The Public Safety Committee meets monthly to provide an opportunity for the public to share their concerns and questions about county safety and other matters of interest to the community with Sheriff Rory Heckman.
By Bob Kenison
The Public Safety Committee met at the Sheriff’s Department on September 20 at 6 pm.
District 7 county commissioner Don Tanner talked about privatization efforts at Community Mental Health.
The Benzie County Building Department is under watch and may need to be subsidized, as they presented a deficit budget. The county has hired a contractor, AGS out of Kalamazoo, to run and staff the building department, which is projected to save $66,000.
Quite a bit of time was spent voicing opinions on whether the Maples should continue to be supported by the county. We have 1 mil dedicated to this now. It was stated by Sheriff Heckman that many people are not aware of the fact that since the Maples is a Medicaid facility there is no guarantee that residents of Benzie County get priority. Anyone from the state can use the facility. Questions were raised about the management of the facility.
From the sheriff’s office: No cuts are scheduled in the new budget for the sheriff department this year. There will be an opening for a part-time secretary for the detective bureau; the county will order 2 new patrol vehicles this year for the fleet; there are no raises for anyone in the sheriff building this year (there were no raises last year either); but they will be adding a full-time corrections officer.
Both candidates for sheriff were at the meeting: Ted Schendel (R) and Coury Carland (I).
Jackie McLaughlin is having a “scholarship fundraiser” garage sale on October 27 and 28 at 670 Crystal Ave. (M-22) in the backyard building. All proceeds go to local scholarships. On the 27th from 4–6 pm she is having an open-house with appetizers to discuss how to help Benzie kids get ahead. For more info call 352-7669.
The League of Women voters is having a forum for county commission candidates on October 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the Benzie County comissioners’ chamber.
The Empty Bowl event is set for Wednesday, October 10, at the Gathering Place in Honor. Soups from many local restaurants will be featured. Proceeds go to the Food Pantry.
Don Tanner has been heavily involved in the Betsie Bay salmon crisis. He has been working with a plethora of people from DNR to local fishermen. He said the consensus is for people to stay out of the bay. The fishing ban runs from North Star Marina straight across the bay to East Shore Marina and up to the other side of the railroad track/bike trail bridge and will be in effect unless amended for the next 5 years.
Autopsies are back for the Luedtke family murders. Sheriff Heckman has no further comment. They came back last week, and he said there is a lot going on with the case right now.