10-01-2020 Berrien County Clerk speaks to the 2020 election; Watervliet Public Schools Calendar of E

WHAT IS IT? Bob Koshar II of Watervliet found this giant puffball mushroom in Flaherty Park, on a recent walk. This variety of mushrooms is commonly 4 to 20 inches in diameter and can be found in grassy and wooded areas, late summer and autumn.



Berrien County Clerk speaks to the 2020 election

By Annette Christie Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler provided a 2020 election preview at the Berrien County Board of Commissioners’ meeting on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. Tyler, who has experienced some staffing challenges, said that right before the August primary her election administrator resigned to tend to family. She hired a replacement and promoted from within, however that didn’t work out as the individual returned to their previous position. During this pandemic she also had a part-time elections clerk that was promoted to a full-time position elsewhere in the Clerk’s office. Tyler stated that with some administrative assistance, she has selected Jason Watts to fill the Elections Administrator position on a contracted basis. He is a former Allegan County Election Administrator and is now self-employed in the elections arena. Tyler spoke to the many delays her office has experienced in getting the absentee ballots ready for distribution, all of which were caused by elements beyond her control. While it has taken longer than they had expected, Tyler commented than an accurate ballot is more important than a wrong ballot. This week local clerks will be attending training that will lead to their certification. She noted that some of the local clerks have purchased new ballot containers. Her Board of Canvassers will be meeting in October to certify those bags. Tyler reminded voters that in this election they can vote straight ticket or split the ballot and it will not be spoiled. She anticipates that the final election results this time around, may not be until Wednesday around 10:00 a.m. She also reminded everyone that they may follow the election results on the website, that the walk-in voters are counted first followed by the absentee ballots. “About two-thirds of the voters are absentee,” Clerk Tyler said. The Berrien County clerk said if someone has a question about their absentee ballot they should contact their local clerk. If someone still needs to register to vote they should visit the Michigan Secretary of State website. October 23 is the deadline for non-party affiliation write-ins and Tyler said there will be write-ins. She said that neither she nor the poll workers can tell a voter who the write-ins are. They need to obtain that information after October 23 from their local clerk. In anticipation of a re-count request, Tyler is seeking a location that will provide the security and space needed to do a re-count. All of the spaces that she has used in the past are being used due to COVID-19 space restrictions. Tyler thanks many individuals stating, “This is a major team effort working together to provide an election that is safe, secure, and successful for everyone to make sure every vote counts.”

Watervliet Public Schools Calendar of Events

Please note: Due to current governmental restrictions, athletic events are not open to the public for attendance at this time. Thursday, October 1 Varsity Volleyball Tri Meet w/Saugatuck & Brandywine, 5:00 & 7:00 p.m.; JV Football at Constantine, 6:00 p.m. Friday, October 2 MS/HS Progress Reports; Varsity Football, Home vs. Constantine, 7:00 p.m. Saturday, October 3 Varsity Cross-Country at Berrien County Meet, River Valley High School, 9:00 a.m.; TBA 7th Grade Volleyball at Coloma Monday, October 5 Board of Education Meeting, 6:00 p.m.; Varsity Boys Soccer, Home vs. Saugatuck (Senior Night), 4:30 p.m.; MS Volleyball, Home vs. Saugatuck, 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 6 JV & Varsity Volleyball, Home vs. Fennville, 5:30 p.m.; MS Cross-Country SAC Finals at Kalamazoo Christian Elementary, 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 7 2-Hour Early Release – All Buildings; Student Count Day; Varsity Boys Soccer at Kalamazoo Christian, 5:00 p.m.; MS Football at Constantine, 5:00 p.m. Thursday, October 8 JV & Varsity Volleyball at Gobles, 5:30 p.m.; JV Football at Kalamazoo United (Kalamazoo Christian HS), 6:00 p.m. Friday, October 9 Elementary Progress Reports; Varsity Football, Home vs. Kalamazoo United, 7:00 p.m. Saturday, October 10 HS Cross-Country at Bridgman with Kalamazoo Christian, 10:00 a.m.

City of Hartford water service connections in progress

By Anna Layer At the City of Hartford’s meeting on Monday, Sept. 28, City Manager Yemi Akinwale provided an update regarding thirteen homes along Heywood and Red Arrow Highway that are slated to be connected to the city’s water service due to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination. These homes were identified as having contaminated water by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The connections to the city’s water system will be paid for by the state. Connections for the 13 homes involved should be completed by the end of the month.

Update on Main Street buildings demolitions Other updates from Akinwale include information regarding buildings that were scheduled for demolition. The buildings at 32 and 34 West Main Street are now gone, but the demolition of 32 West Main Street took a toll on the structure to the roof and west wall at 30 West Main Street. The city incurred costs involved with making that building whole for the owner. The existing structure at 5 West Main Street was slated for demolition, but is actually still standing because the Van Buren Country Treasurer requested a reprieve. There is interest from the County Land Bank in rehabilitating the building. Payroll reimbursement program Additionally, Akinwale provided an update regarding the Public Safety and Public Health Payroll Reimbursement Program. The grant application submitted by the City of Hartford was approved, but not in total. The application requested $62,387.57 in assistance, but due to overwhelming amounts of requests to the program, only $31,193.00 was awarded to the City of Hartford. While the state had $20 million available to fulfill these grants, over $350 million were requested statewide.

Police wages Akinwale went on to explain that the negotiations with the police union had been moving along but seem to have been impacted by the current economic climate. There is disagreement regarding wage increases and the City of Hartford is hoping to have this resolved by the end of the month so that it can be ratified by the union and then eventually approved by the City Commission.

Other business The city manager announced Justin Ryan as Hartford’s new Assistant Superintendent for the Department of Public Works. Mr. Ryan is working towards certification and eventual state licensure for water service operation. New business tackled by the commission included establishing Trick or Treat times for the City of Hartford. Trick or Treating will take place in Hartford on Saturday, Oct. 31 from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. Mayor Rick Hall asked that residents be mindful of the current State and CDC guidelines for Halloween and other holidays. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services recommends social distancing, face coverings, and that people feeling ill should stay home. Frequent hand washing or sanitization efforts can help mitigate the risks of COVID-19 during Trick or Treating as well. The Hartford City Council approved the Designated Assessor Interlocal Agreement and approved a resolution for the sale of city property at Marion Avenue, Lot 11.

Important dates Upcoming dates of importance in Hartford include Brush Pickup, from Oct. 5-9; Hydrant Flushing, Oct. 12–16; and leaf pickup will begin on Oct. 26 and continue through bad weather. Additionally, Nov. 3 is the general election, which will take place at the newly opened Art and Bonna Vanderlyn Community Center. The polls will be open for City of Hartford voters from 7:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. The next regular meeting for the City of Hartford will take place on Monday, Oct. 26 at 7:30 p.m.

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