Richard and Angela Showerman celebrate 60th wedding anniversary
Richard and Angela (Neebling) Showerman celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary with family and friends on July 1, 2017 at Hartford Methodist Church. The Showermans were married on August 3, 1957 in Ann Arbor. They reside in Hartford.
Richard retired as manager from Monsanto, Sohigro & Terra Fertilizer plants in Hartford after 22 years. Angela is also retired after 22 years at Hartford Public Schools. They are active members of Hartford Methodist Church.
They have four children; Sindy (Pam) Showerman of Battle Creek, Alan (Linda) Showerman of Chester, Virginia, Todd (Kristy) Showerman of Burton, MI and Gay (Bob) Jonatzke of New Port Richey, Florida; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Heritage Day set at Van Buren County Museum August 27
The Van Buren County Historical Society will present Heritage Day Sunday, August 27 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. at the County Historical Museum, 58471 Red Arrow Highway, Hartford. Admission is $5 for those 13 and up, $2 for 6-12 years old, free for 5 and under. Parking is free.
A great selection of vendors will be available; weaving, spinning, hand-dipped candles, Log Cabin Society, Regional Genealogy Society, watch a potter at work, jewelry, many with wares for sale. The gift shop is now open with a variety of items.
A young man of 11 will be available to answer questions about the World Wars. A yard sale with treasures from many people, Motor Mouth Food Truck with great food for sale, Baked Goods sale with some to take home and some to eat right then, quilting and hear the voices of their friendly ghost are all featured attractions.
The blacksmith shop is up and running under the capable hands of Mike Nelson. Antique tractors will be on display along with the county’s 1954 police car. Sea Cadets will be on hand to rise and lower the flag plus they will be able to assist visitors. Ninety percent of the 44-room museum is handicapped accessible with a barrier free west side entrance.
There is still room for more vendors so call Roylinda at 269-569-1639.
Regular museum hours are Wednesday, Friday and Sunday 12-5 p.m. Archival research is done on Wednesdays by appointment. There is a small fee for this service. Mailing address is P.O. Box 452 or call 269-621-2188.
Hartford Township officially opts out of marijuana operations
By Nancy Albright
On August 10 Hartford resident Mike Molica appealed to the township board to vote in favor of allowing medical marijuana businesses to operate legally in the Hartford area.
Molica owns 60 acres of land on 60th Street in Hartford Township and would like to start a growing and transport operation with five family members, all licensed caregivers who provide medical marijuana to those who use it to manage pain. “Marijuana is proven legitimate to manage pain for those who need it and I’ve never heard of a marijuana overdose.”
Molica pointed out that currently 29 U.S. states have legalized medical marijuana and nine states have legalized recreational marijuana. “Marijuana farms will quickly become a state-wide industry in Michigan and after the first year of state-issued licenses Hartford could lose out on the financial benefits when the licenses are gone.”
Molica completed three tours in Vietnam, is a licensed electrician, machinist and millwright, has a degree in chemical engineering, sponsors and coaches local youth groups, has had three successful businesses, and worked for the government. “I’ve spoken with lawyers and state marijuana operations are not a Federal government concern unless someone is disobeying the laws. In those cases the government will step in. I understand that you are opposed to illegal sales of marijuana, as am I. If granted a permit, my operation will follow the laws mandated by the state, meaning no sales, just legal growing and distribution.”
If Molica receives the permit he seeks, he estimates the township will reap $75,000 in tax benefits from his planned operation involving 500 plants and 15-20 employees. He estimates that he will eventually be able to cultivate 5,000 plants with the help of 100-150 employees from which the township could receive $750,000 in tax revenue. “The township is giving away money if you decide to opt out. The bottom line is: Do what’s financially responsible for Hartford Township.”
The board voted to decline adopting the medical marijuana ordinance authorizing any of the five types of medical marijuana facilities to operate in Hartford Township.
County Road Projects ahead of schedule
Van Buren County Road Commissioner Rick Boze told the board that the construction project at Red Arrow Highway and County Line Road was completed two weeks ahead of schedule and that drivers can now see both ways to safely traverse the intersection.
The County Road 687 North project is slated to be completed by Labor Day, also two weeks ahead of schedule.
The 4th Annual Snowplow Rodeo will take place on Thursday, August 17, 2017. County plow drivers will compete in a challenging agility course with other local municipalities from 7:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the County Road Commission site located at 319 West James Street in Lawrence.
GRAND OPENING… The owners of Some Things Different in downtown Watervliet celebrated their opening last weekend with a ribbon cutting. Pictured (from the left) are Lisa Quiroz, Carm Clark, Andy Craig and Ken Craig. The store sells some very unique custom items and instruments. It will be a great place to shop for gifts. (TCR photo by Christina Gelder)
Coloma continues to pay invoices for the E. St. Joseph Street project
By Christina Gelder
The Coloma City Commission voted to pay two more invoices related to the E. St. Joseph Street project at their Monday, August 14 meeting. One invoice was to Merritt Midwest for engineering services and totaled $1,302.70. The other was to MDOT for $23,603.49. When asked if this would be the last set Commissioner Marsha Hammond said she hesitated to say that because there could be more straggling in over the coming months.
New fire chief visits the city
North Berrien Fire Rescue Chief Mike Mattix attended the meeting to introduce himself. He said he is in his second week on the job and has found it an easy transition to make. Everyone is very welcoming.
Also concerning the fire department, the commission voted to pay their invoice of $25,481.50 towards the new tanker. The money set aside from the millage comes up $7004.12 short of this amount so it will be moved from the benefit account and repaid when more millage monies are collected in the winter taxes. Chief Mattix said that they will bring the tanker to the next commission meeting for everyone to see.
Public Works thanked
Commissioner Hammond thanked the Department of Public Works for all their hard work during the Glad-Peach Festival. She said it was a very nice festival and she appreciated their behind the scenes help.
Commissioner Jason Hicks also thanked Supervisor Rod Burkholder on behalf of the American Legion. He said that they had a sewer backup during the festival and they came right up to get it fixed. “We appreciate that,” said Commissioner Hicks.
According to Coloma Township Police Chief Jason Roe, from a police stand point it was “the best festival ever.” He said that everything went very smoothly and they did not encounter many issues. His department was also thanked by the commission for having a great presence downtown during that weekend.
In other news Commissioner Julie Smith was appointed to the Public Works committee. It was also approved to send Rod Burkholder and Don Rodgers from the Department of Public Works to a DEQ class coming up in September. The class is Disinfection Basics and will help them to keep their proper certifications. It was approved to have Mayor Polashak sign off on an AT&T project involving fiber optic cable.
Salem Lutheran Preschool welcomes new teacher
Salem Lutheran Church Preschool is pleased to announce Michele Arms as their new Director/Teacher. Michele has been in the Early Childhood Education field for 19 years, with a bachelor’s degree in Family Studies from Western Michigan University.
Michele is a lifelong resident of Hartford and has been married to her husband, Jake, for 16 years. They have a son, Wyatt, 12, who attends Coloma Junior High School. She enjoys camping and spending time with family.
The Preschool offers programs for 3- and 4-year-olds, with a few openings remaining for the 2017-18 school year. Please contact the church office for more information, 468-6567.
School of Choice deadline nearing for Coloma Public Schools
By Annette Christie
At the August 14 Coloma School Board meeting a reminder went out that the application deadline for the School of Choice program is approaching. Interested families should have their applications into the school district by August 18. Superintendent Peter Bush said that that there were approximately 145 openings district wide. Once the deadline passes administration will begin reviewing the applications for acceptance and placement.
Bush said that the summer meals program had its review by the State of Michigan and all went well. The program was well used by attendees of the literacy camps, migrant programs, and band camp held over the summer but was open to any and all school-age children.
The board authorized the purchase of five additional camera units for the school buses at a cost of $11,395 and three camera units for the vans at a cost of $4,280.25. The board had previously purchased cameras for eight buses last year.
Watervliet School Board goals presented for review; staff changes announced which include 11 new teachers
By Annette Christie
The Watervliet School Board reviewed proposed goals for this upcoming school year at their Monday, August 14 meeting. Superintendent Kevin Schooley said that the board goals compliment the school improvement goals that are done at the building and district level.
The goals are to provide a diverse learning environment which promotes student development in academic excellence, athletics, and fine arts. Develop fiscal excellence by maintaining fund equity. And, board development and community relations which include getting everyone involved in a student’s education.
While the board did not approve them at this meeting, it is expected that they will be approved at the next meeting or upcoming building walk-thru.
A standard agenda item, Schooley provided a budget review. With it being in the very early part of the budget cycle, everything is in line. Schooley said that the district has a health fund equity that will carry them through until the state payment comes through in late October. The district will not have to do a borrowing to carry them through until then.
The board reviewed the Seclusion and Restraint Policy for the first reading. Effective this year, school districts state wide are required to have a policy in place prior to the school year starting. All staff that has regular contact with students will complete awareness training, also a requirement.
In the staffing arena, the board accepted two teacher resignations; however, they also approved seven probationary contracts. There will be a total of 11 new teachers for the 2017-2018 school year. The board also approved the WEA labor contract for the teachers. Typically a three-year agreement it was re-opened for a salary and insurance review.
This upcoming school year will introduce a 1:1 initiative for Chrome Books for all high school students. With the recent infrastructure improvements the district is now able to offer this.
Hartford City Council sets meeting to discuss future Medic 1 service
By Nancy Albright
The Hartford City Council held a special meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 at City Hall to discuss retaining Medic 1 Ambulance service in Hartford. Residents were invited to attend to make their voices heard.
At a joint session held on March 7, 2017, discussion commenced between the Hartford Township Board, the City Council, and Medic 1 Board Chairman Pete Sinclair and Operations Manager Bob Hale regarding dissatisfaction with the level of ambulance service provided to the Hartford area.
Approximately $135,000 in millage funds generated by the Hartford community is allocated for emergency service to Hartford city and township residents and many officials feel that Hartford is not getting what they pay for.
Officials voiced concerns regarding what they consider Medic 1’s failure to station one ambulance in Hartford on a routine basis, and requested that the ambulance service streamline the current dispatch protocol.
In response to questions from the group regarding why an ambulance is not regularly stationed in Hartford, Hale explained that one emergency vehicle is allocated to Hartford and the cost of that vehicle is shared with Watervliet Township. The truck is housed in a garage in Watervliet leased by Medic 1 and is routinely stationed in Hartford.
Hale explained further that emergency vehicle operations are coordinated by Van Buren County Central Dispatch, which is operated by the County Sheriff’s Department in Paw Paw and functions as the county-wide hub for emergency fleet logistics. Medic 1 does not contact other emergency service agencies directly to request backup if emergency services are required and an ambulance is not in Hartford at the exact time a call is received.
At the conclusion of the March meeting officials passed a resolution that Hartford city and township receive a written response to the requests no later than May 2, 2017. Bob Hale provided the requested documentation by the deadline which, according to Sinclair has, “to date, received no response.”
At a second joint session held on May 24, 2017, Township Supervisor and Medic 1 Board Member Ron Sefcik suggested forming a joint committee to meet on a quarterly or monthly basis that includes representatives from Hartford city and township, the Hartford Fire Department, Watervliet Township and Medic 1, as a vehicle to set parameters to improve area ambulance service.
No action has been taken by the township to organize a joint committee so the City Council has decided to take action to move forward with how to proceed.
Outcome of the August 16 meeting was not available at deadline for this issue of the Tri-City Record.
Shorthanded Hagar Board in & out in record time; purchasing policy approved
By Jon Bisnett
With Treasurer Marlene Davis and Trustee Andy Ulleg absent, a scant quorum completed business quickly at the Hagar board meeting on Monday, August 14. The board gave unanimous approval of the purchasing policy for the township.
Policy highlights are as follows. Purchases greater than $5,000 – minimum 2 bids plus post in Herald Palladium & Tri-City Record; bids must be received prior to 7:00 p.m. on date of opening at regular monthly board meeting; purchases $500 to $5,000 – minimum 2 bids – newspaper posting not required; sub $500 purchases – no bid requirement, but must be authorized by a department head; emergency services – as required to prevent further loss or damage.
County Commissioner Dave Vollrath reported on his recent trip to Washington, D.C. along with fellow commissioners from around the state. August 18 will be a hearing in regard to Bill Hodge holding conflicting positions with the Road Commission and Bainbridge Township Board. On August 17 and 24 the Commissioners will hold a public hearing regarding the disposition of the Berrien County Road Commission.
Berrien County Sheriff
Deputy Katy VanKampen reported 58 complaints in the township during the month of July with seven tickets issued and 15 arrests.
Supervisor DiMaggio presented an issue whereby as of late there is a need for a part-time receptionist at the township hall. Interested parties should send a letter of interest.
Beth Raiser reports that just a few weeks ago Lake Michigan was lapping the stairs at Hagar Park, yet when wave action is minimized on days without wind, the beach returns to approximately 10 feet of depth. Lake levels remain high virtually covering what used to be useable beach at Hagar Park.
A litany of maintenance issues at the township’s four parks, mostly in the way of trees either fallen or overgrown in need of trimming. Seeking some resolution the board approved bids for tree work in the amount of $2,100 to A-1 Tree Service for removal of trees at Roadside Park.
Low bid was also awarded to Charlie Weeden Inc. to remove the concrete divider at the entrance to Hagar Park. Concrete work at the Hagar Park entrance is complete and the old turnstile is now removed.
Raiser met with the Department of Environmental Quality along with township maintenance head Dale Davis regarding what tree work may be performed in the designated dune land that falls under DEQ control.
North Berrien Joint Fire Report
Supervisor DiMaggio reported that Mike Maddox, former captain with the Dowagiac Fire Department is the new chief. The new tanker has been delivered. DiMaggio hopes to have both the chief and the new tanker at the next meeting.
NBJFD answered the bell 25 times in the month of July with no structure fires. Ten calls came from Hagar.
Butch Kelly reported only three permits for a total of $20,900 and commented on how incredibly slow the permit activity has been as of late.
Concerns were expressed regarding road work at the intersection of Bundy and Central Avenue. Beth Raiser will communicate directly with the road commission foreman to insure the matter is handled correctly.
Having no other business DiMaggio then adjourned the board at 7:32 with the next regular monthly meeting of the Township Board to be held 7:00 p.m. Monday, September 11.