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03-26-2020 Hartford School Board meets prior to governor’s deadline; Watervliet Free Methodist Churc

FEEDING THE PEOPLE… Living Water Food Pantry volunteer Irene Bush of Hartford looks over the table of food available for anyone in need to pick up for their household. The food pantry is located at Watervliet Free Methodist Church, 7734 Paw Paw Ave. and is open on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.


Hartford School Board meets prior to governor’s deadline

By Jon Bisnett Acting Monday, March 23 just under the wire of the latest order from the office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Hartford School Board conducted a brief business session to accept bids and pay bills. Middle School Tour Earlier in the month, the board visited the Middle School for a personal tour conducted by Principal Ken Mohney to see recently installed upgrades of lockers and carpet along with presentations of Whole Child Education and Multi-Tiered Support Systems operating in the Middle School campus. Policy Board Policy updates were first on the agenda at the February Retreat for discussion and now were given their first official reading. Updates include a litany of legal mandates along with recommended updates in the areas of social media, wellness and student cell phone use. Finance Normal monthly bills were presented and approved. Business Manager Rebecca Drake noted: Payment for new baseball scoreboard, first installment to KingScott for architectural fees for Middle School/Auditorium Bathroom project, payment for overhead doors at Central Office storage garage, payment for Food Service equipment that was funded by a grant. Personnel Veteran Physical Education teacher Robyn Larsen will retire from the District effective the end of this school year, following 39 years of service. Redwood Elementary Building Secretary Teresa Babb rescinded her retirement notice to a later date, opting to continue to support the District for the time being through this difficult circumstance. Business The board approved the low bid of $57,775 from Brainard Enterprises, Inc. for the High School Locker Replacement project. All student lockers in the High School will be replaced this summer. Migala Inc. had the low bid of $85,095 for Carpet Replacement at Redwood Elementary. The project will replace all of the carpet in the old Woodside classrooms (15) that was not done due to financial constraints during the bond construction. Superintendent Report Superintendent Andy Hubbard began by making it totally clear that all Hartford Public School employees are continuing to be paid their normal paychecks during this 4-week mandated closure, which includes both salaried and hourly employees. The District is implementing additional changes to conform to the Governor’s new executive order. From Lansing – Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office issued the following statement on March 23, 2020 from Press Secretary Tiffany Brown on the governor’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order: “Gov. Whitmer is committed to ensuring that Michigan students have access to the food they need during the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the governor’s executive order, K-12 school food services are considered critical infrastructure and should continue. The governor deeply appreciates the vital work that our frontline school employees are doing every day to ensure that our kids have the food they need while the order is in effect.” Hartford Public Schools has identified critical infrastructure workers that meet the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order criteria. Work hours will range from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Watervliet Free Methodist Church adapts services to combat coronavirus

Sunday Morning Worship Watervliet Free Methodist Church (WFMC) has started live video streaming of Sunday Morning Worship on Facebook with only the worship team, sound and camera person and Pastor Brian Hall in response to the state’s order to “Stay Home, Stay Safe”. They are still learning how to perfect the process, getting good internet in the sanctuary, a tripod to hold the phone/camera and making sure the sound was good. On Sunday, March 22 there were no people in church but someone printed pictures from the church directory and taped “faces” of the congregation to the pews where they normally sit. It was a great way for Pastor Brian to walk through the sanctuary and pray for each person before going live. Pastor Brian said, “This is a great time to remind people that the building is not the church… the people are the Church… we are the Body of Christ… we are HIS hands and feet, HIS love and encouragement to a hurting and confused world. And not just the pastor, but everyone calling and encouraging each other. It’s easy to call someone today and ask them about the sermon, share a Bible verse with them, share what you read in your devotions. You see that’s the Church… feeding from the LORD’S table then helping others get some too!” Drive-in Prayer WFMC is hosting “Drive-In-Prayer” Sunday afternoons from 4:00-5:00 p.m. People can drive into the parking lot, stay in their car but open the window and share a prayer request or praise. About six people will be waiting to pray or celebrate with them. Other churches are offering Drive-in Prayer too. It is yet to be determined if WFMC will be able to keep offering this with the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-21. Wednesday Night Activities The church is working to live video stream or possibly use Zoom for interactive adult Bible Study during this time. Their focus for March has been Prayer and Meditation with a hand-out for guidance with a scripture reading assigned for the study. Pastor Brian will send the handout via email or Facebook. Anyone interested can text 269-208-3845 or email pastorbrianhall@gmail.com for a copy. Kids Club & Youth Group Kid’s Club Director, Miss Cindy is mailing a package to all kids that attend the Wednesday evening program with Bible verses, coloring pages, crosswords, and many other work sheets for them to do at home. The youth group kids and parents were sent an awesome video on God’s Peace for them to watch, along with some Youth Devotions. Financial Support Like everyone’s households, expenses at the church continue. WFMC has expressed that members can mail a check, set up on-line giving with weekly, bi-weekly or monthly donation through their bank or go to www.wfmchurch.org, click the donate tab at the top of the page and give through PayPal. Any method members choose, they can specify their generous giving as “Tithe” or “Building Fund”. Family Devotions Moms and dads, if you have never done Family Devotions or Family Bible Reading… NOW is the time. Everyone’s family needs it now, more than ever before. Call or email Pastor Brian and he will get some great resources in your hands or apps for your phone. Feeding the children WFMC is a host site for breakfast & lunch delivery, 8:30 and 12:30 Monday –Friday, through Watervliet Public Schools. A bus brings meals to feed the children in our community. Meals are for all children, not just those who attend Watervliet schools. Giving Living Water Food Pantry continues to serve Giving Living Water Food Pantry at WFMC, open on Mondays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., has moved the food pantry outside for “self-serve”. The food is on tables with instructions on how much to take and a system to keep people six feet apart in the process. They had volunteers from “The Well” church the last few Monday mornings to help serve our community. Plus financial, the food pantry has received some generous donations, especially to help during this crisis time. Any amount helps meet the growing need for food in our community. Hope Hope in probably the most important piece in all of this, God is still in control, this virus was not a surprise to God. Max Lucado, in a televised public service announcement, said it this way, “You’ll get through this. It won’t be painless. It won’t be quick. But God will use this mess for good. In the meantime don’t be foolish or naïve. But don’t despair either. With God’s help you will get through this.” Pastor Brian is calling his Church Family and all members of the community to join him every night at 5:55 p.m. for a time of Prayer… Praying for our Nation, our Community, our Families, our Neighbors and Co-worker and Classmates. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV) says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” God give us HOPE… beyond what we see or know right now.

Bainbridge Township addresses COVID-19 issues

By Angela Stair In the hopes of keeping the public and staff safe during these trying times, Bainbridge Township Supervisor Bill Hodge took a long look at how he could address the COVID-19 virus in the Township setting. He said he was following the lead of Berrien County in announcing their plan. Supervisor Hodge said he wanted to assure everyone that the Township Board Members and all Township personnel are at this time, healthy. “I would like to see them all stay well, and still be able to run the Township and serve the public,” Hodge said. “Hopefully the following policy will make that possible.”

Official internal policy reference for covid-19 Bainbridge Twp. effective 3/22/2020 thru 5/4/2020 All officials, staff and contract providers : The following precautions may change rapidly, although the board is the decision maker (section 2.2 paragraph 3) on this matter, the bainbridge township personnel and policy handbook 2018 address and extends these measures to the supervisor with concurrence from the clerk (section 8.8 and 8.10) addendums may be forthcoming With the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in Michigan and the nation evolving rapidly, I will be implementing effective immediately, and highly encourage Board approval the following measures: HOURS OF OPERATION: The Township will be staffed normal business hours. Officials and staff will be asked to report on staggered work schedules, allowing no more than two persons at a time. Tentative schedule will be posted to accommodate availability. Please fill in your time slots.

PUBLIC ACCESS: All public access will be limited to drop box, telephone calls, and emails. A preferred contact list for the public will be maintained for all officials and staff. I will be working on getting your office phone messages relayed to your cells by your approval or will ask that you check messages at least twice a week. We will schedule personal public meetings, available by appointment for essential business by individual officials. The doors will remain locked. BOARD MEETINGS: The scheduled monthly Board of Trustees meetings will continue addressing only essential issues and cannot exceed 50 people. The Board Room has been arranged to provide social distancing. A synopsis of the agenda will be published the Thursday prior to the meeting enabling public comment by phone or email or messaging. All other Board meetings have been cancelled. OBTAINING PERMITS / DUMP PASSES: Online applications will be utilized primarily, or we can mail per phone requests. Permits will be reviewed, contact or questions relayed to applicant and permit issued upon receiving of all payments required. Inspections will be scheduled by our contracted inspectors, with their required stipulations supported by the Township Board.

ORDINANCE AND CODE ENFORCEMENT: It is critical that we maintain the safety and welfare of our community and will continue to enforce township ordinances. We will not only address complaint driven issues but will visually observe violation. Upon violation the ordinance officer will contact land owner via mail with a letter of concern, and will demand a response and corrective action plan within five days. Non- response will be issued Demand Letter of the Township listing our corrective action plan. SANITATION AND DISINFECTING: Everyone is being asked to manage their own space, refrain from sharing office supplies and to be conscientious of others space. Common areas will be heavy disinfected daily, and disinfecting efforts used throughout the day. All non- essential office spaces will be marked “out of use” and recommend limited usage. Board Room will be disinfected (chairs, tables, etc.) before and after use. Addendums may be forthcoming. [Editor’s note: This policy was written prior to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-21 (COVID-19)]

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