WAY WATERVLIET… held their 8th graduation exercise on Wednesday May 25, at 6:30 in the high school auditorium. Eleven students received their high school diplomas. WAY Watervliet has produced 67 graduates in the five years they have been working with students in Watervliet and around the counties of Berrien, Van Buren and Cass. We congratulate our most recent graduates and will continue to offer a true alternative for students in our district and all of our surrounding districts. Pictured (from the left): Anna Kubash, Regan Mary Cullitan, Jiovanny Romero, Kerra Miller, Ben Helwig-Esch, Kylea Douglas, Noah Rau, Lacie Blakeman, and Renee Gallagher. Not pictured Riley Stephens and Christopher Quardokus.

Lake Michigan College presents  to Coloma City Commission

By Christina Gelder

 Kelli Hahn and Leslie Kellogg attended the Monday, June 13 meeting of the Coloma City Commission to present the possibility of a millage proposal for Lake Michigan College. Hahn is the Vice President of Finance at the college and Kellogg is the Vice President of Academics.  They said that the school is still in the exploratory stages of seeking a millage and they are looking for feedback. The main focuses of such a project would be academic success through modernization and expansion of programs, safety, security and critical capital improvements, and updating the Mendel Center.  The school has already raised $7.5 million through fundraising, $8.5 million through state grants and $24 million of the college’s money. They are looking for another $40 million. This would cost the average property owner with a home worth $100,000 about $12.48 annually.  They were seeking feedback and can be reached at the school.  The Coloma Mayor and Commissioners did take a moment to praise various initiatives that are making an impact in the community such as their work with high schools and the welding program.

Yard waste pickup

With the start of summer comes the yard waste pickup by the Department of Public Works. They will be picking up yard waste set by the curb every Monday. Nothing can be bigger than 2” in diameter and 4’ long.  In addition to this there is a yard waste dumpster located in the lot across the street from the public works garage (behind Wesco) that is accessible at all times for city residents to dispose of grass clippings, small brush, etc.

Parking across sidewalks

Seig Freitag brought up a problem in the city, parking across sidewalks. “What’s it going to take to get an ordinance so that the police can start writing tickets?” was his main question.  Commissioner Jason Hicks said that they will discuss it at the next meeting of the ordinance committee which he called to be set on Monday, June 27 at 6:45. They will also be discussing chickens at that meeting.

Kevin Gillette for Berrien County Drain Commissioner

 Kevin Gillette attended the meeting to introduce himself and seek votes in the August 2 election. He is running for drain commissioner to replace Roger Zilke.  Gillette has a background in municipal leadership including 8 years as the Lincoln Township Supervisor. He has served on 12 drain boards and feels that he understands both sides of drain issues.  In other news it was passed to appoint Commissioner Nate Clements to the joint Water Advisory Board with Coloma Township.

Watervliet Hospital Auxiliary celebrates volunteers, awards scholarships

 At a recent luncheon event at the Paw Paw Lake Yacht Club, Lakeland Hospital, Watervliet honored nearly 65 volunteers who dedicated more than 14,978 hours of service to patients, residents, staff, and visitors throughout the hospital last year – a contribution valued at $345,548.  During the luncheon, volunteers received service pins for various increments of hours served. Darlne Adams and Janie Staggers were among the highest honorees with over 8,000 hours of service.  Four other volunteers joined the “Twenty Year Club,” including Genevieve Conklin of Hartford, Muriel Galeotti of Watervliet, and Clara Demski of Coloma.  In addition to celebrating the hours worked and money raised by volunteers in 2015, the Auxiliary also awarded several scholarships to local high school seniors.  Watervliet High School seniors Branden Bodfish and Alexis Elston each received a $2,000 scholarship toward their education in the medical field.  Bodfish is planning to attend Western Michigan University to study biomedical science, while Elston will study pre-medicine at the University of Alabama this fall.  Victoria Kolenko, a senior at Coloma High School, was also awarded $1,000 toward her education on behalf of the Lakeland Health Foundations. Kolenko plans to attend Lake Michigan College to become a registered nurse.

Keeler Township approves Senior Services millage for November ballot

By Annette Christie

 The Keeler Township Board approved the millage wording for a ballot proposal that if approved, would reinstate funding from Keeler Township residents to Senior Services Van Buren County. Jennifer Carver with Van Buren County Senior Services asked the Keeler Township Board in April to put the issue back on the ballot and in May the board elected to approve it for the November ballot. The ballot proposal would put in place a .25 mill or .25 cents per $1,000 of taxable value. The proposal would be for a period of two years starting in 2016.  It would generate approximately $32,000 per year. Once upon a time there was a millage in Keeler Township for senior services but township voters turned it down at the last election. Van Buren County Senior Services have not been helping Keeler Township seniors since the millage renewal was turned down two years ago. Carver told the board previously that based on census data, Keeler Township’s population is ¼ over the age of 60, estimated at 508 people.  She said that there are approximately 132 people that are 75 years or more. She told them they would introduce a monthly program to be held right here in Keeler Township and would hope to make it more frequent and possibly even make Keeler Township a satellite site. She said that recently they held two events in Keeler Township and invited seniors. Of the 61 seniors that participated, only two were not in favor of this issue getting back on the ballot for voters to have their say. The Zoning Administrator noted that there were two upcoming meetings, one being a Zoning Board of Appeals and one being the Keeler Township Planning Commission. On June 14, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. the Planning Commission will consider an application for a site plan review for a special land use for Bhola Singh – Keeler Super Store.  The site plan review is for a special land use for the installation of gas pumps at that location on 84060 CR 687, Hartford. On June 21, 2016 at 7:30 p.m., the Zoning Board of Appeals will meet to consider an application for a varance on a nonconforming lot for TD Enterprise Group.  The application seeks a variance based on the existing patio and it being used for outdoor food service.


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