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June, 2016


Sheriff’s Dept GL Report

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Jackson County Sheriff’s Deputy Rick Deland presented his May monthly summary of calls for Grass Lake Charter Township at the Township Board Meeting Tuesday, June 14th.

He reported patrolling 1,792 miles during the month of June, bringing his annual miles patrolled to just under 10,000.

21 complaints

10 Incident reports

0 Arrests

1 Ordinance Complaints

8 traffic citations

15 verbal warnings

2 Motorist Assists

15 vehicles investigated

45 persons investigated

2 assists to other departments

25 property inspections

Fire Hydrant Painting in Village

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Do the newly painted fire hydrants remind you of a miniature fireman? Thats the opinion of some people around town.

The fire hydrants within the Village are getting a fresh coat of paint according to Paul Lammers and Tom Nolte. Lammers said the DPW “is painting the fire hydrants when they have time.” Nolte indicated they would not be completed this year however “they look way better than the current ones. They really needed a fresh coat of paint.”

The new color scheme, yellow and red makes the hydrants easier to spot by the fire department, especially at night.

Observant Grass Lakers may notice that some have a red tip and some have a white tip on the “hat”, or top. According to Tom Nolte, this indicates both pressure and whether or not the hydrant has to be pumped out so it doesn’t freeze.

Meet the Candidates: Bruce Maxson

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Republican township supervisor contender Bruce Maxson has lived in Grass Lake for most of his life.  A local realtor, Maxson served three terms as supervisor and served as village manager from 1983 to 1992.

Bruce Allan Maxson was born in Jackson in 1958.  He graduated from East Jackson High School and immediately immersed himself in local business and government.

Presently Maxson works as an associate real estate broker for Charles Reinhart Company Realtors.  A top producing agent for nearly twenty years in Jackson and Washtenaw counties, he deals primarily with residential, commercial, and industrial property, according to Reinharts’s website.


After high school Maxson opened a collision shop on Burtch Road in Grass Lake.  He recalls how, in 1977, he fused two Oldsmobiles together, “a big boat of a car.”  One day he was trolling the area when he came across a wrecked Olds 98 in somebody’s front yard.  He inquired whether the wreck was for sale for he needed its chassis to repair another smashed 98.  Mark McKernan, a local realtor, answered the door wearing a neck brace.  Maxson explained to McKernan that he needed parts and purchased the wreck for $500—three times the value of the car.

Maxson’s foray into civic involvement began when he successfully advocated for road improvement near his collision shop.  He recalls how his business was on a dirt road, which he says was not conducive to repainting automobiles when the dust kicks up by monster trucks rolling slow.  “I had to wait until the wind shifted before I could apply the paint,” he says.  So he attended village meetings and succeeded in getting the portion of the road where his shop was located to be paved.      


Maxson’s encounter with the realtor proved to be serendipitous.  “You should sell real estate,” he recalls McKernan telling him.  In 1988 Maxson obtained a realtor license.  For him selling houses was a form of service, “helping people solve their problems.”  What he loves about his profession is the face-to-face involvement with families looking to purchase a home.  “As a businessman all my life I look for results,” he says, and looks to transfer his professional experience to the local government sector again.    

His life has not been without tragedy.  In 1988 Maxson married his wife Jamie, a teacher who died from double pneumonia in 2006.  He recalls meeting her in the driveway of their home and wondering why she wasn’t at school.  Jamie grew sicker all weekend and soon she passed away.  That was a seminal moment in his life but it brought him closer to their daughter Alexandria, now 23 and studying to become a dentist at the University of Kentucky.  The years after Jamie’s death proved for Maxson a painful period of adjustment.  “Suddenly I stepped in the role of being ‘Mr. Mom’,” caring for Alex and learning to manage the household without Jamie.  “Laundry, shopping, it was raw.  It always will be,” he says.


Maxson is a reticent man, says that he is wary of the cult of personality ( he didn’t see the purpose of this interview; nonetheless he acquiesced) but has always remained cognizant of his reputation in the area in his own way.  He recalls with wryness how one day at a local diner he overheard a conversation about him between two women at a nearby table.  He couldn’t help but listen in.  “I never saw them in my life,” he recalls, and says that they excoriated him over his handling of municipal matters when he was in leadership.

He finished his breakfast and handed the server an additional 20-dollar bill and instructed the server to pay for the womens’s breakfast.  “If they ask who paid their tab tell them that it was from Bruce Maxson,” he remembers saying.  The women were flabbergasted when they learned that he picked up the tab.  “I know who I am,” Maxson told me in retrospective.  “These ladies didn’t know me.  I found that to be very humorous.”     

“I’m confident of who I am and what I can do,” he continues.  “My self-image is not to defend opinions me.  It’s served me well over the years.”


In an email Maxson listed accomplishments from his terms as supervisor and village manager, and for his future vision for the township.

· To protect and enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Grass Lake;

· To provide local government that is accessible to residents;

· To improve and maintain the infrastructure—roads, sewer, water, parks, and recreation;

· To improve and protect essential services such as the fire department and the Jackson County deputy who patrols Grass Lake and provides security to its residents.

Among his accomplishments as a civic leader in the past he counts the purchase of 56 acres dedicated to the community park on Willis Road, and a broader intergovernmental cooperation with other municipalities.

Maxson wishes to resume leadership in local government by reclaiming his position as the Grass Lake Charter Township supervisor.  In the spring he told me that “every four years I’m urged to run.”  He has thrown his hat into the ring and hopes to defeat incumbent supervisor Jim Stormont in August.

Maxson and Stormont are the only two candidates running for Supervisor.

Craigs List Scams Reported in Grass Lake

craigslist scam
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Deputy Rick DeLand reported an uptick in a known type of scams in Grass Lake during the the past month. Multiple  people have reported scams on Craig’s list regarding overpayments. At least one person was scammed out of $3,500.

Craig’s list can be a great resource for buying and selling items, however user’s must be cautious.

If you use Craigslist to sell products or services, it’s important to be aware of the scams you may encounter along the way. One of the most common is the Craigslist overpayment scam, which usually involves a cashier’s check or money order sent from the buyer for an amount that exceeds the cost of the item being sold. With this scam, these cashier’s checks and money orders won’t clear, leaving the seller responsible for the amount with the bank.

The Overpayment Scam

Most overpayment scams are completed through the mail. Buyers send the seller a cashier’s check or money order to “hold” the item until they can arrange for pickup. Once the check has been sent, the buyer then “realizes” that she overpaid and asks that you cash the check at your bank, keep the amount due and send the remaining balance back in cash using Western Union or a similar payment service. The check will then bounce, leaving you responsible for paying back the bank for any funds withdrawn from the account. The buyer keeps the overpayment you’ve sent back to them.

Another take on this scam involves sending you a check for more than the amount and asking you to arrange the shipping, by contacting the shipper directly. the shipper asks for money to be wired through Western Union or other transfer.

Common Warning Signs

Once you’re aware of the tactics these scammers use, they can be fairly easy to spot. Most conversations will start via email and include poor english, spelling and grammar, and include the use of a third-party such as an assistant or shipping agent. These buyers will be willing to pay for an item without first seeing it, and often claim to be unavailable to pick up the item for an extended period of time. After you agree to a price, the scammer attempts to send a money order or cashier’s check through the mail. Don’t proceed any further with the transaction.

How to Protect Yourself

The best way to avoid an overpayment scam is to conduct business face-to-face. Although not all transactions completed through the mail are scams, it does increase the possibility that something will go wrong. Don’t accept cashier’s checks, money orders or personal checks. Stick to cash transactions whenever possible, and never accept an amount over the price. Never send money using wire services to someone you don’t know. If you’re asked to cash a check and then send a refund using a money payment service, report the individual to Craigslist and walk away from the transaction.

Report the Scam

If you’ve been approached with a possible scam, or have been scammed during a transaction, report it to the Internet Fraud Complaint Center and the Federal Trade Commission. You should also contact Craigslist immediately with the details. If you’ve found the scam in a post, ensure you include the link so it can be taken down. If you cash a suspected fake check with your bank, report it as a soon possible; you could be held responsible for the amount.

In-Person Safety

When meeting someone for the first time, please remember to:

Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe, bank, or shopping center.

Do not meet in a secluded place, or invite strangers into your home.

Be especially careful buying/selling high value items.

Tell a friend or family member where you’re going.

Take your cell phone along if you have one.

Consider having a friend accompany you.

Trust your instincts.

The Little Free Library Program Comes to GL

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They, whoever they are, say that the first step in recovering from addiction is an honest admission of a problem.  Reading books isn’t a problem; it’s a solution.  If you can read then you can do anything, a well-known author once told me.  I read much of the night and go south in the winter.  I won’t confess that I have overdue library books (I don’t) but once you get into a serious book binge the tendency is to push it as far as possible.

Books still matter, even in this digital age.  In 1440 the German Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and provided access to reading to the masses.  He taught the illiterate how to read.  As a writer I am bookish and know that the best way to understand the world is to read books to understand the past, live in the present, and interpret the future.  That’s just me.     

If you’re looking for a summer read, check out the Little Free Library at the Kelly Fuels Express Mart on East Michigan Avenue.  To the right of the entrance of the market is a small wooden box shaped like a birdhouse stocked with books.  They are yours to give and to take. Turn off the television and curl up with a good book.      

The Little Free Library program is a worldwide institution to endorse reading and conversation about books.  The movement promotes reading and connects communities across the United States and the world.  It started in 2009 when Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisc. came up with the idea to honor his late mother, a teacher who loved to read.  Bol constructed a box the size of a mailbox, waterproofed it, and filled it with books.  He designed the book box to look like a one-room schoolhouse and posted it outside his home and encouraged neighbors to take a book and return a book.

The project has mushroomed into an international conversation piece.  You don’t need a PhD to enjoy reading.  Part of the allure of the homegrown libraries is that you don’t need a library card.  There are no late fines or operating hours.  Grass Lake bookworms can gas up and grab a book and return it at their leisure then check out another book.

Books are important because they present the reader with a personal experience with the text.  When you go and see a movie you experience the sensation with a theater full of viewers.  At Jackson College where I teach English, I tell my students that when you read a book you have a personal connection to the author and its words.      

Kelly Fuels, the company that owns gas stations and markets throughout the region, got on board with the Little Free Library five years after its inception and has installed libraries at various locations including downtown Grass Lake. Who knew?

“Little Free Libraries are growing, a national trend to encourage reading while building a sense of community,” says Rick Tallman of Kelly Fuels in Jackson.  They essentially work like ‘take a penny, leave a penny’ in the penny tray in stores but with books.”

In the past seven years the movement has steamrolled across the country and around the world.  Like the rucksack revolution in the 50s the Little Free Library has spread to all 50 states in the union and 70 countries.  That’s a lot of words that deserved to be devoured. Bon appetit.      

Margret Aldrich, an editor and publisher who works for the Little Free Library motherhouse in Wisconsin, says that the movement has expanded like a supernova.  Future plans? I ask her.  “To keep developing,” she says.  Does she have a book box in her front yard?  “I do,” she says.  “It’s a great way to meet neighbors, a conversation starter.  Now that school is out it’s a great way to combat the summer reading slump.  Amazon has a sense of browsing by secret searchers, but there’s something missing there when purchasing a book is clicking a link with free shipping.”  Amen I say to that.

The Little Free Library website offers suggestions how to construct a book box.  The architecture is simple: build a box, mount it on a pole, and fill it with books.  Such literary treasures can be found on front yards, in parks, hospitals, coffee shops, bus stops, storefronts like the Kelly Fuels Express Market downtown, and zoos, and many places where children congregate.  Homegrown book merchants decorate their depositories with themes from their favorite books: On the Road, the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and War and Peace.  At the Kelly Mart downtown the box contains copies of “The Story of Easter,” “What the Bible Teaches,” “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway, and “A Guide to Disney World.”  It is my hope that these volumes have been snatched up and new volumes have replaced them.   

In 2012 NBC news anchor Brian Williams ran a feature on the Little Free Library as it was gaining momentum and national recognition.  “People of all ages, men, women, and kids came up and just love the library, founder Bol said. Children love animals and they love books.

Kelly Fuels adopted its youth literacy program as part of its philanthropic efforts five years ago.  “We feel strongly about the importance of reading at a young age and building supplying books and placing libraries has proven to be a great way to promote reading in all the communities we serve,” Tallman says.

You can find these libraries at most Kelly Express Mobil Mart stations in the Jackson area, Tallman says.  “I encourage everyone to check them out and keep your kids reading all summer.”

The Little Free Library connects li’l o’l Grass Lake with readers around the round world.  Bookworms soldier on across the globe and read all the books you can.  Check out the website at  Build a box.  Stack it with books.  Kill your television.  Continue the conversation.  Read to learn, read to love.  Just read.    

3rd Interurban car arrives in Grass Lake

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One can almost hear the interurban car driver announcing, next stop Grass Lake as Car 154 arrived in Grass Lake this morning. The Grass Lake Historical Connections acquired a 2nd interurban car this week. This cars primary purpose is to be used for parts in the restoration of Car 29.

Car 154 was built by the Brill company as an interurban car for the Chicago, North Shore & Milwaukee Railroad. It operated between Chicago and Milwaukee on the famed North Shore Line.

The car was delivered by Jim Ivy of Rybicki Trucking Co Friday morning from Worthington In. The 50k-60k lb car got quite a few looks along its trip north.

The car is currently sitting behind the Coe House Museum while it awaits additional parts and pieces to be delivered.

Watch The Grass Lake Times for additional information.


Car 154 to be used for parts in the restoration of Car 29.

Car 154 to be used for parts in the restoration of Car 29.

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The original brass bell, still works.

The original brass bell, still works.

The stove

The stove

Seats that will be used in Car 29.

Seats that will be used in Car 29.

Car 154 is delivered to the Coe House Museum

Car 154 is delivered to the Coe House Museum



Flag Retirement Ceremony

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On a beautiful Flag Day evening, over 75 people turned out for the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars Flag Retirement Ceremony at the Grass Lake Charter Township Fire Station. Attendees were a mix of veterans, firefighters, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and community members.

The flags were presented to the veterans by an Honor Guard comprised of Veterans, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts.

“A Flag may be a flimsy bit of printed gauze, or a beautiful banner of finest silk. Its intrinsic value may be trifling or great; but its real value is beyond price, for it is a precious symbol of all that we and our comrades have worked for and lived for, and died for a free Nation of free men, true to the faith of the past, devoted to the ideals and practice of Justice, Freedom and Democracy.

“Let these faded Flags of our Country be retired and destroyed with respectful and honorable rites and their places be taken by bright new Flags of the same size and kind, and let no grave of our soldier or sailor dead be unhonored and unmarked. Sergeant-at-Arms, assemble the Color Guard, escort the detail bearing the Flags and destroy these Flags by burning.”

The ashes will be buried.

After the ceremony concluded, Joe DeBoe was the grillmaster as the Veterans provided burgers, hot dogs and more for all those in attendance to enjoy. The Fire Department had opened the doors to the station and setup tables and chairs for people to eat and mill about.

Skip and Bud Freysinger were pleased with the turnout and hopes to make this an annual public event.