05-03-2018 Hartford Schools might benefit from county enhancement millage; Casey’s General Store Gra

REDWOOD ARTISTS HONORED AT BOARD MEETING… Selected by Elementary Art Teacher Mrs. Jacobusse, these students’ outstanding original framed artwork will remain on display in the central office for one year at Hartford Public Schools. Each received a certificate of recognition for their work personally presented by Superintendent Andy Hubbard at the Thursday, April 26 board meeting. Pictured (from the left) are: Back row – Third Grader Juliana Morseau-Willoughby, Mrs. Jacobusse, Art Club member Brynn Rose, Fourth Grader Galilea Hernandez, Fifth Grader Valeria Gonzalez-Perez; Front row – Second Grader Matthew Cowgill, First Grader Briana Rivas, Kindergartener Taylor Santiago-Jimenez, Pre-Kindergartener Valeria Perales. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)

Hartford Schools might benefit from county enhancement millage

By Jon Bisnett Van Buren Intermediate School District Superintendent Jeff Mills visited the April 26 Hartford School Board business meeting to introduce the possibility of the VBISD seek a county-wide School Enhancement Millage. The unique nature of this millage is that the funds can only be collected by the ISD who then distributes them to the eight districts in the county. Millage from .5 up to 3 mills for a period of up to 20 years can be collected, but the value is established on the cumulative property values throughout the entire county. For example a .5 mill in Hartford School District would normally generate roughly $40,000 in revenue. County-wide assessment would generate over $170,000 which can be used for operations or restricted purpose. Superintendent Mills said it’s a tough sell in the more affluent communities like Mattawan and South Haven. Five such millage agreements exist currently in Michigan. One is for technology only, while the other four are not restricted. Mills said he is simply exploring the interest among the school districts he serves at this time. He would not move forward without 70-80% support across the board and then probably for a ballot not until sometime May or August of 2019. Personnel Superintendent Andy Hubbard formally informed the board of the resignation of Timmary Fuller, the elementary literacy coach, who assumed the position last fall. Hubbard further explained that she had already left after completing her open items the prior week and was taking a literacy position with St. Joseph County ISD. Inter-local Recreation Agreement The board acted on the agreement at the request of the City of Hartford, approving the arrangement between the local Recreation Council, City and Township. President Chambers made note that the approval is even less than a formality, since the Township refuses to sign and has done so for the last two years, effectively nullifying the agreement. The issue stems from the Township’s interpretation of the required annual audit. Chambers explained the Rec budget is $60,000 annually, but the Township insists that a full audit by an accredited CPA must be done to satisfy the agreement. The agreement calls for an annual “audit” with nothing more specific. Chambers explained the difficulty in finding such a firm that is willing to do the simple audit for hundreds rather than thousands typically paid by municipalities. Community Marketing After an informal meeting of school, City and Township representatives to exchange ideas on furthering promotion of the community as a whole, a meeting was scheduled for May 3 for all three boards to convene with their full memberships to hear a marketing presentation by King Media. Chambers was disappointed to report that the township held a special meeting and voted to end any participation regarding marketing for the community. Township Supervisor Ron Sefcik was quoted in a subsequent email to say, “We decided that we just don’t want to get involved in that kind of project…” New business Representatives from architects, Kingscott and construction manager, Miller-Davis appeared before the board with a lengthy presentation of solutions for the water problems that have plagued the newly constructed Redwood multipurpose room, parking lot and playground. Well over an hour of talk comes down to a few simple points. A broken 3-inch roof drain line running under the gym lobby has been located and will be repaired at no expense to the District, eliminating the flooding that has occurred in the new gym. The additional problems of parking lot flooding and continually wet playground are blamed on capacity limits of the drain field. It calls into question both the grading work done by the subcontractor and an inadequate design. The proposal supports the addition of a drainage pond to handle the excess water of a large rainfall. No cost figures were provided at this time. The board is clearly frustrated with the length of time that has elapsed and skepticism of the fix. Business Manager Becky Drake cautioned that, “Keep in mind that we are almost in May and school gets out soon… this work needs to get handled right away so under no circumstance is there a possibility of a school start delay in fall… again.” The board closed the evening with a closed session expulsion hearing and meets again on Thursday, May 3.

Casey’s General Store Grand Opening celebrated in Watervliet

By Lynn Mainwaring-Attila Bands and fanfare were the order of the day when Watervliet’s newest business celebrated its grand opening Friday, April 20. Casey’s General Store opened its flagship store in Michigan right off exit 41 on M-140. The Michigan store totals 2,000 throughout the Midwest and officials report another six Michigan stores are planned for 2018.

STUDENTS ADD FANFARE… The Watervliet Jazz Band set the tempo for a fun-filled morning April 20 as dignitaries, Casey’s corporate officials and community members gathered for the Casey’s General Store grand opening in Watervliet.

According to Terry Handley CEO and president of Casey’s General Store, “We are excited about opening the first store in Michigan. I believe Watervliet is the ideal community for us.” The store will be open 24 hours and will offer a six-pump gasoline setup along with Casey’s famous made-from-scratch pizza, fresh sub sandwiches, bakery items, full service coffee station, limited seating and more. Customers can also enjoy Casey’s app and online website download by visiting www.caseys.com for easy online ordering, coupons, discounts, games and many exciting options. Casey’s General Store is a Fortune 500 company operating in 16 states throughout the Midwest. Known for its famous and unique made-from-scratch pizza and convenience store, Casey’s is currently the fourth largest convenience store and fifth largest pizza chain in the United States. District Manager Josh Nunez reports response to the store’s opening has been “overwhelming and most exciting.” Nunez said the store has employed 25 people from the community and has openings for approximately 10 more full and part-time positions with benefits still available. Store Manager, Tammy Collins, hails from Lawrence.

SAY CHEESE “PIZZA”… Managers share a light-hearted moment in Watervliet during the grand opening of the new Casey’s General Store. Pictured (from the left) District Manager Josh Nunez, Area Supervisor Deborah Klarke, store manager Tammy Collins.

Webelos/AOL Den Cub Scout “Spaghetti Dinner Benefit & Raffle” Friday

On Friday, May 4, 2018 the Watervliet/Coloma area Webelos/AOL Den Cub Scouts are holding their first annual Spaghetti Dinner Benefit and Raffle. The event is from 5:30-7:00 p.m. at the Coloma Rod & Gun Club, 6451 Angling Road in Coloma. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children age 10 and under. Dinner includes spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic bread, drink and dessert. There will be raffle prizes. Enjoy dinner and help support local youth in scouting! All proceeds benefit Coloma/Watervliet youth scouting opportunities and activities! For advance ticket sales contact Tasha Baumeister, den leader, at 269-259-9492 or Caitlin Baltazar, assistant den leader, at 269-369-1153.