07-13-2017 Watervliet City Commission denies allowing chickens; Southwestern Medical Clinic counselo

Watervliet City Commission denies allowing chickens

ADDRESSING THOSE GATHERED… Berrien County Trial Court Chief Judge Gary Bruce spoke during a memorial ceremony honoring Joseph Zangaro and Ronald Kienzle one year after their tragic deaths in the Berrien County Court-house on July 11, 2016. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)


By Annette Christie

The Watervliet City Commission shot down an ordinance amendment to the animal ordinance that would allow chickens in residential areas. “In addition to the above, no more than four domesticated chicken hens may be kept on single-family parcels or lots in the R-1 district. They must be kept within a hen house or restricted fenced in area and only in the required rear yard and not less than 15 feet from a side or rear yard lot line. A restricted fenced in area shall comprise of no more than 200 square feet or one-quarter of the total rear yard area, whichever is less.” Was the verbiage of the amendment.  It also said that roosters were not allowed.   The motion was voted down by commissioners Rick Kinzler, Duane Cobb, Luke Strunk, and Dave Brinker.  Commissioners voting yes were Deah Muth, Billy Whitney, and Larry Hehl.    “We have an ordinance that stands and we should stand by it,” Strunk said.  Following the vote, Kinzler commented it was tough saying no with Muth following that it was tough saying yes.  Kinzler added that he just didn’t want it to get out of hand.

Discussion on expanding the Skate Park

Commissioner Muth asked the City Commission to consider putting more money into the recently replaced Skate Park at Hays Park.  She said that some of the community’s children had showed interest in a jump box down there. The cost to add the three pieces necessary to complete that was at $13,000 for the total cost.  Muth reported that Watervliet Township is considering splitting this with the city. They meet next week.

City Manager Michael Uskiewicz said that this would wrap it up with the Skate Park. He added that a budget adjustment in the Parks Fund would be necessary if the City Commission approved it.  He said that the Parks & Recreation Committee had met just prior to this meeting and was in support of it.  The motion carried but is contingent on the township splitting the cost with the city.

Maintenance projects

Continuing improvements in the city facilities, the City Commission approved four roof repair projects at their Tuesday, July 11 meeting.  The Hays Park Pavilion roof will be replaced by The Equity Builder, LLC for the amount of $2,760; the Flaherty Park Pavilion roof will be replaced by Ken Daugherty Roofing in the amount of $8,415; the Hays Park well house roof will be replaced for $1,800, also from Ken Daugherty Roofing; and the Allen Court Well House roof will be replaced for $1,700 from Daugherty as well.

The City Commission approved an annual maintenance agreement with Perceptive Controls for the SCADA System at the iron filtration plant.  The annual cost of this proactive maintenance solution for the SCADA system is $11,671.  There was a major malfunction earlier this year that could have caused the system to crash.  Perceptive Controls is the company that installed the system. Brinker commented, “It is extremely important that everything is kept up and running, it is expensive but worth it.”

Other business

The commission also gave permission for the city manager to proceed with the disposal of surplus property through a competitive bid process.  Uskiewicz said that they will seek the manner that will maximize their return on the property they are selling.   “A couple of these items should get us some interesting bids,” Uskiewicz said.

In a follow up from last month’s meeting, the City Commission approved the recommended appointment of Barb Schofield as the treasurer for the city.  Uskiewicz said, “Mrs. Barb Schofield would make a valuable addition to the city staff as we continue to transition in our efforts to provide excellent customer service.” Commissioner Deah Muth was approved in June as the temporary treasurer until the position was filled.   Muth did not seek the position.

WINNERS OF THE TRI-CITY RECORD SUBSCRIPTIONS… from the annual picnic at the North Berrien Senior Center are Tom Loomis (left) and Char Robinson (right).


Southwestern Medical Clinic counselors host seminar on anxiety, depression

 Community members are invited to join counselors, Marcia Wiinamaki, PsyD, and Kara Youngblood, MA, LLPC, for a free educational seminar on understanding anxiety and depression. The seminar will take place from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18, in the Conference Center at Lakeland at Meadowbrook, located at 2550 Meadowbrook Road in Benton Harbor.

During the seminar, Wiinamaki and Youngblood will discuss the causes and symptoms of common mental health issues seen in both children and adults as well as when to seek treatment for yourself or a loved one.

Preregistration is encouraged; walk-ins are welcome. For more information or to register, call (269) 927-5361 or visit www.lakelandhealth.org/anxiety.

Prevent auto theft: Drivers reminded to lock it or lose it

 A vehicle is stolen every 45 seconds in the United States, and surprisingly nearly half of those thefts occur because a door was unlocked or the keys were left in the ignition.

In addition to locking your vehicle and taking your keys with you, there are many other precautions you can take to lessen the likelihood you will be a victim of auto theft, including: Closing windows when your vehicle is parked; avoiding leaving valuables in your vehicle, especially where they can be seen; leaving your vehicle running unattended; parking in well-lit areas; keeping your vehicle in your garage, if possible; keeping exterior house lights on at night; installing a car alarm or using a theft deterrent device like a steering wheel lock or gear shift column lock.

Below are some current trends that may be occurring in your neighborhood:

Wheel and tire theft – Watch for suspicious vehicles in your neighborhood that may be scoping out the area. Report suspicious and out-of-place persons to law enforcement.

Vehicle sale scams – If you are purchasing or selling a vehicle on Craigslist, make the transaction at a Secretary of State office during business hours or at a police department. Do not invite strangers to your home or meet them in non-public places.

Fraudulent vehicle titles – If a deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Inspect the vehicle title closely before purchase and if anything looks odd, postpone the sale until you can confirm the legitimacy of the title.

Over the last 10 years, Michigan’s Automobile Theft Prevention Authority (ATPA) has assisted in the reduction of motor vehicle thefts in Michigan by 56 percent. The ATPA awards grants to law enforcement agencies, prosecutors offices and non-profit organizations for the investigation, apprehension, prosecution and prevention of motor vehicle thefts.

During the 2016 grant year, ATPA grant-funded motor vehicle theft teams recovered 6,614 stolen vehicles and parts worth approximately $38 million.

For more information about the ATPA, visit www.michigan.gov/atpa.

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