03-15-2018 Search continues for missing kayaker; Governor declares state of disaster in wake of wid

2018 MR. AND MISS BLOSSOMTIME COURT… Back row (from the left): Mr. Nice Guy Ben O’Donnell representing New Buffalo; 2nd Runner-up Daniel Okonski representing St. Joseph; Mr. Blossomtime Garrett Brandt representing Hartford; and 1st Runner-up D’Myron Guidry representing Benton Harbor. Front row (from the left): Miss Spirit Olivia Ziemer, Miss Congeniality; Miss Coloma Micah Saxe, 2nd Runner-up; Miss Stevensville Riley Ellis, Miss Blossomtime; and Miss Eau Claire/Sodus Jamie Tidey, 1st Runner-up. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)

Search continues for missing kayaker; Governor declares state of disaster in wake of widespread flooding

Efforts by multiple emergency services agencies have turned up empty as they continue to search for a kayaker who went missing in the river on February 27. Cory Wright, 35, of Niles was kayaking in the area with two other men when they hit a log and flipped over. One of the men re-surfaced but Wright did not. On Tuesday, two weeks to the day, the Michigan State Police cadaver dog was utilized again with no results. Berrien County Sheriff’s Lt. Marty Kurtz said that the river has been searched from Coloma to the area of the incident by the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, Berrien County Sheriff’s Marine Division, Berrien County Sheriff’s Dive Team and the Watervliet Fire Department. Governor declares state of disaster Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has declared a state of disaster and opened the Disaster and Emergency Contingency Fund to local governments in 17 counties and two cities after heavy rainfall and snow melt on Feb. 19-21 resulted in widespread flooding damage. The affected areas include: Allegan, Arenac, Barry, Berrien, Cass, Clare, Eaton, Ingham, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Mecosta, Newaygo, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Ottawa and St. Joseph counties and the cities of Grand Rapids and Lansing.

GARRETT BRANDT of Hartford reacts after being crowned Mr. Blossomtime 2018. (Photo courtesy of K West Photography)

Garrett Brandt of Hartford named Mr. Blossomtime; Coloma and Hartford representatives make Queen’s Court

By Annette Christie Mr. Blossomtime honors were once again given to the community of Hartford as Garrett Brandt, Mr. Hartford, was named Mr. Blossomtime this past weekend. He is the 21st Mr. Blossomtime. Brandt told the crowd at the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center that he was thankful for his family, his chairpeople, and all of the amazing contestants. Brandt is the son of Gregg Brandt and Laura Burfield. The 18-year-old attending Hartford High School is a senior. Following high school, he plans to attend Western Michigan University to study engineering. He hopes to one day become an aerospace engineer for NASA. In high school Brandt is involved in football, basketball, track, and Student Council. He attends the Van Buren Technology Center for engineering. First runner-up is D’Myron Guidry of Benton Harbor. The 17-year-old is a senior attending Benton Harbor High School. He is the son of Natalie & Di’Andre Hureskin. Guidry hopes to graduate with a minimum 3.5 GPA and will go on to attend Wayne State University, where he earned a $20,000 scholarship. He plans to major in television/film production. He is involved in football, wrestling, track & field, and golf. He is the president of Kappa League, Benton Harbor Chapter. Daniel Okonski of St. Joseph was named 2nd runner-up. The 18-year-old is a senior attending St. Joseph High School. He is the son of Craig and Cherie Okonski. He is involved in tennis and track and the Interact Club. He is on the honor roll and is captain of the tennis team. Following high school, he plans to attend the University of Michigan to obtain a degree in computer science and cybersecurity. Selected as Mr. Nice Guy by his fellow contestants was Ben O’Donnell from the community of New Buffalo. The 17-year-old is a junior attending New Buffalo High School. The son of Craig and Carie  O’Donnell, he plans to continue his education post high school to pursue a law degree. O’Donnell is involved in football, basketball, baseball, and band. He is a member of the National Honor Society. Other representatives from the Tri-City area include Adam Wheeler of Hartford, Derek Plitt of Coloma, Robbie Schroeder of Coloma, and Ryley Watson of Coloma. All of the contestants took part in a communication segment shared with the queen contestants and a modeling segment where their costumes and props were to coincide with a holiday. Cody Adkins of Edwardsburg, Garrett Brandt of Hartford, and Nick Gildea of South Haven won the modeling awards. Other awards given out were as follows: Daniel Okonski of St. Joseph, $500 scholarship for selling the most good luck ads and the Interview Award; Daniel Young Jr. of Cassopolis, $150 scholarship for selling good luck ads over $1,000; and Billy Long Jr. of Three Oaks won the Kings Legacy Award, a $250 scholarship.