04-18-2019 Coloma Schools receives security grant from Michigan State Police; Kute Kid; Hartford Ci

THIS KUTE KID IS… Grayson Gohr, at one month old. He is the son of Brionna Cowgill and Cameron Gohr of Watervliet. Grayson’s loving grandparents are Mary and Tim Fish of Hartford, and Amanda and Tim Cowgill and Debbie and Don Gohr all of Watervliet.


Coloma Schools receives security grant from Michigan State Police

By Annette Christie Just as they had hoped at their March School Board meeting, Coloma School District officials received that wish with the announcement that they are the recipient of a $173,306 grant from the Michigan State Police for school safety initiatives. Coloma Schools are one of 221 schools in the state that received similar grants. The funding received will be used to install a video surveillance system district wide as well as providing funds to place 800mHz Bidirectional Amplifiers throughout the district’s buildings to boost law enforcement and first responders radio signals which would eliminate areas within the buildings where radio signals are weak or non-existent. Just last month, the Coloma School Board approved a contract for a district wide video surveillance system, to be funded out of the Sinking Fund. Now with the grant award, they will be able to reallocate $127,570 to be used on another maintenance project on the district’s priority list. Voters approved a sinking fund millage request for 1.25 mills for up to 10 years for the purposes of providing repairs and maintaining their aged facilities as well as making security improvements. It allows them to forecast with a set number of funds coming in for a set number of years. The system will provide full coverage of all buildings in the district including areas that need certain surveillance. The system will include a video retrieval and viewing system, with easy maintenance and security. Coloma Community Schools would like to thank the Michigan State Police for awarding the grant to the district. In addition, they would like to thank the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department FEMA office and the Coloma Township Police Department for their assistance in completing the grant application process.

5 GENERATIONS… Baby Grayson Gohr, newest generation of the Cowgill family is held by Mom Brionna Cowgill. Other generations pictured are back row (from the left): Grandpa Timothy Cowgill, Great-great Grandad Don Hafer, and Great-Grandpa Gary Cowgill. To Grayson’s right is Grandma Amanda Cowgill and on his left is Great-Grandma Debbie Cowgill.


Hartford City approves new PNC ATM site

By Jon Bisnett Following a recommendation from the Planning Commission, Hartford City Commissioners gave unanimous approval on Monday, April 15 at their meeting to PNC Bank’s plan to install a free-standing drive-up ATM, in light of the closing of the local bank branch and potential sale of the building. The new ATM will be located in the southeast corner of the Family Dollar parking lot at 103 West Main and will include additional lighting which will provide additional coverage to the entrance of the adjacent Ely Park. Construction could be complete in as little as 30-45 days. Guests Kevin Marks, of Wightman & Associates, presented highlights of the recently completed Water Asset Management Plan. The plan, mandated by the Department of Environmental Quality, forecasts repair and maintenance needs over the next 20 years, projecting a $3.2 million expense during that time. Marks categorized the city water system in “good shape”, but reminded that as with any such system it is expected that costs will occur over time to keep the system running at its optimum. Marks also commented that if the city had to build the water system from scratch today it would cost around $11 million. To predict 25% of that cost for service over 20 years can easily be compared to updating, repair and maintenance of an automobile or home. Police Report Chief Tressa Beltran presented a written report detailing activity of 744 duty hours with seven foot-patrol hours which included 100 complaints for the month of March, resulting in 11 arrests including six felonies. Ordinance Officer Report A written report from Ordinance Officer Jim Coleman reports nine property inspections for the month of March. Blight postings for the month totaled 34 violations resulting in 34 follow-ups. Mayor Rick Hall again stated as in the prior month that he has things working behind the scenes in dealing with repeat offenders, but as before failed to share any specifics.

Fire Report The Hartford Joint Fire Department had a busy month, responding to 59 calls in the month of March, including 45 rescue/medical calls and five fires, according to Chief Robbie Harting. Firefighter David Mason just completed certification as Medical First Responder giving the HFD a total of 14 of the 18 members listed on the current roster, falling in line with the increased volume of medical calls. Ambulance Report Pride Care Ambulance submitted a written report of six Priority I calls at 6:48, six Priority II runs at 10:52 and three Priority III runs at 14.24 for an overall average response time of 10:12 on 15 calls. Public Works Superintendent Dan Staunton was present to answer questions on his written report noting March with ongoing cleanup of Ely Park and cold-patching of a large number of potholes this year. Two water turn-offs took place on vacant properties and one turn-on took place for the month. The city pumped 5.8 million gallons for the month of March. Brush and leaf pickups will commence on April 22.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Plant Operator Tom Strand filed a written report indicating that all State of Michigan reports for the month have been filed along with routine maintenance tasks. Treasurer’s Report Treasurer Pam Shultz presented a written report of $100,907.88 in bills for March with nothing particularly remarkable.

Old business Joint Fire Agreement Committee report concluded there are no viable options for funding the city’s share of the Hartford Fire Department’s budget. “It is what it is,” said Mayor Hall, recognizing that funds would need to be allocated from the general fund of the city budget. New business Unanimous approval was given to Pitsch Companies for $47,000 to demolish 32 and 34 West Main. Commissioners moved into closed session for the purpose of the annual performance evaluation of the city manager.

Civil War Author John Urschel presents to genealogical society April 22

Michigan Civil War author John Urschel will give a presentation entitled “General Henry Morrow and the Iron Brigade” at the regular meeting of the Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society on Monday, April 22. He has written several sourcebooks on Michigan soldiers in the U.S. Civil War including “Michigan at Andersonville” and its companion “Indiana at Andersonville” which is the most accurate listing of Michigan and Indiana dead at Andersonville National Cemetery. Urschel’s books will be available for purchase at the meeting which will begin at 7:00 p.m. at the Van Buren Conference Center, 490 South Paw Paw Street in Lawrence. Everyone is welcome. VBRGS welcomes anyone who has an interest in genealogy and local history. The purpose of the Van Buren Regional Genealogical Society is to preserve and promote the research and study of genealogy and family and local history in the counties of Allegan, Berrien, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren in Southwest Michigan. For more information on the society, please visit their website at www.vbrgs.org or email to vbrgs@yahoo.com. They can also be found on Facebook at VBRGS Southwest Michigan Genealogy.

Pennies for Patients fundraiser, May 9 The Berrien County Cancer Service, Inc., is encouraging all residents of Berrien County to bring their pennies and donations for the 30th annual “Pennies for Patients Day Celebration” to be held on Thursday, May 9, 2019 from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The celebration is taking place at the BCCS office, which is located in the Marie Yeager Cancer Center, 3900 Hollywood Road, St. Joseph. There will be signage to direct donors to the exact penny drop-off location. BCCS appreciate Midwest Family Broadcasting which will be featuring Pennies for Patients on WSJM-94.9 during their early morning show. Refreshments will be served at drop-off locations. Individual, family, social group and workplace collections help to provide the much needed support to those with cancer in the community. Start collection efforts right away! BCCS will continue to collect through the end of May. BCCS is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation providing skilled in-home nursing care and supportive resources at no cost for people of Berrien County who have a diagnosis of cancer or related illnesses. Supportive resources include a large loan closet with a variety of durable medical equipment, medical supplies, comfort items, wigs, turbans, and other items as well as cancer support groups including one for children and families impacted by cancer. BCCS is funded by United Way of Southwest Michigan, donations, memorials, and fundraisers such as Pennies for Patients. Last year, $22,322.37 was collected! They hope that the 2019 collection will be even more successful. For more information, please call 269-429-3281 or