12-08-2016 Samantha Scott crowned 2017 Miss Teen Coloma; Keeler Township passes ordinance to control

2017 MISS TEEN COLOMA… is Samantha Scott (left) and 1st Runner-up is Maurissa LaGrow (right). They were chosen during the pageant held on December 3 at the Coloma High School. Both are students at Coloma Jr. High.

2017 MISS TEEN COLOMA… is Samantha Scott (left) and 1st Runner-up is Maurissa LaGrow (right). They were chosen during the pageant held on December 3 at the Coloma High School. Both are students at Coloma Jr. High.

Samantha Scott crowned 2017 Miss Teen Coloma

 The new Miss Teen Coloma is 15-year-old Samantha Scott. Samantha is the daughter of Rhonda and Billy Scott. She attends Coloma High School.

Samantha was crowned, Saturday, December 3. She is involved in track, basketball, marching band, concert band, color guard and 4H. When asked who inspired her the most, she said Chaunte Lowe because she showed her that hard work really does pay off and dreams really do come true. Her favorite past time was when the entire high school band rode all the way to Disney World and marched in front of the Castle.

Maurissa LaGrow was crowned Miss Teen Coloma 1st Runner-up. She is the daughter of Cindy and Dave LaGrow. The 14-year-old attends Coloma Jr. High School where she is involved in basketball, band, volleyball and softball. She is a member of the Honor Club and she is a National Representative for the Arthritis Foundation. When asked who inspired her the most, she said her dad because he never gives up and always provides for her family. Her favorite past time is shopping and traveling the world.

The pageant’s theme was “Miss Teen Coloma takes a Road Trip to Hollywood”. During the introductions, each contestant stated where their pit stop would be on their way to Hollywood. The Mistress of Ceremonies was Rochelle Ulleg. Judges were Amy Graham, Cory Knuth and Nikki Deckard. Allana Thomas performed the National Anthem to kick off the contest. The 2017 Miss Coloma contestants and 2016 Miss Coloma Court of Honor also performed during the contest.

Contestants were awarded several gifts for most souvenir buttons, happy ads and tickets sold as well as a new category that was added, most photogenic, which each judge chose. 2017 Teen Sweetie, which was voted by the 16 contestants, went to 13-year-old Jazmin Finch.

Keeler Township passes ordinance to control blight

By Annette Christie

Following the taking of their oath to serve another term as the Keeler Township Board, the board got down to the business of continuing to make their township a better place.  The board reviewed the final version of the Noxious Weed and Uncontrolled Plant Grown Ordinance.  Public Act 359 of 1941 and Public Act 246 of 1945 allows townships to pass the ordinance which is intended to secure the health, safety, and welfare of the people that reside there and protect the agriculture crops and prevent blight.

The ordinance determines that land owners and occupants must keep weeds (determined to be noxious weeds) from reaching 15” or the seed bearing stage.  In addition, uncontrolled plant growth must not exceed a height of 15”.  The ordinance states that the township will publish a notice each spring, and that those in violation of the ordinance will be notified and offered an amount of time to remedy the situation.  If the land owner or occupant does not, the ordinance gives the township the authority to then remedy the situation and to apply the costs associated on the tax bill for the property.  In addition to being billed for property clean up, the property owner could be assessed a fine as well.

There was some discussion amongst the board members with regard to the height that would be allowed.  Ultimately it was the 15” that was selected; however, it is open for review by the board after the first year.

Van Buren County Road Commissioner Rick Boze announced to the township board that he will be representing this area for the next six years as he was recently re-appointed.  Boze represents Keeler, Hamilton, Hartford, and Lawrence townships.  He attends the monthly meetings of all the municipalities he represents.  Keeler Township Supervisor Bill Kays commented, “You come to every one of our meetings and we appreciate that.” Boze replied, “If I’m not here it’s hard to know what’s going on.”

Boze told those in attendance that the Road Commission is busy trimming trees and getting roads ready for snow.  He reminded residents that the Van Buren County Road Commission does not plow on weekends unless there is 4” or more of accumulation, attributed mostly to the lack of personnel.  He assured the residents that the Road Commission does every road in the county when a snowfall occurs.  While they may not be completely clean their goal is to   make it passable first day and then do more detail work like intersections on the second day.

One resident did complain about the road signs that were recently put back in place following the major road project that was just completed.  The resident said some of the signs are crooked or facing the wrong direction.  Kays responded that the Road Commission is aware of it and they are making the contractor that put them back in to straighten them all out before they received their final payment.

Sister Lakes Fire Department responded to 16 runs last month, of which included house fires and ambulance assists in Keeler Township.  Sister Lakes Fire is set up for automatic dispatch for all calls in Keeler Township due to the lack of manpower in Keeler.

Van Buren County Sheriff’s Deputy Ray Hochsprung told the Keeler Township Board that he has been increasing the traffic enforcement, especially on 681 and 687. He said one of the more notable traffic stops was of an individual who was going 46 in a 25 mph zone.   He said that he has made several stops on 687, one was in a construction zone and one was arrested for operating while intoxicated.   Overall, Hochsprung drove 479 miles, had 16 complaints, seven of which were criminal in nature, made 42 traffic stops which resulted in 14 citations and seven misdemeanors.  He made four misdemeanor arrests. Trustee Carmen Fleishchauer asked about the speed limit trailer that the township shares with Silver Creek Township.  Kays said he would reach out to them to have it back in Keeler for a while.

Kays announced that the township closed on the old Keeler Keg property next door.  He said there are five small parcels included in the purchase for $15,000.  Once the snow clears the township will get the property cleaned up.  “This is good for the township for future expansion and parking,” Kays said adding, “It should work out well.”

The township is also working with their attorney to move forward with court action that will authorize them to clean up some eyesores.  Kays described one area as the old Playhouse in Sister Lakes across from the Fire Department.  Kays said they are waiting for the demolition order from the court. Once they receive it the land owners will have so many days to do it and if they don’t the township can do it and put the cost on the property’s tax bill.  In addition, the township is working with the legal system to have three semi-trailers in the township that are being used for storage, removed.  The township’s Zoning Ordinance does not allow semi-trailers for storage.  Thus far, they have been unable to get the violators of the ordinance to remove them.

The board authorized the placement of unpaid utility bills on tax bills.  The Sister Lakes Utility Authority has unpaid quarterly payments, in the amount of $18,954.92.  The list of unpaid bills includes 73 parcels in all.   The ordinance which provides direction to the Sister Lakes Utility Authority describes that the unpaid payments may be put on the tax bills.

The board which had approved a bid in September to have roof work done voted to rescind that action during other business at their Monday night meeting.  They had previously approved a motion to approve Dave & Sons Construction for the replacement roofing on the township hall in the amount of $16,465.  However, when it was time to do the work, the contractor could not meet all the requirements set by the township.  The board will re-visit the work in the spring.

Knights of Columbus blood drive, December 15

 On Thursday, December 15 from noon to 5:45 p.m. the American Red Cross will hold a blood drive at the Knights of Columbus, 7454 Paw Paw Ave. in Watervliet.

Give something that means something. Give the perfect gift, give blood.

To schedule an appointment, log into redcrossblood.org (sponsor code: kofc) or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).