Police Reports By Annette Christie Chief plans to enforce social distancing practices Watervliet City Police Chief Timothy Sutherland released a message last week regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and how it is affecting the citizens of Watervliet. Since Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s order 2020-21 posted March 23, 2020 directing all residents to shelter in place and only essential businesses are to be open, Sutherland said that most residents and businesses have done a great job of complying with that order. The order was extended just last week through April 30. Sutherland said that due to warmer weather the police department is seeing an increase in groups of minor children out and about in the City of Watervliet and using the various parks in groups. Sutherland said, “It appears that kids are leaving the house and meeting up and forming groups, this is a clear violation of the stay home order and recommendation of 6-feet apart for social distancing.” He added that people need to keep in mind that kids are not as affected by COVID-19 as older persons are but they can carry the disease and infect parents, grandparents, etc. “We know that it has been hard for parents and their kids to stay inside and we are not requesting that they stay indoors all the time but having personal contact with each other endangers us all, and we are all in this together,” Sutherland stated. Sutherland’s release came upon the announcement that there was a second fatality in Berrien County due to COVID-19 and he noted that there were three more confirmed cases in the Watervliet area on that day. To help promote social distancing, Sutherland said that at this time the City of Watervliet is maintaining limited access to the city parks in the way of keeping gates locked and making playground and skate park equipment off limits. The parking areas to Hays Park off Baldwin Drive and the parking lot at Flaherty Park are available and authorities are allowing persons to walk their dogs and use the parks for outdoor exercise; however, Sutherland wants to inform people that social distance guidelines are being enforced. “Children found in groups by the police department will have their parent or guardian contacted and the parent or guardian may be arrested or given a citation with jail time up to 90 days and fines up to $1000.00,” informed Sutherland. Police seek information on murder The Benton Harbor Department of Public Safety is seeking information on a murder that occurred on April 10 in the city. At approximately 10:20 p.m., on April 10, 2020, officers on patrol in Benton Harbor heard multiple gunshots in the southeast area of the city. Officers responded to the area and while en route, received multiple 9-1-1 calls regarding gunshots. Officers located a 19-year-old man near the intersection of Cross Street and Bishop Avenue. Marcas Purnell, a resident of Benton Harbor was wounded by gun fire and was unresponsive. Purnell was transported to Spectrum Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph where he later succumbed to his injuries. Police are seeking the public’s help in identifying those responsible for the death of Purnell. Anyone with information is requested to contact the tip line at 269-927-0293, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-342-STOP (7867) or provide information anonymously via the TIP411 app in the app store. Search your app store by entering Benton Harbor PDS. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police assisted with the investigation.
Now thru May 1 “TREE & SHRUB SEEDLING FUNDRAISER” held by Berrien Conservation District. Order on-line at www.berriencd.org or mail order form to Berrien Conservation District, 3334 Edgewood Rd, Berrien Springs MI 49103. Orders due May 1; pick up dates May 15 (noon-8pm) & May 16 (9am-2pm). Quantities limited. Apr. 17 – May 1, “BENEFIT AUCTION” fundraiser for Grace Christian School, 325 N. M-140, Watervliet will be held online. To register, visit https://www.silentauctionpro.com/signinregisterolb.php?groupId=1347&olbreturn=/bidonlinegrid.php?groupId=1347&ks=1 Tue, May 5, 6-7:30pm “CINCO De MAYO PARTY” Coloma Public Library for all ages; must pre-register. Fri, May 8, 4pm “OPEN HOUSE” Riverside Park and Kayak Launch, 3510 Coloma Rd., Coloma Sun, May 10, 5-7:30pm “MOTHER’S DAY DINNER” Coloma American Legion, 351 E. St. Joseph St. $11/advance; $12/door. Menu: garlic herb chicken, mashed potatoes w/gravy, gr. beans, salad, dessert & coffee. May 27-29 “COLOMA CITYWIDE GARAGE SALE” Friday, July 10, 3-7pm “BE THE MATCH” donor event at Hartford Speedway July 20-25 “VAN BUREN YOUTH FAIR” 55670 CR681, Hartford. Fair Office Phone: (269) 621-2038; visit www.vanburenyouthfair.com. August 17-22 “BERRIEN COUNTY YOUTH FAIR” 9122 US31, Berrien Springs celebrating 75 years with the theme “Diamonds are Fair-ever”. Fair Office Phone: (269) 473-4251; visit https://bcyf.us.