Letters to the Editor: Sept. 30

Septemberfest 2017
Dear Editor,
Brandon Township Parks and Recreation has been honored to host our 28th annual Septemberfest. By our side were our many support groups and businesses with a majority of funding coming from Gold sponsors, Genysis Credit Union and Meijer of Oxford. Our Platinum sponsors were Randy Wise Ford, MSU Federal Credit Union, DTE Energy and Consumers Energy. Friends of Septemberfest sponsors who offered support by in-kind service or monetary contributions were: The Citizen newspaper, Jason Wills Chiropractic, Bedrock LTD, CERT, Vantine Farms, Wojo’s Green House, Papa Bella’s Pizza, The Village Pub, Seabolt Insurance Agency, Rowe Professional Service and Pfeffer, Hanniford & Palka.
Family fun once again filled downtown Ortonville. Although the weather was hot, the event was well attended and enjoyed by many. Special thanks goes to Village of Ortonville manager John Lyons and his DPW staff, CERT, OCSO deputies, Brandon and Groveland Youth Assistance, The Citizen newspaper and Brandon Township supervisor Kathy Thurman, for all hours served at this successful event.
Fred Waybrant

(In response to Squeaky wheel bans chickens, a letter by Karen Anderson, The Citizen, Sept. 16, page 7)
Chickens have a place
Dear Editor,
I just read the letter by Karen Anderson – and had to reply – just because only two people in town complained about the chickens running around our property – it does not mean that everyone approved of them. I for one did not complain to the village about them even though they tore up all my Lily of the Valley plants and others that had been there for 25 years or more, got in my garden (put a fence around it) and had to watch my steps – even right in front of my door. I am not against chickens – in their place – not mine.
Eileen Bradley

(In response to Unfit nincompoop, a letter by Dale Bond, The Citizen, Sept. 23, page 9)
Trump, lessor of two evils
Dear Editor,
Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 as the lessor of two evils.
I don’t know where Dale Bond was in September 2009 when Obama addressed the students at Cairo University with Hillary Clinton at his side praise the Muslim brotherhood donating $15 million in taxpayer dollars. He also gave all the equipment and supplies that was pulled out of Iraq to Isis.
It was shown on TV here the Isis Butchers with American trucks and equipment. I am also a Korean War veteran.
John Wudarcki, Groveland Twp.

Trail an asset
Dear Editor,
I would like the trail to be in front of my house, on M-15.
I attended the Iron Belle Sub Committee presentation at Brandon High School on Sept. 21, 2017.
The trail installation would be 100 percent funded by grants, the trail would be installed in right of way or easements only and not on private property, and the fire and police cost would be minimal.
The grant money cannot be used for any other purpose, other than the Iron Belle Trail
Of the approximately 125 people whom attended 85 percent where opposed to the trail for the most ridiculous reasoning, including trail users urinate and use heroin in their front yard.
Please contact the board of trustees individually to apply pressure for a positive outcome for the community.
There is a small group of individuals who work to suppress growth and any change to Brandon Twp, the same group influences the trustees, and want to remain an isolated community in the middle of growing, townships around them.
The replacement of the trustees who vote against the trail, would be step towards a positive direction
The trail route of M-15 and Seymour Lake would, benefit the most residents, and impact the fewest, in the ROW, with no additional police cost, lowest maintenance cost.
The trail would provide a safe walking, biking, and multi-use trail for our community along with neighboring communities.
The trail would be an asset for residents, businesses, and the community.
Please be at the Oct. 5, 2017 meeting to determine if the trail will be in Brandon Thownship.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” (Edmund Burke)
Dale M. Creamer
NIMYBs? Really?
Dear Editor
It’s become the norm these days to label and malign those whose opinions differ from our own. Homeowners whose property potentially will be impacted by the trail plan have been “tagged” for expressing concerns.
We enjoy the calm peace and melody of wildlife in our rural environment complete with 100 year old oaks, hickory, maple trees and pines that line our rural road. Our home is very close to the road and these guardians have always provided protection from road dust and from several cars that left the road due to accidents- all while providing food and shelter for wildlife.
With the trail built, all this will be replaced by asphalt, liability, and the “melody” of ”hikers and bikers”.
We’ve lived here 30 years, raised our family here, supported local business, and are now looking to retire in this community. Unfortunately, this disregard for our concerns and property may change that dream. The fact that these trails are not properly maintained and monitored ( ask folks living along existing trails!) plus potential liability issues (casually mentioned at the 9-21 meeting) make living along one unappealing.
The quiet enjoyment of ones’ home and property is a right. Paved trails within feet of our home (that were voted down recently!!) is not what we envisioned when we chose a rural community as our home.
Monies for paving paradise could be used much more wisely-maybe for hunger, education…food for thought!
Paul and Barbara Jansen
Voices really heard?
Dear Editor,
The question of a trail or not is a complex one, or a very easy one. To an impacted homeowner, take a look at the home on Sashabaw Road right before you get to Independance Oaks County Park. You can see what is left of the yard. Yes, the county owns that home and is attempting to sell it, but when I see that I wonder about our neighbor’s yards. Also, liability, ongoing expenses, police patrol it occasionally, repairs, pay our parks and recreation person an additional salary to manage it and the list goes on. No matter what you think or feel, please try to attend the Oct. 5 meeting at the high school and see your governing body in action. Please see if the people’s voices are really heard.
Michele Sabourin
Vote no on trails
Dear Editor,
I am writing this while my husband is not home because he gets so upset over the trail. Especially the idea that we as Brandon citizens are being railroaded into the Iron Belle Trail project whether we want it or not.
It was clear at the Sept. 21 trail meeting that the majority of people at the meeting, and the people recently surveyed, do not want Brandon to be part of the Iron Belle Trail. There were far more negative than positive comments.
I remember the woman who stated that several insurance companies told her that her insurance premiums would increase and her home value would decrease if the trail crossed her property. I also recall the man who rode bicycle trails in many states. He said what he saw along those trails was used syringes, garbage, vandalism, and seldom another rider. The man who wondered whether he would still be free to hunt on his property if people were going to be on the trail where he was shooting brought up something I had not thought of.
What about the duck hunters who shoot within a few yards of Seymour Lake Road? I can watch them in their rowboat across the lake from us. I thought it was strange that the crime data concerning trails dated back to 2010. I watched the news today as they mentioned the one year anniversary of the death of April Millsap, murdered on a trail. No murders or rapes were mentioned in the trail crime data presented but we know they have happened.
The business community here in Brandon said they were in favor of the trail but only a third of them said they would be willing to contribute to the cost, which would be an endless expense going forward.
This is Governor Snyder’s last year in office. What if the newly elected state officials decide the trail is a frivolous expense, and end funding for it?
Please tell your colleagues to listen to the citizens who elected them. There are already trails all around that are paid for. Spare our residents the costs, loss of privacy, and loss of personal liberty.
Please vote against joining the Iron Belle Trail.
Most Sincerely, Starlyn Unangst (Brandon resident since 1986)

Not moving to UP
Dear Editor,
Yes, I do have a bike, I love to walk, and I feel walking on our roads is unsafe. However, like many others, I have been opposed to the trail project since discussions first began in 2015. My opposition stems from maintenance costs, repairs, liability, management, safety, and the potential impact it may have on some residents in this community.
Perhaps those who are so quick to criticize those against this trail should stop and think about how they would feel if a 14 foot wide trail were going to be blazed through his/her yard. The majority of the residents on the routes along Granger, Hadley, and Seymour Lake, would have this trail in their FRONT yards with some having front doors feet from the trail. Some make the argument that a trail will increase property values — for whom? Perhaps for homes not on the trail, but what will it do to those with the trail on their property? In a recent poll of community members, it was blatantly obvious in the shared scatter plot of respondents that the majority of people support a trail when it does not run through their property.
Where is the plan to sustain a project like this? Where is a detailed budget for construction and maintenance? This project will not be 100 percent grant funded. Communities are required to have matching funds, and many costs associated with planning, project management, easements, legal reviews, etc. are not grant covered expenses. Once built, there are ongoing maintenance costs, repair costs, signage costs, management costs, police costs, etc., and our community already has other needs. What amount will be necessary long-term in Brandon to support over 8 miles of trail since Atlas is collecting over $33,000 annually to support only one mile? Our community is not as large as Rochester or Lake Orion to handle large portions of these tasks with volunteers. Our township supervisor and board need to remember a grant is a one time limited revenue stream, and this project is not a one time investment.
In closing, I have no plans to move to the UP to keep the peaceful quality of life I cherish in this community. Perhaps the person who suggested that those not in favor of the trail move the UP should be the one looking to relocate to a more urban setting.
B Soggs
Consider property values
Dear Editor,
The most interesting argument against the Iron Belle Bike Trail (IBT) is that, “The bike trail is going to lower my property value.”
During the IBT presentation, a graph was shown that Brandon school has lost 30 percent of their enrollment numbers in the last 15 years and it doesn’t seem to be stabilizing. Surrounding communities have rebounded or even grown from the 2008 recession.
Based on the Census data from 2010, 10.9 percent of Brandon’s population was in poverty. So, it makes sense that we don’t want to burden our residents with more taxes. However, the same censes data showed that compared to surrounding communities our population of 0-5 year olds is tied with the lowest, and expected population growth was also below the Oakland County average.
Since 2015 Ford has partnered with a bike sharing company to introduce the Ford Gobike. Automobile manufactures are finding that there’s a mobility trend with younger consumers. They’re looking for alternatives to commute around their towns other than automobiles. I work for a Tier 1 and they’re expecting more changes in the way we commute in the next 10-15 years than we have seen in the last 130.
Looking at the numbers, Brandon is turning into a retirement community. If that is not the intention, then we should want to invest money to attract potential younger homeowners and invest in these alternative modes of transportation.
I hope the residents concerned about property values consider this information before rejecting the IBT.
Heath D. Zietz
Reconsider Route C
Dear Editor,
My wife and I have been Brandon Township residents for 55 years. During those years we have seen the township change from farms and fields and rural country roads to mostly acreage residential lots and some higher density subdivisions. Because of greater population, road traffic has increased and is faster and more hazardous for pedestrian walking, running, and bicycling. We no longer feel safe walking or biking or even crossing the roads, especially during commuting times.
The proposed Iron Belle trail thru the township would restore some of the freedom we used to enjoy when we left the house to experience nature and get some fresh air and exercise. It would encourage the physical and mental benefits of outdoor exercise and help curb the obesity and diabetes epidemic that our modern society is afflicted with.
Many of the objections to a trail that I have heard are based on the fears that a trail would alter resident’s yards, driveways, landscaping, and trees and would be a hazard for residents using their driveways. They are concerned about people passing near their homes. There is concern about the cost of a trail.
Many objections to the proposed Iron Belle Trail could be minimized if the Township Board would reverse its decision to eliminate Route C from consideration as a trail route through the township. Compared to the remaining proposed routes, Route C is the least expensive to construct because it already exists as a former railroad roadbed; safest because it would reduce exposure to vehicle traffic along roads and driveways; more pleasant to use because it would be more scenic, have more wildlife, and be farther from the noise and dust of road traffic. It would be easier to use because it is mostly level and would have fewer road and driveway crossings. Route C would greatly reduce the massive disruption to front yards, trees, driveways, roadsides, road drainage, and buried gas lines and cables that the other two trail alternatives would entail.
For the good of the Michigan public and of present and future generations of Brandon residents, the Brandon Township Board should reconsider the overwhelming advantages of using Route C (the “rail-to-trail” route) for the Iron Belle Trail thru the township.
Fred Townsend
Trail a wonderful thing
Dear Editor,
I like living in rural Brandon Township, not in a subdivision, but a bike path would be a wonderful thing. Connecting our towns together would be good for business and our community. It could go though my front or back yard! If the trail is such a bad idea why do our surrounding cities have it, Rochester, Oxford, Lake Orion, Clarkston and Atlas?
And if I may, it beats the heck out of going to a football game to watch our players disgrace our American Flag.
Lisa Ksiazek

Attention NIMBYS
Dear Editor,
To all of the “NIMBY” haters in the Ortonville area, I think it is finally time to address some critical elements that you all seem to conveniently forget about.
One of the most discussed arguments I hear is that people move out to rural areas, such as Ortonville, to get the most out of nature; to experience what it has to offer to the fullest extent. Many of you claim that a walking trail is simply crucial to experience such a feat, and that anyone who disagrees should simply pack up and move further north.
What about parks? What about the simplistic and wholesome environment that a park can provide for not just a single person, but their entire family? What about the natural beauty of your own yard; surely someone who sought out a home in this area must have seriously taken into account the beauty of the surrounding property; is this not enough?
Regardless, when looking beyond the privacy debate, there is the very apparent issue of money. In a community where two schools have already been shut down in order to accommodate declining student numbers, and where the schools that remain open are plagued with sub-par upkeep at best, is a walking trail really what we as a community should be focusing all of our attention on? Instead of crying our hearts out in order to convince officials to approve a walking trail, why not direct all of this passionate energy on something truly beneficial to the citizens of Ortonville, and their futures?
Of course, it’s easy to shoot down such accusations, especially when they’re coming from someone who isn’t a student themselves. I combat this with the insincerity that was riddled throughout the campaign for these trails to be approved. Instead of informing the public about exactly what the plans for these trails were, the mention of said paths crossing right over the yards of many living in this area were completely undiscussed. Seems like a pretty significant bullet-point in regards to the ins and outs of a project with such driving power and force to just forget about.
Though the passionate hearts of all the nature-loving citizens of Ortonville mean well, it seems their logic is flawed in favor of their own personal desires for a trail that a majority of people would most likely forget about. Sure, one can make the argument that such a trail would provide local businesses with a surge of activity. Please, I ask you to elaborate; exactly which businesses would be positively impacted by a walking trail? McDonald’s, Tropical Smoothie, perhaps A&W? Two of these businesses rely largely on specific seasons in regards to making profit, and I’m not so sure that McDonald’s is going to be attracting the same type of people as those interested in a nature trail.
It’s time to wake up, Ortonville; it’s time we focus our attention on bigger issues that, when solved, will actually have a genuinely positive impact on our local businesses, and community as a whole.
Sincerely representing all Ortonville NIMBYS,
Pat & Denise Herta
Support trail
Dear Editor,
I just wanted to remind people to attend and show their support for the Iron Belle Trail on Oct. 5 at the high school. This will be a chance for you to show your support by giving a comment to the board of Trustees. The Trustees are scheduled to vote that night after public comment. There were more people against the trail at the presentation of the sub-committee. We need to show support by being present on Oct. 5.
Sharon Wiet
No trail on Hadley Road
Dear Editor,
I am strongly against the Iron Belle Trail being considered for Brandon Township. At this time, the plan is for the trail to be either route B or D. Both trail routes use part of Hadley Road to achieve the end results.
Presently, we are having to put up with 18-wheel gravel trains, garbage trucks, Fed-Ex, UPS, Post Office and numerous other delivery and service trucks. Almost daily, we have road commission vehicles, school busses, horse trailers, lawn maintenance vehicles, all which use Hadley Road.
Another concern is the rush hour traffic using Hadley Road to travel south in the morning, and north in the evening in order to avoid the traffic congestion on M-15 between Seymour Lake Road and Oakwood Road.
My last concern is the impact the trail would have on the large wetland, Kearsley Creek and the lengthy guardrail which are all located on S. Hadley Road at the eastern end of Kent Road.
The citizens of Brandon Township should have the opportunity to vote regarding the final decision on the proposed trails.
Our country road is no longer a country road. For these reasons, I do not want a trail going down my road.
Ken Rieth

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