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Local News Summary - November 13, 2019 Edition

Tigers win first ever Regional Championship title
Though the weather was cold, the Hillman boys were on fire in Friday night’s regional match-up against the Cedarville Trojans. A good size crowd braved the cold to watch the Tigers take on the Trojans, who eliminated the Tigers in last year’s first round playoff game.

The Tigers received to start the game and drives by Gunner Mellingen, Caleb Sanders and Sean Henigen saw the Tigers chew up the clock and advance into Trojan territory. With 2:36 to go in the first, Gunner Mellingen made his way into the end zone to put the Tigers on the board. The attempt on a two-point conversion was good and the Tigers closed out the first quarter with an 8 – 0 lead.

On their second possession of the game Cedarville fumbled, but recovered the ball. Two plays later, another fumble was recovered by Dawson Ableidinger to give possession back to the Tigers on their 30-yard line. Over on downs and with the Trojans positioned at midfield, the Cedarville boys pushed their way to the goal line. Trojan, Josh Newell, made it into the end zone to put the Cedarville on the board. The point after play was no good, and with 4:23 to go the Tigers were up 8 - 6. Senior Nash Steinke, on a quarterback keeper play, made it into the end zone for anther six. The PAT was unsuccessful for the Tigers, bringing the score to 14 – 6.

As the half was winding down Cedarville’s Trey Paquin made a pass to Grant Fountain, who ran to the goal line to tighten up the score 14 – 12 as the first half came to a close.

The second half saw the Trojans receiving, but Dawson Ableidinger recovered a beauty of an onside kick and Hillman was on their way. A long run with a couple broken tackles, and Mellingen worked his way into the end zone for another touchdown. Caleb Sanders added two with the extra points, giving the Tigers a 22 – 12 lead early in the third. The Trojans were not giving up and added eight to their tally 22-20. Two more touchdowns by Mellingen and one successful 2-point conversion saw the third quarter draw to a close 36 – 20.

The Trojans came in fighting in the fourth. A pass by Paquin to Thomas Bohn saw him scamper to the goal line for six. An additional two narrowed the Hillman lead to eight, 36-28. A second touchdown and two-point play saw the Trojans tie the game up at 36 each. With his fifth touchdown of the night, Gunner Mellingen added six to give the Tigers the lead back, 42 – 36. With 4:03 to go in the game, Cedarville scored and a good two-point play gave them the first lead of the night 44 - 42. Once again, Mellingen worked his way to the end zone for his sixth cross of the goal line, and the Tigers took the lead, 48 – 44.

With time running down in the game, Cedarville had the opportunity to steal the win. On a pass play by Trey Paquin with just over a minute to go in the game, Sean Henigan came up with a big interception, giving control back to the Tigers. A short run play and two quarterback kneels saw the clock wide down and give the Hillman Tigers their first regional title in school history.

The Hillman Tigers will take on the Pickford Panthers for semi-final action Friday, November 15 in Pickford at 7 p.m.

Statewide recycling efforts discussed at landfill meeting
Landfill board members at the regular Nov. 8 meeting heard an update on statewide recycling efforts and an appeal for help in expanding services to area residents. Brian Burke, recycling specialist with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, summarized current recycling efforts.

In 2017, grants were awarded to establish drop off recycling in rural areas of the state. Recycling carts were implemented in metropolitan areas in 2018, and funding from the Renew Michigan Fund provided money in 2019 for investment in processing capabilities within the state. According to Burke, 22 percent of the Renew Michigan Fund is designated for recycling.

A materials recovery facility in Emmet County is being upgraded, and a new one is being built in Marquette County that will serve as a regional processing center for the Upper Peninsula. A grant was awarded to a private company to upgrade the quality of recycled paper produced to meet the tandards of specialty buyers. New are film plastics recycling grants as well as electronic waste grants. Soon to be launched is a contamination reduction program.

The landfill lost hundreds of thousands of dollars on a previous recycling program it offered, but Burke asked landfill board members to consider offering a recycling program through a funding stream like a millage, surcharge, tipping fee increase or hauler licensing fee.

“You guys are in the perfect position to expand your services to do these types of programs,” Burke explained. “You’re one of the few solid waste authorities in the state that doesn’t do recycling or hazardous waste collection.”

Alpena County charges residents $20 per year for recycling, but the facility would need to be expanded to take more materials. Burke encouraged commissioners from Montmorency and Oscoda counties to consider a revenue stream to expand the facility in Alpena. The ability to haul recycling materials to Alpena would reduce current hauling costs, Burke added.

“That same county is bringing you solid waste, so they can backhaul it,” he pointed out.

Diane Rekowski, executive director of Region 9 Northeast Michigan Council of Governments, told board members the state is working to develop an electronic waste collection unit in Montmorency County. The units are estimated to cost $7,000-$9,000. The match to obtain one would be about $2,200.

Rekowski suggested the landfill help Montmorency and Oscoda counties meet the match. Alpena, she said, didn’t need financial support for the units. A meeting about the new electronic waste collection units is scheduled for Dec. 4. Rekowski said she would talk to board members from Briley Township about potential involvement in the program.

Briley Township Board implements cuts to offset Governors veto
Board members for Briley Township have begun making cuts to offset Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s veto of $32,000 in payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) for state land. At a special board meeting on Nov. 7, the park attendant was laid off, but Rick Klein, trustee, didn’t agree with the layoff and said cuts should start with pay for board members.

“Before we lose him, we might want to start cutting the fat, right here, at this table,” Klein said.

The board is grossly overpaid, he said, and recent pay increases to officials should be eliminated. Trustees should also be paid less, Klein explained, and deputies shouldn’t be working office hours at $15 per hour. He claims the park attendant, at $200-$300 per month, does more work than any sitting board member, and there are plans for winter park activities that would necessitate a park attendant.

Ed Comber, township clerk, proposed canceling snowplowing of sidewalks on M-32 and said he would be entertaining shutting off some lights in the township at a future meeting. A motion to cancel snowplowing failed, but the board passed a motion in favor of establishing a special assessment district for snowplowing and shoveling of sidewalks on M-32.

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