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12-31-2020 Stepich formally resigns as Watervliet Township Trustee; Happy 1st Anniversary Abby &#038

THIS KUTE KID IS… 4-month-old Theo Grey Schwerdt in his Christmas jammies. His proud parents are Tyler and Madison Schwerdt of Watervliet. Theo’s grandparents are Ted & Melanie Marvin and Mike & Kelly Schwerdt, all of Watervliet.

Stepich formally resigns as Watervliet Township trustee, opening position for Colleen Curtis

By Joshua Coffin

The Watervliet Charter Township Board met for their regular meeting on Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 held as a teleconference via Zoom. The board was challenged with a few technical difficulties, but eventually overcame them for great township discussion. The meeting was led by the recently appointed township supervisor, Joe Stepich.

Board appointments approved

Township Supervisor Joe Stepich brought a list of recommendations for board candidate appointments for the coming years. Candidate recommendations included: Deanna Heminger, Linda Rizzo, Colleen Curtis, and Deane Fizzell for the Board of Review; Karl Bayer for the Fire Board; Joe Pater for the Paw Paw Lake Improvement Special Assessment District; Carl Spessard for the Paw Paw Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant Joint Board; Joe Stepich and Louis Nordell for the Planning Commission; Deanna Heminger and Deane Fizzell for the Zoning Board of Appeals. The township board unanimously approved the recommended appointments to the various boards at the meeting.

Trustee resignation and replacement

Joe Stepich officially resigned from his position as a trustee for the township at the Monday meeting. This was done in accordance to his recent appointment to supervisor. There were three people interested in the open seat, Colleen Curtis, Rich Quinn, and Deane Fizzell. Township Supervisor Stepich recommended Colleen Curtis to fill the position. “In lieu of the fact that Colleen has been closely involved with the township in several different ways … I think she has a background and experience and will bring some fresh ideas to the board. I think she’d be an excellent trustee,” he said.

The township board approved the appointment of Colleen Curtis to the township trustee position.

Industrial Drive easement

The board adopted a resolution regarding Industrial Drive. Because the township owns the property, the Berrien County Road Department needed an easement signing right of way for them to take care and maintain the road. This easement includes the intersection of Industrial Drive and Red Arrow Highway and will continue all the way to the cul-de-sac. The board fully supported and approved the easement.

County Designated Assessor

For municipalities in the county, should there be conflict requiring an assessor, a recent order states there should be an appointed county designated assessor. The Berrien County Assessors Association recommended John Baumann as the designated assessor. The board approved the support of Baumann to be the county assessor. With this approval, the Watervliet Charter Township officially approves Baumann for this position.

Closed for the Holidays

In the coming days, the Watervliet township offices will be closed December 24 and 25 for Christmas. They will also be closed on December 31 and January 1 for New Years.


The board approved the general ledger account of $2,269,242.33 and CD and Money Markets with $341,156.89 for a total of $2,610,399.22 for the township. Bills for the month of November were also approved with general bills at $95,714.90 and payroll at $22,407.98 for a total of $118,122.88.

HAPPY 1ST ANNIVERSARY … Eric Kibler of Watervliet married his bride Abby Grajek of Northville, MI on January 3, 2020 in the city they love. They were united in marriage at the historic Basilica of Ste. Anne de Detroit near the base of the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit. Eric and Abby were blessed to be able to celebrate their wedding and reception in the presence of family and friends. The young couple resides in their new home overlooking center right field of the old Tiger Stadium at Michigan and Trumbull.

POTUS signs COVID Relief Bill at 11th Hour; Michigan cases trending down in December

By Jon Bisnett

Late Sunday afternoon, President Donald Trump signed the bi-partisan COVID Relief bill into law. The week-long sticking point was over the direct stimulus payment of only $600. Trump insisted on a payment of $2,000 per person, $4,000 for a couple.

The bill, laden with global pork-barrel funding also avoids a government shutdown.

The $900 billion COVID Relief bill includes a $300 enhancement to the federal unemployment benefit, extending eviction moratoriums for renters and a $600 direct stimulus payment to most Americans with incomes under $75,000.

Also included is a package of subsidies for businesses and funding for schools, health care providers, $20 billion to small business grants and $15 billion to live event venues. The measure increased funding for vaccine distribution and coronavirus testing. It also provided $13 billion in increased benefits for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

On Monday evening the House of Representatives voted to approve an increase of the direct stimulus payment to the $2,000 amount the President suggested. The amendment now goes to the Senate for consideration.

Forward movement on vaccines

Over two million Americans have now received the COVID vaccine, far short of the Operation Warp Speed target of 20 million by the end of the year. Officials expect to increase efficiency of distribution as more injection sites are added.

Michigan will receive over 170 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, which like the Pfizer product approved and mobilized last week requires a second injection 30 days after the initial receipt of the drug. The Moderna product does not require the extreme refrigeration required for the Pfizer vaccine.

During the current first phase of vaccinations the focus is front-line workers and nursing home residents. Health officials predict that availability to the general public could be sometime in May or June.

Numbers are down in Michigan

Michigan’s rate of new COVID-19 cases has been dropping over the last month. Nationally the east and west coasts are surging significantly, particularly in California’s Los Angeles County where hospitals are at 100 percent capacity.

Last week, Michigan reported its lowest weekly new case total of 28,072 since October 31. The post-Thanksgiving wave of predicted new cases proved to be minimal.

Health officials across the country now are bracing for yet another possible surge in new cases following the Christmas holiday. Please continue to follow the CDC, Dr. Fauci and health department officials’ best practices of the “3 Ws”. Wash your hands, Watch your distance and Wear a mask.

Health officials continue to remind that standard time-proven immunizations including influenza, shingles and pneumococcal pneumonia are readily available, safe and even more important during the pandemic. See your pharmacist or family physician.

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