By Tom Gilchrist
For The Advertiser
FOSTORIA — When the Watertown Township Board of Trustees provided the squeaky wheel, Michigan Chloride Sales supplied the “grease” — liquid calcium chloride applied for free to control dust on the township’s gravel roads.
After the board wrote a letter last month expressing dissatisfaction with application of calcium chloride by the St. Louis-based company, Michigan Chloride Sales applied another pass of the brine at no charge. Township Supervisor Dan Quertermous made that announcement at Wednesday night’s regular township board meeting.
While township officials had considered finding another dust-control company for next year, Michigan Chloride Sales remains in the running now, according to township Clerk Barbara Tanks.
“I do think that we need to give them a chance to bid,” Tanks said.
Tuscola County Commissioner Craig Kirkpatrick addressed the Watertown board Wednesday, saying he sees a problem in the township with dead emerald ash trees in the road right-of-way — a 66-foot-wide swath starting from a road’s center line and running 33 feet to the left and right of center.
“I think it is a disaster waiting to happen,” Kirkpatrick said. “Next time we have a great big snow or a great big blow, things are going to get shut down. Can you imagine — if all the emerald ash trees that are out there right now in the road right-of-ways came down and were covered with the same two feet of snow — how long it would take for people to find their way out of some of these back roads?”
Kirkpatrick, whose 4th District includes Watertown, Millington, Arbela and Tuscola townships, said he’ll speak to the Tuscola County Road Commission “about what they can do in addition to their current program” to deal with the dead trees.
Watertown Trustee Sam Fackler, meanwhile, praised Road Commission workers for the job they’ve done grading gravel roads this summer.
“I’ll tell you what, this is the best job I’ve ever seen on the roads. … Fantastic job,” Fackler said.
Fackler also said he received a report of bags of trash being burned outside a home along North Lake Road between Brown and Swaffer roads.
“They probably burned 50 bags of garbage (Tuesday) from what I’ve seen,” township resident Boyd Vollweiler told the board.
Watertown Township Fire Chief Jeff Dumka told township board members that “If you get a call (about burning trash), just call me or one of my officers first. … I’d much rather stop watching my TV program at night and go talk to somebody, than wake up everybody on the fire department in a panic to go put out a pile of trash.”
The board approved a bid from Hopp’s Lumber & Supply Co. of Mayville to remove old shingles and install a metal roof on the village pavilion at Foster Park for $5,150. John Piche of Mayville also submitted a bid to do the job for $6,000, while a group of area Amish residents offered to do the work for $4,622.
“Sometimes, with the Amish, you have to go pick them up and bring them to the job, and then take them back,” Fackler said.
“Most generally, anymore, they have drivers,” noted Trustee Frank Worvie.
“The only problem I have with the Amish — and I trust them fully and all of that — is they do not carry liability insurance, whereas Hopp’s does,” said Tanks, who made the motion to hire Hopp’s.
“Hopp’s is a local business here and I … want to see their business thrive,” Tanks said.
In other action, the board voted to pay $450 to Mike Gorde to fix the backstop at the softball diamond at Foster Park.