12-14-2017 Work continues on Watervliet District Library’s Garden Park; Bob Clark addresses Paw Paw

Work continues on Watervliet District Library’s Garden Park

 Initial planning for the park’s renovation began in 2014. The Library Board began bringing to life their long hoped for renovation of the Library’s park property at 333 Main.

Utilizing the Library’s educational outreach potential, the project objectives were to create a public garden to enhance the well-being of the community and bring awareness to the importance of green space in urban environments. With these goals in mind, the garden was designed to promote environmentally responsible gardening practices that support essential pollinator habitats.

A three-phase plan for the garden developed for specific improvements and the Board began fund raising.

The first phase of the project was completed as scheduled in 2016. Included in this phase were tree removal and site preparation, electrical & plumbing upgrades, new signage, Legacy Walk, plant installation and irrigation.

Work continues on Phase 2 of the project which includes a garden pergola, granite benches for seating in the garden and interpretive signage. The grant application for Phase 2, “Taking the Library Outside,” was submitted to the Fredrick S. Upton Foundation in March 2017 and awarded to the Library towards completion of this phase.

Partnering with Trident Dock & Dredge of Watervliet to design, construct and contribute funding, the garden’s pergola was constructed this fall. Granite garden benches were also installed with grant monies and a contribution from Culby’s Landscape Supply of Benton Township.

As the garden continues to mature, the Library welcomes everyone to enjoy the park and its beauty in all four seasons! Fund raising continues for Phase 3 which will include landscape lighting and garden art.

On behalf of the Library Board and staff, sincere thanks to the following generous donors. Fredrick S. Upton Foundation, Trident Dock & Dredge, Watervliet DDA, Culby’s Landscape Supply and all supporters who have purchased Legacy Bricks and made private donations have made these projects possible.

The Library continues to sell bricks for the Legacy Walk supporting the next phase and future improvements. Legacy Walk forms are available at the Library; Legacy Bricks make great commemorative gifts!

The Library Park Legacy Walk may be covered in snow, but many bricks are waiting for spring and new inscriptions. Those looking for local opportunities to honor a memory can consider the Watervliet District Library’s brick inscription program.

The brick project was implemented as part of the Library Park renovation plans, as a means to honor local businesses, institutions, individuals and memories.

For a donation of $75 members of the public can purchase an engraved brick “in honor of” or “in memory of” a special person or group.

Contact the library at 269-463-6382 or info@wdlib.org for more information.

Bob Clark addresses Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club on bout with polio

 Bob Clark is a polio survivor and was a guest speaker at the Paw Paw Lake Rotary Club.

Clark gave a firsthand account of his experience with this disease. Clark grew up in Niles, and in 1954 at the age of 17 he was abruptly overcome by this terrible disease. He said he spent the morning riding his ponies and then came home to help the family in the garden. As he walked to the garden he became very weak and lay down on the ground. His father asked him what was wrong. He told him he didn’t feel well.

His father told him to go to the house and go to bed. Clark said he was so weak he didn’t think he could make it. His father knew the symptoms of polio and rushed him to the hospital in Niles. He remembers being given a spinal tap and being taken to the Children’s Hospital in South Bend. He said he was “out of it.” Mentally he has no recollection of being in the hospital or for how long he had been there until he woke up. He said he woke as suddenly as he was overtaken by the disease. He woke and started walking down the hall. The nurses were shocked to see him. He spent another week in the hospital and went home.

He says he is very fortunate because he didn’t have any real side effects from the disease other than his one leg is a bit shorter than the other. While in the hospital he saw kids in iron lungs. One of Clark’s friends was infected and became paralyzed from the waist down.

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease. It is caused by the poliovirus. The virus spreads from person to person and can invade an infected person’s brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis.

Polio can result in permanent disability. Polio can also cause death, usually by paralyzing the muscles used for breathing.

It paralyzed and killed thousands of people every year before the polio vaccine was introduced in 1955. There is no cure for polio infection, but it can be prevented by vaccination.

Poliovirus can be transmitted through contaminated water and food or through direct contact with someone infected with the virus. Polio is so contagious that anyone living with a recently infected person is likely to become infected, too. People carrying the poliovirus can spread the virus for weeks in their feces.

Since 1986 the eradicating of the polio virus has been a focus of Rotary International with support of local clubs worldwide. Through those efforts and more recently with support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation the polio virus is now active in only two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Rotary is determined to bring those countries into the fold of polio free nations as well.

Paw Paw Lake Rotary meets Wednesday’s at 12 noon at Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet.

Hagar Township ends 2017 with a positive note

By Jon Bisnett

Hagar Township Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio began the final township board meeting of 2017 on December 11 by sharing his enthusiasm on all the positive events taking place within the township into the new year.

With an approval of the joint DDA recreational grant application, Hagar will add a new venue to its parks system capitalizing on the recent popularity of kayaking and the renewed interest in cleaning up the Paw Paw River.

In addition Family Dollar construction is in high gear working seven days a week to get the store open before the end of the year. Plus yet another new business is on the horizon for next summer.


County Commissioner Dave Vollrath announced the Berrien Commissioners will host their final meeting of 2017 at the Galien Fire Department on December 21.

Commissioner Vollrath reports the Berrien County Jail Intake Upgrade is going well and on schedule. The transition to integrate the Berrien County Road Commission as a department of the County is well underway. Citizens of Berrien may now place service requests concerning the road commission online by simply visiting www.berriencounty.org.

Supervisor’s Report

Supervisor DiMaggio began by thanking Mike Lynch along with Dale and Marlene Davis for the holiday decorating at the hall and in town.

DiMaggio cited a recent attempt by Watervliet Township to sell public land in the form of a small public park on Paw Paw Lake to illustrate his opinion which agrees with that of counsel, on the need for transparency in the sale of the Townships three unbuildable lots located at 5611 Ontario and 5931 Harding. This led to a circular discussion that ended without any result.

The board also failed to find a mutual understanding of budget amendments recommended by Supervisor DiMaggio in the wake of a letter from the State of Michigan regarding best practices of the township budget procedures of approval prior to exceeding line item expenditures.

Clerks Report

Clerk Sarah Cook reported on activity with Pride Care Ambulance with 17 calls in November. Five Priority I calls with the average response time of 08:52 minutes, nine Priority II calls with a time of 14:08 minutes and three Priority III calls averaging 9:11 minutes accounted for the monthly activity in Hagar Township.

Treasurers Report

Marlene Davis reported November expenses for the township were in the amount of $58,975.05 with notable charges of $3,186 as many residents chose to take advantage of the townships free landfill pass.

North Berrien Joint Fire Report

Supervisor DiMaggio reported NBJFD had 15 calls in the month of November including five in Hagar, six in Coloma Township and three in the city of Coloma. The new 2018 budget should be ready for approval in the next 60 days.

Parks Department

Parks Director Beth Raiser reports operations for the year are now closed-down. Beaches are non-existent due to high water levels. Raiser expressed concern that some type of warning should be placed at the top of the stairs at Hagar Park. An opinion will be sought from the Township attorney.

Building Inspector

Butch Kelley reported four permits for $24,500. It has been several months since Kelley reported on any non-conforming properties he has taken action upon; come spring the township clean-up will continue.

New business

A $4,000 bid by A&A Tree Service to remove ailing Cedars from Lakeshore Cemetery was awarded with unanimous approval, while Sarah Cook’s attempt to get an amendment to move $500 from Township Hall to Parks & Recreation before the bid award resulted in “no” vote from Treasurer Davis.

Trustee Andy Ulleg presented a pending rezoning request for a mixed use parcel on North M-63 at the site of the former fruit stand near the intersection of Hagar Shore Road. The new owner Mary Amadeo plans to open a full service bistro on the two adjacent properties which is currently zoned half commercial and half residential. The board gave unanimous approval to the request in a roll vote.

Having no other business DiMaggio then adjourned the board at 8:41 p.m. wishing all a blessed holiday, with the next regular monthly meeting of the Township Board to be held 7:00 p.m. Monday, January 8, 2018.


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