MARLENE WEBSTER, candidate for the District 1 seat on the Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners, addressed the Owosso City Council on the Alliance for a Drug-Free Shiawassee on Monday, Oct. 1. Webster expressed gratitude to Owosso Public Safety Director Kevin Lenkart for his involvement in starting the Angel Program in Owosso. “Simply put, the Angel Program is a substance abuse amnesty program,” Webster explained. In the three weeks since the program was initiated, two or three individuals have already participated. She went on to state that Memorial Healthcare emergency doctors have now agreed to a pilot program called a Red Project that will allow individuals in a substance abuse cycle to receive treatment in the emergency room, have a follow-up recovery appointment established at that time and also be provided with a prescription to help with sobriety for the days following. Webster also discussed the new YMCA community hub to help with substance abuse treatment and the recent parent information night at Owosso High School.
“I think if you are paying attention to the news, that almost daily, something really significant is happening in our community around this issue,” Webster said. It is the goal of the Alliance to mobilize the community to help turn the substance abuse issue around. The Alliance meets monthly at 1025 N. Shiawassee St., Corunna and everyone is welcome to attend.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)
by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor
After two swearing-in ceremonies and a special proclamation, the Owosso City Council focused on listening to a public hearing regarding the Summit street resurfacing project during the meeting on Monday, Oct. 1. Several residents voiced various concerns, including one person who is disabled and lives with a disabled son. She expressed her desire to see the resurfacing take place as quickly as possible due to her struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She also demonstrated concern over the expense of the special assessment she now faces, and the hardship it could potentially bring to people on restricted/limited incomes.
The Summit street resurfacing project is planned to include the stretch from Abbott street to Rubelman drive, with an estimated cost of $516,567.30. Around $103,005.82 will be paid by special assessment – a process the city has utilized for numerous years. The council moved to proceed with the project as it is detailed in the proposal.
Citizen commentary included Tom Manke, of Owosso Township, inquiring why the city specially assesses Owosso residents for street work when other areas do not. Owosso Mayor Chris Eveleth did point out that Manke lives on a road that falls under the upkeep of MDOT – and MDOT does not operate with special assessments. The city of Owosso has utilized special assessments for a long time.
Marlene Webster discussed items related to the Alliance for a Drug Free Shiawassee group and the efforts being taken to help with the critical issue of substance abuse. Former council member Burton Fox offered a report on the meeting of the first Firemen’s Memorial Committee, sharing that the historic fire truck was recently moved from Baker College to a barn owned by a former fireman. Fox also asked for two new members to be added to the committee to help with the work. The council agreed and approved Ross Stanley and Sarah Moorodian joining the committee. Council member Dan Law shared that he hoped other individuals would attend the next meeting to share ideas. It was also decided that Law would be the “voice” of the committee to keep council informed on related happenings.
Durand Lions Club member Becky Hamilton opened an invitation to anyone interested in attending a meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 24 to explore the possibility of a new Owosso Lions Club.
Owosso City Manager Nathan Henne’s report included interest rate information for unpaid special assessments, which had been discussed at the last council meeting. Eveleth requested to have the interest rate item moved to the agenda for the next council meeting for further discussion, and to allow council members time to reflect on the information.
Henne’s report also mentioned the skate park meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 3 and the possibility that if the weather cooperates, ground still might be broken this fall, noting that the skate park contract has an end date of July 1, 2019. His report also detailed the extreme need for repair work at the Gould House and a fundraising meeting planned by the Owosso Historical Commission on Friday, Oct. 19. The meeting is to educate the public on concerns regarding the historic structure. The city of Owosso has a related millage request on the November ballot for 1 mill to provide further funding to “maintain, improve, and upgrade parks and preserve historical sites.”
After the consent agenda was approved, including special assessment hearings for Palmer Avenue and S. Washington Street scheduled for Monday, Oct. 15, there were no items of business for council, so they moved into the second citizen commentary for the evening. Eddie Urban, of Owosso, expressed his enthusiasm for the new road surface on Monroe Street, though he shared he had witnessed some drivers being confused over the change in the stop sign position. Also, D&L Auto Sales owner Dale Frasier detailed a letter he had received about the flags on his Corunna Avenue business. Under the new signage ordinance, the flags are no longer permitted by the city. Frasier shared that he has used the flags for 15 years and is frustrated that he would have to remove them – particularly since they are patriotic.
The next council meeting is set for Monday, Oct. 15.