Monday, November 30, 2009

Review Team to Examine Benton Harbor Finances

LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that she has appointed a financial review team to examine the city of Benton Harbor’s finances under the Local Government Fiscal Responsibility Act, Public Act 72 of 1990. The review team must report its findings to the governor within 60 days, unless granted a one-time, 30-day extension.

Under PA 72, a financial review team must reach one of three potential findings: a serious financial problem does not exist; a serious financial problem exists, but a consent agreement containing a plan to resolve the problem has been adopted; or, a local government financial emergency exists, because no satisfactory plan exists to resolve the serious financial problem.

Review team members are:

• Robert J. Kleine, state treasurer;
• Thomas McTavish, Michigan auditor general;
• Frederick Headen, director, Local Government Services Bureau, Michigan Department of Treasury (representing state officials with relevant professional experience);
• Marcia Jones, assistant city attorney, city of Kalamazoo (nominee of Speaker of the House of Representatives);
• Bret Witkowski, Berrien County treasurer (nominee of Senate Majority Leader);
• Darnell Early, city manager, city of Saginaw (representing persons with relevant professional experience);
• Linnie Taylor, councilwoman, city of Southfield (representing persons with relevant professional experience).

The Department of Treasury conducted a preliminary review of the city’s finances in August 2009, pursuant to a request by the Benton Harbor city manager. The preliminary review found that a serious financial problem currently exists in Benton Harbor as a result of several issues, including fund deficits, accumulated deficit spending, improper reliance on inter-fund borrowing, unresolved material internal control deficiencies, failure to distribute property taxes timely, and failure to submit payroll taxes timely.

For more information about the PA 72 process, visit the local government fiscal health page on the Department of Treasury’s Web site at

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dowagiac Boys Varsity Basketball Games

Dowagiac Boys Varsity Basketball

12/11 Allegan Home 7:15

12/15 Plainwell Away 7:15

12/18 Gull Lake Away 7:15

01/08 Three Rivers Home 7:15

01/12 Otsego Home 7:15

01/15 Vicksburg Home 7:15

01/16 Niles Away 7:15

01/19 South Haven Away 7:15

01/22 Paw Paw Away 7:15

01/26 Comstock Away 7:15

01/29 Allegan Away 7:15

02/05 Gull Lake Home 7:15

02/09 Plainwell Home 7:15

02/12 Three Rivers Away 7:15

02/13 Lakeshore Home 7:15

02/16 Otsego Away 7:15

02/19 Vicksburg Away 7:15

02/23 South Haven Home 7:15

02/26 Paw Paw Home 7:15

03/04 Comstock Home 7:15

03/08 MHSAA District Buchanan TBA

03/10 MHSAA District Buchanan TBA

03/12 MHSAA District Buchanan TBA

03/15 MHSAA Reg Away TBA

03/17 MHSAA Reg Away TBA

03/23 MHSAA Qtr Final Away TBA

03/25 MHSAA Semi Final Away TBA

03/27 MHSAA Final Away TBA

Dowagiac Wrestling Dates

Dowagiac Wrestling
*= Home

Date Opponent Time

12/02* Buchanan 5:30
12/05 Vicksburg Invit 9:00
12/09* Home Quad 5:30
12/12* Chieftian Invit. 9:30
12/16 Paw Paw 5:30
12/19 Constantine Invit. 9:30
01/09 Edwardsburg Invit 9:00
01/13 Comstock Quad 5:30
01/20 Vicksburg Quad 5:30
01/23 Coloma Invit. 9:30
01/27 Paw Paw Quad 5:30
01/30 SW MI Invit 11:00
02/03 Niles Quad 6:00
02/06 Wolverine Conferance Tournament 10:00
02/10* MHSAA Dist TBA
02/13 MHSAA Ind Dist TBA
02/17 MHSAA Reg TBA
02/20 MHSAA Ind Reg TBA
02/27 MHSAA Finals TBA
03/04 MHSAA Ind Finals TBA
03/05 MHSAA Ind Finals TBA
03/06 MHSAA Ind Finals TBA

Dowagiac Fine Arts Boosters Help a Family In Need

Dowagiac Fine Arts Boosters Give A Helping Hand

The High School Chamber Choir, The Womens Choral, directed by Jeff Robinson, and members of the upcoming musical donated food and turkeys to two (2) families in our area for Thanksgiving. Also joining this project was the Fine Arts Booster Club. This is the students and Booster Clubs third (3rd) project in the past 2 months.

Ricky & Dawn Phillips and 2 children were one of those to receive a basket given to the them at the First United Methodist Church where Ricky and Dawn are members.

Dowagiac City Council Post

Monday the Dowagiac City Council will be interviewing 9 residents for the two open council seats.

Residents are really watching the selection process.

You can view all of the information on the residents that have applied at:

Computer Store to open in Dowagiac

Downtown Business News
Vickie Phillipson, DDA and Chamber of Commerce Program Director, reports that JenkinsPC has
signed a lease at 218 S. Front Street and will be moving in soon. Here’s the report I just received
from her:
“I have some good news to kick off the holiday weekend with. I am pleased to report
Brian Jenkins of Dowagiac will be moving his home-based business of six years,
JenkinsPC, to the central business district next week. Brian surfaced with my office earlier
this month, as he began looking for a new location for his business. Tuesday afternoon he
signed a lease with Jeff Neumann, owner of Farm Bureau Insurance, for the smaller of
Jeff’s two storefronts at 218 S. Front Street.
The computer sales and service business is owned by Brian and his wife, Jennifer, who
moved to Dowagiac two years ago from Warsaw, Indiana. Brian has worked in the
computer field for 18 years. His target date to open the new downtown location is Friday,
Dec. 4, which is the day of our Candle-light Christmas Parade and is also Brian’s
Brian is known in the community “as the computer guy and the home of the $250
computer.” JenkinsPC will provide sales and service for any Intel or Windows-based PCs
and servers, and will also provide office support services to the public such as the use of a
copy machine, as well as scanning and telefaxing.
JenkinsPC will also feature an Internet café with firewall software that ensures child-safe
Internet service. The firewall software that Brian uses is reportedly ranked second in the
world and is used by more than a million hospitals and schools.
While JenkinsPC has been home based for two years in Dowagiac, a growing clientele
encouraged him to relocate to a more visible site within the community. The layout of
Jeff’s storefront should serve Brian’s business well, providing an area in which he can
work on computers, separate from the new computers he’ll stock and the Internet café.
The new downtown business will be open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The
evening of the Christmas parade, Brian and Jennifer plan to hand out 50 in-store gift cards
to the community.
Jeff is presently making some minor interior modifications to the storefront to
accommodate handicapped accessibility. As you see Brian and Jennifer begin to move in,
be sure to stop by to wish them success as they relocate downtown and grow their

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Nine Dowagiac residents apply for council seats

James Burton Dodd
Spruce Street
Dowagiac, Michigan

Mr. Dodd has been a resident of Dowagiac for 69 years.

Mr. Dodd listed his community activities as:
Firefighter for 37 years.
Dowagiac Board of Review member.
Dowagiac Planning Commission member.
EMT and ambulance member.

Mr. Dodd listed his professional qualifications and work experience as:
38 years at Jessup Door Company
12 years working in Elkhart Indiana
He has been an hourly employee to plant manager at Jessup Door and Elkhart Indiana.

The reason Mr. Dodd wants to be appointed as Dowagiac's 2nd Ward Councilman:
"Always wanted to run for council but not until Wayne Comstock retired".
"I have some ideas where maybe the city can save some money.

Mr. Dodd also stated that he would be willing to run for this office in 2011.

James F Benedix
Orchard Street
Dowagiac, Michigan

Mr. Benedix has been a resident of Dowagiac for 48 years.

Mr. Benedix listed his community activities as:
Worshipful Master of the Peninsular Lodge #10, Free and Accepted Masons of Dowagiac
Assisted in organizing the annual Dowagiac Memorial Day Parade
Maintained the nature trails at Kincheloe School
Presented the Child ID program and the Masonic Model Student Assistance Program. (A workshop to train educators to assist students at risk)
Served as an advisor for the Order of DeMolay, a teen fraternity, on both local and state levels
Vice President of the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival
Serve as director of acolytes (youth from ages 10 through 18) of the First United Methodist Church of Dowagiac, 1992-present

Mr. Benedix has a BA Degree from Lake Superior State University

Mr.Benedix stated his reason he wants to serve as Dowagiac's 2nd Ward Councilman is:
"This is an opportunity to become more fully involved in the life of Dowagiac".

David Doak Daniels
Hamilton Street
Dowagiac, Michigan

Mr. Daniels stated the reason he wants to serve as Councilman of the 2nd Ward is:
To continue to provide balanced long-range movement towards the city's goals

Mr. Daniels listed his work experience as:
Maintenance Supervisor for Dowagiac Area Schools from 1995-Present
Director of Transportation for Buchanan Community Schools
Huggett-Betten corporation

B.S. Degree from Western Michigan University
A.S. Degree from Southwestern Michigan College
Beginning his Masters in Business Administration

Mr. Daniels listed his Organizational Affiliations, Past and Present as:
Michigan Association of Pupil Transportation
Tri-County Transportation Supervisors Association
Chairman of the Construction Board of Appeals for the City of Dowagiac,
3 terms
Treasure of the Loon Lake Property Owners Association
Board member, Treasure, Vice President and President of the Dowagiac Girls Softball Association
Board Member of the Dowagiac Little League

Member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters since 1978
Member of the Michigan Schools Business Officials
Southwest Michigan Facility Managers Association
Free and Accepted Masons, Peninsular Lodge #10
Dowagiac City Planning Commission
Member of the Dowagiac Lions Club

Other Interests:
Deer Hunting
Mushroom Hunting

Junior Wayne Oliver
Chestnut Street
Dowagiac, Michigan

Junior has been a resident of Dowagiac for 49 years and a resident of Michigan for 51 years.

Mr. Oliver has listed his community activities as:
Boy Scout Leader
Citizen Band Sky Watcher
Fire Fighter
Volunteer COA

Professional Qualifications/Work Experience
Have Been A Trained Boy Scout Leader In Dowagiac For Several Years
Vice President Of The Volunteer Fire Department,
Ambulance Attendant
Civil Defense Storm Watcher
COA Volunteer
Volunteer Economic Development Researcher.
Industrial problem solving team leader,
Ergonomic Consultant
Service Station Manager.
Has Had All Of The 60 Hour Training Courses, 240 hour classes, Fire Ground Commander Classes And Air Pack Field Maintenance Courses, Farm Rescue Training And Hazardous Material Handling Training.
Certificate In Agriculture From A Tech School In Missouri.
Operated The HI-WAY 40 Gas Station And The Checker Station When It First Came To Dowagiac.
Worked For Sealed Power For 39 Years And I C G 9 Years
Certified Die Cast Technician And Member Of North American Die Casters Assc.

Desire To Serve On This Board
"I have a genuine interest on continuing prosperity of this city.
Is Interested In Doing My Part To Help Our Community Keep Growing.
I Think That I Can Contribute In A Positive Way To Assure t\That All Residents Have A Voice Thru Me To Get The Logical Things They Ask For Heard By The Proper Officials.
I Have The Time To Check Out The Requests Or Complaints The People Of My Ward Present To Me.
I Have Lived In My Ward About 40 Years And Know Many Of The Residents Living There.
I Am A Very Good Listener And A Very Aggressive Worker To Get A Goal Accomplished In A Timely Manner.

Robert L Mortimore
Jefferson Street
Dowagiac, MI

Community Activities
President Of Dowagiac Rocket Football
Former Candidate for 2nd Ward Council

Professional Qualifications
President Of UAW Local 90 South Haven Michigan (17 Years)
Vice President of UAW Local 90 South Haven Michigan

Resident Of Dowagiac 54 Years
Resident Of Michigan 65 Years

Howard Hall
S Front Street
Dowagiac, MIchigan

I want to be appointed to council because that is one more way I can serve Dowagiac. My experience in community activities is extensive:

Free Computer Classes for Dowagiac Seniors (7Years)
Free Computer Repair for Dowagiac Seniors (7Years)
Volunteer Sister Lakes School (3Years)
Volunteer Patrick Hamilton School (4Years)
Volunteer Dowagiac American Legion
Volunteer Beckwith Theatre Company (2Years)
Volunteer Dowagiac High School (4Years)
Volunteer Dowagiac Choir (2years)
Worked With Local Businesses To Provide Bike Locks For Children At The
Dowagiac Public Library
Past Vice Chair Berrien County Democratic Party
Vice President Of The Dowagiac Fine Arts Booster Club
Nominated For Volunteer Of The Year Chicago Youth Centers
Sponsored Annual “Turkey Bowling” Tournament For Dowagiac Youth (4Years)
Leadership Training for Young Adults Prior To Them Leaving U.S.A. For Mission Work Overseas
Volunteer Registering Voters (16 Years)
Volunteer Filing Income Tax For Local Seniors (5Years)
Volunteer Trunk Or Treat
Member Of CERT (Citizen Emergency Response Team)
Volunteer For “Kids Night Out” (Sister Lakes Elementary School) (5Years)
Delivered Food For Home-Bound Seniors In Berrien County (3 Years)
Volunteer For The Cass County Youth Club
Former Big Brother To A Child In The Big Brother Big Sister Program (12Years)
Volunteer The Benton Harbor Soup Kitchen (4 Years)
Volunteer Pokagon Pow Wow Dowagiac, Michigan (3 Years)
Volunteer Pokagon Pow Wow Holland, Michigan (2 Years)
Volunteer Pow Wow Grand Rapids, Michigan (2 Years)

Professional Qualifications:

Owner Adventure Education (Leadership and Teambuilding Facilitator) 12 Years
Political Process Expert
28 Years Experience Bringing Groups Together Working Toward Common Goals
Prior Candidate For Council
Very Knowledgeable Of The Concerns Of Residents
Extensive Experience Working With Low Income Population
Extensive Experience Working With Low Income And At Risk Youth
Strong Understanding of Roberts Rules of Order
Strong Understanding Of How Important It Is To Have Open Communication
Between Residents And Their Councilmen
Field Organizer Barack Obama Campaign For Berrien County Michigan
(Supervised three satellite offices and a volunteer staff of over 250)
Field Organizer Gore Campaign
Paid Staff Member for the Clinton-Gore Campaign
Field Organizer Volunteer Coordinator Clinton Campaign
Coordinator of Cass Co. Campaign for Judy Truesdell
Member And Former Site Inspector For The ACA (American Camping
Summer Camp Director For At-Risk Youth (20 years experience)
Campaign Manager For Former Van Buren County Sheriff’s Race
Classic Stone Creation (made and installed hand designed granite and marble counter tops
Assistant Park Manager For Covert Township Park Campground

Reasons To Serve On This Board:

To continue to serve the residents of Dowagiac.
I want to give 1st ward residents a councilman who will listen to their concerns and pass them on to the council.
My extensive experience researching grants will enable me to provide Dowagiac Youth with after-school activities.
I understand how important it is to put personal feelings aside and make decisions on what is best for the residents of Dowagiac

Resident of Dowagiac School District 11 Years
Resident Of The City Of Dowagiac 7 Years
Resident Of The State Of Michigan 45 Years

Nancy L Leonard
Green Street
Dowagiac, MI

Nancy has been a resident of Dowagiac for 6 years and a resident of the state for 6 years.

Community Activities
Nancy was involved in the Dowagiac Little League for approx 4 years

Professional Qualifications
BS Degree from Purdue University Organizational Leadership and Supervision.
Has worked at Bosch LLC for 11 years 10 months

Nancy's reasons to serve on this board:
"Serving the community is not an act to be taken lightly". "I believe I can make a positive contribution to council and hopefully inspire more participation".

If appointed are you willing to run for this seat at the expiration of the appointed term?
"Yes, I feel have contributed in a positive manner and feel I have had some success in serving".

Tonnie M Blackamore
Pokagon Street
Dowagiac, MI

Community Activities
Feeding the seniors at Chestnut Towers
Jail Ministry at the Cass County Jail
Tutoring youth

Professional Qualifications
Pastor of New Harvest Church for 12 years

Desire To Serve On This Board
I want to serve the city and my ward to the best of my ability

Mr. Blackamore just sent us some additional information to post.
Thank you Mr. Blackamore

I did all of my schooling in Dowagiac. I Graduated May 31, 1986 on my 18th Birthday from Union High School . I attended 2 years out to S.M.C. I was married here, bought a home here,and have raised 4 children here. I now have 2 grandchildren here. I would be second generation councilman for our ward,
my Grandfather Sam H. Fowlkes II was councilman from April 12, 1965- Jan. 25, 1971, and then July 10, 1986 - Nov. 11, 1997 he was appointed.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dowagiac Michigan City Council Canidates

Want to see the candidate's that applied to be appointed to the open 1st and 2nd ward council seats for Dowagiac Michigan

Local News For Dowagiac MIchigan

Want to find out the real local news about Dowagiac Michigan?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Dowagiac Schools Hit Hard with Flu But Remain Open

43-48% Of Pat-Ham Students Home Sick
School Districts all across Michigan have been canceling classes due to student illness.
We have received over 10 e-mails from parents and school staff stating the some schools have had as many as 48% of their students home sick.
We spoke with Dowagiac School Superintendent Peg Stowers on Wednesday. She stated that Friday 43% of Pat-Ham students were home.
One day last week almost 20 school districts from Muskegon South were closed due to student illness.
With 43%-48% of students at one school in Dowagiac were home sick, why didn’t Dowagiac Schools follow other districts and cancel classes?
We have heard time and time again that the administration puts the safety of students first. With 43-48% of students home sick, why would Dowagiac Schools not cancel class.
We contacted many school in the area and found out that all of them follow the suggestions of their local health department.
However some schools have guidelines in place to consider closing school:
  • Bridgman Schools: Considers closing schools when 30-35% of students are home ill.
  • Buchanan Schools: Considers closing when 25-30% of students are home ill.
  • Grand Rapids Public Schools: Considers closing schools when 25% of students are home ill.
  • Kent County Health Department: Recommends schools consider closing when 25% of a schools students are home sick.
One may ask why the Dowagiac Schools would even consider keeping Patrick Hamilton School open with 43-48% of their students home sick.
By looking at the guidelines other schools use, 43-48% of students home sick would seem enough to close that school.
Most parents are doing their job by keeping their children home if they are sick. It would seem that the Dowagiac Schools would be doing their part by closing a school when 43-48% of the students are home sick.
According the Berrien County Health Department they recommend that schools consider closing when the absentee rate reaches 30-35%
According to the Kent County Health Department the H1N1 Flu virus can live on a surface for 2-8 hours.
Although parents and schools can help remind students to wash their hand and to cover their mouth when they cough. It doesn’t do much good if a virus can live up to 8 hours on a surface.
One question parents need to ask is why Pat-Ham School remained opened when 43-48% of the students were home sick, especially when the virus can live up to 8 hours on a desk.

Dowagiac Michigan Schools Funding Crisis

Due to the lack of funding, the Dowagiac School Board has some tough decisions to make about the future of Dowagiac Schools.
Some of the ways they have suggested saving money are "right on the money" and others are absurd.

Board member Sherry File said they need to talk about negotiating less money for teachers and administrators. During these tough economic times, withholding raises is, indeed, common practice. Recently, the Cass County Commissioners had heated discussions about pay raises for county employees.

It is our opinion that the first step for saving money in our beleaguered school system should start at the top, with reductions in pay for Peg Stowers and Hal Davis. They should lead the way in the sacrifices everyone needs to make to keep our schools running. They should set an example, showing support for the teachers, other school employees and students, by taking small pay cuts, long before asking teachers, custodians and bus drivers to give up anything.

One of the ways the Dowagiac Schools and the City of Dowagiac could possibly save a great deal of money is by pooling together to purchase health insurance for their employees.

Board Member Bill Lawrence asked if the district should be providing transportation to and from school. If the Dowagiac School Board takes away transportation from students, we feel that it will cause more harm than good. What about the students whose parents are at work or just can't afford to transport their children to and from school? What impact would it have on the community if the Dowagiac Schools fired all of the bus drivers? It would seem that drivers that have children in the school would just pack up and move to another community that has employment. Dowagiac residents cannot afford to have any more jobs ripped out from under them. The ripple effect from a change like this would be devastating to the entire city.

Peg Stowers suggested a reduction in athletics for freshman sports and keeping sports for middle school students learning the fundamentals of the game. This cut would be detrimental for students who are trying to prepare for the chance of college scholarships for athletics. The only way for some students to afford college is based on money from sports scholarships. Taking away all freshman sports would cause harm to many talented athletically-inclined students..
Although the state has rules stating a student cannot change school districts just to play sports, I am sure that parents would feel the need to send their sports-playing freshman to another school. Then if you add the factor of the possibility of no transportation, I am sure that many parents would evaluate whether or not it might be worth it just to drive their children to a neighboring school district--if they have to transport anyway.

No matter what cuts are made by the school board, they will not be able to please everyone. However, the loss of funding is an emergency that will affect our entire community. Because this is such a critical issue, the school board should form a committee made up of a cross section of our community so our citizens can be involved in the decisions that need to be made to survive this financial crisis facing all of us. If a committee were formed, there would be a wealth of ideas, which may help in making these hard choices. Although we agree this is a financial emergency, extreme cuts, suggested by the board, may not be necessary if the schools would include the entire community in the decision-making process.