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  • KCC Foundation Announces Scholarship Deadline

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Battle Creek, Mich., January 14, 2011 – The scholarship deadline for all Kellogg Community College Foundation scholarships other than the Gold Key scholarships is February 28, 2011 (postmarked).

    Since the KCC Foundation was established in 1998, generous donors have made it possible to help hundreds of students realize their dreams of higher education. Applications submitted by this deadline will be reviewed for the 2010/2011 Kellogg Community College academic year. Funds will be awarded beginning with the fall semester.

    The KCC Foundation Scholarships are available to students who plan to enroll or are currently attending KCC. Students who received KCC scholarships in 2009/2010 may reapply for scholarships by submitting a new application. Scholarship awards are based on academic achievement, financial need, or special circumstances. Scholarship committees appointed by the KCC Foundation review all scholarship applications and match students with specific criteria from over 100 individual scholarship funds.KCC Foundation Scholarship Booklets with applications and instructions are available on KCC’s Battle Creek campus at the KCC Foundation (Roll Building) and in the Financial Aid, Advising, and Student Services departments.

    Scholarship applications are also available on KCC’s regional campuses. Local high school counseling departments provide students with KCC’s scholarship booklets upon request, as well. Scholarship applications may be printed from the KCC Foundation web site at www.kellogg.edu/foundation. For more information, please call the KCC Foundation at 269-965-4161.

    The KCC Foundation was founded in 1998 by the college to seek private funding to assist students with various needs. A non-governmental, nonprofit 501(c)(3) with its own funds, the KCC Foundation is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors.

    Working together with area individuals, organizations and businesses, the KCC Foundation is able to help many students achieve their academic aspirations. Last year, the KCC Foundation awarded over 200 scholarships totaling just over $282,000 to individuals with unmet financial need and to students exhibiting a high degree of academic excellence and leadership ability.

    For additional information, or to set up a scholarship fund, please contact Ginger Cutsinger, KCC Foundation executive director, at (269) 965-4161.

  • School Board Leaders Honored In January

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Our Governor and the State Board of Education have recognized January as School Board Recognition Month. The Coldwater Community Schools is joining local and intermediate school districts across the state to thank these community volunteers for their untiring dedication to public education.

    Michiganders benefit every day from the dedicated energies and countless hours devoted by a group of more than 4,000 men and women across the state. These public servants are elected to serve our community and receive little recognition for the difficult job they do. They are dedicated individuals who are committed to the continuing success of our schools and students.

    In a climate of change and challenge, school board members in the Coldwater Community Schools develop policies and make tough decisions on complex educational and social issues that affect the entire community and impact individual students. They bear responsibility for an annual budget of $25 million, over 3100 students, 300 employees and nine buildings.

    We proudly join educators and community members in saluting these education advocates as they provide vision and leadership for student achievement, academic programs, district funding and school facilities. Their service ensures that decisions about local public schools are made by those most familiar with the needs of our community’s children and families. They preserve the core of our democracy—public education.

    Thank a board member for their untiring service to our students and community; and visit the Coldwater Community Schools’ website for more information concerning the district. www.coldwaterschools.org

    The men and women currently serving on the Coldwater Community Schools Board of Education are:

    Mrs. Robin Iveson President               Dr. Edward Lake Trustee

    Mr. James Hiscock Vice President        Mr. Rick Gates Trustee

    Ms. Clair Dean Treasurer                    Soon to be announced Interim Trustee

    Mrs. Jean Milnes Secretary

  • New Employees Welcomed to Monarch Community Bank

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Monarch Community Bank welcomes new employees to its staff at both the Coldwater and Marshall offices for the loan department. Craig Gottschall will head up the loan administration department and Karmen Case will assist the Marshall area as mortgage loan officer.

    Gottschall comes to Monarch from Consumers Professional Credit Union in Lansing and is the first vice president, and retail loan operations manager for Monarch. He is a graduate of Grosse Isle High School and a college graduate of Henry Ford DePaul with a degree in business/finance. Gottschall has 30 years of experience in banking and looks forward to broadening the mortgage division at the bank.

    He resides in Three Rivers and his hobbies include hunting white tail deer and woodworking. He has previously served as a township board member, Rotary member, Junior Achievement advisor, and he is a retired assistant chief in firefighting. Gottschall has two daughters. He is recently married to wife, Debra and together they have four children.

    Karmen Case is a mortgage loan officer for the branch at 107 N. Park on the circle in Marshall. Case comes to the bank from JP Morgan Chase Bank in Texas and has 5 years of prior experience lending. Her responsibilities will include obtaining residential and consumer loans and working with current customers.

    Case is a graduate of Coldwater High School and attended International Business College with a degree in business management. She continues to reside in Coldwater with her family. In her spare time she enjoys skiing and gardening.

    She has been actively involved in American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and looks forward to being a Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and involved in other organizations in Marshall.

    When asked what she’s looking forward to in her new position she said, “I’m excited to meet new people and get people into loans that fit their needs”. Monarch invites community members to stop into our branch to meet Karmen and introduce yourself, or contact her by calling 269-781-5103.

    Established in 1934, Monarch Community Bank has branches located in Marshall, Coldwater, Union City and Hillsdale. For more information about Monarch Community Bank products and services, connect on Facebook, Twitter, the blog or go to www.monarchcb.com.


    Posted by Pat Thomas

    The Coldwater Fire Department has received the following product recall that may be of concern to our community’s residents. The recall follows:

    American Honda Recalls Snowblowers Due to Fire Hazard

    Name of Product: Honda Snowblowers

    Units: About 18,500

    Importer: American Honda Motor Co. Inc., of Torrance, Calif.

    Hazard: The fuel tank joint and o-ring located on the underside of the fuel tank can seep or drip fuel over time, posing a fire hazard.

    Incidents/Injuries: Honda has received 90 reports of fuel either seeping or dripping. No fires have been reported.

    Description: This recall involves Honda snowblowers with model numbers and frame serial numbers listed below. The snowblowers are red and black. The frame serial number is located on the rear of the machine just below the engine. The name Honda and the model number are located on the side of the front scoop.

    Model | Frame Serial Number

    HS724 | SZBE-1037913 through 1046577

    HS928 | SZAS-1151080 through 1169012

    HS1132 | SZBF-1018734 through 1025998

    Sold at: Honda Power Equipment dealers nationwide from April 2005 through November 2010 for between $2,000 and $3,400.

    Manufactured in: Japan

    Remedy: Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled snowblowers and contact any Honda Power Equipment dealer to arrange for a free fuel tank joint and o-ring replacement. Registered owners of the recalled snowblowers will be mailed a notice.

    Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Honda at (888) 888-3139 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or visit the firm's website at www.hondapowerequipment.com.

  • Food Pantry Receives Donation

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Merry Christmas Deacon Al Provot- Branch Area Food Pantry. Charlie Hoff of www.igetminefree.org and Hoff's Vegetable Farm presented a check in the amount of $1,000 to Ann Lown of the food pantry. Hoff says that the Farm had a bad growing season due to all the cold and excessive rain in May and was the worst in 67 Years of being in the family business. The success of our on line business with over 50,000 members and growing has made this donation possible

  • Tax Preparation Volunteers Sought

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program is ramping up for another year of assisting low- to moderate-income individuals and families to prepare their taxes and obtain their earned credits, at no cost to the taxpayer. This program is run through partner agencies in Calhoun, Barry, Branch and St. Joseph Counties each year, with the assistance of numerous volunteers.

    Have you made a New Year’s resolution to volunteer in your community? Volunteers are essential to make this program a success. There are a wide variety of ways in which people can volunteer their time toward this worthy cause, including preparing taxes, but also answering phones, assisting with filing and clerical work, greeting clients and providing translation services. All volunteers who want to prepare taxes are provided free training, approved by the IRS, and no prior experience is necessary. Without volunteers, this program would not be able to run.

    Those interested in volunteering at any VITA site in the four counties covered should contact Eric Burton, VITA Community Coordinator at 269-441-1378 or email him at ericb@caascm.org . VITA sites will be located in Hastings, Coldwater, Athens, Union City, Centreville, Battle Creek, Albion, and Marshall, along with some one-day mobile locations in surrounding towns.

    “The more volunteers we have that are able to assist with tax preparation, and the more organizations willing to host VITA sites, the more families we can help in our community,” said Eric Burton, VITA Community Coordinator at Community Action. “We look forward to hearing from you.”

    For more information about Community Action and the services described in this article, please call Community Action at 1-877-422-2726 or visit the organization’s Website at www.caascm.org . Specific information on the VITA Program can be obtained by calling VITA Community Coordinator, Eric Burton, at (269) 441-1378, or toll-free at 1-877-422-2726.

  • Century Bank and Trust Supports Youth in Government Program

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Josh Jones of Century Bank and Trust recently presented three Youth in Government scholarships to Sherry Bean of Legg Middle School. Jones stated, “Century is pleased to offer scholarships to three very deserving students to attend the Youth in Government program this year. We applaud the program for playing such an influential role in the lives of many of our local young people”.

    Youth in Government is a program sponsored by the Michigan YMCA in Lansing. The program places over 600 middle school students from across the state in actual desks of our state senators and representatives. It also gives the students real life legislative tasks like passing and rejecting bills according to the parliamentary procedure while also focusing on leadership skills, debate, civic engagement and the value of democracy. 50 Legg Middle School students attended the program this year.

    Century Bank and Trust was founded in 1890, as an independent community bank. Over 120 years later, Century Bank and Trust continues to provide a comprehensive range of corporate, trust and retail products and services through Branch, St. Joseph and Hillsdale counties. To learn more about Century Bank and Trust visit CenturyBankandTrust.com.

  • “Monarch Community Bank forgoes Christmas Gifts and Gives Donation”

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    In the spirit of a difficult holiday season for many people, the management at Monarch Community Bank decided that although Christmas gifts for customers are nice, this year they would put the money to better use. With the money that is usually spent on gifts, the bank made donations instead to area food pantries.

    A total of $900 was donated to the Branch Area Food Panty in Coldwater, Marshall Fountain Clinic in Marshall, and Salvation Army in Hillsdale, where Monarch has branches. “In the spirit of giving, we thought it would again be appropriate to give to those that need it,” said Rick DeVries, President/CEO. Monarch customers were notified that a donation had been made in their name to the food pantries in a holiday card that was sent. “It feels good to give back and we know our customers understand the need,” said DeVries.

    Established in 1934, Monarch Community Bank has branches located in Marshall, Coldwater, Union City and Hillsdale. For more information about Monarch Community Bank products and services, connect on Facebook, Twitter, the blog or go to www.monarchcb.com.

  • OFIR's Top Ten Investor Traps

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    LANSING - The Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation (OFIR) today released its annual list of traps that cautious investors should avoid when seeking to jump-start their investment portfolios.

    “Doing a little homework—before you invest—can pay big returns,” OFIR Commissioner Ken Ross said. “With one call to OFIR, you can verify licensure status and check if any complaints have been filed by other consumers.”

    If Michigan investors have any questions or complaints regarding an investment firm, professional or product, they should contact OFIR toll-free at (877) 999-6442.

    OFIR’s Top Ten Investor Traps:

    Affinity Fraud: Scam artists have found it lucrative to abuse membership or association with an identifiable group to convince a potential investor to trust the legitimacy of the investment. Typical affinity groups include religious, ethnic, professional, educational, language, age and any other group with shared characteristics that allow investors to trust members of the group.

    Ponzi Schemes: The Ponzi scheme is a house-of-cards swindle in which high returns are paid to initial investors out of the funds of later investors, who end up losing all or most of their money to the promoter.

    Gold and Precious Metals: High gold prices have trapped some investors in gold bullion scams in which a seller offers to retain “purchased” gold in a “secure vault” and promises to sell the gold for the investor when it gains in value. In many instances the gold does not exist. Investors have also been harmed by promoters pitching investment pools in precious metal commodities and gold mines.

    Oil & Gas Schemes: Regardless of the price at the pump, fraudulent energy promoters continue to capitalize both on interest in the commodity and on oil and gas as investment alternatives to the stock market. Oil and gas investments tend to be highly risky and unsuitable for traditional, smaller investors who cannot afford the risk.

    Real Estate Investment Schemes: OFIR has seen a rise in scams disguised as offers to help homeowners caught up in the turbulent housing market “save” their homes or “fix” their mortgages, usually in exchange for a fee paid in advance. Most of these advance-fee offers only generate a quick profit for the con-artist and provide no benefit to the consumer,

    Senior Citizen Investment Fraud: Volatile stock markets, low interest rates, rising health care costs, and increasing life expectancy, combined to create a perfect storm for investment fraud against senior citizen investors. Older investors are being targeted with increasingly complex investment scams involving unregistered securities, promissory notes, charitable gift annuities, viatical settlements, and Ponzi schemes all promising inflated returns.

    Fraudulent Promissory Notes: Promissory notes are interest-paying investments that serve as an important means by which companies raise capital. Legitimate promissory notes are usually marketed to sophisticated investors that have the resources to research the investment. Unfortunately, there have been many instances of unscrupulous individuals pushing bogus promissory notes. They’re being sold as instruments that guarantee above-market, fixed interest rates, while safeguarding their principal.

    Entertainment Investments: These unregistered investments, encompassing a variety of products including movies, infomercials, Internet gambling and pornography sites, promise high returns while offering little disclosure of risk. Michigan consumers may be especially vulnerable to these scams given the state’s recent surge in movie industry activity.

    “Off the Books” Deals: “Off the books” sales are an increasingly common threat to investors. Be cautious if your broker offers an investment on the side instead of one sold through his or her employer. These “off the books” investments may not only be illegal, but they can also be especially risky without the oversight and supervision of the broker’s employer.

    Unsuitable Investments: What might be suitable for one investor might not be right for another. Securities professionals must know their customers’ financial situation and refrain from recommending investments they have reason to believe may not be appropriate for a customer’s age, risk tolerance and need for access to the money.

  • “CHC Presents Julie Belanger with October

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    CHC is proud to have great employees who strive to go above and beyond. To honor one exceptional employee, Julie Belanger has been named October’s Employee of the Month. The Employee of the Month is recognized for a positive work ethic and excellent customer service. The deserving employee receives special recognition and gifts, while voting for the award is done by fellow employees.

    Julie is a Clinical Systems Analyst in Information Technology. Julie was hired in May of 1983 as a Registered Nurse. Her interim positions at CHC include being a float staff nurse that floated between different units, filled in at the Oncology Treatment Center and occasionally was House Supervisor. According to her nominator, “Julie is very knowledgeable of her job, willing to share her knowledge or find an answer. Julie is very responsive to staff and management. She looks for ways to improve processes and has the best interest of CHC in mind throughout her work day. Julie is polite and pleasant to work with. She is an excellent teacher and conducts her classes in a very thorough and professional manner. She is an integral part of the IT team and very deserving of the employee of the month award.”

    Belanger graduated from Hanover Horton High School in 1980. She attended Jackson Community College where she received her AND in 1983. While in school Julie worked full time at Arbor Manor Care Center as a nursing assistant. After graduation from college she worked part time at Arbor Manor and full time at CHC as a registered nurse. Julie enjoys spending time with family, baking, doing puzzles, and playing computer games. Julie has been married to Brian for 27 years. He is a mechanic at Union City Schools. Together they have two sons, Ryan, 25 years old and Abraham, 23 years old. She is a member of Hillside United Methodist Church.

    Congratulations, Julie, on this great achievement.

  • Anytime Fitness Coldwater & Rowley Chiropractic Battle Creek MI Give Back During the Holidays

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Coldwater Michigan – Rowley Chiropractic & Anytime Fitness, the world’s largest co-ed fitness franchise is kicking off the holiday season by hosting a children’s toy drive for area residents in need. The club in Coldwater MI has partnered with local Toys for Tots of Branch County to sponsor a Toy drive that assists economically stressed members of the community.

    “You bring Toys for Tots, we give you a FREE 7 day pass “Part of our philosophy at Anytime Fitness is to give back whenever possible and support the community where we live,” says Brandon C. Hammonds, owner of the Anytime Fitness Coldwater and organizer of the event. “Especially during the holidays and with the current economy, more people than ever are in need.”

    November 23rd at Anytime Fitness 355 South Willowbrook Coldwater MI & Rowley Chiropractic 506 Riverside Drive Battle Creek MI. The toy drive begins Nov 23rd and runs through Dec 24. Non-perishable items can be dropped off at the following locations: 355 South Willowbrook Coldwater MI & 506 Riverside Drive Battle Creek MI.

    Toys for Tots As an added incentive, each merchant who donates will receive a FREE 7-Day Pass to Anytime Fitness.

    Anytime Fitness is the only fitness club that offers 24-hour access in Coldwater Michigan. In addition to its always open convenience, the club offers a total body workout that combines strength training and cardiovascular exercise in an expertly-designed workout center.

    Anytime Fitness also offers 24-hour tanning and membership reciprocity among its clubs, which allows members to use any of the more than 1,400 clubs that are currently open in all 50 states and eight countries.

    For more information, visit Anytime Fitness at 355 South Willowbrook Coldwater MI or call Brandon Hammonds at 517-278-2777. For More information, visit Rowley Chiropractic 506 Riverside Drive Battle Creek MI or call Beau Doubleday 269-963-3072.

  • “Join the CHC Foundation to Create Special Memories with ‘Organic Holiday Cooking”

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Do you look forward to the holidays for the food? Do you want to eat healthy and still enjoy those holiday meals? If so, join the Community Health Center of Branch County (CHC) Foundation for a gourmet organic holiday cooking class November 29, 2010 at The BoatHouse Restaurant.

    Create special memories this season as Executive Chef Chris Nixon teaches you how to make a delicious organic meal. The seminar includes a hands-on demonstration by Chef Nixon on how to prepare your holiday meal, recipes for all dishes prepared, and fun. Guests will have the choice of dining on one of two entrees, prepared by Chef Nixon in front of the group. The menu for the event is Cinnamon Pineapple Infused Bourbon Punch, Broccoli & Aged Vermont Cheddar Soup, French Holiday Duck with Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Sherry Gastric, Italian Celebration Pasta with Shrimp & Clams, Root Vegetables & Parmesan Peppercorn Sauce, Chocolate Crème Brule, and Coffee. Cost includes class and meal. Cash bar available.

    Ticket price for the event is $35.00. Join CHC for a delicious learning experience! For further information, or to purchase tickets, please call the Community Health Center Foundation’s Office at 279-5282. Limited seating available.