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.