09-10-2020 Thomas recognized for 20 years of service; Watervliet Fire Dept. Chief and 2nd Lt. placed
Tyler Dotson in running for South Haven administrator job
By Annette Christie Tyler Dotson, who has been a city manager for the City of Watervliet since June 2018, is one of the top candidates being considered for the South Haven city manager position. The city of South Haven position became vacant when city manager Brian Dissette became the Berrien County Administrator effective July 1, 2020. Assistant city manager Kate Hosier has been the interim manager since then. Dotson is set to be interviewed on Thursday, Sept. 17. He is one of seven individuals that are being interviewed. Overall there were 21 applicants. Dotson, who is from South Haven, noted that the position of city manager there provides the opportunity to work in his hometown in a capacity that he went to school for. He first got his taste of good local government in the example set by city leaders there. He has also served on the South Haven School Board and the Brownfield Authority. Dotson informed the Watervliet City Commission and the city mayor of his interest in the position. He had nothing but good things to say about his experience in Watervliet. “This is a great city with a great staff and a great city commission and as a team, we have done some great things,” Dotson said. In his seeking the position in South Haven he said it was all about personal development and nothing against Watervliet, which he is very fond of. The interviews will all be available for viewing on the City of South Haven website.
Kassie Thomas recognized for 20 years of service
By Teresa Smithers On Friday, Aug. 21, Kassie Thomas was recognized at Karla D. Smothers Insurance Agency in Watervliet for her 20 years of service in insurance. She began working for Sharon Yoder State Farm Insurance in high school; at age 16, she worked two hours a day, running errands and filing. When she was a senior, her hours were increased as she made it her co-op. In the following years, Thomas progressively acquired increased insurance knowledge and skills. She was licensed as an agent in 2009 for Property & Casualty; in 2012, she was licensed for Health. When Karla Smothers was a client, she had many of her insurance needs dealt with by Kassie Thomas, and when Sharon Yoder retired and Smothers took over the office, she was sure she wanted Thomas to stay on. “She chose to stay with us and I’m very grateful she did,” Karla Smothers said. “Our customers love her.” Thomas’ secret weapon is her attitude, according to Smothers. She is always smiling, always working to help people with their insurance needs. “She’s always here,” Smothers stated. “Even during the lockdown when the office was closed, Kassie was here.” Says Kassie, “There have been many changes [in insurance] over the years, but the most drastic change has been the Michigan Auto Reform. Michiganders have complained for years about the cost of insurance and now we are finally able to give them different options. I have enjoyed helping people take care of what’s important to them and look forward to many more years of service.” In the near future, Kassie Thomas will be out of the office for a few days, however. As a gift to her love of all things Elvis, her co-workers presented her with a special trip to Graceland for her 20 years of service.
Fire Report By Annette Christie Watervliet Fire Dept. Chief and 2nd Lt. placed on leave
Following a special meeting held on August 27, 2020, Watervliet Fire Chief Dan Jones and 2nd Lt. Justin Scheetz were placed on paid administrative leave until the next meeting, to be held September 15, 2020. The draft version of the minutes reflects that the special meeting was called to discuss a personnel matter. Further, the draft minutes reflect that both Jones and Scheetz asked for closed sessions with the Watervliet Fire Board. Following each of the closed sessions, the Fire Board placed Jones and Scheetz on paid administrative leave effective September 1, 2020 through September 15, 2020, the next regularly scheduled Fire Board meeting.
Sarett Nature Center frequently receives calls requesting the center to adopt animals kept as pets. While we VERY rarely accept these animals, one of the most common animals asked about are turtles. Many people find “cute” small turtles outside and think they will be an easy pet to take care of. This is simply not true. We always recommend when finding any wild turtle to leave it alone unless it is injured or helping it cross the road in the direction it was headed without relocating. Turtles are never orphans. They hatch out of their eggs in a hole in the ground and will probably never interact with their parents. The costs of owning a turtle can also be startling. Turtles live a long time! Most turtles in captivity will live over 30 years with some reaching ages of 50 to even 100. Turtles in captivity require a properly balanced diet, special UV lights, heaters, frequent water changes, and veterinary care. It is also against the law to have many Michigan species without proper permits. Eastern box turtles, spotted turtles, Blanding’s turtles, and wood turtles are all protected by law and should never be kept as pets. Another common pet turtle mistake is releasing a store-bought turtle into the wild. If these turtles aren’t adapted to the climate, they will perish. If they do adapt, they may out-compete native turtles for food and can introduce harmful diseases into wild populations.
Fishing The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said that as Michigan turns the corner and heads toward fall, fishing should only get better. Salmon runs are off to a slower start than last year. The action should pick up with rain and the cooler temperatures. Inland lakes are producing walleye, bass and panfish across the state. Remember, all anglers 17 years of age and older are required to have a fishing license. By South Haven windy conditions have kept most boats off Lake Michigan, so very few salmon anglers were out. Perch fishing was slow, with only a few fish found both north and south of the piers in 50 feet of water. Lake trout were targeted in 90 feet. Boats trolling the Black River for salmon reported slow fishing. On the Dowagiac River, due to the removal of the Pucker Street Dam, Losensky Park has been closed. Portions of the park will be open from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 to allow access during the fall salmon and steelhead run. This is an ongoing construction zone, so visitors are advised to enter the park at their own risk and respect the “no access” areas near the dam. A few boats were able to get out of St. Joseph on to Lake Michigan to target lake trout in 70 feet. Boats trolling near the mouth of the river reported slow fishing. Perch fishing in the area was also slow. Pier anglers caught freshwater drum but no salmon or steelhead. On the St. Joseph River there were no salmon in the fish ladder at the Berrien Springs Dam; however, things could change quickly with the rain and cooler temperatures. The DNR fishing tip this week is to avoid mistakes to experience great fishing. These mistakes can make or break someone’s fishing adventures. Anglers should be sure their reel is filled with line – not to wait until it gets to half-empty and risk losing a great catch due to an inadequate amount of line. They should check their knots – monitor the strength and durability after each fish. If the strength gets compromised, the line down needs to be cut a few feet and start again. Hooks should be set each time an angler even thinks they’ve got a bite. Why waste a great catch just because setting the hook was forgotten? For more fishing tips in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/Fishing. Registration for this year’s Michigan Inland Lakes Convention – taking place virtually Sept. 16-18 – is open through Sept. 11. With the theme “Conserving Lakes in a Changing Environment”, this year’s convention offers three days of presentations and workshops featuring Michigan’s inland lakes as well as networking opportunities for students. It includes presentations on plant and fish identification, harmful algal blooms, high water levels, natural shorelines and many other topics. The full convention program is available online. The convention also will include a photo contest, a writing contest and a trivia game open to all attendees, with fun, lake-related prizes for the winners. Registration cost for all three days is $30, $15 for convention speakers and free for students. Registration is required. Questions should be directed to Joe Nohner at 517-599-6825 or Julia Kirkwood at 269-312-2760.
Hunting Bear hunting season opened Sept. 9 for Bergland, Baraga, Amasa, Carney, Gwinn, Newberry and Drummond Island bear management units. It opens Sept. 13 for Red Oak, Baldwin and Gladwin units. Drawing results and information for bear season can be found at Michigan.gov/Bear. This year, 57,162 hunters applied for either a preference point or bear license, and 7,080 bear licenses were awarded. Within 72 hours of harvesting a bear, hunters must bring the carcass to a bear registration station to be sealed and registered. To register a bear at a DNR office bear registration station, hunters must contact the DNR office to schedule an appointment to have the animal sealed. Calling ahead to schedule a date and time is mandatory, as DNR offices are currently closed and staff will not be available to seal animals without notice. Hunters do not have to schedule an appointment to register a bear at a private cooperator bear registration station. Locations are listed on the bear registration station map or in the Black Bear Digest. When arriving at any bear registration station, please be respectful of those sealing animals: wear a mask, remain 6 feet away from those not in your party, and come prepared to provide the town, range and section of the harvest location. Registration at DNR offices will occur in the parking lot, and visitors will not be allowed in the building. These precautions will ensure animals are sealed as quickly and safely as possible. If a hunter needs assistance finding harvest location information, they should consider using the MiHunt interactive map. This free mapping tool can provide the town, range and section information for any location in Michigan. Baiting reminders – Hunters may use baiting barrels on DNR-managed lands and private land, but certain restrictions apply. Barrels are illegal on commercial forest lands and U.S. Forest Service lands. Complete information about baiting quantities, devices, season dates and location-specific regulations can be found in the current Black Bear Digest.
Watervliet Rod & Gun Club The Watervliet Rod and Gun Club is offering monthly CPL (Concealed Pistol License) classes. September’s class will be held Sept. 17 and 19. Registration is on Tuesday, Sept. 15 at the Watervliet Rod and Gun Club between 6 and 7 p.m. For price and more information, call 269-470-9191 or 269-468-3837.
Watervliet Public Schools Calendar of Events
Thursday, September 10 JV & Varsity Volleyball, Home vs. Kalamazoo Christian, 5:30 p.m. Friday, September 11 9th Grade Vision Screening, 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. Saturday, September 12 MS Volleyball at Comstock, TBA Monday, September 14 Hearing & Vision Screening, South School, 9:00 a.m.; Boys Varsity Soccer at Constantine, 5:00 p.m.; MS Volleyball, Home vs. Saugatuck, 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, September 15 MS Cross-Country SAC Meet at Gobles, 5:00 p.m.; JV & Varsity Volleyball at Coloma, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 16 Varsity Cross-Country SAC Meet, Home, 5:00 p.m.; MS Volleyball at Lawton, 5:00 p.m.; Boys Varsity Soccer at Coloma, 6:00 p.m. Thursday, September 17 High School Picture Day; JV & Varsity Volleyball, Home vs. Saugatuck, 5:30 p.m. Saturday, September 19 7th Grade Volleyball at Martin Tournament, TBA; 8th Grade Volleyball at River Valley Tournament, TBA