Coloma’s Glad-Peach Festival is this weekend

GRAND MARSHAL…Coloma Township Supervisor Ken Par-rigin will be honored at the 2016 Coloma Glad-Peach Fes-tival as the Grand Marshal for Saturday’s parade. He is heavily involved in the community as a resident, business owner, and the Coloma Township Supervi-sor. (Christina Gelder photo)


By Christina Gelder

The Glad-Peach Festival is the work of dozens of volunteers and a labor of love. Love for the community and the people. The committee does their best to keep things interesting and engaging. It is not just an event to hang out at but offers many opportunities to participate and get involved and it will be this weekend, August 5 – 7, 2016.  One of the first opportunities to get involved is the Bake Fest. Entries will be accepted on Friday at DW Hammond Chocolates from noon-1:00 pm. The winners will be announced later from the Leonard Mainstage at 7:30 p.m.  The youth parade is a great chance for the children in the area to showcase themselves. They can decorate bikes, dress up or even just walk along the shorter parade route downtown. The parade starts at 7:00 p.m. on Friday and prizes will be awarded afterwards. To enter, registration takes place near the corner of Washington Street and Paw Paw Street.  Of course the Glad-Peach Run/Walk/Bike events draw the most participants. Hundreds of people flock to Salem Lutheran Church on Saturday morning to sign up for the 5k or 10k of their choice. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. and the events are at staggered times. The largest crowd including the 5k walk and run as well as the 10k run leave at 8:30 a.m. Not up to participating, that’s alright, there are plenty of places to cheer along the route and the racers appreciate the encouragement.  The Family Art Fair is back! It has been a year or two but this longtime favorite has been taken over by a new group of volunteers and will once again be in Laura Baker Park. It is another great chance for kiddos to do something. They will have multiple options for activities which will definitely include tie dye. Find the art fair in the park before and after the big parade. The art fair will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday morning.  The 49th Annual Glad-Peach Parade will be a mid-festival highlight. Parade chairperson, Mary Ann Moser, says that this event “promises to be as good as always; with lots of floats, royalty, antique vehicles of all kinds and a few unusual entries.” If parading through town isn’t your thing there is plenty of curb available to pull up a seat and watch. The parade starts at 1:00 p.m. and will come down Center Street before turning on to Paw Paw Street.  Saturday afternoon offers the Tractor Show, Peach Pit Spit, and Chalk the Street in the downtown area. If you have a tractor you would like to showcase feel free to join the fun and ride through the parade and park in town for a little bit. Chalk the Street gives people of all ages a chance to be creative. They will get free chalk with each entry as well as a chance to win a prize. The winner will be announced from main stage at 7:00 p.m. The Peach Pit Spit is traditionally hosted my Mr. Coloma and his Court. Many of the winners return year after year and they need competition. The contest begins at 2:30 p.m. right past the railroad tracks.  Plenty of performances, music and fireworks will finish up the evening on Saturday. For a complete list of options visit the website at colomapeachfest.com or find a brochure at local businesses.  Early Sunday the Coloma Glad-Peach Car Show will line up on Paw Paw Street. Anyone with a vehicle they would like to display can join by registering between 7:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. at the north end of Paw Paw Street. Entries this year will be provided with lunch for two and a gift. Winners will be announced at 1:30 p.m.  The Kid’s Fun Fair near the Leonard Mainstage will have more fun activities for children. That event runs from 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. It is followed by a Magic Show in Laura Baker Park by John Dudley at 11:30 a.m.  Simultaneously several local churches will be joining forces to host a community worship gathering at the mainstage. That it set to start at 11:00 a.m. and wrap up around 12:30 p.m.  As things wind down for the year there will be a kid’s tractor pull in front of John’s Glass. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. for that and if you want to cheer on the little pullers you should be there by 1:00 p.m. Prizes are awarded for the longest pull in each age group.  That is a good summary of ways to be involved in the events and activities throughout the weekend but it doesn’t begin to list everything. There will be tons of food vendors, chances to shop, music and performances all weekend long. The carnival will be in its normal spot opening Thursday and running through Sunday. The official close of the festival is 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.  The Glad-Peach Board and various committee members are grateful for the support of the local businesses. They understand that without their kind donations this would be impossible to pull off.

Glad-Peach parade Grand Marshal

By Christina Gelder

Following Coloma Mayor Jim Polashak last year, Ken Parrigin, Coloma Charter Township Supervisor has been selected to lead the 49th Annual Glad-Peach Parade as the Grand Marshal. The parade is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 6 and will travel down Center Street and through downtown Coloma on Paw Paw Street.  Parrigin originally came from Arkansas but has lived in the Coloma area since he was 14 years old. He is married to Carol and together they have two grown children and 5 grandchildren. He is also a longtime business owner. His business, Quality Paving is in its 49th season this year.  Parrigin also has a long history of serving the community. He is a member of the Coloma Lion’s Club and has served as Coloma Charter Township Supervisor since 2002. He is a longtime member of Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church and serves on their church council. He is also on the Michigan Supervisor Board where he serves as secretary.  Coloma Township Clerk Sandy Kraemer says that he is a “super guy who is usually willing to help anyone in need”. Coloma parade chairperson, Mary Ann Moser says that Parrigin has helped a lot of people behind the scenes. “We want to thank him”, she said of the decision to make him the Grand Marshal.  “I am honored” said Parrigin “there are so many deserving people; I don’t know why they chose me”. He went on to say that he would not pick any other township to work with. He stated, “The people here are easy to work with and I’m in it for 4 more years.”

Paw Paw Lake Association meets Saturday

The Paw Paw Lake Association will meet on Saturday, August 6 at 9:00 a.m. at the Watervliet Charter Township Hall. Included in the agenda is election of Directors for 2017 – 2019.

CLEANER WATER…A sediment basin had been constructed near M-140 and Hagar Shore Road to keep nutrients collected in the drainage from flowing into Paw Paw Lake and stimulating weed and algae growth.


Paw Paw Lake Foundation  and Association sponsor new  sediment basin

 A new sediment basin is being installed this summer on the Branch and Derby Drain near M140 and Hagar Shore Road, Watervliet.  The project is being jointly funded by the Paw Paw Lake Foundation, the Paw Paw Lake Association, and the Berrien/Van Buren Inter County Drain Board. The Foundation and the Association’s funding support is $30,000.  Overly simplified, a sediment basin is just a large hole in the ground that looks like a large pond. The significant difference is its location, design, accessibility, and depth. Being properly located and designed, the basin will slow down the water flow of the drain allowing many of the nutrient- rich sediments in the drain water to deposit into the basin instead of flowing into Paw Paw Lake. The basin will be cleaned out periodically, removing the settled sediment.  Approval for the project was coordinated by the Foundation with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Berrien/Van Buren Inter-County Drain Board. The project also required an easement from the property owner that was obtained and funded by the Foundation.

Understanding the sediment basin impact

 Nutrients: high levels of nutrients in Paw Paw Lake water cause accelerated weed and algae growth. Nutrients in the lake come from three primary sources: bottom sediments, run off from private property and sediments that run off from agricultural drains. Nutrient reduction of any form is extremely beneficial.  Private Property: most private property nutrient run off comes from the use of lawn fertilizer. The residential use of fertilizers containing phosphorus has virtually been eliminated, reducing the run off concern.  Lake Bottom Sediments: probably the largest contributor to the high level of nutrients in the lake comes from debris that has been settling on the lake bottom for years. Reducing the sediment nutrient load from the lake bottom is difficult and will be a long term project.  Agricultural Drain Sediments: a county drain is just a long dirt ditch that carries land drain water. The biggest single input of drain water into Paw Paw Lake comes from the Branch and Derby Drain. Drain water comes from areas as far north as Covert Township. It travels south through creeks and drains that feed into the Branch and Derby Drain. Drain water is loaded with nutrient- rich sediment carried in the form of soil particles .The amount of sediment in the drain water can be reduced with a sediment basin that collects some of the nutrient- rich sediments before they reach Paw Paw Lake.

Berrien County Ballot Results

By Annette Christie

Dave Vollrath defeated Bill Smith, in the Berrien County Commission District 1 race.  Smith was appointed as the Commissioner for the district in 2015.   Vollrath received 627 votes vs. Smith’s 559.    With no Democrats running for the office, Vollrath will take office January 1, 2017.      District 1 represents Watervliet Charter Township north of I-94, Coloma Charter Township, Coloma City, and Hagar Township.    Commissioner Jon Hinkelman, District 2 Commissioner did not face any opposition.  District 2 represents Watervliet City, the portion of Watervliet Township south of I-94, Bainbridge Township, Berrien Township, Pipestone Township, and the Village of Eau Claire.

Drain Commissioner

Two Republicans were vying for the office of Berrien County Drain Commissioner.   Chris Quattrin defeated Kevin Gillette for that Republican spot.    The remaining elected officials did not face opposition in the August primary including: Prosecutor Mike Sepic, Sheriff Paul Bailey, Clerk Sharon Tyler, Register of Deeds Lori Jarvis, and Treasurer Bret Witkowski.

Millage Renewals

Berrien County voters renewed three millages for another four years.   The County Law Enforcement and Public Safety Millage renewal, 9-1-1 Emergency System renewal, and Senior Center renewal all passed.

Coloma Charter Township

Voters in Coloma Charter Township approved renewals for the Public Safety (451 yes; 120 no) and Road (449 yes; 124 no) millages.  The Coloma Charter Township Board received the following votes: Supervisor Ken Parrigin (394), Clerk Sandy Kraemer (401), Treasurer Jim Fulton (373); and Trustees Bryan Duffield (366), Rob Harper (317), Matt Moser (334), and new to the board, Jerry Willmeng (328).

Watervliet Charter Township

Voters in Watervliet Charter Township renewed all of their millages and voted in a new trustee.    Supervisor Dan Hutchins (285), Clerk Patt Bambrick (268), and Treasurer Tom Scheid (282) faced no opposition on the August 2 ballot.    Eight Republican candidates were vying for four trustee positions on the board.  The votes were tabulated as the following: Bob Wallace (190); Joe Stepich (169); and Joe Matthews (151) were all incumbents. Matt Clay will join the board as the fourth trustee with 148 votes.  Vick Kinzler, the other incumbent received 129 votes while other candidates Glen Giannetti received 143, Kevin Cole received 96, and Richard Quinn received 74.

Voters approved the following millage renewals:

The Police Protective Millage renewal (287 yes; 76 no); the Public Safety Millage renewal (256 yes; 102 no); the Road Millage renewal (267 yes; 95 no); and the Library Services Millage renewal (279 yes; 87 no).

Watervliet City

Voters in the City of Watervliet also voted to renew the Library Services Millage (99 yes; 17 no).

Bainbridge Township

Bill Hodge (309) defeated Dale Kreitner (169) in the race for Bainbridge Township Supervisor.      Bill Hodge resides at 1050 S. Bainbridge Center Road.  He and his wife have two grown children.  Hodge graduated from Valparaiso University with a degree in political science/marketing and has received the Citizen Planner Certificate from Michigan State University.  He is the owner of W.J. Hodge Distributing and is a licensed real estate agent.  Hodge serves on the Berrien County Planning Commission and Road Commission.    Facing challenger Dave Woodward, Trustee incumbents John Yetzke and Don Baiers were able to hang on to their seats.  Yetzke received 326 votes, Baiers received 336, and Woodward received 200.      Clerk Patty Hiler-Molter and Treasurer Nancy Weber did not face any opposition.

Hagar Township

Votes received in Hagar Township were as follows:  Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio (287); Treasurer Marlene Davis (299); Trustees Andrew Ulleg (295) and Beth Raiser (35).     No one filed for the Clerk position that is currently held by Ian Haight.

State Representative 79th District

Bainbridge Township resident Kim LaSata claimed the Republican spot for State Representative for the 79th District.  She will face Democrat Marletta Seats in the November general election.

Van Buren Ballot results

By Annette Christie

Daniel Abbott claimed the Republican seat for Van Buren County Sheriff.  He will face off with Democrat Robert Overheul in November.  There were four candidates seeking the Republican seat, which is being vacated with the retirement of Van Buren County Sheriff Dale Gribler.     Abbott is a Road Patrol Sergeant with the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office.  He is a lifelong resident of Van Buren County and Graduated from Ferris State University with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice.   He started his police career with the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office in 1993 as a corrections officer.  In 1995, he became a road patrol deputy before being promoted to Sergeant in 2011.   Abbott and his wife life in Bangor and have three children and three grandchildren.  They are active members in the Life Bridge Church of South Haven.  He has also received training in several disciplines.   The remaining Van Buren County elected officials did not face opposition in the August primary.  That includes Prosecutor Michael Bedford, Treasurer Karen Makay, Register of Deeds Paul DeYoung, Drain Commission Joe Parman and Surveyor Donald Gilchrist.  Chief Deputy Clerk Suzie Roehm ran for the Clerk position.   Van Buren County Commissioner for District 4, Richard Freestone, did not face any opposition in August.  District 4 makes up Bangor, Hartford, and Keeler Townships.

Millage Renewals

Voters in Van Buren County renewed two millages, one for roads (7274 yes; 2832 no) and one for the Conservation District (5568 yes; 4451 no).   The County-wide Road Millage is for four years and is for .976 mills. It will bring in approximately $3.09 million annually.   The Conservation District Millage is for one tenth of a mill.  It is also for four years and raises approximately $300,000 annually to support the activities of the Van Buren Conservation District.

Judge of the 7th District Court

Van Buren County Seventh District Court Judge Robert Hentchel is not seeking another term and therefore, a vacancy has occurred on the bench.    The top vote getters are moving on to the November general election. Voters on Tuesday selected Mike McKay (5,095) as the top candidate followed by Cirilo Martinez (3,614). The third candidate was Nichole Dunfield Hameed with 627 votes.   McKay is currently an Assistant Prosecutor with Van Buren County.   Martinez owns a private practice.

Hartford Public Schools Operating Millage renewal

Hartford Public School District voters approved a renewal of the 18 mill operating millage for a period of five years.  The votes, 419 yes and 283 no, mean that the district will continue to levy 18 mills, raising approximately $729,589 in the first year.  This is on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, and is required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance.

Keeler Township

Keeler Township voters opted to keep their Board the same for the next four year.   Trustee incumbents Tom Landis and Carmen Fleischauer were they only two facing challengers.   Robin Gulliver and James Willard challenged them for the trustee positions.    Township Supervisor Bill Kays, Treasurer Barbara Fisher, and Clerk Carl Davis faced no opposition.

Hartford Township

Hartford Township residents opted to change the person in the position of treasurer for the upcoming term.  Steve Starner defeated Vanessa Wilmoth.  She has been in the position since 2005.      Starner resides at 66561 CR 372. He is the chairman of the Regional Fire Board and is a farmer by trade.  He has four children and was a former school board member.    Supervisor Ron Sefcik, Clerk Julie Sweet, and Trustees Kurt Dowd and John McLellan were all unopposed for the August trustees.

State Representative 66th District

Beth Griffin, Republican and Annie Brown, Democrat will face off in the November general election for the State Representative for the 66th District seat.

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