10-05-2017 Hartford Schools to seek replacement for long time business manager; 2018 Miss Teen Colom

WATERVLIET HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 1967… held a 50th Class Reunion on August 19, 2017 at the farm of Jim and Carolyn Smith. In the photo (from the left) are: Front Row – Dave Simanton, Geoff Geisler, Ray Bujack, Doug Osgood, DeeDee Hayes, Pat Cerny McGee, Susan Day Martell, Deborah Skorupa Mock, Dixie Carr Richter, Gayle Seikmann Hutchins, John Reese; 2nd Row – Bill Camp, Sharon Pumfery Rush, Jolene Jarvis Tavolacci, Karen Krieger Nickels, Sherry Schultz Craig, Sherry Harper Eubanks, Betty Dillenbeck Scoggin, Carol Wood Vance, Ron Austin, Con-nie Blevens Austin; 3rd Row – Bill Williams, Steve Dibble, Clas Hakan Lindroth, Sandy McIntyre Mashak, Bill Cartwright, David Smith, Rick Jarvis, Jim Whiteside, Rick Schlipp, Ken Chappel, Audrey Shane DeVault, Jim Smith.

Hartford Schools to seek replacement for long time business manager

By Jon Bisnett

The unwelcome news was bound to come sooner or later, so amid a friendly air of denial, the Hartford School Board got the official word they didn’t really want to hear during their September 28 business meeting that HPS Business Manager Mike Hallgren was ready to retire after over 34 years at the post. In his resignation letter Hallgren wrote with sincerity, “I want to thank the community for allowing me the privilege of serving their children… and am proud to have been both a student and employee of the district… I will treasure the memories always…” Hallgren will depart as of January 1, 2018.

Personnel Updates

Approval was given to an annual contract with Redwood Elementary Teacher Stephanie Hallgren who will serve as ESL/Migrant Coordinator in the amount of $3,000. Funding for the position is provided via federal grants.

A contract was also proposed for High School Principal Dave Janicki to serve as District Safety Officer. Janicki has performed the duties for the past three years and upon recommendation from the Finance Committee would now be compensated $3,000 for the annual position which supervises, coordinates and reports on CPR training plus fire, weather and lock-down drills throughout the district.

Discussion initiated by Trustee Rick Vawter questioned if the compensation was enough, while Trustee Lisa Johnson queried as would these responsibilities take away from Janicki’s prime directive as High School Principal. Johnson understands that staff wants him in the building.

Superintendent Andy Hubbard stated he had contacted the other Van Buren districts for input. Most schools divide the position among their building administrators; many with no additional compensation. The Van Buren Intermediate School District is also willing to perform the service on a contract basis for roughly $5,000 annually. The question then arose from Vawter, “Is Dave worth only half what the ISD would charge?” Hubbard replied that the ISD fee also included CPR Training, which is separately contracted by HPS. Hubbard further commented that Redwood’s first ever fire drill took Janicki off the high school campus for only 30-45 minutes at the most. The staff responded flawlessly and had all students out of the building in short order, even despite the new layout of the Redwood facility. Secretary Meachum then questioned if 30 minutes was enough, “…shouldn’t we expect more time to be spent on the drills at the elementary than just 30 minutes?” Again the response was that Janicki had planned the exercise and in advance had communicated with staff that then carried out the drills with remarkable efficiency.

Hubbard added that VBISD Chief Safety Officer Gary Brown recognizes HPS as way ahead of the curve when it comes to CPR, AED and drill procedures. Following a thorough discussion the unanimous approval was given for the $3,000, (non-retroactive,) annual contract.


Speaking to the retirement resignation of Business Manager Mike Hallgren, Superintendent Hubbard thanked Mike for all the help he provided over the years. “Working under six different superintendents, spanning over 30 years, Mike has sailed the ship through some turbulent financial waters, not to mention occupying the superintendent chair in a dual role for a short period.”

Hubbard plans to officially post the opening in October, interview in November and hopefully have the new business manager “ride along” with Hallgren’s final 30 days in December.

Finance Report

Mike Hallgren reviewed financials with notes on a few untypical expenses due to the start of the new school year. A new district-wide telephone system, updated copy machines and annual software expenses account for a higher than usual, yet fully-anticipated expense outgo with the onset of the 2017-2018 school year.

Other business

Following a short presentation, board approval was granted to art teacher Sandra Hahn to start a combined Middle School/High School Art Club. Hahn has several fund raising plans in the works to generate the club’s financial needs.

Board Treasurer Mike Banic and Secretary Jason Meachum were selected as delegates to the Michigan Association of School Boards annual convention.

Annual Audit Report

As follow-up to completion the recent audit conducted by the firm of Gerbel & Company, P.C. the board received a written and verbal report of an “Unmodified Opinion” with further remarks of not only exemplary accounting practices but also noted an equity fund balance finds HPS to be well within the recommended target range relative to the district’s annual budget.

Redwood Elementary Update

Andy Hubbard reported that construction is moving along as expected at the Redwood site; with all but “punch list” items completed on the interior. Outdoor lighting, landscaping and other exterior details are now getting completed. The gymnasium floor still remains to be painted, but may be deferred to holiday break for sake of practicality.

Hubbard stated that day to day operations have smoothed out the initial bumps. Lunch is running smoothly, as is pick-up and drop-off. One issue that remains is a dead zone of wireless Internet coverage preventing the new student pick-up system from working correctly. Additional wireless equipment is on the way and will be installed shortly.

Board Reports

Treasurer Mike Banic reported on his recent attendance at the Van Buren School Board’s meeting. The Educational Hero Award Banquet will be held June 6 at the ISD Conference Center. April 16 is the date for the Legislative Dinner. The Van Buren Board will meet in Hartford at Redwood Elementary on November 28 and tour the newly remodeled facility.

Secretary Meachum expressed concern that none of the district’s principals were in attendance that evening.

(The audience that evening was composed of only presenter Hahn and just three students assumed to be meeting a class requirement.) Discussion that followed indicated that Superintendent Hubbard had communicated to his administrators that unless they were reporting, it would be optional as whether the principals attended the board meetings; recognizing plenty of after-hours expectations which take their toll on family time. The same line of thought applies to Deans of Students and Athletic Directors.


Student Representative Olivia Ziemer ran down a list of events for Homecoming Week beginning with the Powder Puff Football Game on Wednesday October 4.

Downtown storefronts will be decorated for the annual Homecoming Parade at 5:00 p.m. on Friday with the Brat Tent offering up dinner from the grill beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the southwest corner of Indian Stadium.

Homecoming t-shirts are available in the Athletic Office before & after school.

The Indians will tee it up with the Cassopolis Rangers at 7:00 p.m. It’s also Senior Night with the Homecoming Queen & Princess crowning at halftime. King and Prince candidates will see their new royalty crowned at the dance following the game.

President Chambers called for a motion and subsequently took the board into closed session for the purpose of a property purchase discussion.

The Board meets next at Redwood on Thursday, October 6 with a reception for Redwood staff at 6:30 p.m. prior to the Work Study at 7:00 p.m.

2018 Miss Teen Coloma Pageant information meeting Oct. 8

 Anyone interested in running for the title of 2018 Miss Teen Coloma will need to attend the meeting being held on Sunday, October 8 at the Coloma Township Hall, 4919 Paw Paw Lake Road in Coloma at 2:30 p.m.

Contestants must be a female, 13 years of age but not more than 15 years of age by the date of the pageant, a resident of Coloma, and must currently be enrolled in school or being home schooled.

There will be a $20 non-refundable deposit, which is due at the meeting, to cover the cost for t-shirts and pageant props.

A parent or legal guardian must be present for this meeting.

The pageant will be held on Saturday, November 18 at 5:00 p.m. in the Coloma High School Auditorium which is located at 300 W. St. Joseph Street, Coloma.

Any questions, please contact Rayleen Hart-Wilson via Facebook Messenger or by email to msraysblazer2@gmail.com.

Coloma Library has Meet the Author Night with local writer, Rosanne Bittner

 On Thursday, October 26 at 5:30 p.m. the Coloma Public Library will host a Meet the Author Night with USA Today bestselling author, Rosanne Bittner, a Coloma native. Bittner dubbed an “emotional powerhouse” and “Queen of Western Romance” by Romantic Times has written more than 66 books that have been published in many different languages and countries. She has won many awards for her work through the years.

In 2015, she won the “Best Western Romance Writer” by Romantic Times for her book, Do Not Forsake Me. Bittner’s books cover a vast array of American History and though works of fiction are well-researched making them both historically authentic and entertaining.

During this event on Thursday, October 26, she will be available to sign books and answer questions. Bittner’s newest book, “The Last Outlaw” and a short story titled “Chick-A-Dee Christmas” will be available for purchase.

In anticipation of her visit the Coloma Library has titles selected by Bittner available for check-out for those wishing to read them before meeting her. This event is sure to be a fun evening for aspiring writers, fans (old and new alike) and anyone looking for an evening with an interesting lady from the Coloma community.

For any questions about this event, please call 468-3431 or visit the library’s website at www.colomapubliclibrary.net. For more information on Rosanne Bittner’s books and her writing visit www.rosannebittner.com.


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