11-03-2016 Keeler Township renews special assessments for Keeler and Round lakes; Halloween in Colom

Keeler Township renews special assessments for Keeler and Round lakes

By Annette Christie

The Keeler Township Board held two public hearings for the special assessment districts of Keeler and Round lakes.  The assessments are renewals.  The public hearings were held as a part of their regular meeting on Tuesday, November 1.

The Keeler Lake assessment is for the purpose of treatment of aquatic invasion species in the lake.   The assessment roll approved is for a total of $15,083.95 with individual parcel assessments of $169.17 for lake front, $253.76 for multiple lake front parcels, $84.59 for a vacant lake lot, $39.08 for a back lot, $58.63 for multiple back lots, and $19.55 for a vacant back lot.  A representative of the Keeler Lake Association was present and said that he had let everyone know about the public hearing and he did not hear any comments.  He noted that on the last special assessment district they did have 100% approval.

At the request of the Round Lake Association, the total amount of the requested amount was reduced from $17,299.69 to $15,000.00.  This means that the assessment was lowered from $113.07 to $98.04 for each lake front parcel.  A representative of the Round Lake Association said that the water quality is really good and they want to keep it that way.  The association feels that they can still maintain that quality despite the lowered assessment amount.

Civil infractions added to ordinance

 To increase the effectiveness of the township’s ordinance enforcement, the Keeler Township Board approved Ordinance #11-01-2016 that will designate violations of the State Construction Code and the nationally recognized codes as civil infractions.  As a civil infraction, the township will issue a ticket.  The resident will still have an opportunity to defend themselves in court if they disagree with the details of the violation.

The first offense has a fine range of $150 – $500, second offense $250 – $500, third offense $375 – $500, and fourth or more offense $500.  Trustee Fleischauer asked about warnings and Supervisor Bill Kays stated that by the time they have been issued a ticket, they have been talked to previously.  Van Buren County Deputy Ray Hochsprung said he is working with the township’s attorney to create procedures to accompany the ordinance that will make sure the process is consistent.  Clerk Carl Davis commented that the ordinance was created by the Michigan Township Association and is being approved across the state.  The ordinance will go into effect on December 2, 2016.

Property purchase

 The township board decided to up their offer for the neighboring piece of property that used to house Keeler Keg.  Kays said there is actually five little lots comprising of the total property being considered which Kays said is practically unbuildable.  The township’s previous offer was $12,000.  The seller is staying at $15,000.  Trustee Tom Landis stated that for the right price the property would be useful to the township and with that he made the motion to purchase it for $15,000.  The motion was supported by Treasurer Barb Fisher and passed.  Fleischauer excused herself from the discussion and the vote due to a conflict.  She works for the real estate company that has the property listed.

Sheriff contract renewal

 Annually the Van Buren County Sheriff contract for police services in the township is considered.  Deputy Ray Hochsprung provides those services throughout Keeler Township.  Davis said that the county would like the contract renewal as they consider their budget for next year.  The amount of the contract for 2017 is $86,502 and includes the wages, benefits, training, etc. for the deputy.  Davis said that the police services millage that the township voters approve (3/4 mill) covers that cost completely.  The board approved the contract unanimously.

For the month of October Hochsprung said that things have slowed down and he has been able to increase the traffic patrol.  He made 28 traffic stops, wrote eight citations, and three speeding tickets.  He made two felony arrests and three misdemeanor arrests for the month.

COLOMA LION’S PUMPKIN RACERS… Doug Kraemer (center) shakes the hands of Shane Kreitner and John Whist-ler as they get ready to race their pumpkins on Saturday. Ross Streu gets ready to send them flying as the crowd watches in the background. (TCR photo by Christina Geld-er)

COLOMA LION’S PUMPKIN RACERS… Doug Kraemer (center) shakes the hands of Shane Kreitner and John Whistler as they get ready to race their pumpkins on Saturday. Ross Streu gets ready to send them flying as the crowd watches in the background.     (TCR photo by Christina Gelder)


Halloween in Coloma was a great success

By Christina Gelder

Maybe it was the great weather, but Coloma saw a bigger crowd than ever before at their Halloween events this year. What started as a project for Coloma Township Police Department several years ago has turned in to a strong community tradition.

After following the fire truck through town for the parade families quickly formed a line for trick or treating behind City Hall that spread across the park and up the sidewalk all the way to the library. That line stayed strong for the entire two-hour event. While waiting in the line folks could listen to fun music by DJ, Tom Gear and visit with Ironman in Baker Park.

The Coloma Lions Club made and served an astounding number of hot dogs. This year they gave away over 1000. According to Chana Kniebes, from North Berrien Community Development, they also went through “a mountain” of candy. More candy was passed out this year than ever before.

The police department once again went above and beyond. With an Egyptian theme, they built pyramids behind City Hall and opened them up for a “haunted” tour. Adults and children alike were amazed by the amount of detail in their display.

Kniebes thanks everyone who was involved with this event; the businesses, volunteers, and participants. She says that there will be some fun changes in the works for the 2017 celebration.

Earlier in the day the first annual Great Pumpkin Derby Race was a super fun fundraiser for the Coloma Lion’s Club. The challenge was met by 19 pumpkins, some who raced better than others.

After several heats first place was won by Hi-Tech Automotive who named their pumpkin “Trump’s Folly”. Second place was won by Payton Yeske with her “Pigs Can Fly” pumpkin. Yeske also won for being the best decorated pumpkin.

The club is planning on hosting another race during the Glad-Peach Festival in August of 2017 but instead of pumpkins they will be racing watermelons.

PACKED SIDEWALKS... there were times Friday that the sidewalks in downtown Watervliet were nearly impassable. Close to 1,000 youngsters, accompanied by parents and guardians, enjoyed the annual Sidewalk Costume Parade and collected treats from local businesses and organizations after school from 3-5 p.m. Many were back at it Monday for the regular Halloween trick or treating from 5-7:30 p.m. (TCR photo by Karl Bayer)

PACKED SIDEWALKS… there were times Friday that the sidewalks in downtown Watervliet were nearly impassable. Close to 1,000 youngsters, accompanied by parents and guardians, enjoyed the annual Sidewalk Costume Parade and collected treats from local businesses and organizations after school from 3-5 p.m. Many were back at it Monday for the regular Halloween trick or treating from 5-7:30 p.m. (TCR photo by Karl Bayer)


St. Joseph  Lighthouse restoration project presentation at NBHM

 Please join the North Berrien Historical Museum (NBHM) for the St. Joseph Lighthouse restoration project presentation.

The St. Joseph North Pier lighthouses are icons of the southwest Michigan shoreline.  Thanks to the recent Lighthouse Forever fundraising campaign, they are now fully restored and preserved for generations to come.  Heritage Museum’s Frederick S. Upton Fellow, Claire Herhold, will share the history of St. Joseph’s many lighthouses, the recent award-winning restoration, as well as a few maritime disasters that the lights could not prevent.

The presentation will be held at the North Berrien Historical Museum, November 15, at 7:00 p.m.   Admission is FREE.

Chili and Soup Benefit dinner for Zoe Phillips, November 19

 Team Zoe will be hosting a Chili and Soup Benefit dinner for Zoe Phillips. Zoe is an 8-year old at Hartford Public Schools. She has been diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a rare form of childhood cancer that affects the tissue and muscles.

There are three components to her treatment and a long road ahead for Zoe and her family. She is a fighter and continues to smile through it all, though. Zoe loves to dance, play with Shopkins and her tablet. She has one little brother, Zayne, who is three.

The dinner will be held on Saturday, November 19, 2016 at the Outreach Center in Hartford starting at 4:00 p.m. Dinner will include chili or soup, cornbread, salad and a drink. There will be a bake sale with great dessert options and an array of items available through a silent auction. There will also be a 50/50 raffle.

For those interested in donating to help raise money for Zoe and her family and show the Phillips family that each community member is important, please contact Kelly Snodgrass with food and bake sale donations at 269-539-1035. Items needed are chili ingredients, soup, cornbread, salad, salad dressings, drinks and desserts. Contact Angie Owens at 269-208-6160 with items such as gift certificates or gift baskets for the silent auction.

Community Soup & Salad Supper November 4

 A Community Soup & Salad Supper will be held from 5-6 p.m. on Friday, November 4, at the North Berrien Senior Center, 6648 Ryno Road, in Coloma.

The menu includes soup, salad, bread, dessert and beverage.

Cost for adults is $5; $3 for children up to 12 years of age; and free for children under three.

The public is invited.

Proceeds will go to the North Berrien Food Pantry.

The Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club will host this month’s Community Soup & Salad Supper.

Senior Services Hartford

Hartford United Methodist Church, 425 E. Main St., Hartford

Monday, November 7 lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m.; Bingo & Euchre/ cards, 1:30 p.m.

Tuesday, November 8 lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m.; Cardio Drumming, Euchre/cards, and computer help, 1:00 p.m.; Knitting, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, November 11 CLOSED for Veterans Day.

Any questions or comments, please contact Senior Services Paw Paw office at 269-655-8000.

Rides are available through Van Buren Public Transit with no less than 24 hour advance notice at (269) 427-7921.

Twelve Corners Community Church Swiss Steak Dinner, November 19

 On Saturday, November 19 the Twelve Corners Community Church is having a Swiss Steak Dinner at the F.O.P. #147, 3470 Angling Road in Coloma. The dinner will be served from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children 7 to 12-years old and free for children six and under. They are available for sale until November 13.

The public is invited and all proceeds to the church building fund.

Please contact Karen Schaus at 269-208-6638 or 269-849-2866 for more information.

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