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Beacon Archive

July 2004
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News from the Townships

AmVets Retire Worn Flags

Long-EZ's return - Burt Rutan-designed experimental aircraft

PABI GroundBreaking

Island Airways Hangar Party

Wildlife Club News

School Election Results

Letters: To the Beaver Island Community

Walleye Pond a Success this Year

The yearbooks are in. The yearbooks are in. The yearbooks are in!

Thanks to Ed Wojan who orchestrated the event, Islanders get to Skydive from 11,000 ft. at Township Airport

On This Date

Museum Week 2004 Schedule of Events

A Sturdy New Home - Ben Fogg's new Tug Spartacus.

Lighthouse School Graduation

Silent Auction added to Fashion Tea

Phyllis Townsend 1911-2004

Preservationists named Honorary Architects

The Dig Continues - Suttons Bay Anthropology Club

Rich Gillespie will run for Charlevoix County Commissioner

Will there be a New Boat?

BIRHC Grand Opening - A Fine Celebration

One Hundred Years Ago

Art found in Nature - the Wood Sculpture of Bruce Struik

Mary Gallagher 1909-2004

Cecelia Kinney 1911-2004

Emergency Lights Available

New First Responders

Blood Drive; Hospice Needs Summer Caregivers

New Map of Beaver Island


News from the Townships

St. James Township
Twelve people attended the June 2nd, 2004 meeting, from which Supervisor Don Vyse was absent –he was at a conference on Lighthouse restoration in Traverse City.

Two members of the St. James Board met with two from Peaine to discuss the rock-crusher agreement. No resolution was reached, so both Townships will buy gravel from a local manufacturer and let St. James’ crusher sit idle for the next two years. St. James will save two thirds of its cost for gravel; Peaine will pay one third less than it would have had to pay if both Townships paid a per/yard price based on total actual costs; and Peaine will pay only slightly more than it paid last year.
A legal opinion came back on the golf cart situation. Permanently disabled people may operate them on the roads as long as they wear helmets and comply with all driving rules, including having adequate insurance.

Don Vyse met with Commissioner Shirley Roloff and Undersheriff Don Snyder to discuss their interest in the former Med Center building. The county would like to rent two rooms for offices; the Sheriff's Department would also like two rooms as office space and as quarters for the second deputy. The rent was set at $1/ft2/month.

Don Vyse and John Works met with Gary Voogt to discuss the problem of the deteriorating King’s Highway. The next step will be to sit down with the Charlevoix County Road Commission.
The Township received a $38,000 bill for engineering work done for the Donegal Bay Road bike trail.

There was much discussion of this year’s parade route: some people wanted it to be returned to Holy Cross Hill instead of coming down past Daddy Frank’s. The problem was, with cars parked on both sides of the first block of Main Street, navigation is testy, particularly coming around the corner. Creating an official no-parking zone would require State Police approval: time-consuming, and unlikely. So the Board agreed to let a community effort take place that will involve placing temporary no-parking signs, probably on the east side of the street, where there are more driveway cuts and less parking anyway. A group of citizens will take responsibility for this.

Great Lakes Docks, from Muskegon, had the lowest of 6 bids ($893,508) for the Yacht Dock project (using 4 Island subcontractors.) Pending approval, they plan to start work around July 4th.

At the last meeting Jim Wojan asked if an inspection would be done on the new parking lot before the next (the 2nd) check was issued. A letter was in hand from Gary Voogt, dated 5-28, saying he had inspected the parking lot work and found it more than satisfactory. He recommended payment to Schwartzfisher Stoneworks, saying David Schwartzfisher had been excellent to work with. He also said that the property transfer with Don and Kay Masini had been completed, and the transfer with Karnes was awaiting final approval of deeds. But the request for payment was for about five thousand dollars more than anticipated, because unstable subsurface materials (rocks, stumps, logs, and clay) had been found, dug up, removed, and replaced with an extra 230 yards of sand fill. Jim Wojan pointed out that the bid documents and contract required a preliminary investigation to determine if any unexpected conditions might exist, and Tim McDonough read a paragraph that indicated no after-the-fact extra charges would be honored. Nevertheless the Board unanimously agreed to pay the requested amount, and to further investigate this “extra” charge and make a decision before the slightly-greater retainer posted by Schwartzfisher had to be returned.
Jim Campbell announced that Kalkaska native Jeff Simpson, never here before, had been hired for four months as a second Island deputy.

Connie Wojan requested the board to authorize the BIRHC to apply to the Grand Traverse Bay Tribe for a $15,000 grant for patient and staff educational needs and for partial funding of a T-1 line; it did.

Hugh Mason was retained to audit the Township's books for $3,900 plus $645 for preparing special reports and up to $250 for travel expenses.

Peaine Township
A bout the Roads: the 23 people who attended the June 9th, 2004 meeting of the Peaine Township Board patiently sat through some normal business, awaiting Gary Voogt's report about the future of our roads. The BMX track was on the agenda, but the students pushing it were not yet ready–although the Board assured a nearby resident that there would be something like a 10:00 p.m. curfew.

Bid documents for the new Fire Hall were mailed to ten contractors; the bids are due on July 9th.

Flight instructor Sue Haney was appointed to replace Chuck Anglin on the Airport Committee.

A letter of thanks to Anna Steinbach was read, in which it was pledged to fulfill her three stipulations: the truck will carry a commemorative bronze plaque; the truck will be stationed at the new Fire Hall; and it will be built in Michigan if at all possible.
At the appropriate moment Gary Voogt took the floor to discuss three matters: upgrading some intersections, repairing the King’s Highway, and paving additional roads. Saying he would start with the least complex issue, he announced that earlier in the day the Charlevoix County Road Commission, still crying abject poverty, agreed to pay two thirds of the cost to apply asphalt to the first hundred feet of Sloptown Road and the two roads intersecting the Highway at Four Corners. This would put the cost to Peaine at about $7,300, which it said it could pay from its road fund. H & D intended to come to the Island to pave the Main Street parking lot by July 4th, but that requires only 250 yards of asphalt and it needs to set up to install 1,000 yards to make the mobilization of its equipment economically feasible. (Note: A bequest from the Welter Foundation in late June will pay for paving the parking lot at the new Health Center, which will provide enough work to justify operating the asphalt plant here. The roads running into the King’s Highway may also get their first 100’ paved at the same time.)

Members of the audience agreed that Paid een Og's Road's intersection was more dangerous than those to the north because of the hills that hide oncoming vehicles. A request for treating MaCauley's Road was also made. Each of these two was likely to cost $6,000, Gary said, so if the same formula were accepted, Peaine would have to pay another $4,000. The Board was in favor of upgrading all four.

A more difficult problem was the breaking down of the seal coat on the King's Highway. Gary briefly reviewed the history of its repair. The CCRC is required to maintain all of the Island’s primary roads, which include the East Side Drive from Four Corners to the section line south of the airport, McCauley’s Road and the section of East Side Drive between McCauley’s and Hannigan's, and possibly the route to the Township Airport. But when called on to do its duty, the CCRC has usually claimed it was broke.

That led to a lawsuit ten years ago in which the CCRC was sued for tearing up the King’s Highway and not installing new pavement. The judge threw out the case, requesting the two parties to “work it out,” which was done when a federal grant for repaving came through. But the method used, a “prime and double seal,” essentially provided a 1 ½" coating to protect the packed gravel underneath from the erosive effect of wind and rain–but not from groundwater surges caused by beaver. The stretch running out of town was made 26' wide to Four Corners, where it narrows to 20', to provide two 3' bike paths, but the CCRC could never afford the paint needed for two stripes.

Last year H & D gave a bid of $469,000 to repair all five miles of the Highway (with no widening or added culverts.) Because the one mile in St. James starts at 51' wide and is no narrower than 26', whereas the 4 mile stretch in Peaine is 20' wide, if the cost, with a few extras, was $500,000, the split would be $150,000 for St. James, and $350,000 for Peaine. Gary thought the road to Four Corners should be widened by 2' on both sides to make the bike paths 5' wide. The key to getting this done would be to keep the pressure on the CCRC, which is legally required to maintain this road. It has just retired other debts (primarily, for new storage buildings), so it was possible the CCRC could sell a short-term note to get this done now.

The really tough nut was the possibility of paving more roads. The effects of dust on the environment, on computers and other equipment, and on human health have become a major concern, and people realize that if the roads were paved, there would be great savings in grading and dust control costs and the expense of constant car repairs. A recent estimate by H & D was that paving, Island style (paving 20' without clear-cutting and shaping a 66'-wide swath), would cost $263,000/mile (on the mainland, asphalt costs $35 a ton, but here it's $65.) No one has yet said which roads, but Gary felt some Island roads should never be paved. Perhaps 7 miles should be, he ventured.

Gary suggested this two-million-dollar elephant should be eaten one bite at a time, with additional teeth obtained by creating partnerships. The first, he suggested, should be with the CCRC, which might agree to pay for the top inch of a 3" surface under its mandate, which would cover about $60,000/ mile. The next candidate would be the Charlevoix County Commissioners, which would be allowed to levy 1 mill throughout the county to establish a road fund of $1,000,000/year (for its 13 townships.) It has never acted on this because “everyone has been afraid most of the money would go to someone else.” He urged us to take an active role in creating and distributing this fund.

Another approach might be to sell a “special assessment bond” (like the sewer system in St. James), which would be repaid by collecting a surcharge from property owners along the newly-paved roads. The surcharge could be levied on a footage basis, or simply by shares based on driveways. On a footage basis, someone with a 100' lot might be assessed an extra $1,000 over ten years; the increased value of the property being on a paved road would exceed this.

Judy Lanier reported that the gravel-crushing agreement with St. James was being put on hold for a trial period of two years because at the moment it was cheaper to buy gravel from a private contractor (who had much better equipment.) Several comments were made about gravel quality. John Works said he had tried for years to get the clay content up from 7% to perhaps 10% to hold our roads together longer. Gary explained that the 22A designation allowed a range of gravel types, and that other important factors in getting “good gravel” were the crushing of each included stone, to provide flat surfaces, and the mixing of equal proportions of several size groupings. Gary Morgan pointed out that if the crusher sits idle for two years, its belts and bearings could be damaged. Terry Saxton asked if the crusher could be leased to a private contractor, who might then offer the gravel he makes at a competitive price. The crusher was thought to be too delicate for this.

Denny and Mary Cook were present to ask for support in the effort to create a nuisance ordinance, which they felt was needed to protect them from unruly neighbors. The Planning Commission had been asked to draft one, taking St. James’ new nuisance ordinance as a starting point, but Judy Lanier reported that it felt it was already overburdened with its master planning duties. John Works directed the Board to collect information relevant to creating this draft, and to report at the next meeting. Such an ordinance would require appointing an enforcement officer– another thorny question.

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