Clarkston City Manager Eberhardt's decision against communicating with the Clarkston News or using it as a vehicle to monitor constituent concerns is indicative of an imperial yet juvenile form of leadership which plagues the state right from the governor's office, through the Republican-dominated legislature, and often right down to local government. There is no transparency, and often a paternalistic view of constituents. The officially preferred modes of communication include self-serving releases via web or email, or council or other official meetings where the forum and agenda are controlled by the politicos. While it may be helpful for politicians for constituents to limit their participation via attendance at council meetings, limiting input via this forum is impractical and ineffective. Time, place and available meeting space often are not convenient or adequate for all who may have interest. Note that the history of the nation is marked by a deep respect for freedom of speech and freedom of the press. News media, including local newspapers, have been key to informing the public about the efficiency of government, and allow for the most widespread dissemination of information to the community and the facilitation of public debate. News media have played an important role in uncovering corruption and waste in government. Good government is only possible with the aid of a free press. A government official who is unwilling to communicate with community media or monitor it for community concerns and opinions is simply unfit for public service. If Eberhardt's is not up to the job or feels too much heat in the kitchen, she should do the honorable thing and resign her post.
February 25, 2014
Oxford DDA has done a great job in making Oxford a destination town, people travel to eat downtown, go to the movies downtown and walk downtown. So that means they want to be able to walk in town. Oxford needs a snow removal plan for the village. Especially the downtown area. You have a frontend loader and a dump truck put them to use and get that snow out of there. Rochester does it, Dryden does it even Flint does it. You can too!
February 15, 2014
Thank you so much for writing this article. You did a great job with background information and fact checking. I know Aaron will appreciate seeing it!
January 30, 2014
It's clear that parking downtown should be an important issue for local business owners and the community, but in this election year many hope that we can focus greater attention on perhaps more substantive issues affecting our local and national communities. We are confronted with the effects of a state governor and legislature dominated by elitists who operate with stealth and lack of transparency and accountability, and with what appears to be a patronizing or even despising view of the larger population they are supposed to represent. They've taxed pensioners, reduced educational funding and progression, and now in an election year pander to voters they obviously despise and insult by proposing an income "tax cut" for the middle class which in reality more greatly rewards high income earners--who continue to grow richer as the middle class stagnates or regresses--and which in any event represents little more than the value of a few McDonald's value meals for working people. Paintings in museums, while important culturally, are more highly regarded than the lifelong contributions of working families. Some powerful political leaders obviously believe that our educational experiences and common sense have so deteriorated as to render us stupid. The income gap between the few rich and the large middle class has become a a Grand Canyon, and we are learning that the Affordable Care Act really is not so affordable. The number of people looking for decent paying jobs is greater than the mostly low paying jobs our leadership claims to have created.
Perhaps it is time to look beyond parking and potholes and get politically active this year to ensure that the much needed changes in high level political leadership and direction take place. It's time for some career politicians to move on. Encourage your family and friends to register to vote, critically examine the issues, and vote this year. Perhaps our parking and pothole issues can be resolved without more tickets or signs.
January 30, 2014
I am very grateful to the people of Lake Orion who stopped to help a total stranger get out of a snow bank. People showed up from all directions. I hope they all get to know how much I appreciated the assistance.
January 26, 2014
I have quickly run through the newly released report regarding the Wheelock and Watkins drain issues. Although I would need to spend more time evaluating to make detailed recommendations, two things came immediately to mind that would result in lower costs to the taxpayer, while contributing to placemaking and beautification.
Green Infrastructure is finally being promoted in Michigan and this problem and location are ideal for such an installation. The term Green Infrastructure or GI has two interpretations; In a larger sense, it is the interconnectedness of open space, with the focus on maintaining green space corridors to connect communities and to increase habitats. These areas function in atmospheric cooling, and recharge for groundwater infiltration. Where there is infiltration, there is less runoff.
The second aspect of GI is in regard to stormwater management. The information obtained in this report provides all but that regarding soil profiles, so is nearly complete for use in a GI solution.
GI has been increasing dramatically across the US, and in every instance, it is significantly less expensive to design and install. It treats water as a resource rather than a waste product.
There is a maintenance aspect to GI, but is much more cost effective than traditional piping.
The intent of GI relative to stormwater is to slow it down, spread it out and soak it in. Infiltration basins and/or rain gardens are installed which reduces the runoff into pipes. Other GI design includes modular wetlands, permeable or grass pavers, even large scale rainwater collection systems. Strategically located, these and other elements of GI can be installed at a cost savings to the citizens.
Golf courses have come a long way relative to water use. We don't think much about water conservation here in Michigan due to our resource. But we should. Western Golf course design includes water recycling and specifically, rainwater reuse. Stormwater runoff can be cleaned up to any level including potable, and when installed at a golf course, can save thousands or more long term in water usage and associated expense.
What about the cost of design? Lawrence Tech University in Southfield is one of the leaders in the industry. Providing students with a real world opportunity can increase their understanding for application in a method that will eventually replace or dramatically reduce the use of piping. Although the professors such as Donald Carpenter are not insured for design and installation, his graduates are and many would jump at the opportunity for partnering to design a new urbanism. Keep in mind that although current stormwater regulations and permitting applies to areas with population densities of 1000/square mile, in the not to distant future this unfunded mandate will be coming to rural areas like Goodrich. By being ahead of the game, there is a possibility of avoiding the need to permit by creating a voluntary program ahead of time.
Design and installation of GI in Goodrich as a solution to the Wheelock and Watkins woes could also serve as a mentoring opportunity for local schools science and mathematics classes, even some technical schools.
As a final note, this report was prepared using the smallest sample storm. Pipes were found to be dramatically undersized. A solution that simply brings the current situation up to date will not be adequate to accommodate any future growth. However, GI design and installation can.
If the citizens and government are interested in exploring this option, I would be more than happy to help coordinate partnerships. What is my benefit? A healthier watershed, a happier neighboring community, better informed local governments, student opportunities = a better future for all.
Lotus H2O effective solutions for healthier watersheds.
January 23, 2014
I cannot believe the callous comment regarding the pothole situation on Indian Lake Road: "If you choose to live in a more rural area that's part of the tradeoff," Bryson said. Rural? We live just off of M24. The buses from lake Orion cannot go under the bridge so we get DOUBLE the bus traffic rotating up and down Indian Lake Road, and our subdivision. Oxford built the condominiums to the North of Indian Lake Road and sealed the wetland area significantly. Where does that water go??? The bridge area is a hazard. The gravel splits from the cement from M24 under the bridge. And somehow we are referred to as RURAL? Live with it?? Since we moved here, houses and subdivisions have been built. More kids. More Buses. More traffic. Sealed Wetland. Live with your cars getting beat up in the potholes? Getting stuck IN A POTHOLE? Who is this Bryson, and how do we get him fired?
January 23, 2014
Township's Demand For Two Emergency Dispatchers Full Time Sounds Like Bullying
The Oxford Leader's recent reporting of Oxford Township's demand to the Village to provide two full time emergency dispatchers, 24/7 "or else", smacks of bullying to me. I am well aware of a Hatfields/McCoy relationship between the two governmental entities that has apparently prevailed for many years, but this example seems to go beyond theoretical differences and smacks of a declaration from the Township that does not truly represent the best interests of its constituency. In as much as "two is better than one" I suppose, in the context of emergency dispatchers, has the Township confirmed through research of dispatcher records that the LIKELIHOOD one full time (and apparently two on occasion) dispatchers would not be able to handle the typical flow of incoming requests for service? Or, is that just an assumption, based upon a broadened responsibility the Village dispatchers now handle (inclusive of the village of Lake Orion as well as Oxford Township) that an increased risk to the citizens of the Township exists, at least sufficient to demand additional personnel which, of course, results in increased expenses (which, of course, the costs of which are ultimately passed down to the taxpayers and/or resulting in cuts in other areas).
I would suggest that Bill Dunn and Joe Young sit down together and apply concerted efforts to analyze true historical statistics as to the number of dispatch calls, the times of day or night when they represent the most volume and, most importantly, an effective method of providing manpower when it's most needed--and conversely structuring the system so that additional manpower is not simply in place--and costing taxpayers more--when it's generally and historically not needed.
To just "bully" the Village by a take-it-or-we-leave attitude in this matter appears to be more of a bullying of one entity against the other and this sort of thing needs to stop.
January 15, 2014
How true, "Handwriting is brain writing."
How sad, "They will figure it out in about 20 years after research shows what types of deficits people have developed without using handwriting."
And then, I often wonder about graphology. It seems to rely principally on the current handwriting methods taught in most schools, and perhaps on lack of instruction as to how to write.
I have successfully taught handwriting with the italic mode for many years. Included in that instruction is:
1) Slant, which depends on posture and paper placement
2) Pressure which relates to a good, relaxed pen hold
3) Crossbars on 't'; For legibility italic instruction usually controls the crossbar by connecting to many letters, rather than joining from the baseline to a following letter and then going back to cross 't.'
Margins are another issue. Both left and right margins should be adequate and not excessive.
Needed: Help for teachers who are seldom prepared to teach handwriting.
Nan Jay Barchowsky
January 10, 2014
RE: District wants open-carry of guns banned in schools
On Thursday, December 12th, a man lawfully carried a Glock 9mm handgun into Oxford Middle School to attend a concert a family member was in. He didn't shoot anyone, he didn't violate the law, and no one got hurt.
That man was me. Therefore, I think I have a unique point of view to comment on an article that was created due to my lawful and appropriate actions.
Firstly, lets keep a brief lecture on the legal ramifications simple. The Federal Gun-Free School Zones Act prohibits ANYONE to come within 1000 feet of school property with a firearm, except under very special conditions. One of those very special conditions is if the person in question has a license issued by the sate (Michigan) to carry a weapon concealed. Therefore, the quote in the article is dead wrong when it says that "any individual could open carry into a school". To legally do so, you must undergo legal training, as well as live-fire training. Only someone, like me, who possesses such a license, can legally carry a firearm into a school.
The problem is that MCL 28.425o prohibits anyone from carrying a CONCEALED weapon into a school. That is why myself and others must resort to carrying our weapons OPEN.
But why would anyone want to carry a gun, let alone into a school? Why would you need one? Well, personally, I carry at least one everywhere I legally can. Sometimes open, sometimes concealed, depending on the law's stance on where I am going. It is so I can defend myself and the lucky people around me from unwanted attackers where ever I am.
Did you know that the theater in Aurora, Colorado was the only theater in the area that prohibited firearms? Yet a mass shooting happened, and no one inside could defend themselves.
Did you know that it is illegal to carry guns in the Naval Yard in Washington, D.C.?
Did you know it is illegal to carry guns into schools in Sandy Hook Elementary, Columbine High School, and Virginia Tech? The shooters seem to go only where no one is allowed to have a gun to defend themselves.
I, personally, will never be caught in that situation where someone is murdering people around me and I have no way to stop it.
My Second Amendment rights "shall not be infringed" because I have a duty to protect myself, my family, strangers I don't even know, and my freedom.
And THAT is why any further illegalization of firearms in schools is a dangerous idea.
December 27, 2013