A proposed wastewater treatment plant under consideration by the Village of Mattawan is under fire from a range of critics. Recent village meetings have seen lengthy public comment periods, during which village residents and residents of nearby areas have largely voiced opposition to the plant. Currently, the Village pumps its wastewater to the Kalamazoo treatment system. However, village officials say a six-mile portion of the “forcemain” which connects the two systems requires considerable work to remain in operation.

One of the St. Joseph County Road Commission’s (SJCRC) leading staff recently received the top award in the state for a rural road engineer. At a regular SJCRC meeting Wednesday morning, board members learned that Assistant Director and Engineer Garrett Myland received the “Rural Engineer of the Year” award from the County Road Association of Michigan (CRA). An award also goes to the “Urban Engineer of the Year,” but for the “Rural” title, Myland won over engineers in similar positions all around the state.

A decision on the abandonment of a section of Haybridge Road by the St. Joseph County Road Commission (SJCRC) has been delayed pending review by Florence Township officials. The section under consideration runs eastward from Sevison Road, and ends at a condemned bridge over the Fawn River. On the other side of the bridge, Haybridge Road continues past a connection with Block Road, and ends at Engle Road. That section would remain active if the abandonment goes through.

In a reflection of statewide pressure to reopen winter athletic programs and other school activities, the Three Rivers Board of Education (BOE) adopted a resolution in support of lifting statewide restrictions that are currently in place. The resolution asks Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to approve restarting school winter athletic programs. BOE President Erin Nowak clarified that the resolution would not actually reopen Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) sports programs and other extracurricular activities, but instead would ask the state to lift restrictions.

At a monthly work session this past Wednesday morning, St. Joseph County Road Commission (SJCRC) staff brought board members up to speed on the status of several pending projects, including a statewide “bridge bundling” project that will see a bridge replaced on Nottawa Road. Board members also addressed a few standard procedural items for the beginning of the new year, continuing a series of several such items addressed at a board meeting on January 6.

At a regular meeting Tuesday night, members of the Colon Village Council voted to schedule a public hearing for a proposed ordinance that would permit medical marijuana establishments to open inside village limits. Specifically, the measure creates language to govern marijuana businesses under the village’s zoning code. The date, time, and location of the hearing are to be determined once officials can locate a suitable venue for anticipated high turnout.

Dates for reopening Three Rivers Community Schools buildings to students have changed following a Board of Education meeting Monday. Pre-K through fifth grade students will now begin attending school in person next Tuesday, January 19. Middle and high school students will return to hybrid learning as previously planned on Monday, January 25. However, they will now return to full face-to-face instruction two weeks later, on February 8. Also at Monday’s meeting, new school board members were welcomed, new officers were chosen, and Superintendent Ron Moag provided an update on current capital improvements.

During a special meeting Monday, the Three Rivers Board of Education (BOE) voted to approve a plan to reopen schools to in-person and hybrid instruction on January 25. After discussion that continued from a previous meeting on December 7, BOE members decided not to approve a modification of the Three Rivers Community Schools’ (TRCS) “Return to Learn” (R2L) plan that would have continued all-virtual remote instruction for middle and high school students beyond the start of the next semester.

At a work session Monday evening, members of the Three Rivers Board of Education (BOE) and Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) administrators weighed options for returning to school following the New Year. After some discussion, the BOE tabled any final decisions on the matter pending a review and clarification of further options by administrators. Further discussion will take place at a special meeting next Monday, December 14, scheduled at 6 p.m. for the purpose of reviewing an annual TRCS budget audit.

The St. Joseph County Road Commission (SJCRC) reviewed a draft budget for next fiscal year at a regular meeting Wednesday evening. Managing Director John Lindsey presented the draft to commission members with the caveat that they review it thoroughly and offer revisions before the next time they meet for a work session on December 16. The working 2021 draft budget currently includes a rough total of $12.5 million in projected revenues and $13.1 million in projected expenses.

Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) announced this afternoon that all school buildings will remain closed to in-person instruction into January. In response to a pandemic health order issued earlier this month by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), TRCS began fully conducting instruction for all in-person and hybrid students through online streaming. That closure was scheduled to last through the expiration of the HHS order, which occurs on December 8.

Christmas Around Town, the annual holiday celebration in downtown Three Rivers, took place this past Friday and Saturday with a lighter schedule than normal. Pandemic restrictions issued earlier this month meant curtailing a variety of things, and organizers further trimmed back an already curtailed event. However, there were still activities, and perhaps 200 people came out on Friday evening and Saturday to partake in them.

Following more than three hours of conversation Thursday, the Park Township Planning Commission still had questions to ask about a rezoning application for a possible propane distributor on Highway M-60 Thursday. Commission members heard comments from the township zoning official, three attorneys, the property’s applicants, and 14 members of the public. Commissioners reviewed, adjusted, and approved a comprehensive list of statements called a “Finding of Facts.” With more of the review process still ahead of them, the commissioners voted to put the meeting into recess until 7 p.m. on December 3.

During a special meeting Thursday, the Board of Education (BOE) said it found Three Rivers Community Schools (TRCS) Superintendent Ron Moag to be “effective.” The statement came at the end of a closed session that lasted well beyond two hours. Thursday’s meeting concluded a two-meeting process wherein BOE members conducted Moag’s annual performance evaluation, facilitated by Rod Green of the Michigan Association of School Boards. During closing comments, BOE members also discussed the status and future of online instruction in the district.

A special meeting of the Park Township Planning Commission scheduled for this evening will now take place entirely online. On the township’s website, an announcement states that due to a pandemic-related health order issued last Sunday by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the meeting will take place using the Zoom online meeting platform. The announcement includes information on how to participate.