THREE OAKS – The first order of business for the members of the Three Oaks Township Board during their Jan. 13 meeting was to praise the members of the Three Oaks Fire Department for their response and exemplary actions they undertook as they arrived at the scene of a fire on Dec. 21 at the Lakeshore Recycling & Disposal facility at 8740 U.S. 12.

Their actions were recorded in the monthly Fire Report submitted by Fire Chief Dave Flick.

Supervisor George Mangold reviewed the report that noted that fire and flames were visible in a building there when firefighters first arrived on scene. The fire posed a challenge due to the fact that some industrial type fuels were stored in and around the structure.

Contents of the building included a refuse truck undergoing repairs as well as propane tanks, welding tanks, oxygen tanks and tires.

It was noted that the wooden building with metal siding was a type that had no fire stops, so he fire quickly spread throughout the structure, and propane, oxygen and acetylene argon tanks exploded while the fire was being fought.

“Without the proper training and the command structure we use, this could have become a deadly fire for all fire personnel,” Flick noted in his written report. “I would like this Board to know that I am proud of our firefighters and the way we handled this call. There were no injuries to any personnel or damage to any of our equipment.”

Flick ended his report by recognizing not only the mutual aid fire departments that were called to help, but also the police agencies that responded to help with traffic control. Those fire departments were: New Buffalo Township; Chikaming Township; and Galien. The police departments were: Three Oaks; the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department; and the Tribal Police Department.

In other business, in his monthly update on the progress of the Spring Creek Schoolhouse Preservation Project, trustee Chris Mitchell reported that an application for a $5,000 grant from the Berrien Community Foundation had been successful.

Mitchell also said that the Three Oaks Township Public Library had items from the historic school.

“The Region of Three Oaks Museum has informed me that they’d like to hold a weekend event at the old school building sometime in June so they can to display some of these historic items and furnishings,” Mitchell said.

Architect William McCollum reported that as of now things were on track for Phase I of the work there to be completed by mid-May.

A motion to transfer $8,006 from the General Fund to the Restoration Fund as part of the township’s monetary commitment to the project received unanimous approval.

Also on the agenda, Mangold announced that no cleanup at the property owned by Michael Patton at 18946 Avery Road had been done by the Dec. 31 deadline that had been set, so the next step was for the township to take action.

Mangold opened two sealed bids from contractors who would demolish the house structure there, fill in the foundation and remove the debris, and there was unanimous support for a motion to accept the low bid of $5,500 from Jack Richter of Galien-based Happy Jack’s.

There were also unanimous votes to approve the reappointment of Karen Seifert to the Planning Commission; and Roy Brown to the Board of Appeals. Both are for three-year terms ending Dec. 31, 2022.

Unanimous approval was also given to a motion for the township to apply; hopefully along with the Village of Three oaks, for a grant from The Pokagon Fund in the amount of $15,000 to be used for a Fourth of July fireworks display.

“I’ve told people we’re willing to try to come up with funding to support this as long as it doesn’t cost the township anything,” Mangold commented. “I won’t commit any taxpayer’s money for this.”

Finally, at the suggestion of treasurer Kathy Osburn, and following a longstanding township tradition, a motion to extend the deadline for payment of Winter Property Tax bills without penalty from Feb. 14 to March 2 passed with unanimous support.

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