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  • Construction begins for new Cameron Hospital in Angola, Indiana

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Angola, Ind.- Cameron Memorial Community Hospital (Cameron) has received the final approval to begin construction of its new hospital facility.  The receipt of the “Notice to Proceed” from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Community Facilities program was the last hurdle clearing the path for construction of the new Cameron Hospital to begin at the 13+ acre site in downtown Angola.

    “There have been many milestones along the way with the Cameron building project,” said Greg Burns, Cameron President and Chief Executive Officer, “but receiving the approval to start construction is the most rewarding.  The goal of all of our efforts has been the construction of a state-of-the-art healthcare facility to serve the region – the building will now start to rise.”

    Hagerman, Inc. of Fort Wayne, construction manager for the project, has begun mobilizing for the start of construction, and will be setting up construction offices and installing construction fencing at the site over the next two weeks.  Earthwork and foundations for the new hospital will start the last week of January, weather permitting.

         Construction of the new hospital is scheduled to be completed in July, 2014 with occupancy planned for August, 2014.  The two oldest wings of the existing building will then be demolished, and the existing 1990’s wing renovated and added onto for an expanded Emergency Department.

    Completion of the project is scheduled for September, 2015.

    “We have an incredibly talented team that has guided the hospital project through a complex planning, financing, and approval process,” said Dave Goodwin, Hospital Board Chair.  “We now look forward to having the new hospital become a reality.”   

    Planning for the new Cameron Hospital was under way for over four years.  A number of project milestones preceded the announcement of the USDA approval to start construction: 

    December 2008—Under the Board Chairmanship of Gary Hohenberger, it was announced there would be a new Cameron Hospital, and that it would be located at the current location in downtown Angola and on adjoining land south of the hospital, to be acquired.  The economic climate at the time precluded setting a date for the building project.   

    • May 2010—Under the Board leadership of Terry Vanette, the Project Building Team was introduced: 
      • Morrison Kattman Menze, Fort Wayne:  Architectural Firm;
      • Hagerman Construction, Fort Wayne:  Construction Manager;
      • Jim Ingledue Construction, Angola:  Lead Local Contractor; and
      • Chris Smocke and Associates, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Cameron’s Owner’s Agent.
      • December 2010—Cameron Hospital submitted its USDA financing application.
      • January 2011—Following completion of the building Design Development phase,  announcement of the hospital Board’s approval to proceed with the hospital project.
      • July 2012—$47 million financing commitment received from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Community Facilities program.
      • November 2012—Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new Cameron Memorial Community Hospital.
      • December 2012--$500,000 anonymous donation to the building project received by the Cameron Hospital Foundation in honor of Jane Snyder.    
  • Southern Michigan Bancorp, Inc. Increases Quarterly Dividend

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Coldwater, Michigan, December 21, 2012:  Southern Michigan Bancorp, Inc. (OTCBB: SOMC) declared a quarterly dividend of $0.12 per share, an increase of $0.03 per share over the October 2012 cash dividend payment of $0.09 per share.  The dividend is payable on January 25, 2013 to shareholders of record January 11, 2013.   

    With this fourth quarter dividend, total cash dividends for the four quarters ending December 31, 2012 will amount to $0.37 per share, up from $0.22 per share for the same period one year ago, an increase of 68.2%.  The new annualized dividend rate is $0.48 per share.

    John H. Castle, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Southern Michigan Bancorp, Inc., stated, “continued improvement in asset quality, profitability, and balance sheet metrics have all contributed to the increase in our quarterly cash dividend.  In determining the appropriate level of shareholder dividends, the Board considers recent and prospective operating performance, capital levels, payout ratios, and other company-wide risks.”

    Southern Michigan Bancorp, Inc. is a bank holding company headquartered in Coldwater, Michigan.  Its subsidiary bank, Southern Michigan Bank & Trust, has 15 branches within Branch, Calhoun, Hillsdale and St. Joseph Countiesand provides a broad range of consumer, business and wealth management services throughout the region.  For more information, please visit the Southern Michigan Bank & Trust website, www.smb-t.com.

  • Heather E. Eldridge Earns National Designation

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Michigan- Heather E. Eldridge, Trust Operations Officer was recently awarded the Accredited Trust Operations Professional (ATOP) designation from AccuTech University, a division of AccuTech Systems Corporation.

    “Heather’s new designation enhances her already strong knowledge of the Trust and Investment Management business” stated Dylan Foster, First Vice President and Trust Investment Officer of Century Bank and Trust. 

    Eldridge joined the bank in 1993 and is a graduate of the Executive Secretarial Program at Argubright Business College.  She has also received certification through the ABA Trust Operations online program.

    AccuTech University, located in Muncie, IN, provides accredited continuing education for trust officers, administrators and operations staff.  The ATOP program is taught by nationally recognized trust educators and covers areas such as trust law, taxation, auditing, and general operation processes. In order to obtain the ATOP designation, individuals must pass an exam after completing three training sessions.

    About the Trust and Investment Management Group
    The Trust and Investment Management Group currently manages over $255 million in assets with over 100 years of combined experience. The staff of the Trust and Investment Management Group has the expertise necessary, through CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP) professionals and Certified Trust and Financial Advisors (CTFA) to assist you with all of your investment and trust management needs. All trust officers are trained in financial, estate, tax and retirement planning as well as investments and insurance. In addition, all officers attend annual seminars and educational events to remain current on these disciplines.

    About Century Bank and Trust
    Century Bank and Trust was founded in 1890, as an independent community bank. As an independent community bank, Century Bank and Trust makes its business decisions locally for the continued success of its customers.   Century's goal is to keep the local area's communities financially strong and growing and Century uses its deposits to make loans to local businesses and retail customers so the money stays within the community.

    Specializing in building relationships with its customers and communities, Century focuses on long-term, multiple account relationships and customized products that fit customer needs.

    Within the community, Century Bank and Trust, is proud to support over 250 local charities, events and organizations.  

  • Coldwater Board of Public Utilities Dennis Steele wins national award

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    COLDWATER, MI - Dennis Steele, the warehouse technician for the Coldwater Board of Public Utilities, has been honored with a 2012 American Municipal Power Hard Hat Safety Award. The Hard Hat Safety Award recognizes municipal electric system employees who contribute to safety within their community during the past year, show adherence to on-the-job safety procedures, and promote electrical safety within their department and community.

    On behalf of the Board of Directors of the CBPU, Director Paul Beckhusen congratulated Steele on this national recognition.  Beckhusen said Steele’s accomplishment speaks highly of his work ethic and dedication to support the CBPU’s efforts of providing safe, reliable and efficient utility services to its customers.




  • Century Bank Receives Award

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Century Bank and Trust was very honored to learn that our retail loan department was awarded the 2012 Branch County Realtor Affiliate of the Year Award!

     Century Bank and Trust  offers mortgage products for home purchase, construction, and refinancing. Century was founded in 1890, as an independent community bank. As an independent community bank, Century Bank and Trust makes its business decisions locally for the continued success of its customers.   Century's goal is to keep the local area's communities financially strong and growing and Century uses its deposits to make loans to local businesses and retail customers so the money stays within the community.

    Specializing in building relationships with its customers and communities, Century focuses on long-term, multiple account relationships and customized products that fit customer needs.

    Within the community, Century Bank and Trust, is proud to support over 250 local charities, events and organizations.  

    To learn more about Century Bank and Trust visitCenturyBankandTrust.com or call Toll Free (866) 680-2265


  • Mom to Mom Sale a Success for Great Start

    Posted by Pat Thomas

     Coldwater, MI – This November, The Branch County Great Start Collaborative Parent Coalition held their annual Mom to Mom Sale at the First Baptist Church Activity Center in Coldwater.  Approximately 240 shoppers  came out for the four hour event with 15 vendors selling children’s and maternity clothes.  This fundraiser gave the Branch County Great Start a $500 boost to help provide early childhood services in Branch County, determined by the Great Start Parent Coalition.

     The Great Start Parent Group  usually holds the Mom to Mom Sale in the Spring, but  members of the group received  many requests at the spring 2012 event to also hold one in the fall.  “This event was originally started by the Mothers of Preschooler’s (MOP’s), we heard many parents asking for an organization to hold the event.  This coming spring will be the fourth sale for the Great Start Parent Coalition ,” said Sheila Taylor of the Great Start Collaborative.  “It is the perfect picture of recycling since children grow so fast.”

     The Branch County Great Start Collaborative is a non-profit organization that ensures a coordinated system of community resources and supports to help all Branch County Families provide a Great Start for their children from birth to age five.  For more information about the Collaborative, call 517.278.5600 or visit their website or Facebook page at www.BranchCountyGreatStart.com.




    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Classes begin Jan. 7

    COLDWATER, Mich. – Baker College of Coldwater, a satellite campus of Baker College of Jackson, is enrolling students for winter 2013 quarter, with classes beginning Monday, Jan. 7. Registration continues through the first week of classes.

    Some of the career programs offered at Baker College of Coldwater this winter include early childhood education, cyber security, Microsoft networking professional, computer networking technology/Microsoft option, medical insurance specialist, medical assistant, accounting, business administration

    /accounting concentration, management and medical office administration.

    Financial assistance is available to students, including scholarships, grants, low-interest loans and work-study programs. For more information, please contact Kevin Pnacek at kevin.pnacek@baker.edu, or call the Baker College of Jackson admissions office at 517.788.7800, or the Coldwater satellite campus at 517.781.4484. Students may also schedule an appointment via the Baker College website: www.baker.edu.

    The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is a nonprofit higher education institution, serving more than 40,000 students on 12 campuses and in three satellite locations. Baker grants certificates and associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, health sciences, education and human services, and various technical fields, as well as a doctorate of business administration. As a career college, the Baker College system is pleased to report that 97 percent of its available graduates are employed. For more information about Baker College, please check out our website at www.baker.edu.

  • Adopt A Grandparent

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    An Adopt-A-Grandparent program is now in its third decade with students from Max Larsen elementary in Coldwater once a month during the school year coming to Maple Lawn to take part in an intergenerational activity with the residents of the care facility.

    Third grade teacher Neva Lounds says on their first trip to Maple Lawn when it was where the county jail is currently located, one of the students said, ‘I wish my grandparents lived here.  Maybe I'll find one at Maple Lawn”. 

    Lounds said it made her realize how much the family structure has changed with many relatives living far away.  As if to affirm the idea, one of the nurses at Maple Lawn mentioned they have lots of visitors around Christmas, but not so many the rest of the year.  So they decided each one of the students would adopt a grandparent. 

    Lounds said it’s been a huge success with all the grades she’s taught. Each month there is a different scheduled event between the activity staff and Lounds and Maple Lawn pays for the bussing to transport the students monthly. 

    For the initial September meeting, residents and their families provided the students with schools supplies to start the school year.  In October, a “Get to Know You” activity and Halloween party was held.  In November students made a photo frame with a picture of the student and grandparent together.  A Christmas program & sing-a-long is planned for this month. Lounds called it such a rewarding program with the students learning so many life lessons. 

  • Allure Salon Hosts Pay it Forward Event to Benefit Women’s Shelter

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Coldwater, MI – November is a great time to give thanks and pay it forward to those that are less fortunate.  On Wednesday, November 28 beginning at 4 p.m. the community is welcome to come and partake in an event to help the women of the Branch County Coalition Against Domestic Violence and get some discounted services from Allure Salon in Coldwater.

    The event will feature free shampoo and styles for anyone who attends.  In addition, attendees can bring in bottles of new or used hair products, and for each bottle brought in customers will receive 10% off the purchase of a new hair product, up to 40%.  All of the hair products brought in will be donated to the Shelter House.  For each person who attends, Allure will also donate $10 back to the Shelter for the women to come and receive services before the holidays.

    “This is just one way we can give back to our community and empower the women at the Shelter, because when you look good, you feel good,” said Nicole Poradzisz, owner of Allure Salon.

    Allure Salon is owned and operated by Nicole Poradzisz and Jennifer Moore and is located at 461 Marshall St. in Coldwater, located across the street from Family Fare, and is available by calling 279-7597 or on Facebook at Allure Salon.


  • Coldwater School Receives Grants from Local Companies

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Coldwater, MI (WTVB) –   United Educational Credit Union recently awarded a "Brighter Ideas" grant to Jayne Harris fifth grade class at Lakeland Elementary School.  The $2,033.68 was awarded for fifth graders to utilize informational text with a "Nonfiction Does Matter" program.  Students will read nonfiction trade books, encyclopedias and periodicals to research topics, and for enjoyment. 

    Harris, Ila Schroll and Rod Dibert, all fifth grade teachers, will pilot this program in the hopes of extending it school-wide.  In addition to this grant, Wal-Mart also awarded Harris $1,000 towards the program. 

    Harris applied for the grant at Wal-Mart and at United Educational Credit Union in June of this year and received notification of the grant in July.

  • Coldwater Noon Rotary Makes Donation to Girls on the Run Program

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Coldwater, MI – Coldwater Noon Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.  As part of the Coldwater Noon Rotary humanitarian services, they once again made a $500 donation to the Girls on the Run of Branch County program

    The Coldwater Noon Rotary has supported the Girls on the Run program for several years.  The service and support that comes from the community has allowed the GOTR program to grow significantly over the past few years and has allowed girls from every school district in Branch County to participate.  In 2010 Girls on the Run of Branch County had 72 girls. In 2011 it doubled to 140 and in 2012 increased another 21% to 173 girls with 12 teams.  Donations from service groups such as Coldwater Noon Rotary have helped offset these costs and enabled the program to expand.  The GOTR Board would like to thank Coldwater Noon Rotary for their support to help the girls in our community.

    GOTR is a non-profit after school program that encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running.  To reduce costs and lower registration fees, GOTR has reached out to the community for support.  With the support of the Coldwater Noon Rotary’s donation, the local program will be able to give more scholarships.  Local support of this program ensures that the program is available to all girls and will continue to make a difference.

    The spring season starts the week of March 11, 2013.  The girls will meet twice a week for ten weeks.  The season is completed with a 5K Fun Run held in conjunction with the Community Health Center of Branch County (CHC).  The 5K Fun Run will be held May 25, 2013 at Heritage Park.  Registration forms are available online at www.GirlsOnTheRunOfBranchCounty.org or www.chcbc.com and can be mailed to Girls on the Run of Branch County, P.O. Box 483, Coldwater MI  49036.  Credit Card payments can be processed at www.chcbc.com

    The Girls on the Run of Branch County Board of Directors is very grateful for the generous contributions of Coldwater Noon Rotary and other donors.  If you would like to support the program or receive more information, please contact Julie Stratos at 517-279-5395 or julies@chcbc.com.

    Rotary's 1.2 million members believe it starts with a commitment to Service Above Self. In more than 34,000 clubs worldwide, you'll find members volunteering in communities at home and abroad to support education and job training, provide clean water, combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, and eradicate polio.

    Rotary club membership represents a cross-section of the community's business and professional men and women. The world's Rotary clubs meet weekly and are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.

    Rotary membership provides the opportunity to: Become connected to your community. Work with others in addressing community needs. Interact with other professionals in your community; assist with RI's international humanitarian service efforts. Establish contacts with an international network of professionals. Develop leadership skills. Involve family in promoting service efforts.

    A girl on the Run® is a 501(c) 3 positive youth development program which combines an interactive curriculum and running to inspire self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls. Our core curriculum addresses many aspects of girls’ development – their physical, emotional, mental and social well-being. Lessons provide girls with the tools to make positive decisions and to avoid risky adolescent behaviors.

  • KCC offers Cisco Certified Network Administrator course in Coldwater

    Posted by Pat Thomas

    Kellogg Community College will offer a class at the Branch Area Careers Center in 2013 to help students develop skills in the growing field of computer networking and architecture.

    The class, CET 235, called Cisco Networking I, is the first of four classes that prepare students to take the Cisco Certified Network Administrator (CCNA) certification test. CCNA certification is an important step toward employment and expertise in this career.
    CET 235 will immerse students in the fundamental aspects of Local Area Network topologies by applying basic principles of cabling, performing basic configurations of network devices such as routers and switches and implementing IP addressing schemes.

    The principles and structure of IP addressing and the fundamentals of ethernet concepts, media and operations are introduced to provide a foundation for the curriculum. Labs use a “model Internet” to allow students to analyze real data without affecting production networks. Packet Tracer activities help students analyze protocol and network operations and build small networks in a simulated environment.

    Jobs in network and computer system administration are in high demand and expected to grow rapidly over the next decade nationwide. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary in 2010 for administrators in this field was $69,160.
    CET 235 will be offered in the Spring 2013 semester from 5:30 to 9:50 p.m. on Wednesdays, Feb. 6 through April 24, at the Branch Area Careers Center, 366 Morse St., Coldwater.
    For more information, visit Kellogg.edu and click on “Class Schedules.”