Local Aug. 2 primary previewed

By Melissa Burnor

Aug. 2 voters will go to the polls and choose a slate of candidates for either the Republican or Democratic tickets in the November General Election. There will also be some local millage request as well as a non-partisan primary for Lenawee County Circuit Court Judge.
Potentially independent candidates could also be on the November ballot.  The deadline to file as an independent candidate was 4 p.m. Thursday, July 21, for township and county offices.
All township board seats in every local township are up for re-election in 2016 including, supervisor, clerk, treasurer and trustee positions.
Blissfield, Deerfield, Palmyra, and Ogden Townships will not have any races for the Republican or Democratic nominations.
Blissfield Township:
The township will not have any challenges in the primary.  Four incumbents, Supervisor Adolio “Al” Navarro, Clerk Nancy Cranor, Treasurer Karen Baldwin and Trustee Devon Gilson-Pitts all sought re-election on the Republican ticket.  Mark Burgermeister is Democratic candidate for supervisor and he and Navarro will square off in November.
Additionally as of Friday Orrin Gregg, incumbent trustee, has filed as an independent candidate. Brittany Alcock has also filed as an independent challenger for  township clerk.
Blissfield has no millages on the August ballot.
Deerfield Township:
All five incumbents on the Deerfield Township board are seeking a spot on the Republican ticket. Supervisor Ronald Cousino, Clerk Shirley Soldwish, Treasurer Pam Witt, and Trustees Daniel Witt and Joe Fowler are all on the ballot. They are thus far unopposed.
Deerfield Township will also have three millage renewal requests on the ballot. The township is asking for two-year renewals in a 3.0 mill road millage, a .5 mill fire equipment renewal and a .25 mill fire department operations renewal.  The road millage would generate an estimated $200,692 in the first year.  The fire equipment millage would generate approximately $33,448 and the operations renewal would generate $16,724.
Riga Township:
There are no contested races for the Riga Township board in the primary. Current Clerk Katy Gust has filed as a  Republican for the township treasurer position.  Current Treasurer Richard Beagle did not seek re-election.  Trustees Brenda Buyaki-Delgado and Karlene M. Goetz have filed for reelection as township trustees also on the Republican ticket.  Natalie Thompson is the lone candidate for township clerk. Township Supervisor Gary Kastel is on the ballot as a Democratic candidate.  Riga has no millages on the August primary ballot.
Ogden Township:
All five township board members are the only names on the ballot.  The entire slate of candidates are running as Republicans and include Supervisor Richard Marks, Clerk Alice Clark, Treasurer Rick Dennison, and Trustees Eric Martis and Mark Vandenbusche
Ogden Township has two millage request before the voters this year.  A renewal of 2.0 mills for road and bridge repairs and maintenance.  The four-year request would generate approximately $108,968 in the first year. The second request is a 1.0 mill renewal for fire and ambulance service.  It would generate approximately $54, 484 in the first year.
Whiteford Township has no race in the primary but incumbent Republican Treasurer Timothy Hill will have a Democratic challenger in November.  Hill, along with incumbent Supervisor Walter Ruhl, Clerk Angela Christensen and Trustee Donald Sahloff are running as Republicans.  Trustee Bernice Heidelberg is on the Democratic ticket.  Beth Pauli is also on the Democratic ticket as a candidate for township treasurer.
A Republican, Robert Vansinger and Democratic candidate Daniel Briskey are both seeking four-year renewals as township constables.
Whiteford township as well as other Monroe County residents have two millage requests on the primary ballot.  Monroe County is seeking a .5 mill request for the senior citizen renewal for four years beginning in 2017 and ending in 2020.  The millage would generate approximately $2,832,080 in the first year and funds senior citizen services to residents 60 years of age or older in Monroe County.
A supplemental millage of .25 mills for senior citizen funding is also on the ballot for four years. The additional millage would generate $1,416,040 beginning in the first year.
Palmyra Township is the only local township with a contested primary race for the office of treasurer. Three candidates are seeking the Republican nomination. That race along with other county and contested races will be highlighted in next week’s Advance.

Detour route to be rebuilt

Asphalt patches along Weston Road east of Ogden Center are still visible from repairs done after heavy detour traffic damaged it last year when U.S. 223 was closed due to flooding in the River Raisin that jeopardized the highway bridge in the village. Road officials said the local roads were not built to handle the heavy traffic that travels the state highway daily.
This dilemma over a safe detour route on U.S. 223 due to accidents or flooding was a key component in budget dollars earmarked form the state to improve local roads in the townships south of the village.
Funding from the state of Michigan will be used to rebuild 9.7 miles of Weston Road and Silberhorn Highway as an all-weather primary  route and a  potential emergency route traffic in southeastern Lenawee County.

Please see Melissa Burnor’s full story in the June 15, 2016, edition of The Advance.

BD Schools host town halls on restructuring


By Melissa Burnor

Britton Deerfield Interim Superintendent Stacy Johnson said a proposed restructuring of the Britton Deerfield Elementary School will keep the district moving forward in a positive direction. More than 50 people, many of them teachers and staff from the district, attended the May 26 town hall meeting in the Deerfield Media Center.

It was one of four main topics of the evening that included the budget, busing and a proposed sinking fund millage voters may see in November.

“We realize that change is scary especially when it affects your world and routine” Johnson said.

For the rest of the story, please see the June 1, 2016, edition of The Advance. Our website is just a taste of  The Advance. To subscribe for home delivery of many, many local stories every week, just call 517-486-2400.

Blissfield youth defends tapping of maple trees

By Melissa Burnor

Cade Hayford said he was a little surprised when he read in The Advance a few weeks ago that the village of Blissfield had amended an ordinance prohibiting the tapping of maple trees in the village right-of-way to collect sap for syrup.

The Blissfield Middle School eighth-grade student said making maple syrup is a hobby of his and  the maple trees in front of his North Monroe Street Home are just two of approximately 40 — the rest on private property — that he utilizes to make maple syrup for friends and family in late winter. Hayford, spoke to the Blissfield village council May 20 giving another side to the issue.

Council had amended the ordinance after information brought to them by council member Mike Gunter said that tapping the trees damaged the trees and because of the proximity to the street and runoff water, the sap from the trees made it a poor choice for extracting the sticky stuff to make syrup. Hayford disagreed and brought information including a study from the University of Vermont that he shared with council.

For the rest of the story, please see the June 1, 2016, edition of The Advance.

Blissfield villagers offered swimming option in wake of closed pool

With the village’s decision to close the Gail Giles Memorial Pool this summer, an agreement with The Centre on the campus of Lenawee Christian Schools in Adrian has been reached to give Blissfield village residents an alternative for swimming this season.

Blissfield village president A. Ray Jones said The Centre will offer a discounted daily rate for village residents at $4 a day. The normal rate is $6 a day.

“This agreement has been reached due to the village pool being out of commission for the coming summer session,” Jones said. The special Blissfield program went into effect May 6 and will run through Sept. 30. The daily fee includes access to the swimming and other facilities.

All quiet at Blissfield Schools after ‘May 5’ post

By Melissa Burnor

A couple of notes posted last Wednesday at Blissfield High School with the date “May 5” on them led to some speculation on their meaning by students which resulted in a police investigation that afternoon to ensure there were no threats against the school.

According to a release from the Blissfield Village Police, some students began speculating that there was going to be a school shooting Thursday, May 5. The notes that were allegedly posted out of the view of any surveillance cameras on the premises had no other markings.

Officers from the Blissfield Police Department, Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police with assistance of the Blissfield School District, conducted interviews on the evening of May 4 and concluded that only rumor was being circulated around the student body and there was no merit for a credible threat. Village police had a presence at the school Thursday in an effort to alleviate any concerns of the school community. Two troopers from the Michigan State Police post also were present Thursday morning as a courtesy.

“Our attendance was down a little last Thursday, but there were other factors as well, “ Blissfield Superintendent Jerry Johnson said. ‘”I think most high school students understood that ‘May 5’ written on two pieces of paper did not necessarily translate to safety issues at school,” he said, ”administratively, however, we look in to everything and believe it is better to err on the side of caution.”

For the complete story, please see the May 11, 2016, edition of The Advance.

A & B, Old Road Dinner Train celebrate 25th year of ownership

By Melissa Burnor

The Adrian and Blissfield Rail Road is marking its 25th anniversary under the same ownership this weekend. The A & B and The Old Road Dinner Train are the latest in the 180-year history train history along the stretch of track between Riga and Adrian. The short-line rail company operates both freight trains on the short rail 20-mile track between Riga and Adrian as well as four other Michigan railroads in southern Michigan.

To celebrate the occasion there will be an anniversary party of sorts from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday. A ribbon cutting ceremony with some of the village dignitaries and others takes place at 9:30 a.m. There will be train rides starting at 10:30 a.m. for $3 per person.

For the complete story, please see the May 11, 2016, edition of  The Advance.

Blissfield Schools to have police presence after mysterious poster spurred rumor

By Melissa Burnor
Officials say at this time there is no apparent threat against Blissfield Schools or its students however, police will have a presence at the school for the remainder of the week.  Blissfield Police Chief Dale Greenleaf said a paper was posted on a wall at the school that was discovered early Wednesday with “May 5” written on it.

According to a release from the police department Wednesday evening,  students began speculating that its meaning could be a possible school shooting. Officers from the Blissfield Police Department, along with the Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police assisted by school officials conducted several interviews Wednesday evening and determined this to be a rumor only and did not merit a credible threat. 

Police plan to use caution, the release said, and a uniform police presence will be visible at the school for the remainder of the week to help alleviate any fears or concerns of students and parents. Questions can be directed to the Blissfield Police Department.


Tuttle coaches Royals to his 1200th career win

Blissfield High School baseball head Coach Larry Tuttle reached yet another milestone in his storied career Wednesday, May 4, as his Royals men presented him by his 1200th win as they notched a 16-5 victory over Ottawa Hills, Ohio, on the road.

For more on the achievement, please see the May 11, 2016, edition of The Advance.