07-02-2020 Watervliet H.S. hires 2 new teachers; Paw Paw Lake special assessment renewal considered;

THIS KUTE KID IS… Aviana Turlin, at Easter time. She was born on New Year’s Eve to her moms, Alissa Young and Jazmin Turlin. Aviana’s proud grandparents are Kevin and Roberta Turlin. They live in Coloma.

Watervliet H.S. hires 2 new teachers, welcomes Jordan Wagner & Taylor Bradley

Watervliet High School is proud to announce the hires of Mr. Jordan Wagner and Miss Taylor Bradley to the teaching staff. Jordan Wagner was born and raised in East Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is the baby of five boys. Music and sports were a big part of his life growing up.

Taylor Bradley was born and raised in southwest Michigan; she graduated from

Paw Paw Lake special assessment renewal considered; Public Hearing was Saturday

By Annette Christie Both township boards of Watervliet Charter and Coloma Charter townships met on Saturday, June 27, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. for a Paw Paw Lake Special Assessment District public hearing. The meeting was held electronic and telephonic due to continued restrictions on the number of people meeting in a room. The district developed to address invasive problems with Paw Paw Lake and to create a plan to improve it began in 2012 and was renewed in 2016.

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 estimated work plan expenses are $196,500 annually to include: Spicer Group Inc./ GEI Consultants of Michigan, Inc. lake and drain monitoring, analyses, reporting, drain project planning and public hearing, PLM weed management, legal counsel and public hearing and other expenses associated with the public hearing, web domain, and miscellaneous.

The second phase of the lake project, which was approved in 2016, requires that a public hearing be held every four years in presidential election years, during the month of June. Although this is not required by Public Act 188, this process was approved voluntarily by both township boards. The public hearing included an overview of the prior four years of the project and a report on work being recommended in the next four years and beyond.

Following the public hearing, both of the township boards were to 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. Both of the boards voted to continue the special assessment district and the plan as presented for another four years.

Rep. Wendzel unveils new bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation

State Rep. Pauline Wendzel helped recently unveil a new bipartisan 15-bill package aimed at reforming Michigan’s criminal sentencing guidelines. As of 2018, Michigan prisoners have the longest average length of stay in the nation at 54 months. This is in stark contrast to the national average of 30 months, and out of line with neighboring Midwestern states, that also average around 30 months. Michigan’s average length of stay is even out of line with its own averages in the past; in 1990, the average length of stay in MDOC was 29 months. Michigan’s sentencing guidelines have driven this divergence over the past 30 years. While federal sentencing guidelines allow for the scoring of positive points, Michigan’s sentencing guidelines only score negative points based on an offender’s actions and characteristics, both past and present. This new bipartisan package allows for the scoring of positive points, encouraging offenders to take steps toward rehabilitation and restitution after their offense and accounting for positive parts of an offender’s life, such as acts of service in the community. By simply bringing Michigan’s length of stay in line with the national average, the prison population would roughly halve over time, bringing about significant cost savings to Michigan taxpayers while still holding dangerous criminals accountable. “There’s no doubt that if you look at the work we’ve accomplished this term, Michigan is leading the nation in criminal justice reform,” Rep. Wendzel said. “We’re doing this in a safe manner, a smart manner, and most importantly, a bipartisan manner.” Rep. Wendzel continued, “Working together, we’ve reformed our civil asset forfeiture laws. We passed the ‘Raise the Age’ package, and just yesterday [June 24], the Senate advanced our bipartisan expungement package to the floor. This group of bills is another bold and meaningful step in reforming our criminal justice system, and I’m proud to partner with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to take this next step.” In addition to unveiling this new criminal justice package, Rep. Wendzel’s bipartisan expungement legislation advanced out of the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee after three weeks of hearings and emotional testimony from Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilcrest. “It is rare to have a policy before you that is the result of so many months of cross-agency and diverse stakeholder collaboration and engagement, and I am proud of the work that our devoted public servants in our agencies have put forward in developing the most workable process for ‘Clean Slate,’” Mr. Gilchrist said. “Now, I’m committed to continuing this work and make sure we’re working on options to even find more ways to implement this policy in an even more cost-effective manner and by finding the right funding source for this policy implementation.” “I want to thank Senator Lucido and the Senate Judiciary and Public Safety Committee for their thoughtfulness and improvements to this bipartisan package,” Rep. Wendzel said. “There is nothing conservative about a government continuing to punish its citizens after paying their debt to society. This bill package is about improving the lives of the people we serve. Once it passes hundreds of thousands of our friends and neighbors will finally have access to new housing and educational opportunities, better career paths, and the peace of mind that comes with closure.” The expungement package now advances to the Senate Floor for further consideration.

Work to achieve your financial independence

Over the past few months, just about everyone has felt the loss of some type of freedom, whether it’s being able to travel, engage in social gatherings or participate in other activities we previously took for granted. Still, as we prepare to observe Independence Day, it’s comforting to realize all the freedoms we still have in this country. And taking the right steps can also help you achieve your financial independence. Here are some moves to consider: Build an emergency fund. It’s a good idea to create an emergency fund consisting of three to six months’ worth of living expenses, with the money held in a liquid, low-risk account. With this fund in place, you can avoid dipping into your long-term investments to pay for short-term, unexpected costs. Keep your debts under control. It’s not easy to do, but if you can consistently minimize your debt load, you can have more money to invest for the future and move closer toward achieving your financial liberty. One way to keep your debts down is to establish a budget and stick to it, so you can avoid unnecessary spending. Contribute as much as possible to your retirement plans. The more money you can save for retirement, the greater your feelings of financial independence. So it’s essential that you contribute as much as you can to your 401(k) or similar employer-sponsored retirement plan. At a minimum, put in enough to earn your employer’s match, if one is offered, and every time your salary goes up, boost your annual contributions. Even if you participate in a 401(k), you’re probably also still eligible to contribute to an IRA, which can help you build even more funds for retirement. And because you can fund an IRA with virtually any type of investment, you can broaden your portfolio mix. Explore long-term care coverage. One day, your financial independence could be threatened by your need for some type of long-term care. It now costs, on average, over $100,000 for a private room in a nursing home and more than $50,000 for the services of a home health aide, according to Genworth, an insurance company. Most of these costs won’t be covered by Medicare, either, so, if you want to reduce the risk of seriously depleting all your financial resources – or burdening your adult children with these heavy expenses – you may want to consider some type of long-term care insurance. You could choose a traditional long-term care policy – which can cover a nursing home stay, home health care, or other services – or a hybrid policy, which provides long-term care coverage plus a death benefit. Manage withdrawals carefully. Once you retire, your financial freedom will depend a great deal on how skillful you are in managing the money in your retirement accounts. Specifically, you need to be careful about how much you withdraw from these accounts each year. If you set a withdrawal rate that’s too high in your early years of retirement, you might eventually risk outliving your resources. So, set a withdrawal rate that reflects your age, assets, retirement lifestyle and other factors. You may want to consult with a financial professional to establish an appropriate rate. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC Edward Jones is a licensed insurance producer in all states and Washington, D.C., through Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P., and in California, New Mexico and Massachusetts through Edward Jones Insurance Agency of California, L.L.C.; Edward Jones Insurance Agency of New Mexico, L.L.C.; and Edward Jones Insurance Agency of Massachusetts, L.L.C.


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