07-16-2020 Joint venture of Keeler and Hartford townships expands policing; Kute Kid; Alton Wendzel


“Happy Birthday” Alton Wendzel turns 90 Alton Wendzel will be celebrating his 90th birthday on July 30, 2020. Alton was born in Bainbridge Township and has lived his entire life in Bainbridge Twp. He is now retired from farming, Greg Orchards & Produce Co., and Coloma Frozen Foods, all of which he founded and operated. Due to the pandemic his celebrating will be a dinner with family.


Joint venture of Keeler and Hartford townships expands policing

By Jon Bisnett At their regular June meeting, Hartford Township officials gave approval to the addition of a second Van Buren County Deputy to service the township by a cost-sharing measure with Keller Township, each footing 50% of the approximate $100,000 annual cost. The officer will dedicate 20 hours to each township on a monthly basis, providing seven days per week coverage when combined with the one officer already in place. It was noted by current VBCSD Deputy Chad Hunt that Hartford Township has the second highest call volume in the county, just behind that of Antwerp. Guests County Commissioner Mike Chappel reports Commissioners approved two grant requests for Public Transit. One grant is from the Michigan Department of Transportation for $368,819 of operating expenses because the transit system operates in a rural area. The other grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for $1,800,000 is to provide expanded facilities for the Transit Department. County auditors reported total revenue for the General Fund was $25,670,151 and total expenses of $23,289,672 for budget year 2018-2019. The fund balance for the General Fund totaled $9,119,079 at the end of that budget year. The auditors also listed areas for improvement in the County’s procedures. Commissioners approved the purchase of a new Animal Control vehicle from Woodhams Ford in South Haven for $25,741. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department requested the replacement of four mobile radios. The request was granted by Commissioners. Lawton wishes to create a Rehabilitation District located at 99 Walker Street, the site of a former nursing home. Commissioners expressed their support of this project with no objections. Commissioners re-appointed Zach Morris and Katie Strohauer to the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority Board for three-year terms which expire June 1 of 2023. Tom Stanek was appointed to the Kinexus Board for a three-year term of office, which expires on June 30, 2023. Reports Van Buren County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Hunt reported on typical monthly activity, logging 1,038 miles of patrol which included one felony and four misdemeanor arrests. Pride Care Ambulance reports 10 Priority One calls in May with the average response time of 09:27 minutes. Nine Priority Two calls in May occurred at 11:52. There were four Priority Three calls at 11:11. A total of 23 calls were run in May with an average response of 10:42. Rick Boze reported the Van Buren County Road Commission expected to reopen its office on a limited basis as of the first week of July with crews out working actively and the majority of office employees still working remotely. Township Treasurer Steve Starner presented bills and payroll in the amount of $46,139.25, unanimously approved. Other business The board approved the cost of Orchard Hill Landfill passes for township residents, to be issued in July and September. The board approved grinding of the drives in Maple Hill Cemetery rather than the cost of total repaving. Following several resident complaints over the condition of the cemetery, a review and contact will take place with Lakeshore Landscape and Design as the vendor currently engaged for the care and maintenance. Policy and procedure for opening the township hall office was presented into the record. The Butcher Road Bridge Project received a resolution of support, contingent on Federal funding participation with the Township share estimated at $14,500, representing 50% of the cost of engineering, inspection and testing .

THIS KUTE KID IS… Gabriella Faulkner. Her parents are Melissa & Phil Faulkner of Roy, Utah. Her proud grandma is Mary Anne Melvin of Watervliet. Gabriella’s great-aunts are Donna Demay, Watervliet, and Rosemary Johnson, St Joe. Gabby is a 2020 graduate of Weber Innovations High School, Ogden, Utah. She will be attending Central Wyoming College on a full-ride soccer scholarship.



N.B. Museum and Watervliet Library co-host virtual program on Watervliet Paper, July 21

The North Berrien Historical Museum and Watervliet District Library are thrilled to announce an upcoming collaboration, “Watervliet Paper: A History at Work.” This local history program will be presented via Facebook Live. Paper that was made at the Watervliet Paper Mill was used around the nation as catalog covers, labels, wrappers, playing cards, postage stamps, and much more. Hundreds of workers drove the success of the company located in northern Berrien County, which was not only the area’s largest employer but a major fixture of community life. This Facebook Live presentation takes place on Tuesday, July 21 at 7:00 p.m. Utilizing research and artifacts connected to the mill, staff from both the museum and library will deliver a half-hour presentation that will be fun and informative for former employees as well as those interested in local history. The event can be viewed on the Facebook page of both the North Berrien Historical Museum and Watervliet District Library. Look for the event “Watervliet Paper: A History at Work.” Please contact peter@northberrienhistory.org with any questions.

Protect yourself against financial scammers It’s unfortunate, but true: During this period of economic uncertainty, one of the busiest “industries” has been financial scamming. But it goes on even during normal times, too, so you’ll want to know what to look for, and how to defend yourself. For starters, just how widespread is financial fraud? Consider this: In 2019, more than 3.2 million fraud cases were reported to the Federal Trade Commission, with identity theft being the most common type of fraud, accounting for about one-fifth of the overall cases. And fraudulent new accounts (mortgages, student loans, car loans and credit cards) amounted to about $3.4 billion in 2018, according to a study by Javelin Strategy & Research. To help yourself from being victimized, consider the following suggestions. They are certainly not an exhaustive list, but they should prove useful. Watch out for unsecure websites. Make sure a website is secure before entering any payment or personal information. Look for sites that start with HTTPS, rather than those with just HTTP, which are not secure and can be hacked. But even a site with HTTPS can still be used by scammers, so, if you don’t recognize the name of the company or group that’s requesting your information, do some research to make sure it’s legitimate. Review your credit reports. As mentioned above, the fraudulent opening of new accounts is a big source of financial scams. To be sure nobody has opened new accounts under your name, try to review your credit reports at least once a year. You can get them for free at AnnualCreditReport.com. Follow up on fraud. If you’ve already been victimized by having new accounts opened in your name, contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax or TransUnion) and place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit file. You might also want to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, print it out and file it with your local law enforcement agency. And it’s also a good idea to contact the fraud department of the financial companies where the thief has opened a fraudulent account in your name. Be alert for suspicious links. “Phishers” have gotten quite good at sending out messages that look like they’re from reputable businesses. But if you examine these messages carefully, you can usually determine if there’s something off about them. For example, no legitimate business will tell you, via this type of message, that you have to “correct your account” by providing additional information. And if you do hit the link provided, and it takes you to a third-party site, you can be pretty sure it’s bogus. Resist “act now” offers. If you get an offer, via phone or online, urging you to “act immediately” on an investment opportunity, discontinue the communication. No reputable financial advisor will ever try to force you to take such swift action, and if an investment is legitimate, it will be available tomorrow, next week and next year. Use your shredder. You probably have the option to “go paperless” with all your banks and financial services providers, but, if you still do receive paper documents, be sure to shred them when they’re no longer needed. You save and invest for years to help achieve your long-term goals. Don’t let any of your efforts be undone by financial fraudsters. This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC

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