MISS AND MR. BLOSSOMLAND FOR 2016… were crowned at the fourth annual Blossomland Learning Center contest on Friday, November 18. Pictured (from the left) are: Mr. Blossomland Anthony Belfino, Runner-up Jordan McClinton, Miss Blossomland Rebekka Stanley and Runner-up Rebecca Wilson. The court will represent their school at several Blossomland Learning Center functions, Berrien RESA’s Festival of Families, a parade, and other area events.
Watervliet School Board adopts resolution of condolence for Joan Banasik; South School sets blood drive date
By Kristy Noack
Watervliet Public School’s November school board meeting was held Monday, November 14. In one of their first orders of business, the Board of Education adopted a resolution of condolence and appreciation for Joan Banasik’s “many gifts to the Watervliet School District.”
Banasik and her husband Gordon owned and operated the Watervliet Record from 1959 to 1984. Following the sale of the weekly newspaper, Banasik joined the Watervliet School Board and served for 20 years.
Watervliet Board of Education Vice-President Bill Spaulding said, “(Joan was) a very good, forward thinking, highly confident board member. I know we’re all better for Joan Banasik’s presence.”
Superintendent Kevin Schooley echoed Spaulding’s comments, stating, “She was smart. She was driven. She was a huge advocate for the kids.”
The family requested that memorial donations in Banasik’s honor be made to Watervliet Public Schools. Schooley advised the board that he will consult with Banasik’s children and drive any donated monies to causes within the school that they felt would be appropriate.
The resolution passed unanimously.
Schooley has continued conversations with the City of Watervliet and Watervliet Township regarding the need for a School Resource Officer within the district. According to Schooley, “the uniformed officer would work with students and staff.”
The school district did have a Resource Officer, Mike Danneffel, in 2013-2014 until he retired.
During Monday’s meeting, Schooley sought permission from the board to continue talks with both the city and township regarding “a specific scope of work,” the cost implication, and a long-term commitment from the communities.
The board approved Schooley enter into negotiations with Watervliet city and township with the understanding that the cost to the school district for the officer would not exceed $30,000.
The School Resource Officer’s primary responsibility would be to work with kids throughout the district on topics like bullying, cyber bullying, and stranger danger as well as attending district-wide school events.
given to bills and Reading Now Network
The board approved payments of bills in the amount of $1,450,662.80. Of that number, $534,708.09 was related to payroll expenses.
Schooley reported that $6.7 million of the high school and middle school bond project has been spent. The original bond application estimated a total project cost of $11.5 million.
The board approved a resolution authorizing the school’s participation with a new reading program called Reading Now Network. The RNN is a regional program that includes schools who agree to work together to increase literacy rates. There is no charge to the district to participate, only the time of the superintendent.
Schooley will visit schools involved with the program to observe their practices and receive training on potential options that will increase literacy rates within the district.
provided to board
Schooley advised the board that 80% of the construction work has been completed at the high and middle schools. Additionally, the project “is still within budget.”
Seven classrooms have been completed and three more were started on Monday. An additional seven more rooms are slated to begin in a few weeks.
Schooley complimented the patience and understanding of both the administration staff and teachers as work continues.
Work in the auditorium is ongoing. Currently, the scheduled completion date for that room is December 20.
Plans for a community open house are being considered once construction is complete.
Diehard Panther fan asks for stadium improvement
Longtime Watervliet Panther football fan and native Kenneth Wendzel was in attendance Monday night and asked the board to consider his request to add hand railings to the bleachers at Panther Stadium.
Wendzel described the difficulty for people of all ages to walk up and down the bleachers without a rail to hold on to. “It’s very dangerous. I never thought about it until I got old,” he said, chuckling. “I think the tax payers would appreciate it.”
Wendzel also suggested additional improvements are necessary at Panther Stadium so it remains “one of the best in the area.” A paved sidewalk traversing from the parking lot to the Watervliet press box was suggested.
Board members concurred that Wendzel’s concerns had merit and were good points. The board tasked Schooley with looking into both measures.
North and South
Team Timmy Strong
Watervliet North Elementary principal Joe Allen and Watervliet South Elementary principal Carole Fetke shared important news Monday evening.
Fetke announced that South had raised $2,600 in one week for Timmy Dibble. Dibble, the son of Tim and Leah Dibble, was recently diagnosed with leukemia.
Allen said his building sold “Timmy” bracelets and “Fifty were gone in three or four minutes.”
Fetke also announced South School will host a Red Cross blood drive in Timmy’s honor on February 16 from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the school.
Ouch! MSU student gives Proos a flu shot
Sen. John Proos received a flu shot from Michigan State University medical student Kayla Morrison during MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine’s annual Legislative Flu Shot Day at the Capitol on Wednesday, November 9.
Sen. John Proos received a flu shot from Michigan State University medical student Kayla Morrison
“Although an average of 30,000 people die from the flu every year, fewer than half of Americans get annual vaccinations,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “The CDC encourages all residents over six months old to get a flu shot. It can help protect you from getting the flu and also can protect the vulnerable people around you – such as young children and seniors – who are most at risk of a serious flu illness.”
Proos thanked Morrison and the other MSU students for their time to administer flu shots to legislators and staff, and offered information on local flu shots for area residents.
Residents can find a place near them to get a flu shot by inputting their ZIP code on www.VaccineFinder.org.
Lakeland Hospital Watervliet Auxiliary upcoming fundraisers
On Monday, December 12 the Lakeland Hospital Watervliet Auxiliary is hosting a Susie’s Goodies sale in the Interim Room at the hospital. Available for purchase from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. are delicious baked goods and candy.
Then on Monday, December 19 the auxiliary will have the annual holiday Bake Sale. Just in time for Christmas, purchase homemade cookies, baked goods, and candy in the hospital’s Interim Room from 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
All proceeds from all of their fundraisers are used for the hospital in Watervliet such as the pavilion across from the Emergency Department, the new entrance and equipment for the various departments.