08-25-16 Schools ready for Sept. 6 opener

Hartford Public Schools plans Back to School Bash to start off 2016 – 2017 school year

By Nancy Albright

Another school year is upon us and Hartford Public Schools welcomes students back to school for the 2016-2017 school year on Tuesday, September 6.  On Wednesday, August 31, HPS will serve up food, fun and activities for children of all ages at the Back to School Bash. The event is free and will be held at the Middle School and High School Campus from 5:00-7:00 p.m. HPS plans to showcase positive goings-on around campus and points of pride for the school district.  The Bash will be topped off by the first Boys Varsity Soccer game of the year, coached by newly named Athletic Director Nick Blackmer. The team will play Bloomingdale at the High School football field.  Sixth Grade Orientation will be held on August 30 in the High School/Middle School cafeteria from 6:00-7:00 p.m. so each student can see their new school, get their schedules and meet their teachers.  School Open Houses for all grades will be held on September 1: Red Arrow Open House – 6:00-7:00 p.m.; Woodside Open House – 5:30-7:00 p.m.; Middle School Open House – 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.; and High School Open House, 8:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

A host of new teachers joins the Hartford Public Schools faculty

 The board welcomed seven new additions to the HPS faculty at the August 18 Board of Education meeting.  New Middle School Science teacher, Katie Woodhams, earned a teaching certificate in Biology, Chemistry and Integrated Science from Western Michigan University in 2015. MissWoodhams also has a bachelor’s degree in Biology from Coe College, and a doctorate in Microbiology from the University of Wisconsin. She has taught previously at Lake Michigan College, Grand Valley State University, and Bangor High School. She said that, “I’m looking forward to meeting and working with the students and staff at Hartford.”  Shelby Hindman will be teaching Language Arts to Hartford Middle School students this year. Miss Hindman is from Grand Rapids and has a bachelor’s degree in English for Secondary Education from Western Michigan University. She also attended the Free University of Berlin and speaks German. She is “ecstatic to start her career this fall as the new Language Arts teacher at Hartford Middle School.”  Hartford Middle School’s new Math teacher, Erica Root, has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Western Michigan University with endorsements in Math and Language Arts. She comes to HPS from Flagstaff, Arizona where she taught Math/Pre-algebra to 7th and 8th grade students.  Woodside Elementary School’s new 5th grade teacher, Frederick Smyser, earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Olivet College with an emphasis in Math and Integrated Science. Mr. Smyser has previously taught at Kalamazoo Public Schools and Sylvan Learning Centers. The board is “excited for the opportunity for Fred to join our Woodside Elementary team.”  Katie Olds will be the new Project Lead the Way teacher for Hartford High School and Middle School students. Mrs. Olds graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a master’s degree in Integrated Technology. She taught at South Haven High School for eight years where she started the Project Lead the Way program for the South Haven district.  Julie Jacobusse, the new Elementary School Art Teacher, has a bachelor’s degree in Art and Elementary Education from Grand Valley State University and a master’s degree in Education Leadership. Miss Jacobusse taught for 11 years in the Henry County and DeKalb County school districts near Atlanta, Georgia. She is “excited to start up a new art program at Hartford.”  Miss Arce Rosalez will take over as Hartford High School’s new Special Education teacher at the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year. Miss Rosalez earned her BA in Education from Grand Valley State University in 2016, and is certified to teach cognitively and emotionally impaired students from K-12. Miss Rosalez completed her student teaching at Sparta High School, Buchanan Elementary School, and Knapp Forest Elementary in the Grand Rapids area, and at the WoodsEdge Learning Center in Kalamazoo. Miss Rosalez, a Hartford native, told the board, “I’m excited to be here. My goal is to benefit the community I’m living in and I plan to stay for some time.”  The board extends their thanks to Middle School Science teacher Robert Breedlove and Middle School Math teacher Danielle Breedlove for their combined six years of dedicated service to the Hartford Public School system. HPS Superintendent Andy Hubbard also thanked Miss Carrie Long for her service during her eight year tenure at HPS, and Mr. Dean Kyle for his three years teaching at Hartford.

HPS campus improvements ready for first day of School

The Woodside Elementary school building has undergone extensive renovation over the summer and students will be welcomed by 12 new classrooms, as well as an updated gym, cafeteria and music room. Work on the new addition to Woodside is slated for completion in time for the 2017-2018 school year.  Mr. Ed Dickenson, former principal of Red Arrow Elementary, will preside as the new K-5 principal at Woodside, and former Woodside Principal Mr. Brad Geesaman will take over the position of K-12 Curriculum Director at the Central Office.  High school and middle school students will return to secure entrance vestibules in both sections of the building, a new heating and cooling system, and a completely rehabbed school auditorium. Also ready for the 2016-2017 school year are a new track, and new bleachers for both the home and visiting sides of the football field.

High School Principal Dave Janicki presented with Golden Keyboard Award

 At the August 18 Board of Education meeting, Kim deBoom, Student Information Coordinator for Hartford schools, presented High School Principal Dave Janicki with the Golden Keyboard Award, which is awarded to a staff member who best utilizes technology to further student education and achievement.  Hartford Instructional Technologist Rob Sheffy congratulated Mr. Janicki for his advances in technology, saying that Mr. Janicki was the most qualified candidate for the 4th Quarter award as he “took small steps that resulted in big leaps” in technological growth. Mr. Janicki thanked HPS administrators and Miss deBoom, saying that technology is necessary to helping students learn, but that human interaction is still an important part of teaching.

First phase of HPS Strategic Planning Initiative complete

 The Strategic Planning Initiative for the Hartford Public School District is designed to promote student achievement and professional development, strengthen relationships and communications between schools, and a host of other activities that will be will be executed on a quarterly basis.  Quarter 1 of the initiative will be in operation for the first day of school and includes an online District Calendar, and Chain of Communication Protocol designed to guide students and parents to the appropriate school representative to answer questions for specific issues. Both are located on the Hartford Public School web site.  Good luck HPS students and have a great year!

Coloma Schools 2016-2017 school year; single bus routes, new start times

By Annette Christie

Coloma School students will start their 2016-2017 school year on Tuesday, September 6 with a single bus run, more common start times, and dedicated two-hour late starts to provide more professional development time for teachers.  Start times are as follows:  High School and Junior High will start at 8:00 a.m. with a dismissal time of 3:00 p.m.; High School and Junior High late start time is 10:00 a.m. and half day dismissal time is 11:37 a.m.; Coloma Intermediate, Coloma Elementary, and Little Learners start time is at 8:15 a.m. with a dismissal time of 3:17 p.m.; Coloma Intermediate, Coloma Elementary, and Little Learners late start time is 10:15 a.m. and half day dismissal time is 11:54 a.m.   Free before and after school care will again be offered in the Coloma School District for their K-5 families.  The before school care will start on the first day of school.  Parents must register for this program in advance.  They can be dropped off at the school anytime between 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. each morning and can be picked up after school between 3:45 and 5:15 p.m.  Space may be limited.  Parents may register their children for this service at the Open Houses.   With the exception of December and January, there will be two Wednesday late start days per month.   While the district realizes that this may put a burden on its working parents, it is necessary to provide time for the teachers to collaborate to provide a more consistent teaching structure for the students.  While the district cannot offer free before school care on these days, they will be offering an alternative.  For families with K-5 students, they may continue to drop off their children starting at 7:00 a.m. for $5 a child, or $10 a family.  For students in grades 6-12, there will a supervised area of the school that they may go to for studying and reading quietly.   While the district has historically had a daily double bus route for students, this year they will be going to one single bus route.  New bus route information will be posted on the Coloma Schools web page at www.ccs.coloma.org after August 22, 2016.  In addition, at every back to school night there will be transportation people available to answer any questions and to go over the bus routes.  As the year progresses, posted bus stop times could change.  The district asks that parents have their students at the bus stops five minutes prior to the scheduled pickup time.  They ask that all students that plan to ride the bus throughout the school year, should do so on the first day of school to assist with the placement of students at the end of the day.   Preschool through fifth grade children who live in the city limits of Coloma will be able to go to a bus stop to be taken to Coloma Elementary and Coloma Intermediate Schools.  Those bus stops are at Randall Park on Tannery Drive, the American Legion on Sassafras Street, and at the Salem Lutheran Church on Marvin Street.  Students sixth through twelfth grade are still in the walking area of the district.   The K-5 Open House back-to-school night will be held on Thursday, September 1 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.  Parents will be able to meet the teachers and visit their child’s new classroom.  Teachers will share specific information with students and parents so that children will be ready to go on the very first day of school.  Free meals are available again this year for Pre K-5 students.   The State of Michigan allows certain Michigan public schools, including Coloma, to offer breakfast and lunch to all preschool through fifth grade students at no charge to the parent or guardian.  Breakfast is served in the classrooms each morning, while lunch is in the school cafeteria.  There is no action needed on the part of the parent for their student to receive this as no income qualifications need to be met, nor is there any application to complete.  Sixth grade orientation will be held on Monday, August 29 at 5:30 p.m.  There will be a brief welcome from Principal Peter Olsen and time will allow for building tours so that students can get acclimated to the school.  Meet the teacher night for junior high students will be held on Monday, August 29 starting at 6:00 p.m. for all sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students.  Planners and schedules will be available that night.   On the first day of school, all high school students will report to the High School Auditorium for a quick informational meeting.  From there, students will be organized by class and released.  On the first day they will receive their schedules, update their enrollment cards, receive a rules/procedures briefing, be issued their student planners and lockers.  As the district has been slowly updating technology and making that more available for students, this year the students in grades 9-11 will be receiving Chromebooks.  Last year the district made it possible so that each student in grades 6 thru 8 has them available in the classrooms.

Watervliet Public Schools return to books, busses, and construction on September 6

By Kristy Noack

Kindergartners and high school students alike are shopping for new backpacks, pencils or pens, and clothes in anticipation of the Watervliet school district’s return to the classroom on Tuesday, September 6.

North and South Elementary

 Principals Joe Allen of North Elementary and Carole Fetke of South Elementary are excited for the return of the school year and their students.  Both elementary buildings will host open houses on Wednesday, August 31 from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Parents are encouraged to visit the schools with their children and speak with staff who will be on hand to answer questions.  Students in Young 5, kindergarten, first, and second grade attend Watervliet South Elementary. Watervliet North Elementary houses third through fifth graders.  South school opens at 7:40 a.m., with breakfast being served until 8:05 a.m. Teaching begins at 8:10 a.m., and the school day ends at 3:20 p.m.  Morning preschool takes place from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., while afternoon preschool occurs from noon until 3:00 p.m.  Should students need to be dismissed early from school, they will be let go at 11:35 a.m. on half days and 1:20 p.m. on early release days.  School begins Tuesday, September 6 with a half-day.  Contact South school at (269) 463-0860.  North Elementary has different start and dismissal times. The school’s doors open at 7:30 a.m.; with breakfast offered from 7:40 a.m. to 7:55 a.m. and classes begin at 8:00 a.m.  North school lets out for the day at 3:10 p.m. For half-days, the dismissal time is 11:25 a.m. Early release dismissal time is 1:10 p.m.  North Elementary will also have a half-day on Tuesday, September 6 to begin their school year.  You can reach North school by phoning (269) 463-0820.

Watervliet Middle School

 Sixth grade through eighth grade students will certainly notice a different school when they return to the classrooms on September 6.  Phase 2 construction will continue through September, affecting the lunch hour for both middle and high schools, as the cafeteria is not yet complete.  Students will also see a revised bus route into the school and plenty of earthwork that has been completed. Practice fields were leveled, and new curbs and bus lanes poured.  Inside, students will be on the hunt for new locker locations as well as new classroom sites.  Watervliet Middle School, under the direction of Principal Dave Armstrong, has not yet set an open house date due to the ongoing construction. Once a date has been set, that information will be shared on district’s web site www.watervlietps.org.  The middle school is fielding three sports teams this year: football, volleyball, and cross country. Practices are already underway for football and cross country, while volleyball begins practice on August 31.  The doors open for middle school students at 7:30 a.m. Breakfast is served from 7:40 a.m. until 7:55 a.m.  Classroom instruction begins at 7:55 a.m., and dismissal is at 2:55 p.m.  To reach the middle school, call (269) 463-0780.

Watervliet High School

 Watervliet High School joins the middle school with some growing pains of its own. With the cafeteria scheduled for continued construction through September, both schools will adjust their lunch schedules accordingly. Additionally, the west entrance to the high school will not be open.  High school students have the same opening, breakfast, instruction start, and dismissal times as the middle school.  Due to Phase 2 construction, an open house at the high school has not yet been scheduled, although Principal Brad Coon is hopeful one will be held.  To reach the high school, please phone (269) 463-0730.

Watervliet W-A-Y Program 

 Watervliet W-A-Y director Dave Kindt is proud of the success the program has undergone. In five years, W-A-Y has assisted 65 students graduate from high school with their diplomas. This year, the W-A-Y building has a new look in the form of new workstations, chairs, and floor plan arrangement.  Alecia Hickman will join the W-A-Y program math department.  The program is currently in the middle of open enrollment, which will last until the end of September. Contact the school at (269) 463-0897 for more information or an application.

WWII Veterans Monument dedicated at Bainbridge Township Hall

By Angela Stair

The rain was pouring in sheets from the sky, wind whipping, thunder rolling and lighting flashing, but it did not deter the more than 100 people that attended the re-dedication of the WW II monument honoring the men and women that served from Bainbridge Township.  The Bainbridge Board moved the ceremony into the Township Hall where the seats were filled and the walls lined with standing celebrants. The VFW from Coloma/Watervliet began the ceremony with a showing of the colors and then the Pledge of Allegiance was led by Township Supervisor Jerry Jollay.  The Supervisor gave a brief history of finding the stone, broken with a piece missing lying in grass at the New Hope Cemetery.  The Supervisor spoke to the Board and they decided to see if it could be repaired and they would display it at the Township Hall.  They soon found this would not be a quick or easy task.  The stone was too thin to repair and a quarter of it was missing.  They decided to have a new stone carved and it would be rededicated.  Some of the names on the stone were hard to read and finding the names that had been on the original piece that was missing, soon made Supervisor Jollay realize he was in over his head.  Supervisor Jollay said he called in the best person he felt would be able to work their magic, Marge Yetzke.  “Marge has done work like this for the Township before and is very dedicated.  If anyone could find the missing names and figure out the ones on the old stone, this was the person that would be able to accomplish the daunting task.”  Marge worked for two years spending countless hours on research, Jollay said.  The 140 names they could see on the original stone has now grown to 184 men and women from Bainbridge and he said two more names has recently been found and will be added as room was left on the stone for just such a need. The names that had been omitted are John Springer and Forrester (only name information given). They will be added to the stone.  Supervisor Jollay presented Marge Yetzke with a Certificate of Appreciation from the Township Board for all the work that she had done so diligently.  Supervisor Jollay’s voice shook with emotion as he re-dedicated the stone using the dedication from the original one, “Erected to the Glory of God and the everlasting Honor to the men and women of Bainbridge Township who served in the armed forces of our country during the Great War 1941-1945.”  He added that three brave souls did not return that are listed.  He then went on to tell the audience that three men listed on the monument were still alive and at the re-dedication. He introduced; James Lull (former Township Treasurer), Floyd Weber, and Ewald Rodewald.  A fourth man, Virgil Umphrey, was unable to attend the ceremony.   To round out the ceremony, VFW Commander Corky Openneer introduced their Chaplin, John Brown who gave a brief prayer.  Openneer spoke briefly and ended with this dedication; “…and now in the name of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion we dedicate this Memorial which contains the names of these brave men and women who have served in the Fighting Forces of our Nation.  May their Noble deeds live forever.”   The VFW group came to attention, saluted and the firing squad shot two volleys of three.  The Color Guard raised the flags as the taps were played.  Few dry eyes remained by this time.  Refreshments were served as many stayed and caught up with every one, many from out of state.  One family that gathered was the daughters, Sharon Kent-McDonald and Jo Kent-Dent of one of the names on the stone, Charles Kent.  Sharon and her husband had come up from Ste. Genevieve, Missouri along with her daughter Michelle and husband from Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri.  When asked what brought her to the dedication and how she had found out about it, Sharon said, “I saw it on Facebook.  A friend of Marge Yetzke had written about it on Facebook and I wasn’t going to miss the dedication because my dad Charles Kent is on there and we are proud of him.”   She said she called her daughter and asked if she wanted to go and they made the trip, joining Sharon’s sister Jo who lives in Riverside.  Another granddaughter and husband from St. Joseph attended along with two great-great-granddaughters, Emily and Molly

Names on Bainbridge WWII Monument 

Here is a list of the service men and women on the Bainbridge memorial stone.  A listing with as much information as could be found on each is available at the Township Offices.  If you have another name or any information to add to it, please contact them at 269-468-8040.


Vito Abbott

John Aldis

John Andrasi

Paul Andrasi

Billy (William) Appel

Albert A. Arent

Harry Duane Arent

Lawrence Arent

Noble Arnt

Allen C. Arnt


Ed Bahm

Ronald Bahm

Henry Baiers

Stanley Barchalk

Robert Barchett

Theodore E. Biastock

Theodore Birmele

Mike Bonomo

James Bradford

Wilson E. Brant (killed in France)

Lyman Brant

Marvin Raymond Brant

Barney Brant Jr.

Russel Brant Jr.

Charles Brown

Lyle Butzbach


Stanley Cerecky

Richard Frank Cerny

Elmer K. Churchill

RV Alvin Churchill

James Clark

Joe Clark

Lloyd Clark

Orin Cook


Howard Thomas Divis

Irwin G. Divis

Glenn Allen Dockter

Warren Dockter

William Dominion

Wilbur Dorstewitz


Emil Eisbrenner

William Eisbrenner

Kenneth Emhoff

Sylvester W. Enders

Edward Engelsdorfer

Walter Englesdorfer


Walter Fabrick

Wilbur Fabrick

Laverne G. Feller

Lawrence Feller

Victor Fellner

William Fellner

Erwin Fichtner

Walter Fietz

Daniel Fredrick

Gustave Fredrick


Grace Gatchell

Walter Graber

Donald Griffin


John Hafer

Clifford Hauch

Harvey Hauch

Bernard Herman

Robert Herman

Robert Hiler (killed in South Pacific)

Gordon Hiler

Lawrence Hiler

Max Hiler

Vernon Hiler

Adolph Hirsch

Fred Hirsch

Robert Hirsch


Ernest Imbordino

Guy Imbordino

Jack Imbordino

Thomas Imbordino


Harold Jaffke

Robert Jaffke

Elmer Jannert

James Jollay


Charles Kent

Charles Kettlehut

Stanley Kettlehut

Charles Kibler

Durand Walter Kibler

Fred C. Kibler

Wilbur Kibler

Andrew King

Carroll Kniebes

Lloyd Jacob Kniebes

Lowell George Kniebes

Ervin T. Kraklau

William Kraklau

Howard Krall

Leonard Krall M.D.

Victor Kreuzenstein

Allan L. Krieger

Armin Wallace Krieger

Charles A. Krieger

Earl Krieger

John D. Krugman

August E. Kuehl


Charles Leatz

Ernest L. Leatz

Irving Harry Leatz

Art C. Lewis

Robert C. Lewis

Gordon E. Lindahl

Korben Locke

Angelo Lombardo

James Lombardo

Emanuel Lull

James Lull

Bernard Lynch (killed in Okinawa)


Steve Martinic

Henry M. Matrau

Edgar Mensinger

Emil Mensinger

Samuel Mensinger Jr.

William Miller

Arnold L. Molter

Bertrand Molter

Percy Molter

Walter K. Moser

Karl O. Moser M.D.

Gustave Mundt


Robert Nafziger

Edwin Neuman

Joseph W. Nichols


James Ogg


Clayton Allen Peters

Helen E. Peters

Lyle Peters

Milan Peters


Marvin Radom

Sheldon Radom

Helmuth Radtke

Raymond Radtke

Albert (Bud) Randall

Arthur Randall

Elson E. Rodewald

Ewald Rodewald

Henry Rodewald

Nowell (Bud) Rodewald


Gustav R. Scheffler

Herbert Scheffler

Clarence Schommer

Elmo Seel

Vernon Sells

George Shane

Edward Sieber

Emery Sieber

Joseph Sieber

Monroe Sieber

Raynold J. Sieber

Walter Siewart

William Siewart

Lloyd Smoot

Donald Sonnenberg

  1. Monroe Spink

Charles Springer

Gerald Sweet


Virgil Umphrey

Fred Undem

James Urban


Donald Waits

Norman Warsko

Orville Warsko

Floyd Weber

Gilford Weber

Gordon O. Weber

Norman Weber

Richard Weber

Robert White

Perle Wilcoxson

Warren Williams

Gerald Willmeng

Howard Willmeng

Louis Willmeng

Lumon E. Willmeng

Warren E. Willmeng

Arden Winkel

Ivan D. Winkel

Willard L. Winkel

George Wolf

Floyd Woodruff


John Yakel

William Yakel

Clifford Yund

Names to be added to the stone are John Springer and Forrester (only name information given).


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