Parcourse at Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet gets new plantings as renovations begin
By Kristy Noack The sun was shining, the weather cool as Lakeland Health Foundation (LHF) board and Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club (PPLRC) members joined forces with students from Watervliet High School to plant four new trees at the Parcourse fitness track. The planting signals the start of the renovation of the course.
PLANTING A FUTURE… Students from Watervliet High School were joined by teachers, Lakeland Watervliet hospital staff, members of Paw Paw Lake Rotary and Community Hospital Foundation board to plant new saplings at the hospital’s Parcourse Friday afternoon.
Students planted trees Friday, April 20 under a bright blue sky. According to PPLRC member Bob Becker, the rotary donated four types of trees for planting. More trees will be planted once the Parcourse renovation is complete later this summer. Becker stated, “This planting effort would not have been possible without the efforts of Mr. Prom’s Earth Science class.” Becker confirmed the PPLRC fulfilled “part of its commitment to plant 22 trees on the grounds of Lakeland Watervliet’s Parcourse campus.” Design plans call for the 1.1-mile gravel walking track located on the grounds of Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet to be replaced by two quarter-mile loops. One loop will feature an asphalt base, ideal for wheelchairs or walkers. The other loop will have a limestone base, giving a softer rebounding platform for walkers and runners. Additional plans include the installation of four exercise stations within each loop. According to the Community Hospital Foundation, “Each station will include different types of professional grade exercise equipment that will offer varying degrees of difficulty for all fitness levels.” The stations may feature a stationary bicycle or pull-up bar. The track is free to use and open to the public seven days a week. Residents, sports teams, patients undergoing rehabilitation at Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet, and even the physical education classes at the middle and high schools utilize the Parcourse. The fundraising endeavor undertaken by the hospital foundation board began in August 2017. The foundation set a goal of $125,000 to begin their campaign. Norma Somers, Lakeland Health Foundation board member, commented, “It’s a great story [which] involves a new relationship between Rotary and WHS [by] establishing a mentoring program, trees [being] planted in honor of Earth Day, and the first shovel turned for the Parcourse project, contributing to the health of our community.”
Hartford Planning Comm. recommends secondary marijuana dispensary site
By Jon Bisnett The Monday, April 16 workshop session of the Hartford City Council saw the City’s Planning Commission making a second recommendation to locate the proposed medical marijuana dispensary Med+Leaf at the 306 West Main site adjacent to the Family Dollar store west of Ely Park. The council had few questions for the Med+Leaf owners and will vote on final approval at the next business session Monday, April 23. Guests Hartford Lion Kim Sinclair visited seeking permission and sponsorship for the Annual Strawberry Run. Hartford Blossomtime Royalty came seeking support for the community float. Communications Hartford Lions seek nomination for Citizen of the Year – awarded May 12; brush & leaf pickup May 1 – 11: free rummage weekend May 24 – 26
Police Report Chief Tressa Beltran presented a written report detailing activity of 744 duty hours with five foot patrol hours which included 110 actions for the month of March, resulting in 12 arrests including four felonies. Beltran thanked Officers Lucas & Coleman for making an appearance at Redwood Elementary Celebrity Reading Day. Ordinance Officer Report A written report from Ordinance Officer Jim Coleman listed six property inspections for the month of March. Blight postings for the month totaled 34 violations resulting in 34 follow-ups. Fire Report Chief Rob Harting reported the Hartford Joint Fire Department had a busy month responding to 32 calls in the month of March, including 17 Rescue/ Medical Calls and 10 fires. Harting reported the FEMA Air Pack Grant has yet to distribute any funds and he checks the grant progress daily. Harting described the transition to Pride Care Ambulance as going well. HFD is now running a formal schedule of medical first responders on nights and weekends on a trial basis with good results thus far. Ambulance Report Pride Care Ambulance report showed a total of 14 calls in the month of March; seven Priority I calls had an average response of 8:19 minutes, two Priority II calls response time 5:11 and five Priority III coming in at 10:31 for an overall average response time of 8:39. Commissioners remarked at the exceptionally quick response times and high visibility of Pride Care units in the city as was expected in the new contract. Public Works Superintendent Dan Staunton was present to answer questions. Some cold patching of streets has begun and will continue as weather permits. The city pumped 5.43 million gallons for the month. Wastewater Treatment Plant Plant operator Tom Strand submitted a written report that all State of Michigan reports for the month have been filed. Strand reported routine tasks, with no mention of non-compliant water quality.
Treasurer’s Report Treasurer Pam Shultz presented a written report for the month of March: expenses in the amount of $127,041.22 with nothing remarkable. 1 East Main City Manager Yemi Akinwale reported Pitsch Construction is moving along and despite delays caused by the gas company, the building should be coming down this week. City department heads have met with Pitsch to discuss road closures and safety measures during the demolition. Hartford Public Schools A meeting at Hartford Public Schools Central Office on April 10 provided further discussion of a community wide marketing plan. Representatives from the City, Township and School Board shared thoughts which led to a decision to bring in a consultant to present a plan and associated costs wherein each of the entities can truly assess their willingness to participate financially. Marion Avenue property Akinwale reported no takers on the bid posting for the 9.7 acres city property located behind 210 Marion Avenue. Since no bids came in at a minimum value of $50,000, the city is now free to entertain lesser offers to dispose of the property. Fruit stand demolition Akinwale reports demolition completed by owner John Faulkner of the former fruit stand near I-94. Slight cleanup remains, but the property is now ready for retail development. Faulkner owns the adjacent 100-plus acres zoned agricultural, while the old fruit stand is commercial property and hopes to attract a buyer.
Old business The property at 1 West Main has been sold reports Akinwale. He continues to follow up as to minimal expectations to bring the building up to standards as soon as possible. Med+Leaf permit will be on the agenda for approval next meeting.
New business Akinwale introduced a lengthy Sewer Use Ordinance for first reading. No actual reading of the 50-plus page document took place, rather a summation of the intent to provide protection to the sewer system from chemical pollutants and other contaminants.
Local Girl Scout presented dog park project to Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club On Wednesday, April 21, 2018 the Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club hosted Caleigh Dahn as their speaker for the day. Caleigh, 16, is a Girl Scout and student at Southwestern Michigan College, and is working to create an area dog park on the site of the demolished Washington Elementary School in Coloma. She is working towards her Gold Award, the highest award in Girl Scouting, with this project. Her mission is to create a safe environment for canines and their humans where both may enjoy a safe, happy and healthy life. This park named Amicus Dog Park (Amicus being Latin for “friend or companion”) is meant to be a safe and secure dog friendly environment that both locals and tourists may enjoy. By having both communities, Coloma and Watervliet, use the park will “build a pleasant atmosphere for the park and all who enter it.” To say that Caleigh impressed Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club with her passion, vision and work ethic is an understatement according to the club.
Recall petition denied for Coloma Township officials By Annette Christie A clarity hearing was held on April 17 to determine whether recall petition language against two Coloma Township officials would stand up and it was determined that it would not. James Nigro of Coloma Township had filed the petitions with Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler seeking to recall Township Supervisor Ken Parrigin and Treasurer Jim Fulton. The clarity hearing was held with Tyler, Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski, and Berrien County Judge Mabel Mayfield. All of the parties involved were in attendance. The recall process starts with submission of recall petition language to the County Clerk’s office. A clarity hearing is set to determine whether each reason for recall is factual and of sufficient clarity. In rejecting the recall petition language, it was deemed insufficient clarity and / or not factual.