Pfizer vaccine rollout ships 2.9 million doses against COVID-19; Hartford Twp. clarifies and adopts

Pfizer vaccine rollout ships 2.9 million doses against COVID-19

By Jon Bisnett

The eyes of the nation first watched the Federal Food and Drug Administration grant Emergency Approval for the Pfizer vaccine last Friday. Pfizer facilities in Portage made final preparations of shipments of the vaccine which began hitting the road early Sunday morning under escort of Federal Marshalls.

Using state of the art packaging and temperature monitoring, the drug is ground-transported by UPS and FedEx to the east and west portions of the nation respectively, all while maintaining the 90-degrees below zero requirement necessary to sustain the product. A network of over 100 specially equipped hospitals will store and perform the injections. The initial roll-out will consist of some 2.9 million doses. As per recommendation of the CDC, the vaccine will first go to those health care workers on the front lines and all first responders. Next will be those in congregate living environments and other high-risk individuals followed by the general public.

Health officials are adamant to say it is more important than ever to maintain sanitary practices and wear a mask. Since despite the vaccine’s availability, it is estimated that most Americans will not receive their first injection until May of 2021. It takes two injections and roughly 30 days to become fully effective.

The pause in Michigan continues including Hartford, Watervliet and Coloma

On Monday, Dec. 7, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced a 12-day extension to the COVID-19 pause by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services until Dec. 20, this coming Sunday. So now Michiganders turn their eyes back to the Capital in Lansing as to what will come next as Christmas week lays in the balance.

Health officials continue to reinforce the fact that standard time-proven immunizations such as influenza, shingles and pneumococcal pneumonia are readily available, safe and even more important during the pandemic. Pharmacists and family physicians are able to administer these standard vaccinations.

Health and governmental officials across the country join the CDC in asking families not to travel for Christmas this year as they did for Thanksgiving. 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.

Hartford Twp. clarifies and adopts master plan

By Anna Layer

At their regular board meeting on Thursday, Dec. 10, the Hartford Township Board unanimously adopted a sixty-six page Twenty Year Master Plan. It was approved with amendments after public comments and communications questioned zoning and future use verbiage.

The amendments included considering rezoning industrial zoned properties as requested by property owners and changing the future land-use map to extend the mixed-use corridor to the west of the city of Hartford, south to the railroad tracks, all the way west to the township line.

Julie Johnston consulted, providing clarity for concerns about property zoning. “The main concern that I heard was that we have eliminated industrial uses from the Master Plan. I’m not sure why some of the folks felt like it was eliminated. The Master Plan doesn’t specifically have a future land use category related to, or that says industrial future land use. There is a mixed-use district that provides for a variety of non-residential uses.”

Page 16 of the Master Plan provides more details about potential uses for the mixed-use corridor, including: “small scale uses such as offices, financial institutions and specialty destination stores, additional commercial uses serving local residents and commuter traffic like restaurants and gas stations, low intensity employment centers, including research and development, life sciences, corporate centers, light industrial uses, public and quasi-public institutions and health care facilities.”

Zoning confusion

Two members of the public attended a public open house and one person came to a Planning Commission meeting with zoning concerns, stating that their property is zoned industrial and they use it for farming. These property owners would like to rezone their property but the current Master Plan doesn’t support that.

The amendment to the plan that was approved by the board addresses this concern. Julie Johnston explained, “The only thing that the current plan has that our draft plan doesn’t specifically say is heavy industrial uses. So in this development area that is shown in the old plan they do note that heavy industrial such as manufacturing would be allowed. That’s the only thing that’s not specifically spelled out in the new plan that’s under consideration this evening.”

Johnston further reassured those with zoning concerns, stating, “When I was working with the township planning commission and during a public open house we had, there was a lot of discussion about ‘does the township really need this much industrial zoning within the community?’ The Master Plan does not change anybody’s zoning. It is not a regulatory document. It is a policy, a vision-type document. The recommendations and suggestions within the zoning plan are just that. The township can consider them or not.”

The Master Plan can be found online at www.hartfordtownship.org.

Other actions and discussions

The Hartford Township Board also decisively appointed Lenny Weston to the Planning Commission. Additionally, the Board approved a resolution asking the City of Hartford to apply for a Consolidation and Contamination Risk Reduction Grant from the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. These funds would come from a program funded with $25 million to address drinking water contaminations in public water systems. The next regular board meeting for Hartford Township is scheduled for January 14, 2021, at 7:30 p.m.

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