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Dickinson to explore forming a dive team

IRON MOUNTAIN — Responding to a citizen’s suggestion, Dickinson County will consider forming its own dive team or recruiting members to supplement a Delta County unit that serves a three-county area.

“If we can find the people, I’m all for looking for ways or options,” Sheriff Scott Rutter said during a county board meeting Monday.

Rutter’s comments came after Iron Mountain resident Tina Pirlot said a drowning and subsequent nine-day search earlier this summer in Breen Township demonstrated the “invaluable service” a local dive team might provide.

The Delta County Sheriff Dive Rescue Team was the first crew called to the Sturgeon River impoundment search, later giving way to the statewide Marine Services Team of the Michigan State Police. Although the response from both units was admirable, the family of 28-year-old Alex McDermott had an agonizing wait before his body was recovered July 7, Pirlot said.

Dickinson County’s dive team disbanded more than a decade ago, likely due to a lack of members, Rutter said. Its underwater communications equipment was turned over to the Delta County team, which serves Iron County as well.

While the Delta team is skilled, it also is spread thin, Rutter said.

“It’s usually a few-hour response at best,” he acknowledged. Also, the Delta divers were soon called away from the Sturgeon River search for another situation.

A number of people have contacted the McDermott family about forming a local dive team and a memorial fund has been

established that could help with training and expenses, Pirlot said.

Rutter said he’d be happy to take ideas and a list of potential trainees.

In other action, the county board:

— Voted 3-2 to deny a request from the Sawyer Lake Association for $1,500 to assist in treating up to 5 acres for Eurasian milfoil. Although a similar contribution was approved in May for the Lake Antoine Association, that lake has a county park, said Commissioner Barbara Kramer, who voted with the majority. Commissioner John Degenaer Jr. and Chairman Henry Wender voted against denying the funds, with Degenaer saying the county is being unfair to Sagola Township taxpayers.

— Heard Commissioner Joe Stevens compliment Loadmaster, a refuse equipment manufacturer in Norway, after a recent Dickinson Area Economic Development Alliance tour.

— Appointed Anthony Edlebeck, Ray Anderson and Stevens to three-year terms on the Dickinson County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority. Tamarcus Jeffries, Anthony Baciak Jr. and Dennis Baldinelli were named to two-year terms.

— Approved a request from Dickinson-Iron Special Olympics to host the annual Lake Antoine Classic trail run at Lake Antoine Park/Fumee Lake Natural Area on Aug. 3.

— Tabled, without discussion, a proposed monthly retainer fee of $500 for Carl Downing to provide legal services to the county board.

— Heard County Controller Brian Bousley report the final bill for a lift station installed at the Iron Mountain Senior Center was slightly more than $59,000, which is a savings about $5,000 from the initial estimate.

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