09-05-2019 Upton, Wendzel, Paquette participate in Berrien Co. Farm Bureau forum;

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE… State Rep. Pauline Wendzel joins Congressman Fred Upton and Rep. Brad Paquette for a Farm Bureau Legislative Forum.

Upton, Wendzel, Paquette participate in Berrien Co. Farm Bureau forum

State Rep. Pauline Wendzel joined Congressman Fred Upton and Rep. Brad Paquette for a Berrien County Farm Bureau breakfast forum. Rep. Wendzel gave a legislative update on issues currently before the Agriculture Committee including a resolution to support the U.S. cherry industry’s petition before the U.S. International Trade Commission. The resolution also urges the U.S. Department of Commerce to take action to protect U.S. cherry farmers. In addition to Agriculture issues, Rep. Wendzel answered questions on the Governor’s 45-cent gas tax increase. “In addition to facing some of the most severe weather conditions in decades, competing against low wages in foreign countries, and international trade issues, the last thing our farmers need to worry about is increased operating costs in the form of a 45-cent gas tax increase,” Wendzel said. “That tax would be detrimental to our farming community.”

THIS KUTE KID IS… Hadley Ann Eisbrenner (2), enjoying the Berrien County Youth Fair. Hadley is the daughter of Ted and Chelsey Eisbrenner of Benton Harbor. Her proud grandparents are Jim and Beth Eisbrenner of Watervliet, Debbie Johnson and DeWayne Craig of Chrisman, IL, and Steve and Marj Johnson of Minier, IL.

Paw Paw Lake Association meeting Saturday

The Paw Paw Lake Association will meet on Saturday, September 7 at 9:00 a.m. at Watervliet Township Hall, 4959 M-140. Members and guests are invited.

End of Summer Dinner planned for Sept. 14 Twelve Corners Community Church is holding an End of Summer Dinner on Saturday, Sept. 14 starting at 5 p.m. This fundraiser includes a complete dinner plate at a suggested price of $8 per plate plus a raffle. Proceeds from the event go to the building fund for the church. Twelve Corners Community Church is located at 3902 Hicks Ave. in Benton Harbor at the intersection of Hicks and Benton Center Road just off Red Arrow Hwy.

Coloma Rod & Gun BBQ fundraiser Saturday, Sept. 21

The Coloma Rod & Gun Club is holding a BBQ to raise funds for a new playground at the club. The BBQ is being held on Saturday, September 21 from 5 – 8 p.m. There will be kids games, marshmallows and a bonfire beginning at 8 p.m. The meal includes a choice of pulled pork or chicken along with two sides, rolls, dessert and drink. Tickets are $15 per person purchased at Coloma Rod & Gun Club, 6145 Angling Road or by calling 269-944-6464.

Arts, crafts and vendors needed for Hospital craft show

Artists, crafters and vendors wanted for Lakeland Hospital Watervliet Auxiliary craft show on October 19, 2019, at Watervliet Middle School. Interested persons can contact Nancy at 269-468-8301 or Jan at 269-944-5280 for an application form.

V.B. County Museum hosting yard sales, Sept. 14 & soup supper, Sept. 27

Van Buren County Museum is hosting yard sales on Saturday, Sept. 14 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Board members will have booths and they have room for anyone else wanting to sell items. A space is about 10’ x 10’ and costs $20. Set up is at 8 a.m. and they will have the Leo Club from the Lawrence Lions Club to help vendors set up their canopies and unload their ware. Sellers must provide their own tables. Please no guns, knives or pornography. Household items, crafts, collectables, and antiques are all acceptable. Have your money in as soon as possible by mailing to P.O. Box 452, Hartford, MI 49057. Make checks payable to V.B.C. Historical Society. This is a rain or shine event and there are no refunds. Call 269-621-2188 with questions. Soup Supper Sept. 27 On Friday, September 27, from 4:30-7 p.m. a soup supper is being held in the basement of the Van Buren County Museum. A supper of 3-4 soups, sloppy joes, breads, salads, drinks and desserts will be offered for a free will donation. Everyone is invited to attend and bring their neighbors, friends or relatives. After enjoying your meal, tour the museum and get a sneak preview of 2020’s new exhibits. Any questions, feel free to call 269-621-2188, the museum is still open Wed., Fri., Sun., from 12-5 p.m. Their final day will be Wednesday, Oct. 2. Van Buren County Museum is located at 58471 Red Arrow Hwy in Hartford.

Coloma Charter Township starting Parks Plan

The Coloma Charter Township Board is starting to collect information from citizens and visitors for the purpose of updating their 5-Year Parks and Recreation Plan. The survey of the community form was available at their August 14, 2019 meeting. The header at the top of the survey reads, “The Coloma Township Parks and Recreation Committee along with the Township Board of Trustees are revising their 5-year Parks and Recreation Plan. We need your input as to what the community might like to see as improvements, changes or additions to the parks and recreation system.” The survey may be picked up at the township hall or is available on their website. Consultant Cindy LaGrow is gathering the survey comments which are due by September 16, 2019. The current parks are the AEP River Launch Park, Helen Street Park/Beach, and Washington School Park. The survey seeks information on how people use the parks, which ones they use, what kind of recreational activities residents want, etc. The township envisions having a draft of the Parks and Recreation Plan available for public review and comment by December 2019. The plan will be available for review prior to its finalization at the township hall and the library. At the next township meeting an open house style of meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. to allow the public to voice their opinions about the township parks. “We want to get as much input as necessary,” Duffield said. Trustee Bryan Duffield, who also sits on the Township Parks and Recreation Committee, said that the committee has been talking about signage on the Paw Paw River that could assist travelers with their location, when rescues may be needed. Some discussion items include putting maps at the locations where kayakers and canoeists put in, reference markings, signage, etc. “People who have been in trouble are giving us the best information,” Duffield said. In the last couple of years, a push to keep the river clear and to promote it for use by visitors and residents has increased its usage. Along with that though have been situations where kayakers get into trouble. A recent emergency situation that occurred on the river, but was not a result of anything on the river, demonstrated difficulty for emergency responders trying to locate those in need, as many times they are not able to identify where they are on the river. Trustee Jerry Willmeng, who is also on the Parks and Recreation Committee and works with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission on river improvements said that the two fire chiefs have an idea on how to make the locations of individuals easier to disseminate when calls for help come in. North Berrien Fire Chief Michael Mattix and Watervliet Fire Department Chief Dan Jones proposed a color marking system for trees along the river which would help to identify location.

Fire chiefs work on river safety The fire chiefs from the North Berrien and Watervliet Fire Departments have been working with river improvement teams and the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission on ways to make the river safer and to improve the efficiency of emergency responders. Contacted after the meeting North Berrien Fire Department Chief Michael Mattix stated, “Along with the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission and local paddler groups, Chief Jones and I are working in conjunction to help keep all the users of the Paw Paw River safe.” Jones and Mattix recommended a color marking system described as being the first step in allowing all users of the river to experience the river safely. “We are currently running a test on a section of the river from Hays Park to the Coloma City Landing behind Wesco on Paw Paw Street,” Mattix said. He explains that the sections have been broken up into thirds. Each third has a color and a shape just like a traffic light. “The hope is if a person gets into distress and calls for help they can use the colored shape and give that information to the 911 Operator. This information will then be passed along to the first responders so we can narrow down the location on the river and access our pre-determined launch locations and get to these persons quicker,” Mattix said. Chief Jones and Mattix attended the last Southwest Michigan Planning Commission meeting held at Coloma Township. Jones explained the marking technique similarly to Mattix, “Simultaneously dispatch will identify what geographic area that the call originates in utilizing pre-existing call information,” Jones said. With the marking system in place, they are eliminating 2/3 of the river in that area, allowing rescue to deploy at the closest access and cutting down on response times. Jones said that section of river being addressed between Watervliet and Coloma has already been marked as part of the pilot program with spray paint and colored surveyor tape on snags in conspicuous places along the river. SWMPC in conjunction with the river groups is putting together the information for the paddlers and a map is being developed for dispatch, which in turn will be disseminated to other area agencies.