Letters to the editor May 6

Red barn-trail head

Dear Editor,

I have lived in Ortonville since the fall of 1974—42 years and served on the village planning commission for 41 years. I have noticed that some people in this area move here to get out of the city but don’t want anyone else to do the same.

They don’t want anybody else to visit here, shop here or do anything else here because it’s theirs and it just might be someone of a different race, color ethnic origin, or not of their status. They would rather build a wall around the village to keep others out and die in a vacuum they created. Without others coming, in and spending time and money in our community we will shrivel up and die a horrible death.

Wallowing in this negative and not having all the facts before making a decision which affects so many people who would like to see some positive things happen. Lets work together for a better more positive community.

Some would rather see the village property just sit there and stagnate than to have something beautiful for out community to enjoy and maybe even get out for a healthy walk and breath some fresh air, safe and healthy for all ages.

Please set up and be a positive force to make our community thrive and viable. Stop degrading and being so prejudice. Be a part of the positive majority.

Thank you David Trent, village manager; and Matt Jenkins, DDA director for all your hard work in a positive direction.

David Van Dis, village resident.

We are all in training for life

Dear Editor,

Our pool at BHS is a gift to anyone wishing to swim and exercise, learn, laugh and enjoy life. No matter what age, size or health issues there is a spot for you! Every business needs tweaking and advertising in order to succeed. We need the community to voice their opinion, ideas and possible solutions in order to keep the hours, classes, open swim and costs in place, immediately. Change is coming. Let’s come together and make it work well for the many that want, need and use this gem. On land I’m a slug. In the water I’m a mermaid.

Janet Mack Serwin

PS Ortonville resident for 32 years; swimmer at BHS for 15 years; alive for 66 years. We are all in training for life.

Meeting a joke

Dear Editor,

The township board meeting on May 1st was a complete joke. The majority of our township board showed themselves to be self-serving and completely clueless.

First we witnessed the removal of option C from the available bike trail routes. This motion was sponsored by one of the trustees that has a vested interest in its removal due to the path crossing his property. Somehow this conflict of interest was deemed acceptable. Option C was the least expensive route and crosses the fewest number of properties. Yet individuals including board members, with no engineering background, made claims that it would be more expensive to construct despite what the study shows. Now we are faced with fewer (and more expensive) options. As a township faced with many financial hurdles we must think outside the box to turn things around. With closing schools due to declining head count, the need for a water treatment system and a shrinking tax base, we look at all opportunities.

The removal of Option C will just give the township board another excuse to block adding a trail system to our community based on too much money and the impact on more properties (likely their own).

Secondly I would also like to inform the board that the “Friends of Amos” is named after the founder of Ortonville (Amos Orton).

John Coyne


(In response to: ‘In Ortonville, no one can hear you scream,’ a letter by Bonnie Beltramo, The Citizen, April 29, page 7)

Dear Editor,

First of all, I would like to congratulate you for having a “fan” at the checkout counter!

Aren’t you special!

As for the Los Angeles Times editorial statement, “Those who oppose the new president’s reckless and heartless agenda must make their voices heard.”

Los Angeles! Really? I wouldn’t expect anything they touted would be truthful or imperative, and by the way, I am proud to be one of the 68 percent in our township who voted for President Donald Trump.

We Trump voters are members in good standing of the Hillary “Deplorables”…and we rock!

Deborra Okolovitch

We need answers

Dear Editor,

The school district is presently looking at signing a contract regarding the swimming pool. The senior citizens will be greatly affected. Proposed are fewer hours and higher fees. Yet we’re not being told what the hours will be or the planned costs.

As a Brandon resident and taxpayer in the Brandon School District I feel I deserve a detailed accounting of all this information. Is the current plan of this outsourcing contract the best for going forward? We need some answers.

Dick Seery

Ortonville missed out

Dear Editor,

For those who may not be aware, an important Brandon Township meeting took place at 7 p.m., May 1, 2007. I say important because on the agenda was the item to remove Route C from any further consideration for the Blackhawk Trail which would be part of the Iron Belle Trail. By a vote of 4-3 the board of trustees removed Route C.

Sadly, something this important and already determined to be the best route and most economical was not brought to the community’s attention that this vote would take place at this meeting.

Trails are positive; so many articles and communities attest to that. Ortonville may miss out on this opportunity.

Sharon Van Dis, Village of Ortonville resident since 1974

Let the public know

Dear Editor

How many of our local public school swimming pools are now run by private companies? Brandon Schools is the next to go.

The board of education has given community members opposed to privatization two weeks to come up with a plan of their own, or the board will proceed with their plan to privatize. I got the impression that they had no intention of letting the public know this was the plan for the past three weeks. They had planned to approve a contract tonight, but due to public opposition, have tabled the issue for two weeks.

Sherrie VandePutte

Route C negative impact

Dear Editor,

I just wanted to put out there a big thank you to the township trustees who voted to put an end to using Route C as one of four considered routes for the Iron Belle Trail proposal through Brandon Twp. so they can focus their attention on the other options.

Its nice to see these board members actually accepted an invitation from concerned citizens that were going to be directly affected by the Route C proposal at a prior meeting and actually took the time to see in person vs. looking at maps just how negatively this route would impact the concerned citizens.I especially would like to thank trustee Scott Broughton for his research and knowledge on this topic and putting this motion into action. I unfortunately was very disappointed in various citizens that attended the meeting who verbally insulted certain board members on their lack of knowledge etc. of trail routes and skate park details due to the vote not going in their favor.

Martin J. Reid

Concerted effort needed

(In response to: ‘Sewer idea floated again with eye on businesses, township,’ The Citizen, April 29 page 1)

Dear Editor,

While somewhat accurate, Ms. Bromley failed to capture the major purpose for this multi-business and multi-governmental gathering.

This informational meeting may have been conceived by the Village of Ortonville Manager, David Trent, but beyond that, ALL three jurisdictions within a 3 mile length of M-15 are NOW asked to step up to the plate and become partners on behalf of their respective business communities.

How many of us are not aware that the truly unique route of the M-15 thoroughfare, takes it through three separate governmental entities within a 3-mile route? Many of us are not.

So as you travel southbound on M-15, beginning at Oakwood Road in Groveland Township, (including Bueche’s Plaza, Brandon Chiropractic, Dr. Lowenstein, part of Engineering Tube Specialties, Escamilla’s Restaurant, Marathon Gas, and Rite Aid), you then enter into the Village of Ortonville at Mill St /Grange Hall Road intersection and continue until you arrive at Granger Road (just past the A&W) , which is the southern village limits. You then enter Brandon Township, then south past Bald Eagle Lake, and Lake Louise. (near Bullfrogs II).

Thus, to even develop a cost analysis between Bueche’s Plaza and Bullfrogs II, will require a level of intergovernmental cooperation never seen previously. An educational option to that of the current expensive business septic construction and maintenance costs scenarios, will benefit all who travel this so called “Heritage Route.”

Each respective governmental entity is now being challenged to truly solicit and receive honest feedback from within their respective entity. As such, this coordinated endeavor will help better identify the struggles of mandated State DEQ and Oakland County Health Dept. construction and maintenance challenges. Challenges which are being faced by business owners and lake property owners alike.

As such, this initiative is not an individual effort by the Village of Ortonville, or its manager. Rather, if it is to help our respective communities in their struggles, it will require a concerted effort that requires ALL entities to aspire to levels of cooperation never experienced before.

What say you, Brandon Township Supervisor, Kathy Thurman and Groveland Township Supervisor, Bob DePalma?

Wayne M. Wills,

A frequent M-15 traveler and a huge LOCAL consumer

Does Brandon want to be ‘that township’?

Dear Editor,

As Brandon Township residents, we would like to personally thank each of the Brandon Township Board of Trustees for their service to the community. As elected officials, their responsibility is to make decisions in the best interest of the residents of Brandon Township. Not always a popular job and should never be taken lightly. We thank them for their commitment to serve the people.

As attendees of the May 1st, 2017 township board meeting, we would like to express our sincerest disappointment in the Board’s decision to permanently remove Route C as an option for the Iron Belle Connector Trail through Brandon Township. As all but one attendee at the meeting was against “trails”, demonstrated by a show of hands, it is our hope that the board will now move forward, take the time to educate themselves on the process, the community benefits and the options for trail development and act. As was stated by the Board during the meeting, last night’s decision was not a decision to table the trail, only remove Route C as an option.

During discussion, Mr. Kordella, asked who the Rails to Trails Conversancy was in response to facts about the benefits of trails presented by Supervisor Thurman, facts that were based on data. After asking the question, he then went on to imply that the facts were irrelevant because they (Rails to Trails Conservancy) are “for trails”. This demonstrated to us that he had not done his homework and was in no position to place a vote regarding the proposed route.

The Rails to Trails Conservancy is a non-profit organization that has been in existence since 1986 with local, grass-roots efforts that began in 1965 with the simple premise that unused rail corridors could be put to use by converting them into a national trail network. This is THE premier, national organization that can provide us with the facts about trails and their impact on local communities. They have the expertise, the history, and the ability to provide the support that a community needs to help it develop a system that works for everyone. That’s what they do.

We would like to commend Ms. DePalma for her practical suggestion to put the vote on hold until all options had been looked at. We also appreciated her comments about trail use discouraging crime as people are less likely to congregate in a location where they might be “caught” in the act.

We all know that that corridor is already in use and by sheer proximity, by those that live alongside it. Comments about the dirty needles, tortured raccoons. poached deer, as expressed by an attendee were in our opinion designed to frighten and exaggerate. Though these situations may be true – they are by no means the norm.

Safety and security, privacy, liability, funds and trail maintenance are not new issues in trail development. Many communities that start this process have all of these same concerns – and yet, they pressed through and we now have many thousands of miles of trails that are being used nationally that provide a lot of pleasure for millions of people. Other communities have figured it out – Brandon Township can too.

It appeared that the Board came with their minds made up and nothing was going to change them – not even the will of the majority as demonstrated by the majority of hands that were counted for and the minority against, the proposed route. As homeowners on the proposed Route C, we are for it, yet our upraised hands really didn’t matter when it came time for the Board’s vote.

We have been waiting for a long time for the trail to be developed, not only in Brandon, but the connector brought along East Seymour Lake connecting us to Oxford. As we live on Baldwin Road, we will then be able to jump on our bikes, take our lives in our hands for a 1/2 mile ride down Baldwin to Seymour Lake and then take the Polly Ann to Leonard or the Paint Creek to Rochester, the Clinton River Trail to the Macomb Orchard to Romeo, Armada and Richmond. The Village of Ortonville now seems a long way off.

We accept that the ITC Corridor is no longer a viable option as it has been removed from the list of routes and recognize that this was a tough decision and a contentious one. The Board has their reasons and those reasons may not have been fully expressed at the meeting. Sometimes it is just easier to take the path of least resistance and do nothing. We hope that is not the case. There are now 3 trail options for consideration and perhaps a fourth. The Brandon community wants this trail within a rural setting. The surrounding local communities want it and the State of Michigan is making it possible by providing grant monies. Does Brandon really want to be “that township” that holds up the Iron Belle Trail project?

To echo residents from the meeting, the Iron Belle Connector Trail is a legitimate use of funds at both the state and township levels for recreational purposes and the only way it will come to pass is when the community can come together to make it a reality.

Great things happen when great leaders lead.

John and Jennifer Bickel

N. Baldwin Road

Questions about pool

Dear Editor,

This letter is directed to the Brandon School Board and, more importantly, to all the members of the Brandon School Community. At a school board meeting on April 27, the board received comments and held discussion on the approval of an Aqua Club contract. This involves the Brandon pool for which the community voted and paid the bond, and continues to pay for through school taxes (i.e., the general fund).

The contract with Aqua Club, a private company, is to provide programs to utilize the pool. Why is a private company being called in to run this public facility as a “business,” when we have able and available community members willing to do so, for the improvement and benefit of all the community?

As stated at the meeting, this contract will involve cutting pool use to 3 hours a day, likely to be 6pm to 9pm, and initiating a $1,000 per month user fee, which means many community members will be deterred from using the facility.

The school board’s stated goal is to increase the use of the pool by the community children who have only 6 hours of weekly access to the pool, according to board statements. What happened to the programs that were offered when the pool was funded and built?

Also, do those 6 hours include the Saturday kids’ classes, the Tuesday and Thursday Kids’ Club hours, and the hours used for the Brandon swim team and sponsored swim meets?

If the children are to get greater use of this wonderful facility, a goal which we all favor, programs need to be offered and fully marketed, but not at the expense of other community members/groups who need access to this resource.

Why are the community members who voted for and paid for this pool being asked to give up their legitimate right to use it? It is not necessary. There are qualified community members who are willing to provide increased programs and effective marketing proposals for all who are interested in the continued viability of this resource in our community.

I urge the Brandon School Board to: 1. Forego the contract with Aqua Club; 2. Hire the pool director, instructors, and lifeguards needed to provide full programs and services at the pool; 3. Establish a firm marketing budget to actuate increased utilization of this resource; and 4. Show support for all members of the Brandon School Community by creating a community focus group to work with the pool director, community education director, school superintendent, and school board members, to evaluate (survey) needs and formulate plans to meet these needs for the lasting benefit of all our community.

I urge all community members to contact the Brandon School Board, before we lose the benefits of the pool in which we have long invested. The loss of this dynamic asset would be significant for many years; it does not have to be so. I implore you to stand up, speak up for your community.

Char Roberson