Top drain man named

Published 6:01 am Friday, March 12, 2004

By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Cassopolis Vigilant
CASSOPOLIS -- Jeffrey D. VanBelle, 43, of Edwardsburg, was appointed Cass County drain commissioner Thursday morning in the Kincheloe Room at the Cass County Courthouse.
VanBelle was sworn in by Cass County Clerk Ann Simmons, who served on the committee to choose the next drain commissioner along with Probate Court Judge Susan Dobrich and Cass County Prosector Victor Fitz.
VanBelle, who succeeds Allen Butchbaker, who retired after 16 years, is a licensed general contractor and president of his own business, Cornerstone Builders in Edwardsburg.
He grew up in Niles and came to Edwardsburg 14 years ago. He and his wife Tina live on Pleasant Lake. They have four children: Kristen, 15, a sophomore at Edwardsburg High School; Katie, 13, an eighth grader; Evan, 10, a fourth grader; and Courtney, 4.
She added VanBelle has wonderful skills working with the public. Fitz added that a drain commissioner is especially important for a county with so many lakes and water.
Before he started his business in 2002, VanBelle was vice-president of Joy's Johns in South Bend, Ind. from 1985. He also has a background in customer service and as a production manager.
He received a bachelors in business administration from Sienna Heights University. He is a past-president of the Edwardsburg Lions Club, member of the Bertrand Bible Church in Niles and the treasurer of the Pleasant Lake Association.
He promised to carry a cell phone and be accessible as he expects to be out in the community and "visually look at as many areas as I can in the next two to three months."
He added he had worked with Butchbaker before in Edwardsburg and he looks forward to learning from him next week when he comes in to help.
The ceremony was viewed by Circuit Court Judge Michael E. Dodge and his wife Beth Dodge, Community Corrections Coordinator, Cass County Commissioner Chairman Bob Wagel and Commissioner Carl Higley and John Gore, Penn Township Supervisor, along with other county employees.
Following his swearing in, VanBelle was taken over to meet the members of the Road Commission.