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May, 2016



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Public Notice



May 10, 2016

Meeting called to order at 7:00 pm. at the Grass Lake Charter Township Hall, 373 Lakeside Drive. Board Members Present: Bray, Hart, Loveland, Zenz, Stormont, Lesinski and Brennan. 

Items approved:

1. Agenda

2. Minutes of April 12, 2016 Regular Meeting and April 26, 2016 Work Session and Special Meeting.

3. Budget Amendment for Enterprise Group

4. Accounts Payable – including Payroll

5. Street Light Resolution – Lee and Burkhart Road Intersection

6. Resolution – Foreclosure Property – Morris Drive

7. Tennis Court repair bid by Pro Surface

8. Traffic Jam’In Donation

9. Donald Holden, III – application Fire Department

Meeting adjourned at 8:20 pm.

Prepared by Clerk Zenz. Approved by Supervisor Stormont.

Copies of unapproved meeting minutes are available upon request at the Township Offices. 

Office hours are 8:00 to 4:30 Monday thru Thursday.

Village Meeting Minutes- Revised- March 15, 2016

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March 15, 2016                                              REGULAR MEETING

     Call to Order: President Joe DeBoe called the regular meeting of the Village Council to order at 7:00 p.m. Members present Sherwood, Fearer, Wilcox, DeBoe, Rees, Keener and Vicory. Also present Lammers, Nolte, Mike Fearer and Deputy Deland. Public present Diane DeBoe.

     Pledge by All.     

     Agenda– Motion by Fearer to adopt the agenda as presented, second Rees. All in favor, motion carried.

     Minutes– Clerk read the minutes of the March 1, 2016 regular meeting. Discussion. Motion by Fearer to accept the minutes of the regular meeting as changed, second Sherwood. All in favor, motion carried.

      Zoning Administrator: Fearer reported that he had checked out the two new proposed boundary adjustments on Union St. Everything looks good for the new construction. He also asked if anyone had given permission for the Gem & Mineral Show signs to be put on the village’s sign on Union St. No one had and they installed them with huge screws. Council told him to remove them.  Vicory suggested putting a small sign on the board that read “prior approval of the village council needed before signs can be posted“ or something to that effect.

     Treasurer’s Report: Lantis was not present. She gave them a report from January 31, 2016. Fearer moved to accept the report all funds totaled $168,504.31 with support by Sherwood. All in favor, motion carried.

     Police Report: Deputy Deland presented the police report for the month of February. Deputy DeLand reported that during the last snow he had three accidents in the village. He also came in early one morning and towed some vehicles that were parked on Michigan Ave. The village has an ordinance that no vehicles can park on village streets between the hours of 2 am – 6 am and it is posted at the entrances to the village. Fearer moved to accept the police report and pay the bill of $2,881.67, support by Keener. All in favor, motion carried.

     Correspondence: “The Review” magazine from MML was received.

     Public: As the council discussed the prospect of increasing the operational millage Diane DeBoe stated that she “understands that we the need to increase the millage rate. since the Village has just absorbed all increases since the late ‘80’s. – that’s a no brainer!  And Further I don’t want to pay increased water/sewer rates, but if we can justify the increase, then I agree”. Nolte had a complaint on a house on Maple St. Several years ago the owner tore off the siding and has not replaced it. Nolte is going to have the inspector talk to him and see what his plans are for moving ahead. The owner did recently complete some wiring in the house and had gotten final approval from the village electrical inspector.   

      Maintenance: Lammers was present; they had salt delivered and are ready should we get any more snow. Sherwood asked about lead in the village water. Lammers explained that the state tells him which houses to check. They are checked regularly and have never had any readings that were too high. The annual water consumer confidence report is on the village website if anyone has any questions about the testing and the most current results.

     Committee Reports– Wilcox told council again that the first anniversary of the senior center will be celebrated on March 24th.

     Old Business.

     Soldier’s Cross Update-J. DeBoe told council that the soldiers cross memorial has been ordered and they hope to have it installed by Memorial Day.

     Museum’s-Sherwood asked about information that was printed in the new brochure. The way she read it, it sounded like the village office would be a part of the museum. Nolte told council that he thought it was just alluding to the plans that were proposed last year of the use of the village’s storage barn that had been discussed with the Historical Society. Sherwood wanted to clarify that no discussion had taken place with the Lost Railway Museum regarding the sale of the village barn or office for their museum.

     New Business.

     Stock Outboard Races-Nolte gave council a draft of a letter he would like to send to the Jackson County Parks regarding the outboard races that are held on Grass Lake every year. In the past he has just called them and asked to use the lake and the park for the races but they do have a new director so he thought a formal letter would be a good idea. Discussion. Motion by Wilcox in support of the stock outboard races to be held on Grass Lake July 8th, 9th & 10th and then again on September 9th, 10th and 11th, 2016, supported by Sherwood. All present in favor, motion carried.

     Village Managers Report– Nolte told council that a new owner on Wimple St. is asking to get a streetlight installed.  He Nolte will contact Consumers Energy; we are still waiting for the new light that was paid for on Clark St.

     Pending Business: DPW pay rates. Blight Maple and Church St. Signs.

     Upcoming Events– Grass Lake 2016 Spring Business Expo and Craft Show is set for Saturday, March 19, 2016.

Music in the Park starts May 18th, 2016 and will be the first and third Wednesdays of the month thru October 19th, 2016. Farmers Market will start May 18th as well and will be every Wednesday at the Whistlestop Park. Check out upcoming events on or Don’t forget to get involved at

     Adjournment– Motion by Fearer to adjourn the meeting with support by Wilcox. All in favor, motion carried. 8:17 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted, Estelle Mead

Corrections in bold, underlined or struckthrough. Minutes approved as changed 4-5-2016

Federated Church gets Village Planning Commission Approval

Federated Church design
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Scott Bray

The Federated Church of Grass Lake submitted their site plan for approval to the Village of Grass Lake Planning Commission on Thursday, May 12th. Brian Meyer, Project Manager for R.W. Mercer who is managing the rebuilding along with their civil engineer and building architect presented the site plan to the Planning Commission. The plans met all the requirements and were unanimously approved. No further approval is necessary so the next steps is to finalize the details with the church and then they can begin pulling permits with the Village.

Groundbreaking for the building is scheduled for Sunday, May 22 immediately following the morning worship service (approximately 11:30 am).

The site plan calls for a two story building, approximately 4,300 sq ft. It will tie in with the existing sanctuary. The new building was designed intentionally not to compete with the existing sanctuary. It will have cultured stone along the bottom that matches the stone on the bottom of the existing sanctuary and then either cement board or vinyl siding with a steel roof. The building will use earth tones to tone down the building, again so as not to compete with the existing sanctuary. The roof pitch will match the roof pitch on the existing structures.

The new building will have reworked utilities, so that all the utilities are coming into a single location. It will have sprinklers on the 2nd floor. It was designed to make it as safe as possible, including 2 sets of stairs on the second floor.

The first floor will have barrier free restrooms, a large meeting area and a small warming/prep kitchen. The basement will be small, approximately 20’ x 40’ which will primarily be for storage for the Boy Scouts and other community organizations. The second floor will have 3 classrooms, a central meeting area that will provide a very flexible space and dormers to bring in lots of natural light.

A key point was that they were taking advantage of the situation to improve the overall building.

According to Brian Meyer, now that the approval was received for the site plan, they wanted to get started as soon as possible. They expect it to take 4-6 months, however that all depends on Mother Nature.

Planning Commission President Rich Rabler said “They did a very nice job of fitting a building into that space.” Commission Member Star Mead said “It was a nice blend.”

Sheriff & Fire Dept. Reports

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Deputy Deland presented his April monthly summary of calls for Grass Lake Charter Township at the Township Meeting Tuesday, May 10th.

He reported patrolling 1,863 miles during the month of April.

17 complaints

8 Incident reports

1 Arrest

3 traffic citations

10 verbal warnings

10 vehicles investigated

37 persons investigated

2 assists to other departments

25 property inspections

Chief Greg Jones presented his April summary of calls for the Grass Lake Fire Department at the Township Meeting Tuesday, May 10th.

19 Residential rescues

1 Structure Fire

1 Fire Alarm

2 Open Burning

Broken down by shift

17 1st shift

0   2nd shift

10 3rd shift

1 Automatic Aid given to Napoleon

3 Mutual Aid given

Total of 27 calls totaling 35 hours

Automatic aid is assistance that is dispatched automatically because a contractual agreement between two fire departments, communities or fire districts exists.

Mutual aid is assistance that is dispatched, upon request by the responding fire department. Usually it is requested upon arrival at the scene.

Meet the GL Times Staff

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Editors Note: Raymond Tucker is joining the Grass Lake Times team as a reporter covering local news and events. We asked him to take a moment to introduce himself to our readers.

I was born and raised in Torrington, Connecticut, forty-five minutes west of Hartford, in the foothills of Litchfield County, kitty-cornered between Massachusetts and New York State.  Real Americana.  White picket fences all the way.

I discovered Michigan in 2009 when I visited a grad school classmate in DeWitt.  I found the vast farmlands across the southern tier inspiring and the cool spring splendor enchanting.  The winters, not so much, but it’s all about the total package.  The Great Lake State is beautiful in all four seasons.

My friend introduced me to Meijer and I was amazed at how friendly people were; they said “hello” to me in the supermarket even though I was a stranger.  New Englanders aren’t so ebullient, which could explain my idiosyncrasies.  Take that with a grain of salt.  I’ve been told that I’m an acquired taste.  I’m intensely curious about life, government, education, and college football.  Go Green!  I know that this is Wolverine Country.  Don’t hold that against me.  I keep and open mind.   

I moved to Michigan in 2013.  I always wanted to live in the Midwest and Grass Lake is the hometown I’ve been searching for.  Hometown U.S.A.  The lakes, the parks, free parking downtown, and the Grass Shack.  What more could anyone ask for?        

On a professional level: I’ve been a working journalist since 1994, practicing the craft in New Hampshire, Florida, and New York.  I’m a compulsive writer—after coffee I spend most of the day with a pen in my hand and have a penchant for antique typewriters.

Education is important to me.  Last year I began teaching writing and literature at Jackson College.  As it is said, “Whoever teaches learns twice.”  I teach because I learn and I learn because I teach.  There is no graduation; more will be revealed.      

I am happy and grateful to write for the Grass Lake Times, thankful that Scott and Karla have brought me on board and I look forward to meeting many Grass Lakers and being part of the community.  I hope to meet you soon.

—Raymond Tucker Cordani

JCDOT To Apply Brine

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Jackson County Department of Transportation (JCDOT) to start applying brine to Grass Lake gravel roads within the next two weeks. JCDOT will be applying 2,500 gallons per mile in May and then an additional 2,000 gallons per mile in August.

One big change this year is local townships will not be billed for the application. JCDOT will be paying to have all of the certified gravel roads in Jackson County to be brined with two applications. Previously Townships that opted to have their roads brined were billed for 70% of the costs. Some townships chose not to have some or all of their roads treated, leading to safety concerns.

According to JCFDOT, the ability to completely cover these costs is made possible in a large part by the new road funding bill passed in late 2015. The bill will provide an increase in funding for roads in Jackson County starting in 2017.

In 2015, Grass Lake Charter Township spent $7,104 on brine control and had budgeted $8,000 for the 2016 fiscal year. Grass Lake has 15.99 miles of gravel roads.

When Old Fashion Becomes Fashionable

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Raymond Tucker Cordani

The tea party was in town this weekend.  No, it wasn’t members of the political movement waving Old Glory with cable news cameras trained on them.  Rather, it was an afternoon of recognition of local women who pay it forward with their time, talent, and treasure.

The Copper Nail Community Resale Shop on East Michigan Avenue held a fashion show and tea party with sweet baked yummies Saturday afternoon at the Whistle Stop Depot down the street from the store.  About fifty women from age 9 and up (and one man scribbling notes and snapping photographs) crowded into the small warm space to dish the dirt and enjoy the models displaying old-school apparel along the “pseudo runway,” a fashion show put on to honor the cadre of women who volunteer at the Copper Nail.  Forty volunteers support the mission of the Copper Nail, a non-profit organization that helps other local non-profits achieve their philanthropic goals.    

Since 2007 the Copper Nail has given $250,000 through fundraising to support other area organizations, said Lucille Charlton who donates her time at the store.  “The intent is to support Grass Lake, to support area nonprofits so that fundraising should not prevent a group from achieving its purpose,” she said.

The resale shop accepts donations of furniture, utensils, appliances, clothing, tools, toys, and books.  The secret to success?  “The dedication of volunteers,” Sally Gitcho, secretary for the board of trustees, said.  “Diverse ideas keep it fresh.  Everyone has their forte.”

The group’s members pride themselves in reaching out through their efforts pro bono for the love of the community.  You have to give it away in order to keep it.

“Some work a lot of hours when they’re needed,” Sandy Lammers of Grass Lake said.  “With me it’s a passion.  We want to see growth in the community—and it’s growing.”

The display on Saturday was a remembrance of things past with presents.  The warm interior of the Romanesque depot sheltered attendees from the slushy atmosphere of  the month of May that thinks it’s still March.  Tabletops bore steaming tea kettles to wash down chocolate-covered morsels, the room as chatty as a speakeasy.

Nine-year-old Hailey Bowers, a first-timer at the fashion show, offered a simple critique: “It’s good.”  The Grass Lake fourth-grader was a bit camera shy and looked to her grandmother, Judy Yaklin of Michigan Center, to draw her out.  “It’s a wonderful opportunity to bring my granddaughter to the tea party,” Yaklin said.  “The tea party and fashion show doesn’t sound like a man thing.  If they knew about the cookies they’d be here.”

From that Hailey drew her conclusion: “It’s good opportunity to learn.”    

Some things never go out of style: tea and cookies, nostalgia, appreciation of the past, vintage dresses and hats, a shared sense of purpose, and a love and curiosity of the days of yore.

“It’s a joy volunteering at the Copper Nail,” Maggie Morehouse said.  “We exist because of the generosity of the community’s donations of goods sold in the store and through the efforts of volunteers.”  Then she poured herself a cup of tea and dunked in another cookie as the models paraded down the aisle.     

The Copper Nail is located at 111 East Michigan Avenue.  Its operating hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.  517-522-8514.  The website is, and can be found on Facebook at: The Copper Nail.