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by Angie Birdsall

Members of the Animal Rescue Fund (ARF) met on Monday, Jan. 12 at the ISD in Centreville. Shelly Starr and her cat "Amigo" were presented the the Animal Rescue Fund (ARF) "Pet of the Year" award. Amigo volunteers at the Three Rivers Area Mentoring Program, participates in 4-H and, and meets residents of Bowman Place Assisted Living Center.                                                                                                     
Laura Barley gave a report on the River Country Humane Society (RCHS)status, indicating they recently received a 501(c)(3) non-profit designation. Barley indicated she is a full-time commissioner at Centreville Animal Control.
"The county has closed Animal Control, and a new building is to be built on property back of the old grocery store. Commissioners are saying they have to break ground this coming year on the AC building. We're looking at what kind of building we want. There are 20 acres, a lot of room, with more space for outdoor runs, and there is a big push for more space for cats. RCHS hopes to be involved, but we don't know to what extent and how yet. It will be run pretty much as it is now, but personally I'd like the animals to additionally get shots and microchips, and streamline adoption ," Barley said.
Loralee Knepper, ARF liason at Animal Control said AC director Tom Miller received a grant in the amount of $6,000 in June, and last year received one for $10,000.
ARF discussed continued financial support of the Refurbished Pets program, which sends dogs to the correctional program, where they are educated in training and socialization before they are placed in homes.
Candy Tetzloff from White Pigeon won a $20 TSC gift certificate in a drawing, following a pet food drive held at TSC in mid-December, in which 95 bags of food for dogs, and 72 bags for cat were collected.Jo Cherry and Girl Scouts Heart of America were given a thank-you for a monetary donation, also bags of dog and cat food.Thurston Woods put in a request to ARF for therapy pets.
Upcoming events include: Toe Nail Clinic, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Tractor Supply Co. in Three Rivers; a visit to Bowman House at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 26; Reading to Animal Control Pets, at 9:30-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7 at White Pigeon Library.
The next ARF meeting is at 7:00 p.m. on February 9 at the ISD. All persons interested in the welfare of animals are encouraged to attend. To contact ARF call 718-3826 or write P.O. Box 593, Centreville, MI 49032. For more information go to www.arfund.org/.
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A 1975 newspaper article on the old Wells Hotel was one item examined by the Gov. John S. Barry Historical Society at an April 15 meeting. Built in 1846 by John M. Wells, the hotel--located on South Washington Street was a favorite stop over for several well-known individuals in its heyday.
by Angie Birdsall

Members of the Gov. John S. Barry Historical Society examined several donations on Tuesday, April 15 at the museum. Bev Rockwohr donated an 1836 Michigan government book, and Lillian Hartzell wrote a letter about her life in Constantine and donated a 1975 newspaper with an article on the old Wells Hotel.
Hartzell wrote she lived near Constantine from 1947-1967 in a house on four acres on Miller's Mill Road.and her husband worked at Drake's Casket Factory for seventy-five cents an hour. They bought a Plymouth from Jim Skiles Auto Sales, and a home for $3,000, paying $50 a month. Her husband also worked as a carpenter for C.A. Hoopingarner, and later went into work for himself as Hartzell Builders, building houses for Elton Spade who ran a fuel service, Harvey Day of Day's Molding, and most of the homes in the "Yantzi subdivision"--which sold for $16,000 apiece.
The old Wells Hotel, located on South Washington Street was a favorite stop over for several well-known individuals in its heyday. Names listed in a 1872-1876 registry include Ulysses S. Grant, Cornelius.Vanderbilt, Baron Rothschild, Susan B. Anthony, General Sherman, Henry Ward Beecher and Brigham Young. It was built in 1846 by John M. Wells, just prior to when a train began running from White Pigeon to Constantine (1854.) It was purchased by Henry E. Root in 1858, then by the Harveys in 1917 who razed the old hotel. Pillars from the hotel were used in the pergola erected in 1925 by the Woman's Club in Pioneer Park, located at Mill Street and Florence Road. The bronze plaques located on each pillar are currently housed at the Barry Museum.
A business meeting was held. Free tours the first Sunday of the month during summer months will begin. The first one will be 1:00-5:00 p.m. on May 4. Fern McClain reported an earlier ornate front porch on the Barry home was not original, and added in 1877. It was razed in the mid 1940's. Members made plans for the museum's big fundraiser of the year--rib and chicken dinners will be sold at 11:00 a.m. (until sold out) on Memorial Day. George Murphy brought in several examples of book markers and pamphlets with photos of the Barry home on them to review. Judy Norton and Carol Magley were guests at the meeting. Refreshments were served by Angie Birdsall. The next meeting will be at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20 at the museum. The public is invited. For more information call 506-1575.
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E. Water Street--Constantine, MI
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1902 photo of 2nd St. in Constantine, MI
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Constantine Creamery
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by Angie Birdsall

Constantine village manager/police chief Mark Honeysett presented a Grant Amendment Request sent by Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering, Inc. to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) to the village council, at a January 5 meeting.                                                                                                 The village received a  Downtown Infrastructure Grant (DIG) on February 28, 2014 in the amount of $282,182, with the DDA expected to provide a match of $80,727.08. Grant money is to be used for improvements to the parking lot on the east side of Washington Street between Water, White Pigeon and Second Streets. There are plans for 32 parking spaces, including one for handicapped parking and one for an electric car charging station.                                                                                                       Honeysett said at a November 3 council meeting he had only received one bid, which was "200 per cent higher than what we anticipated" and that he was going to ask the MEDC for additional time to hopefully get a lower bid.                                                                                                                                               "We're going from 'Cadillac to Chevrolet' as the project is being downsized in our amendment request. We met a January 2 deadline with submission of an item-by-item review that shows the revised project is consistent with the original DIG project. A new cost estimate includes a resolution of the telephone pole issue. Frontier has agreed to eliminate the pole from the parking lot without any expense to the village," he said.
A February 2 deadline will be met once the village advertises for bids for spring construction.
"The next/third step in the process is awarding of the bid assuming the project cost comes in at, or near the project estimate. Assuming we receive bids that are within the updated projections, the construction must be completed by July 2, 2015," he said.
An additional item in a project review stated six spaces owned by Rachel's Restaurant, along 130 E. Water Street, are not to be part of the project, as property owners have other plans for the area.
"A potential buyer for Rachel's has plans to improve the area by adding a drive-thorough window and several parking spaces," he said.
Honeysett added he had received nothing from the MEDC yet indicating they approved the request, but he expected to receive something shortly.
In other council business
During contract negotiations, the village agreed to a 50-50 employee-employer split in their contribution to the F.O.P.'s Michigan Employees' Retirement System (MERS) retirement account.
"We pay $200 for the first three months, and $800 more for the following nine months. The employee and employer rate will be 5.54 per cent effective January 1, 2015, and 5.08 per cent effective April 1, 2015," Honeysett said.

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Blurry smartphone pic, but you know what they say about the best camera being the one you have with you...
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There's a new app out that allows smartphone users to track their district's upcoming bills and how the votes are going. Session is out currently, but it's a nice way to keep track of your politicians.

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Check out the Three Rivers Public Library's historic flickr page! #history   #historyphotos  
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