The article says "The township supervisor said the study is free." Later in the article: "The township's engineering firm Hubble, Roth and Clark, as well as the South Eastern Michigan Council of Governments, will conduct a feasibility study..." The engineering firm will be paid with TAX PAYERS' MONEY! They are not doing it for "FREE." Mr. Kittle would have known better before he was elected supervisor. How quickly citizens become politicians.
March 26, 2014
I'd like to clarify and expand on some of the comments in the article related to the Mill Race.
The pipe that broke leading to the sinkhole on the Christie property did so because of sediment build up that washed in from the streets. The hardness of our water here added deposits that eventually caused the pipe to be unable to manage the flow entering it and it broke. This is what happens at your house, sans the sediment, as a result of hard water.
This could have been prevented if proper protections were introduced early enough. I warned the then city council members that same issue will eventually present itself, albeit possibly in a different manner if they installed the pipe the way they did without installing the protections that are available. They ignored me and now we have an issue.
The Stormwater permit that the City holds requires a 25% reduction of sediment discharged into the system and currently the efforts are nothing more than a pencil pushing exercise. There are cost effective products on the market that can help reduce the amount of sediment that enters the system. Look up Dandy products and Silt Savers to familiarize yourself with a few.
However, there is another way to address the sediment and the current issue, that is also much more cost effective, not to mention beautiful. Daylight the pipe.
With the proper permissions, a tiered, cascading waterfall with an infiltration based that is reinforced by geotextiles for stability, can be installed. Lined with native flowering plants, whose roots additionally add stability, the flowing water would also pick up oxygen for a healthier river habitat, while dropping out sediment before it enters the mill race. The native flowers are not only beautiful, but add to the habitat created by the rain garden in Depot park.
This could be amended with terraced grass pavers and pic nic tables. Add in a few fruit bearing plants and trees and you create an oasis. The additions could be added in over time so the cost would be spread out. And the design, installation and maintenance would all be more cost effective for the city and its tax payers. Oh, and did i mention that there are many local experts that I am certain would be delighted in helping? This would create work for many locals.
In addition, if the City were to partner with local universities and the school district, possibly even the township, and use this as an outreach and education opportunity in partial fulfillment of their requirements under their stormwater permit, (which the township and school district also have) It would benefit them all and they might even be eligible for funding, since this is what is being promoted by the Federal EPA and the State DEQ, not to mention SEMCOG. Oh, and the International Commission on the Great Lakes too.
The City is planning on using outmoded methods without the consideration of newer, less expensive, more river friendly approaches. If the public is interested in a better way to do things that contributes to place-making while saving their hard earned tax dollars, I encourage you to speak up.
Tammie j Heazlit
March 21, 2014
The concept of year round schools is interesting and there are many aspects that can be explored, such as what if schools is closed because of weather when it should be in session, how do families arrange for child care when school isn't in session, how well do students learn when it is 90 degrees and the sun is out, what cost more heating schools or cooling them, these and may more questions.
Another obvious question is are students learning or just memorizing if they don't retain subject matter over the summer? Dr. Schwartz may be right, it may all depend on the quality of the teacher. It is ironic then that we require teachers to be continuous learners and once they obtain their PhD. we offer them early retirement because they cost to much and we hire new teachers.
There are also plenty of studies that prove students perform much better with smaller class sizes and starting the school day at 10 a.m. instead of 7 a.m.. So why don't we make these changes. Dr. Skilling has told me that class size does not matter. I respectfully disagree. Again the irony is the more kids is a class the more profitable the class. To support this statement, why do we continue to recruit more students from outside the district and from China? The answer is simple, more money! And why do we start school so early? I have never heard an explanation. I suspect, in part, it has to do with extra curriculum activities. Perhaps starting later and smaller class sizes students would learn, retain more, and perform better on standardized test.
March 16, 2014
Great commentary Don. Unfortunately indeed there are not enough folks that stand like a rock. We as a society continue to cede control of our own destiny out of ignorance and complacency. People choose to ignore the issues of the day and are content with that fact. They are too busy to be bothered, too scattered to care, too willing to write a blank check. I know because I am one of them far too often! We need people like you. We need more watch dogs. More folks that care and question the leaders of policy. I wish that elections to government seats ran more like a jury pool. Serving your community should be a duty and privilege....not a career! I trust no one that makes it a occupation. No matter the noblest of intentions, special interests and personal greed almost always rise to the the top. It is time as a community, a state, and a country that we look to what our forefathers envisioned and scrap the path that we are now on. It is a trail that leads to nowhere and we're getting there fast!
March 10, 2014
To the Editor,
This is an alert to all Independence Township waterfront property owners.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014, the township board listened to attorney Steve Joppich try to explain extensive changes to ordinances covering Wetlands and Watercourses. The stated goal of Township Supervisor Kittle is to bring ordinances in harmony with state law.
Dozens and dozens of interested individuals, many owners of waterfront property listened, then questioned the wisdom of proposed changes. I congratulate those who came and spoke for their diligence on such short notice.
The supervisor, having seen and heard the large concerned crowd, floated the idea of a volunteer citizens panel to make suggestions. People were encouraged to sign up, and meet with building department officials to guide changes. Their first discussions will have already happened by the time you read this.
This is a dodge.
If the township wanted to become harmonious with state statute they merely could 'cut and paste' verbiage from state law and leave jurisdiction to the alphabet soup of state and county regulators, DNR,DEQ, WRC, RCOC, rather than spend taxpayer money on rewrites that deny rights to riparian property owners.
To see this meeting at home, fire up that computer, go to the township website, click on departments, click on Independence Television, go to the small beige box on the right, and click on 'on demand' viewing to watch the meeting.
Your waterfront property rights are in jeopardy. Proposed ordinance changes would make removing debris from your culvert or weeds from your beach a ticket-able offense. The number of boats, docks, rafts, jet skis, and hoists and how you can use them will be dictated by township building officials.
Contact your township officials and trustees after watching the meeting, and become involved now. Ice out is just a few weeks away.
March 10, 2014
What happened to Cory Johnston's pledge in his June 19, 2013 Guest Viewpoint that he would stop? He said: "I have decided to join the overwhelming majority of people who ignore the city government and do their best to pretend it does not exist." You just can't believe this guy.
March 08, 2014
To all those parents that support Mrs. McVey...I ask you,how would you feel if that were your child stuck in the chair ? Special needs or not. Misbehaving or not. Would you really want the teacher to take the time to videotape the child or would you want your child removed from the chair safely?If your a teacher what would your first instinct be?
Did the child's parents have an I.E.P. ? Did it include video taping and distribution? I don't know nor do I think it matters. what I do know is the respect and safety for this child was not a priority on that day, at that time...
I want the child ,family and the school board to know that there are people who understand and support them.
March 05, 2014
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
I find it a little puzzling that Oxford Parks/rec. would want to survey folks about a community center. Just a couple weeks back there was an extensive article on the experience of Orion and Lapeer in their community center struggles. I know every community would like to tout their own center, but it seems a first step with Parks/rec. should be a conversation with both Orion and Lapeer to see what kind of arrangement they could come up with to have Oxford residents use either facility ? Subscriptions for annual or family usage along with "at will" usage would help address Parks/rec. goal and at the same time help to relieve the funding issues for Orion and Lapeer. Isn't that what COMMUNITY is all about ?
February 23, 2014
Way to go CJ!!! (me singing your praises)
Holly was amazing at her job! She not only was great with our business but not one person I have spoken with while mentioning her name, has had one bad thing to say. I was so shocked to her that she was fired, and did not receive a termination letter at that. Does that mean not termination letter, still should be on payroll. I think so. You can't fire someone and make it verbal these days, can you? The reasoning behind the whole thing is just beyond ridiculous at best. In the past day I have been in local stores and places of business and everyone is talking. They just can't believe that "our" Holly is gone. I know I do not feel comfortable working with a Chamber of Commerce that is "moving in a different direction" but has no clue what direction that even is! Are you running the Chamber of Commerce for your businesses or for yourself. Hmmmm...
February 19, 2014