11-09-2017 Holiday open houses in downtown Watervliet feature specials, refreshments, and entertainm

Bachman family reunion The Bachman family held their annual reunion August 14 at Kiwanis Park in St. Joseph. The family was represented by 64 descendants of Abram and Carrie Bachman, residents of Coloma in the 1800s. Carrie and Abram were the grandparents of Paul Bachman and Florence (Bachman) Bock both present at the reunion, with Paul being the eldest attendee at 93 years young. The youngest in attendance were Eli Reed and Elsie Clune, both 3 months old and the great-grandchildren of Florence Bock. Guests traveling from out of state were Bill and Ellie Wick from San Diego, Aaron Bachman from South Bend and guest Alberto Jaquez from the Dominican Republic. Five generations of the (late) John and Sharon Bachman were in attendance.

Medic 1 gives Watervliet and Hartford townships ultimatum

By Annette Christie

The Medic 1 Board has given notice to Hartford Township and Watervliet Township that their ambulance service from Medic 1 will be discontinued effective July 31, 2018 unless something changes. Medic 1 Board Chairman Pete Sinclair said that because the City of Hartford and the two townships joined the municipally owned ambulance service together, they all have to stay or fund the difference from the one that is leaving.  The City of Hartford is discontinuing its service from Medic 1, a decision made in August.

Reports state that the City of Hartford voted 5-2 to terminate its contract with Medic 1 because they were dissatisfied with the service.  They noted wanting quicker response times, a streamlined dispatch system, and more available ambulances as some of the reasons for the vote.

Sinclair said that the two townships can either talk Hartford city officials into staying or come up with an additional $114,000 to fund what Medic 1 will be lacking from the loss of Hartford City.  If neither of those will work, then they can search for another provider.

The three municipalities joined Medic 1 in 1988.  The funding for Hartford City and Hartford Township’s portion comes from a county-wide ambulance millage.  Watervliet Township pays approximately $22,000 annually out of its general fund. Medic 1 Ambulance is described on their website as a governmental entity organized and owned by 17 cities and townships in Berrien and Van Buren counties. It states that they also provide ambulance service to three other municipalities under contract. It is operated by a board of directors which meets monthly. The website states that each owner’s governmental unit appoints one person to the board. An annual subsidy based on population is appropriated by each governmental unit. The board is subject to the Open Meetings Act, the Freedom of Information Act and is required to have an annual audit.

Watervliet Township Supervisor Dan Hutchins warned his board at their October meeting that the decision made by the community of Hartford could impact the service options for Watervliet Charter Township including but not limited to Medic 1 asking for additional funding to make up for their lost customers.

Hutchins has stated that he doesn’t think paying any additional for ambulance service will be something that the Watervliet Township Board would consider; however, he did not speak for them.  He said he is seeking information from other providers and perhaps the board would discuss it at their next regular meeting, Monday, November 20, 2017.

Still up for discussion is the building that Medic 1 leases from the township next door to the Township Hall.  Medic 1 had signed a 15-year lease which just expired in August 2017.  Hutchins said the two parties have not discussed the lease and that Medic 1 was still continuing to make the monthly payment at this time.  The neighboring communities of Watervliet City, Coloma City, and Coloma Township do not use Medic 1 as their ambulance provider.  Without Hartford Township and Watervliet Township, the northern part of Berrien County and into Van Buren County would not be serviced by Medic 1.