08-27-2020 Recreational cannabis facility possibly on its way to Watervliet Township; Tri-City scho

LEADING THE MOVE… Director Stephanie Daniels and Assistant Director, Patty Schroeder direct movers bringing in items from the Franklin Street location for the Hartford Public Library’s new home at the Arthur and Bonna Vanderlyn Community Center. Turn to Page 8 for the story. (TCR photo by Anna Layer)

Recreational cannabis facility possibly on its way to Watervliet Township

By Joshua Coffin Watervliet Township Hall met for their monthly meeting held as a teleconference, due to Governor Whitmer’s restrictions in response to COVID-19, on Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. The meeting was led by township clerk Patricia Bambrick to discuss township involvement regarding a potential upcoming recreational marijuana grow facility.

Finances The board approved the general ledger account of $2,348,652.41 with Certificates of Deposit and Money Markets in the amount of $338,905.89, for a total of $2,687,558.30 for the township. Bills for the month of July were also approved with general bills at $190,904.33 and payroll at $27,556.66 totaling $218,460.99.

New business Though there were a few more topics for discussion planned for the online meeting, the township board primarily focused on further examination of the MJA Enterprises proposal for land acquisition and development of a recreational marijuana grow facility. This is to be placed on Industrial Drive in Watervliet Township. The 1.9 acres of land has been agreed upon to be purchased for $20,000. Presenter Mike Gray was in attendance with hopes for further progress to be made for a recreational cannabis facility. The proposal details a two-story facility with 30,000 square feet of usable space on each floor that will be used to operate a licensed cannabis cultivation and processing facility for recreational use for adults in Michigan. Each story of the facility would be raised in two phases over a two-year time period. Within the first year, it is planned that the facility would bring eight to ten full-time jobs to the Watervliet community and in the second year the opportunities for employment would double. The construction of the facility is expected to employ 60-70 members of the Watervliet community and surrounding areas. In order to move forward, it is asked of the board to undo its previous decision and opt-in to adult-use cannabis for the township of Watervliet. In addition, a public hearing will be held at a later date to inform the public of all further details that surround the recreational marijuana facility. “In the minds of a lot of people there’s still an emotional and a political difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.” said township trustee Joe Stepich. “I’m more sensitive to making sure we’ve got some support from the residents for recreational than even we did for medical.” His comment was met with full understanding, thus an approval of the purchase of the 1.9 acres of land still needs to be voted on. Tabled for later With little information for a presentation, discussion of the South Watervliet Drain Project was tabled until the next meeting on Sept. 21, 2020.

Tri-City schools reopen to new protocols, in-school and at home

By Angela Widdis School districts play an important role in the substructure of communities. They are not only responsible for the education of the communities’ youth, they are also critical in the economy of the area by being the employer of many staff members. And when the students are in school, it allows their guardians to work. But what does all that look like for students that are returning to school while we are in a global pandemic? In most cases, the local school systems are offering options. These options are still trying to meet the needs to support the whole child, while meeting all requirements that have been set by the Michigan Safe Start guidelines, Center for Disease Control recommendations, state mandates, and the needs of the parents and guardians of each student, all the while addressing the health concerns for all. In the Tri-City Area the back to school options are in the classroom or face to face, remote or distant learning or E-learning with the use of technology for delivery, and lastly, a combination of both face-to-face and remote learning. In compliance with the Return to School Roadmap, under the MI Safe Start Plan, all three school districts have posted their Safe Start Plans on their websites. Here are the highlights.

Hartford Public Schools (HPS)

The bell will ring on August 31, 2020, for the first day of school for the Hartford School District. They will be offering two options for learning this 2020/2021 school year.