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12-3-2020 Coloma Author releases 73rd Novel; Hartford Public Library dedicates Pokagon Children’s

THIS KUTE KID IS… Kenzie Soo-Youn Bannen, who will celebrate her 4th birthday on Sunday, December 6. She is the daughter of Dr. Todd and Theresa (“Tree”) Bannen of Chicago, IL; and the granddaughter of Ken and Bonnie Bannen of Watervliet and Dr. Hi and Soo Song of St. Claire Shores, MI. Kenzie loves playing with her dolls and attending her preschool and doing lots of art projects. Happy Birthday Kenzie!!

Coloma author Rosanne Bittner releases 73rd published novel

Coloma author Rosanne Bittner has added the third book to her “Men of the Outlaw Trail” trilogy. The story is titled Journey to High Lonesome and will be released by Amazon December 5, just in time for Christmas presents. The first two titles, Ride the High Lonesome and Lawman in the High Lonesome, are available on, and locally at Back on the Rack in Watervliet and Linda’s Antiques and Harding’s Friendly Market in Coloma. The new book will also be available at the same outlets after December 5.

All three books of the Outlaw Trail trilogy are individual stories that can be read in any order. Rosanne plans more “High Lonesome” stories in the future. Journey to High Lonesome is her 73rd published novel. She is a USA-TODAY best-selling author and has won numerous writing awards.

Rosanne writes primarily about American history, especially America’s Old West, using well-researched events and locations for her fictitious stories, with characters so believable that some readers have asked if they really existed. Rosanne’s stories are also known for their high emotion and realistic adventure and romance.

Rosanne is a member of several historical societies and has traveled the West extensively with her husband, Larry. She and Larry are graduates of Coloma High School, as are their sons and grandsons. Because of COVID-19, Rosanne has no book signings planned for Journey to High Lonesome. She wishes everyone good health and Happy Holidays. She plans to get back to personal signings sometime next year.

THE YEAR WAS 1965… Local couple, Charlie and Sharon Watts celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary COVID-19 style complete with masks. They say, “Mask up Michigan and God Bless America!”

Hartford Public Library dedicates Pokagon Children’s Learning Center

Space greatly enhances resources for children’s learning

Earlier this year, the Hartford community celebrated the grand opening of the new Vanderlyn Community Center and Hartford Public Library facility located at 12 Church Street in Hartford. On Sunday, Nov. 20, 2020 the Pokagon Children’s Learning Center within the Library was dedicated to recognize the strong relationship between the community and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. While the in-person dedication event was canceled due to concerns related to COVID-19, several leaders within the organizations that made the project possible took time to reflect on the significance of this new space.

“The Pokagon Band has strong roots in the Hartford community and our connection to the area is built on well-established connections and friendships,” said the Pokagon Band’s Director of Language and Culture Marcus Winchester. “This learning center demonstrates the fact that this legacy continues to this day.”

At nearly 1,000 square feet, the center includes the latest early literacy computer resources, fiction and non-fiction children’s books in an easy-to-access display, a children’s play table consisting of early literacy programs where – when normal operations resume – 1 to 6 children will be able to work at one time or children and parents can work together. “This space is a reflection of the Library’s commitment to enhance the services it provides to people of all ages,” said Stephanie Daniels, Hartford Library Director. “This new space is a vast improvement over our previous facilities. Our children’s programming, early learning activities, summer programs, and many other library offerings can be provided in a safe, clean, area that will open up many new learning and literacy opportunities to area children.”

The learning center was made possible, in part, by a grant from The Pokagon Fund to the Hartford Library. The Pokagon Fund is a nonprofit private foundation supported by revenue from The Four Winds Casino Resort in New Buffalo, MI. The fund’s mission is to enhance the lives of the residents in Hartford and other select communities through the financial support of initiatives that address education, poverty reduction, and community vitality.

“The Pokagon Fund is proud to have made a contribution that will have a lasting impact in the Hartford area for several generations,” said The Pokagon Fund Executive Director Dan Petersen. “Think of the thousands of children whose minds will be expanded and enriched through the facilities that we are celebrating today.”

Those wishing to learn more about the all of the programming and resources that are available through the Hartford Public Library should access its website at or by calling its new phone number (269) 588-5103.

Watervliet’s audits, projects, and ordinances at the attention of the City Commission

By Joshua Coffin

The Watervliet City Commission met for their regular business meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020. The meeting was held as a teleconference in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and was led by Mayor David Brinker and City Manager Tyler Dotson.

Audit review

Aaron Stevens of Maner Costerisan presented thorough information regarding the city’s audit review at the Monday meeting. Most notably, as part of the sewer portion of the audit, the city’s net position reportedly went down $37,000 from last year. However, it had been budgeted to lose more than that amount, so it came as an overall win. The city is planning and working to mitigate the inflow and infiltration of groundwater and storm water into the sewer systems, so a loss in some form was expected.

City Manager Tyler Dotson noted a few reasons that the water fund balance has been built up over the past year. “We have plans for that money, so we don’t want the commission or the public to think that we’re hoarding money.” Projects like the current South Watervliet Drain Project are to be paid with that fund. The commission has been strategic in their spending while being aware there are various infrastructure projects in the future for which the money will be used as well.

South Watervliet Drain Project

The South Watervliet Drain Project is progressing well, with completed installations of storm sewer, concrete curb and gutters, all driveway culverts, as well as other improvements on Lucinda Lane. Most visually, the road has also been paved. The pavement process happened just a day before our first snow. Lucinda is currently closed to traffic, though it is set to be opened back up during the week of Dec. 14.

Elm Street Improvements

The plans for the Elm Street Improvements Project includes new water mains from North Pleasant Street to First Street, replacing lead and/or galvanized water service material, new sidewalks, and a reconstructed roadway. Thirteen trees on the north side of the street that interfere with the line of improvements will also be removed. Dotson said, “In terms of really maximizing the potential of the project, as it relates to the look, the aesthetics, the quality of life within the neighborhood … We wanted to make sure … it was a complete project.” The current estimated construction cost is $566,000.

Plumbing inspections

Two phases of plumbing inspections are in order. Phase one included homes near the South Watervliet Drain Project. Out of the total 73 phase one homes, 44 of those homes have been already inspected. Phase two of the inspections is a bit larger and pertains to homes in and adjacent to the proposed Old Town Drainage Project, from Division Street to just south of Paw Paw River. There are 185 homes and buildings in the area to be inspected, 91 of them have yet to schedule a plumbing inspection. Those 91 homes have been contacted twice, and are encouraged to contact city hall to schedule their plumbing inspection.

City-wide Asset Improvement Project

The improvements include drinking water, wastewater, and the storm sewer system. From applying for funding programs to designing and construction, the project is massive for Watervliet. As the name implies it affects the whole city and plans to improve residents’ quality of life in Watervliet. The project is estimated to cost $9,530,000 for all steps. The next steps for the project include beginning the funding application process and utilizing the information gathered from the plumbing inspections to refine the project plans.

Ordinance approvals

With a fairly straightforward ordinance, the city commission approved Indiana Michigan Power Company to continue to work, construct, build, and maintain the needs of the city. The ordinance continues the company and city’s continental connection.

The commission also approved an updated ordinance that allows Tri City Village to continue to operate as they have. The revenue terms remain unchanged for the city, collecting 4.5% of annual rent collected. The updated ordinance allows Van Fox of Tri City Village to build substantial improvements both internal and external.

These ordinances will come into effect on December 21, 2020.

City Manager Report

Water bills have been mailed out and the city will be looking to continue the quarterly billing schedule.

Tyler Dotson will be contacting Commissioner Duane Cobb for a personnel committee meeting regarding the vacant city clerk position.

Police Sergeant Josh Allen submitted his letter of resignation and his last day will be January 1, 2021. The commission wished him well. Chief Sutherland recently hired patrolman Jacob Byrd of Petoskey, MI, who has begun his training.

Veterans Park additions will begin next week. The park will receive a brand new flagpole and the flagpole currently in the park will be moved to city hall.


The city commission approved invoices and expenditures for the month of October for accounts payable at $67,046.56 and payroll related spending at $47,908.21 for a total payment of $114,954.77 for the city.



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