Watervliet DDA sponsors Small Town Saturday campaign this Saturday; pays for business advertising, hosts Holiday Bazaar, 9am – 3pm
By Amy Loshbough The Watervliet Downtown Development Authority along with many Watervliet City and Township businesses are participating this year in the national American Express campaign Shop Small on this Saturday.
FREE ADS & HOLIDAY WREATHS The DDA decided they wanted to make an offer for FREE advertising to all businesses in Watervliet who would like to participate. Not only did these businesses get free print and radio advertising they also received a fresh holiday wreath provided by the DDA to mark they are open for Small Town Saturday. With the help of City Manager Tyler Dotson downtown Watervliet will be in full holiday decoration for this Shop Small Saturday. Approximately 15 businesses are taking full advantage of this special offer and promoting their businesses on this day offering specials anywhere from 10%-50% OFF normal prices. Some businesses are even offering FREE gifts with every purchase, refreshments, drawings, live music and much more. See their ads on Page 6. HOLIDAY BAZAAR THIS SATURDAY The DDA has also planned a Holiday Bazaar for Small Town Saturday in the former B&B Outlet building, 131 N. Main Street, Watervliet. The Holiday Bazaar will house some 18 vendors & crafters selling their items at a discount for that day. The bazaar will open at 9:00 a.m. and close at 3:00 p.m. Please plan on shopping local this holiday season and spending your Small Town Saturday in Downtown Watervliet!
Coloma School Board gets technical education at November board meeting
By Annette Christie School Board member Doug LeClear recently attended a Manufacturing Day event at the Lake Michigan College Mendel Center and shared what he learned at the Coloma School Board meeting held Monday, November 12. To do that, LeClear invited Coloma graduates Dave and Cindy LaGrow, owners of Maximum Mold to the meeting. Maximum Mold was one of four area manufacturers that invited school district representatives throughout the county to tour their facilities and learn about the need to expand their understanding of manufacturing needs in Southwest Michigan, especially for students to choose manufacturing for their career. The event was funded completely by the manufacturers involved and another will be held in the spring for parents to learn about this career choice. As a part of the day’s festivities plant tours were held which allowed the school representatives to learn what each company does, find out about in-house training opportunities, apprenticeships and the like, and identify entry-level pay scales and benefits. Cindy LaGrow said that with over 20% of high school graduates in the county not choosing to attend college, they want to reach out to those students and teach them about the apprentice programs at their company. “We are looking for those that have a mechanical ability that do not want to go to college,” LaGrow said. Last year, three students began right after graduation from Coloma High School. Dave LaGrow explained the process of getting the Journeyman’s card, a process where numbers of hours worked are coupled with classroom hours to reach a level of certification; a certification that nets a higher salary. “Our trade is in dire need of employees,” D. LaGrow said. Their shop operates Monday-Saturday with 24-hour shifts. LeClear told the board, “We can look at those kids who have that aptitude and push them in that direction.” The Coloma School District has a great Career Technical Education (CTE) program. After the holidays, the LaGrows hope to get together with students and parents to teach them about the possibilities available in manufacturing. This presentation followed a demonstration by some members of the Intermediate School Robotics Club. The club will be competing this Saturday at Lakeshore. Their team consists of six 5th graders and three 4th graders. With the generous donation of the North Berrien Fire Rescue Department and Best Way Disposal they will be able to build a second robot. The presenters were Jack Watson, Cole Brown, and Maverick Kraemer. The team is coached by Melissa Davis and Karen Ickes. Other business In the individual school updates, all principals spoke of high attendance at the recent parent-teacher conferences. The Junior High recently held a dance and a trip to see the Kalamazoo Wings hockey game, where the students could earn their attendance through behavior. They will be making Thanksgiving baskets for people in need. The Elementary School is starting its Kindness and Compassion Program where they will be collecting toys, food, and winter gear for the needy.