Salted with Sharks

Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Lines in the Sand

In Community Alert, Crime, E Beach, Environment, Law & Order, Open Season, Public Safety, Water, Wildlife on May 24, 2016 at 1:46 pm

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By Andy Bolander

Here is an annual reminder of the beautiful frailty our community possesses in the Elberta dunes and beach. It will take persistent and vocal presence for us to protect this resource.

Why is it necessary to protect the dune habitat? Well, something you may feel intuitively is actually true: Elberta Dunes are geologically unique in the world.

“Elberta Dunes lie at a latitudinal transition point between perched dunes to the north and lake-plain dunes to the south. Elberta dunes consist of five parabolic dunes perched on a glacial bluff. Characterized by stabilized dunes with overlapping arms which indicate non-concurrent periods of migration. Elberta Dunes have four distinguishable migration periods.” —Dunes in a Transitional Zone: Using Morphology and Stratigraphy to Determine the Relative Ages of Green Point Dune Complex and Elberta Dunes, Emma Fulop, Davidson College 2014

“Very few dunes in Michigan can be classed as truly migratory.” —Geological Sketch of Michigan Sand Dunes, Robert W. Kelly, Mich Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Geological Survey Division, 2001

“[T]he greatest dunes of the entire region occur along the east coast of Lake Michigan because the prevailing Westerlies gather added energy as they fetch across this unbroken expanse of lake.” —Geological Sketch of Michigan Sand Dunes, Robert W. Kelly, Mich Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Geological Survey Division, 2001

Human activity on the beach has the potential to change the shape of the dune. Vehicle tracks and the digging out of vehicles kills and/or displaces grasses, shrubs, and other vegetation that stabilizes the dunes. Removal of plant life exposes the sand to the wind and water erosion.

“Whenever plants on the foredune are injured or destroyed, the wind has access to the raw sand and creates a blowout, a saddle-shaped breach in the ridge, through which the sand commences a march inland. Many blowouts change the foredune into a very irregular feature called a dune ridge.” —Geological Sketch of Michigan Sand Dunes, Robert W. Kelly, Mich Dept of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Geological Survey Division, 2001

Dunes along the Lake Michigan coast have vanished before because of human activity. Pigeon Hill in Muskegon was named for the massive number of passenger pigeons that roosted there up until the end of the 19th century. The hill was sold to Nugent Sand and the Pere Marquette Railroad in 1920. By 1936 Sand Products Corporation (owner of about 180 acres of Elberta sand dunes and bluffs) had erected a conveyor system to load the sand onto waiting boats. Excavation of the sand continued until 1967. The site then sat barren until 1992, when there was a change in ownership and Harbour Towne condominiums were built. ( Dune sand mining also destroyed huge dunes that once surrounded Manistee.

But you don’t have to be a large sand mining corporation or a real estate developer to do a lot of damage to these natural areas and to the birds and other creatures who make Elberta Beach their home. The beach and dunes are subject to the everyday threat of human vehicle traffic.

“People are drawn to shorelines for their beauty and recreational opportunities so the remaining shoreline areas with dune habitat are often also public use areas. Hikers and Off Road Vehicles (ORVs) trample Pitcher’s thistle [a protected species] which harms or destroys the plants. ORV traffic in dunes also causes erosion which creates unstable areas where it’s difficult for plants to take hold. Pitcher’s thistle and its dune habitat are also destroyed for the creation and maintenance of public beaches.” —US Fish & Wildlife Service, Fact Sheet: Pitcher’s Thistle, updated 5/2001

“Off-road vehicles, which ruin habitat, crush nests and eggs, and directly kill birds by running over them are a key threat. Chicks that move across primary vehicle paths on their way to feed are in particular danger — especially when they get stalled alongside tall tire-track edges or stuck inside ruts. To save piping plovers from vehicle mortality, the Center has been working hard to keep off-road vehicles out of precious habitat through our Off-road Vehicles campaign. We’re also gearing up to petition the Secretary of the Interior and the Fish and Wildlife Service to establish rules that prohibit motorized vehicle use in all designated critical habitat and on all federal, state-owned, and state-managed public lands within piping plover habitat.” —

“The Great Lakes population of the piping plover is at a perilously low level. Since 1983, the number of nesting pairs has ranged from 12 to 32. In 2000, all of the Great Lakes pairs nested in Michigan.” —US Fish & Wildlife Service, Fact Sheet: Piping Plover

“Piping plovers are very sensitive to the presence of humans. Too much disturbance causes the parent birds to abandon their nest. People (either on foot or in a vehicle) using the beaches where the birds nest sometimes accidentally crush eggs or young birds. Dogs and cats often harass and kill the birds. Other animals, such as fox, gulls, and crows, prey on the young plovers or eggs.” —US Fish & Wildlife Service, Fact Sheet: Piping Plover

The beach and dunes are arguably the greatest asset that Elberta possesses; the village has a handful of businesses and no industry. Most of us who live here have chosen this place, or have stayed here, because we love the beach and the dunes and the forest around them. Allowing the impact of humans to change our unique natural system to a conventional mess would be a great shame. It’s up to the people who live here and the visitors who come to enjoy the beach to treat it with the respect and care it, and we all, deserve. It’s up to locals to demand that visitors behave responsibly and not destroy this amazing place.

We have been given a great responsibility. There is literally nowhere on earth like this beach and dune environment.

Driving and digging out trucks and cars on the beach and dunes not only crushes the nests of piping plovers, hurts the habitat of the Lake Huron locust, wormwood, horsetail, coreopsis, wood lilies, and other native wildlife, but it also hurts the human community. It upsets people who gently walk the beach and live through hard winters here in order to enjoy summer. It upsets people who pay taxes to keep local services running. We don’t have the manpower within local law enforcement or the DNR to deter the destructive activity that goes on down at the beach. So we need to get together as a community and protect this by demonstrating responsible behavior.

In recent years both the Village of Elberta and private citizens have spent money and time posting signs to try to cut down on off-road traffic on the beach. Vandals have removed these signs and in some cases set fire to them. Dollars have been spent and wasted on these selfish individuals, and to no avail.

I don’t have a solution today, but I hope that sharing and refreshing this knowledge of how truly special this environment is will help us keep talking until we do reach a solution.

In the meantime, if you see vehicles driving on the dunes or beach, call the DNR hotline at 800-292-7800, and/or try to get a photograph of the vehicle and its license plate.

Manville Takes Leave of Leave of Absence to Call Special Meeting Monday May 5

In Community Alert, Crime, Gov't Watch, Open Season, Politics on May 1, 2014 at 5:58 pm

Via email from president pro tem Robin Rommell today, Village President Reggie Manville has come out of his leave of absence to call a special meeting for this coming Monday at 7 pm to discuss the following: 1. Theft of Village property 2. DPW Superintendent and 3. Parks and Recreation Commission. All are encouraged to come out to the Community Building for this special meeting.

Photo of posted agenda by Jennifer Wilkins

Photo of posted agenda by Jennifer Wilkins

What’s Going Around: Rent Scammers

In Community Alert, Crime, Law & Order, On and off the Apron, Village Homes on April 30, 2014 at 1:25 pm

Rental Scammers Cashiers Check

By Kimm X Jayne

For any of you who list a property on or VRBO, be aware of this scam going around. Someone reserves your place and sends a cashier’s check, but before you get the check, he or she “realizes” they overpaid you and part of that money should have gone to their “travel agent” (or any other person). They ask you if, once you cash it, you could please forward the overpayment part to that person. The unsuspecting landlord (in this case, us!) thinks a cashier’s check is like cash and goes to cash it, and just happens to mention to the teller the story. The teller immediately says they get these types of checks about once a week and that they are cashed, and then 6-8 weeks later when the bank figures out they are bad, they recover the amount deposited by debiting your account for that same amount. By then the unsuspecting landlord has already sent a check or Moneygram to the supposed third party, and that check has cleared.

If my husband hadn’t happened to describe the situation to our bank teller, we would have been out about $1,100 cash. So, says the bank: Never accept an overpayment and then disburse your own funds. This sort of scenario is a sure sign of fraud and/or money laundering.

The following two emails show the scammers’ tactics.

Hello, Thanks for the updated information. We are okay with the accommodation and cost . We would also like to confirm the reservation on the following information: Mrs Kathrine Yelovikov8/10 Banderi S. Vul. Street, Lviv 79031 ,Ukraine, Also , due to the unsecured use of credit card online or on the phone, I have arrange for payment inform of check Please do forward me the following details for payment FULL NAME BILLING ADDRESS CONTACT TELEPHONE NUMBER Hope to hear from you soon Best Regards Kathrine Yelovikov

Good day, I am sorry for all the delay in payment. There was a mix up in the payment sent to you ,I was supposed to receive two separate payment one for you and the other for our traveling expenses but the whole payment was issued on a single one check in your name and sent. I tried to correct this but it was in vain as i was ask to resolve the problem myself. It would have to go through a very long process to change this error. Please I don’t know what to do. I have been advised to contact you since this check was issued in your name , so you should be able to deposit the check into your account. As soon as you have the check deposited into your account you are to deduct your rent and transfer the balance to my agent or to us . Please do let me know how you can help on this issue. Thanks

I figured it would be worth it to alert those who have rentals about our near-miss. If your bank even accepts the cashier’s check, they will reverse it 6 to 8 weeks later when they discover it’s counterfeit. If a potential renter overpays and asks you to forward the money to someone else, something fishy’s going on—no matter how innocent the “mistake” may look. Here’s to a great, scam-free summer!

Fuzz-y Math: Has the Sheriff Made the Case for the Public Safety Millage?

In Crime, E Beach, Elsewhere in BenCo..., Law & Order, On and off the Apron, Politics, Public Safety on November 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm

By Emily Votruba

On November 5 (tomorrow), county residents will be asked to approve a funding increase for the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office. The 1.5 mill “public safety millage” will replace the jail millage (.9 mills) and is meant to allow the return of 24-hour road patrol, which proponents say is needed to “Keep Benzie Safe.”

The funding issue was raised repeatedly during both the primary and general elections in the 2012 sheriff race. While opinions vary on the need for additional financial support at the sheriff’s office, a fact remains clear: as candidate for sheriff, Ted Schendel on multiple occasions, notably during the final campaign forum held by the League of Women Voters, adamantly stated his opposition to a public safety millage. Schendel was quick to remind everyone a millage amounted to nothing more than a tax increase. So why the change of heart?

In an October 23 letter to the Record-Patriot, Sheriff Schendel wrote that after working with the county commissioners to consider “many options” to resolve the department’s financial challenges, he decided he had only two choices to provide 24-hour coverage to the county: a millage, or “(2) Sue the County for not adequately funding the Sheriff’s Office.” No breakdown of those considered and rejected options was provided, if only so we might understand what sorts of priorities we have as a county. Could funding have been found some other way? If not, why not? What we have in the paper from Schendel is a threat: “Keep Benzie Safe” by voting yes on this millage, or get sued.

Is the situation this dire? Has there been a crime surge since the election? When compared with other counties of similar size, is Benzie County understaffed with law enforcement personnel? These are important questions that should be answered before county residents vote to approve what amounts to a 60% budget increase for county law enforcement, which would place approximately $1.6 million under the direct control of the sheriff.

The county currently pays approximately $1 million out of the general fund to provide for law enforcement functions, namely road patrol, while jail operations are financed by both the jail millage and the general fund. If approved, the four-year public safety millage will finance all law enforcement functions of the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Schendel says the new millage will provide enough revenue to allow 24-7 road patrol by two deputies, a school liaison officer, new patrol vehicles, and a full-time secretary in the detective bureau. The jail millage will be eliminated and the operation of the county jail will be paid exclusively out of the general fund. Advocates of the new millage argue that the jail should be fully paid out of the general fund anyway, as maintaining a jail is one of the services the county is required to provide according to the state constitution—road patrol is not a required service. With the .9 mill jail millage gone, the 1.5 mill public safety funding amounts to a tax increase of .6 mills (or roughly an additional $60 a year for four years for a $200,000 house).

If crime in Benzie has gone up, Sheriff Schendel has not made this a big part of his case for the millage. Indeed, the premise of the millage campaign is “Keep” Benzie safe. Benzie is already safe, the campaign seems to say, but if we don’t have 24-hour patrol, it might get unsafe.… In a September 2012 interview with the Elberta Alert, Sheriff Rory Heckman said the crime rate had remained stable overall since 2011 except for an increase in illegal narcotics use (traffic accidents were down at the time). On October 19 on the Benzie Citizens for Public Safety Facebook page you could read the following exchange:

Dennis Rodzik: Could I see some crime stats for the past 5 years to justify a increase in taxes??????

Benzie Citizens for Public Safety Dennis, there was a 23.52% increase in felonies between 2009 & 2012 in Benzie County. The Sheriff’s Office has all that information on file and would be happy to provide you a copy (231-882-4484). The central point of the millage is access to service and the gain that Benzie County would have from 24 hour road patrol. Passing the millage will also ensure that we have the same hours of coverage that all of the surrounding counties enjoy.

Felonies apparently went up in the four years between 2009 and 2012, but you wouldn’t know that (or any reasons for it) from the millage campaign. Instead of claiming that a higher crime rate justifies increased expenditures, advocates of the millage rely on a vague threat of some crime-ridden future, and the idea that Benzie “deserves” 24-hour police protection just like all the surrounding counties. In addition, a strained connection is being made in the millage campaign between economic development and law enforcement protection. Those who are for the millage contend that business owners and entrepreneurs must “feel safe” before they will invest in the county. How many businesses are sitting on Benzie’s borders, wringing their hands, waiting to see whether we pass this millage or not? The campaign doesn’t tell us. A better question, also unanswered, would be: Have any businesses actually left because they felt unsafe?

In the March 27 edition of the Traverse City Record-Eagle, Sheriff Schendel was quoted saying that in a county the size of Benzie the appropriate number of road deputies is 36. But according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the same agency cited by the sheriff in support of his claim, in 2007 sheriff’s offices in counties roughly the size of Benzie employ on average about 14 sworn police officers.* Per the 2012-2013 Benzie County budget, we had 13 sworn officers in our Sheriff’s Office. That number includes road deputies, sergeants, secondary road patrol, undersheriff and sheriff. It does not include the recent hiring of a ninth road patrolman. With that addition, we now have 14 sworn officers. The sheriff is asking for a funding increase so he can hire four or five more road patrolmen. This will bring the total number of sworn officers to 18 or 19. By national standards, in terms of population, we are on par at our current staff levels. Could those 14 officers be rescheduled to cover 24 hours?

Do more officers mean less crime? The campaign hasn’t made that case, and the facts from other localities don’t bear it out. For example, on a per capita basis, the city of Detroit has more than 5 times the number of police officers (Detroit Police, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, FBI, and ICE) as Benzie County has and it had more murders last year than at any point in the last 40 years. The correlation between more police officers and less crime has not been substantiated.

Your vote on this millage may come down to whether you feel the need for more, and more frequent, police coverage. But there’s an additional factor to take into consideration: Placing the Sheriff Department’s entire budget under a millage, as this measure does, means that every four years we’ll have a referendum on whether or not to fund the Sheriff’s office at all. In 2017, the next sheriff will have to spend time and energy fighting for 100% of the budget within the first year of his or her term. By putting the entire budget of the sheriff’s office on a millage, the sheriff’s office is running the risk of not having a budget in the future, putting the careers of every single employee at the sheriff’s office up for grabs.

The public safety millage is a sort of extortion against the voter: either approve all of it, every four years, or get no Sheriff services at all. That shouldn’t be the choice given to the voters. The sheriff’s office can be funded up to at least a minimum level by the general fund sufficient to allow the sheriff to perform his basic duties. If the current fleet of patrol vehicles is inadequate, if reinstating a resource officer at the schools will promote a good relationship between youth and the law, if Elberta residents on either side of the beach-driving issue will have their enjoyment of the beach affected by 24-7 patrol,** let’s hear the case for those items on the Sheriff’s wish list.

If there is a need or demand for any of these items, why not put them to the voters as separate issues? As it stands, a yes vote on this prix-fixe millage sets us up for a tax increase now and a possible case of severe indigestion in 2017.


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* There were 862 sheriff’s offices in the United States that served populations between 10,000 and 24,999. The total number of sworn officers employed by those agencies was 12,167.

** Regarding patrol for Elberta Beach, Sheriff Schendel did propose last year that Elberta could pay a special contract fee to ensure increased patrol of the beach.

Public Safety Committee Report: Drug Dealers, Stay out of Benzie

In Crime, Law & Order, Public Safety on March 25, 2013 at 5:36 pm

By Bob Kenison

March 21, 2013

BENZIE COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT—Last week Sheriff Ted Schendel held his third public safety meeting since becoming sheriff of Benzie County in January. The meetings are open to the public, and are held the third Thursday of each month. People are encouraged to attend and find out what is happening in Benzie County law enforcement and to share their concerns and opinions. Sheriff Schendel has promised a transparent department that works for the public.

In contrast to the first meeting, in which spirited conversations were held pertaining to new gun laws and the sheriff’s public statements on Facebook and TV news that he would not uphold these new laws, few people showed up for this meeting.

In response to a suggestion at last month’s meeting, a drug drop box is being installed in the sheriff station’s lobby. This can be used to dispose of any drugs, prescription or illegal—no questions asked. Sheriff Schendel noted that sometimes parents find illegal drugs in the hands of their children. This is an easy way to dispose of these drugs and remain anonymous. Most of the county is on a septic system, and disposing of these drugs by flushing them down the toilet could result in contaminated drinking water.

There will be a county commissioners meeting on Tuesday, March 26 at 9 a.m. Sheriff Schendel will be asking the commission to add 5 new deputies to allow for 24/7 police protection for county residents. He has a number of concerned citizens coming to speak on behalf of the sheriff’s department in this regard. Having 24/7 protection is a concern of many area residents. There will also likely be discussion of the new property maintenance ordinance. This will sure to be a lively meeting!

Sheriff Schendel noted that since he took office, Benzie County has had two major drug arrests. One of these arrests was a repeat offender caught with over $5,000 worth of crack cocaine headed for Benzie County. The other was the arrest of Trevor Moody of Frankfort, found with heroin, methadone, and marijuana. An unregistered gun was also found in this arrest. Moody lives just 400 feet from the elementary school.

When campaigning for Sheriff, Schendel vowed to crack down on the drug problem in Benzie County. “These efforts will continue, and drug dealers are being put on notice to leave Benzie County, or spend time in my jail.”

In other news, a Coast Guard representative at the meeting said fishing is already taking place in Betsie Lake, and the Coast Guard boat is tuned up and ready to take to the water. He indicated the sequester will have no impact on the Coast Guard. Sheriff Schendel also indicated the sequester would have no impact on county law enforcement, but will impact the Sleeping Bear Dunes to some degree with shorter hours, and some possible rotating closings of areas of the park.

The next public safety meeting will be held on Thursday, April 18, at 6 p.m. in the sheriff’s office. Stop by and get involved!

Public Safety Meeting Synopsis: No Cuts to Sheriff Budget

In Crime, Law & Order, Open Season, Politics, Uncategorized on September 21, 2012 at 3:23 pm

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.

Sheriff’s Dept. Investigating Platte Valley Auto Sales Fraud Allegations

In Breaking, Crime, On and off the Apron on September 7, 2012 at 11:33 am

Sheriff Rory Heckman said this morning that the Sheriff’s Department is in the middle of its investigation of alleged fraud perpetrated by Platte Valley Auto Sales owner Dave Purchase and his sister Brenda Purchase.

Asked if any arrests were planned, Heckman said, “We are right in the middle of an investigation right now as we speak. It’s a little premature for me to predict any outcome but I can say that the Sheriff’s Department is investigating.”

According to Heckman, Judge James Batzer issued the order to impound all vehicles on the site: “He issued a restraining order for all property, including the vehicles, to stay on the property and not be removed or tampered with in any way.”

The Sheriff’s department has fielded several calls already from people who have purchased or financed vehicles through Platte Valley Auto Sales or have consigned vehicles for sale there.

The Top Man: Sheriff Race ’12

In Crime, Politics on July 25, 2012 at 1:08 pm

At press time, three Republican candidates were to meet in the August primary, seeking to serve as our county sheriff for the next four years: Dave Casey, Blair Moss, and Ted Schendel. We were not able to obtain a response to our interview questions from Mr. Casey, but here we offer the discussions we had with Mr. Moss and Mr. Schendel. In addition, Coury Carland confirmed July 24 by text message that he’ll be on the ballot as an independent in November. According to the League of Women Voters, the sheriff’s salary is $52,659 and includes a full range of benefits.

By Morgan Feger

Elberta Alert How long have you lived in the Benzie area?

Blair Moss Well, I was born in 1955, so 56 years I have been in the community, and I intend to stay here, not moving or going anywhere.

Tell us about your work history. When I got out of college from MSU in 1979 my background was in education. I wanted to come back to this area, but teachers were a dime a dozen. While still in school in 1977 I got a job at the [Benzie] sheriff’s department as a marine officer, and when I got out, in ’79, it developed into the next 17, 18 years. Although it was seasonal work Read the rest of this entry »

Questions for Sheriff Candidates

In Crime, Politics on June 5, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Ahead of the League of Women Voters candidate forum, sometime in July (TBA here), the Alert asked several community members what they’d ask the candidates if they could. Here are the results, in no particular order. If you have additional questions, please post them in comments here or on the Facebook page.


• When will the Terry Sutter case be solved, and also the Luedtke fire? If the dept. is not able to resolve [these cases], are they willing to turn the investigation over to an agency that would bring them to a conclusion?

• What are your thoughts on the Village of Elberta’s problems with beach and dune driving, and excessive speeding down M168? How would you help?

• How do you feel about the amount of time currently served by convicted criminals in Benzie County?

• How long have you lived in the Benzie County area?

• Have you worked for the Benzie Sheriff’s Department, and if so, for how long? What was your reason for leaving?

• How would you rate your overall record with the Sheriff’s department as a police officer?

• How do you anticipate the difference between being a standard police officer and being sheriff?

• Tell us about your family life.

• Is heterosexual marriage an important title/bond to you?

• What are your thoughts on gay marriage?

• What changes would you make to the Sheriff’s Department?

• In what ways has Rory Heckman done a good job?

• What do you think of the close election last year between Rory Heckman and sheriff hopeful Brant Downing?

• If you had been sheriff at the time of the Luedtke tragedy, how would you have handled the case?

• What role does social media play in today’s sheriff’s department?

• What will the word “transparency” mean to you as sheriff in regard to the Benzie County Sheriff’s Department?

• Do you believe there is a need for more community media, radio, newspapers? How would you make use of local media?

• Elberta Beach: Should the two tracks [current off-road trails] be left available for the public to enjoy/use?

• What is your favorite thing about living up north?

• What is your biggest fear/concern for the Benie County area?

• Who would you rather have coffee/conversation with, Michael Jackson, Jerry Garcia, Michael Vick, or Ellen Degeneres?

• What is your stance on the decriminalization of marijuana?

• Given our budget constraints, what are some ways in which you would stretch our taxpayer dollars in terms of crime prevention?

Memorial Day Bike Theft

In Crime, Foghorn on May 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm

It was a not so nice Memorial Day for one local vet: Bill Buck’s new three-wheel bike was taken sometime between last night (Memorial Day Monday) and this morning. The bike was in the Bucks’ yard right by their house on Washington Avenue. They would very much appreciate its return! Among other things, the bike (red, smallish, basket on the back) was helping the 81-year-old get some exercise—he suffers from arthritis. Looks like our neighborhood-watch team needs some drilling. Please send any info to, or call the Sheriff, who has been notified.