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Local News Summary - June 16, 2021 Edition

Lady Tigers win softball regionals
Hillman’s Lady Tigers have won the regionals in softball for the first time since 2015. On June 12 in Indian River, they delivered a fifth-inning mercy to Central Lake’s Lady Trojans in semi-final competition and avoided a late-game rally from the St. Ignace Lady Saints for the championship.

Nicole Barbeau pitched both games for the Tigers. She was able to stay focused during the championship despite an almost two-hour delay resulting from an accident on Mackinac Bridge that caused St. Ignace coaches and equipment to be flown to the game site as well as a game between St. Ignace and Rogers City that went 10 innings.

The Tigers needed just one run against the Trojans in the bottom of the fifth to advance to the championship. That run came on a big hit from Hillman’s Saige Flaugher that sent home Autumn Kazyaka, a pinch runner for Kylee Greene, the catcher for the Tigers, ending the semifinal match at 11-1, Tigers.

They faced the Saints for the championship after the Saints rallied late to defeat Rogers City’s Lady Hurons 6-5 in the 10th inning. The Tigers kept the Saints scoreless until the sixth inning while chalking up six runs on hits from Jessica Jones and Brooke Bennett. The Saints finally scored in the top of the sixth and became a valid threat in the top of the seventh.

With two outs in the top of the sixth, the Saints scored on a single. They had two runners on when the runner at first base grabbed the ball on the ground thrown to check her at first, a big no-no when a play can still be made. That out ended the sixth, but the Tigers still had to hold the Saints through the seventh.

The Tigers added some padding on a double from Bennett that scored Melanie Morrison, but trouble loomed as the Saints went to bat in the final inning. Hillman’s Barbeau walked the first batter, prompting Hillman’s Coach Ken Rundell to chat with his players just before a Saints double scored the run. Another walk put two runners on, and another double as well as a sacrifice pop brought the Saints within three runs.

At nearly 6 p.m., foul weather was closing in on the Hillman players who had been in the ballpark since about 9 a.m. With a runner on and the Saints hungry for another late-game rally, the next Saints batter grounded out, ending the championship at 7-4, Tigers. The Tigers advance to the state quarterfinals in Rudyard against the Rudyard Lady Bulldogs on June 15.

County Sheriff outlines department needs if inmate housing changes
Sheriff Chad Brown presented county commissioners with a proposal of what it would take to staff the sheriff department if the county contracts with Alpena County for inmate housing. A motion at the county board meeting on June 9 passed in favor of the Sheriff’s request for three road patrol officers, a full-time corrections officer and a part-time officer.

According to Sheriff Brown, a full-time corrections officer is still necessary without a jail, because that person would be responsible for walk-in services like fingerprinting, sex offender registrations, background checks, soft bookings, 72-hour holds, paperwork and transports.

Most calls, he explained, take two officers, and they cannot work 24-hours. It would take a minimum of three road patrol officers, the Sheriff said, pointing out vacations are currently scheduled, one officer has national guard duty and three jury trials have been scheduled.

“To only allow two officers to come on, I think, frankly, would be a travesty,” he emphasized.

Staffing the sheriff department in such a way is estimated to cost about $331,000. At that cost, the county would still save more than $200,000 per year by sending inmates to Alpena County for housing. The motion passed with the understanding the sheriff department would eventually provide a detective.

Commissioner Don Edwards voted against the motion after saying the county should focus on reducing the debt for future retirements, so future county boards are not faced with the need to lay off county employees. Sheriff Brown maintained the goal is to provide an increase in patrol officers and services for the county.

“No way is this on the backs of the sheriff’s office to ensure the retirement is golden,” the Sheriff said.

A motion passed in favor of sending a letter from the county attorney to representatives from Alpena regarding concerns about the potential contract with Alpena for inmate housing. Sheriff Brown suggested offering a monetary incentive to officers staying with the local department through the possible upcoming transition, and research is being done to determine if such an incentive is legal.

Briley Township Board discusses park projects
Board members for Briley Township are questioning the costs proposed by Gosling and Czubak, an engineering firm, for re-bidding projects for the township park. The firm has proposed $20,000 for re-bidding projects and $8,000 for engineering.

“The engineering hasn’t changed,” Phil LaMore, township clerk, said at the regular June 9 township board meeting. “Nothing has changed on the items going out for bid.”

Some of the projects can be done, locally, said Ken Werner, township supervisor. According to Werner, an extension of the grant for the projects is necessary to allow enough time to close the grant out and not jeopardize funding from the Department of Natural Resources.

A motion passed in favor of contacting a representative of Gosling and Czubak for the purpose of discussing closing out the grant and the proposed rebidding figures.

Death Notices
Full obituaries are in the Tribune print & paid online edition
Dorothy L. Wierzbicki
Karen D. Stevens
Charlotte Y. Snider
Eileen A. Simkins
Russell L. Pyle

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