09-01-2016 Watervliet schools walk through shows construction progress; Sieg Freitag, local hero, re

Watervliet schools walk through shows construction progress

CONSTRUCTION PROGRESS GIVES FOOD FOR THOUGHT… Watervliet Public Schools Food Service Director June Altom discusses the progress of construction in the high school cafeteria with high school principal Brad Coon Monday evening. Board members and school employees were part of a building walk-through. The high school gym will serve double duty as the high school cafeteria once school begins on Tuesday.                                  (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)

By Kristy Noack

 Watervliet Board of Education members and a handful of district employees were on hand Monday evening for a special walkthrough of North Elementary, South Elementary, the middle and high schools, and the W-A-Y building.  Led by Superintendent Kevin Schooley, tours were held at each building. A majority of the time was spent at the middle and high schools where Phase 2 construction has been underway since early spring.  With the earthwork completed behind the middle school, which included new site lighting, new curbs and drives, and new irrigation; and new classrooms inside the building, construction at the middle school is wrapping up.  The high school, however, has several projects underway that will not be finished by the time school opens on Tuesday, September 6.  The media center and west entrance to the high school are still under construction, with work ongoing. The tentative completion date for the west entrance is late September/early October.  According to Schooley, “There’s a big difference between occupancy and done.” District representatives as well as staff from Miller-Davis, the construction contractor, will meet with the fire marshal on Friday in the hopes of securing an occupancy permit, which will allow the school to open on time.  A fire wall will be constructed between the part of the high school that will be used and the west entrance.  With construction still underway in the cafeteria, students will eat their lunch in the high school gym.  The media center, administration offices, and new classrooms are nearing completion as well. The “pit” that housed the library has been filled in and the room has a completely new look. Students and staff will be excited with the changes and upgrades from the construction project.

SURROUNDED BY FAMILY… and hundreds of friends Sieg Freitag celebrated his retirement from 42 years in law enforcement earlier this month. His daughters spoke at the party and expressed their pride and gratitude. “We are so proud of you, Dad,” said his daughter Lori Anne “your wisdom has paved the way for our work ethic and character.” Pictured (from the left) are Kelsey Hoffman, Nathan McCoy, Paige Cattes, Jeff, Lori Anne and Abigail Huegel, Sieg and Linda Freitag, Amy and Tony Arnold, and Rosanna Hoffman.           (TCR photo by Christina Gelder)

Sieg Freitag, local hero, retires

By Christina Gelder

On August 12 over 400 people gathered in Coloma to recognize a local hero. Not for one heroic act, but for a lifetime spent serving the Southwest Michigan area. Coloma resident, Siegfried Freitag officially retired from the Covert Township Police Department on July 31.  Freitag was actually born in Germany and remembers as a young child coming to America with his parents on a ship. They eventually settled in Michigan and he graduated from Lakeshore High School in 1969. He enlisted in the United States Army Special Forces Green Beret Reserves in 1970 and became a United States Citizen in 1972. Then in 1974 he joined the Michigan National Guard 246th Armored Division where he was a Staff Sergeant.  In 1974 he also attended Basic Law Enforcement Academy at Lake Michigan College. This began his career in local public service. In the following years he went on to volunteer for the Benton Harbor Fire Department, and work for the Stevensville Police Department, Benton Harbor City Police Department, Coloma City Police Department and Covert Township Police Department.  Throughout his career Freitag was known for his sense of humor and his dedication. He received many awards, certificates and celebrated countless accomplishments. As the years progressed, he made sure to pass on his experience and expertise by teaching at local colleges.  Michigan State Senator Tonya Schuitmaker was on hand at the August celebration to present Freitag with a legislative tribute. The tribute is signed by her, State Representative Aric Nesbitt and Governor Rick Synder and expresses appreciation for 42 years in law enforcement. He was recognized by many others including Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey. “Thank you for your years of service in Berrien and Van Buren Counties” said Bailey as he turned to the audience, “He has given so much to the citizens. His heart is big; when someone needed help he was there. He has a legacy of giving and giving and giving.”  As Freitag took the microphone he shared a few brief experiences from over the years making people laugh. “What I will miss the most,” he went on to say, “Is the people, the friends. The best day of work was every day we went home safe. The worst day of work was when you tried to save a life and couldn’t.” Later on he continued to express gratitude for everyone who came and shared “thank you all, thank you all very much.”  Moving forward, Freitag is taking a year “off” and rebuilding his custom truck and tractor business. He will also be spending as much time as possible riding his motorcycle.

Local kids bring home BCYF ribbons & trophies

RYAN FOSTER… 17, attends Watervliet High School. He is the son of Dave and Michelle Foster. He won Reserve Cham-pion for his dried gourd, ages 15-20. He also received Reserve Champion for his wood-working. Ryan used a round gourd and an S gourd to create this beautiful swan with many, many layers of feathers. He also had entries in cake decorating, photos, leather works, tin punch, ceramics, and a cedar chest in woodworking. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)

ZACHARY KUEHL… 11, received a 2nd place in Horsemanship and a 3rd place in Pleasure. He is a sixth grade student at Watervliet Middle School. The son of Stacy and Elden Kuehl, he has been show-ing at the fair for five years.

AMELIA SMITH… 5, of Bainbridge Township carried on the family tradition by entering exhibits in the Berrien County Youth Fair. She received Re-serve Champion for her pump-kin entry. She is the daughter of Benjamin and Adrianne (Hinkelman) Smith. In addition, she entered green beans, a garden variety basket, photos, and muffins for her first year as an exhibitor.

KRYSTINA HORNUS… 15, is a sophomore attending Coloma Public Schools. She received a Champion ribbon for her jelly in the age group of 12 – 20 years. She is the daughter of Shauna Smith and Brian Hornus. She has been an exhibitor at the Berrien County Youth Fair since she was nine years old.

TAYLOR KRIEGER… 19, is a graduate of Watervliet High School. She is entering her sophomore  year at Grand Valley State University. She won Champion for Creative Memories, ages 14-20, Honorable Mention for her poetry entry, and a Shutterbug Award for Advanced Photography. She also entered wood burning and personalized accessory. Showing at the fair since she was five, Taylor often refers to the Berrien County Youth Fair as her 3rd home and says the best part of the fair is the food, especially the Friske Fries. She is the daughter of Kurt Krieger and Annette Christie. (TCR photo by Annette Christie)

TYLER KUEHL… 9, received a 4th place with his dairy wether goat. He is a fourth grader at Watervliet North Elementary. His parents are Stacy and Elden Kuehl. He has been showing at the fair for four years.


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