By Paul Garrod
PAW PAW – A longtime Paw Paw woman, a World War II Army nurse, was honored by Van Buren County Commissioners, Tuesday, July 25, to honor her 100th birthday, which was Monday, July 24.
In a proclamation, commissioners said of Eleanor Elkins Dunlop, “Longevity of life is a blessing for an individual and for a community which benefits from the knowledge, creativity, and experiences this individual brings to all. The County of Van Buren recognizes with respect and admiration the contribution of senior citizens to our community.
Eleanor Elkins joined the Army after Pearl Harbor and became an Army nurse in World War II. She was a lieutenant stationed in Europe, where she met her late husband and the father of her children, veteran PFC Army Corpsman David Dunlop.
Mrs. Dunlop raised five children while working full-time as a surgical nurse at Lake View Community Hospital, Paw Paw. Her career there spanned 31 years and Mrs. Dunlop touched many lives.
She continues to be a leader in Trinity Lutheran Church, where she participates in Bible studies and reads the Bible from the lectern. She also collects clothing for seminary students at Lutheran Church Fort Wayne Seminary, among many other charitable acts. Mrs. Dunlop contributed many resources to Habitat for Humanity, not the least of which was helping to build a house in Southwestern Michigan alongside former President Jimmy Carter. She continues to give of herself at Eleanor’s Pantry and enjoys gardening, baking, spending time with loved ones and caring for the birds and cats that reside at her country home.
Commissioners concluded the proclamation stating, “Eleanor is a blessing to all she meets. The Board of Commissioners recognizes and thanks Ms. Eleanor Dunlop for her dedication to her community. The Board honors Ms. Eleanor Dunlop for her long life and prosperity and wish her many more!”
In another area, commissioners approved a request from the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office for the purchase of a new K-9, equipment, and a basic six-week training course for a new handler from F.M K-9, Berrien Center, Mich. The new K-9 will replace a K-9 that had retired. The total cost is $13,565.
Commissioners approved a request for a $50,000 match for a Michigan Department of Rural Readiness (MDARD) grant that will fund a residential Target Market Analysis (TMA), which will support the county’s ongoing efforts to develop a county-wide housing strategic plan.
Commissioners said the TMA will identify the market potential for new and rehabbed housing units, migration patterns, target markets, and other data necessary to understand the gap between housing stock and demand. They further stated this will support communities in their efforts to attract new residents and developers as they create the proformas necessary to secure project financing.
The purpose of the strategic plan is to effectively address the ongoing, county-wide housing shortage. It will build upon the TMA by reviewing existing planning, zoning, and housing tools and policies throughout the county to determine if current practices are aligned, consistent, contemporary, and substantiated by the results of the TMA. The strategic plan will also include an action plan that details key tasks, strategies, project champions, and estimated costs to address housing and developer recruitment, relationship building, and community marketing.
Commissioners also approved a request the move of the current contractual position, peer recovery specialist, away from contractual and into a fulltime position with
the Specialty Courts. Currently, the budget for this position is a little over $50,000/year. As a fulltime county position, it would be classified as an R25 position, starting at $22.26 per hour, or $43,409.73 per year. With fringes added, it is estimated that the full cost of the position to be around $75,000 for the first year,
The peer recovery specialist position, like all positions in Specialty Courts, would be grant-dependent. There is $18,300 available in state grants and $240,000 in federal grants which would fund this position.