Board of Commissioners approve brownfield and celebrate a retirement

The Mason County Board of Commissioners met yesterday morning. Mason- Lake Conservation District Manger Jordan DeVries informed the board of current activity with conservation efforts. He reported a successful Household hazardous waste collection, noting that they received 9900 more pounds than expected. With the recommendation from Amber Township, Commissioners approved of the brownfield redevelopment plan for the Holiday Inn Express Project. Previously voted upon mileages were approved and accepted by the board as well as several expenses for the Sheriff's Office. The board became joval when Curt Vanderwall honored Loretta Gallies 10 years of dedication to the county. Gallie is retiring from the Mason County Equalization office. The meeting concluded with reports from the Treasurer, Clerk and Administrator.

Police ask for public assistance in identifying robbery suspect

The Mason County Sheriff’s Office is seeking assistance in identifying a person of interest in several breaking and entering around Mason County during Monday night  and early morning Tuesday.

The individual is described as a white male with several tattoos on his arms. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Shayne Eskew at the Mason County Sheriff’s Office (231)843-3475 or Silent Observer at 1-888-786-7274.  


Ludington City Council reviews summer and prepares for autumn

The Ludington City council met last night. The council approved of details regarding the upcoming events of Oktoberfest, and Turkey trot. A bike race to raise money for trail building and grooming was discussed. Questions were raised regarding which trail would be used and what the level of difficulty is for the bike trail. Applause followed a presentation by the young business professionals of america of LHS regarding their success from this year's Movies in the Park. Young Business professionals highlighted the ways in which enhancements to Rotary Park improved the Movies in the Park events. Two ordinances were brought to the council for renewal regarding the use of ORVs and golf carts on roadways after no incidents occurred throughout the last year. Councilman Dick Rathsack raised concerns regarding the safety of pedestrians with additional vehicles on the roads. Standard business items were bookended with comments from Tom Rotta at the beginning and end regarding both his concerns with past environmental safety violations as well as comments about the recent investigations into his website. The meeting concluded with Councilman Michael Krauch addressing the investigation by saying, “You are welcome to criticize my job performance, call me names, or compliment me, you are not welcome to incite others, you are not welcome to threaten me on a website and it is shameful that the editor of that website also happens to be running for city council.”


Comments flicker The Torch

The first Amendment gives Americans the right of free speech;  but you can’t yell “Fire” in a theatre.  In an unprecedented conference yesterday, at the Ludington Police Department, Chief Mark Barnett revealed results from an investigation of the local website known as The Torch.  Editor and founder Tom Rotta was accused of allowing threatening posts regarding city manager John Shay and alderman Mike Krauch. Both Shay and Krauch felt threatened by the postings on the website, concerned that even if the person making the comments did not act, that another might be incited to violence against them or their families.  Complaints to the Ludington Police Department led to the investigation.  The screen names of two posters were revealed as Ed Thompson and John Chippi.  Councilor Krauch accepted an apology on the phone from Mr. Chippi. Chippi also went onto the torch to apologize again, saying “Please watch your words, the written word does not come with a face gesture or tip of intent like a spoken word does. Again I am sorry.” Thompson refused to be at the meeting or be on conference call, but later responded to Chippi’s apology, saying, “the fact of the matter is, sometimes anyone on a talk forum can get a little carried away with simple frustration and grief about our local officials in the way they run things around here nowadays. In my case, I would also like to apologize for similar posts I made, due to bad past experiences with Shay on numerous occasions the last 10 years+.” The prosecuting attorney has declined to file any charges.   Rotta was asked by Chief Barnett if he would make modifications to his website and policies after this matter.  He said his website is protected by first amendment speech and called the investigation a “witch hunt”.   City Manager Shay blurted out "You're a liar" and “You’re Despicable” to Rotta.  The meeting concluded with discussions of what constitutes a physical threat and accusations of mental instability against Rotta. Observers say that the Ludington Police Chief maintained order by concluding the meeting before it escalated any further.

Electric Forest expanding

 Electric Forest is expanding their celebration. Festival organizers call it "An Intimate Expansion of Community,"  explaining that “Rapid growth of the venue has the potential to undermine the values of The Forest. Instead of moving toward one larger weekend, the most thoughtful choice was the creation of two smaller capacity weekends."

The 2017 festival will be on June 22-25, and June 29-July 2 at Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury. Festival-goers can attend both weekends, but must leave the site in between. Some performers will be at both festival weekends, but performances will differ. The Electric Forest web site states "Each weekend will have its share of surprises, but as always, the goal for any Forest veteran or newcomer is to participate in an amazing experience, regardless of which weekend they attend. Hopefully, the inevitable discussion around 'which weekend is better' will become a pointless exercise. This is because it is ALL Electric Forest." They have also committed to expand additional existing programs including a larger Road Improvement Fund, growth in efforts to support the annual Roy Price Memorial Food Drive, and expansion of the Electric Forest Music in Schools program in order to strengthen and deepen ties to the community. More community programs will be announced in coming months. For more information, go to

Electric Forest

photo courtesy of Electric Forest Festival-2016

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