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Chicagon permit issue resurfaces in Iron County

September 12, 2012
The Daily News


Staff Writer

CRYSTAL FALLS - Iron County's involvement in Stambaugh Township's ordinance that requires all boaters on Chicagon Lake to purchase permit stickers will be decided "once and for all" at the Iron County Board of Commissioner's next meeting.

Earlier this year, the board agreed to allow the township to sell their permits at the county-owned boat landing in Pentoga Park. Funds from the permit sales go toward milfoil treatments at the lake.

Since the permit box was set up, board members said that they have received numerous complaints from residents and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources about the legality of the township's ordinance.

During the board's Tuesday meeting, Commissioner Bev Camp said that she heard the township was using a camera to catch people who were violating the ordinance.

Camp and other board members felt that the practice was a violation of privacy and a violation of the county park ordinance.

Joe Shubat of the Chicagon Lake Association explained that the camera was only set up, at the suggestion of an Iron County Sheriff's Department deputy, to catch people who were vandalizing the permit box and informational sign.

"We told you the vandalism was happening and you did nothing," he told the board. "Everyday something's happening."

Iron County Sheriff Mark Valesano said that his department does suggest using cameras to catch vandals on private property. Public property is another matter, he added.

Shubat noted that the camera has already been removed.

Commissioner Rosalie King was the only board member to voice support for the township's efforts.

"Chicagon Lake is an asset to the community," she said. "I don't want it to be where you can't swim there anymore because there's so much milfoil."

Board Chair Wayne Wales claimed that he is not supporting milfoil, he just believes that the township is handling the issue improperly.

"We'll put it on the agenda and end this once and for all at the next meeting," he said.

In other business, the board:

- Allowed the sheriff to move forward with plans to purchase a new, fully-equipped squad vehicle. The cost of the $30,000 vehicle will be covered by a $12,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, $2,000 to $3,000 from selling an old squad vehicle, and $15,000 from the county.

Valesano reminded board members that his department has already brought in an additional $16,000 this year through an agreement with the Michigan Department of Corrections to house prison inmates. He hopes to bring in an additional $100,000 through the program in 2013.

- Heard public comment opposed to the lack of a wrecker rotation list at Iron County Central Dispatch.

Central Dispatch Administrator Steve Gagnea said that he used to use a rotation list to call different wrecker agencies to respond to car accidents or break downs, but he has since decided to take the responsibility and liability off of the county and let law enforcement agencies or the person needing a wrecker choose the agency.

Wales said that the board will look into the issue.

- Heard a presentation from the Western Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Region (WUPPDR) regarding a new website that lists transportation information for the western Upper Peninsula. The website,, contains information such as providers, fares, and service areas for motorized transport and bike path routes for non-motorized transport.

- Approved a resolution authorizing Peninsula Fiber Network to be the common network for all Upper Peninsula 911 departments.

- Approved the benefit plan for AFSCME employees at the Iron County Medical Care Facility.

- Approved the treasurer's journal entries from April, May, and June.

Nikki Younk's e-mail address is



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