where the students join Disney’s professional choirs and orchestra in the telling of the story of Christmas. This event features a celebrity guest narrator. The choirs must be selected by Disney via a video recorded audition where they are required to sing two pieces: one chosen by the school and one arrangement created and selected by Disney. In March, Coloma choirs were informed that we were selected to perform on Monday, Nov. 26. The students had to learn an hour long program of 14 memorized songs including Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”. The trip was an adventure for them. They flew to Orlando very early on Black Friday and spent the weekend enjoying the Disney Parks as well as Universal Studios. Their travel company, Explorer Tours, made it easy for everyone to enjoy their time with their friends as well as experience the sights and sounds of Florida in November! On Monday, they were able to take it easy for the day knowing the rest of the evening would be spent rehearsing and performing. At 4 p.m., the choir and several chaperones went to the back lot area of Epcot to meet with the other choirs that were performing, have a rehearsal with the conductor, and receive their yellow robes and collars. There was no dress rehearsal on stage and all the performers were instructed on how to handle any issues that might arise during the performance. At the time of the first performance there was a light rain and the students were given umbrellas for cover until they were under the awning of the amphitheater. Throughout their first performance it was a mix of light rain to ultimate downpour. The performers handled it beautifully while their audience members and chaperones braved the rain. Thankfully, the students were able to sing at one more performance with less rain and a much bigger audience. The guest narrator for the Candlelight Processional was Alfonso Ribeiro who is best known for his character, Carlton, on the TV show Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as well as his appearance on Dancing with the Stars. The Disney symphony did a fantastic job. The music was beautiful and touching. Coloma choir students sang with musicality and great stage presence. They remained professional throughout the performances despite the challenges of the weather. The trip was an amazing experience that they will never forget.

Virtual reality helps enhance care experience for infusion patients The infusion centers at Spectrum Health Lakeland recently introduced virtual reality (VR) into the clinical setting. While patients receive chemotherapy and other infusion services, they can use virtual reality to take them outside the clinical setting while helping relieve some of the current stresses of their situation. Through an interactive computer-generated simulation, patients are exposed to a variety of experiences such as exploring the history of the Titanic or the Anne Frank House, meditating on the beach, or watching television in the comfort of an exotic mansion, among others. For more information on infusion services, visit

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