12-26-2019 School News & Calendars; County Parks Plan approved; includes expansion and improve

HARTFORD HIGH SCHOOL… “Students of the Week” for December 16 – 20, 2019 are: (from the left) 9th Grade – Addisyn Smith, student of Matt & Anne Smith; 10th Grade – Tanner Kinchen, student of Jessie & Stacey Kinchen; 11th Grade – Emilie Fillmore, student of Juan & Carmela Fillmore; 12th Grade – Darius Webb, student of Cynthia Conley. Congratulations to these “Students of the Week” and keep up the great work!


County Parks Plan approved; includes expansion and improvements for Paw Paw River County Park

By Annette Christie The Berrien County Board of Commissioners gave their stamp of approval to the newly updated 5-year Parks and Recreation Plan for 2020 – 2024. Berrien County Parks & Recreation Director Brian Bailey presented the plan at a public hearing earlier this month. The Berrien County Parks & Recreation System includes Galien River in New Buffalo; Silver Beach in St. Joseph; Rocky Gap in Benton Harbor; Love Creek in Berrien Center; Historic Courthouse Square in Berrien Springs; Madeline Bertrand in Niles; and Paw Paw River County Park in Watervliet. Several public meetings were held to solicit ideas and gain comments for the development of all goals. The draft plan was available in the public libraries of New Buffalo and Watervliet and was posted on the County website. Of the discussions, improvements to Paw Paw River County Park were suggested including adding a picnic pavilion near the canoe launch, expanded parking lot, vault restrooms, asphalt parking lot, and a playground. The future for the Paw Paw River County Park includes the acquisition of the Enders property. It is expected to add vault toilets, in 2022; permeable parking area and asphalt drive; 2023 bridge to the island, connecting it to the County Park – small picnic shelter near kayak launch with two picnic tables and trash receptacles; acquire 35 additional acres; 2024 underground sprinkler system. Bailey said this of Paw Paw River County Park, “While this park is considered new as it was built in 2018, maintenance remains a high priority for visitor experience. Continued investment in maintenance of infrastructure is a priority for safety, security and the quality of visitor experience. Acquisition of 63 acres of property adjacent to the park across from the island in the park is a priority. Once it is acquired, a bridge connecting the park will allow access over the river. Hard surface trails and overlook decks on the river will provide for fishing and wildlife viewing. Expanding the parking area along with asphalting permeable pavers of parking areas will enhance the visitor experience. The park master plan calls for a picnic shelter, fish cleaning stations, a bait and tackle concession, spray-ground playground, vault restrooms, and modern restrooms. Just last week, the Berrien County Parks Department announced that their grant application for funds to assist with the purchase of the 63-plus acres adjacent to Paw Paw River County Park was recommended by the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. The acquisition will make more river frontage accessible to the public. With the Governor’s approval, they will be awarded $80,000. The remainder of the purchase price will be paid for with local matching funds. They are hopeful that they can take possession of the property in the summer of 2020.

Winners announced in Watervliet’s Best Lighted House Contest

By Annette Christie The holiday light decorating contest, held annually during the Hometown Christmas Celebration, has determined the winners. The winner of the competition is Sara Corbin, 2638 N. Countyline Road. Her prize was $100 cash. The second place winner is Sara Duris, 530 Paw Paw Ave., Watervliet. She is the winner of a $50 B&B Discount Grocery gift card. Third place winner is Renee Rogalski at 225 Silver Terrace. Rogalski won a $25 DiMaggio’s Gift Certificate. Residents in both the city and township of Watervliet may enter the competition. Voting was completed via social media on the Facebook group page. There were a total of four entries this year.

Lakeland offers free blood pressure screenings, health coaching

Community members are invited to visit an upcoming Neighborhood-Based Health Home on Thursday, Jan. 9 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Catholic Community Center, Benton Harbor. Free blood pressure screenings will be offered during the event. A clinical educator will be on-site for personal health coaching sessions. Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to meet with a Lakeland resident physician and participate in discussion about key medical topics. Walk-ins are welcome. For more information, call 269-556-2808.

2020 DNR Recreation Grant Workshops

Grant workshops for the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, Land and Water Conservation Fund and Recreation Passport Grant programs will be offered across the state in January. Interested applicants are encouraged to attend a workshop in person or register for one of the webinars. Eligible grant applicants include state and local units of government and regional recreation authorities. Applications for outdoor public recreation development and acquisition projects are due April 1, 2020. For more information about eligibility and details about each program, please visit Michigan.gov/DNRGrants. Workshops are free to attend, and all are welcome! No pre-registration is necessary for in-person workshops. The nearest workshop to the Tri-City Area is on Thursday, Jan. 16, from 1 to 4 p.m. at Delta Hotel by Marriott, 2747 South 11th Street in Kalamazoo. The webinar requires pre-registration to join and will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 22. A scoring session is from 10 a.m. to noon and the standard workshop session is 1-3 p.m. Call 517-284-7268 for more information.

Bones in Balance classes helps individuals with osteoporosis

Lakeland Orthopedic Physical Therapy is now enrolling participants for Bones in Balance, a four-week program designed to teach those diagnosed with osteoporosis and osteopenia how to successfully live with these conditions through self-management. Bones in Balance incorporates education and exercise and is led by specially trained physical therapists. The program includes valuable self-management tips from a pharmacist, registered dietitian, and nurse educator. Classes meet twice a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a four-week period at the Center for Outpatient Services, located at 3900 Hollywood Road in St. Joseph. Registration is now open for the next set of classes which will run from January 7 to 30 and be held at 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. or 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Osteoporosis is a debilitating disease that affects over 44 million Americans, and although both men and women can develop the disease, over 80 percent of sufferers are women over the age of 45. Osteoporosis is commonly referred to as “the silent disease,” because bone loss occurs without any visible symptoms at first. Many people don’t realize they have osteoporosis until their bones are so weak that the smallest strain or fall causes a bone to fracture. A physician’s order is required to participate. There is a $25 registration fee to cover the cost of materials; the remaining amount is billable to your insurance. For more information or to register, call 269-556-7150.

Community Calendar


Now thru Jan. 5 “WINTER BREAK SCAVENGER HUNT” at Sarett Nature Center, 2300 Benton Center Rd., Benton Harbor. Stop at the front desk for details.

Sunday, Dec. 29, 10:30 a.m. “SPECIAL WORSHIP SERVICE” at Watervliet Free Methodist Church, 7734 Paw Paw Ave., by Christian Motorcyclists Association. Public invited.

Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020, 1 p.m. “LIFE BY CANDLELIGHT” free children’s program at North Berrien Historical Museum, 300 Coloma Ave., Coloma for ages 6-12. No RSVP required.

Saturday, Jan. 4 “MISS COLOMA PAGEANT” Sunday, Jan. 12, 3 p.m. “MISS WATERVLIET PAGEANT” at Watervliet High School Auditorium. For more information on purchasing tickets to the event or becoming a supporter of the 2020 pageant, please contact the Watervliet Pageant Organization through their WPO email at watervlietpo@gmail.com.

Saturday, Feb. 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. “INDOOR SHOP HOP” hosted by Sweet Charity Sewing Group at St. John’s United Church of Christ, 601 Sycamore St., Niles. Quilting related items for sale from Indiana, Illinois & Michigan vendors. Raffle tickets with paid $5 admission and food by Brew Ha Ha of Niles.

Saturday, Apr. 25, 2020 6 p.m. “SCHOLARSHIP PAGEANTS” for Mrs., Ms., Miss and Miss Teen Southwest Michigan at Bridgman High School Auditorium. Visit www.misssouthwestmichigan.org for more information. August 17-22, 2020 “BERRIEN COUNTY YOUTH FAIR” celebrating 75 years with the theme “Diamonds are Fair-ever”

Tuesdays 1-5 p.m. “SOCIAL WORK INTERN” at Watervliet District Library, 333 N. Main St. provides assistance with educational opportunities, employment assistance, emergency services, family matters and any other issues that people may need help with. The intern does not give legal advice nor do they counsel people, but they can refer them to agencies that provide these services.

Stabenow announces job training and Great Lakes funding wins for Michigan in federal budget bill

(Press Release) U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow has announced that the Fiscal Year 2020 budget bill will help Michigan’s economy by expanding job training programs and protecting the Great Lakes. The U.S. Senate passed the year-end bill and it now heads to the President’s desk to be signed. “This budget bill has important wins that will help grow our economy in Michigan. I’ve heard from so many businesses who are ready to hire if they can find workers with the skills they need. This bill will increase investment in job training programs that help workers quickly gain skills for in demand jobs,” said Senator Stabenow. “For the first time in nearly a decade, this budget bill also increases funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. It also increases funding to modernize the Soo Locks, and to combat Asian carp and other invasive species.” The bill invests $40 million in a new grant program to help community colleges create and improve training programs for in-demand industries, such as manufacturing, information technology, health care, energy, and others. In Michigan, a lack of skilled workers leaves many jobs unfilled. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, the skills gap will leave an estimated 2.4 million positions unfilled by 2028. Funds from this new program will provide workers opportunities in training programs that lead to high-skilled, good-paying jobs. The bill increases funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative for the first time in nine years—a seven percent increase to $320 million for next year. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is critical to cleaning up the Great Lakes, beaches, and waterways, and fighting invasive species like Asian carp. The bill also invests $125 million into the Soo Locks modernization project and invests $25 million to combat Asian carp and other invasive species.

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