08-20-2020 Hagar Township posts record absentee vote; Grace Christian School to open with full-time

THIS KUTE KID IS… Aidan O’Neill at 3 years old, appropriately nicknamed “Red” for his telltale hair color. Aiden’s proud parents are Antonio and Bailey O’Neill from Hartford. His siblings are baby brother Ashton and the twins, Aubrey & Austin. Grandparents to the O’Neill siblings are Danny and Amanda Costner (Hartford), Cecil and Angela Jackson (Watervliet) and Judi Nail also of Watervliet.

Hagar Township posts record absentee vote

By Jon Bisnett Following a continued best practice of virtual meetings, Hagar Township Board conducted its August regular business on Monday the 10th with a fairly light agenda.

Election Clerk Sarah Rodriguez reports a record number of Absentee Ballots for the August 4th Primary Election, with 528 requests. Of those, 449 absent voter ballots were returned which when combined with walk-in voters resulted in a 31.4% voter turnout; considered strong for a primary ballot. The clerk complimented all the election workers and the patience shown by the township voters as they worked through new COVID-19 protocols providing a safe environment for all. Treasurer Treasurer Susan Herrmann presented monthly bills in the amount of $34,578.86 with nothing remarkable. One hundred and four landfill passes have been redeemed at a cost to the township of $5,300. Those passes were good through Aug. 1; $2,200 remains in the budget for fall passes. Herrmann gave a quick report on general budget expenses for the most recent quarter with observations that Elections, Postage/Printing, Mechanical and Ordinances are all on a projected pace to exceed their line item amounts. By that same token, amounts budgeted for Mileage and Education have gone generally unused due to cancellations of training and the Michigan Association of Townships annual meeting providing a surplus to easily compensate budget amendments as may be required in the coming months. Addressing concerns over State Revenue Sharing, Herrmann said the July check represented 7% reduction from 2019, with expectations of a further drop for the following year due to negative effects of the virus limiting sales tax from businesses that have been operating well below the norm in revenue.

Ordinances The agenda items slated to deal with amending the current ordinance in regard to Litter/Debris, Noxious Weeds and Unlicensed Trailers was removed and will first go to the Planning Commission before returning to the board. Parks Parks Trustee Deb Frank reports working closely with Ken Bates, the township’s new Maintenance Person in creating a list of tasks, wants and needs throughout the parks. Frank expects to come back to the board next month with a list of small tools needed for the maintenance position along with signage proposals and costs to replace a stolen barbecue grill and replacement of two damaged trash cans. Frank shared her difficulty in getting bids for tree removal at Hagar Park, as tree services are still busy with the recent storm. It was decided to formally post the bid which would then satisfy the township’s purchasing rules if no others bid in light of only one bid received so far. MDOT or not is the question Frank will pursue in regard to a guardrail at Hagar Park that was seriously damaged by an automobile. It is unclear who owns the guardrail and if the township’s insurance will engage or if it is a matter for the Michigan Department of Transportation, as M-63 is a state highway.

Blight enforcement Building Inspector Butch Kelly was granted approval to proceed with demolition bids for several properties identified as vacant and non-compliant located at 4386 Red Arrow Highway, 5851 Red Arrow Highway, 6071 M-63 and 3935 Central Avenue. All the above property owners have been cited and legally notified with no response.

Cemetery storm damage Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio complimented the work done by Dave’s Tree Service in terms of cleaning up the storm damage at Lakeshore Cemetery. The township will bear a $1,000 deductible with insurance picking up the balance of the $11,000 work. Other business Susan Herrmann was unanimously appointed to fill the vacancy on the Board of Review with a 3-year term through March 31, 2023. The Riverside DDA will meet Monday, Aug. 17 at the Kayak Park Pavilion seeking to fill its positions for the coming term. Mark Toncray and Mark LeMoine have agreed to reappointment of a 4-year term through March of 2024, while letters of interest have been received from Kay Ohst and Joanie Bedunah for two of the three remaining trustee vacancies. Planning Commission Trustee Andy Ulleg briefly reported the commission is working on the Master Plan along with a Recreational Marijuana Ordinance and Short/Long-Term Rental Properties. With no further business, Supervisor DiMaggio adjourned the virtual session at 8:17 p.m.

Grace Christian School to open with full-time face-to-face instruction: An excellent option for families

Excellence, family focused, and Christian foundation is how Grace Christian School (GCS) principal, Robin McBride, describes her school. GCS, located in Watervliet, is excited to announce its plans for five day a week in-person classes beginning August 24. In addition to in-person classes, the school is offering online learning options as well as guided home-school resources for fa