05-07-2020 Police and Fire Reports; Kute Kid; City takes measures to keep “Watervliet Strong

THIS KUTE KID IS… Elise Adams, 2-year-old daughter of proud parents, Joe and Christin Davis Adams of Baroda. Elise’s loving grandparents are Leanne & Larry Adams of Coloma, Roy & Diana Davis also of Coloma, and Sharon Tyler of Niles.


Police and Fire Reports

By Annette Christie

Coloma pair arrested for Breaking and Entering

Two Coloma men have been arrested in connection with a breaking and entering situation on Sunday, May 3, 2020 at approximately 4:15 a.m. in Hamilton Township.

Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott reports that deputies were dispatched to the area of the 46000 block of West Drive on the southwest side of Lake of the Woods, near Decatur. The original caller reported a suspicious vehicle possibly stuck in a yard and revving its engine at a vacant home.

Van Buren County Deputies along with a Decatur Police Department Officer arrived within minutes of the call. Upon arrival, deputies located the suspicious vehicle stuck in the driveway of the lake home. They then located two male subjects hiding in the Lake of the Woods channel just behind the house. The subjects were ordered out of the water and detained while they were evaluated by emergency medical services.

After further investigation it was found that two nearby sheds were broken into with several hundred dollars’ worth of tools, lawn equipment and fishing equipment stolen. The stolen items had been stashed near the scene by the suspects and recovered by deputies. The two suspects, a 27-year-old male and a 28-year-old male from Coloma, were arrested and lodged at the Van Buren County Jail on several charges awaiting arraignment.

Watervliet homeowner and pet escape fire

A female homeowner and her dog were able to safely escape a fire in Watervliet on May 1. Chief Dan Jones states that just prior to midnight the Watervliet Fire Department was called to 348 Highview regarding a structure fire.  Upon arrival, the sole occupant, Loretta Creamer and her dog, were found to have exited the home and were standing across the street.

Jones stated that moderate to heavy smoke was emitting from the front of the structure and flames were visible at a west side lower window. As the first responding engine was arriving on scene, the lower level fire vented at the previously described window and flames began to ignite the exterior of the dwelling along the west side.

Fire crews from Watervliet Fire, assisted by North Berrien Fire Rescue quickly mounted a transitional attack and brought the fire under control, unfortunately, not before the flames had caused extensive damage to the home and its contents. During the subsequent investigation, a faulty fluorescent ceiling light was found to have ignited suspended ceiling components in the northwest lower level bedroom that quickly spread to the adjoining upper and lower level rooms.  The occupant and her dog are currently staying with area relatives.

Coloma Township Police

Coloma Charter Township Police Chief Wes Smigielski reports that the department is currently 320 reports down from this time last year. Smigielski said, “Things are just not that busy.”

When asked if they are having to execute some executive order enforcement the Chief said that they have given some warnings about the face masks being worn but it has been minimal.

It was reported that spring like weather has brought mostly complaints about burning, cutting grass or construction. Since the executive orders have been revised and will now allow all of those things by this Thursday (May 7), those calls should go down as well.

Smigielski did say that his office has been receiving calls from some of the residents from Illinois inquiring about whether they can come here to their summer homes. While a home owner is allowed to come here, they have been warned that they cannot have multiple families under one roof, only immediate family.

City takes measures to keep “Watervliet Strong”; suspends water shut-offs

The preventive measures taken as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have been difficult on people and industries across the country, including right here in Watervliet. The city has adjusted their operations according to State and Federal guidelines, their commitment to the residents and the community has remained steadfast. According to Tyler Dotson, city manager, the staff for the city will continue to take the necessary precautions to protect the public and the services they provide. As a result of the Governors Executive Order (2020-42 effective April 10), the City of Watervliet will continue to limit public access to all municipal buildings until further notice. Essential services continue to remain fully operational during this time, including the police department and public works department. Watervliet’s parks remain open; however, all equipment that would compromise the social distancing / safety guidelines set forth by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) have been temporarily closed. Additionally, all public events that would otherwise utilize the city’s park system have been rescheduled or cancelled. To get the latest information and press releases on behalf of the city, visit watervliet.org and also subscribe to notifications on the city’s official Facebook page, City of Watervliet – Government. Water shut-offs temporarily suspended The city made the decision to temporarily suspend water service “shut-offs” on March 8, ahead of the state issued mandate. In a letter that was sent to residents and businesses in the city, Dotson said, “You, our residents / customers, remain our top priority and we are committed to working with you through these uncertain times. As part of that commitment, we will continue to suspend water shut-offs until further notice. However, even with the temporary suspension of water / sewer shut-offs, we encourage you to pay the full amount due, as late fees will continue to be assessed regardless of shut-off status.” Watervliet remains a strong, resilient, and close-knit community. Together everyone will weather the unfortunate circumstances with the pandemic. It is urged that residents do their part in observing social distancing and be “Watervliet Strong”.

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