05-21-2020 Coloma Twp. approves fire truck purchase, upfront payment means $22,000 savings; $10.7 mi

GLIMPSE OF THE PAST… As a long vacant dollar store building was demolished in Coloma this past week, the revealed bricks reminded many of the “Badts Super Drug Store” it used to be, bringing back memories of soda fountains, crochet goods and small town service. Talk around town is that an auto parts store may be going up in its place.


Coloma Twp. approves fire truck purchase, upfront payment means $22,000 savings

By Annette Christie The Coloma Charter Township Board held their May 13, 2020 meeting via teleconference. Clerk Sandy Kraemer led the meeting with Supervisor Ken Parrigin. North Berrien Fire Rescue Chief Mike Mattix was on hand to discuss the upcoming purchase of a fire engine. It will be replacing a 1993 pumper that is their reserve truck. Mattix said staff worked for a lengthy time to create the specifications in the request for proposal. It went out to seven companies and they received four back. Once they began checking the proposals, they determined that one of the bidders could be eliminated due to not meeting specifications as requested in the request for proposal. The department selected the bid from KME. The truck they will be ordering holds 1,000 gallons of water, a 30-gallon foam tank, a 6-man cab, and 390 cubic ft. of storage space. The bid was for $741,570. The manufacturer offered two options – pay up front and receive $22,000 off the price or pay 50% down now and 50% upon delivery and receive a $9,400 discount. The fire department, which is governed by representatives from the municipalities of Hagar Township, Coloma City, and Coloma Charter Township, all have a millage in place specifically for replacement apparatus. Each one has a percentage of expenses that they cover (Coloma Township 46.5%, Coloma City 12.41%, and Hagar Township 41.09%). Mattix said it could take 390-420 days to build. The Coloma Township Board approved their portion of the truck ($334,600) and recommended paying up front to save the additional $22,000. Mattix has had discussions with Hagar Township but is still awaiting official approval from their board and the Coloma City Commission. Road work Trustee and Road Committee member Bryan Duffield reviewed the 2020 road work schedule. Included in this year’s plan is sealcoating 1.0 miles of Taube Road from Clymer to Becht Road; 1.06 miles of Becht Road from Hagar Shore Road to County Line Road; .92 miles of Clymer Road from Hagar Shore to Van Road; and 1.05 miles of Little Paw Paw Lake Road from Interlochen to Paw Paw Lake Road. One mile of Clymer Road from Riverside Road to Hagar Shore Road is set for a grind, grade, prime and double seal. Duffield explained that the road needed to be unusable and needed to be replaced in its entirety for this type of project. Several other miles of road are having a hot mix overlay put on or an ultra thin layer put on (less than 2” of asphalt). A total of just over 11 miles of road is having some kind of work done. Other business Police Chief Wes Smigielski continues to work on a Fireworks Ordinance for the township. The ordinance is basically the state law. The hang-up now was that some of the members of the township board requested that there be an age limit of not under 16. The township board will hold a public hearing at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 10 to receive input on the ordinance. Treasurer Jim Fulton provided an update on the Paw Paw Lake Special Assessment project with the presentation of the 2020 work plan and was seeking action to hold a public hearing. The public hearing, set for June 27 at 10:00 a.m., will be held electronically. Fulton explained that they do this every four years. The lake improvements include measures designed to reduce the percentage of invasive and nuisance species, reduce total phosphorus in the water column, reduce algal blooms, decrease nutrient inputs into the lake, increase percent cover and diversity of native vegetation, and document and assess existing resources and fish and wildlife habitat, along with recreational and aesthetic values associated with the lake to identify areas of potential improvement, enhancement or restoration. The public hearing will also have special presentation updates from the lake management companies that are being used. The public will have an opportunity to address the Watervliet Township and Coloma Charter Township boards. Following the public hearing, both of the township boards will make the decision to either continue the lake improvements, continue the lake improvements with specified changes, discontinue the lake improvements, or discontinue the entire project all together.

$10.7 million broadband service grant awarded to Southwest Michigan

(Press Release) State Rep. Beth Griffin announced Friday, May 15 Southwest Michigan Communications Inc. will receive $10.7 million in a loan / grant combination to deploy Fiber-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband services to Van Buren and Allegan counties. The initiative is part of the USDA’s ReConnect Pilot Program. USDA Rural Development provides integral resources to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements, business development, housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care, and high-speed internet access in rural areas. The project will extend broadband availability to 22 farms, 19 businesses, and 7,700 residents spread over 100 square miles. “As we’ve been forced to stay at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, internet access has become more vital than ever for the people of Southwest Michigan,” said Griffin, of Mattawan. “Our children are learning from home, many workers and business owners are working from home, and for many patients, the only way to receive the routine and preventative health care they need is via telehealth. This grant will help to connect thousands of people in our most rural communities with internet access.” To learn more about ReConnect Program eligibility, technical assistance, and recent announcements, visit www.usda.gov/reconnect.

Financial assistance is a core service provided by Spectrum Health Lakeland— now and always

Spectrum Health Lakeland offers Financial aid options to provide people with the care they need, regardless of ability to pay. This support has been a long-standing practice of the health system and will continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Patients can be evaluated for financial assistance at no charge. Regardless of the procedure or service, Spectrum Health Lakeland financial advocates offer a wide range of assistance, from helping with price estimates to creating payment plans. Financial advocates can assist patients before they receive services to help address concerns they may have about paying for their care. Spectrum Health Lakeland also assists patients in applying for state Medicaid assistance, local county agency assistance, and federal or other charitable programs. Patient financial responsibility for medically necessary, appropriate treatment may also be reduced or eliminated if a patient at Spectrum Health Lakeland qualifies under financial hardship guidelines. “We understand how COVID-19 has impacted the lives of so many in our community—including financially in some cases,” said Jenna Howard, manager admitting and registration, Spectrum Health Lakeland. “Health care services should be accessible to everyone, regardless of financial status. Our financial advocates are a great resource for patients, and we can work with people one-on-one to create a personalized solution and ensure they receive the care they need.” To qualify, patients may need to complete a written application and provide information that is necessary to verify financial information. For more information, or to schedule a meeting, call 844-408-4103, Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Coloma senior awarded HCU Scholarship

Honor Credit Union (HCU) is proud to support local outstanding high school seniors with the annual Honor Credit Union Community Commitment Scholarship. Twenty-four students throughout Michigan received $1,000 to be used towards furthering their education. Reinforcing Honor Credit Union’s dedication to supporting the local community, an emphasis on community involvement and extracurricular activities was part of the Community Commitment Scholarship application. Megan Neubecker, 2020 graduate of Coloma High School, was awarded this annual scholarship because she exemplifies community commitment and is a positive role model for her community service and academic success.

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