07-25-2019 Coloma Community helping others, School Board hears


SHOP POPS UP… Chana Kniebes, director of North Berrien Community Development and Coloma Watervliet Area Chamber of Commerce, helps to hold the ribbon while Laurie Kinzler (with the help of daughter and diminutive partner, Serenity Lacy Kinzler) cuts it, flanked by partners Sue Raab (left) and Faith Lukianenko (right) and some of their friends and customers at the Grand Opening of Wonderfully Quirky on Thursday, July 18, 2019. (TCR photo by Teresa Smithers)


Coloma Community helping others, School Board hears

By Annette Christie The Coloma School Board was informed of many positive things occurring in their community at their meeting July 15, 2019. As a designated shelter for the Red Cross, the school has certain records that are kept to reflect that. They came to the district to update the information on file. In the event of an emergency, the Red Cross would use the high school gym and junior high facilities to house and feed people as needed. Michigan Gas Utilities has selected the Coloma School District as the recipient for their school supply drive held this year. The school supplies collected will be delivered to the district in mid-August and will be distributed throughout the district to students in need.

In conjunction with the Berrien Community Foundation, the school district has been involved in a backpack school supplies drive also. The Berrien Community Foundation used the district’s space as a storage and collection site to prepare the backpacks with school supplies. The district’s National Honor Society will be assisting the foundation with stuffing the backpacks this week. On August 10, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the Berrien Community Foundation will be distributing those backpacks to children in need at the Midway Baptist Church. In addition, a mobile food pantry will be available and the Berrien County Health Department will be giving free vaccinations to children.

CONGRATULATIONS TO… Morgan Hosbein, the senior Drum Major of the Coloma Comet Marching Band, who won the award for Camp Excellence at the 2019 Central Michigan University Drum Major Camp. She won the award based on showing leadership and being an all around great person.


Coloma Elementary Book Mobile & Lending Library Superintendent Dave Ehlers informed the board that the district’s literacy coach, Sherry Wheeler, has set up a Coloma Elementary Book Mobile. It is located at the Harding’s Friendly Market in Coloma on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings in July and August. All kids need to do is stop by and pick up a free book. This can provide fresh and new books to keep students reading all summer long. Books that kids get from the Book Mobile can be returned to another Book Mobile stop date, can be added to the Lending Library Book Box at Coloma Elementary, can be brought back to school in September, or passed on to someone else who can enjoy it. Ehlers thanked Wheeler and Harding’s for making this happen. The Coloma Elementary Lending Library book box is stocked and ready for students to use it. It is located outside the school. People are encouraged to take any book from the box to read. It is suggested that when an individual is done with the book, they can return it to the box, drop it off at a Book Mobile stop, bring it back to school in September, or pass it on to someone who would enjoy it. People are welcome to add books to the lending library for others to enjoy. Finances In other business, the board approved an agreement with School and Municipal Advisory Services, PC to assist the district in transitioning to a zero-based budgeting system. This will begin with the 2019-2020 school year. The consultant hired will educate staff and facilitate the process as the district moves to that type of system. The board also approved a lease for four new buses. This is an ongoing process to keep the fleet up to date. Director of Business Services Sara Ashley told the board that the annual borrowing note that the district does to get by until the state aid comes in could be reduced this year to $2.4 million. School Board President Heidi Ishmael asked Ashley if she was certain that the lesser amount would cover the district and she said yes. While the board is receiving grant funding from the Michigan State Police for a video surveillance system, the grant is a reimbursement type grant. The board approved taking the funds out of the sinking fund, with the funds to be put back in that fund when the reimbursement from the grant comes in. In addition, the board approved the first invoice for the system in the amount of $103,746.89. Groendyk appointed to school board Following the resignation of School Board Member Doug LeClear following the June meeting, the board has appointed Steve Groendyk to fulfill his term until 2020. Steve and his wife Janice raised their two children in the Coloma School District. They also have three grandchildren currently attending school in the district. He has served as a previous coach in the district and is very involved in the wrestling program. Groendyk is a part of the management staff at AEP and has served on many boards.

PAW PAW RIVER ACCESS… A crew from Henderson Bros. Tree Service recently opened the Bundy Road access point of the Paw Paw River in Coloma. Besides the team of James Mead, Thomas Henderson, Deonta Phillips and Andrew Baushke, on the far left is Coloma Township trustee Jerry Willmeng who accompanied them. Showing in the photo is a boat specifically adapted to help access and clear river blockages.


Wonderfully Quirky shop pops up in downtown Watervliet

By Teresa Smithers Tired of the same ol’, same ol’? A “wonderfully quirky” new store is opening up in Watervliet, filled with beautiful upscale decorative items, unique transformed vintage treasures and boutique clothing, all served with smiles, sweets and lemonade. Owned by a trio of long-time friends – Faith Lukianenko, Sue Raab and Laurie Kinsler – Wonderfully Quirky follows the popular Farmgirl Flea Market in Hudsonville, which was their first venture. Farmgirl Flea is now rated one of the country’s top 100 flea markets, so their success speaks for itself. And now these talented pickers and makers are coming to Watervliet. Located at 361 N. Main Street, Watervliet, Wonderfully Quirky will begin life as a pop-up shop, opening one weekend a month with new additions and specials each weekend, then opening every weekend beginning in October. Their first pop-up is scheduled for August 15-18 (Thur/Fri, 10-8; Sat/Sun, 10-4), so be sure to follow “Wonderfully Quirky” on Facebook for teasers and information. Another pop-up weekend is planned for Sept. 19-22. Then special pop-ups are planned for Oct. 17-20 and Nov. 14-17, in addition to being open every weekend.

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