10-20-2016 County seeks Supreme Court appeal to keep gun range open; Watervliet held second intervie
ALL HAIL SAC CONFERENCE SOCCER CHAMPIONS!… The Hartford Indians varsity soccer team was named the Southwestern Athletic Conference champions after leading the SAC conference with a 12-0 record this season. Team members include Riley Traver, Jake Griffith, Rudy Martinez, Austin Nelson, Roy Rodriguez, Miguel Cardoso, Brandon Galvan, Herik Garcia, Jiovani Calderon, Joel Soto, Chris Ramon, Michel Calderon, William Martinez, Fernando Alvarez, Daniel Soto, Ulises Bacilio, Danny Resendez, Noel Soto, Israel Ugalde, Eriberto Barboza, Josh Moore, Zach Hays, Isai Ordonez, Alex Garcia, Nick Garcia, Irvin Zavala, Ismael Reyes, Jerry Mendoza, Nick Pultz, Victor Hurtado, Jahdiel Mendez, and Leonard Helmer. The squad is led by head coach Nick Blackmer and assistant coaches Abel Robles and Angel Mejia.
County seeks Supreme Court appeal to keep gun range open; Coloma Township gives attorney okay to continue legal battle
By Annette Christie
At last month’s Coloma Township Board meeting, their Attorney Scott Dienes informed them of the recent Michigan Court of Appeals ruling regarding the ongoing battle with Berrien County over the use of a training facility/shooting range located on Angling Road in the township. Dienes said that he was pleased to announce that the township won the litigation against the county. He said the case was actually argued before the Court of Appeals in December of last year and they have been waiting for the ruling for a long time. The ruling came in with two in favor and one dissenting. At that same meeting, Dienes told the board he predicted that even though success would be slim the County would file an appeal because there was a dissenting opinion written. Dienes confirmed that the County has in fact now filed a leave with the Supreme Court which basically asks the court for permission to have the case heard. Dienes said that the Court grants leave to less than 5%. Dienes asked the board for their permission to move forward to respond to the County’s action. Trustee Matt Moser asked Dienes if he could give any estimate on how much this will cost the township and Dienes replied that it would be hard to peg, “I’m not gonna let you pin me down on that,” Dienes said. He added that he was not trying to be cagey, but rather that he had just got it today. The board unanimously approved for Dienes to respond to the continued legal battle. The township’s auditing firm reported to the board that their audit is completed and all of their financials are in good order. They received the highest opinion that their auditor can render. The board approved bills in the amount of $193,425.60 which included $84,278.37 in payroll. Trustee Jim Fulton said that the Planning Commission continues to update the Zoning Ordinance. Those updates have been turned into the attorney for their review before the Planning Commission makes the final changes. Police Chief Jason Roe presented the department’s 2016 Protocol manual for their review and approval. Roe also asked the board for a three-year contract for Lt. Wes Smielgelski. Roe said that his contract expired October 1. The previous one was for only one year. Roe said that the contract language is the same with the exception of a 1.7% raise, “To catch him up more than anything,” Roe said. Trustee Rob Harper stated that the North Berrien Fire Dept. responded to 21 calls in September: seven in Hagar Township, two in the city of Coloma, 11 in Coloma Township and one on I-94. Harper said the Fire Board approved a new tanker truck. Coloma Township’s portion is $46,595.22. Harper said that the township could save $3,000 if they pay for it when it is ordered. Harper noted that they had $333,482 in the fire truck account with $245,922 remaining after paying off the last vehicle. The board approved paying for their portion at the time of the order to save money. Supervisor Ken Parrigin said that they are putting a committee together to formulate the job description and posting, review the applications, and perform the interviews for the new North Berrien Fire Chief that is being hired full time. Parrigin added township resident Bob Hall to that committee.
Watervliet held second interview with one Manager candidate; he says he may have better offer in a few weeks
Candidate Daniel Antosik
By Annette Christie
Daniel Antosik had a second interview with the Watervliet City Commission at a special meeting held October 18. He was the only one of three candidates that was called back for another round. This follows receipt of a letter from Interim City Manager Bill Hodge to the City Commission that stated he would not be interested in the job on a permanent basis. Antosik, from Adrian, is a recent Wayne State graduate with a master’s degree in public administration. His job experience includes interning at the City of Royal Oak and the Michigan Municipal League and he has worked as a contracted inventory analyst for Ford Motor Company. In this second round, Commissioner Duane Cobb asked the candidate to tell him about Watervliet, “If I was a stranger and I ran into you on a street corner, what would you tell me?” Cobb asked. Antosik noted that Watervliet was a quaint little community near Paw Paw Lake, with a population of around 1,800 and located in Southwest Michigan. He added that it was a nice tourist destination with a lively downtown despite a few vacant buildings. When asked about what the role of the City Manager was he said that it was that of a subordinate to the superiors of the City Commission. He said that the City Manager is accountable to the City Commission and the position should work with the commission to achieve the goals set. Mayor Dave Brinker explained to Antosik that there is a learning curve and would he be willing to put in the extra effort needed. “I’ve never been one to shy away from pressure,” Antosik said. Commissioner Dan Hummel questioned whether Antosik would be able to, after his job training, take over and make the tough decisions and stick by them. Antosik said that he is always welcome to advice, noting a good set of resources but without hesitation said, “I feel 100% that I can make decisions.” He added that he expects to be coached and accepts constructive criticism but noted, “I like to make decisions but I don’t enjoy micromanaging. While I understand that both sides need to be respected, I am an individual that has common sense and I prefer a hands off approach.” Commissioner Melanie Marvin asked the candidate to define the difference between the wants and wishes of an individual commissioner to that of the commission as a whole to which Antosik responded, “I would listen to what they have to say, would look at facts and figures but would encourage the Commissioner to bring it up to the Commission as a whole.” Once the City Commission questions were done, Cobb asked Antosik if he had any questions of the Commission to which he said yes and pulled out a list of many. He questioned the tenure of previous city managers and asked the commission to give a typical amount of years and maybe the reason why they were so short. Commissioner Cobb responded, “Two years. We are small town politics and we can’t get out of our own way.” Commissioner Deah Muth stated that communication was a big problem and that it needed to get better on both sides. Brinker suggested that the splits between the manager and the commission may have been from managers that wanted to move forward with things that the commission didn’t feel the same on. He asked the commission if they wanted change or if they wanted the status quo. Muth responded that she was open to change. Cobb said they don’t want status quo. Brinker noted that for the last year and a half the city has struggled to even maintain status quo without even looking forward. Asked whether they had long term and short term goals, Brinker responded that they have in the past and they need to again. Hummel noted that he would like established bylaws for the commission to operate under that would answer questions like that. When Antosik asked about the management style Marvin responded, “At the end of the day we are responsible to our taxpayers, so it is a fine line between micromanagement and operating the city. We don’t have our fingers in everything and we don’t want to but if the train goes off the rails, we have to answer.” In response to Antosik’s question about why someone would want to come to Watervliet City and be the manager, Marvin responded, “This is a fantastic town; I have lived here all my life. We all want good things in our community and while we might have some struggles, we have a great public works department, a great police department, great office staff, and a great school district.” Cobb added that the job would be a good notch in his (Antosik’s) belt. Antosik did tell the City Commission that he did have a second interview scheduled next Friday for another position. He said it would be 3-4 weeks before he could give an answer if he was offered the job. He mentioned that he had some concerns, being unsure about the micromanaging and without reviewing their budget. He said it was unsettling to review the history and see that many city managers have not stayed for a longer length of time. Following Antosik’s departure, the commission had an open discussion regarding the position. Brinker said they needed to do something with this guy and that if they were not interested that they needed to determine where to go next. Marvin said they did not get to review all of the applications; only the three that were presented to them in interviews so they do not really know what other types of experience is in their applications. Hummel hinted that they needed to continue the search and they needed to use other resources then they have used in the past with regard for finding candidates. He recommended that the city hire a professional recruiter. Cobb, however, was ready to make an offer. “I liked him a lot, he’s got a bright future,” Cobb said. Marvin added that the city’s best manager yet was Brian Dissette and he came to them without any experience, “He cut his teeth here,” Marvin said. Commissioner Muth made the motion, with support from Commissioner Cobb to offer the job to Antosik at a salary of $55,000. The motion carried with all yes votes except Hummel. Commissioner Schofield was absent. The Personnel Committee will be meeting next Monday to move forward with the process.
Trick or Treat hours and events for the Tri-City Area
By Angie Stair
Due to this year’s October 31 Halloween day falling on a Monday, there are differing times in the Tri-City communities for local Trick or Treating. Please carefully check your community listed below to note dates and times for Trick or Treat hours or events.
Trick or Treating will be held on Monday, October 31, but the Township does not set hours for the event.
Coloma Charter Township
Trick or Treat hours in the Township are set for Saturday, October 29 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Trick or Treat hours will be held in the City from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 29. Halloween in the Park will also be held on Saturday, October 29, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Trick or Treating will be held in the Township on Saturday, October 29 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Trick or Treating will be held on Monday, October 31, but the Township does not set hours for the event.
Trick or Treating in the City will be held on Monday, October 31 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Hartford City Police Officers will be in front of City Hall to check any child’s candy if they wish. They will also be handing out candy.
The Library will hand out candy on Monday, October 31, but on Saturday, October 29, the Library will hold a Fall Festival event that children can dress up in their Halloween costumes to attend, play games, and win prizes from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
The Township will hold Trick or Treat hours on Monday, October 31 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Watervliet Charter Township
The Township will hold Trick or Treat hours on Monday, October 31 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.
The City will hold Trick or Treat hours on Monday, October 31 from 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. The traditional Downtown Halloween Costume Sidewalk Parade Trick or Treating will be held on Friday, October 28 from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
The library will hold two Halloween story hours geared to 3-5 year olds. The first will be held on Wednesday, October 26 at 10:30 a.m. The second one will be held on Thursday, October 27 at 1:30 p.m. Children are urged to wear their Halloween costumes. They will also hand out candy on the Downtown Trick or Treating day.