05-23-2019 Coloma Township approves School Resource Officer agreement; RESA Peer to Peer  students t

NEWEST OWNER of Downtown Digits Nail Salon is Jasmine Miller, a Coloma resident and graduate of Watervliet High School and Twin City Beauty College in 2016 with 1,500 hours. The mother of two was recently given an amazing opportunity to take over ownership of Downtown Digits Nail Salon at 190 N. Paw Paw Street, Coloma. Jasmine is passionate about the services she provides and strives to educate each client about them. She hopes her honesty and reliability will allow her to build trusting relationships with her clientele. When it comes to her work, cleanliness and quality are two of the main priorities. Pictured at a ribbon cutting on May 16 are (from the left) Amiyah Speck, owner Jasmine Miller, James Speck, Marley Speck and Heather Speck.



Coloma Township approves School Resource Officer agreement; approves sharing costs of drain repair with three other local governments

By Annette Christie Coloma Community School Superintendent Dave Ehlers and Coloma Township Police Chief Wes Smigielski made a presentation on the School Resource Officer collaboration between the two parties that has been in the talking stage for some time. The presentation was at the regular Coloma Township Board meeting on Wednesday, May 8. A school Resource Officer is a career law enforcement officer, with sworn authority, deployed in community-oriented policing, assigned by the employing police department to work in collaboration with schools. The role is to be a visible active law enforcement figure, a classroom resource, community resource, and a member of the school faculty in the form of an educator and informal counselor or mentor. The person in this position is not a disciplinarian and is not intended for the replacement of existing school security practices. The goals of the program that they hope to have in place by next school year is to bridge the gap between the police officers and the young people, increase positive attitudes towards law enforcement, teach the value of our legal system, promote respect for people and property, educate and develop relationships, and to reduce juvenile delinquency by helping students formulate an awareness of rules, authority, and justice. According to a Carelton University Research Report, the shown benefits of a School Resource Officer include prevention of minimization of property damage in the school and surrounding areas, prevention of student injuries and even death due to violence, drug overdoses, etc., reduce the need for schools to call 911, reduce the likelihood that a student will get a criminal record, increase the likelihood that students will get the help they need from the social service and health care systems, and increase the feelings of safety among students and staff. The formulated agreement between the school and the township reflects the school paying $30,000 per year towards the expense of an officer and will provide office space. The township will provide policing equipment, training, and support. Ehlers said that the addition of a School Resource Officer supports the Coloma Community Schools’ Strategic Plan of providing a safe, secure, and inclusive environment with high expectations for all and align expenditures with the mission, vision and core values. The funding from the school will come from a reoccurring funding stream. Outside of the school year, the officer will work within the township as a patrol officer. Clerk Sandy Kraemer stated, “I think it is great that this is happening.” Smigielski told the board that the need for such a position is prevalent now more than ever. “Kids getting into things we never imagined,” Smigielski said. City Commissioner Marsha Hammond stated, “I think it is a wonderful program. North Berrien Fire Chief Michael Mattix added, “I came from a school that had a program like this and it does do good.” With a motion from Trustee Bryan Duffield and support by Treasurer Jim Fulton the board approved the contract. Smigielski then introduced Dan Stuglik, the officer who he has selected for the position of School Resource Officer. Stuglik has been with the department for 10 years. He had previously served as a corporal for the Benton Harbor Police Department overseeing eight school resource officers in the Benton Harbor School District. That program was in place until the grant funding for it ended. Stuglik presented ideas that he already has for the program that he would like to implement in the schools including a Valor Award and community service projects including those that would partner the high school-aged students with the elementary students. Ehlers told the board that the school district has recently had some other good news related to security in the buildings. They were the recipients of a Michigan State Police grant that will fund additional security cameras as well as equipment that will make the 800mhz radios that emergency responders use, work in the school facilities.

Drain project approved Berrien County Drain Commissioner Christopher Quattrin came to address the board about the Howe, Ryno & Worden Drain #242 which makes its home in Coloma Charter Township, Watervliet Charter Township, Bainbridge Township, and the City of Coloma. The drain begins south of I-94 and north of Angling Road traversing northwesterly under I-94, continuing north through the City of Coloma, out-letting into the Paw Paw River north of the railroad tracks. The drain services 2,530 acres of land. Quattrin told the board that during heavy rain events, trash and debris accumulates onto the grate at the railroad crossing, plugging the drain and causing severe flooding down stream. He said that his department engaged the services of an engineer, in order to devise a way to keep the debris from plugging up. Alan Boyer of LSG Engineers & Surveyors worked with B & Z Company to design a special trash rack that will improve the drain’s water flow during high water events by preventing the culvert from getting plugged. As the maintenance needed on this drain will exceed the $5,000 per mile per year spending limit set by the 1956 Michigan Drain Code, it is necessary for the drain commissioner to obtain a resolution of support from the municipality that is affected the most. The estimated quote from B & Z Company is $48,550 to install the trash rack and $48,371 for the ditch work needed. In addition, the engineers will perform all inspections for $10,000. The drainage district will be assessed for the project and it will be split into four years to help relieve some of the tax burden on larger farms and municipalities. With the approval of the work, the first assessment will be on the 2019 winter tax billing. Coloma Charter Township’s portion of the assessment is $18,790.65; the City of Coloma will pay $3,228.65; Bainbridge Township will pay $2,831.12; and Watervliet Charter Township will pay $225.49. The balance will be paid for by Berrien County, the Berrien County Road Department, the railroad, the State of Michigan, and the individual property owners. Duffield and Fulton both commented that the project needs to be done. The board approved the resolution supporting the project. Quattrin said that it will be done this summer. Parks and Recreation Committee Tony Bertuca reported that the committee was able to secure the perimeter fencing for Washington Park for $8,000 less than was originally approved. He said it will be installed as soon as weather permits. Bertuca asked for permission to transfer that savings over to the walking track for repairs and needed improvements, up to $5,000. Supervisor Ken Parrigin commented that the track had about 70 cracks going across it that will create a toe tripper. He also said that part of it needs to be replaced. The track was originally installed by the school when they owned the property years ago. Bertuca said he would also like to buy some picnic tables and trash cans for the park. He commented to the board that the park is being utilized a lot by visitors and it is really a nice asset for the township.

NEW IN COLOMA… On May 16 the Coloma Watervliet Area Chamber of Commerce was excited to participate in two ribbon cuttings and grand openings right next door to each other in downtown Coloma. If the Shoe Fits at 178 N. Paw Paw St. opened on May 1. Denise Donohoe has a wonderful footwear shop offering beautiful and fun shoes for women and even a selection for men. Shoppers should take a moment to stop in and check out her many styles of shoes, belts, gift items and cards. Denise also owns Keep Me in Mind repurposed treasures in downtown Coloma offering home decor, decorative gifts, clothes and other items. Visit her at If the Shoe Fits and wish her well on this newest endeavor. Pictured (from the left) are City Commissioners Fred Reeves and Linda Freitag, owner Denise Donohoe, and Amiyah Speck.


Lakeland acquires new primary care practice in St. Joseph

Lakeside Healthcare Specialists recently became a Lakeland Medical Practice with a new name – Lakeland Primary Care, Royalton. Located at 3950 Hollywood Road, Suite 270, the practice offers patients access to a team of four board-certified physicians. Sharon Deskins, MD, John Gosling, MD, Alexander Hinckley, DO, and Mark Smalley, DO, will care for the general medical needs of adult patients. The practice is also home to Lakeland’s internal medicine residency program. “As a Lakeland Medical Practice, patients have access to a wide array of care from a reputable, top 15 health system,” said James Savoie, Director of Primary Care Services, Spectrum Health Lakeland. “This most recent acquisition preserves Lakeland’s mission to enhance health, expand primary care access, and serve all members of our community.” For more information about the practice and services offered, or to schedule an appointment, call (269) 983-0500.

Berrien RESA Peer to Peer students to host “Makin’ Waves in Berrien County” day camps Camps geared for students with autism, other disabilities

Under the guidance of Berrien RESA staff, Berrien County’s Peer to Peer program is excited to present “Makin’ Waves in Berrien County,” a summer day camp experience for middle and high school students with Autism Spectrum Disorder or other disabilities. Camp dates are Tuesday, July 16 at Love Creek Nature Center and Tuesday, July 23 at Riverview Park in St. Joseph from 8:30 a.m. to noon each day. Campers can register for one or both sessions. “We are thrilled to be offering this one-of-a-kind experience for middle and high school students throughout our community,” said Kathy Hickok, Berrien RESA ASD Consultant and Peer to Peer Program Facilitator. “What makes this camp unique is that it intentionally brings together LINKS (support) students with their same-age PEERS with autism and other disabilities. Teams of students will encourage each other as they participate in a variety of camp activities, all the while strengthening connections, learning to support one another and growing their friendships. It is our hope that the camp will provide a meaningful experience for all involved and will make the upcoming school year that much better having established peer connections over the summer.” Both Makin’ Waves in Berrien County camp sessions will feature the same activities: Scavenger hunt, non-competitive games, community service project, and art activity. To register, simply visit www.berrienresa.org by June 13, 2019. Makin’ Waves in Berrien County, which has been created for students by students, is the result of the 2018 Community Conversation hosted by Peer to Peer students from across Berrien County.

Emma and Liam repeat as Social Security’s top baby names

Liam and Emma are once again America’s most popular baby names in 2018. This is the second time Liam is atop the boys list and the fifth year in a row for Emma. Two long timers on the list, Jacob and Abigail, toppled out of the top 10 for the first time since 1992 and 2000. There are two new names in this year’s top 10—Lucas for the first time ever, and Harper makes her way back on the list. Here are the top 10 boys and girls names for 2018: (from first through tenth place) Boys – Liam, Noah, William, James, Oliver, Benjamin, Elijah, Lucas, Mason and Logan; Girls – Emma, Olivia, Ava, Isabella, Sophia, Charlotte, Mia, Amelia, Harper and Evelyn. For all of the top baby names of 2018, and to see where your name ranks, go to Social Security’s website, www.socialsecurity.gov. While on their website, Acting Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill encourages everyone to enjoy the baby names list and create a “my Social Security” account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. The “my Social Security” is a personalized online account that people can use beginning in their working years and continuing while receiving Social Security benefits. Social Security beneficiaries can have instant access to their benefit verification letter, payment history, and complete earnings record by establishing a “my Social Security” account. Beneficiaries also can change their address, start or change direct deposit information, and print a replacement SSA-1099 online. People receiving benefits can request a replacement Medicare card online. People age 18 and older who are not receiving benefits can also sign up for a “my Social Security” account to get their personalized online Social Security Statement. The online statement provides workers with secure and convenient access to their Social Security earnings and benefit information, and estimates of future benefits they can use to plan for their retirement. Social Security began compiling the baby name list in 1997, with names dating back to 1880. At the time of a child’s birth, parents supply the name to the agency when applying for a child’s Social Security card, thus making Social Security America’s source for the most popular baby names. Each year, the list reveals the effect of pop-culture on naming trends. Royalty seems to have influenced parents in 2018. Meghan was the fastest rising girls’ name, moving 701 spots to number 703 from number 1,404 in 2017. This jump speaks to the popularity of Meghan Markle, an American who joined the royal family when she married Prince Harry in 2018. Tune in next year to see how newborn Archie influences moms and dads in 2019. The name Archie actually reappears in the top 1,000 in 2018 for the first time since 1988, and he will likely continue climbing up the list after the latest royal news. Winter is coming for “Game of Thrones” fans. The name Yara voyaged 314 spots from number 986 in 2017 to number 672 in 2018 on the girls’ side. Followers of the hit HBO show know this probably is due to Yara Greyjoy, a character on the popular series. For the boys, Genesis is the fastest rising name for 2018, shuffling his way 608 spots to number 984 from number 1,592 in 2017. There has been a resurgence of classic names in the top 10 baby names in recent years, so perhaps Genesis is a harkening back to the classic English rock band led by Phil Collins. Speaking of Genesis, award winning Grammy singer and coach on “The Voice,” Alicia Keys named her son Genesis after his birth.

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