12-29-2016 2017 MISS AND MR. COLOMA CONTESTANTS; Good Grief: Bereavement sharing and education progr

2017 MISS AND MR. COLOMA CONTESTANTS… pictured (from the left) are: Dustin Irerd, Brett Tutton, Zack Heater, Jenna Walter, Allison Beck, Harleigh Unger, Nikki Bryant, Camalin Normandin, Cassidy Fickett, Bailey Evans, Harrison Spaulding, Grant Kroshcel, and Jacob Sharpe. Not pictured is Hannah Strunk. The Coloma Community Or-ganization invites the public to the 2017 Miss and Mr. Coloma pageant on Saturday, January 7 at 6 p.m. at the Coloma High School. The theme is Bedazzle. Tickets purchased in advance are $20.00 each; please call Barb Stroder at 269-468-3731 or Doreen Hess at 269-468-4020. Tickets purchased at the door will be $25.00 each.

Good Grief: Bereavement sharing and education program

 Good Grief is a free program that covers topics such as how to cope with loss, guilt, and regret; why you feel the way you do; and finding a sense of peace. Each seven-week session meets for one and a half hours of meaningful information and sharing.

The next session meets on Mondays from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. beginning January 9 and ending February 20 at Caring Circle, 4025 Health Park Lane in St. Joseph.

For more information, and to find out about other ongoing bereavement programs, call Caring Circle at (269) 429-7100.

Senior Services

Hartford United Methodist Church

425 E. Main St., Hartford

 Monday, January 2, CLOSED

Tuesday, January 3, lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m.; Cardio Drumming, computer help, Euchre/cards, 1:00 p.m.; and knitting, 1:30 p.m.

Friday, January 6, lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m.; Euchre/cards, 1:00 p.m.; and knitting, crocheting & needlework, 1:30 p.m.

All seniors, age 60 and older, residing in Van Buren County are eligible to participate in these programs and activities.

Any questions or comments, please, contact Senior Services Paw Paw office at 269-655-8000. Rides are available through Van Buren Public Transit with no less than 24-hour advance notice at (269) 427-7921.

Hagar residents fed up with AEP outages

By Jon Bisnett

As the final order of business in an otherwise unremarkable meeting, public commentary must have made someone at Indiana & Michigan Power’s ears burn!

The issue stems from what amounts to chronic outages along a specific stretch of M-63 knocking out service to both homes and businesses.

Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio was quite familiar with the issue as his personal residence and place of business are in the “zone.” DiMaggio described the area just up the road from his family restaurant where due to open land on the lake side of M-63, the wind funnels off Lake Michigan with unusual velocity only to affect dead trees near the AEP line running on the east side of the road. “Anytime the power goes out, you know right where the trucks are going to be. Heavy wind or snowfall is all it takes and out we go,” said DiMaggio.

DiMaggio vowed to contact AEP to see if a solution can be found, but at the same time indicated that past attempts seemed to fall on deaf ears.


County Commissioner Bill Smith addressed the Hagar meeting for the final time, as his term ends December 31. Readers may recall that Smith was appointed to fill the remainder of the term vacated by former North Berrien Senior Center Director Robert Wooley. Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio commended Smith for his prompt communications, often hitting more than one meeting on a typical evening.

In his final report Smith was happy to announce that grant funds had been approved at the state level to the tune of $296,000 which will then receive a $296,000 match from the County to create a new Berrien County Park at the former paper mill site on the Paw Paw River in Watervliet.

Bill also told residents that the County Hearing on the controversial Animal Control Ordinance has been postponed indefinitely. He went on to explain that he is thrilled with the new Animal Control Facility and Director Val Grimes, but the proposed ordinance has folks in an uproar. “It’s written in legalize that people like you and me just can’t follow. I consider myself a fairly well-educated man and every time I’ve read through this ordinance, I find another area I don’t understand. The County Commissioners now understand the whole process needs to go back to square one and start over.”

Smith concluded by saying, “It’s been a real pleasure every time I’ve visited Hagar Township. I’m just happy that I’ve been able to contribute my time of service.”

Supervisors Report

Supervisor DiMaggio began by announcing that the Board of Review vacancy has been filled by former Hagar Parks Director Deb Kavanaugh Frank, who will serve along with veteran board members Bill Otte and Owen Daily. DiMaggio is still looking for a couple of alternates. Interested parties should submit their intention in writing to the supervisor.

The two vacancies on the Riverside DDA have been filled by Mike Lynch and Mark Lemoine. Lemoine just recently purchased the KOA Campground.

The DDA has given approval to Wightman & Associates to prepare grant application paperwork for the Township property located at the Paw Paw River along Coloma Road. The application is due no later than April 1 and comes at no additional charge from the Wightman firm.

The project is currently estimated at $460,000 and would provide a non-motorized boat launch, parking, restrooms and a picnic area.

The DDA will hold a special meeting Monday, February 6 at 7:00 p.m. for the sole purpose of a project cost review for the new site. The public is encouraged to attend.

The final item from DiMaggio was the introduction of a resolution in support of regional non-motorized land & water infrastructure. DiMaggio explained the resolution has no associated cost, but simply supports and endorse the efforts of the Paw Paw River cleanup. Izzy hopes to get similar resolutions from other participating communities in reciprocity support of the Hagar canoe launch grant application.

The resolution is as follows:

Be It Resolved that Hagar Township hereby endorses the efforts of communities participating in Michigan’s great Southwest Strategic Leadership Council, Best Practices Committee by recognizing that it is the interest of Hagar Township to realize its individual goals to implement non-motorized infrastructure and to collaborate with other jurisdictions in so doing to multiply and maximize the positive regional impact.

The resolution was approved in a roll call vote with Treasurer Marlene Davis casting the solitary opposing vote.

Treasurer’s Report

Treasurer Davis presented November expenses in the amount of $27,181.29 with nothing remarkable. Unanimous approval followed.

Clerk’s Report

Clerk Ian Haight reported just 11 calls for Pride Care Ambulance with an average response time of 9:45 for the five Priority I calls & 12:15 for the remaining calls in the month of November.

Building Inspector

Butch Kelly reported issuance of five permits totaling $55,800 for the prior month.

Kelley will now turn to the Township attorney to file paperwork on two non-compliant properties located on M-63. The two parcels best known as the former fruit stand and the old AAA building both started out well according to Kelley. But at a point both ceased to make any progress after Kelley made every effort to give them the latitude to complete the site cleanup.

Sheriff’s Department

Deputy Grimm reported on 30 complaints within the Township during the month of October, including six citations and five arrests. Grimm went on to remind citizens that a recent rash of breaking & entering of automobiles has continued along the lakeshore communities well south of the Hagar line. He cautioned residents to remain vigilant since residential breaking and entering typically experience an uptick in the fall as vacationers are leaving their homes empty sometimes for several months.

Fire Report

Supervisor DiMaggio had no report since due to unforeseen circumstances the Fire Board was unable to meet officially in November for lack of a quorum.

However, DiMaggio did have information regarding the Fire Chief search in the Lakeshore commu