02-23-2017 Cub Scouts from Pack 610 donate to North Berrien Food Pantry; Bainbridge sets wages and s

Cub Scouts from Pack 610 donate to North Berrien Food Pantry

During the month of December 2016, local Cub Scouts from Pack 610 Bear Den worked together with local businesses as well as their community to collect an astonishing 592 pounds of donated non-perishable food items and personal care items.

CUB SCOUTS HELD FOOD DRIVE… Bear Scouts from Pack 610 collected donations for the North Berrien Food Pantry during the month of Decem-ber. Showing some of the 592 pounds that they collected are scouts (from the left) Back row – Brody Baushke, Wyatt MacMillan, Cody Hess, Aiden Baltazar and AJ Nick; Front row – Braedyn Hardwick, Michael Steinke, Felipe Garcia, Jonah Thon and Ayden Burch.

This was no small task. The Cub Scouts decorated large boxes and then hand delivered them to various businesses throughout Coloma and Watervliet asking the community to please donate. The donations were to benefit the North Berrien Food Pantry located at Coloma United Methodist Church to help out those in need in our community.

After almost four weeks of collecting, the Bear Scouts collected the donations from the businesses and worked together with the assistance of their den leaders, Tasha Baumeister, Caitlin Baltazar and Amy Stanley, to weigh out 592 pounds of donations.

The Bear Scouts then volunteered an evening of their time to help stock and organize the food pantry at Coloma United Methodist Church. When asked how this food drive made them feel, Bear Scouts Aiden Baltazar and AJ Nick said, “This makes us feel good because we get to give food to people that don’t have any, and we got a lot of food!”

A lot of food is right, over 592 pounds were collected and the Bear Den Cub Scouts from local Pack 610 want to give a big thank you to everyone in the community who helped to make this food drive an amazing accomplishment.

Bainbridge sets wages and salaries for 2017-2018 fiscal year

By Angela Stair

The Bainbridge Township Board held their monthly meeting on Monday, February 13.  The board passed several resolutions in anticipation of the end of their fiscal year ending March 31, 2017.

The township board member’s salary was increased by 2% to reflect the increase in the cost of living. The supervisor’s salary for the 2017-2018 fiscal year was set at $15,581.  The clerk’s salary was set at $16,294; the treasurer’s salary was set at $16,674; and the trustee salary was set at $81.00 per meeting for the new fiscal year beginning April 1, 2017.  For other meetings, elected officials will be paid $40.00 for half-day and $80.00 for a full day.

For other officials and employees of the township, authorized salary, hourly and per diem rates for 2017-2018 are as follows:  Board of Review, Board of Appeals, Construction Board of Appeals, Planning Commission and Election Commission Board will be paid $72.00 per diem.  All Board Chairmen will be paid $92.00.

The secretary/clerical, deputy clerk, deputy treasurer, deputy supervisor, election chairman, Cleaning and Receiving Board will be paid $14.54 per hour.  Election workers will be paid $11.00 per hour and the ordinance enforcer will be paid $17.60 per hour. The secretary for appointed boards will be paid $54.00 for the first two hours; building official $333; and the assessor’s salary is $21,216.

The board also approved the 2017-2018 Fee Schedule.  The raising of the Land Division Application, Property Combination Fee, and Private Road Applications to $200 each brought raised eyebrows and questions from the audience.

A resident asked Supervisor Bill Hodge if he thought going from $50 to $200 wasn’t a huge jump on these three fees.

Supervisor Hodge said he did not.  The surrounding communities all have similar fees for the Land Division Application, Property Combination Fee and Private Road Applications and he felt the township should be brought up to date.  He did not know how long it has been since these three had been increased, but they needed to be.

The board also approved a resolution to establish regular Township Board Meeting dates for the fiscal year 2017-2018.  The meetings are the second Monday of the month and commence at 7:00 p.m. at the Township Hall.  Dates are: April 10, May 8, June 12, July10, August 14, September 11, October 9, November 13, and December 11 in 2017.  In 2018, the dates are January 8, February 12, and March 12.

Insurance question, police reports and other business

Supervisor Hodge informed the board of the insurance policy covering employee’s for accidental death.  The township received a bill for the policy and he wanted to make sure it was not something the board wanted or had asked for in the past.

Township Clerk Patty Hiler-Molter said they received the township’s insurance policy and noted it was $630 less than expected.  A few days later they received the bill for the accidental death policy and realized they had been paying for the policy but did not want it.  The township does not carry that kind of insurance on employees.

Supervisor Hodge said the policy was being paid for since 2009.  He asked the board for approval to send a letter of non-renewal for the policy.  The board approved.

Deputy Ryan Sullivan of the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department reported on county activity in Bainbridge Township for the month of December.  There were 32 complaints worked in the township, nine tickets issued and seven arrests made.  Of the 32 complaints worked, there were six traffic accidents, two burglary-forced entry, two larcenies-other, and one obstructing justice.

The board approved the payment of bills in the amount of $20,778.75, payroll liabilities in the amount of $1,638.60 and payroll in the amount of $7,496.21 for a total of $29,913.56.

RETIREMENT RECOGNIZED… Former Hartford Chief of Police Ramon Beltran is honored by the city of Hartford. Mayor Ted Johnson (left) and City Manager Yemi Akinwale (right) presented a plaque recognizing Beltran’s service as the city’s top cop from 2002 through his retirement in 2015. Beltran thanked the commission by saying how much he appreciated the consistent support and cooperation of the council throughout his watch. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)

Community Soup & Salad Supper March 3

 A Community Soup & Salad Supper will be held from 5-6 p.m. on Friday, March 3, at the North Berrien Senior Center, 6648 Ryno Road in Coloma.

The menu includes soup, salad, bread, dessert and beverage.

The public is invited. Cost for adults is $5; $3 for children up to 12 years of age; and free for children under three.

Proceeds go to the North Berrien Food Pantry; hosted this month by the Coloma Lioness Club.

Watervliet Township Board gives support to park plan and goose relocation

By Annette Christie

The Watervliet Charter Township Board approved resolutions of support at their Monday, February 20 meeting for Hagar Township and the Paw Paw Lake Foundation.

Hagar Township was asking for support from neighboring communities for a grant application. Through its Riverside Downtown Development Association, the township would like to develop a kayak/canoe launch with new park amenities on a vacant 112-acre parcel it owns which has access to the Paw Paw River.  The DDA is applying for a grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to help financially support the project.  The new park amenities will include a picnic pavilion, restrooms, picnic tables, grills, and asphalt parking. The estimated project cost is $464,000. With the supportive resolution, the township endorses the application.

The board also approved a resolution supporting assistance from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for a removal and relocation program of nuisance geese on Paw Paw Lake.  Trustee Joe Stepich spoke on behalf of the Paw Paw Lake Foundation and said that the last permit for this purpose expired at the end of December.  The resolution states that the township has received complaints of an overpopulation of geese causing an unhealthy condition for those. There will be no cost to the township for the five-year program if approved by the Department of Natural Resources.

Watervliet Township residents will once again have landfill passes available for a spring clean-up.  The passes will be available following the April 17 meeting and will be good for the month of May. Supervisor Dan Hutchins expressed gratitude to the Orchard Hill Landfill for their participation in this joint project.

The board also approved the purchase of tax foreclosed property that it then plans to sell to a church.  Due to a property on Paw Paw Avenue being foreclosed on by Berrien County because of back taxes, the township has the opportunity to purchase it if they have a purpose for the amount of the back taxes ($6,307.75).  Hutchins said that Watervliet Free Methodist Church was interested in purchasing the property for park area and future growth.  Hutchins said that the house on the property, which has been condemned, will be demolished by Berrien County.  Hutchins assured the board that things will be put in place to protect the township from being stuck with the purchase.

County Commissioners Dave Vollrath and Jon Hinkelman were on hand to update the township board of activities at the county level.  Vollrath said that the board has been taking educational tours around the county at various county facilities and meeting county staff.  The tours will be followed by a strategic planning session.  Hinkelman informed the board that the Berrien County Animal Control Director Val Grimes would be retiring at the end of March.  The county has already begun the process of posting the position that reports to the County Administrator. He said that the Committee on Committees of the Board (committee chair people, vice chairperson, and chairman) will be involved in the process.

Pete Sinclair was on hand to give an update on Medic 1. He said their new budget begins in March; it has been prepared and should be approved by the board at their next meeting.  Medic 1 has recently put two new units on the road and all of their paramedics are renewing their training for the emergency air way procedures. Their first responders have also recently completed training for more invasive air ways. Sinclair noted that ambulances and police cars alike will be doubling the amount of Narcan that they carry. “Unfortunately, there are more people dying from overdoses than car accidents,” Sinclair said.  Narcan is a medication that can be administered to block the effects of opioids, especially in an overdose.

The next regular meeting is scheduled for March 20, 2017 at 7:00 p.m.  Their budget workshop will be held on March 29, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.

Rep. LaSata plans local office hours in February, March

 State Rep. Kim LaSata invites residents to office hours in several Berrien County communities during February and March.

LaSata, of Bainbridge Township, will meet with people on the following dates: Friday, Feb. 24, from 9 to 10 a.m. at Sidetrack Café, 315 N. Main St., Watervliet; Friday, March 3, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Mason Jar Café, 210 Water St., Benton Harbor; Friday, March 10, from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Thorton’s Hometown Café, 613 Pleasant St., St. Joseph; Friday, March 24, from 9 to 10 a.m. at Olympus Restaurant, 9735 Red Arrow Highway, Bridgman; and Friday, March 31, from 9 to 10 a.m. at The Hot Spot, 361 E. St. Joseph St., Coloma.

“I believe it is vital to have face-to-face contact with the people who live in our communities, and I will make it a priority to have regular office hours throughout Southwest Michigan,” LaSata said. “Listening to what people have to say about state and local government helps me better represent them at the Capitol.”

No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may send their questions and ideas to LaSata via email at KimLaSata@house.mi.gov or by calling her at 517-373-1403.


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