03-23-2017 Coloma School Board approves Mexico trip; Coloma Baseball Meet and Greet event this Satur

Coloma School Board approves Mexico trip

By Annette Christie

The Coloma School Board approved a school supported trip for Spanish teacher Matt Ford at their Monday, March 13 meeting.  Ford hopes to get between 25 to 35 of his Spanish students in attendance on a trip similar to one that he has taken at a previous school. The High School level teacher told the board he is interested in taking students to Mexico next spring break.  In his initial inquiry to students, he had 35 show interest.  At a recent informational meeting held, 13 students/parents attended, but some were unable to attend.

While the school will not be financially responsible, Ford wanted the school board’s support so that the students on the trip will be expected to follow school rules while on the trip.  He is choosing to go on spring break 2018 vs. the summer because it is harder to enforce school trip rules if they are seniors who have graduated.  Ford will be working with Interact Travel, a company out of Green Bay. This is the same company that he worked with previously while employed at another school district. Ford said that he currently has two chaperones scheduled in addition to the guide that will be provided by the travel company.  Ford plans on a 12:1 ratio for chaperones and will not go over that number.

Principal David Ehlers told the board that 20 parents attended the recent Freshman orientation at high school.

Principal Peter Olsen announced that the 7th and 8th grade band members recently went to festival and did an outstanding job. They had a good following that came to support them at the competition.

Principal Darla England said that March is Reading Month at the Intermediate School.  They have been bringing in some guest readers twice a week and have included   Chiropractor Dr. David Moss, state senators, state representatives, the superintendent and board members. Every Friday during the month they have a new book drawing, where each student who does the required reading can have their name put in the drawing for a new book. They are also in the process of organizing a school wide book swap. The 5th graders just took a class trip to the planetarium and very soon the 4th graders will be going to the underground railroad in Dowagiac.

Elementary School Principal Krista Behnke said that on March 27 and 28 the school will hold its annual Kindergarten round-up. On May 11 and 12 the screening for Kindergarten will take place. They are also celebrating March as reading month with a superhero theme. Behnke said lots of visitors have been coming in to read to the elementary students including student athletes.

Superintendent Peter Bush reported to the board that the unofficial count that was previously discussed was a little off.  At last month’s meeting it was reported that this year’s count was right about where they were last year at this time. As it turns out there were a couple of errors in the count and they are actually down 16 students after all.  Bush said they are still well below what they had budgeted for.

Roger Arndt said there has not been much in the way of maintenance needs but he did go over those few.   There was recent roof repairs completed at the high school in the amount of $1,700.  There is a boiler issue at the Coloma Elementary with the equipment that was installed in the sixties.  The circulating pump in the boiler is on a metal frame base that is rusting. Arndt received approval for the cost to replace the pump, frame, and needed hardware to make it new in the amount of $7,208.50.  The amount will be paid out of bond proceeds.

Arndt also presented a landscape management proposal for the football field.  The district has been having issues with color and overall condition of the grass. The company that installed it has assessed it and found that it is in need of proper aeration and fertilizing.  The board approved up to $7,320 for the service.

Coloma Baseball Meet and Greet event this Saturday

This Saturday, March 25 at the Coloma High School gymnasium the high school varsity and JV baseball teams are hosting a meet and greet team event. The event runs from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and includes a large silent auction to benefit Coloma Baseball and free instructional clinic for youth players.

The group encourages local youth players and their families to attend with T-ball-aged children and older. Contact Coach VanPeteghem at 468-2400 for more information.

COLOMA HS BAND STUDENTS… earn ratings at State Solo & Ensemble Festival. On Saturday, March 18, State Solo & Ensemble for our region was held at Portage Northern High School. Pictured (from the left): Front row – Jacob Hut-tenga (alto sax solo, 1st division rating), Emma Watson and Morgan Hosbein; Back row – Jake Kelley, Cole Alsup, Ian Ishmael (percussion trio, 2nd division rating), Ryley Watson (trombone solo, 2nd division rating), and Brad Kelley. The brass quartet with Brad Kelley, Emma Watson, Morgan Hosbein, & Ryley Watson earned a 2nd division rating. Congratulations to these students!

Easter Egg Hunt

On Saturday, April 1 an Easter Egg Hunt for the Tri-City Area youngsters will be held at Coloma Rod & Gun Club, 6145 Angling Road in Coloma.

The fun begins with pictures taken with the Easter Bunny starting at 10:30 a.m. The first 20 children in line will get a free frame for their picture. Also, the children will get to decorate cupcakes.

At noon there will be a hot dog and chips lunch with the Easter Egg Hunt to follow at 1 p.m. All activities are free of charge and open to the public.

In the event of rain, the activities will be held on Sunday, April 9.

Watervliet Township Board looking for a new bank

By Annette Christie

With the treasurer’s report at the Watervliet Township Board meeting held Monday, March 20, Treasurer Tom Scheid announced that the township will be looking for a new place to deposit their funds.  Scheid said that G.W. Jones Exchange Bank is closing their Watervliet location on July 9. Both the city and the township made efforts to keep funds in the local bank upon its opening.  Scheid said they are looking again at local options for banking.

Berrien County Sheriff Deputy Guy Puffer provided the monthly police report to the board.   For the month of February he and Deputy Goff made 10 misdemeanor arrests, three felony arrests, 60 traffic stops, wrote 24 tickets, performed 75 business and residential checks, and assisted other agencies for 10 calls.  In all, they had 29 original complaints and two follow-up complaints.

Trustee Joe Stepich said that they have put new facing on the upper part of the main building of the wastewater treatment plant.  He provided a copy of the proposed budget for the plant for the fiscal year beginning April 1.  It is a requirement of the plant to provide all of its municipalities a copy of the proposed budget.  Stepich said the plant is in compliance.

Clerk Patt Bambrick, chairperson of the fire board reported that there were 20 emergency responses for the department for the month of February.  Of those calls, 11 were for medical first responder, there were one structure fire, three fire alarms, and five mutual aid calls. Bambrick asked to move the timing of the fire board report from monthly to quarterly and the board gave its concensus.

Stepich, who also sits on the fire board, presented a letter signed by the joint fire board requesting for a change in the pay for fire board members.  As a contractual requirement, any change to the pay must go through both Watervliet Township and the City of Watervliet. Stepich said that for quite some time the fire board has paid members of the board a stipend to attend meetings and that additional payment was given to officers for their extra duties.  This ended for the chairman position because for many years, the fire chief also served as the chair and that was considered part of that position’s duties.  The fire chief has not served as the chairman of the fire board for a very long time.  They would now like to re-institute the additional pay for the chairperson position. Stepich made the motion to re-institute the additional payment effective immediately of $60 extra a month for those extra duties. The motion carried unanimously.  Supervisor Dan Hutchins questioned why the township would be approving a payment when they are not the one paying it to which Stepich remarked it is per the contract.  Hutchins said perhaps that needed to be changed.

Berrien County Commissioner David Vollrath reviewed the strategic planning process that the county commissioners recently completed.  He reported that on April 13, the board will hold a special meeting for the purpose of taking all of the information provided and created their strategic plan for the upcoming future.

Vollrath also noted that there has been some discussion of officially naming the new county park here in the northern part of the county, the Paw Paw River County Park. The park will be located right on the Paw Paw River across from Hays Park.  Vollrath said that local officials were given an opportunity to comment and that no one has objected.  That action will take place in a couple of weeks by the Berrien County Board of Commissioners.

Hutchins noted that landfill passes will be available for Watervliet Township residents for the entire month of May. They will allow one per resident and will be available following the April 17 meeting. If on the last week, there are a lot of passes left over, they will offer additional ones per resident.

The township board will hold their budget meeting on March 29, 2017 at 10:00 a.m. That meeting will also include any amendments needed to the current budget.  Their next regular meeting will be Monday, April 17 at 7:00 p.m.

Watervliet Township Hall will be closed on Good Friday, April 14, 2017.

North Berrien Historical Museum will have Voyageur Life! Spring Break Activity Day

On Wednesday, April 5 from 1 – 3 p.m., the North Berrien Historical Museum will host a free, kids Spring Break Activity Day about the voyageurs of the fur trade. The museum is located at 300 Coloma Avenue in Coloma.

Rewind the clocks 300 years and step into the profitable age of the fur trade! Learn about the impressive voyageurs who braved the Great Lakes waterways to deliver trade goods to the trading posts and transport the animal furs back to Montreal! Participants can experience voyageur life by hopping in a replica voyageur canoe, grabbing a paddle and setting off on an interactive, imaginary journey led by Sarett Naturalist Rob Pearce. Other activities include: signing a contract with a fur company (using a quill of course!), using maps to find the route to the trading post and back, tasting voyageur foods, and more!

This event is designed for kids 6 to 12 years old. Families are welcome! For questions, contact the museum at (269) 468-3330 or by email at kristen@northberrienhistory.org.

90th birthday open house for MadgePhillipi Madge Phillipi was born March 10, 1927 in Galien, Michigan. Now 90 years later her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren invite the community to join them in cel-ebrating her birthday. There will be an open house March 25, 2017 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Knights of Co-lumbus Hall on Paw Paw Ave-nue in Watervliet. No gifts please, just come enjoy good food, fellowship, and Madge’s witty remarks.

Watervliet Public Schools

Calendar of Events

Thursday, March 23

Kindergarten Round-up at South School, 5:30 – 8:00 p.m.; BC Health Department Free Vision and Hearing Testing, South School, 4:00 – 6:30 p.m.; High School Basketball Teams Awards Banquet, HS Cafeteria, 6:30 p.m.; WHS Choir Performance, SWMVF at WMU Miller Auditorium (Free), 7:00 p.m.

Friday, March 24

End of 3rd Marking Period; 1/2 DAY FOR ELEMENTARY STUDENTS ONLY; Spaghetti Supper Bingaman Fundraiser at North School, 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 25

Middle School Variety Show, 6:00 p.m.; MS Girl Power Overnight

Monday, March 27

Spring Sports Pictures; JV Softball Scrimmage at St. Joseph, TBA; Varsity Softball Scrimmage, Home vs. St. Joseph, TBA

Tuesday, March 28

HS Track at Marcellus Polar Bear Invitational, 4:30 p.m.; Girls Soccer at Cover High School, 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, March 29

HS Track at Bangor, 4:30 p.m.

Friday, March 31

1/2 Day for students and teachers; Elementary Report Cards go home

April 3 – 7


BUSINESS NEW TO COLOMA… Coloma Water-vliet Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated with Madeline Flagel of Sainte Muse with a Grand Opening/Ribbon Cutting event on March 15, 2017. Located in downtown Coloma at 222 N. Paw Paw Street, Sainte Muse was born out of a desire to provide women with the most natural and luxurious skin care products that are truly built to give your skin the attention it deserves. The products are made by women, for women, with only most high end, natural and ethical ingredients. Sainte Muse hours are Monday – Friday, noon to 6 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Call 269-202-7142 or shop the website anytime at www.saintemuse.com. Pictured at the ribbon cutting (from the left) are: Timothy Flagel, Coloma City Mayor Jim Polashak, Vince DiMaggio, owner and product creator Madeline Flagel, Arlene DiMaggio, Payton Ballard and Megan Klitchman. The Chamber wishes Madeline much success with her business.


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