03-01-2018 Quarter Auction to raise funds for Watervliet Post Prom event; City & Township offic

TOP RATINGS… Coloma High School band students participate in MSBOA District Solo & Ensemble Festival; all events earned 1st or 2nd division ratings. Pictured (from the left): Front row – Morgan Gruss, Emma Watson, Sky Hempel, Leeza Noles; Back row – Matthew Davis, Brandon Schmidt, Derek Plitt, Morgan Hosbein, Zack Yenchus, Ryley Watson. Not pictured is Alice Askren.


Quarter Auction to raise funds for Watervliet Post Prom event

Parents for Watervliet’s Post Prom will be hosting a Quarter Auction fund-raiser at the Coloma FOP, 3470 Angling Rd., Coloma on Thursday, March 8. The doors open at 6 p.m. with the auction starting at 6:30 p.m. There will be several items in a silent auction along with some raffle items as well. There will also be a bake sale and a snack bar with food and drinks. Tickets are $5.00, available in advance from Karla Liles at 269-506-3692 or Tara Matthews at 269-930-0201. The community is invited to attend and support Watervliet High School post prom event.

82nd BIRTHDAY CARD SHOWER for Jacquelyn Woodruff The family of Jacque Woodruff, formerly of Watervliet and Paw Paw, would like to honor her with a snail mail card shower in celebration of her 82nd birthday, on March 7.

Please send cards & memories to her at: Jacquelyn Woodruff 5809 Old Oak Ridge Rd, Apt 19 Greensboro, NC 27410

City & Township officials hold annual review of Hartford Fire Department budget, give approval

By Jon Bisnett In 2014 Hartford Joint Fire Board hired its first full-time chief, Robbie Harting, on the recommendation the board’s new Chairman Steve Starner. Hartford City and Township both groused of how to fit the additional salary expense into their budgets, but they somehow made it work. Now four years later with certifications, inspections, physicals and training all up to speed and a rapidly improving firefighter roster filled with several Medical First Responders; on Wednesday, February 21 Starner presented the annual joint meeting of City and Township officials with the 2018-19 Hartford Fire Department budget for their approval. Budget Chairman Starner ran the numbers line by line for the proposed 2018-2019 Budget in the amount of $206,105.85 representing an increase of less than $750 over the prior year figure. One expense category had gone down for the line item of insurance based on estimates provided to the Fire Board from their agent. Chief’s Report Chief Harting put the squad at a plus 5 for the past year, touting success from working with the high school and Van Buren Technology Center. An additional two recruits are in academy currently on a path to graduation in May. In addition to regular required maintenance tasks and shining up the fleet, the firefighters found time to give a fresh coat of paint to all the interior bay walls of the station. Harting also mentioned the support afforded his crew by an active auxiliary group. Equipment needs are minimal at this time reported Harting, with one significant issue on the near horizon. In 2018 the HFD’s Air Packs will require replacement as the air bottles are past the 15-year age to be recertified. The expense is roughly $120,000 for the 18 firefighter crew. The department must by law minimally maintain one bottle for each seated member. HFD is seeking funding for the Air Packs via a FEMA Grant along with several other Van Buren departments on a joint application. The program ran out of funds in 2017 before the Van Buren Grant could be acted upon. Harting hopes to be in the top 3rd of applicants for 2018. Grant awards begin this March and then are announced monthly thereafter as long as FEMA still has available funds. Should the grant fail to provide the desired funds, HFD has an equity position of well in excess of $700,000 which is generally understood as earmarked for a replacement rescue vehicle scheduled for 2025. The equity balance could be used if necessary, but only after exhausting all other sources, such as the Pokagon Fund. City Commissioner Terry Tibbs expressed concern suggesting to pursue alternate funding now, to which Chief Harting responded that is not an option now as a condition of the FEMA grant. Doing such would be grounds for rejection of the application adversely affecting multiple departments’ party to the grant attempt. The Chief will keep the City and Township updated with his monthly reports. Reaction Both Hartford City and Township were satisfied with the figures as both bodies called the question and gave approval to the budget before adjourning.

Senior Services

Hartford United Methodist Church, 425 E. Main St. OPEN: Mondays, Tuesdays & Fridays 10:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday, March 5 Coffee and Conversation, 10:00-11:30 a.m.; LUNCH served at 12:30 p.m.; Bingo/ Card Games/ Euchre/ Hand & Foot/ Knitting/ Crochet/ Quilt Group, 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 6 Coffee and Conversation, 10:00-11:30 a.m.; Tai Chi, 11:30 a.m.; LUNCH served at 12:30 p.m.; Card Games/ Euchre/ Hand & Foot/ Computer with Emma/ Quilting/ Knitting/ Crochet Group, 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 9 Coffee and Conversation, 10:00-11:30 a.m.; Tai Chi, 11:30 a.m.; LUNCH served at 12:30 p.m.; Card Games/ Euchre/ Hand & Foot, 1:30 p.m. All seniors, age 60 and older, residing in Van Buren County are eligible to participate in these programs and activities. Any questions or comments, please contact Senior Services Paw Paw office at 269-655-8000. Rides are available from Van Buren Public Transit with no less than 24-hour advance notice at (269) 427-7921.

Former Blossomtime queens  give back through sorority

By Annette Christie Many former Blossomtime queens have said that once you are involved in the Blossomtime organization you tend to stay involved in the organization. Examples of that are the long list of former royalty that are involved in community pageants, judging events, serving as tellers, and in the two-day event encompassing the Mr. and Miss Blossomtime pageants. One local former queen decided setting up a sorority would be another way to be involved and to continue to serve the communities, a staple of Blossomtime.

INDUCTED INTO SORORITY… Lynne (Wehlau) Cobianco (right), Miss Hartford 1956 prepares to induct 2017 Miss Watervliet Kaylee Chapin (left) into the Southwest Michigan Blossom Queen Sorority at the Miss Watervliet Contest held in January. Cobianco is the founding member of the sorority which inducts all former queens that successfully complete their reign and relinquish their crown to their successor. Chapin is also the 2017 Miss Blossomtime. She will be relinquishing her Blossomtime crown at the Miss Blossomtime Pageant being held Monday, March 12, 2018 at the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center at 7:00 p.m. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)


Lynne (Wehlau) Cobianco, Miss Hartford 1956, joined forces with other former queens to establish the Southwest Michigan Blossom Queen Sorority. The non-profit organization helps raise funds for the educational scholarships given out during the Blossomtime weekend, supports the Blossomtime Festival, and helps children and veterans. Starting in 2012, the sorority has now grown to over 200 members. To become a member, an outgoing community queen simply needs to finish her reign and relinquish her crown to her successor. The new sorority members are typically inducted at the contest where they give away their crown. One of the last inductions involved 2017 Miss Watervliet and Miss Blossomtime Kaylee Chapin. Cobianco said during the Watervliet community contest that while she was Miss Hartford, she had a soft spot for Watervliet as her daughter Cheryl Harkey was Miss Watervliet in 1980. The sorority has opened a resale store in the Orchards Mall called Royal Connection that sells gowns and dresses. The store is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 6:00 – 8:30 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 8:30 p.m. To contact the Southwest Michigan Blossom Queen Sorority, email swmbqsorority@comcast.net or visit their Facebook page at S.W. Michigan Blossom Queen Sorority.

2018 Mr. and Miss Blossomtime pageants Mr. Blossomtime Hunter Ackerman of Hartford and Miss Blossomtime Kaylee Chapin of Watervliet will be relinquishing their Blossomtime crowns at the 2018 Mr. and Miss Blossomtime pageants being held March 11 and 12. The Mr. Blossomtime and Showcase of Queens will be held Sunday, March 11, 2018 at the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center at 6:30 p.m. The Miss Blossomtime Pageant will be held Monday, March 12, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at the same location. Tickets are $20 for each night. Those interested may call the Blossomtime Office at (269) 982-8016 or visit the office at 2330 S. Cleveland Ave., St. Joseph.

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