07-19-2018 Watervliet Paper Mill Reunion hosted by the North Berrien Historical Society at vacant si

Watervliet Paper Mill Reunion hosted by the North Berrien Historical Society at vacant site

Organizers of the Watervliet Paper Mill reunion call the event at the vacant mill site a success. Former mill workers, families and friends were invited to wander the site on M-140 Saturday where several canopies were erected denoting various functions of the paper making process that occurred there. Paper production ceased in 1994 and the 300,000 square foot building was demolished in 2002. Saturday’s reunion drew a total of 175 visitors. Smiles, handshakes, and hugs were exchanged.

REUNITING… Former paper mill employees at the North Berrien Historical Society Watervliet Paper Mill reunion Saturday. The well-attended reunion was held at the now vacant paper mill site with various tents set up at key locations with displays and speakers noting the activity that occurred there.

The North Berrien Historical Society would like to thank the Watervliet Fire Department, the Watervliet District Library, the City of Watervliet, and all of their incredible staff, board, and volunteers for their support in making this event so special to so many people. For those who were unable to attend the Mill reunion and/or program, please feel free to visit the North Berrien Historical Museum and view the new Watervliet Paper Mill exhibit during Museum hours, Tues-Sat 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Please contact the Museum with any questions at (269) 468-3330 or info@northberrienhistory.org.

Fireworks, golf carts, speed limits, and more discussed at Watervliet Twp. meeting

Annette Christie The Watervliet Township Board and those in attendance discussed many issues plaguing residents, some with ways to solve the issues and some without, at the monthly board meeting on July 16. Fireworks Berrien County Sheriff Deputy Guy Puffer, who is one of two deputies to patrol Watervliet Township provided his monthly report and then answered questions about what could be done to resolve the concern of some residents. Puffer was asked to clarify the law about the use of fireworks around the holidays. Puffer said that the law allows residents to set off fireworks the day before, the day of, and the day after a national holiday. He noted it is not just July 4th, but all national holidays. Supervisor Dan Hutchins said this year it seemed like it was a 10-day period where fireworks were being set off. Trustee Bob Wallace stated that it was probably due to July 4th being on a Wednesday and some residents celebrated the weekend before and the weekend after. Puffer said if police are contacted when residents are setting them off outside of that legal timeframe, they will go to where the complaint is, and when it happens, they will talk to the residents and seize their fireworks. The fireworks are then disposed of by the Sheriff’s Bomb Team. Puffer reminded those in attendance and the board that if they are not contacted, there is nothing they can do to make it stop. Golf carts on the roadway A resident also asked Puffer about the legal age to drive a golf cart. Puffer said the law states that the driver has to be 16 and a licensed driver and must be traveling on roads where golf cart use is allowed. If he was to catch an individual driving a golf cart that was not of legal age and not licensed, he would likely ticket the parents for allowing the child to drive their golf cart. Puffer repeated that their office can only do something if they are contacted and it is referred to them to handle the problem. Hutchins reminded those in attendance that it is important not to wait to call the township hall or the police office after the fact. “Call the police if you see it,” Hutchins said. Huntoon and Forest Beach speed limits Recent speed limit change on two roads in the township was also a topic of discussion. Berrien County Commissioner Dave Vollrath confirmed that the Board of Commissioners voted Thursday night to approve the traffic control orders setting new speed limits for Huntoon Avenue and Forest Beach Road. Vollrath explained that while the vote was not unanimous, it did pass. He said he voted in favor of it because if the board did not approve the speed limit as it was determined by a Michigan State Police / Berrien County Road Department Traffic Control Study, then it would be 55 mile-per-hour until they were able to sort it out. “I think 40 mile-per-hour is pretty fast on that road, but I couldn’t see putting it back to 55,” Vollrath said.

FUN AT THE FAIR… Faith Biron, 8, of Gobles enjoys some quiet time with her Feeder Calf , Cinnamon, a Red Holstein at the Van Buren Youth Fair earlier this week. The Youth Fair, on Red Arrow Highway east of Hartford, runs through Saturday, including a rodeo and fireworks Friday evening and a demolition derby Saturday evening. (TCR photo by Paul Garrod)

The township board in April passed resolutions asking for traffic control studies to be completed on Huntoon Avenue and Forest Beach Road. The township was faced with the results of state-wide legislation affecting these two roads that turned their 25 mph zones into 55 mph zones. Seeking a hopeful outcome that would result in lower speed limits, the township was aware that the traffic control study could find that the speed limit could remain the same or be lowered but not to the limit that they wanted. The new speed limits are set by measuring what speed 85% of the traffic is driving at or below, for a multi-day period during regular driving periods and that determines what the new maximum speed limit is. The traffic control studies were completed and found that the reasonable and safe speed limit on Huntoon Avenue between Forest Beach Road and Paw Paw Avenue would be 35 mph and the speed limit for Forest Beach Road between Paw Paw Avenue and M-140 would be 40 mph. While the state legislation went into effect in 2006, signs were not removed until last fall creating a relatively vocal response across the county. In response to the legislation, and to have the roads legally marked with the proper speed limits, the signs marking some roads as 25 mph were removed for approximately 60 roads in Berrien County including these two. Unmarked roads are all 55 mph if they do not have a current traffic control order on file that states differently. Hutchins said that the only way this is going to get changed is to talk to the representatives in Lansing. “They are the ones that did this, not the County, not the Sheriff, not the Township,” Hutchins said. Vollrath added, “It is a state law and we can’t change that.” Vollrath did say that Berrien County will be creating a resolution in opposition of this legislation and will forward it to all the counties in the state, the road commissions, and the Michigan Townships Association to get more people working together to get the law changed. Township Treasurer Tom Scheid said he had made several phone calls to elected officials at the county and state level to see what could be done. He agreed with Hutchins that the formula for figuring out what the speed limit should be didn’t make sense. “Common sense should play a part in this decision,” Scheid said. In other road business, Hutchins said he attended a meeting last week put on by the Berrien County Road Department to discuss road funding and the condition of the roads county-wide. Hutchins said the comment made was that the local roads today were as good as they were ever going to get unless we do something about the funding mechanism. Hutchins’ answer to that w

Coloma School Board puts timeline in place for superintendent search

By Annette Christie

On the agenda for the Monday, July 16 Coloma School Board meeting was setting a timeline for their superintendent search. Current Superintendent Peter Bush, who has been at the helm of the Coloma School District since 2014, will be leaving to go to Sparta Area Schools.

The district entered into a contract with the Michigan Leadership Institute to lead the search for a new superintendent, a repeat of the same style of search done previously.

On July 25, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. the board will receive the information on the candidates. This meeting will be held in the Intermediate School Library.

On August 2nd and 3rd (if necessary), the first round of interviews will begin at 5:00 p.m. in the Intermediate School Library.

Those selected for second interviews will be interviewed on August 7, 2018 along with a candidate open house.  The details for this have not been fine tuned yet but will be released as soon as that is complete.

Michigan Leadership Institute is also contracting with the district for the services of their South Central Regional President David Killips for the position of Interim Superintendent.  Killips has a career in education that spans 39 years. He served as a superintendent for Chelsea School District for 10 years and for the Reed City School District for five years. He has served as an Interim Superintendent previously and as an Educational Consultant and Superintendent Coach.  He has a B.S. degree from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in education from Michigan State University.

The posting for the superintendent position will be open until the application deadline of July 20, 2018 at 4:00 p.m.

The job posting states that the district is looking for a dynamic communicator with excellent public speaking skills; a visionary who can engage all stakeholders in a shared plan to improve academic achievement; a strong and decisive decision maker who will be consistent and follow through; a leader with significant successful experience in the classroom and administration; and a high profile person who is visible and actively engaged in both the community and the school district.  More details on the posting can be found at www.mileader.com.

as that like Watervliet Charter Township, these other local municipalities just need to get together and pass a local millage in order to get their local roads fixed.

Paw Paw Lake Special Assessment District Trustee Joe Stepich, who also sits on the Paw Paw Lake Improvement Committee, announced that 30 acres of Paw Paw Lake was treated about a week ago. He said that another inspection will be done in August to see if more is needed. He said that they are focusing on the inlet that comes into Paw Paw Lake from the Branch Derby Drain and how to reduce the amount of sediment and nutrient load that is entering into the lake from there. Preliminary estimates are over $500,000. In order for that to be covered by the Special Assessment District already established to fund the cleaning up of the lake, they would have to save a good chunk every year in order to raise that. “In all likelihood, we would need additional money from other kinds of fundraising,” Stepich said. In other lake business, Hutchins said that residents of the lake may have received a notice about an assessment from the Berrien County Drain Commissioner’s Office. Hutchins said that this is for maintenance of the lake level control system and has nothing to do with the Special Assessment District. He said that a public hearing will be held on July 25 to learn about the maintenance being done to the dam and the weir. Future parks Hutchins said that he attended the closing for the two acres of property contiguous to the Township Hall. While there are structures on the property, Hutchins said that he anticipates them coming down as it would not be in the township’s best interest in putting money into them or to keep them. The plan for the additional property is for it to become a township park for the public to use. The township did just open bids for the preparation of a Parks and Recreation Plan Amendment and a Soccer Development Grant Application. While the details of the bids were not discussed, Hutchins read over the two bids to include the bidder and the overall cost. LaGrow Consulting would do the Parks and Recreation Plan Amendment for up to $4,500 and would prepare the Soccer Development Grant Application for $3,000. Wightman & Associates would do the Parks and Recreation Plan Amendment for $6,800 and would prepare the grant application for the soccer field development for $5,400. Hutchins didn’t ask for any action by the board as they had just received the cost estimates. He said they can discuss it at their August meeting and could take action if the board was ready.


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