Police and Fire Reports By Annette Christie Two different Sheriffs; two different responses With the issuance of Executive Order 2020-147 that went into effect on July 13, 2020, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer orders that all businesses open to the public must refuse entry to individuals who fail to comply by wearing a face covering in that building. Businesses must post signs at all entrances instructing customers of their legal obligation to wear a face covering while inside. With the order, Whitmer attached the possibility of a $500 criminal misdemeanor penalty to those that willfully violate it and also provides that a business’ license to operate could be temporarily suspended. Shortly after it was announced, Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott and Berrien County Sheriff L. Paul Bailey both issued a press release outlining their responses. Van Buren County In response to the Michigan Governor’s 147th executive order of 2020, the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office will not be investigating violations of this order or the previous orders. Furthermore, the Sheriff’s Office recommends following the guidelines set forth by the CDC. Those guidelines include wearing a cloth face covering in public settings, socially distancing, and frequent handwashing. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office will investigate any violation of the Michigan Compiled Laws to safeguard the citizens of Van Buren County. We hold true to the oath of the office of the Sheriff. Violations of the Michigan Governor’s order should be referred to the Office of Michigan Attorney General or the Michigan State Police. The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office will strive to protect its citizens and ensure that the constitutional rights and civil liberties given to every American are protected. We will dedicate our services to investigating crimes against persons and property and we will not pull valuable resources away from that to investigate complaints against the Governor’s Executive Orders. Berrien County Sheriff The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office will continue to educate and warn individuals who may not be complying with the current Executive Order 2020-147 regarding wearing a mask in an indoor public space. The current Executive Order lists ten exemptions where the requirement to wear a face covering does not apply to individuals. One of these exemptions is if an individual cannot medically tolerate a face covering, but the order does not specify what that means or require the individual to show any proof. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging individuals to voluntarily comply with the order as written and wear a mask when entering an indoor public space. As we have from the beginning we will continue to educate and warn individuals and will only take enforcement action, if necessary, to provide for the safety of the public. The Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is appreciative of the measures local businesses are taking to protect their patrons and for the cooperation of individuals during these difficult times. Tri-City police say thanks for the support Coloma Charter Township Police Chief Wes Smigielski submitted a letter of appreciation to the great citizens of Coloma City, Coloma Charter Township, Watervliet City and Watervliet Charter Township on behalf of all local police departments. “Us Law Enforcement Officers in the area would like to say thank you for supporting us, thank you for coming up to us and saying you have our backs and buying us lunch,” Smigielski said. The reason they chose to do this job, according to Smigielski, is to make a difference in their communities and to make them a safer place. “Having citizens like them, to serve and protect makes us want to do this job and the compassion for us is second to none,” Smigielski said adding, “We can’t thank you all enough for the love and support that you have shown us over the last several months. It is awesome to be a police officer in our great area of Berrien County. Thank you all for everything.”
July 1-31 “VIRTUAL FISH BOIL FUNDRAISER” hosted by Michigan Maritime Museum, South Haven. $10 suggested donation (all donations welcome); visit www.michiganmaritimemuseum.org/fishboil Thu, July 16, 10am “TELE-TOWN HALL” hosted by Congressman Fred Upton; to participate dial 877-228-2184 and input code: 119135# Thu, July 16, 7pm “CONCERT IN ELY PARK” hosted by Hartford Lions Club featuring Jared Knox (country); Free popcorn Sat, July 18, 5pm “PAW PAW LAKE BOAT PARADE” hosted by Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club; visit www.pplyc.org Tue, July 21, 7-7:30pm “WATERVLIET PAPER” Facebook Live program co-hosted by N.B. Historical Museum & Watervliet Library on Watervliet Paper Mill history Thu, July 23, 11am “SCIENCETELLERS: DRAGONS” Watervliet District Library program via Zoom. Library will post link to participate. Thu, July 23, 7pm “CONCERT IN ELY PARK” hosted by Hartford Lions Club featuring Jimmy & the Mortals (classic rock); Free popcorn Fri, July 24, 6:30pm “WATERVLIET HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION” drive-in style at the high school Thu, July 30, 7pm “CONCERT IN ELY PARK” hosted by Hartford Lions Club featuring Elvis Tribute – Tim Dudley; Free popcorn Thu, Aug 6, 7pm “CONCERT IN ELY PARK” hosted by Hartford Lions Club featuring Joe Jason (acoustic 70s); Free popcorn Fri, Aug 7, 11am-3pm, “COVID-19 MOBILE TESTING” in the Watervliet public parking lot on Main St. next to Jot Liquor. Open to public. For more info, call 1-855-869-6900.