07-18-19 Over $70,000 raised in support of George and Janet Lane PARCOURSE; Watervliet Twp. Board fi


ADDING INSULT TO INJURY! Carson Coble, Coloma 10U all-star player, not only is about to get tagged out at third base, but the Wayland player sticks his tongue out at him in the process. Coloma finished 2-2 on the weekend, and Carson played very well at bat and in the field at the Allegan Youth Baseball 2019 Tournament. See more local sports photos news on the Press Box Pages 10 & 11. (TCR photo by Dave Vollrath)


Over $70,000 raised in support of George and Janet Lane PARCOURSE

Over the last two months, community members raised $35,707 in support of the newly named George and Janet Lane PARCOURSE – a free community fitness track. Of the funds raised, $35,000 was matched by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) through the Public Spaces, Community Places program, totaling $70,707. To date, the PARCOURSE campaign has generated over $365,000 – exceeding the project’s fundraising goal. “This project was fully funded by philanthropic donations which is a testament to our community’s commitment to health and wellness,” said Brandi Smith, Vice President of Philanthropy, Spectrum Health Lakeland. “We’re especially grateful to our foundation board members for their passion in leading this campaign.” The PARCOURSE is a free community fitness track open to the public from dawn to dusk. Renovations for the PARCOURSE will feature two quarter-mile asphalt loops to accommodate individuals with disabilities that may need to use wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Each loop will also feature four stations with different types of professional grade exercise equipment offering varying degrees of difficulty for all fitness levels. “We are so pleased to have reached our fundraising goal for the PARCOURSE with the help of our community,” said Lisa Kuehnle, Spectrum Health Lakeland Foundation board member. “The new and improved fitness track will have a positive impact for area students, community members, and rehabilitation patients for many years to come.” A grand opening ceremony for the PARCOURSE is scheduled for Friday, August 23 at 10:30 a.m. For more information, call (269) 927-5145 or visit www.lakelandhealthfoundations.org/parcourse.

Watervliet Twp. Board finalizes marijuana ordinances

By Annette Christie The Watervliet Township Board took the last step needed to finalize allowing medical marijuana facilities in their township at their Monday, July 15, 2019 meeting. The zoning ordinance amendment approved names medical marijuana businesses as an approved use under the special land use permit section. The board approved the medical marijuana facilities ordinance at their June meeting. With this final step, medical marijuana provisioning centers, transporter facilities, and safety compliance facilities will be able to apply for the special land use permit and to follow those steps in that process. Zoning Administrator Bob Lohr said that the township can begin taking applications for special land use permits for medical marijuana on August 1. The next meeting of the Watervliet Township Board is August 19, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

Main Street housing rehab hopes turn bust in Hartford

Owners swap rehab plans for outside painting and a for sale sign By Jon Bisnett At the Monday, July 15 meeting of the Hartford City Commission, City Manager Yemi Akinwale presented a letter from the current owners of 1 West Main Street, Gabriel and Abraham Barajas, stating that their plans for the building had “slowed down” indicating they would now only focus on preserving the building for resale. For more than a year Akinwale had answered queries by commissioners that the owners were in the process of rehabbing the property for upper floor apartments and first floor retail space, despite zero change to the exterior condition. Most recently Akinwale had demanded a plan in writing and had placed the brothers on the meeting agenda to answer directly to the council. Choosing not to be present at the meeting, the letter indicates that now the owners are promising minimally to have the exterior painted by summer’s end, dashing any hopes of redevelopment of an empty building at the main intersection of town as Akinwale had expected. Commissioners have already been down this road with the dilapidated structure at 1 East Main when through protracted promises of redevelopment by two different inexperienced, and underfunded parties, eventually led to demolition of the building at the city’s cost.

Communications July Board of Review was on July 16, 1:00 p.m. at City Hall. State Representative Beth Griffin will host the Local Officials Meeting July 29 at the Van Buren ISD Conference Center from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Nomination petitions for Commission seats and Mayor are due by July 23 for the November election. Van Buren Veterans Office Open House is August 5 from noon to 7:00 p.m. in Paw Paw.

Van Buren County County Commissioner Mike Chappell reported of the county’s one-time allocation of $1.25 million to the Van Buren County Health Department in support of the Van Buren County Intermediate School District Main Street and community Public Health Project. A 20,000 square foot addition to the VBISD complex will expand student flow as it houses space for dental, nursing, environmental and emergency preparedness health services. Students will be able to gain full Dental Hygienist certification at the new facility.

Police Report Chief Tressa Beltran presented a written report detailing activity of 740 duty hours with 250 foot-patrol hours which included 114 complaints for the month of June, resulting in six arrests including three felonies. Beltran praised reserve officers who provided a total of 134 hours of service during the Strawberry Festival.

Ordinance Officer Report A written report from Ordinance Officer Jim Coleman noted eight property inspections for the month of June. Blight postings for the month totaled 37 violations resulting in 37 follow-ups. Twenty-five grass height violations and subsequent follow-ups also took place.

Fire Report Chief Rob Harting was on hand to report the department responded to 54 calls in the month of June, including 27 Rescue/Medical Calls and no structure fires. HFD has been busy with fire inspections at the Van Buren County Youth Fair. Calls are up over 300, year to date and expected to eclipse 2018 totals.

Ambulance Report Pride Care Ambulance forwarded a written report of 12 Priority I calls at 8:08 and 12 Priority II at 8:07 and six Priority III runs at 7:54 for an overall average response time of 8:05.

Public Works Superintendent Dan Staunton was present to answer questions on his written report noting mostly mowing and various general maintenance tasks along with cold-patching of streets. Two water turn-offs and one turn-on took place for the month. The city pumped 5.92 million gallons for the month.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Plant Operator Tom Strand filed a written report indicating that all State of Michigan reports for the month have been filed along with routine maintenance tasks.

Treasurer’s Report Treasurer Pam Shultz presented a written report for the month in the amount of $38,737.12.

City Manager’s Report City Manager Akinwale reported that he has engaged services to correct recent roof issues at City Hall which did not entail replacement of the roof, rather cleaning of drains and detailed inspection and sealing of any possible seam separations for a cost not to exceed $2,000. The roof was described as in “overall good shape” with minimally another five years life expectancy. Seal coating of both Olds Avenue and 60th Avenue is slated to begin shortly, contracted with the Van Buren County Road Commission. A 64-page document of emergency rules in regard to recreational marijuana has been released by the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency. Akinwale plans to review the rules with city legal counsel and bring a recommendation to the commissioners next month.

New business The City is seeking two residents to fill one seat on the Fire Board, plus an open seat on the Library Board following the resignation of Marcia Kelley. Interested parties should contact City Hall. Having no further business, Mayor Pro-Tem John Miller adjourned the meeting at 8:05 p.m.

Watervliet North Elementary has new principal

By Annette Christie The Watervliet School Board finalized the selection of a new principal for the North Elementary School at their July 8, 2019 meeting. The contract with Rachel Kyncl went into effect Monday, July 8 and goes through June of 2021. Kyncl most recently was a Kindergarten teacher in the Lakeshore School District where she had served since 2016. She has also taught at Sister Lakes Elementary and Gloria Dei Lutheran School. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Valparaiso and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Grand Valley State University. The district received 27 applications for the position, following the resignation of former principal Joe Allen. Allen took another principal position elsewhere. In other business, the board adhered to Superintendent Ric Seager’s recommendation for administrator contract renewals and salary increases. It was Seager’s first official meeting in this position.

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