Hagar appoints interim township clerk; Supervisor presents schedule for roadwork
By Jon Bisnett
Sarah Cook was officially appointed to fill the Hagar Township Clerk position at Monday’s regular board meeting. Cook will assume the post on May 5 when Clerk Ian Haight’s resignation takes effect. Haight is moving and as a result will no longer satisfy the residency requirement.
Cook and her husband Ryan reside at 2787 Coloma Road. She is currently employed by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers in St. Joseph where she oversees their awards program.
Cook’s appointment stands until the coming fall election.
County Commissioner Dave Vollrath spoke briefly reporting on a recent trip to Lansing for a conference of county commissioners. Vollrath said one-third of all Michigan County Commissioners were new this term and he appreciated the training and opportunity to interact with his fellow commissioners from around the state. Dave also reminded residents that the Berrien County Commission is expanding its schedule of evening meetings from just four to six for 2017 with one scheduled for June 1 at the North Berrien Senior Center in Coloma at 6:00 p.m.
Just 30 complaints were lodged in the township during the prior month including seven citations and three arrests.
Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio began by addressing the annual budget meeting held recently, pronouncing the township on solid financial ground emphasizing zero debt and no intention of any millage increase. The 2.75 mills shall remain as it is.
The township has budget for several infrastructure projects of small to moderate expense around the hall and parking lot in addition to a firm schedule of roadwork projects as follows: Coloma Road – Kerlikowske to Riverside; First Street – Riverside to end; Main Street – Riverside to First; West Thar Road – Pier to Fikes; Lakeshore Drive – Maple to private road; East Bundy Road – Central Avenue to end; North Chabot – Broderick to Riverside; Anderson – M-63 to Clanton; Clanton – Anderson to M-63; Riverside Road – Clymer to Bundy; Pier Road – M-63 loop to M-63; Greenwood – M-63 to end; Clymer – Hagar Shore to M-48; and chloride applications – two each to all unpaved roads.
The total project scope has been expanded to just over 7.25 miles at cost to the township of $115,000 with matching funding from the county in the amount of $150,600. From fiscal 2012 to date the township and county have invested well in excess of one half million dollars in the repair and maintenance of 35 miles of the 70 miles of Hagar Township roads.
Clerk Ian Haight updated the board on Pride Care Ambulance calls with five Priority I averaging 9:40 and nine Priority II with a 12:11 average response time.
Haight presented a resolution, subsequently approved, to provide for part-time employees of the township to participate in the 401A Pension Plan.
Haight formally tended his resignation effective May 5. Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio accepted the resignation with deep regret and called for the board’s approval which was granted unanimously.
Bills for the month of March in the amount of $51,456.98 were presented by Treasurer Marlene Davis, noting a single payment of just short of $17,000 for drain assessments, were approved unanimously.
Beth Raiser was absent on the evening in attendance at the Michigan Townships Association training.
Dale Davis presented tree removal bids on her behalf for work to be done at Hagar Park. A&A Tree Service was low bidder and approved subject to township insurance requirements. Superior Ground Cover of Grand Rapids was approved to provide ground cover for the township’s two playgrounds.
Butch Kelly reported six permits issued in the amount of $29,585. Kelly commented that he was working with a couple of non-compliant properties that were making good progress and felt reticent to disclose the names as long as they continue to make progress.
On the other hand Butch asked the board to escalate to Phase II on the property at 2818 West Bundy as the owner has failed to meet an April 1 deadline.
Kelly also reported that the owners of the old fruit stand on M-63 have plans to tear it down to be replaced with a new pole building.
And lastly Bryan Conrad will join the Zoning Board of Appeals, with the need for two alternates still open.
Trustee Andy Ulleg reported from the planning commission’s recent work with consultants Williams & Works to clean up ordinance language. Ulleg feels more work needs to be done in regard to the Township Burning Ordinance and wants to take a proactive step to address the increasingly topical issue of Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.
Supervisor DiMaggio made note the Cornerstone Alliance wishes to visit next month.
Resident Brent Chabot spoke to the township website need for updating. It was further complained that posting for the clerk opening appeared only in the Tri-City Record with no place in Hagar to purchase the paper.
DiMaggio agreed the website needed updating of meeting minutes. Treasurer Marlene Davis will assume the task to bring the site up-to-date.
Having no other business DiMaggio then adjourned the meeting with the next regular monthly meeting of the township board to be held 7:00 p.m. Monday, May 8.
National Healthcare Decisions Week focuses on advance care planning
The community based project Speak for Yourself, Plan Your Care is a collaboration of various partners within Caring Circle, a Lakeland Health Affiliate; Lakeland Health; and PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) that offers the opportunity for individuals in Southwest Michigan to request and receive a detailed conversation regarding their healthcare wishes.
“By communicating your healthcare wishes ahead of time it allows you to receive the medical care that matches your values and goals,” said Melinda Gruber, PhD, Vice President of Continued Care Services, Lakeland Health. “It also helps prevent family members from being forced to make decisions in a crisis with no guidance.”
A series of educational events will be held during National Healthcare Decisions Week from April 17 through 21 which are free and open to the community. For more information about how you can make your wishes known, visit www.caring-circle.org/planyourcare, email ACP@lakelandhealth.org, or call Caring Circle at (269) 429-7100 or (800) 717-3811
Events will be held Monday, April 17 at Marie Yeager Cancer Center, 3900 Hollywood Road in St. Joseph in the Ward/Kinney Conference Rooms from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. and at Lakeland at Meadowbrook, 2550 Meadowbrook Road in Benton Harbor in the Conference Center from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. On Tuesday, April 18 at Lakeland Medical Center, 1234 Napier Avenue in the Frederick S. Upton Education Center, Conference Room 5 from 7:30 – 8:30 a.m., 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Also, on Wednesday, April 19 at Lakeland Medical Center Frederick S. Upton Education Center, Conference Room 5 from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. and at Lakeland Hospital Watervliet, 400 Medical Park Drive in Classroom A & B from 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
NEW UNCONVENTIONAL LIFESAVING TOOL… is now at the disposal of the Hartford Fire Department thanks to In-visible Fence of Southwest Michigan Operations Manager Harold Bruns and Office Manager Kris Motz as they present the Hartford Fire Department with their donation of a set of pet oxygen masks. Project Breathe, sponsored by Invisible Fence dealers nationwide, seeks to put a set of these pet-sized oxygen masks in every fire department in the U.S. and Canada. To date over 12,000 kits containing specially designed masks in three different sizes have been distributed with over 150 verified “saves” already recorded. Firefighter Steven Fry demonstrates the mask on his pet Forrest, a 6-year-old Staffordshire terrier mix, as Hart-ford Fire Chief Robby Harting looks on. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)