Saturday Evening Skating Parties (weather permitting) are planned at the Chikaming Township ice skating rink in Harbert Community Park, 13535 Red Arrow Highway, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the following dates: Jan. 26, Feb. 2, 9 and 16.

Parties will include an evening of skating and snacks. All are welcome and encouraged to attend during the winter months.

You can enjoy the ice rink free of charge any night of the week, ice rink conditions permitting, until the park closes at 10:30 p.m. The lights will be turned on every night.

Visit the “Chikaming Ice Rink” Facebook page to find out daily if the rink is open.

Thanks to a grant through The Heart of Cook, funded by the Donald C. Cook Nuclear Plant, skates of all sizes are available for use, free of charge (donations of gently used skates are always welcome).

SAM Winter Recital rescheduled

The School of American Music (SAM) has rescheduled its annual Winter Recital from Sunday, January 20, to Sunday, January 27, due to forecasts for extreme weather on the 20th. Time for the recital remains 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and the venue is the Three Oaks Arts & Education Center at 14 Maple Street in downtown Three Oaks.

The recital is free and open to the public, and will feature performances by SAM students and instructors.

According to Priscilla Lee Hellenga, SAM director of special events, the twice-yearly recitals aim to give students live performance experience, in addition to the musical training they receive in the classroom. “Performance is an important part of music instruction,” Hellenga says. “Playing an instrument or singing in front of an audience is different from playing or singing in a studio, and it’s an important skill for any aspiring musician.” She adds, “Public performances are required of all our students.”

This year’s Winter Recital will include an intermission with light refreshments.

River Valley Softball sign-ups

River Valley Fastpitch Softball will be having sign ups for any girl ages 6-14 as of January 1, 2019.

The league will accept 5 year olds if there is an older sibling playing. Signups will be Saturday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Three Oaks Township Library; and Thursday, Feb. 7, from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. at  River Valley High School during the middle school girls basketball game.

Cost is $50 for the first player, $45 for each additional player. Price includes team uniform.

The deadline for registration is Feb. 16, 2019. If you have any questions, please contact Alison Lynch at (269) 207-5103

Foundation library presentations

The Berrien Community Foundation will present information about funding available for non-profits and answer questions during five stops at libraries around Berrien County including a presentation from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7, at the New Buffalo Township Library, 33 N. Thompson St.

Other presentations include: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28, at Niles District Library, 620 E. Main St.; 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 30, at the Berrien Springs Library, 215 West Union St.; 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Benton Harbor Library, 213 E. Wall St.; and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Coloma Library, 151 W. Center St.

Meet the New Acorn

A special Meet the New Acorn event is planned for 8 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Acorn Theater, 107 Generations Dr., Three Oaks.

A night of celebration, Acorn style, is planned. The evening will include the unveiling of the theater’s new story, new logo and new website. Fabulous Acorn Open Mic talent will light up the stage for the milestone event. “And to show our appreciation for the generous support we have received to get us to this place there will be a gift for all!”

An After Party will follow with a DJ and dancing!.

There is no admission fee, but reservations are required. Call (269) 756-3879 or log on to www.acorntheater.org/.

The following shows also are scheduled to take place at the Acorn Theater: Chely Wright with Opener Eric Burgett at 8 p.m. Jan 25; An Open Mic Night with host The Pinola Plowboys at 8 p.m. Feb. 2; Dan Navarro with opener Patti Shaffner at 8 p.m. Feb. 8; That’s Amore! An afternoon cabaret of Arias & Love Songs featuring: Paul Mow, Joshua Goines, Meredith Best George, Kacie Colleen Mercer & Abby Murray Vachon at 2 p.m. Feb. 10;  and  The Smithereens With Marshall Crenshaw on March 15.

For more, call (269) 756-3879 or go to www.acorntheater.com.

Empty Bowls Dinner at NBHS

The New Buffalo High School Student Senate is sponsoring its 8th annual Empty Bowls Dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, in the New Buffalo High School cafeteria.

A suggested donation of $10 for a ceramic bowl made by a New Buffalo High School student will provide diners with that work of original art, a meal of soup or chili with crackers, a beverage, and dessert.

The public is encouraged to attend and/or volunteer to help in some way.  All proceeds raised will stay in the local Harbor Country community and benefit the Blessings in a Backpack program.  

For more information, please contact: Tina Keller at tkeller@nbas.org or (269) 469-6046; or Beth Scoggin at bscoggin@nbas.org or (269) 469-6045.

Benefit dinner & cooking demo

Jackie Shen, chef/owner of Jackie’s Café, 801 W. Buffalo St., New Buffalo, will prepare a special benefit Buffet Dinner to celebrate the Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day on Monday, Feb. 4.

Guests can enjoy a 5 p.m. cooking demonstration featuring her famous “Chocolate Bag” dessert, which will be the Valentine treat of the evening. Dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. “Jackie’s” is donating 100 percent of proceeds to benefit the River Valley Senior Center.

Cost is $45 per person. To make a reservation contact: Jackie’s Café at (269) 469-1800 or the River Valley Senior Center, 13321 Red Arrow Hwy., Harbert, at (269) 469-4556.

Running of the Bull Pub Crawl

The Fourth Annual New Buffalo Winterfest “The Running of the Bull” Afternoon Pub Crawl will take place on Saturday, Jan. 26.

The schedule follows:

• 1 p.m. — Dooleys Lake House Pub

• 2:15 p.m. — Bentwood Tavern at Marina Grand

• 3:15 p.m. — New Buffalo Yacht Club

• 4:15 p.m. — Terrace Room at the Harbor Grand

• 5:15 p.m. — Stray Dog Bar & Grill

• 6:15 p.m. — Crawl to Casey’s

Admission is free. Food and beverages are pay as you go(cash required at New Buffalo Yacht Club). Costumes are encouraged, but anything goes.

For more information send an email to NewBuffalo.Bull@gmail.com.

Afternoon Tea at Library

The New Buffalo Township Library’s fifth annual Afternoon Tea will take place on Sunday, Jan. 27, at 2 p.m. in the library’s Pokagon Room.

Tickets (at $8 per person) will be available until Saturday, Jan. 26. Tickets include entrance to the event, a variety of teas to choose from, and a selection of tea sandwiches, scones, and sweets. Vegan and gluten-free options will be available.

For more information, contact Courtney at nbtlcreate@gmail.com www.newbuffalotownshiplibrary.org, (269) 469-2933. The library is located at 33 N Thompson. St.

Tax sessions scheduled

Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski will host three sessions about tax payment plans for property owners who are in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure due to unpaid taxes. Those who owe 2016 and/or 2017 taxes can set up a monthly payment plan to avoid foreclosure.

Sessions will be held at: the Niles Public Library, 620 E. Main St., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 26; the Three Oaks Public Library, 3 N. Elm St., 5-7 p.m. Feb. 14; the Benton Harbor City Hall, 200 E. Wall St., 11 a.m.-3 p.m. March 2.

Property owners can also meet with the treasurer at the St. Joseph office, at 701 Main Street, weekdays from 8:30-5 p.m., or the Niles office at the Berrien County Courthouse, 1205 Front St., Tuesdays from 9 a.m.-noon. For questions call 269-9837111, Ext 8569.

Last year over 400 property owners avoided foreclosure by signing up for a monthly payment plan. This program has served to benefit property owners and allow them to avoid forfeiting their properties with an overall success rate of 92 percent. Around 700 residents are enrolled in payment plans.

Properties are foreclosed when three years of back taxes are owed.

By law, owners need to pay 2016 and prior unpaid taxes, or enter into a payment plan, or the property will be foreclosed April 1. If the delinquent taxes are not paid or made subject to a payment plan by April 1, the treasurer cannot do anything under the law to allow owners to keep the property, which will be offered at the annual land auction in July.

Bridgman Library Teen Story Writing Contest

The theme for this year’s Bridgman Public Library Teen Story Writing Contest is “Love.” The contest is open to students in grades 7-12 residing in Bridgman, Lake, and Chikaming Townships.

A complete list of rules can be found on the “Teens” page at www.bridgmanlibrary.com.  Entrants are able to request a private review session to hone their work. Submissions will be accepted Feb. 1-Feb 28. First place - $300, 2nd place - $200, 3rd place - $100. Prizes provided by the Friends of Bridgman Public Library.  Winners announced March 8 on the Bridgman Library website.

Musicians from Andrews University, Bridgman, and Buchanan will be at the Bridgman Public Library performing both solo and chamber works on January 23 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Father-Daughter Dance planned

The Sawyer Dance Troupe will presents its annual Father-Daughter Dance on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Sawyer.

This year’s theme is “Princess Ball.” Cost is $20 per couple, plus $5 for each additional child (includes a hot dog supper, door prize and keepsake photo). There will be a professional DJ and a raffle with amazing prizes.

Buccaneer Bash

The Bridgman Foundation for Educational Excellence will throw a “Buccaneer Bash” For Now & Forever fund-raiser from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, at Bridgman American Legion Post 331.

A silent and live auction, dancing to music by Top Secret, appetizers, beverages, cash bar and costume prizes are planned.

Tickets are $40 per person and will be available soon at the Bridgman High School office or online at www.bridgmanfoundation.org.

Civil War Days Valentine Fundraiser

The Civil War Days in Three Oaks Committee is offering My Victorian Valentine High Tea Fundraiser at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, in the Fellowship Hall of the Three Oaks United Methodist Church.

The menu for the afternoon includes a variety of Tea’s, Biscuits and Finger Sandwiches. There will be a Musical Presentation as well as a Cake Silent Auction. Requested donation for the Victorian Valentine Fundraiser tickets are $10 for each person or $15.00 for couples. Please contact us at cwinthreeoaks@yahoo.com or call (269) 635-7601 to reserve your tickets. Tickets will be waiting for you at the door. Period attire desired but not required.

Civil War Days in Three Oaks will take place on the weekend of July 27 and 28, 2019. The reenactors will present “battles” between the Blue and the Gray throughout the weekend. There will be special programs for children and opportunities to meet and talk with the reenactors. Other programs will include a Sutler, Coffee with the Generals, vendors, various presentations and much more. Volunteers needed for this fun, educational, and historical weekend.

We are happy to again have the support of the Region of Three Oaks Museum. For more information to support this fundraiser and the Three Oaks Civil War Days contact us at cwinthreeoaks@yahoo.com.

HCM Give-Back Dinner

A Give-Back Dinner for Harbor Country Mission is scheduled for 5 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at Bentwood Tavern, 600 West Water St., New Buffalo.

Galien Legion Post dinner

Galien American Legion Post 344, 402 N. Cleveland Ave, Galien,

will have an All You Can Eat fish and chicken fry from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 2.

The menu consists of fish, chicken, french fries, rolls and coffee. The price is $10 for adults and $5 for children 5 to 10 years. Under age 5 are free. Carry outs will be available and there will also be a Bake Sale.

For more information call  Commander Mike Middlebrook at (269) 545-8280.

Learn French at NB Library

Interested in learning French, or brushing up your skills? Are you visiting France soon and want to read menus without confusion, ask for directions, and greet people? Join us at the New Buffalo Township Library at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 5, for an informal meeting to get the ball rolling on your French skills. We’ll introduce the French language to you, and decide when to meet in the future, to best fit the schedules of most.

There are no sign-ups required and the class is free. You may contact Courtney at nbtlcreate@gmail.com for questions. If you are interested in attending this class but cannot make this date and time, please call or email with your best days of weeks and times to submit at the introductory meeting. 33 N. Thompson St., New Buffalo. (269) 469-2933.

The February book club pick at the New Buffalo Library is “Educated” by Tara Westover.

The Adult Winter Reading Challenge continues through Feb. 16.

Heart of Cook grant applications

Applications are available now for 2019 grants through The Heart of Cook Foundation Fund.

A grant program funded by Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant and administered by the Berrien Community Foundation.

The Heart of Cook is designed to help nonprofit programs in Southwest Michigan and Northwest Indiana pay for their programs and projects. Educational projects, human services programs that support families, and environmental protection and preservation projects are the focus areas for the grant program.

The grant review committee, comprised of Cook Nuclear Plant employees, gives special consideration to projects that involve I&M employees. Organizations must have 501(c)(3) tax exempt or equivalent status.

Grant applications and guidelines may be obtained by visiting the Berrien Community Foundation’s website at www. berriencommunity.org/HOC. All grant applications must be submitted electronically by Feb. 13, 2019, through the Berrien Community Foundation’s website. Awards will be announced in May.

Chef Night at NB Library

The Friends of the New Buffalo Library’s next Chef Night will be held at the library at 5 p.m.  Monday, Feb. 11.

The family-friendly event will be led by pastry chef Denise Churchill, who trained at the French Culinary Institute in New York City. She will demonstrate cookie decorating with royal icing and cupcake decorating with buttercream. Adults will have the opportunity to decorate their own cupcakes. There will be mini cupcakes to taste, and kids will receive a “paint your own”  Valentine cookie. All proceeds will go to the Friends of the New Buffalo Library.

Cost is $25 per family (3 person minimum) or $20 per individual. Sign up with the library front desk, cash and check only with checks payable to the Friends of the New Buffalo Library. For more, go to www.newbuffalotownshiplibrary.org; call (269) 469-2933; or send an email to nbtlcreate@gmail.com.

Coastline Fest Sneak Peek film

The Coastline Children’s Film Festival and the Box Factory for the Arts (1101 Broad Street, St. Joseph) will present a Sneak Peek screening for kids and their families at the Box Factory for the Arts. “JEANNETTE, The Childhood of Joan of Arc,” an award-winning international feature film, will be shown at 3 p.m. Sunday Jan. 27, before the festival opens March 8. Admission is free. Popcorn and refreshments will be available.

Paquette office open

State Rep. Brad Paquette has announced his legislative office is open and ready to serve residents of the 78th House District.

“I am eager to get to work for the people of Southwest Michigan,” Paquette said. “Whether it is an issue you need help navigating, or an idea to help simplify government, I am ready to listen.”

People can contact Rep. Paquette by calling (517) 373-1796 or by emailing bradpaquette@house.mi.gov. Correspondence can also be mailed to N-1097 House Office Building, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909.

Constituents can view updates from Rep. Paquette or subscribe to his news updates by visiting www.RepPaquette.com.

Rep. Paquette was elected to serve the 78th District in the Michigan House of Representatives in November 2018. The 78th District encompasses portions of Berrien and Cass counties, including the cities of Buchanan, New Buffalo and Niles and the townships of Baroda, Berrien, Bertrand, Buchanan, Chikaming, Galien, Howard, Milton, New Buffalo, Niles, Ontwa, Oronoko, Pipestone, Silver Creek, Sodus, Three Oaks, and Weesaw.

Humane Society seeks volunteers

The Michiana Humane Society (MHS) is accepting applications for volunteers to help at the shelter and at events for the 2019 season. Volunteers play a major role in the function of the shelter, by cleaning kennels and blankets, socializing with the animals, and helping with registration and other activities during events.

Volunteering at MHS can also count towards hours for students and others who need to fulfill a certain amount community service. Volunteers must be at least 13 years of age and beyond, and are asked to volunteer in one to two hour shifts when convenient to them.

If you have a love of animals and believe in MHS’s mission of finding permanent homes for the shelter animals, sign up to volunteer at Michiana Humane Society. You can apply in person at  at 722 Indiana Highway 212 in Michigan City, visit  www.michianahumanesociety.org and fill out an application online, or call (219) 872-4499.

Three Oaks Winter Reading

The Three Oaks Township Public Library has issued a “Winter Reading Advisory” reading program through Feb. 28.

Adults can sign up in the library and receive a winter mug — perfect to enjoy a cup of tea while you read a good book. Read one book each week and receive a weekly prize and an entry into the grand prize drawing for a new Kindle Fire. Drawing will be held on March 1. Warm up your winter with a good book!

Meet Your Elected Officials

The Cornerstone Chamber of Commerce will host “Meet Your Elected Officials” breakfast on January 28th, with guests State Senator Kim LaSata, 79th District Representative Pauline Wendzel, 78th District Representative Brad Paquette, and Mike Ryan, District Director for US Congressman Fred Upton.

 The event, which is being held Monday, January 28, from 7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m., at The Hilton Garden Inn, 1300 Cinema Way, Benton Harbor, Michigan, is made possible with support from Indiana Michigan Power – an AEP Company.

 The format for the meeting will include breakfast and networking initially, followed by a 5-minute introduction by each official; and ending with a question and answer period with questions submitted by Chamber members.

 There is no cost to Chamber members, but you are asked to RSVP to ssolon@cornerstonechamber.com or calling (269) 934-4040, prior to Friday, January 25th.  Reservations are limited to the first 50 people.

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