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Local Fire Authority Could Seek Funds For New Trucks

This story is courtesy of the Mason County Press.  The Mason County Rural Fire Authority plans to ask tax payers for a .5 mill increase to replace 13 of its trucks that it purchased 20 years ago in the August election, including seven 1998 pumpers and six 2000 tankers. 

Chuck Keller, chairman of the rural fire authority, recently sent a letter to the municipalities that represent the departments. Keller said refurbishing the trucks will cost an estimated $117,500 while replacing the equipment would cost $325,000 per pumper truck with an estimated trade-in value of $25,000 to $50,000 per truck.

“Our options therefore were to refurbish the trucks at a cost of $125,000 to $130,000 with no warranty and aging chassis with the possibility that some or all might need to be replaced in less than 10 years or to purchase new trucks with the life expectancy of 20 years,” Keller said. “It was a ‘no-brainer’ for the board: attempt to purchase new trucks with the funding to come from voters within the authority.”

Keller said based on a home valued at $100,000, the increase would cost $25 annually. Keller said the authority will seek a renewal of its 10 year 1 mill operating revenue.

“Historically the authority has been very prudent financially,” Keller said. “Roughly six years ago the authority was able to refinance $674,000 in debt with West Shore Bank with a reduced interest rate of 2.74%. We paid down $300,000 in principle and by year end 2015 the authority will be debt free.

“If the voters do approve our request on Aug. 2, we will have this fund to cover the larger equipment purchases other than trucks. Each department has gone above and beyond to stay within their budgets each year. The departments regularly complete equipment/fire barn repairs on their own without having to hire outside vendors to complete.”

Apartment Fire In Scottville

According to the Mason County Press a fire was extinguished at the Reinberg Avenue Apartments.  The apartments are located at, 103 N. Reinberg Avenue in Scottville.  Both the Scottville and Custer fire departments responded to the structural fire around 10:30 pm Sunday night.  Other law enforcement arrived shortly after to help evacuate the residents of the apartments.

According to Scottville Fire Chief, Dale Larr, the fire seemed to start when a ceiling fan dropped down onto a rug in the bathroom.  There was a small fire with smoke spreading through out the building.  Firefighters used a high-pressure fan to remove any smoke from the building.

Scottville Fire Department, Custer Fire Department, Scottville Police Department, Mason County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police and Life EMS ambulance were the emergency teams to respond to the scene.

New Year's Eve Drive Safe Drive Sober Will Return This Year

If you and your friends and family are planning on having a festive New Year’s Eve in and around the Ludington area, there is no need to worry about transportation home if the celebration gets a little too festive.  Since 2003, the New Year’s Eve Drive Safe Drive Sober effort has offered nearly 9,000 rides and towed almost 150 cars, all for free and this year it is back again.

Mason County law enforcement joined with Ludington Mass Transportation, local businesses and national organizations to help people get home safe after a night out.

This year there are again many local sponsors of the event that include local business and organizations helping to fund the service.

This year the effort will take passengers and cars to the City of Ludington north to the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and M-116 in Hamlin Township and Pere Marquette Township, east to Scottville, from Hansen Road south to Conrad Road.

If you would like to take advantage of this free service please call, L.M.T.A. at 231-845-6218 between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. and then from 8 p.m. until 3:30 a.m. to schedule your ride.  The L.M.T.A. buses will begin picking up riders at 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 31 and continue throughout the evening until 4 a.m. Friday, January 1, 2016.

WMOM is a proud participating sponsor of the New Year’s Eve Drive Safe Drive Sober effort.

Armory Could Be Sold

According to the Ludington Daily News since the Michigan Army National Guard unit permanently moved to the Grand Rapids area this previous summer the 58-year-old Manistee armory has sat empty.  That is all about to change, as the process has begun to find a new owner for the property.

According to Lt. Col. William Humes, “It is not for sale yet.”  He went on to add “The process is pretty extensive and we have policies in place to make sure to get it right”

The property must first be offered to military departments for their use.  The second stage is the property will be offered to local government.  The third stage would see the property go up for sale to the public if neither of the first two options are exercised.

Humes says, “We have divested a couple armories so we have a system in place.”

Humes finally added, the property is assessed at $350,000.

Police Chief Suspended in Shelby

The Oceana County Press is reporting Shelby Police Chief Robert Wilson has been suspended from his post.  Wilson has been suspended without pay, but will continue to receive benefits during the pending internal investigation, according to Village Administrator Chelsea Stratil.

Police Officer Terry TenBrink has been named “acting chief” while the investigation is ongoing.

According to the Oceana County Press an anonymous source is calling this a criminal case that involves fraudulent salvage vehicle inspections.  There was no comment from the Hart post of the Michigan State Police.

Village President Paul Inglis, said the decision to suspend was made after the village administrator and village council agreed unanimously to move forward with the suspension.

Wilson has had problems in the past.  He was forced to resign as chief in 2007 and was later re-hired by a different village council.

Inglis said, “I cannot respond to that.”  When asked about if the investigation involved fraudulent salvage vehicle inspections.

Inglis went on to say “It’s a difficult time for the council … It’s a very sensitive issue.”

No additional information is being released by village officials at this time.

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