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Letter: Would the State Have Destroyed the Paint Creek Dam? No

In this Letter to the Editor, an Oakland Township resident writes about removing Pain Creek dam, and what she thinks voters should know going in to Tuesday's election.

Dear Oakland Township Residents, 
If you read a "Re-Elect Joan Fogler" giant post card that came in your mailbox (8/04/12), you probably noted that there was a statement on her flyer about the Paint Creek dam. Mrs. Fogler states, "The Mill Race dam was going to be removed by the State of Michigan, DNR at our expense, but we were proactive with the Clinton River Watershed Council and negotiated to get a grant to pay the total cost rather than lose in court, pay for the dam removal ourselves and pay court and attorney costs." It was Mrs. Fogler that asked the private owner of the dam to donate it to the township! Why would she do that? So it could cause the township all these supposed legal problems? Removing the dam destroyed the Paint Creek Mill Race, it belonged to the community. It was Joan Fogler that said at the September 27, 2011 OTBS meeting that the State of Michigan would remove the dam if Oakland Township did not agree with the Clinton River Watershed Council plan to destroy it. Robin Buxar, a resident, asked the DNR if the dam had been rated. Jim Francis representing the DNR, responded that since the dam was under 6 feet in height it was not on a federal rating list. Clerk Judy Workings questioned Mr. Francis if the dam was slated to come down by the state, he said that it was desired that it come down for the FISH, and "NO" it was not slated to come down. Later through a FOIA (freedom of information act) request from the Department of Environmental Quality, it was found that the dam had indeed been evaluated by Mr. Francis, and the rating he gave the dam was "good", which was a rating for the state. I passed out a copy of the Jim Francis evaluation at a later board meeting to the trustees.
For proof, read the following minutes and articles about the meetings, you will find that the DNR expert never said the state would destroy the Paint Creek dam. By inferring that the state does sometimes remove dams, someone might jump to that conclusion, but in the case of the Paint Creek dam, it was not slated to be removed. But still Joan Fogler, Sharon Creps, Marc Edwards and Kathy Thomas voted to destroy the dam, instead of forcing a compromise with some other community-minded option, such as a fish rock ramp against the dam. Anne Vaara of the Clinton River Watershed Council, said this was not about the mill race (community), it was only about the dam.  
Read the minutes from the meeting, September 27, 2011: Go to  www.oaklandtownship.org click on "Departments"; click on "Board of Trustee"; scroll down to 2011, Sept. 27; click on "Minutes". Some of these articles mention this incident also. 
 

Please pass this message to others,

Jan Olson, Oakland Township resident

Want to share your opinion? Send letters to the editor to clare.ramsey@patch.com

Judy Spitz August 06, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Thank you Jan Olson for this clarification! Thank you Joan Fogler, Sharon Creps, Marc Edwards and Kathy Thomas for not thoroughly researching before voting. Anne Vaara of the Clinton River Watershed Council lied about the facts and you need to hold her accountable! This is now a community health hazard which was thoroughly presented to you before the dam was removed. Shame on all of you for not working for the community and doing your job.
Jeanne Langlois August 06, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Thank you Jan. It should also be noted that Supervisor Fogler reported at the February 14, 2012 Oakland Township Board of Trustees (minutes are available online) meeting that, despite earlier comments to the contrary, she did know about the DNR's interest in having the dam removed prior to soliciting the donation of the dam property to the township. The township has a duty to perform due diligence before taking ownership of any property. Had the Supervisor really believed the dam or the demolition costs could be a potentially huge liability to the township, it would appear to be serious breach of fiduciary duty to allow the township to take ownership of the property.
Char Kruse August 06, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Thank You for the facts Jan! What a shame! well they sure cooked their goose! tomorrow!!!!!!!! Vote for change!
Marty Rosalik August 08, 2012 at 02:30 AM
The mill race destruction that effectively ripped the heart out of the center of the township appears to be a galvanizing event. Election results as I write this show new leadership will soon be here. NOTE: to the winners. Do not fail to listen to the citizens. Thank you all for your efforts regardless of the results.

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