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Coloma Township renews employee contract

By Annette Christie

 At their Wednesday, June 8 meeting the Coloma Township Board approved a contract renewal for Assessor Kevin Kutscher. The Personnel Committee had been working on the contract and recommended to the board that they approve it for another two years.  Kutscher is paid $47,745 annually for his assessing duties.  Parrigin comments that they will be working with him on establishing regular normal days in the office, his availability to residents, and the reports provided to the board.  The contract, which expired in May, will go until 2018.  Parrigin reported that road work being done on Taube and Becht Road will have to wait to be completed until next year. Due to the number of soft spots in the road, the Road Commission will be leaving it as gravel for the next 12 months until all of those spots are worked out, and then it will have asphalt put down next year.   Trustee Jim Fulton, who sits on the Township’s Planning Commission referred to a letter recommending a special land use permit. V-Force Auto Sales requested approval for the operation of a used car business at 6270 Red Arrow Highway.  Fulton said that the only restriction was that the cars had to be kept on asphalt.  He said the the owner, Brian Bittner first came to the Planning Commission in February of this year. The board approved the special land use as recommended.    Trustee Bryan Duffield, who sits on the Cemetery Board reported that they have hired summer help at the cemetery. The paving work planned for the roadways will be moving forward and Duffield said that they plan to plant shrubs on the south end of the new section to help provide some privacy for those that have backyards right up to the cemetery.    A discussion about elected officials’ pay was held. Clerk Sandy Kraemer, who sits on the Personnel Committee said that they have received some comparison information from the Michigan Township Association and asked that the board review it.  Duffield asked for information regarding what the board salaries were before the salary reductions that took place in 2009. Kraemer will obtain that information for the board.  The board had a brief discussion about the recent study that was presented on the North Berrien Fire Department, for which the township is a member.  Parrigin commented that the consultants did an excellent job explaining the findings to everyone. Trustee Matt Moser echoed the same. “I think there are issues that none of us realized were there,” Moser said.  Parrigin asked the board to consider what the consultants recommended, that the leadership of the three municipalities should be involved in the Fire Board, at least during the transition period. “Need to do something but no sure where to start,” Parrigin commented.    Parrigin said that he and Hagar Township Supervisor Izzy DiMaggio and Coloma City Mayor Jim Polashak have talked about using the consultants for the hiring process of a new chief and the search.  “We know what it will costs and we think we should use him instead of getting a new person,” Parrigin said.   Moser asked that they look at the agreement between the three municipalities to see just what it says about how many can serve on the Fire Board and what the restrictions or requirements are.   In other business, the board approved expenditures for the month of May in the amount of $221,002.99. This included $72,953.32 in payroll.

Spaulding’s Celebrate 50thWedding Anniversary

 Robert and Patricia Spaulding of Coloma celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary with their family on

Michigan motorists urged to get home safe; Drunk driving enforcement a summer-long focus

 With Comerica Park as the backdrop, traffic safety and law enforcement officials today reminded drivers that you won’t need to hit a home run to be an all-star, all you need is a designated driver.  It’s a message they hope will resonate with motorists as the Fourth of July holiday approaches. Traffic deaths, especially alcohol-involved traffic deaths, increase during the summer months.   That’s why all summer long, law enforcement officers from police departments, sheriff’s offices and the Michigan State Police will step up drunk driving enforcement across the state as part of the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign.  “A designated hitter might bring you home, but a sober designated driver can get you home safely after drinking,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning.  “Law enforcement officers across the state will be on the lookout for drunk drivers this summer to help ensure everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the festivities safely.”  In 2015, Michigan alcohol-involved traffic deaths were up 28 percent from 2014, from 107 to 138.  Drug involved fatal crashes were up 19 percent, from 150 to 179 in 2015.  Officers, deputies and troopers who work the federally funded drunk driving patrols are all specially trained in Standard Field Sobriety Testing (SFST).  SFST-trained officers complete 24 hours of lecture and hands-on instruction in comprehensive impaired driver detection.  During last year’s Fourth of July holiday, 292 motorists were arrested for drunk driving. There were 12 traffic deaths over that holiday period; more than 60 percent of those deaths involved alcohol.  In Michigan, it is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher.  Under the state’s high BAC law, motorists face enhanced penalties if a first-time arrest is for a .17 BAC or higher.  This project is part of Michigan’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.

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