Letters to the editor October 5, 2019

30th Annual Septemberfest
Dear Editor,
Brandon Township Parks and Recreation has been honored to host our 30th Annual Septemberfest. By our side were our many support groups and businesses with a majority of funding coming from Presenting Sponsors, Genisys Credit Union and Meijer of Oxford. Consumers Energy, DTE Energy, MSU Federal Credit Union, Randy Wise Ford, Roger Ingles Remax, Ortonville Foot Ankle and Wound Clinic, VFW Post 582, Rowe Professional Services Company, Pfeffer Hanniford & Palka, Papa Bella’s Pizza, For the Love of Local, and Ortonville Community Emergency Fund also made monetary donations to make this event a success.
Friends of Septemberfest who offered support by in-kind service were: The Citizen Newspaper, Jason Wills Chiropractic, Community Disposal, Vantine Farms, Ortonville Lions Club, Ortonville Rotary Club, Ortonville DDA, and Wojo’s Green House, Brandon Groveland Youth Assistance, and B.H.S. Student Council.
Family fun once again filled downtown Ortonville. Although the weather was a little rainy, the event was well attended and enjoyed by many. Special thanks go to all mentioned above and to our Village of Ortonville Manager Dale Stuart and his DPW staff,CERT, OCSO Deputies and Brandon Fire Department.
See you next year for Brandon Township Parks & Recreation’s 31st Annual Septemberfest on Saturday, Sept. 26.
Fred Waybrant
Citizen of the Year
Dear Editor,
Thank you, thank you Ortonville for choosing us to be “Citizen of the Year” of 2019. We will cherish these memories forever. Even the rain and cool weather couldn’t dampen our spirits. A special appreciation to David Fleet, editor in chief of our Citizen newspaper for the nice article the week earlier. Jackie Nowicki, you’re a gem.
It has been our pleasure to spend the last 48 years working to save the Old Mill, which was deteriorated badly and 100 years old then. The Mann School was nearly lost to time and built in 1879. Arnold walked to school there for his first 8 years. Now we are blacksmith shop and the Ortonville Community Historical Society is excited and anxious to get it finished. This would not have been possible without the caring and generous financial support from Ortonville Village, Brandon Township, and Groveland residents, businesses and organizations to help us along the way. The Ortonville Community Historical Society doesn’t give up easily. We have planned and wished for this shop for over 25 years.
Our wonderful Old Mill has withstood the ravages of time, weather and fire so we could enjoy it today. Many communities around us lost their mills long ago. The society motto has been since 1968, “where there’s a mil, there’s a way.”
Receiving this award has been a thrill of a lifetime, and we’re not through yet!
Proud to live in the Ortonville area,
Arnold and Mary Alive Seelbinder
In response to “Unhappy trails: Council eyes Village park rules,” The Citizen, Sept. 28, page 1.
Rustic hiking
Dear Editor,
Councilman Dan Eschmann stated about the 47 acres of village owned property, “It’s a rustic hiking, open the public area. Since that designation, there’s been widespread abuse.” He goes on to state he has observed cut-down trees, fire puts, bark pulled off of trees, alcohol bottles, sleeping bags and more.
Seems like there would be more of a deterrent to these problems if more people could access THEIR Park than just through “rustic hiking.” I for one am not physically capable of “rustic hiking” but would love to be able to see and experience this “jewel” of the village that he claims this property is.
Luann Mann
O.C.E.F. bake sale success!
Dear Editor,
I would like to thank the Ortonville community for the overwhelming support for the OCEF Bake Sale at the September Fest. For the last 17 years, the OCEF Jr. Board has had the support of community members who baked and/or donated time and money for this effort. This year we raised $1,418.50 for the OCEF food pantry! This type of support shows the generosity and kindness that is right here in Ortonville.
Lukas Miner, OCEF Jr. Board
In response to “Unhappy trails: Council eyes Village park rules,” The Citizen, Sept. 28, page 1.
Park decision questions
Dear editor,
A decision was made by the Ortonville Village Council on Sept. 23, 2019 that may significantly impact the Recreation Master Plan adopted by both the Village of Ortonville and Brandon Township under the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Guidelines for Integrated Community Planning in February, 2015.

To the best of my knowledge, Brandon Township, a co-signer on the Recreation Master Plan, was not consulted for input before this decision was made. Questions arise from this decision:
· Does the 9/23/19 decision to rename and establish an ordinance for the 47 acre property previously known as The Village Park violate the intent of the Recreation Master Plan adopted by the both Brandon Board and Ortonville Village Council in February, 2015?
· Does the Village Council’s failure to consult with the Master Plan’s co-signer, Brandon Township, violate the 1967 PA 7 Urban Cooperation Act?
· Does the 9/23/19 decision require an amendment to the Master Recreation Plan, with signoff from both the Village Council and the Township Board of Trustees?
· Does it violate the language in the Quit Claim Deed for the property?
· Since the 9/23/19 decision, does the Master Plan still meet state DNR standards for community recreation planning? (eg: barrier free accessibility requirements for parks, (Appendix D in the DNR’s Guidelines for the Development of Community Park and Recreation Plans).
· Does the 9/23/19 decision put in jeopardy in the Village’s and the Township’s eligibility for grant programs?
I strongly urge that attorneys for both Brandon Township and the Village of Ortonville be consulted on these questions.
Lois B. Robbins
(In response to “School AD resigns amid allegations, investigation, The Citizen, Sept. 28, page 1)
Davis resignation
Dear Editor,
Goodrich Area Schools accepted the resignation of Dave Davis, former athletic director and High School Assistant Principal, at its Board of Education meeting on Sept. 22, 2019. The District was in the process of investigating allegations that Mr. Davis was inappropriately contacting and interacting with former Goodrich High School female students who had graduated and were now attending college.
Board President Greg Main said that the School District had fully cooperated with local law enforcement officials who were conducting their own investigation into complaints that had been filed with them. Part of that cooperation involved suspending the District investigation until law enforcement could conduct its investigation. Law enforcement permitted the District to begin its investigation in early August.
Board President Main also noted that had Mr. Davis not resigned and the District eventually took action to terminate his employment, a hearing would have been required, and the students who reported the complaints would have had to testify at such hearing. Board President Main said that avoiding the disruption to these students’ college studies, along with the stress that would accompany their involvement in a formal hearing, is obviously not a good thing for these students, along with saving the District the legal expense of such a proceeding. Unlike situations where a mid-investigation resignation serves to end the investigation and hearing process, Goodrich documented the resignation in a manner that protects the school district and memorializes the school district’s ability to respond truthfully to inquiries regarding educational employers about the concerns raised.
The resignation agreement executed by the parties cut Mr. Davis’ salary off at the end of the month and provided a release of claims against the District.
Goodrich Schools
Your right to know
The Leaders of the Republican Caucus in the Michigan House of Representatives want to pull public notices from newspapers and allow governmental entities (cities, villages, township, counties, etc.) to satisfy notice requirements by putting them on their websites. This is an unprecedented blow to governmental transparency and due process.
A version of this legislation has been introduced in each legislative session for the past 12 years and has failed. Why? Because then, as now, it is a bad idea
From the very start, Michigan law has required that notices of governmental actions be provided to citizens by publication in newspapers, an independent source of information about the actions of government. Now, legislators are proposing to end this important check on governmental power.
The Michigan Press Association has been told that this issue is in the top five priorities of the Speaker of the House. With crumbling roads, failing schools and escalating health care costs, we fail to see government control over messaging as being on any citizen’s list of priorities.

The legislators in support of this movement say that this will save money… but how? Is this the one exception to the Republican’s embrace of privatization? It defies logic that government can do this better and cheaper than newspapers, who have provided this valuable check and balance for more than 150 years.
A quick glance at some local government websites doesn’t give one comfort that things will be done well under this new scheme. A couple of shining examples: one township website lists among its elected officials a Congressman who has been deceased for several years. Another has not updated meeting agendas since 2014.
We have long advocated that these notices belong in newspapers and protect due process in Michigan. We do however acknowledge that they also need to be distributed digitally and are working hard with our members to make sure that they are accessible on a computer, mobile device AND in print. This increases transparency and protects your right to know what government officials are doing with your taxpayer dollars.
Citizens of this state have been the victim of Equifax, Capitol One, The Department of Veterans Affairs and many other online entities as their personal online information has been compromised. The information you trust local leaders to provide to you regarding your taxes, property and other important issues in your community shouldn’t be made vulnerable to a similar fate.
Even if the lack of security is not considered, the lack of connectivity should be. Michigan ranks 30th in the nation for broadband connectivity. Rural areas still pose a challenge for those trying to use the internet.
Public notices belong in a public place, like a local newspaper, not on a government website, which can also disenfranchise certain users, like low income individuals who do not have access to the Internet, or the elderly who are not comfortable using the Internet. Having to look for notices on each individual government site would be laborious at best and a good way to conceal information at worst.
We at Michigan newspapers take the responsibility of keeping you informed very seriously. Whether it be making sure Freedom of Information and Open Meetings laws are being followed or proper notice of things like zoning that might put a landfill in your neighborhood is happening. We remain the vital watchdogs we always have been in our communities.
If knowing that an independent, reliable source is watching what elected officials are doing with your taxpayer dollars is important to you please consider contacting your state Representative and Senator and letting them know you want to keep seeing your public notices where you notice…in a newspaper.
Dirk Milliman is the Public Policy Committee Chairman of the Michigan Press Association