Fair board to make donation to sheriff dept.

ALPENA – The Alpena County Fair Board took care of several pieces of business during Wednesday’s county finance committee meeting. The fair board received approval to take the proceeds from the snowcross event that will take place at the fairgrounds on Jan. 25-26 and use it toward a project that would run water to campsites at the facility. It also was granted permission to submit a grant request to the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan for the balance of the $4,500 project, should the profits from the event fall short.

Fair board Treasurer Karie Bleau announced the board is going to make a special donation to the Alpena County Sheriff Department. She said the board agreed to donate $500 that will be used to help equip the new patrol boat with lights that are needed on it. Bleau said the department is a great asset to the community and the board wanted to express its appreciation.

“The department has given us incredible support during the fair, as well as the other events, and we wanted to do this to show some gratitude” Bleau said. “The amount is nowhere near what we would have liked to give, but there has been discussion about possibly doing a greater donation later in the year. The point was to give them a donation for something that will make their lives easier.”

The Coast Guard craft that was acquired for more than $14,000 from all local donations is in the process of being outfitted for duty. Undersheriff Terry King said the donation for lights on the boat is appreciated. He said he is amazed at how the community rallied to make getting the patrol boat a reality. He said the boat, if purchased new, would have cost about $250,000.

It is just astonishing what the people of Alpena County were able to do to help us do this,” King said. “This contribution from the fair board is going to be huge and we thank them for it. It was not expected, but greatly appreciated.”

King said the boat will be ready for action and patrolling local lakes this spring.

Bleau said the snowmobile event is a popular event that has not been held the last several years, due to the lack of snow. Snow is not an issue this winter and Bleau said she expects a good crowd.

She said she hopes the proceeds will be enough to cover the cost of the water projects, but if not, hopefully the Community Foundation will approve the grant to cover the balance. She said there is a large need to water access at the camp sites and if it is provided, more campers may decide to camp there.

“We have electricity to all of the sites, but no water. I would say 95 percent of the campgrounds in the country have water to them and it is a big deturrent to people when it comes to camping at the fairgrounds,” Bleau said. “We fill the place during the fair, but often they run out of water and then they have to move their campers to refill and it is just difficult. I think this will attract more campers and ultimately increase camping revenue.”

In other business:

* the committee will recommend to the full board of commissioners that the county enter into a one-year agreement with Michigan State Extension.

* the committee approved entering into a one-year maintenance agreement with Telerad, which is a contractor for Motorola, for 911 and emergency response radios.

* the committee approved a resolution that if passed by the full board, will waive collection fees on taxes from senior citizens and disabled people in the county.

Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at sschulwitz@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review … at www.thealpenanews.com