04-16-2020 Hartford Twp. fills trustee vacancy; April 21 remains deadline for primary election filin

HAZMAT ON HARTFORD’S MAPLE STREET? No, it’s just the home of former Mayor Dan Danger. Known for their outstanding winter snow sculptures and the spookiest Halloween house in Hartford, Dan and Jane have now turned their talents to put a unique spin on the novel COVID-19 virus with a whimsical and slightly creepy message of “Don’t Let This Happen to You! Stay Home!” (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)


Hartford Twp. fills trustee vacancy

By Jon Bisnett Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Hartford Township officials met briefly, under strict social distancing best practices, on Thursday, April 9 to appoint a successor in light of the unexpected and immediate March resignation of veteran trustee Kurt Dowd.


April 21 remains deadline for primary election filing

By Annette Christie Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has announced that the April 21 candidate deadline for candidate filing has not changed. Benson placed this announcement on her website: “The Bureau of Elections has received inquiries regarding the ability of petition gatherers to collect and submit signature petitions, including candidate with an April 21 filing deadline. As of now, all statutory requirements remain in place. Evaluation of the applicability of statutory deadlines and signature requirements in light of COVID-19 is ongoing, and we will share an update of any changes to requirements and procedures as soon as they are announced.” County Clerk’s are choosing to accommodate the Governor’s Stay Home Stay Safe order which has minimized personnel at many businesses including government offices. The Van Buren County Clerk’s office stated that local clerks are posting contact information at their halls, providing drop boxes, as well as other options for candidates. Some of the candidate packages have been received in the mail. The Clerk’s office will be open on April 21 (the deadline) from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. for those who file at the county level and have not yet submitted their paperwork. Clerk Susie Roehm stated, “They must have their forms and security will let them in one at a time. We will not be open that day to conduct any other in-person business.” The Berrien County Clerk has posted on her website that election forms are available on the county clerk’s web page under elections. Visitors to the website can click on Elections 2020 and it will take them to the Secretary of State’s web page (https://www.berriencounty.org/152/County-Clerk) where forms are available. If anyone needs assistance in completing election forms they can call 269-983-7111, ext. 8385 or email elections@berriencounty.org. Candidate filings, precinct delegate filings or campaign finance filings must be notarized prior to being mailed to or placed in the drop box at 811 Port St., St. Joseph (located on the north side of the building). The candidates nearing a term expiration include State Representatives, County Commissioners, County Elected Officials, Township Officials, and others. The candidates will be on the August primary, followed by the November general election. November ballots will also include Presidential candidates.

Grace Christian School auction will be online, April 17 – May 1

Times have been uncertain because of COVID-19. Therefore, Grace Christian School in Watervliet has decided to do their annual fundraising auction online for the first time. Bidding will begin Friday, April 17 at 4:00 p.m. and run through Friday, May 1 until 8:00 p.m. Community members must register online to be able to bid, the sooner the better so that approval can be granted. To sign up to participate in the online auction, go to https://www.silentauctionpro.com/signinregisterolb.php?groupId=1347&olbreturn=/bidonlinegrid.php?groupId=1347&ks=1. Enter username and password (twice) and click “Create Login”. On the next page, completely fill in the information, including first and last name, physical address, email address, phone number, and cell phone number. Click “Create Account”. That step will take the user to a screen to choose the type of credit card they will be using to pay for winning bids and add any notes. The next page is approval to use the card that will be entered in the next step. Enter credit card information on the secure page to allow PayPal to confirm the credit card account. Nothing will be charged at this time. The account will be pending approval of the Auction administration. Grace Christian School Auction Committee thanks everyone in advance for supporting the school.

April showers may bring May flowers, but March showers bring baby salamanders. Most Michigan salamander species hang out in damp forests. Their permeable skin must stay moist so they usually occupy old burrows made by other small animals under logs or rocks. In the fall they deepen these burrows for their winter hibernation. The lengthening hours of sunlight in the spring trigger a salamander’s need to create offspring. However, being an amphibian, it must migrate to a pond to accomplish this task. The delicate salamander skin would not do well on a dry, overland trip so it waits for the March spring rains to finish melting the snow and saturate the ground. Males move a bit faster than the females. They arrive at the ponds first and stake out their territory. When a female arrives, she uses her cloaca (located at the base of the tail) to pick up the spermatophore packets deposited by her chosen mate and then lays eggs a few days later. Not every salamander lays eggs in ponds. Last week, while looking for red-backed salamanders in a reliable spot, I actually found a tiny grape-like clump of their eggs attached under a log. Red-backed salamanders lack lungs and breathe through their skin. They rely on moist habitats to survive and complete their whole life cycle there. Since the eggs don’t develop in water, there is no aquatic larval stage and the young look like mini adults.

The Nature Center building will be closed until further notice. The trails will remain open and free during this time. Online donations are being accepted. Check www.sarett.com for activities being planned to help the community practice social distancing in the out-of-doors.

Fishing To help further slow the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), has extended campground closures at state parks, recreation areas and state forest campgrounds through mid-May. Day-use areas in state parks and recreation areas, state-managed trails and boating access sites currently are open to provide local opportunities to get outdoors; however, many park amenities have been closed and services have been reduced. For full details customers can visit www.Michigan.gov/Camping. Ellinee Bait & Tackle shop on Paw Paw Lake by Coloma reported that anglers had been out and doing very well on the local inland lakes. Crappie bite is very good and some nice bluegills were being caught before the weather turned cold and windy the first of this week. A lot of moms and dads are taking their children out to fish, which is a nice family type of thing to do. Michigan state law now requires businesses and individuals offering live, non-native aquatic organisms for sale to register annually with the Department of Natural Resource. The registration must be updated every year and expires December 31 of the issuing year. All registered sellers are required to report sale information to the DNR by March 31 of each year. For more information on registration and reporting requirements, visit Michigan.gov/SellAquatics. Hunting There are expanded spring turkey hunting opportunities this year, with the opener beginning on April 18. Hunters can still hunt turkey this spring, even if they missed the application period. Hunt 0234 is a statewide hunting license valid for public and private lands, except public lands in Unit ZZ (southern Lower Peninsula). The license is valid from May 1 to May 31 and will be sold as a leftover license with no quota. It can be purchased throughout the entire spring turkey hunting season. Check leftover license availability and learn more about spring turkey hunting at Michigan.gov/Turkey. Be a good neighbor and leave duck and goose nests alone. Duck nests, particularly mallard nests, seem to pop up everywhere in the spring. If you spot one, it’s best to leave the nest alone and keep pets away from it too. The hen will lead her young to water soon after they hatch. Canada geese, which sometimes build nests near houses or in parks, also will quickly shepherd their chicks to water. Get additional tips and information on handling conflicts with wildlife and what someone can do if they find a baby animal at Michigan.gov/Wildlife. A sure sign of spring is MORELS! As sunshine and April rains wake up the forests, the annual search for the elusive mushrooms is a great way to enjoy the outdoors. You can find them from late April to early June. Mushroom hunters should plan to search locally and only with people who live in their household. To find morels, target hilly areas with plenty of hardwood trees like maple, beech and oak, checking for burn scars where a wildfire or prescribed burn has occurred. A warm day after a rain is best to start hunting. When heading to the woods, Morel hunters should take a mesh bag or basket for carrying their prizes, a knife (ALWAYS CUT, NEVER PULL MORELS) and a map of their hunting area.

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