11-01-2018 Elections are Tuesday, November 6 City Commissioners facing challenges; Berrien County Co

ONE COMET SOARS TO THE TOP! Coloma Comet Emma Van-dermolen, running in the Regional Cross country race on Saturday fi-nished in the top 15 in a time of 21:57.02, is celebrated here with her fellow team mates. Her regional re-sults qualify her to run in the State Cross Country race next Saturday, to be held at the Michigan Inter-national Speedway in Brooklyn, MI. Best of luck Emma!


Elections are Tuesday, November 6 City Commissioners facing challenges; Berrien County Commissioner race;  School Board members unopposed

By Annette Christie Watervliet City Commission Watervliet City Commissioner incumbents Deah Muth, Larry Hehl, and Rick Kinzler are facing challengers this November. Michael Bumstead and Jennifer Helms hope to have a seat at the Commission table. Deah A. Muth, 43,

resides on Silver Terrace in the City of Watervliet. She is a graduate of Watervliet High School & Lake Michigan College. She has a son who attends Watervliet High School. Muth is employed by the Watervliet School District as a building secretary. She also has a background in finance and business ownership. She has been serving on the Watervliet City Commission since January 2012. She has chaired the Watervliet Home Town Christmas Celebration for the last four years and has been the Chairperson of the Parks and Recreation Committee. Muth was one of the forces that worked diligently to get the new skate park located at Hays Park. Muth is seeking re-election because she loves being involved and making a difference in the city where she was born and raised. “I love being the voice for the citizens and hope to continue with the growth. I would love to be involved in the development of the Paper Mill site,” Muth said.

Larry Hehl, 62, resides at 241 S. Main St., Apt. #2, in the City of Watervliet. He has three grown children. He has served the City of Watervliet as a Commissioner for two years following an appointment to fill a vacancy. He is seeking election for a four-year term. He has also served on the Planning Commission.

Rick Kinzler,

Michael Bumstead, 57, is hoping to serve in a public office for the first time as a Watervliet City Commissioner. He and his wife have three daughters.

Jennifer Helms, 63, resides at 610 Twin Hills Drive. She recently retired from 43 years in the utility industry and has experience in finance, purchasing, contracts and administration. She has lived in Watervliet for 17 years, is a lifetime Michigander and has two children.

Coloma City Commission Coloma City Clerk Martha Darling and Treasurer Kelly Clements face no opposition in this month’s election. City Commissioners Martha Hammond, Nathan Clements, and Linda Freitag are being challenged.


Nathan Clements, 33,

Linda Freitag, 65, is a medical assistant for Berrien Regional Associates in Neurology. She has a son and two step-daughters. She and her husband reside at 353 W. Maple St. She has served the citizens of Coloma in this role for over 20 years.

Fred Reeves is challenging the incumbents. The 77-year-old resides at 164 Harriet St. with his wife. He has three children and two step-children. His work experience includes 25 years on the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department, sales, training, and consumer affairs.

Hartford City Incumbents Ron Burleson, Frank Dockter, and John Miller are unopposed for four-year terms.

Hagar Township Clerk Sarah Rodriquez has worked as the clerk since May 2017 after being appointed to fill the vacancy. This is her first time serving in a public office. She and her husband live at 2787 Coloma Rd.

Berrien County Commission Berrien County Commissioner Dave Vollrath, Republican, faces Democrat Patricia Camarena-Rose Barbary for the District 1 Berrien County Commission seat. District 1 represents Coloma City, Coloma Township, Hagar Township, and the portion of Watervliet Township north of I-94.

Patricia Camarena-Rose Barbary resides at 2631 Park Road in Coloma with her husband. She has one son and one step-daughter.

Van Buren County Commission Mike Chappell defeated the incumbent in the primary election and is unopposed for the District 4 Van Buren County Commission seat. He is a resident of Hartford. He and his wife have three children. Chappell graduated from Hartford High School and the University of Northwestern Ohio. He is currently attending Kalamazoo Valley Community College. He is a retired administrator of Hartford Public Schools, a captain of the Hartford Fire Department and is a United States Air Force Veteran. He is the Vice President of the Van Buren County Firefighters Association and the Hartford Lions Club. He is a member of the Hartford American Legion. Chappell believes that education doesn’t stop after high school. “We need to prepare not only our high school students, but also our adults for the jobs that are now available,” Chappell said.

He would like to encourage and help small business startups to protect and grow jobs.

He would like to see drug resistance promoted beyond the high schools. “We need to keep people from starting drugs and help people recover from addiction and start new lives,” Chappell said.

Chappell has personally worked on fire prevention programs in the schools and is working on drug resistance programs.  “We need to keep our community safe,” Chappell said.

School Board Candidates Unopposed

Erik Laws and Amanda Morlock-Fisher are unopposed for two six-year school board seats in the Watervliet School District. John Oliphant is unopposed for a partial, two-year term.

Heidi Ishmael, Douglas LeClear, and Nicol Cottier-Hickman are unopposed for three four-year terms on the Coloma School Board.

Michael Banic and Lisa Johnson are unopposed for two six-year terms on the Hartford School Board.

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