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04-11-2019 Coloma begins spring cleaning, DPW will collect trash April 22-25; Hartford Public Librar

BENEFIT FUNDRAISER… Coloma City Commissioner Kent Churchill, with his grandson Eli. Churchill––a 30-year veteran of North Berrien Fire Rescue––has suffered two strokes and is now unable to work. A buffet supper and silent auction to help Churchill with medical and living expenses will be held at Fire Station #1, 170 Washington St., Coloma on Sunday, May 5, 2019 from 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. Call North Berrien Fire Rescue at (269) 849-3409 or City Hall at (269) 468-6606 for more information.

Coloma begins spring cleaning, DPW will collect trash April 22-25

By Nancy Albright Spring has sprung, and the City of Coloma begins sprucing up this month. The Randall Park renovation project is underway, and Mayor Pro-Temp Marsha Hammond reported at the Coloma City Council monthly meeting on Monday, April 8 that eight new picnic tables have been installed under the Randall Park pavilion. “We are making headway with donations for the project and would like to purchase four more tables.” A volunteer work day is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 25-26, 2019 beginning at 9:00 a.m. “We are grateful for any help we can get, even if just for a couple of hours.” said Hammond. Spring Cleanup will take place from April 22-25, 2019. The Department of Public Works will pick up refuse on the north side of Center Street on Monday and Tuesday, and the south side of Center Street on Wednesday and Thursday. Garbage bags, brush and leaves, tires, paint cans, driveway sealer, refrigerators, air conditioners and computers are not eligible for pickup. Visit for collection sites and dates to dispose of hazardous waste. Hydrant flushing begins on Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 11:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m., and will take place every second Thursday through October. Department of Public Works Supervisor Rob Burkholder warned residents that they may experience rusty water until a few gallons have flushed through the system. The council approved the quote from Quality Paving in the amount of $126,100 to repair West Street. The company will address potholes, curbing and the adjustment of 13 manholes and shut-offs. Safety first The Coloma Fire Department responded to a fire at 190 W. Logan St., where a resident was burning refuse in the backyard in an open container. Article II of the city Fire Prevention and Protection Ordinance states that burning anything but leaves requires that the incinerator be covered with an arresting screen or similar device to prevent the spread of fire. Open burning constitutes a civil infraction and fine. According to Fire Chief Mike Mattix, the resident was advised to extinguish the fire and complied with the request. Mattix also reported that the process to conduct commercial and residential rental inspections is currently in the investigations and negotiating phase, and he is dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s before beginning inspections. Commissioner Linda Freitag reminded residents that the next Fire Board meeting will take place at North Berrien Fire Station #1, 170 Washington St., on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, 7:00 p.m. In need of helping hands A benefit for Coloma City Commissioner Kent Churchill will take place at Fire Station #1 on Sunday, May 5, 2019 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. Churchill––a 30-year veteran of North Berrien Fire Rescue––has suffered two strokes and is now unable to work. Those who cannot attend the event and would like to donate funds to help with Kent’s medical and daily living expenses can do so at Honor Credit Union. Kent will receive funds directly from the Benefit for Kent Churchill Account. According to the City Council, “Kent has a big heart and would do the same for anyone. Thanks in advance for your kindness during Kent’s difficult time.” Call North Berrien Fire Rescue at (269) 849-3409 or City Hall at (269) 468-6606 for more information. Law enforcement Coloma Chief of Police Wes Smigielski reported that the police department will finalize plans with Coloma Township and Coloma Community School Superintendent Dave Ehlers to hire Dan Stuglika as the district’s new School Resource Officer in May. “This is Dan’s forte. He is already fully trained, and we plan to provide him with additional training,” said Smigielski. Since the beginning of the school year the department has resolved three drug cases, one for selling narcotics and two for possession. Smigielski also informed commissioners that $7,000 worth of merchandise was stolen at the beginning of April from the Coloma DVD Digital Vaper Den, 172 N. Paw Paw St. Officers worked with Berrien County detectives to apprehend juveniles that were involved in the robbery, as well as two adult suspects that are currently being held. “Some people don’t realize that we regularly monitor social media, and with the help of the detectives were able to resolve the case quickly.” Commissioners commended Smigielski and his department for their good work.

Hartford Public Library – Vanderlyn Community Center obtains

$400,000 grant to add to $1,300,000 commitment

By Jon Bisnett The Hartford Public Library – Art & Bonna Vanderlyn Community Center is moving forward thanks to a $400,000 matching grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced on March 28, 2019 among over $28 million in grant awards for some 233 humanities projects across the country. Of those awards, six totaling $1,296,999 were awarded in the State of Michigan. The Vanderlyn Center project finds itself among very good company in the way of other Michigan NEH grant recipients which include the University of Michigan, Michigan Technological University, and the Henry Ford Museum. The local project will repurpose the idled Red Arrow Elementary School site on Red Arrow Highway into a new multi-purpose facility which will house both the Hartford Public Library and the Art & Bonna Vanderlyn Community Center. In addition to the standard fiction and reference offerings, the new library is planned to include a genealogy reference room, computer lab, teen room, children’s room, media center and a maker space.

EXCITED FOR THE FUTURE… The Hartford Library Board is excited to share the renderings of the new Art and Bonna Vanderlyn Community Center Project which incorporates the new home of the Hartford Public Library with a host of multimedia technology and amenities including a coffee bar and hospitality area. Board members pictured are: (from the left) President James Jonatzke, Secretary Linda Hadley, Trustee Marcia Kelly, Treasurer Ellen Friday, Trustee Susan Hall, Vice President Faith Dowd and Project Director – Library Director Stephanie Daniels. Tasked now with raising an additional $300,000 for the final interior accompaniments of the building, Director Daniels encourages residents to stop by the current library to see the plans and make whatever contribution they can towards the project completion. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)

Multipurpose Community Center The Community Center rooms will offer the public available space for multipurpose and multimedia use for anything from a wedding shower to a conference room capable of special exhibits and public meetings. Planned to be equipped with kitchenette facilities in addition to SMART Board Interactive Displays, LCD screens and audio system, the proposed community center has already attracted the attention of the City of Hartford, seeking a move of its polling location to better serve voters. A $1.3 million philanthropic contribution from the Art & Bonna Vanderlyn Trust served as the catalyst for the project which will provide not only a permanent community access facility, but also address the library’s desperate need for additional space since their success in increasing utilization has well exceeded the existing available square feet several years ago at the current location on Franklin. The library has been at the Franklin property, once a large private residence, since 1925. Saddled with limited parking and a land-locked location, the library board has struggled for years in search of a viable expansion solution. The new building is planned for a total of 8,000 square feet with 1,200 square feet of that space dedicated to the Community Center and the lion’s share occupied by the library, also serving as the new home of the Van Buren Genealogical Society. With easy access via Red Arrow Highway, visitors will welcome the ample parking and with the new building occupying less than a third of the parcel, the city lot lends itself to the possibility of additional outdoor activities not to mention ample space for future expansion for generations to come.

Much more than just a library “Much more than just a library…” says Project Director/Library Director Stephanie Daniels, “But best described as a 21st century community humanities center; with dedicated sections for literacy, teen involvement, a greatly expanded children’s area and a maker’s space lab. People can come in to paint, color, and draw or use our 3-D printer.” Wi-Fi access is promised to “the fastest internet access in southwest Michigan” according to Daniels.

Architect’s rendering of proposed building on Red Arrow Elementary School site

Former Red Arrow School site The former elementary school property is being purchased from the Hartford Public Schools for the selling price of just one dollar. Superintendent Andy Hubbard speaking on behalf of the Board of Education said, “It certainly took a while to work out all the legal details, but we couldn’t be more pleased to see the property be repurposed into a facility that will benefit the entire community.” Hubbard and Library Board President James Jonatzke were scheduled to affix their signatures to the final closing documents on Wednesday, April 10. Demolition of the old school building should take place shortly. Construction could begin this summer. Daniels expressed hope to see the new site up and running by spring of 2020.

$300,000 still needed Daniels was also quite clear in explaining that the $1.7 million currently committed is expected to be adequate to cover property acquisition, demolition and building construction, but an additional $300,000 must be acquired through a fundraising campaign to outfit and complete the facility’s interior needs such as internet, shelves, furniture, children’s room, maker space lab, etc. All donations will be acknowledged on a donor wall in the entry hall. Those wishing to provide the necessary support may do so by calling the library directly at (269) 621-3408 or contribute online by visiting First established in 1965, it was then President Lyndon Johnson who signed the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act into law. The act called for the creation of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as separate, independent agencies. While the federal government contributes to the humanities through many other federal agencies and departments, the NEH is the largest source of federal funding for humanities activities with an annual appropriation in excess of $150 million and the only agency whose explicit mission is to nurture and promote the humanities field.



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