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11-03-2020 WHS Principal and a Michigan Advise College Adviser presented at the Paw Paw Lake Rotar

WHS Principal and a Michigan Advise College Adviser presented at the Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club

October is College Application Month, and Principal Christina Powers’ presentation at a recent Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club weekly meeting was about the initiatives that have been put in place to increase the “college going culture” at Watervliet High School. Powers introduced Mackenzie Houlehen, a Michigan Advise College Adviser, who works at both Coloma High School and Watervliet High School assisting seniors with the college application and admissions process.

Powers said, “There are 60 Advise Michigan Advisors in the state. They target schools with low income and students who are the first in their family to attend college.” The advisors help students to accomplish goals and increase awareness. They ask the question, “What do you want to do after high school?” Houlehen is a resource to get students where they want to go. He helps with financial aid, helps with essays for the application process, and meets one on one with students. The students were sent a survey to find out what is their mindset and what are the barriers to attending college. They were also asked about their feelings on trade school, military, and college. The advisor also helps to educate the students on the process of applying for these options. October is College Application Month and the kick off to the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Campaign. The intent of the month is to increase awareness for what it takes to apply and be admitted to college. Every Monday during the month, teachers could wear jeans to school if they wore college gear as well. Specifically, Mackenzie Houlehen helps students apply for financial aid through the FAFSA process. There are contests with gift certificate prizes to complete the FAFSA and those who do are honored and highlighted. Area businesses are asked to donate a gift certificate for a prize raffle. One item will be raffled off each Friday in January to a senior who has completed and submitted his/her FAFSA. Seniors are encouraged to complete two college applications during the month of October, which they did in their English class. Students who do this are honored by having a green tag put on their locker by Mrs. Powers. The school held a virtual college fair where six colleges were represented. They also held a Parent’s FAFSA Night which explained how college funding works and how students get access to such funding. Advise Michigan also tours colleges with the students. Ric Seager, Watervliet Superintendent, said how fortunate they are to have Christina and Mackenzie at the school to encourage and give this opportunity to the students. They are outstanding ambassadors for the program.


Paw Paw Lake Rotary meets Wednesday’s at 12:15 p.m. Meeting location changes weekly but Zoom and call-in options are available. Contact Brian Smith, Paw Paw Lake Rotary President at 269-808-5792 for more information.

Watervliet Public Schools events

Thursday, November 5 WHS hosts District Volleyball Final, 6:00 p.m. Saturday, November 7 Cross Country State Finals meet at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI Monday, November 9 7th & 8th Grade Boys Basketball at Saugatuck, 5:15 & 6:15 p.m.; Board of Education meeting, HS Media Center, 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 11 2-Hour Early Release – ALL BUILDINGS; 7th & 8th Grade Boys Basketball, Home vs. Lawton, 6:00 & 7:00 p.m.

911 Telecommunicators honored at

Berrien County Board of Commissioners meeting

At the Berrien County Board of Commissioners meeting the morning of Oct. 22, 2020, two 911 Telecommunicators were honored for their service. Annually 911 operators from the County Emergency Communication Centers are invited to nominate their peers for consideration for the designation of 911 Telecommunicator of the Year. These anonymous nominations are considered by representatives from the County’s 911 Advisory Committee. The award is usually presented during National 911 Telecommunicators’ Week, which is annually recognized in April. Although delayed due to the pandemic, the recognition is no less deserved.


The award for Telecommunicator of the Year was presented to Berrien County Dispatcher Melissa Hensley for her ability to think outside the box, follow protocol, and multi-task. Melissa’s handling of a rollover accident last December was highlighted, which landed the vehicle in a ditch, trapping the caller inside the overturned truck. She was able to keep the caller calm, and work with her partners to get responders and a tow truck dispatched quickly, as water was entering the truck. Also recognized was nominee Berrien County Supervisor Sarah Blurton for her leadership and training efforts within the Dispatch Center, and her active role in improving operations. “I could not be more proud of the dedication and hard work that our 911 telecommunicators exhibit on a daily basis,” said Berrien County Public-Safety Communication Center Director Caitlin Sampsell. “Celebrating them as individuals and their team effort is always one of the highlights of my year.”

COVID cases on the rise nationwide

By Jon Bisnett Forty-four states that have demonstrated an increase in the percentage of new cases and\or hospitalizations for COVID-19 in the last week, 31 of those states posted record numbers of new cases when compared to infections recorded in March and April. South Dakota’s Governor touted herd immunity theory and refused to enact a mask order is now experiencing new infection rates of over 24%, five times the national average of just over 5%. Other states experiencing high COVID numbers are considering another round of business shutdown. Both Texas and California have spiked and are looking to tame numbers. Michigan had a total of 3,804 cases spiked at the first day of November. Additional cases and quarantines have been prompted by detection via the state’s public school system. Officials caution that schools are not the incubator in almost all cases, rather serving as a clearinghouse for detection of cases promulgated by social functions outside of school. The Michigan State Department of Health and Human Services issued a new Emergency Order regarding restaurants, effective Monday, Nov. 2 including the following provisions: Table sizes limited of no more than six people; must maintain accurate records of the names and phone numbers of patrons who purchase food for consumption on the premises, including date and time; restaurant capacity remains at 50%; indoor gatherings for non-residential without fixed seating are limited to 50 or fewer persons and attendance is limited to 20 persons per 1,000 sq. ft.; indoor gatherings for non-residential with fixed seating are limited to 500 or fewer persons and attendance is limited to 20%; outdoor gatherings for non-residential without fixed seating is limited to 30 persons per 1,000 square feet, including within any distinct area within the event space; outdoor gatherings for non-residential with fixed seating is limited to 30% of seating capacity of the venue. Record numbers were recorded nationwide during the November 3 Presidential Election, including over 100 million via early voting. Average wait times at the polls in the Tri-Cities were reported at over any hour in most cases, giving consideration to extensive sanitization in between. Local clerks report a slow, smooth process with voters pleasantly patient with the process. The protocol has not changed, if not more important as cooler temperatures move Michiganders indoors. Wear a mask when indoors and outdoors when you are unable to keep a six foot distance from others; practicing social distancing by keeping six feet or more between you and others; washing or sanitizing your hands frequently; staying home if you are ill or have COVID-19, or other respiratory illness symptoms; while those who are at highest risk of the virus should avoid large gatherings in their entirety.

Hartford farm cited for unsanitary cider production By Jon Bisnett The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) has ordered Pica Farms, located at 64205 66th Street, in Hartford, to cease all cider production and distribution (retail and wholesale) due to unsanitary conditions. The order was issued on Oct. 26, 2020, after a routine inspection revealed multiple violations including: mold-like residues observed on the food contact surfaces of equipment, the use of non-food grade containers and equipment to hold and transport food, and to pump the juice into the holding tanks. The order also includes a number of violations that still hadn’t been corrected from previous inspections. Pica was unable to produce records during inspection that indicate monitoring of sanitation at key points during processing. Products affected by this advisory include all gallon and half-gallon containers of apple and apple/fruit blend ciders produced by Pica Farms under the “Pica’s All-Natural” brand. Retail food establishments are asked to remove products from sale immediately and contact their MDARD inspector for instructions on proper disposal or removal. E. coli is the greatest concern with cider products processed under unsanitary conditions. E. coli causes a diarrhea often with bloody stools. Anyone who has purchased any products from Pica Farms in 2020 should discard them immediately.

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