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Road Commission to check into damaged mailboxes

By Tom Gilchrist
For The Advertiser

Some folks in Tuscola, Vassar, Millington and Arbela townships aren’t happy about damage to their mailboxes — allegedly from Tuscola County Road Commission snowplows while clearing roads.

“I’ve got some people south of Vassar complaining about mailboxes being knocked over,” said Mike Zwerk, one of five members of the board overseeing the Road Commission.

“One guy drove down Vassar Road and claimed 42 mailboxes were either knocked over or twisted,” Zwerk told Road Board members on March 13. The county resident examined an area of Vassar Road south of Brown Road, according to Zwerk.

Zwerk said residents of that area were “very disgusted” by damage to their mailboxes by a plow early one recent Sunday morning.

“I don’t know if the operator was disgusted that he was called out to work, or what,” Zwerk said.

Road Commission employees plan to locate the road board’s policy on how to handle situations involving damage to mailboxes. The board meets again at 8 a.m. March 27.

Road Commission Superintendent/Manager Jay Tuckey said he drove about seven miles on Vassar Road in the southern end of the county and “couldn’t find a dozen (mailboxes) … that were twisted around.”

“It concerns me that maybe some of this is being exaggerated somewhat to make people look bad,” Tuckey said.

From Brown Road south, Vassar Road stretches seven miles to Willard Road — the Tuscola/Genesee county line.

“I’d like to see us have a policy that if we knock the mailbox over with the blade, we would replace it — the post itself,” Zwerk said.

But some Road Commission officials said damage can occur to mailboxes simply from drifted snow being pushed off a road by a plow — and into mailboxes.

Road Board Vice-Chairman Gary Parsell said that due to hard-packed snow covering roads this winter, a plow operator “has got to have some speed to move it off the road and when the snow’s heavy like that, that’s how you move it.” Parsell added that “Most (plow operators) are happy to work on Sunday because they’re getting time and a half their pay.”

Former Road Commission employee Charles Dennis told the Road Board that “I’ve seen mailboxes where the mailbox is actually hanging out over the (paved road).”

Zwerk, however, said the damage to mailboxes in southern Tuscola County is “bad, bad, bad P.R.” for the Road Commission.

“I think we should do something,” Zwerk said. “I don’t know if this guy should be reprimanded or written up. I know snow is heavy, but it’s inexcusable to drive down the road and do that much damage.”

But Road Board Chairman Jack Laurie said that “If we start replacing mailboxes, I think we’re going to get a poor job of plowing.”

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5 Responses to "Road Commission to check into damaged mailboxes"

  1. dwnascarnut says:

    This happened to us in Midland County. Mine was a 3″ steel pipe filled with concrete which had been snapped off and included 2 other neighbors mails boxes. My other neighbor witnessed it then called me at work to let me know what had happened. I was shocked, that when I called our road commission, they just asked for my info after I had explained what had happened and buy the next mornings mail we had a new post installed with 3 mail new boxes attached to it. We were very pleased! Thanks Midland County Road Commission!

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  2. Scott says:

    Well I don’t think it’s intentional, what do people want, plowed roads or not. There was so much snow out there, just the weight of the snow would take a mail box out.

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  3. grannygrunt says:

    I think it is intentional. Some of those plow drivers drive like idiots. Also if they would plow the snow back everytime, it would not get built up so close to the edge of the road. Then it gets hard and is not easy to move back. I’ve had an intentional hit in my neighborhood.

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  4. justwondering25 says:

    A lot of opinions in the article and responses and really not any real facts ….. they said this…I believe that ….. but it doesn’t matter. With alll the snow did you expect that nothing would happen …. give them credit for working so hard this winter….

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  5. Honestywon says:

    As someone who has spent $100 replacing 3 mailboxes, I can understand their frustrations. It wasn’t until I made a phone call to address the issue that the mailbox destruction stopped. Accident or on purpose? I don’t know, you tell me.

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