07-05-2018 Interim Register of Deeds in place; County elected officials to select person to fill ter

Interim Register of Deeds in place; County elected officials to select person to fill term vacated by the death of Lori Jarvis

By Annette Christie Following the tragic accident that took the life of Berrien County Register of Deeds Lori Jarvis on Thursday, June 14, steps were taken to fill that role in the interim while the search begins for someone to fill the term. Rhonda Rockhill, who became Chief Deputy Register of Deeds in April, will serve with all the authority of the Register of Deeds as the process moves forward of filling that vacancy for the remainder of Jarvis’ term (set to expire in 2020). Rockhill was sworn in by Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler on Friday, June 15. MCL 53.92 states that “in the case of a vacancy in the office of the Register of Deeds… that such deputy shall perform the duties of register during the continuance of such vacancy or disability.” The Register of Deeds Office was closed for the remainder of June 14 and again on Friday, June 15. Upon the re-opening of the Register of Deeds office on Monday, June 18, Rockhill had been sworn in and assumed the duties of the Register of Deeds. At the request of Rockhill, Sue Hoffman, who had previously served as the Chief Deputy but retired in April, returned to her position to help out the office. Going forward, Michigan statute will determine the process for how the Berrien County Register of Deeds vacancy is to be filled: MCL 201.35 states that when a vacancy shall occur in an elective or appointive county office, it shall be filled in the following manner… the judge of probate, the county clerk and the prosecuting attorney shall appoint some suitable person to fill such vacancy and the person so appointed shall hold such office for the remainder of the unexpired term. MCL 168.209 states that if a vacancy occurs in an elective or appointive county office, it shall be filled in the following manner… the presiding or senior judge of probate, the county clerk and prosecuting attorney shall appoint a suitable person to fill the vacancy. The statute also states that the person appointed will continue in that role until the next general November election which will be in November 2020. County Clerk Sharon Tyler, Prosecuting Attorney Michael Sepic, and Probate Court Judge Mabel Mayfield will meet later this week to discuss the process and timing. Berrien County Administrator William Wolf stated, “I fully expect that they will move pragmatically and transparently towards making this appointment, to include taking applications and having public interviews.” The Register of Deeds is the elected representative of the people to review and record legal documents pertaining to the transfer and encumbrance of land and property within the County. They are in essence “a land historian,” according to the Berrien County website. Jarvis, of Hagar Township had served the county as the Register of Deeds since taking office in January 2001. She was twice voted Michigan Register of the Year and was appointed by Governor Rick Snyder to represent Michigan on a committee to address electronic document recording. Several Register of Deeds offices across the state reached out to Berrien County, some even coming personally to assist in any way they could upon learning of the death of Jarvis. “I believe this is a clear testament to the high esteem Registers across the State of Michigan had held of Lori Jarvis,” Wolf said.

Local museum is remembering Watervliet Paper Mill on July 14 and 17; events slated for actual mill site and special program at the museum

Join the North Berrien Historical Museum on Saturday, July 14 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the site where the Watervliet Paper Mill once stood. Walk through several areas of the site and learn the papermaking process. Visit the Museum’s main tent to see news articles of the Mill, help identify Mill employee photos, record your stories of the Mill and take a picture to remember at the photo booth. Search for your relative’s or friend’s name on the employee list and even pick up a reprint of the 2002 “Remembering the Watervliet Paper Mill” newspaper (limited supply). There will be several kids’ activities making this event friendly for all ages. Handicap parking will be available on site. Additional parking is at Hays Park, 700 N. Main St. in Watervliet across M-140 from the former site. On Tuesday, July 17 at 7:00 p.m. the Museum will be hosting a Watervliet Paper Mill program. This event will be focusing on Mill operations and will consist of a panel of past Mill employees: Milt Stibal, George Lawton, Robin Mileski and Larry Holland. They will be informing the audience about their experiences working for the Mill and answering questions. After the program, the audience will gather in the Main Gallery of the Museum to witness the revealing of the Watervliet Paper Mill Exhibit. North Berrien Historical Museum is located at 300 Coloma Avenue in Coloma. Please visit www.northberrienhistory.org for printable flyers for both events. For questions call (269)468-3330 or email Info@northberrienhistory.org.

Museum Millage renewal is August 7, 2018

Since 1966, The North Berrien Historical Museum has continually served the cities of Watervliet and Coloma and the townships of Watervliet, Coloma, Hagar and Bainbridge. In 2006, these communities voted to accept a .25 mil. This allowed the Museum the ability to host all events and programs for free, to become an historical resource and to preserve historical artifacts and documents in a safe environment for generations to come. This millage was renewed in 2010 and in 2014 and will be on the Primary ballot on August 7, 2018. On this day, the Museum asks that you remember to vote. Jack Greve, Executive Director of the Museum, noted, “We appreciate and honor your support for th