10-31-2019 Incumbents unchallenged in November 5, City of Hartford election, one candidate could win

Happy 13th Birthday Eva, you are loved by mama Gillian and papa Sergei Marchenko, your sisters Lainie, Zoya, and Polly of St. Louis. Sending their love are the Bayer and Loshbough families in Watervlie

Incumbents unchallenged in November 5, City of Hartford election, one candidate could win seat with one vote

By Jon Bisnett The November 5 election offers no challenges as four incumbents seek to renew their seats on the Hartford City Council. Polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Incumbent Rick Hall seeks his second term at the helm as the city’s mayor. Three commissioners run unopposed as well. Terry Tibbs and Helen Sullivan have no challengers for their posts as both seek their second term. Incumbent Dennis Goss chose not to file a petition and following an eleventh-hour filing will be on the ballot as a write-in candidate. Hartford City residents will vote at a new polling site for the first time this year, the His Place Community Center located at 15 Maple Street. The Clerk’s Office at City Hall will be open on Saturday, Nov. 2 to facilitate those wishing to take advantage of new election rules permitting absentee ballots without cause. Any voters with questions regarding any of the recently enacted voting rules should contact the clerk.

TRI-CITIES FIRST PROVISIONING CENTER… Med+Leaf owner Doug VonKoenig, flanked by son Alex VonKoenig and Janel Napier along with the Hartford City Council, holds the official city permit as the final component to opening the area’s first Medical Marijuana Provisioning Center. Janel and Alex will manage the facility located adjacent to the Family Dollar store at 309 West Main Street. Following well over two years of the lengthy process of obtaining licensing, Med+Leaf will open its doors to the public at noon on Saturday, Nov. 2 for a “dry run” with no actual product present for those who wish to tour the new facility and receive general information on Medical Marijuana. The store will hold an official grand opening the following Saturday, Nov. 9, which will be limited to individuals who possess a current Medical Marijuana Card. The over 7,500 registered cardholders in the tri-county area will soon be able to avail themselves to this new conveniently located provisioning center, just a mile from Exit 46 off I-94. (TCR photo by Jon Bisnett)

Hartford City moves polling site for Nov. 5 election to His Place Community Center

By Jon Bisnett Hartford City Clerk RoxAnn Isbrecht reminded city residents at the Monday, Oct. 28 business session that polls will be open 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for the November 5 city election at the new polling site located at His Place Community Center, 15 Maple Street. Additionally, the Clerk’s Office at City Hall will be open on Saturday, Nov. 2 to facilitate those wishing to take advantage of new election rules permitting absentee ballots without cause. Communications November 18 and December 16 will combine workshop and business sessions for the council due to the holidays. Guests/ public comment Amanda Drew and Charlotte Becker of the United Way of Southwest Michigan visited to update commissioners on activities in the area. The Van Buren County United Way was combined into the SW Michigan non-profit earlier in the year. Judy Loomis of FiftyTwo Sixty Designs presented her proposal for annual holiday decorating of the hall and downtown business district. Minutes & Reports archived Departmental Reports for September and minutes from the October 21 Workshop and September 23 Business meetings were approved and archived. New business Commissioner John Miller led a brief discussion expressing some concerns with the recent Fire Department Financial Audit. No action was taken. Commissioners discussed a request for assistance with the Eagle Scout Project from James Terry, referring same to additional paperwork from the Hartford Lions who are jointly involved in the project. The council tabled a request from Robert Kling for a non-conforming property split at 208 South Pleasant Street, for 90 days. Resolutions and Amendments The council heard the 2nd reading of a further amendment to the Marijuana Ordinance in regard to off-site surveillance video as the city requirement is actually more stringent than the State mandate and not possible due to limited Internet bandwidth available in the city. The revised ordinance lowers the requirement from 90 days off-site to 30 days on-site storage, in line with the State statute and the data limitations of the currently available infrastructure. Having no further business, Mayor Rick Hall adjourned the meeting at 8:16 p.m.

Planning Commission still considering Main Street church community center in Watervliet

By Annette Christie The Watervliet City Planning Commission further delayed a decision for a special land use permit recommendation at their Monday, October 28 meeting. The special land use permit is being requested by Freshwater Church for a church and community center on Main Street in Watervliet. The Freshwater Community Church started in Coloma in 2010. Over the past nine years they have been meeting in the Coloma Middle School building. They are seeking to move into the property at 115 N. Main St. and to convert it into a church/ community center where their congregation meets on Sundays. The structure they are interested in purchasing has both large and small spaces that will allow for multi-purpose usage. Currently they have about 75 adults and 25 kids in their congregation and the building will allow for the anticipated growth. Pastor Justin VanFerrari has provided an estimate of approximately $170,000 in renovations that will be done in phases to the building. Up first would be a new roof, an update to the exterior of the building and then focusing on the smaller side before the larger side. At their October 28 meeting, the Planning Commission asked for a clearer site plan for the building. They held a lot of conversation with regard to parking. City Manager Tyler Dotson said that they are reviewing their ordinances, their master plan, and downtown planning as they consider the permit application. “I commend the Planning Commission for not rushing into this, and doing their due diligence,” Dotson said. The next Planning Commission meeting is scheduled for November 25, 2019.

Burger Night at the Legion Nov. 13

American Legion Post 362 in Coloma is having Burger Night on Wednesday, Nov. 13 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. They will be serving hamburgers, cheeseburgers and French fries. Post 362 is located at corner of east St. Joseph and Sassafras streets.

Annual Linen Sale set for Nov. 21

Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet Auxiliary will host their annual Linen Sale Thursday, Nov. 21 from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the first floor of the Hospital just off the lobby. Quality sheets, blankets, throws, quilts and much more will be available at a reasonable cost. All profits will be used for auxiliary projects at Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet.

United Way of SW Michigan holds Stuff the Bus food drive Saturday

It’s almost time for United Way’s annual Stuff the Bus County-wide Food Pantry Mega-Drive. Stuff the Bus is hosted by United Way of Southwest Michigan in cooperation with scout troops, grocery stores, volunteers, and local school transportation providers. Food and personal care items will be accepted Saturday, November 2 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The goal of Stuff the Bus is to collect supplies for local food pantries to stock them up before the holiday season when winter fuel bills are high, and when children are on break from school and cannot get free/ reduced lunches and/or breakfasts. Each pantry has submitted a Wish List of its most-needed items. Local scout troops and other service groups will be on-hand to pass out Wish Lists and collect donations. They will also shop on behalf of individuals for whom shopping is difficult who prefer to make a monetary donation. “United Way of Southwest Michigan has worked very hard to coordinate all aspects of Stuff the Bus,” said Vera E. Tanier-Sebree, Program Director of UWSM. “We are so pleased with the support we’re receiving. The community has been quite generous over the years and we’re very grateful for that.” Donations may be made at Hartford Harding’s, Covert Dollar General and Aldi in South Haven.


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