09-24-2020 Firefighters tell elected officials they lack confidence in Chief; 2020 Miss and Mr. Blos

2019 ROYALTY FINAL DUTIES SATURDAY… The couple was crowned in March 2019. The scheduled 2020 pageant was postponed due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. Olivia Ellis of Bangor was named the 87th Miss Blossomtime. Sin’cere Taylor of Coloma was named the 23rd Mr. Blossomtime.

2020 Miss and Mr. Blossomtime Pageant different than years past

The Blossomtime Festival Board of Directors is excited to announce the 2020 Miss and Mr. Blossomtime Pageant will be held on Saturday, Sept. 26.

President Anna Abdelnour expressed, “The Blossomtime Festival is honored to be able to present the 2020 Miss and Mr. Blossomtime Pageant. We are overjoyed to be able to give the young people of Southwest Michigan this opportunity and we are eager to see who will be crowned Miss and Mr. Blossomtime and their respective courts of honor. Not only will they receive the title of Miss Blossomtime and Mr. Blossomtime, they will receive scholarship dollars that can be used to further their education. 2020 has been a challenging year for everyone and our pageant will present itself differently than years past, but the heart of the festival continues to beat strongly for the young people of our communities as we travel this new road together.”

The pageant will take place at the Harbor Shores Golf Club Event Tent. The Mr. Blossomtime Pageant begins at 1:00 p.m. The Miss Blossomtime Pageant begins at 3:00 p.m. Due to Michigan’s COVID-19 pandemic state guidelines, the pageants will be closed outdoor events and there will not be a public ticket sale nor will tickets be available to purchase at the door. However, the pageant will be streamed live for anyone to view and as we approach the pageant date, details will be provided on our Facebook page under Blossomtime Festival, Inc.

The Blossomtime Festival is the oldest, largest, multi-community Festival in Michigan, celebrating 114 years this year. The goal of the Festival is to provide young adults in Southwest Michigan with mentoring opportunities, to learn about our rich agricultural history and to assist in making their educational dreams come true by providing scholarships. Each year the Blossomtime Festival crowns a Queen and King to celebrate the coming of spring in our rich agricultural region. Our first Miss Blossomtime, Catherine Burrell from Benton Harbor, was crowned in 1924 and our first Mr. Blossomtime Jake Belter from the community of Stevensville was crowned in 1997. On Sept. 26, the legacy continues with the crowning of the 88th Miss Blossomtime and 24th Mr. Blossomtime for the festival.

Firefighters tell elected officials they lack confidence in Chief

By Annette Christie

Members of the Watervliet Joint Fire Department have expressed to local officials and the Fire Board, their lack of confidence in their Chief following his re-instatement to active duty. They did so in a letter addressed to the Fire Board, Watervliet City Commission, and the Watervliet Charter Township Board. The township, in their Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 meeting, accepted the letter and addressed it.

Watervliet Joint Fire Department Chief Dan Jones had been placed on paid administrative leave following a special meeting of the Fire Board on Aug. 27, 2020. In addition to Jones, 2nd Lt. Justin Scheetz was also placed on paid administrative leave. As the two each had a closed session with the Fire Board, the details of what may have occurred with the two or between the two were unknown; however, the minutes of that meeting reflect that it was a personnel matter.

At the Fire Board’s next meeting held on Sept. 15, both individuals were re-instated following the announcement that a written warning would be placed in each of their personnel files. This did not come without dissent. At one point in that meeting, Fire Board member Melanie Marvin (representing the City of Watervliet), made a motion that as the Fire Board continues to review policies, the handbook, employment agreements and the agreement that ties the Fire Board together, that Jones should remain on administrative leave. Watervliet City Mayor Dave Brinker supported the motion; however, it failed, as Watervliet Charter Township representatives Joe Stepich and Patt Bambrick and at-large member Deane Fizzell voted no.

It appeared that recent happenings have given the Fire Board some reason to believe that it is time to visit all of those governing documents and update and revise them as needed. Fire Board Chairman Fizzell asked that all board members go through the materials and note areas that needed updating or changed. In addition, he distributed payroll and administrative processes for the department so that they could be updated also. He had hoped that at next month’s meeting they could go over the changes. While no details were revealed, Stepich eluded to a situation and noted that in the course of that “situation”, the board has heard this and that and that the board needs to do a thorough job of l