32. Michigan Nature Association Acquires New Sanctuary Property
The following was posted on the Michigan Nature Association website on December 28, 2017. To view the video referenced in the article, take this link ... Click to go to article.
The property is located in Presque Isle Township south of Presque Isle Harbor on Kauffman Blvd. about ½ mile past the Presque Isle Township Cemetery. It is positioned between the Presque Isle Harbor Association's Crystal Point, Camp Chickagami, and the Albany Point community — between Lake Esau and Lake Huron.
Dear MNA Friends,
I can think of no better holiday gift to share than this news: just this week MNA signed the paperwork and acquired a spectacular new nature sanctuary on the shores of Lake Huron in Presque Isle County. The 51-acre property on Albany Bay includes 1,500 feet of shoreline and was donated by a generous landowner wishing to protect this unique, lakefront habitat.
The new sanctuary is home to a significant population of the threatened dwarf lake iris. The property and surrounding shoreline earns the highest ranking for biological rarity. Trails on the property will provide public access to the beautiful forest and shoreline, and we will get to work in 2018 to prepare the sanctuary for visitors.
Please watch for updates in the New Year!
For now, I invite you to pause in your holiday plans to take a sneak peek at this video and "fly" over this beautiful new sanctuary and the surrounding tropical-like blue waters of Lake Huron. (The Lake Huron bottom lands immediately offshore of the new sanctuary are part of the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary—watch for the remains of the steamer Albany that sank in 1853.)
We extend our deep appreciation to the landowner for this incredible gift of nature. And we also thank all of you—your generous support makes it possible for MNA to acquire and hold forever this new sanctuary and many other exceptional places throughout the state. Together, we can—and do—protect Michigan’s rarest natural treasures.
Thank you and Happy New Year!
31. Former Township Supervisor Dies In Fire
A house fire on US 23 just south of Grand Lake Rd. has claimed the lives of a father and son. The Saturday June 17 fire destroyed the residence and resulted in the deaths of Patrick Pokorski (62) and his son, Ross (27). Patrick's wife, Karen, was not at home at the time.
|Patrick Pokorski||Ross Pokorski|
Patrick was very active in the community and served as Presque Isle Township Supervisor from 2008 - 2012. He was very involved with the community including acting as chair of NRTH - an advisory group for the combined state parks of Negwegon, Rockport & Thompson Harbor. It was NRTH efforts that influenced the Rockport property being elevated to State Park status. He was also active with the Friends of Rockport, and Friends of Thompson Harbor groups.
Both Patrick and Ross were qualified first responders, and both were members the Presque Isle Volunteer Fire Department #2 for several years. They were well known for their community safety awareness presentations. The youth of the community was not overlooked as Patrick and Karen both actively serve as directors of the Michigan Science Olympiad — an extracurricular educational program for school children with a mission to inspire the next generation of scientists, health professionals and engineers. In recent years, he operated a school bus for the Alpena Public School District.
Fire investigators attended the scene to determine the circumstances surrounding the fire.
A Celebration of Life Ceremony for Patrick and Ross was held on Monday June 26 at the Aplex of Alpena. A private burial took place on Wednesday June 28 at Evergreen Cemetery, Alpena.
Donations can be made through Bannan Funeral Home, Alpena.
30. General Election 2016
Election Results for Presque Isle Township Local Government
|Supervisor — 1 to be elected:|
|Clerk — 1 to be elected:|
|Treasurer — 1 to be elected:|
|Trustee — 2 to be elected:|
Note: Elected displayed in green.
29. Update on Recent Happenings in Presque Isle Township
For the benefit of those who have not been following the activities of the local government of Presque Isle Township, here are a few of the recent noteworthy items.
Lafarge Rezoning Request of February 2, 2015: Nine months after Lafarge submitted their request to rezone 19 acres in the northwest corner of their property, the township Board of Trustees rejected that application on November 9th. This ended a prolonged campaign of fact-finding, lobbying, legal jostling and emotional arguments that initially began when many citizens were escaping the northern winter. The emergence of "the Alliance" (Presque Isle Alliance for the Protection of Watershed and Natural Resources) was a significant factor in the outcome as this group was able to raise funds to represent citizens' environmental concerns. As part of their effort, they commissioned an independent hydrology study to clearly identify some of the risks and impacts of quarrying activities. In the end, it was determined that the expansion of quarrying activities was not in the best interests of the community.
New Start Time for Board of Trustee Meetings: At the December meeting, Supervisor Devers proposed that future meetings begin at 6 pm instead of 7 pm, as has been the case for many years. The other trustees agreed and the revised start time was formalized at the January meeting. Board of Trustee meetings from February onward will have 6 pm start times. What was peculiar about the proposal was that there was no discussion or consideration as to what would be best for the local citizens who wish to attend. The limited discussion only reflected trustees personal convenience. Perhaps they have forgotten who they are serving? If you have concerns regarding the change of meeting time, please contact any or all of your trustees to voice your concerns. The trustees set the 6 pm time. With enough citizen feedback, it is not impossible for them to reverse that decision.
Reclamation Plan for Quarry and impacted Areas: One of the recommendations coming out of the Lafarge rezoning issue was to move forward on a Reclamation Plan as identified in the Master Plan. In both the December and January meetings, the board was questioned on progress to that end. It was encouraging to hear Supervisor Devers relate some details regarding the complexity of the challenge as well as the importance to this community of doing this for future generations. It was obvious that he had given the topic some thought. Supervisor Devers indicated that he would post on the township website a call for local citizens wishing to join a group to research strategies on moving forward. The immediate focus would be on restoring and maintaining water levels for Lotus Pond and Lake Esau; with the long term challenge regarding the quarry landscape. If you are interested in becoming part of the solution, submit your name to the township office.
New Appointments to the Planning Commission: At the end of 2015, two Planning Commission members, Clif Taylor and Bill Schwartz, departed after several years of service. At a special meeting on January 5, 2016, three applicants were interviewed for the two available positions. As a result, Tom Ludwig and Faye Walker were selected to fill the vacancies. What was peculiar in their selection was the fact that both individuals, although having resided in the township for many years had little or no attendance at township meetings. It also appeared that their other qualifications were not what one would expect for a Planning Commission member. What has left many scratching their heads pertained to the overlooking of third applicant who regularly attends various township meetings; has extensive local government experience in another township; and actually is a current member of the ZBA. More than a few citizens are questioning the seemingly warped logic at play here.
Lighthouse Gift Shops: When the lighthouses closed at the end of this past season, the Museum Society terminated their Gift Shop involvement and passed that role back to the township. The Board of Trustees has taken steps to become the gift shop operators for the coming season. They have since acquired much of the equipment previously used in its operation as well as some of the remaining inventory. They expect to open on schedule this coming season but initially operating in a considerably reduced format.
28. Township Rejects Lafarge Rezone
In a 3-2 vote, the Presque Isle Township Board of Trustees has rejected the application by Lafarge to rezone 19 acres in the northwest corner of their property. It took 9 months of fact-finding supported by a privately commissioned hydrology report, several hundred formal citizen letters and comments, numerous emotionally charged meetings, and intense lobbying to enable a decision to be reached.
The heart of the issue was the proximity of the 19 acres to Lake Esau and Lotus Lake (Lotus Pond) both of which have been suffering from declining water levels in recent years. Local opinion, supported by the Hydrology report, indicate that ground water is and has been draining into the quarry that would otherwise support nearby lake levels — and any quarry expansion in their vicinity would exacerbate the issue. There was strong community opposition to the rezoning not only due to the water flow issues, but also because many felt that the Township was ignoring their own Master Plan that had been approved only a few months earlier.
When the vote was called to reject the rezone application, Trustee Hart, Clerk Paavola and Supervisor Devers recorded "aye" votes, while "nay" votes were recorded from Trustee Morrison and Treasurer Wieczorkowski. Only a week earlier, the Township Planning Commission had voted 4-3 in favor of recommending to the Board of Trustees that the rezoning application should be approved.
Although the rezoning has been an emotional issue throughout, there was a clear attitude and hope expressed that in the months to come, all parties can come together in a spirit of compromise and cooperation to preserve the threatened lakes and local lifestyles to ensure the overall well-being of the community.
27. Hydrology Study — September 24, 2015
After several months of waiting, the Hydrology Report from Dr. David Hyndman, PhD of Michigan State University has been released.
On September 24, it was first presented to those who funded the study in a closed meeting and then later the same day, in an open combined meeting of the Presque Isle Township Board of Trustees and Planning Commission. The public was invited to observe.
The report is 29 pages long and covers a wide range of factors relating to water behavior in the township surrounding the Lafarge quarry. Considerable historical data is included with photos and measurement details providing insight as to the impact of quarry operations over the years.
The conclusion is that the quarry has and will continue to have a major impact on the local ground water levels. Expansion of the mining area will escalate that impact and expand the area feeling the effects. It was noted that Lake Esau and Lotus Lake (Pond) will experience significant impact. As for Grand Lake, the anticipated impact should be minimal unless mining operations intersect some karst features that are connected with Grand Lake.
Click to download Hyrology Study (29 pages — 5,486 KB)
26. New Township Supervisor Appointed
At a special meeting of the Presque Isle Township Board of Trustees held on February 4, a new Township Supervisor was appointed to fill the vacant post. Out of a field of 3 candidates, the Board selected Mark Devers to take over until the end of the term in November of 2016.
Mark has been with the United States Air Force for more than 30 years, with the past 15 as the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center's air field manager. Although he has no municipal government experience behind him, he does not expect the transition to be a problem. He lives in the south-west corner of the township with his family.
Supervisor Devers will have to get down to work immediately as his first regular Board of Trustees meeting comes only 5 days after being appointed. It will not be easy as the sudden passing of his predecessor has left many things 'in process' and it will take some time to get up to speed. That process is already underway.
25. Presque Isle Township Supervisor Passes
On Monday morning, January 4, the community learned of the sudden passing of our Township Supervisor, Brent Koel, at the age of 46. As there had been no warning, shock is the only way to describe the impact on everyone.
Brent had been a member of this community for many years and was always generous with his time and energies in support of local groups and activities. He was elected Township Supervisor in November of 2012 and was a vital member of the East Grand Lake Volunteer Fire Department both in medical and fire fighting roles. Perhaps one of his most important community contributions was that of being the jolly man in the red suit greeting the children at the "Christmas At The Lighthouse" event in early December. This will serve as a good memory for all of us as we move forward. He will be missed.
1968 - 2015
Presque Isle Township Supervisor
24. Township Purchases Closed Fire Hall
Presque Isle Township has moved one step closer to a recovery from the loss of emergency services once provided by the now defunct Presque Isle Fire Department #2.
The Township fire department that provided services to the southern area for more than 40 years, closed its doors more than a year ago. The service gap that resulted has since been covered mostly by the Alpena Township Fire Department, but also by East Grand Lake Fire Department and other mutual aid partners.
Due to financial and other issues, the fire hall property was seized by the IRS and sent to auction for unpaid obligations. At the sale held on September 12th in Rogers City, Presque Isle Township was the only bidder on the property that included a 5 bay structure and about 1 acre of land.
The minimum bid was set at $93,001.15, but there were also additional liens of about $13,000 that the buyer would have to settle. Although the Township was the successful bidder for the property, there is a 180 day redemption period for the previous owner. Only after that time, would the Township be able to take possession.
The next 6 months will be a waiting game. If that passes without the redemption option being exercised, then the Township will be able to move forward towards a restoration of the local emergency services of old. Realistically, that may take 5 years or more to achieve.
23. Presque Isle Co. park receives $60K
The Range Light Park in Presque Isle County (Township) is receiving a $60,000 grant to increase accessibility for activities and expand and improve park facilities.
U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin announced the grant award, which is coming through the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“Families across Northern Michigan visit parks like Range Light Park to enjoy the outdoors and relax,” said Stabenow. “This support will make it easier for individuals with disabilities to enjoy the boardwalk and pavilion, improve access to Lake Huron for canoes and kayaks, and protect swimmers from boats.”
The National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund seeks to safeguard natural areas, water resources and our cultural heritage, and to provide recreation opportunities to all Americans.
22. Presque Isle Township Fire Department #2 Ceases Operation
Presque Isle Township Fire Department #2, which has serviced the southern portion of Presque Isle Township for the past 40 years, has ceased operation.
Since November, the department has been the subject of controversy after Township officials took steps to delay the annual disbursement of nearly $140,000 of tax-generated funds to the department. This disruption to the fire department's cash flow prevented them from meeting a number of capital and other financial obligations. Although all funds have now been released to the fire department, the manner in which it was done has in itself generated controversy and legal questions.
The Township has been accused of withholding Fire Department funds — accusations which Township Supervisor, Brent Koel denies. It appears that the other fire department in the township, East Grand Lake FD, did receive their disbursement as they have in years gone by — however, disbursements to the PI #2 Fire Department did not follow the pattern of previous years. The term "withholding" seems to be a matter of semantics.
Presque Isle Township Fire Department #2 has chosen not to enter into a contract with the Township for the coming year. The reasons cited include the failure of the Township to live up to the terms of the previous contract, as well as interference by township officials in the internal workings of the Fire Department — a private corporation. Historically, the Presque Isle Township Fire Department #2 lived up to all of its contractual obligations with the township. According to Township Supervisor, Brent Koel, the services rendered by Fire Department #2 have been "exemplary".
In order to fill the void left by the closing of Fire Department #2, emergency services will be supplied, in the short term, under the area Mutual Aid arrangement. Providers include the other fire department within the township - East Grand Lake Volunteer Fire Department, the Alpena Township Fire Department, and departments for other nearby communities. A long term solution will be worked out in the coming weeks.
21. Emerald Ash Borer Invasion
As you drive through northeast Michigan and Presque Isle Township, the image to the left is presented to you over and over again. What you are looking at is our stately ash tree being decimated by the Emerald Ash Borer.
Some believe that the woodpeckers are to blame for the destruction — and to some extent, they are — but only for the visual. The truth is that beneath the bark (see photo below) are extensive colonies of borers gnawing away at the delicate cambium layer that transports plant nutrients between the roots and leaves. The grubs destroy the nutrient highway — the birds are just feasting on the grubs. The borer has doomed the tree.
The Emerald Ash Borer was first identified in southeast Michigan, near Detroit, in 2002, probably arriving from Asia in shipping materials. It spread rapidly and now affects numerous Great Lake states and Canada. What is peculiar is that the insect naturally spreads only about 5 miles per year — so why is it now devastating ash stands several hundred miles away in only 10 years? Humans!!! The trunks of cars heading out on camping trips carried the borer into all kinds of new territory. Firewood transport was the main means of distribution. Other less significant transport methods were only minor factors.
Is there a control? Well, a dead tree is a dead tree, and we have many of them now. However, some trees have not yet been infested or have minor infestations. For those, there are some expensive (up to $100 per tree per year) chemical treatments available. A few trees in our cemetery have been treated, and the survival prospects for them are promising. However, a significant number of other ash trees in the cemetery have been lost. Research is also working on other means of control that may become feasible in the not too distant future.
As a resident of this community, what can you do if you have ash trees? If your trees do not look like the one in the photo above, you might wish to invest in some chemical treatment. However, if the tree shows bird damage, then it will not survive the coming season. Once dead, the standing tree will soon be a hazard to buildings, utility lines, other trees and anything on the ground. If you don't act, Mother Nature will bring it down during one of her tantrums. It should be cut down to remove it as an infestation source, with the brush being immediately burned, if possible. With the mild weather conditions of recent weeks, local chainsaws have brought down several hundred infested trees and turned them into firewood. The Grand Lake Community Chapel removed more than 25 of them from their property in the past month.
This is a serious issue. If you have ash trees and do not know what to do, start by talking with your neighbors about your situation. If removal is needed, there are professional services that will do that for a fee. A local work bee can also bring together a group for some combined social time and tree removal. However, bringing down a tree can be dangerous with some possible undesirable side effects. Make sure that those in charge have the skills and tools to complete the task without regrets.
The demise of our ash trees is a major loss. However, we must move forward to the best of our ability. Other species will fill the void as the calendar progresses.
20. Township Election Results
19. Rockport Becomes Newest State Park
Yesterday, it was announced that Rockport has officially become the newest state park. (View announcement)
The property consists of 4,237 acres of land located on the shores of Lake Huron — extending from Bolton Point to Monaghan Point — along a shoreline of approximately 5½ miles. The area is about evenly divided between Presque Isle and Alpena townships. The irregular shaped parcel extends from Grand Lake road to Lake Huron, and from the Besser Natural Area to Walmsley Rd./Middle Lake, and includes the former Rockport quarry site and a portion of Middle Island. Additional properties may be acquired in the future as opportunities and funding permit.
As the park is developed, allowed uses may include hunting, picnic/camping, hiking and snowmobile/ATV/equestrian activities, fossil hunting, natural, historical & wildlife study/observation, snorkelling/diving, deep water boat launching and marina facilities.
The planning for this new park has been ongoing for more than 10 years and is closely tied in to neighboring Thomson Harbor and Negwegon parks. Although a lot of thought and community input has occurred, actual development is likely to be slow and subject to modifications in the process. Those behind the scenes expressed concerns regarding funding, but were hopeful. In any case, a step forward has been taken in the enhancement of our most important tourism and recreational industry.
18. Olde Fashioned Community Christmas ... 2011
The 2011 edition of the Olde Fashioned Community Christmas will kick off the festive season on Saturday, December 3rd and Sunday, December 4th.
The event is sanctioned by the Township of Presque Isle and coordinated by the Presque Isle Women's Club. Various groups and organizations within the community will be participating with special activities at various venues.
- New Lighthouse Park
- Presque Isle Harbor Association Clubhouse
- Presque Isle District Library
- Grand Lake Community Chapel
- Presque Isle Township Hall
- East Grand Lake Fire Department (E. Grand Lake Road)
- Presque Isle Fire Department (US 23)
This is a whole-family celebration. Past favorites are returning... horse drawn wagon rides; the decorated 1905 Keepers House; a live children's program; the arts & crafts holiday bazaar; soup luncheon, chili lunch; live Christmas music; and of course, Santa Claus. Some new events include Kids' Korner, snowman building contest, ice skating, and a children's movie.
There is no admission fee for any event, however a free-will donation is requested for the luncheons. You are asked to bring a non-perishable grocery item to support the Presque Isle Community Food Drive — drop boxes will be provided at the various venues.
For a complete schedule of locations & events, you may download the event flyer here.(512 K)
17. Tribute to Lighthouse Keepers Fundraiser
Working together between our Park and Recreation Committee and The Board of Trustees, it has been approved to have a Tribute to All Lighthouse Keepers of Presque Isle Township. For this project, a life size Statue of Patrick Garrity who served the longest term, along with his family, will be made of various metal and placed as a Greeter located at the 1840 Old Lighthouse.
A contract will be signed and plans have been forwarded to Dawn Buvia-Barr who was recommended by Tom Moran of Moran Metal Works in Onaway. Their work you may have seen at locations along our highways and various businesss. Their artistic skills are amazing and will be viewed by area residents, visitors both local and from all over the country who come here. The completion date has been set for the spring of 2012 with placement shortly after.
The Township Board of Trustees have agreed to advance a down-payment of $1,000 (which will need to be payed back) to get it started. To cover all costs of the statue, a plaque listing all Keepers and placement could cost up to $4,500.
P. Hart is diligently seeking grant monies to help with the funding, but we need your help. Contributions to this project can be sent to Cynthia Paavola at our Township Hall. Please specify "Statue Fundraiser".
This will be a GREAT attraction for us — a way to salute all lighthouse keeper services for our area — and be educational as well. THANK YOU!
16. New Township Website Comes To Life
After several dark weeks, the new version of the Presque Isle Township website has turned on its lights. It has a fresh new look and will offer expanded information and service for those who visit. You can reach it at: http://www.presqueisletwp.org.
In the first few weeks of operation, please do not be too critical of what you see. There will be a lot of content absent and fine-tuning issues that will take time to resolve. The website is being created by township staff who have their regular duties to perform in addition to getting this off the ground. This is not a big budget project so we must all be patient as it develops.
A lot of thought and planning has gone into the website and it shows potential as an information and communication medium for the Township. I am sure that your comments and suggestions would be appreciated by those behind the scene and can be directed to the Township Office — email: email@example.com or by phone: 989-595-2752. The Shadow would also like to know your thoughts about the Township's revised web presence. Use our Something To Say page to make your comments known to us as well.
Take the time to visit the Township's new official website. A fresh look, expanded features, easier navigation. A work in progress.
15. Township Website Goes Dark
At the end of August, the the Presque Isle Township website stepped out of sight. A new and better online presence is being developed and should appear in the near future. Until that happens, telephone will be your best method to obtain information directly from the township. Of course, this website will continue as in the past and may be able to supply some of what you require.
Please keep in mind, that until the new Township website has been operational for some time, there will be transitional "bumps" experienced. Some township email addresses will suffer interruption and some areas of the website may experience issues. Since the Shadow website does link and draw some information directly from the Township website, it will take some time for it to adjust as well.
14. Vandal Strikes 1840 Lighthouse Park
In the past few days, a vandal has destroyed numerous plantings on the grounds of the 1840 Lighthouse. Most notable is the deliberate severing of the foliage at ground level, of several daffodil clusters. This was not just the harvesting of seasonal blooms for one's table, but the surgical removal of everything above ground level. This was not an act of kids. It was not deer. Removal was clean — a sharp knife was probably used.
Last autumn, several local citizens/volunteers donated money and effort to provide park visitors with a bright welcome to the new season. This mindless destruction gives one reason to question the state of mind of the responsible party. Feelings of dismay, anger and pity have been expressed. Needless to say, investigation will probably identify the individual behind this malicious destruction of public property. Penalties for such an offence include public service, fines and possibly even jail time.
As for the casualties, daffodils are hardy plants and will probably return next spring. Already there is unofficial talk of a daffodil planting blitz. Imagine 12 months from now.
13. New Fire Truck Coming To EGLVFD
The East Grand Lake Volunteer Fire Department, which services a large portion of Presque Isle Township, has received a grant of $243,960 for the acquisition of a new fire truck. Click here to view the Alpena News article.
12. Recycling Well Received
For about 2 months, the newly acquired recycling trailer has occupied a place of prominence in the parking lot of the Presque Isle Township hall. Initially, the odd looking unit had local citizens asking what it was — but word-of-mouth soon passed the answer around the community. The response has been a high level of acceptance and approval with constant traffic making deposits. Emptying has been required on several occasions.
Through the efforts of our Township Council, recycling capabilities have been expanded from cell phones, batteries and tires to include plastic, metal, paper & cardboard. It is great to see our township going green with increased materials being diverted from garbage and landfill. The individual trustees must be commended on their environmentally friendly steps forward. Specific mention must be made regarding township employee, Erika Comerford who put a lot of effort into comprehensive research on available options and enabled council to get the expanded recycling program in place very quickly.
To date, issues have been minimal. As with any new program, there is a learning curve for all. Firstly, residents need to be aware that contamination of the recycling materials will cause all of the contents to simply be dumped as trash. To prevent this from happening, we all can assist as follows:
- No garbage
- No plastic bags
- No styrofoam
- Only plastics labelled as 1 & 2
- No glass
- Separate glossy flyers from newspaper
Presque Isle Township now has a working recycling program. Although this initial phase has limitations on acceptable items, efforts are being made to expand the range. Everyone is encouraged to make recycling part of your daily life. This is a win-win situation all around.
11. Olde Fashioned Community Christmas ... A Success!
| Saturday, December 4, 2010
Sunday, December 5, 2010
|Activities for the whole family
At venues throughout the Township
|Click to visit event website
|A Presque Isle Township Sanctioned Event|
The third annual (actually it is the 4th) Olde Fashioned Community Christmas has concluded — with a degree of success that has left the community speechless. All of the components that formed the multi-faceted event were overwhelmed with visitors.
The event actually dates back to 2007 when the local chapter of the Red Hat Society presented an introductory version of the celebration. The following year, the Red Hatters passed it on to the Presque Isle Women's Club — with this year being their 3rd presentation of the event.
The Craft Show at the Township Hall filled the building to capacity. Lots of bright festive craft products of exceptional quality. Smiles everywhere — from visitors and vendors alike.
The Soup & Salad Luncheon at the Grand Lake Chapel on Saturday reached 'sold out' status. With lots of home-made soup varieties to choose from, tummies were soon full and then soothed by the music of the Bell Choir and the New Day Singers.
The Skippy & Dave's Rock & Roll Christmas Puppet Show packed the Grand Lake Branch of the Presque Isle Library beyond its capacity. Kids and adults alike were treated to a professional presentation. For many visitors, it was their first opportunity to experience the quality offerings of the modern facility. Numerous new library cards were issued in the course of the day.
"Candy Land", a life sized children's game at the Presque Isle Harbor Association Clubhouse, generated the largest ever gathering for that facility. The arrival of Santa on the Grand Lake Fire Department Fire Truck produced all kinds of sparkles in the children's eyes. Lines were long as children delivered their lists to Santa and received a color photograph with the jolly old man.
The East Grand Lake Fire Department 'Chili Cook-off' completely overwhelmed expectations. It was combined with an Open House where visitors were able to inspect the impressive array of emergency apparatus serving our community. You can be sure that 'chili gourmets' will be very active preparing for this crowd favorite in the coming year.
And then there was the New Lighthouse Park with the decorated 1905 House tours. The horse drawn wagon rides in the snow had passengers snuggled warmly under quilts. Mother Nature also got into the act as gale forced winds whipped Lake Huron into a frenzy — and provided a marine spectacular for wagon passengers. In Garrity Hall, visitors were served hot chocolate and hot apple cider and cookies with live music by the Bifocal Brass. Kids were entertained with all sorts of balloon creatures by none other than our Township Supervisor, Patrick Pokorski.
To wrap things up on Monday, approximately sixty 3rd and 4th grade students from Hink's School arrived at the Lighthouse Park for an educational program in the 1905 House and tied in with Christmas theme activities in Garrity Hall.
The weekend event was an overwhelming success both as a community celebration and as a promotion for the entire township. Visitors came from far and wide. A very effective advertising campaign included radio and television spots as well as very generous coverage by the Alpena News and Presque Isle Advance newspapers. Brochures distributed through various outlets in neighboring communities, word-of-mouth, and even publicity through Pure Michigan contributed to the impressive public response.
It is not possible to identify all of the players that made the event such a success. At a minimum, the Presque Isle Women's Club and its event Chairperson, Sharon Jacobs, deserve major credit. They put it all together in a co-operative effort with the Presque Isle Township Board of Trustees and the many community minded individuals and organizations. The Presque Isle Community has spirit and has made that known on a broad scale.
As we move forward into this season of excitement, joy and good will, let us all reflect on the meaning of it all — our families, our friends, our community, our religion, our reason for being. May the best thoughts and wishes be with everyone.
10. Record Volunteer Participation
The year 2010 has been a record year for volunteer participation within the Township. Not only has the army of volunteers more than doubled in numbers, the hours and effort of their contribution has also more than doubled from any previous year. What is amazing is that nearly all of this energetic force has grey (or white) hair, if they have hair at all.
The greatest impact of their efforts is visible at the Old Lighthouse. Not only will you find lots of fresh paint there, but also major landscaping efforts to give a much improved setting. Most significant has been the clearing of large amounts of dead and down trees and brush just waiting for a spark. The wooded areas around the park not only have a more pleasing appearance, but it is a healthier environment that is much more resistant to fire. The improved access road allows for safer travel and easier movement of visitors.
Although it has been a banner year for volunteer participation, we still have a need for additional hands. Most of the volunteers are (almost) senior citizens with willing minds but bodies that don't move as fast as they once did. Money is not their reward. They do what they do for the personal satisfaction of knowing they left their mark on the community that they are so proud to be a part of. It gives each and every one of them a little feel-good-tingle at the end of the day. Why don't you join them and get your tingle? We need younger blood. Make it a family activity. Everyone can be a part of their community.
To get involved, just contact the Township Office or any Township Official. Although you are requested to sign up, that is not a prerequisite. If you find yourself with a few available hours one day, just show up at a project location. Your efforts will be welcomed with open arms.
9. Recall Petition Defeated
The November 2nd election ballot contained only one section that pertained specifically to the government of Presque Isle Township — the recall of Township Supervisor, Patrick Pokorski. When the counting was over, the tally was "YES" - 400, "NO" - 449, according to one source. The results have not yet been certified. Pokorski is allowed to retain his seat that voters elected him to in November of 2008.
The results show that the township is split on the issue that seems to have been triggered a year ago with the cutting of trees within the township. Accusations of acting without the Board of Trustees approval, amongst other things, have been hotly argued by both sides. Claims of lies, deception, dirty politics, criminal activity mixed in with missing township files have swirled around the issue for the past 12 months. The recent closing of a police investigation without action did remove some of the cloud surrounding the events. It has been a very emotional issue for many.
One of the contentious points pertains to the recall process itself. According to State of Michigan law, a recall petition does not need to be factual — there is no requirement that the allegations be valid. Another point had to do with "who knew (or approved) what, when". Trustees and committee members denied knowledge of the key issue when various minutes and council observers indicated otherwise. Time will tell how well the scars from this issue will heal.
Elsewhere, the 106th election was won by Peter Pettalia, the former Township Supervisor, as he defeated Casey Viegelahn and write-in candidate Patrick Pokorski.
8. Charges Against Pokorski ... Unfounded
The Michigan State Police has concluded that township Supervisor, Patrick Pokorski was not involved in any illegal activity as alleged by some disgruntled local citizens. Upon completion of a thorough investigation, Pokorski was cleared of the wrong-doing allegations.
The following is a statement released regarding the investigation:
Barry Schatz and others initiated a Criminal investigation against Patrick Pokorski, through the Presque Isle County prosecuting Attorney's office which initiated a full investigation with the assistance of the Michigan State Police Post in Rogers City. Mr. Shatz and others claimed that Mr. Pokorski was involved in illegal activity regarding the tree cutting and township assets, among other charges.
After a lengthy investigation, on Wednesday, October 6, 2010, Mr. Pokorski received information regarding those claims and learned that the charges were unfounded, so the warrant was denied. The case has been closed because there is no evidence of illegal actions or wrong-doings on the part of Patrick Pokorski.
With this issue now behind him, Supervisor Pokorski can focus on what is ahead — in particular, the day-to-day operation of the township.
The clearing of those criminal accusations makes it blatantly obvious that the whole exercise was simply a smear campaign to discredit Pokorski in his bid for state office. The big question now is whether Barry Schatz and the other accusers will be facing the courts as a result of their actions.
7. New Trustee Appointed
Following the resignation of Township Clerk, Karen Fournier, on July 2nd, the Board of Trustees has finally returned to full strength.
At a Special Meeting held July 8, council appointed Trustee Cynthia Paavola to the position of Clerk — thus leaving her Trustee position vacant. The decision was made to solicit applications. Three people expressed an interest in filling the vacancy — Pat Hart, Steve Lang and David Lange. After interviews were conducted, it was determined that all three had experience relating to the role ahead. However, due to the possibility of being unable to complete the term (if successful in the November election), Steve Lang, in effect, withdrew himself from the competition. Two candidates remained in the running.
At the August 9th Board of Trustees meeting, considerable input from the audience was received — overwhelmingly supporting Pat Hart. In spite of that, a decision could not be reached. Mistakenly, it was thought that the situation could be decided by the voters in November. A legal clarification received the following day indicated that the vacancy must be filled immediately or a special (expensive) election would have to be called.
On August 16th, a Special Meeting resolved the issue by appointing Pat Hart as the trustee to replace Cynthia Paavola. In spite of extensive public support for Pat Hart, there was resistance — but finally all Trustees ended up on the same page.
We now have a complete Board of Trustees. There have been big changes in recent weeks and these "new kids" will need a bit of time to get up to speed . There is definitely a revised flavor to council. Hopefully we will see good things down the road.
6. Recall Process Moves Forward
The process of recalling Township Supervisor Patrick Pokorski is moving forward. Currently, organizers are collecting signatures to support the petition.
In response to ads placed in the local newspaper for "gatherings", a trickle of citizens showed up at the North Bay Beach House where they were greeted by a number of individuals presenting facts contradictory to the recall petition accusations. Once they became aware of the grossly inflated claims and outright falsehoods of the petition, several arrivals chose to not support it.
There are some curious happenings surrounding the entire recall effort. It was "suggested" to the supervisor by petition organizers that if he withdrew his bid for state office, no recall would be pursued. What does that sound like to you? When the Beach House gatherings fell short of the mark, the organizers resorted to one-on-one and door-to-door solicitations of signatures. One problem — residents of Krakow and other townships were approached. Looks like petition gatherers may not know the rules of the game they are playing. It also appears that at least one individual has lost a job coincidental to their public expression of support of the Supervisor.
There is a lot of misinformation circulating. Emotions have been boiling over, and that results in exaggerations and outright falsehoods entering the picture. Local citizens are being asked to take a stand based on visuals and dramatized claims that fail to take into consideration highly relevant facts. A recall is very expensive and has a major impact on a community. Let us hope that voters are responsible and do their homework, and not simply become dupes.
5. Township Clerk Resigns
In a letter dated July 2, 2010, and available as part of the minutes of the July 5 Planning Committee, Township Clerk Karen Fournier announced her resignation from all roles within the township. In that letter she briefly outlined her evolution within the township and noted the establishment of the bicycle path as a most rewarding accomplishment during those years. Citing the importance of family and the need to focus on that aspect of her life, she has opted to shift her priorities and step away from her township roles.
Karen has made a significant contribution to her community over the years. She willingly placed herself in the open performing a role that is often thankless and subject to criticism form all angles. You can only have respect for someone who feels so strongly about their community that they are willing to take that risk. Everyone of us owes her our thanks and appreciation.
Family is most important, and you must respect that as a priority. Local government has been a significant part of her life for many years and, with class, she has chosen to step aside. We wish Karen and those she loves the very best in the future. In the coming years, Karen, please make sure that you take the time to relax and savor what you have helped create.
4. Township Supervisor Recall Process Initiated
According to a blog posted on another website, the process to recall Presque IsleTownship Supervisor Patrick Pokorski has been initiated. Those comments state that a Petition To Recall has been submitted to the Presque Isle County Clerk in Rogers City with a Clarity Hearing set for June 30.
The process to recall an elected official has many steps before a result can occur. The following is a general outline of what must happen as mandated by the State:
- Recall Sponsor submits reasons for the petition to County Clerk along with the language that would be presented on the recall vote.
- The County Clerk immediately notifies the subject officer of the petition and provides all relative details and information.
- The County Election Commission meets to conduct a hearing on the petition. That hearing will determine whether the petition reasons are stated with sufficient clarity for the voters to understand the issues.
- The determination rendered by the County Election Commission can be appealed within 10 days. If approved, validity is for 180 days.
- The Petition for Recall is then circulated to gather signatures from qualified voters within the jurisdiction. This must be done within a 90 day window.
- The completed petition forms are filed with the County Clerk.
- The subject officer is notified of the filing and provided the opportunity to inspect, challenge signatures and obtain copies.
- The County Clerk will review the filing to ensure the validity of the documents — including the signatures. The Qualified Voter list is used to verify that all signers are properly registered. The registration verification task may be passed back to the Township Clerk.
- Signature challenges must be filed within 30 days.
- Final review of the petition is conducted to determine if sufficient signatures have been collected and the petition is valid. To be successful, the quantity of signatures collected must be at least 25% of the number of cast ballots in the previous election for the position held by the subject of the recall.
- For a valid petition, a special election will be called with the recall placed before the electors on the next regular election date. The Township would be responsible for the cost of that election.
- Should the recall vote be successful, the subject official would vacate the seat upon certification of the results.
- The vacated seat would then be filled by a special election conducted on the next regular election date. The Township would be responsible for the cost of that election.
Also, according to the same blog, "The Michigan State Police have been contacted (as of June 12, 2010) and a criminal investigation has begun" with respect to the actions of the Township Supervisor.
3. Cemetery Volunteers Perform Cleanup
You could not have asked for a better day for the 15-20 volunteers mustered by the Presque Isle Men's Club to perform their magic on township cemetery. The area around the pavilion was cleared of the encroaching brush with other pruning taking place so as to make the area more friendly and accommodating. In so doing, a number of unoccupied plots became accessible and left in a better state of readiness.
The new service road area through the Presque Isle Harbor Association property, that was cleared last fall, also received attention with the brush residue processed by the chipper and reduced to a pile of mulch. Stumps are in the process of being removed so that the actual road bed can soon be established.
The mainly grey-haired work force showed that it does not require the strength of youth to achieve such objectives — just a strength of community spirit and a willingness to give of one's self. Special thanks to Attila Paltelky (Township Planning Committee), Jerry Broad (Men's Club) & Pat Pokorski (Township Supervisor) for their generous efforts and for co-ordinating the day's activities.
Just as an additional note, the road shoulder area along the Kauffman Blvd. curve (at the cemetery) that was cut back last fall, has been landscaped by County Roads and has seen some seeding take place. You will also notice some straw having been spread to encourage grass growth and prevent erosion. We now have a much safer area and look forward to Mother Nature greening things up.
2. Township Supervisor Running For State Representative
It looks like our Township Supervisor, Pat Pokorski, is going to make a run for the elected office of 106th District State Representative. With his election committee formed on January 2 and the "Statement of Organization" filed with the Department of Elections on February 4, the wheels are in motion for the August 3rd primary. He is listed as running with Democratic Party affiliation. Pat's website is: www.votepokorski.com.
Patrick is the second member of Presque Isle Township government to look toward the state level of politics. Peter Petalia, former Township Supervisor & Chairman of the Parks & Recreation Committee has similar intentions as announced in the Alpena News on March 19, 2010. He is running with Republican Party affilliation. Peter's website is: www.peterforthe106.com.
It is a known fact that Patrick and Peter have conflicting aspirations, philosophies, goals and ways of going about things. You can be sure that there will be some interesting state politics involving these two gentlemen in the coming months. Hopefully, this will avoid visibility at the township level and that Peter can refrain from his patronizing addresses of the current supervisor at township meetings.
As for this state level politics and further recognition of it, the Shadow considers the topic to be outside of our operational policy. Only if and when there is a direct relationship with Presque Isle Township government will it find a place here.
1. Parks & Recreation Committee Restructured
At the December 14, 2009 Presque Isle Township Board Meeting, a resolution was passed disbanding the Presque Isle Township Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee and establishing The Presque Isle Township Committee on Parks and Recreation. According to the resolution, the members of the newly appointed committee are as follows:
- Lynn Morrison (Township Board member) 3 years
- Judy Kimball (Citizen at large) 3 years
- Peter Pettalia (Citizen at large) 3 years
- Nancy Kinney (Citizen at large) 2 years
- Clayton Peters (Citizen at large) 2 years
- Barry Schatz (Citizen at large) 1 year
- Norma Crouch (Citizen at large) 1 year
The term of appointment for Committee Members is 3 years — with the initial staggered terms indicated above to ensure year-after-year continuity in the future. In part, the role of the committee is described as follows:
The Committee shall be advisory in nature, having only the power to make recommendations to and advise the Township Board on the subject of the Township's parks and recreational facilities. The Committee shall not be a "Parks Commission" pursuant to 1905 P.A. 157, MCL 41.121 et seq.
The above resolution was approved by a unaminous vote of council.
When you consider this restructuring, there are some issues that may be worthy of note -- if not clarification.
- The role is advisory in nature. Was that not the case with the previous Advisory Committee? How is this committee different?
- The previous committee consisted of several volunteer members whose names do not appear on the new roster.
- This committee is now going to be paid where the previous was not.
- When you look at the minutes of this meeting, take note of the next entry after the recorded vote.
B. Tadajewski made a motion to appoint the following members and corresponding terms:
Peter Pettalia - 3 year
Nancy Kinney - 2 years
Barry Schatz - 1 year
Judy Kimball - 3 year
Clayton Peters - 2 years
Norma Crouch - 1 year
Lynn Morrison - township liaison - 3 years
K. Fournier seconded the motion. A roll call vote was taken. K. Fournier, B. Tadajewski, and L. Morrison, ayes; P. Pokorski and C. Paavola nays. Due to majority vote, motion carried.
- If you look back into the minutes of the November 9, 2009 meeting under Unfinished Business, you will notice a motion passed unanimously appointing "Clayton Peters, Peter Pettalia, Barry Schatz, Nancy Kinney, Judy Kimball, and Patrick Pokorski as liaison" as committee members. This clearly indicates the intent of the board. However, this motion was invalid as the new committee did not yet exist. When the resolution was presented a month later, somehow Pat Pokorski disappeared and Lynn Morrison was in. Peculiar!
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Make failure your teacher, not your undertaker.
... Zig Ziglar