Hartford officials receive agreement from MI EGLE to connect water to residents impacted by PFAS contamination
By Anna Layer Residents of the city of Hartford will see a change of venue when they head to the booth during the general election on November 3, 2020, as the Hartford City Council decided to relocate polling Precinct 1 to the newly built Hartford Public Library at their meeting on Monday, July 27. Other issues discussed at Monday’s meeting included applying for a federal public safety grant, a water service agreement with the Department of Environmental Great Lakes and Energy, and the current status of the numerous rapidly deteriorating structures within in the city. Polling Precinct relocation Hartford City Clerk RoxAnn Isbrecht recommended the Precinct 1 relocation after touring the newly constructed Hartford Public Library with precinct chairs. Clerk Isbrecht reported that the community center inside of the Hartford Public Library is, “adequate in order to house all of our equipment, still maintain social distancing, the room has a divider that goes flush into the wall and there’s no furniture so it’s easily accessible.” In addition, Isbrecht explains that the location change would solve some existing issues at the current polling location of His Place Community Center, 15 South Maple Street, “That gym is not heated, so it was very cold in November and it does not have air conditioning, so I am anticipating it is going to be very warm in August.” The new library building, in addition to being safer, also has sufficient parking and is centrally located within the city at 12 Church Street. Isbrecht explained an added benefit of holding elections at the new library, “They have storage up above in the furnished room and keeping election equipment there isn’t going to be an issue. This is less stuff that we have to transport back and forth.” The Primary Election taking place on August 4, 2020 will still be at His Place Community Center. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. and the Hartford City Clerk’s office will be open on August 1 from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. for issuing absentee voter ballots and voter registrations. Water Service Agreement The City of Hartford finally received an agreement from the Department of Environmental Great Lakes and Energy that will offer connection to city water for those residents that were impacted by the PFAS contamination at the former Du-Wel site. The grant requires that the city pay for the necessary work up front, and then be reimbursed for the cost. In addition to connection to city water systems, residents involved would also see their contaminated wells plugged. The Department of Environmental Great Lakes and Energy also completed an on-site inspection of Hartford’s water system, and complimented the city on the overall operation of their system, but will require an upgrade to a new back-up generator that would turn on automatically in the event of a power outage. Public Safety & Public Health payroll grant The Hartford City Council agreed to apply for a grant from the Michigan Treasury Department in the amount of $62,387.57 under the federal CARES Act. This grant would provide reimbursement for payroll and benefits paid to the police department during the months of April and May. If the grant is approved, City Commissioner Terry Tibbs suggests a stipend be awarded to public safety employees in Hartford for being on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. “As a thank you for what they are doing, because they are putting themselves in danger. We could take some of the money from the reimbursement and give them something as a thank you.” Structures up for demolition The collapsed structure at 1 West Main Street is currently being demolished and cleaned up by a contractor. In addition to this, the structure at 5 West Main Street, which shared a wall with 1 West Main Street, has been condemned and will need to come down as well. It is expected that after this the contractor will move down the street to begin demolition of both 32 and 34 West Main Street, which will need to be taken down by hand. Mayor Rick Hall stressed the concern for public safety, stating, “We hate to keep tearing these buildings down, but thank goodness there was COVID and school was closed because when that other building went down it was about four minutes after three when school gets out, school gets out at 2:50 and there would have been a bunch of kids walking by there about the time that went and that would not have been good.” Other Council concerns Hartford City Commissioner Helen Sullivan expressed concerns over response times from Pride Care Ambulance services, explaining, “I’m not happy at all with these late ones. The reason you went to these people to begin with was response times. There’s been nine of them since February where they’ve gone over. If Pride’s reporting twelve priority ones, but I can count fifteen where Pride was dispatched, so where is that discrepancy, unless they got called off?” Commissioner Goss agreed, “When you look at the numbers, this is getting a little higher.” Commissioner Sullivan did reach out to a representative from Pride Care, sharing, “The only thing she could tell me today was they had a lot of oil changes and their maintenance guy was on medical leave. No. If I had to have somebody come to my house and it took them twenty minutes, that’s not going to work with me.” Other Hartford City Council concerns included deciding to sell city property located on Marion Avenue and appointing Anne Blocker to the library board. Blocker has resided in Hartford for twenty-four years and would like to “help advance the mission of the library.” The next regular Hartford City Council meeting will be on August 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers of Hartford City Hall.
Grand Valley State University Winter 2020 Graduates
More than 2,800 Grand Valley State University students completed the requirements to receive their degrees this past April. Students who graduated at the conclusion of the Winter 2020 semester include: Skyler M. Brown, BA and RJ T. Rudel, BBA, both of Coloma; Maria L. Boers, BS, Michael J. Heinisch, BBA, Stephanie L. Stoddard, MPA and Abbie R. Marshall, BS, all of Coloma; and Karli R. McClendon, BA, of Watervliet.
Community recycling collection event, August 12, participants must remain in their vehicle
Berrien County residents can recycle and safely dispose of unwanted foam, electronics, and household chemicals on Wednesday, August 12, at Love Creek County Park, 9292 Huckleberry Road, Berrien Center. The event runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. This event can only accept waste from Berrien County residents. Waste from businesses, institutions and schools cannot be accepted at the County’s household events. This event is drive through only. Participants must stay in their vehicle at all times. The fee for computer monitors is $10 each, and the fee for televisions is $20 each. Have payment ready, cash or check. Exact change preferred. Staff will unload all items from vehicles. Foam will be unloaded first, electronics unloaded second, with household chemicals and batteries unloaded last. Participants are asked to pack their vehicle accordingly to make it easy for unloading. Foam includes foam coolers, foam cups, clean foam to-go containers, egg cartons, foam block packaging, and Styrofoam. Foam must be clean and dry. Packing peanuts will NOT be accepted. Foam will be recycled by Tri-Power Recycling in Elkhart, IN. Green Earth Electronics Recycling will collect consumer electronics, which includes anything with a cord or items that run on batteries. Have the payment ready upon arrival if bringing in computer monitors ($10 each) and televisions ($20 each). Other electronics are accepted at no cost to the resident. Call Green Earth Electronics Recycling with questions, 269-326-1232. Accepted household chemicals include auto liquids, yard and garden chemicals, cleaners, pool chemicals, solvents, oil-based paint, and stain. Also accepted are batteries of all sizes, fluorescent light bulbs, and home medical waste including pills and sharps. Unwanted pills should be dumped together into a zip-lockable bag. Sharps must be dropped off in a puncture proof container. Latex paint, or water-based paint, will NOT be accepted. Latex paint can be dried out and placed in with regular trash. Other items that are not accepted are gas grill size propane tanks, ammunition, and waste from businesses. Find more information at www.berriencounty.org, click Recycling Services or follow Berrien County Government Facebook page for event updates. Contact Jill Adams at 269-983-7111 x8234 with questions. This recycling event is coordinated by the Berrien County Parks Department.