10-11-2018 Goose roundup and lake cleanup on tap for Keeler Twp. lakes; North Berrien Historical Mus

COLOMA COMET MARCHING BAND placed 1st in Class C at the Hastings Marching Band Invitational on Oct. 6. They also earned the caption award for Best Music in Class C. Students pictured with the awards include (from the left): Morgan Hosbein (drum major), Phoebe Browne (color guard captain), Ian Ishmael (drumline section leader), and Paige Burgess (drum major).

Goose roundup and lake cleanup on tap for Keeler Twp. lakes

By Annette Christie The Keeler Township Board held two public hearings at their October 2, 2018 meeting for the purposes of cleaning up some lakes The Round Lake Association asked for a renewal of their special assessment district to provide treatments against aquatic invasive species. The assessment level remains the same as there is no increase needed. Members of the Big & Little Crooked Lake Association asked for the same, a renewal of the special assessment to rid the lake of invasive species and to reduce the muck. There were no comments made during neither of the public hearings. This is the second and final of two public hearings which are required. Members of the Big & Little Crooked Lake Association asked the board for a resolution in support of a “goose roundup.” Mike Spain spoke on behalf of the association. Spain said that over the last 10 years the goose population has really grown as well as the problems that come with them. Spain said that geese love to nest in the southern counties in Michigan affecting the environment in a negative way. Goose droppings provide a natural fertilizer for the very weeds and algae bloom they are trying to eliminate. Spain noted with most of the residents being seasonal the geese basically have the reign and no continuous consistent efforts can be made to reduce them. A resolution of support from the township is the first step in a process established by the DNR. With the resolution, the permit process begins. Spain explained that the association will pay the costs associated with the process which include getting a biologist’s opinion and hiring a contractor to remove about 100 geese. A few years into the process, the DNR will request nest extraction also to hopefully eliminate new generations. The association will notify property owners that the process is underway. They expect that next spring they will round up the geese and take them to a safe haven. He said there is a possibility that some of them might get killed in the process.

Van Buren County Road Commissioner defends millage request Rick Boze of the Van Buren County Road Commission pretty much attends every monthly Keeler Township meeting to talk about what’s going on with the Road Commission. At the Tuesday night meeting, however, he had to play on defense when asked about the upcoming ballot initiative regarding the Road Commission millage for November. The Road Commission asked for the millage in the August primary election but failed. Boze said the millage is needed or roads are going to be put to gravel because the county just doesn’t have the money to keep them in good condition. Boze said that this year the county had 57 culverts fail, which cost the county 1.7 million dollars. “That is only 2% of the culverts and most are 50 years or older,” Boze said. None of the culvert failures were planned for nor budgeted for. With the millage funding they plan on improving every stretch of primary road as they strive to improve the statistics. Currently one third of the roads in the county are in good condition, the remainder are poor or failing. The long awaited increase in funds coming back to the county level via increased gas taxes and registration fees is too low and is a little too late to help the county put its roads and structures where they need to be. “Everything with the millage stays in Van Buren County. This is why we need the funding, to keep the roads that are good, good and to improve the roads that are poor to good,” Boze said adding, “This will be our money in our county for our roads.” Emergency Services The Sister Lakes Fire Department answered 15 calls in August and 16 calls for service in September. The Keeler Township Fire Department responded to 16 medical calls and five fire calls with an average response time of eight minutes. The firefighters were able to complete live fire training with the Covert Fire Department recently.

Van Buren County Sheriff Deputy Ray Hochsprung said that things are slowing down around the township and they are now able to increase