Niles Township swears in fire chief

NILES TOWNSHIP – Eleven months after the Niles Charter Township Fire Department’s former fire chief retired, its next chief was officially sworn in.

Tim Jesswein has been serving as the department’s interim, and then acting, chief since January. On Tuesday evening after the Niles Charter Township Board of Trustees meeting, he was officially sworn in to the position as the department’s fire chief.

“I appreciate all of your support,” Jesswein said. “I look forward to moving forward altogether.”

During the meeting, the board members voted unanimously to finalize Jesswein’s appointment and amended part of the paperwork. Treasurer Jim Ringler made a motion to amend the memorandum of understanding to allow Jesswein to receive his one-time salary increase of $2,000 Jan. 1, instead of 12- months after the official hire date.

“Part of this process is that once we’ve hired a fireman to be chief, then we have to go through the whole process of [finding] someone to replace him,” Ringler said. “That has actually taken every bit of six months to do that. I want to thank the [firefighters’] union for allowing this to take place like it has, in regards to hiring. [Jesswein] has been acting chief all this time, and it’s because we needed to go through the hiring process and train the guy.”

Ringler acknowledged the process has “eaten away six months” Jesswein could have been serving as a fully-onboarded chief.

Jesswein has more than 30 years of experience in the fire service. According to his application for the Niles Charter Township Fire Department fire chief position, Jesswein has been employed by Buchanan Township since 1987. He most recently has served as fire chief.

In August 2020, he was honored by the Buchanan Township Fire Department for his 33 years of service.

During the Tuesday evening township meeting, Jesswein said he had worked with the Niles Charter Township Fire Department for 17 years.

Later in the meeting, a Niles Township resident, Judi Libera, spoke during public comment about the traffic at Bell Road and S. 13th Street.

“The traffic is sometimes going 50 miles per hour down that road,” Libera said.

She said she had spoken to Brandywine Middle/High School, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office and had contacted the Berrien County Road Department.

“The sheriff’s department I have been working together, and they feel that they should take South 13th Street on the south and Bell Road down to 35 miles per hour, to slow down the traffic into Bell Road. There’s potholes galore,” Libera said.

Ringler asked Libera what the other departments she had spoken to recommended to do.

“I’m getting all sorts of information, and they said I needed to go to a [township] meeting,” Libra said.

Township Clerk Terry Eull said that he had worked with residents at intersections on Bertrand and Ontario roads to help them get four-way stops installed.

“After a number of tries, we finally got them. We had to have the [Berrien County] road commission do a study. It’s a count. It’s traffic that dictates stop signs,” Eull said. “We’re not going to stop anyone putting stop signs up. It’s the Berrien County Road Commission, not the Niles Township Road Commission.”

Business

Event organizers, local dispensaries call inaugural Niles Cannabis Festival a success

Breaking News

Buchanan native Hannah Roberts takes silver in Olympics

News

PHOTO STORY: Inaugural Niles Cannabis Festival sells nearly 800 tickets

Cass County

Cass County Fair grand marshals are longtime advocates of the fair

Cass County

Fair organizers excited for fair after 2020 cancellation

Cass County

Fair guests in for a treat with main grounds entertainment

Cass County

COA’s Meals on Wheels program seeks delivery volunteers

Berrien County

Inaugural LIVESTRONG at the YMCA 5K to take place Aug. 7

Dowagiac

Purdue University Fort Wayne, SMC sign transfer agreement

Cass County

Van Buren/Cass District Health Department offering COVID-19 vaccines at the Cass County Fair

Berrien County

Law enforcement, state leaders warn residents to be aware of rental scams

Berrien County

Southwest Michigan thrift stores seeing sharp increase in donations

News

Niles Township approves document scanning project

News

Virtual archaeology lecture series ends with look into Chevalier family

Berrien County

Salvation Army welcomes new majors

News

Community turns out to raise funds for teen battling rare condition

Berrien County

Berrien County health officials urge COVID-19 vaccination for adolescents

News

New dog park, garden coming to the Niles Housing Commission

Dowagiac

Ascension to require COVID-19 vaccination for associates

Edwardsburg

Edwardsburg looking forward to inaugural art fair

Business

Niles Planning Commission approves special land use request for marijuana microbusiness

Dowagiac

Dowagiac Police Log: July 26-28

Dowagiac

Southwestern Michigan College’s accreditation reaffirmed through 2031

Business

Gov. Whitmer Signs Proclamation Marking July 28 to Aug. 4 as Buy Michigan Week