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P.M. board talks Jebavy Drive shutdown

PERE MARQUETTE TWP. — Jebavy Drive between U.S. 10 and Johnson Road will be shut down for construction for about a week, and work is expected to start Oct. 1.

The road will be shut down to install water and sewer pipes for a property under development by Captain Chuck’s. The business is constructing a 9,000-square-foot building in the northwest lot of the intersection.

The which the Pere Marquette Charter Board of Trustees approved the work Tuesday.

“They are needing water and sewer to that property,” Township Supervisor Paul Keson told the township board of trustees on Tuesday.

The township board approved a bid from Schultz Excavating & Asphalt of Ludington to do the project for $47,600.

“The township water and sewer department will cover the cost of the project and then any customers (like Captain Chuck’s) that hook up to those connections on that parcel will pay the calculated connection fees, based on property frontage and line size, that any commercial or residential property would have to pay,” Keson said.

The new lines will be large enough to handle emergency services and fire hydrants, he added.

Keson said the project is expected to be completed by the end of October.

“Nov. 15 is last day the asphalt can be laid,” Keson said.

The road will be closed from U.S. 10 to Johnson. The detour route will be Nelson Road to the intersection of Johnson Road and Jebavy Drive.

Supervisor search

The board also approved an extension for people to submit applications for the township supervisor position. Keson is resigning Sept. 27 to become the executive director of Ludington Mass Transit Authority.

“Since it is an important appointment to the township, I’m recommending we extend the letter of interest deadline to Oct. 1 and make sure we have as diverse of selection as candidates as we can,” said trustee Paul Piper.

Six people have applied, according to Piper.

Nov. 11 is now the last date to appoint a supervisor.

Township residents who wish to apply can do so by contacting Township Clerk Rachel Enbody at P.M. Township Hall.

Dow Conservation project

Kelly Smith, the township parks manager, updated the board about the Dow Conservation Project.

“We were chosen for funding from the Office of Great Lakes Coastal Zone Planning Grant,” Smith said.

The board will receive $20,000 in funds from the grant, according to Smith.

“We are looking forward to that, and that will help us pay M.C. Smith to pay for a bunch of designs and cost figures as we plan for the future of that park,” Smith said.

The township, however, was not successful in obtaining a grant from the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission, according to Smith.

“This grant was looking at wetland restoration and inventory,” he said.

Smith said they were encouraged to keep applying for that grant.

Smith said the National Parks Service (NPS) will be at the farmers market this Friday, explaining the conservation project.

“They will have the same opportunity that we had here at the town hall (educating people about the project),” Smith said.

On Sept. 21, NPS will also be on the SS Badger to inform visitors traveling to and from Ludington to Manitowoc.

Smith said they are continuing the work with Dow to obtain four additional parcels for the project.

Final projects

Keson said all the road projects for 2019 have been completed and turned out well.

Keson also said he met with Ludington City Manager Mitch Foster about the city reaching out to Western Michigan Regional Shoreline Development Committee about a study to help better plan for the future with high water levels.

Keson said the cost of the project for Pere Marquette Township would be $5,000.

“What that study would encompass will examine the existing and planned future land uses. The shared vision for the future land use surrounding the port will be developed by community leaders. The study will also identify parcels for development or re-development,” Keson said.

Keson said the second part of the study will focus on the resiliency of the immediate shoreline and vulnerabilities. Those include short- and long-term fluctuations and Lake Michigan water levels.

“I think that would be interesting and will take part all around P.M. Lake,” Keson said.

Sept. 11 remembered

Americans around the country on Wednesday remembered the lives lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and local first responders also did their part to honor the sacrifice of the deceased, posting memorial messages on social media.

One of the agencies that held remembrances was the Ludington Fire Department, which parked one of its pumper trucks in front of the fire station, with a careful arrangement of firefighter turnout gear and a 9/11 memorial flag. On Sept. 11, 2001, a total of 2,977 people were killed when terrorist-hijacked planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Ludington Fire Chief Jerry Funk said the department does this memorial each year to honor those killed and the emergency personnel who died as a result of responding to the 9/11 attacks.

“It affected everybody, but for first responders, I think there’s a special bond there,” Funk told the Daily News. “It draws everybody together on a day like this. It’s one of those days that everybody will remember where they were and what they were doing ... It’s something you never forget.”

Funk, like many Americans around the country, took breaks from work to watch on TV as the tragic events transpired.

At the World Trade Center in New York, 2,753 people died. Of those who perished during the attacks and the subsequent collapse of the two towers, 343 were firefighters, 60 were law enforcement officers and eight were paramedics, who responded to the emergency. At the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., 184 people died, and in Pennsylvania, the 40 passengers and crew members of the plane that crashed there died.

“We put the truck out to help remember it a little bit,” Funk said. “We’re hoping everybody will take a moment to reflect on it.”

The terrorist attacks happened 18 years ago, which means that there’s a whole generation of young adults and children who weren’t even alive yet when 9/11 happened, Funk noted.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been that long ago already,” he said. “To think that there are those who’ve graduated (from high school) ... and they weren’t even born yet (in 2001).”

Funk said society has a responsibility to teach the younger generation about what happened, and he said he hopes the schools and parents will do their part “to let the younger people know what the sacrifice was there.”

He said that the firefighters would hold a moment of silence during their bimonthly training meeting Wednesday.

U.S. 10 lane closure expected to be reopened next week

A portion of road in the eastbound lane of U.S. 10 just outside the Ludington city limits is expected to be back to two lanes before the end of next week after being reduced to one lane for the past two weeks, according to Mason County Road Commission Superintendent Jeff Loeser.

The right-hand lane is currently closed and traffic is being merged into the left lane on a short stretch of U.S. 10 just east of Jackson Road in front of the WKLA building as a result of manholes that require replacement, Loeser told the Daily News on Wednesday.

“That lane closure is up because of two manholes that are failing,” he said. “The castings themselves are damaged from wear; they’re just worn out.”It’s been a continuing problem, said Loeser, who noted that the castings — into which the manhole covers fit — have failed “six or seven times in the last six months.”

Loeser said the need to replace the castings means the job falls outside the purview of the road commission, which works on maintenance issues alone.

Instead, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) had to be notified of the issue.

“Our obligation is to notify MDOT about it, and we did that,” Loeser said.

He added that MDOT has been contracting with Greenscape to repair castings and catch basins along the U.S. 10 corridor, and that the work on the stretch of road is being included in that contract.

“We set the closure up for MDOT, and MDOT has a crew that’s actually looking at U.S. 10 right now,” Loeser said.

John Richard, an MDOT public relations representative for the region, confirmed that the casting repairs would be completed by crews already working on the U.S. 10 corridor.

Loeser said it takes some time to get the message out to MDOT and for MDOT to evaluate the costs and materials needed to make the fix, which is responsible for the two-week delay.

“Crews are going to try to have it done by the end of next week,” Loeser said, though he emphasized other work along the corridor will be ongoing.

Huizenga’s staff to host mobile office hours today in Ludington

Huizenga’s staff to host mobile office hours today in Ludington

Staff from U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga’s office will host mobile office hours for constituents in Ludington on Thursday, Sept. 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Ludington City Hall, 400 S. Harrison St.

Staff members will be available to assist residents with matters pertaining to Social Security, Veterans Affairs, the IRS, immigration, as well as other issues related to the federal government. These mobile office hours offer constituents in Mason County the opportunity to meet and discuss issues with a member of Congressman Huizenga’s staff in a personalized setting closer to home.

Two pronounced dead in Pentwater Township vehicle crash

PENTWATER TWP. — An Indiana man and his daughter died following a vehicle crash that occurred at 9:44 p.m. Tuesday on U.S. 31 near West Hammet Road in Pentwater Township, according to Oceana County Sheriff Craig Mast.

Mast said deputies responded to the scene where a 2013 GMC Yukon, driven by 52-year-old Mark Hezlep of South Bend, Indiana, is believed to have left the road in the northbound lane, driven into the median and crashed into a large tree after the drifting off behind the wheel.

Hezlep was extricated from his vehicle and transported by an AeroMed Helicopter to a Spectrum Hospital in Grand Rapids, where he passed away.

Hezlep’s daughter, 26-year-old Casey Emmons of Lakeview, Indiana, was the passenger, and pronounced dead at the scene, according to Mast.

In addition to the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office, the Michigan State Police Hart Post, Life EMS, Pentwater Fire and Rescue and the Hart Fire Department also assisted at the scene.

Mast said the Oceana County Sheriff’s Office is currently investigating the crash.

“At this time, we do not believe that drugs or alcohol were a factor, although we are suspicious of fatigue,” Mast said.