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Pentwater Township Library celebrates 165 years

PENTWATER — The Pentwater Library celebrated its 165th birthday with an open house Feb. 12.

In a speech by Sheryl Mase, the director for the co-op the library belongs to, she said that 93.5 percent of residents have, and regularly use, library cards.

“Pentwater is small, but mighty,” she said. “Life is not necessarily on the beach, but you can still enjoy a good book there.”

A representative for 34th District State Sen. Jon Bumstead, Susie Rodriquez, presented the library with a tribute for the occasion.

The plaque, signed by multiple Michigan representatives and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, memorialized the library’s history.

The library was established in 1855 when the first $50 was donated. It was in the township office and, until the 1950s, the township clerk was given the secondary duty as librarian.

In 1928, the library burned down along with a block of the town. Though the library was to receive $300,000 in insurance money, it was lost in the stock market crash.

Though the library was not rebuilt immediately, 10 years later there are records of a purchase for 700 books to replace the ones lost in the fire.

In 1967, the library board voted to add a telephone.

The library received a grant in 1994 to build the current location. The construction on the library was finished in 1996.

Two years ago, the building received an interior remodel. The remodel included upgrading and adding computers to “join the 21st century,” according to Elaine LeTarte, who has been a library board member for eight years.

Sarah Brosnan had come to use the computer on Wednesday and remembered the party when she saw the parking lot was full.

“I come in to use a computer at least once a week,” she said. “They have a really good selection of DVDs. The computers being up-to-date is a huge plus.”

The event, which was open to the public, was to thank patrons for supporting the library.

“It’s wonderful,” said Sam Morrison, a resident of Pentwater. “My wife and I love the library. The staff have delivered materials to our house. It’s the personal touch in a small town. Our kids and grandkids love to come here, too, in the summertime.”

As attendees streamed into the room decorated with gold starbursts, Mary Barker, the library director, asked patrons to participate in the “165th Birthday Challenge.”

The donation challenge started in October. The goal is to have 165 separate donations to the library endowment by the end of the year.

There have been 71 donations so far. People who would like to donate can mail donations, drop them off at the library, or donate online at the Community Foundation for Oceana County website, www.foceanaoundation.org, and selecting the library.

“We enjoy the library,” David Nault said. “We wanted to see the celebration and contribute a little money.”

Nault has lived in Pentwater for 16 years and especially likes the magazine selection the library offers.

A new Friends of the Library group is starting up, according to Carol Feltes.

The group’s first meeting will be at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 20 at the library. The meeting is open to the public and the group is looking for members. People interested in joining should attend the meeting on Thursday, Feltes said.

“I was amazed at the number of people who came,” said Barker. “You never know in the winter. It made me feel great that so many came.”

Oceana says ‘no’ to sanctuary county; Board votes to support Second Amendment, but strips use of word 'sanctuary'

HART — No Second Amendment Sanctuary will be attached to Oceana County’s name following action by the Oceana County Board of Commissioners Thursday at its regular meeting in Hart.

Instead, the county board went on record as supporting the Second Amendment and not use of the word “sanctuary.” The move took two votes as the first vote that would have named the county a sanctuary county as originally presented in January failed in a 4-3 vote.

Commissioners Bob Walker, Larry Byl and Dean Gustafson and Chairman Denny Powers voted against the original resolution while commissioners Andy Sebolt, Martha Meyette and Jim Brown voted to approve it.

After the first vote failed, Walker offered some language changes that removed the word “sanctuary” in two places from the original resolution, and it passed unanimously. Sebolt, however, said following the vote that he would have preferred to keep the word “sanctuary” in the adopted resolution.

Sebolt presented the original resolution in January, and it was referred to the law and safety committee for review. He said at that time, a group had recently formed in Michigan after seeing proposed legislation in Virginia, such as red flag laws, that if approved would place more and more restrictions on gun ownership.

The Mason County Board of Commissioners, at its regular meeting on Tuesday night in Ludington, was approached during public comment about considering a resolution to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary County by Herb Stenzel. Board Chair Janet Andersen directed the matter to the county’s rules committee.

Most of those attending the Jan. 23 and Feb. 13 standing room-only meetings of the Oceana County Board of Commissioners encouraged the board to adopt the original resolution as presented with the language including “sanctuary” in it. Lori Green of Weare Township said Michigan House Bill 4283, pending in the state legislature, would prohibit certain people from possessing firearms. She also said the Oceana County Republican Party had endorsed the original sanctuary county resolution and encouraged the board to adopt it.

Michael Cook of Golden Township presented the board with an additional 225 signatures supporting the original resolution, bringing the total number of signatures of those wanting the original resolution adopted to approximately 750.

Everet Horton of Pentwater also encouraged the board to adopt the original resolution. He said when he applied for his concealed weapons permit he went through the “meat grinder” and that “red flag” laws are being introduced again. Red flag laws are described as “a gun control law that permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.”

He added that the only recourse for people opposed to certain laws is to take the matter to court and that he couldn’t afford it.

“If we keep allowing our legislators to sidestep the Constitution, we’re on a slippery slope people,” Horton said.

Only one person speaking at the Feb. 13 meeting encouraged the board not to adopt the original resolution. A Pentwater Township woman pointed out the county is a tourism and agricultural community and such a resolution might turn off tourists and guest workers from coming to the area to visit or work.

“We are a county that relies on tourist dollars,” the woman said. “Controversy is not good for business.”

Hamlin board discusses marijuana microbusiness

HAMLIN TWP. — The Hamlin Township board reviewed a request to open a marijuana microbusiness as a part of its regular meeting on Thursday.

The board decided a township-wide survey was required before a final decision could be made.

“We would like to know what people think first,” said Hamlin Township Clerk Catherine Lewis.

The microbusiness falls under recreational, not medical, regulations. The board adopted an ordinance last year which prevents this type of business. The board would have to repeal or amend the ordinance before it could grant the request discussed on Thursday.

Richard York and Andrew York, business partners in the venture, must receive approval from the township before they can apply for the state business license.

“I think it’s important that even rural parts of the state have access to recreational (marijuana),” Andrew York said. “The more municipalities that allow businesses to start up, there will be less of an attempt to purchase on the black market and make the legal option more sustainable as a business model.”

The location they would like to purchase for the business is a commercial property next to Lower Hamlin Grocery near the intersection of Jebavy Drive and Dewey Road.

The state law requires that a greenhouse and a packaging facility must be at the same location.

“The state wants us to work with local townships,” said Andrew York, who represented his business partner at the meeting.

York said they chose Hamlin because it has the highest population of the local municipalities.

“Also, people won’t have to go to Manistee,” York said.

A 10 percent tax revenue would go to the township if it approved the microbusiness, according to York.

During the discussion, Trustee Johnaine Gurzynski noted that the Pere Marquette township board sent a survey before deciding against allowing recreational marijuana businesses.

In an unanimous vote, the board approved the proposal to draft a survey to be mailed to township residents. The board will review the survey language at its next meeting on Thursday, March 19.

Other business

In other business, the board:

• Heard in a report the planning commission is waiting to update the master plan until the 2020 census statistics are available.

• Heard in a report from the fire chief that the fire department purchased sonar for its rescue boat.

• Approved the public advertisement of the 2020-2021 parks maintenance bid packet.

FloraCraft Inducts Third Class Into Wall of Fame

FloraCraft, the world’s leading manufacturer of craft and floral foam products, announced longtime employees Tim Clapper and Danny Johnson were inducted into the FloraCraft Wall of Fame for the Class of 2019.

Established in 2017, The FloraCraft Wall of Fame is dedicated to recognizing and honoring those individuals who have contributed to the success of the corporation.

Clapper retired from FloraCraft in 2017 and held many leading management positions in his 46 years such as extrusion department manager, shipping and warehouse manager, custom foam craft logistical manager and major chain logistical supervisor.

Johnson retired in 1994 as a shipping manager after 41 years of service to the company. During his time, Johnson was production schedular, shipping and warehouse manager, production liaison manager and shipping logistical manager.

“Tim and Danny exemplified the attitude, work ethic, loyalty and service to FloraCraft that has helped us become an industry leader,” said President and CEO Eric Erwin. “In their combined 86 years of service, FloraCraft saw tremendous growth and both men played important roles in that development.”

Clapper and Johnson join fellow Wall of Fame inductees Gary Smith, Alfonso Padron and Vic Burwell.