08-20-2020 Keeler rolling to cleaner lakes through 2024; Interact advisor spoke at recent PPL Rotar

ROTARY GUEST SPEAKER… Pictured Cindy Igoe, SJ-BH Rotary Member & Interact Advisor with Ryan Krenek, Paw Paw Lake Rotary Program Chair. Igoe was the guest speaker on Aug. 12, 2020 at local Rotary meeting.


Keeler rolling to cleaner lakes through 2024

By Kelsey Griffith The Keeler Township Board held their general meeting and Weed District Public Hearing on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, opting for safety via a Zoom call. Both meetings were led by Supervisor/Assessor Bill Kays. Weed District Public Hearing Following the Weed District Public Hearing held on July 7, 2020, the Keeler Township Board again met to discuss the approved Round Lake Weed and Aquatic Plant Control Special Assessment and confirm the assessment roll. The assessment roll funds weed control in accordance with treatment plans and cost estimates for the years 2020-2024. The public hearing kicked off with a word from Jerry Morin, Round Lake Representative, who thanked the board for their support of the weed district at the July 7 Public Hearing. Morin went on to note that over the five years that Restorative Lakes Science has been contracted by the township, there has been overwhelming public trust and support in the lake cleaning efforts of the firm. Veronnica Kenreich-Towne, Lakes Project Manager, offered a glowing review on the current status of the lake, citing minimal invasive milfoil sprigs (which were newly emergent earlier in the year), few pond weeds, impressive lake temperature, and overall lake clarity. Following this review and hearing no objections, Bill Kays and the Keeler Township Board unanimously approved the special assessment roll and will levy the special assessment taxes in Sept. 2020 for Round Lake, Keeler Lake, and Big and Little Crooked Lake following a Public Hearing at 8 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2020. County news Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has extended the Open Meetings Act which pushes public meetings to the online format for the foreseeable future. Mike Chappell, Van Buren County Commissioner, joined the meeting and extended an open invitation to the public to stay up to date on county happenings via their Zoom calls. To access the Zoom meetings, visit the county website. On top of this open invite Chappell noted that during the most recent county meeting, permission was requested to hire Steve Smith to update site plans for agricultural farms that use hazardous materials while also reappointing Sharon Bennett to her position on the Public Transit Local Advisory Council. Bennett will serve a four-year term which will expire July 1, 2024. Veteran’s healthcare The Van Buren County Health Department program for Veteran’s Healthcare was also a large point of discussion by Chappell. Chappell said that the program has not attracted a large number of patrons due to COVID-19. Because the program is state-supported, any money that is not used to the benefit of veterans has to be given back to the state of Michigan. Veterans that are in need of dental care, immunizations, vision/hearing examinations, etc. are encouraged to contact the Van Buren Cass District Health Department or Karee Krause, Veterans Services Coordinator at Van Buren County Veterans Services Offices. More information about the program can be found on the Health Department Website. Newly minted addition to the fire department Cadet Nathan Hammond, 18, recently passed his necessary fire trainings and was subsequently approved to serve as a member of the Keeler Township Fire Department. Hammond will serve as a probationary member of the department for six months. His approval was sealed by a unanimous vote of the board. Pending contract renewal For a number of years, Keeler Township has belonged to the Cass/Van Buren Emergency Services Authority comprised of Silver Creek, Pokagon, Wayne, LaGrange, the City of Dowagiac, and Volinia Township. Keeler Township has contracted its ambulance services through Pride Care, with one ambulance currently stationed in Keeler. As it stands now, Keeler is working on renewing its contract for another three years with Pride Care and is looking for the contract to likely be approved in September 2020. Residents of Keeler who use ambulance services from their homes are not billed more than their insurance can pay and individuals who don’t have insurance receive a free ride. Supervisor/Assessor Bill Kays commented on the program saying the service is, “a good return as a lot of people have used this service, and they haven’t had to pay for it out of their pocket other than the taxes they pay every year. It’s a pretty good program for us.” Building & acreage discrepancies After much discussion surrounding definitions of attached accessory buildings and minimum lot size on which to house rural accessory buildings, the Keeler Township Board voted to pass the buck to the Planning Commission. Due to current verbiage, the rural residential minimum lot size on which to build an accessory building is about two and a quarter acres whereas to build a barn without a house, the lot is expected to be 10 acres. There have been numerous conflicts that have arisen due to this wording. The board fully agreed that the minimum size requirement and the definition of an attached accessory building – currently, a building with a covered walkway – warrants further discussion to clarify the impacts of the discrepancies on property owners. The Planning Commission will take up the request to review definitions and correct Scribner’s errors at their next meeting.

American Legion Auxiliary Yard Sale Saturday

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 362 is hosting a yard sale this Saturday, Aug. 22 at the Coloma American Legion Post, corner of St. Joseph Avenue and Sassafras Street in Coloma. The sale is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hot dogs, chips and pop for $3 will be served all day.

Hartford student receives Excellence in a Discipline Award from GVSU

Michael Heinisch of Hartford has been awarded the Excellence in a Discipline Award for Accounting from Grand Valley State University. Heinisch is a graduate of Hartford High School and is the son of Joe and Cheryl Heinisch. The Excellence in a Discipline Award honors one undergraduate student and one graduate student in each academic major. Faculty from each department selects the award recipient for their academic major. Grand Valley is dedicated to providing a rich learning environment for students, offering a wide range of majors and hands-on research opportunities. Highly credentialed and responsive faculty and individual advisors and mentors promote a liberal education that teaches students critical thinking and problem-solving.

Interact advisor spoke at recent PPL Rotary Club meeting

Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club held its meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 12 at Randall Park in Coloma and Zoom/call-in option for those unable to attend in person. Guest speaker was Cindy Igoe, St. Joseph-Benton Harbor Rotary member and Interact Advisor. Interact is Rotary International’s (RI) service club for young people ages 12 to 18. Interact clubs are sponsored by individual Rotary clubs, which provide support and guidance, but they are self-governing and self-supporting. Cindy became involved with Rotary and Interact when her daughter wanted to join Interact in her school to do a service project in the Dominican Republic. Cindy is now the Interact Advisor for St. Joe High School & Middle School, Lake Michigan Catholic High School & Middle School, Bridgman Schools, and Lakeshore High School & Middle School. She said the kids run the clubs with a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, community service, fundraising, PR, membership, mentoring, and international directors, and project leads. She advises the clubs and makes sure they are doing things according to the standards set by RI and the school systems. The kids arrange for speakers and choose what projects they will work on in the community and internationally. RI requires Interact Clubs to do one community service project and one international project each year. An example of a project they worked on is the courts wanted to get an emotional support dog for children of abuse. It is found that a dog can help relieve stress for the children in these situations. The Interact Club organized a 5K run to raise the funds to get the dog. After the dog was purchased it was taken to the schools to show the kids. That was a real treat. The Interact clubs go into classrooms and read to the elementary students, help in soup kitchens, collect food for food pantries, they’ve sold bracelets for the Australian brush fire clean-up, and have put together birthing kits for Uganda mothers, plus many more things. Interact involvement helps with community service on college applications and builds self-confidence and self-esteem. It’s also a great way for parents to be involved with their kid’s activities as well. The look of the clubs will be different this year due to COVID, but the clubs will evolve using virtual and in person meetings when possible. Projects will continue as needs are still ever present. Paw Paw Lake Rotary meets Wednesday’s at 12:15 p.m. Meeting location changes weekly but Zoom is available. Contact Brian Smith, Paw Paw Lake Rotary President at 269-808-5792 for more information.

BCYF to hold 3rd Fair Food Drive Thru

The Berrien County Youth Fair would like to thank all the visitors that have supported the first two “Fair Food Drive Thru” events. Those events have given regular BCYF food vendors a chance for some summer income with most of their summer events being cancelled. The events have also provided an income stream for the BCYF. With over 90% of the scheduled events canceled, including the postponement of the 75th Anniversary of the Berrien County Youth Fair, all of the BCYF’s income from the drive thru events will be used to cover fixed costs of the Berrien County Youth Fair (utilities, maintenance and essential staff) and to keep the BCYF association going to be able to support the youth of Berrien County in 2021. The third “Fair Food Drive Thru” event will take place on Fri., Aug. 28 from 3–7 p.m., Sat., Aug. 29 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sun., Aug. 30 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Food vendors at this event will include The Pretzel Wagon, Wither’s Elephant Ears, Colglazier’s Steak Tips, Barbie’s Cookies, Old World Taffy & Kettle Corn, Fiske French Fries and Lemonade, Snowba Bubble Tea, Richie’s Place to Eat, Two Buccaneers, Hot Wisconsin Cheese, Friends for Berrien Springs – Korn Dog Booth. The event is CASH ONLY, everyone must stay in their vehicles while on the grounds and all cars must exit the grounds after ordering and receiving food. Food may not be consumed on the grounds, no walkup orders are allowed, no pets allowed on the grounds and smoking is prohibited on the grounds. Patrons must enter Gate 3 (4261 E. Shawnee Rd). For more information, go to www.bcyf.org.

MDARD advises consumers on what to do if they receive unsolicited packages containing seeds

The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) continues to receive multiple reports of consumers receiving unsolicited packages of seeds in the mail that appear to be sent from China and other countries. MDARD is currently working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate the situation. The USDA believes these packages may be the result of a “brushing scam” where people receive unsolicited items from a seller who then posts false customer reviews to boost sales. Most of the mail misleadingly states the packages contain jewelry, but actually contain seeds of varying size, color, and shape. The USDA is collecting the seeds and packaging to determine if they are of concern to agriculture or the environment. Consumers who have received unsolicited seeds should take the following steps: Do not open or plant the seeds. If seed packets are already opened, place all material, including the packaging, in a sealed bag. Fill out a brief questionnaire and mail the seeds, and the packaging to: USDA/APHIS/PPQ, 11200 Metro Airport Center Dr., Suite 140 Romulus, MI 48174, Attn: USDA Identification Staff If seeds have already been planted or if unable or unwilling to mail the seeds and packaging, contact USDA State Plant Health Director Craig Kellogg at 734-942-9005 or via email at craig.kellogg@usda.gov for guidance. Do not put seeds or plant material in a compost pile. “While the seeds are not expected to be harmful to humans or pets, they could contain an invasive species or accidently introduce a pest or disease that could pose a serious risk to agriculture or the environment,” said Robin Rosenbaum, MDARD’s State Plant Regulatory Official. “We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and assistance in safeguarding Michigan agriculture and natural resources.” For more information on MDARD’s Pesticide and Plant Pesticide Management Division, visit www.michigan.gov/mdard.