09-20-2018 Coloma BP changes ownership; New teachers introduced to Watervliet Board of Education; Al
NEW SCHOOL YEAR, NEW TEACHERS… New additions to the Watervliet teaching staff were introduced to board members at their September meeting. Joining the ranks as Panthers is (from the left): Josh Soderborg, Becky Williamson, Krystal Pratt, Sara Heil, and Jason Rietdk. Soderborg and Williamson are 4th grade teachers at North Elementary. Pratt is teaching kindergarten at South Elementary, while the high school welcomes Heil as the new Spanish instructor and Rietdk as the new math teacher. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
Coloma BP changes ownership
By Maryann Worl Roy Patel and VJ Patel are the proud new owners of the BP gas station located at 121 S. Church Street in Coloma. They are very excited to start this new adventure and look forward to meeting everyone and getting to know the members of the community. With the new ownership comes a new name for the business, Roy’s BP Food Mart. The station’s phone number remains the same, (269)468-4664. Roy and his wife Parul live in Munster, Indiana. He is at the station most weekends and enjoys interacting with everyone who stops in. VJ and his wife Beena live in Coloma along with their two children. They operate the station on a regular basis. VJ and Beena are very happy being part of the community of Coloma. They enjoy the small town atmosphere and are very pleased to have their children attend Coloma Public Schools. Roy and VJ are not looking to make many changes to the services currently offered at the station. They were happy to be able to retain some of the staff that worked for the previous owners. As with any change in business ownership, there are still some things that are being worked on. Some processes take time. An example of this is the beer and wine license for the new owner. Roy is working with Lansing on this matter and hopes to have it resolved soon.
NEW OWNERS WELCOME PATRONS… The new owners of the BP gas station in Coloma would like to invite everyone to stop in and say “hello”! Roy Patel (left) and VJ Patel (right) are happy to join the community of Coloma and look forward to meeting everyone. (TCR photo by Maryann Worl)
Roy states, “A week doesn’t go by that we are not asked, ‘Where are Bonnie and Randy?’” It is his hope that community members will feel as comfortable with him and VJ as they did the previous owners and they would like to invite all to stop in and meet them. As to where are Bonnie and Randy: A call to Bonnie revealed that she is spending time caring for her elderly mother and wouldn’t trade a minute of this! Does she get away without working? Bonnie states, “No way!” Bonnie and Randy still own Randy’s Service Center in Watervliet and while Randy works full time at the business he is always trying to find jobs for Bonnie. This summer she could be found riding around on the lawn mower taking care of the yard at the service center located at 7870 Elm St. in Watervliet. They would welcome all who would like to stop in and say hello or give a call to Randy’s Service Center at (269)468-4662.
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New teachers introduced to Watervliet Board of Education; Altom resigns after 20 years of service to the district
By Kristy Noack The Watervliet Public Schools’ Board of Education held its first meeting of the new school year Monday, September. 10. While there weren’t a lot of items on the docket to discuss, two will certainly impact the entire district. The board accepted the resignation of June Altom, Director of the Watervliet Public Schools’ Food Service Department. Altom has been a district employee for the past 20 years. According to Superintendent Kevin Schooley, Altom had a substantial impact on the district’s wellness policy.
ALTOM RESIGNS, ADAMS TAKES REINS… June Altom (left), Director of Watervliet Public Schools’ Food Service Department, tendered her resignation Monday during the district’s school board meeting. Terry Adams (right) was promoted to Food Service Director following a unanimous vote by the board. (TCR photo by Kristy Noack)
“June and I both came to Watervliet in 1998. It’s been a great experience to work with June. She’s been great for us and I wish her the best,” Schooley shared. Altom stated, “I know I’m leaving the district in good hands. It made it easier to make that decision [to leave].” Although she has resigned from the Watervliet School District, her work in food service isn’t quite yet complete. Altom has accepted a position in the South Haven school district as their director of food service. Altom’s resignation was accepted unanimously by the board. Following that act of business, the board then unanimously approved a supervisory contract to district employee Terry Adams to replace Altom. Adams joined the Watervliet district in 2010 and previously served as a lead cook. Schooley commented, “[Adams] has been June’s right hand. I think Terry completely understands customer service. She’s a kid-centered person.” Following her promotion to food services director, Adams said, “I look forward to serving the district.” In a moment of levity, Adams indicated that Altom is just a phone call away “on speed dial.”
New teachers make the grade Five new teachers were introduced to board members at the Monday meeting. The new teachers include: South Elementary kindergarten teacher Krystal Pratt, North Elementary fourth grade teachers Becky Williamson and Josh Soderborg, and high school Spanish teacher Sara Heil and math teacher Jason Rietdk. A brief recess during the meeting allowed the board members and staff from other buildings to meet the teachers. First days update The beginning of the 2018-19 school year began Tuesday, September 4 for students in the Watervliet district. Monday’s board meeting allowed the principals at each location to provide updates on how the first week of school progressed for students, teachers, and parents. Carole Fetke, principal at South School, shared early enrollment numbers, including 113 first-graders. The enrollment numbers are “healthy,” according to Fetke. Teachers are “working hard to build their classroom communities,” she shared. At North School, Principal Joe Allen said the building’s enrollment number was at 310. The new playground structure should be installed by October 1, and initial testing of students is underway. Dave Armstrong, principal of the middle school, advised the board that NWA testing begins soon for sixth- and seventh-graders. He also shared that the School Resource Officer Mordecai-Tobias “Toby” Thornsbury was introduced to the students. Thornsbury replaced SRO Bruce McKamey who left the district to take a patrolman position closer to his home in south county. High school principal Brad Coon told the board “freshman orientation was very well received.” Coon also stated that student schedules were complete by the second day of school, which was quite an undertaking considering the high school offers traditional, dual enrollment, early college, and math/science center schedules. Additionally, the board approved August General Fund expenses be paid in the amount of $1,356,770.58. Of that figure, $1,018,288.58 is related to payroll expenses.
Entergy hosts Palisades Public Open House; improvements made as closure moves forward By Jon Bisnett Entergy Corporation hosted another in its ongoing series of open houses on September 12 at their Benton Harbor media center to share additional public information regarding the Palisades plant closure scheduled for the spring of 2022, under the existing Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Consumers Energy. As reported in a recent edition of the Tri-City Record, “In light of the Michigan Public Service Commission’s order issued which granted Consumers Energy recovery of only $136.6 million of the $172 million it requested for the buyout of the PPA, the parties have agreed to terminate the buyout transaction,” said Charlie Arnone, site Vice President and Entergy’s top official at Palisades. Company officials report the company has recently reinvested millions of dollars of upgrades and planned maintenance during the recent refueling shutdown. The replacement of cooling tower B was a $36 million project alone which brought over 250 temporary workers to the site. The total investments in safety and reliability topped $70 million in upgrades, inspections, and replacements during the spring 2017 Refueling Outage. The plant is ranked in the NRC’s highest safety category, is recognized as a top performer within the industry and adheres to the most rigorous oversight. Within the past year, Palisades completed the longest run of continuous operation in plant history, set a net-generation record. Palisades site VP Charlie Arnone again has emphatically stated, “There will be no shortcuts taken when it comes to matters of safety and reliability.” The Palisades plant, originally built for the Consumers Power Company, first went on line in 1971, at which time it was only the second such nuclear facility on the Lake Michigan Shoreline, following the opening of the D.C. Cook facility in Bridgman. At peak capacity the Covert plant generates 811 megawatts of virtually carbon-free electricity, powering more than 800,000 homes. Louisiana based Entergy Corp. purchased the Palisades site in 2007 and owns, operates or manages nuclear units in Arkansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York and Vermont with reported revenues of $11.4 billion USD. Entergy currently plans to complete the provisions of the contract with Consumers Energy continuing plant operations until May of 2022 when the planned decommissioning of the facility will take place under the watchful eye of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Michigan Public Service Commission. Plans are in place to help provide relocation opportunities within the company for those whose jobs will cease at the time of closure.