VETS HONOR STARKS FAMILY… Owner Tom Starks of Starks Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Services along with daughters Olivia (left) and Laura (right) were recipients of a measure of gratitude from the veterans of VFW Post 1137 and VFW Post 362. “…In appreciation for their donation and dedication to our nation’s flag…” The Starks donated retired flag drop boxes utilized throughout their Southwest Michigan service area like this one located at the Watervliet Post. Veterans volunteer their time to work hand in hand with the Starks family staff at their specially licensed crematorium to respectfully and legally dispose of U.S. Flags in staggering quantities each year amounting to several hundred pounds of severely worn flags no longer fit for display. Both Starks daughters are also licensed funeral directors engaged in operations at the company’s six locations serving Berrien and Van Buren County. Tri-City residents can deposit tattered flags at the VFW Post located at 8777 Red Arrow Hwy, Watervliet, to be properly disposed. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)
Park Street drain solution headlines Watervliet School Board meeting; do not miss important end of year dates
By Kristy Noack March 12’s Watervliet School Board of Education meeting was all about progress. South School property easement requested by Drain Commission Berrien County Drain Commissioner Christopher Quattrin spoke with board members regarding a county drain located near South School. Quattrin was joined by Sam Leatch and Alan Smaka of Wightman and Associates, Inc. as well as John Brennan of Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes law firm, which represents the office of the drain commission. The four were on hand to request the board approve an easement of a portion of the South School property. Leatch, an engineering project manager at Wightman, explained the need for the easement. According to Leatch, the county wants to improve the drainage on Park Street between Lucinda Lane and Silver Terrace. Leatch explained current piping is too small, old, and antiquated, which all lead to ineffective draining. Wightman has worked with the City of Watervliet and Berrien County Drain Commission to find a way to improve the water flow and create a new green space by utilizing Park Street. The road would become part of a detention basin, which would collect the water, guide it into the new infrastructure, and move it into Mill Creek without overburdening the system. Leatch said, “When it rains, what does make it into the infrastructure is getting backed up.” The water then sits on the road, which can create hazards for the buses transporting students to or from the school. The City continues to work on the cost of the South Watervliet drain project, with the Park Street portion currently tabbed at $1.8 million. In addition to needing an easement from the school district for a portion of their property, the City will also seek an easement from St. Joseph Catholic Church, as part of their property is affected by the project as well. The board approved the easement for the drain, as well as temporary grading easements, unanimously. The drain and detention pond are not a retention pond. Water will not accumulate for long periods of time. The water will drain and, for the most part, the land should remain a dry green space. Leatch also spoke of possible benches and a pavilion that could be installed so the public at large could enjoy the area. Bill Spaulding, school board president said, “It is a creative and much more frugal solution,” to eliminate flooding. There are plenty of details that still need to be worked out with the largest being additional easements needed from private homeowners. All easements need to be approved before the project can be sent out for bid. Additionally, public hearings would need to be held if special assessments are required. As for the construction phase, Smaka suggested allowing “three to four months” and beginning next spring. School safety stressed by Schooley A somber Schooley provided the board members with an update on school safety in light of the mass shooting at Parkland High School in Florida last month. “I want to stress school safety is important all the time. It is on our minds every day. We work very hard to maintain a safe learning environment,” Schooley said. In an effort to gauge the school’s safety efforts, Schooley met with Watervliet Police Chief Tim Sutherland and Watervliet School Resource Officer Bruce McKamey with a request to “put a critical eye to the policies and practices of the district.” According to Schooley, both Sutherland and McKamey had a few recommendations, including additional camera placements, which are being taken under advisement. Schooley added, “There is no substitute for communication between students and adults at the school.” He referenced the “Ok 2 Say” link on the high school website’s home page. The link allows students to submit an anonymous, confidential tip if they have concerns about a student or potential issue. Schooley remarked, “We take the job of protecting our kids here at school very seriously.” Mrs. Morse’s fifth-graders go slow(motion) Mrs. Beth Morse, a fifth-grade teacher at North Elementary was on hand and supported by several of her students as she showed the board how her classroom is implementing technology. The students created stop-motion animation videos to explain how the colony of Roanoke was settled in 1585. The students created short videos by taking photographs of dioramas they built. They added voiceovers to the video to explain how the colony sustained itself and four possible theories as to why the colony declined. Mrs. Morse credited Mr. Bill Tiefenbach with his help on the project. Mr. Tiefenbach, the school’s instructional technology specialist, also taught the students how to use Google slides to create presentations. Watervliet schools are a good choice The board members approved a request by Superintendent Schooley to continue the district’s participation in the State of Michigan’s School State Aid Act as a school of choice. Thirty percent of students in the district are school of choice participants. According to Schooley, “I anticipate limited openings throughout the district (for the 2018-19 school year).” The school will post school of choice openings in May and begin the application process. “We are really mindful of the number of openings,” Schooley advised the board. High school year end events set Watervliet High School Principal Brad Coon shared some very important upcoming dates with the board. The WHS prom is set for May 12, and senior awards night will be held May 16. The spring band concert, during which senior band students will be recognized, is on the calendar for May 22. The spring choir concert will be held May 24; senior choral performers will be recognized. Caps and gowns will be distributed to graduating seniors on May 24. Members of the Class of 2018 will spend their last day at high school on May 25. They will attend school for two hours then don their caps and gowns for a campus tour. Wednesday, May 30 brings about the seniors’ baccalaureate, with a picnic and graduation rehearsal to follow on May 31. Graduation will be held Friday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. at Panther Stadium. The last day of school for the rest of the students will be June 8.
North Berrien Historical Museum hosts “Silver Beach Amusement Park” March 20
On Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m. the North Berrien Historical Museum will host “Silver Beach Amusement Park,” presented by Patty Nordberg, volunteer at Silver Beach Carousel. In 1891, local businessmen, Louis D. Wallace and Logan Drake, established the Silver Beach Amusement and Realty Company with the intention of providing more activities for tourists to do when visiting the St. Joseph area. By constructing cottages, souvenir shops, a dance pavilion, and more, the men quickly developed their Lake Michigan frontage into one of the most remarkable amusement parks of its time. Operating until 1971, Silver Beach Amusement Park was a popular destination for both residents and tourists alike. The public is invited for a look back at this local landmark! No RSVP is required for this free program. The North Berrien Historical Museum is located at 300 Coloma Ave. in Coloma, across from Coloma High School. For questions, contact the museum at (269) 468-3330 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Please submit your Easter event notice to the Tri-City Record to be included in the next issue. Notices can be submitted by dropping them to the Record office, 138 N. Main St., Watervliet, via email to email@example.com or calling 463-6397.
Easter Egg Hunt in Hartford March 24
On Saturday, March 24, 2018 at 1:00 p.m. the Van Buren Sportsmen’s Club is sponsoring an Easter Egg Hunt in Hartford’s Ely Park. In the event of rain, the hunt will be held on Saturday, March 31 at 1:00 p.m.
Free pancake breakfast on Easter morning
Crystal Springs Church of God invites the public to a free pancake breakfast on Easter morning, April 1, 2018 from 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. The church is located at 1465 Pipestone Road, Benton Harbor next door to Crystal Springs Florist. For more information call 269-925-1843 or visit the church’s website at www.crystalspringsfamily.com.
River of Life Church Easter drama
The community is invited Easter Sunday, April 1 at 10:30 a.m. to River of Life Church in Watervliet for this year’s Easter production. Do not miss this exciting drama! Attendees will experience the impact Christ had, and still has today, in the lives of everyday people. The service will include a drama, dance, live worship and a powerful message. A special children’s program for ages 4-12 will be available. Nursery is also provided. The church is located at 8712 Red Arrow Hwy in Watervliet. For further information or to request a ride, please call 269-463-3224.