03-08-2018 Hartford Township Board hears application for fire department air packs grant was turned

GUEST SPEAKER… Pictured at a recent meeting of the Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club (from the left) is: Robert Becker, Paw Paw Lake Rotary President; Denise Barowicz, Rotary Member; and Rosanne Bittner. Rosanne Bittner was guest speaker at the Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club. She spoke on her writing process in which she travels to the locations her stories take place. Since 1984 Bittner has written more than 35 historical romance novels set in the American Old West. Among her works are the Savage Destiny series and almost a dozen historical sagas. Two of Bittner’s award-nominated titles are Tender Betrayal (1994) and Song of the Wolf (1993), which received three nominations for literary prizes. This Time Forever (1990) was named Best Fictionalized Biography by Romantic Times. Best Post-Civil War Romance for 1991 was Embers of the Heart. In 1993, Bittner was the recipient of the Third Place Readers’ Choice Award from the Oklahoma Chapter of Romance Writers of America. Bittner lives in Coloma, Michigan. Paw Paw Lake Rotary meets Wednesday’s at 12 Noon at Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet.

Hartford Township Board hears application for fire department air packs grant was turned down, cost expected to be $120,000

By Jon Bisnett A brisk agenda for a short month dealt with a mixed bag of housekeeping items when the Hartford Township met for its regular meeting on February 8; with the contracting of Pride Care Ambulance completing the chain of debate that encompassed the greater part of 2017. Sheriff’s Department Van Buren County Sheriff Deputy Phil Scuiletti logged 1,476 miles in January including four Property Damage/Personal Injury Accidents and 11 Criminal Complaints. Scuiletti issued 16 Citations for the month, moderated by 12 Verbal Warnings among 17 Traffic Stops. The Deputy made 11 Misdemeanor Arrests and one Felony Arrest. Road Commission The Van Buren County Road Commission representative Rick Boze reported business as usual with snowplowing activity throughout the county. Fire Department Chief Rob Harting was on hand to report the Hartford Joint Fire Department responded to 42 calls in the month of January, including 31 Rescue/Medical Calls and no structure fires. Harting reported that a pending grant application had regrettably been turned down. In 2018 the Hartford Fire Department’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 third of applicants for 2018 funds. A new round of grant awards begins this March and then is announced monthly thereafter as long as FEMA still has available funds. Zoning Administrator Jim Lechenet brought news that the former Spring Creek Campground on 62nd Street has been sold which will prompt him to engage inspections on multiple levels. Blight at the Auction Barn on Red Arrow Highway is now complete. A citation has been formally issued at a 62nd Street property for building without a permit. Old business Township Supervisor Ron Sefcik reminded that Medic 1 Ambulance service in the Township ends on March 31. The City of Hartford coverage with Pride Care Ambulance begins March 1. Sefcik along with Treasurer Steve Starner and Trustee Kurt Dowd are in the process of finalizing a contract with Pride Care. Sefcik reported the prior month Medic 1 activity as 11 Priority I calls ranging from 7-24 minutes response time. Trustee Dowd reported nothing had been done since the meeting regarding clearing brush from the 14 acres of township property adjacent to the hall due to the weather. New business Board approvals were extended for amended cemetery fees, appointments of Dave Norden and Marion Getz to Road Committee, and grant exception to the family of the late Dr. Henry Meachum to place a triple grave marker on the family plot. Resolution 1803 – Applewood Estates water system privatization.

Special meeting The board met again on February 21 at 1:00 p.m. to address three items per the agenda: Review Attorney Invoice, Review Medic 1 and Review City of Hartford Cemetery Fees. Immediately following roll call Supervisor Ron Sefcik called for the board to go in to closed session. Prior to the vote Clerk Julie Sweet protested as to if a closed session was necessary only to be rebuffed as Sefcik replied, “I want a legal opinion!” The roll call vote came with only one nay, that of Clerk Sweet. After a full hour of closed session with Township Attorney Catherine P. Kaufman of the firm Bauckham, Sparks, Thall, Seeber & Kaufman PC, the board returned to approve the following motions: Pay the legal bill, direct Attorney to send a letter to the City Attorney regarding new cemetery fees, direct Attorney to send a letter to Medic 1 seeking reimbursement of the Township’s membership fee. The fee is in the neighborhood of $16,000 as Sefcik explained in a post-meeting interview. Fire Board meeting On that same evening of Wednesday, February 21, the board reconvened at the Hartford Joint Fire Board Annual Budget meeting, giving unanimous approval to the 2018-2019 Budget in the amount of $206,105.85.

Rep. LaSata to host local office hours at Mill Creek Charlie’s

State Rep. Kim LaSata plans to meet with residents of southwest Michigan during scheduled office hours. Office hours take place on Saturday, March 10 at Mill Creek Charlie’s, 3801 M-140 in Watervliet from noon to 1 p.m. “Engaging with residents in a casual setting is a great way to foster dialog and share ideas,” LaSata said. “I look forward to having discussions with people in the community and making our state a better place to live, work, and raise a family.” No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend are invited to contact her Lansing office by phone at 517-373-1403 or email