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Algonac hires permanent treasurer

‘A Christmas Carol’ at SC4

MC Old Newsboys/Girls rev up holiday campaign

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Local author has passion for Depression-era champs Page 8 Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Solemn assembly at Holy Cross Church for fallen soldier Shane Reifert Kansas church protestors are a no-show at service Suriving & Thriving: Business owner wants to boost economy Page 3

River Strings Christmas fundraiser Page 7

Artist of the Month featured at library Page 9

INSIDE Deaths . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Opinion . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Police News . . . . . . . . .4 Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . .8 Target . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Vol. XXVII, Issue 47 Contact us: 586-716-8100 1-800-561-2248

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Flags stood at half staff in Marine City Wednesday for decorated Pfc. Shane Reifert, 23, of Cottrellville Township. The Cardinal Mooney High School graduate died in action Nov. 6 during an attack by insurgents in the Kunar province of Afghanistan. He was honored at a funeral service near his former school at Holy Cross Catholic Church as the Rev. Ronald Jozwiak presided over the service. Classes at Reifert’s Alma matter were canceled during the funeral to allow the students to attend the service. Supporters began gathering early Wednesday morning and were multiplying fast by the time visitation began at 10 a.m. Before the service got underway an hour later, the numbers had swelled. Both sides of Water Street in front Photos by Dave Angell of the church and beyond The casket carrying the remains of Pfc. Shane Reifert is led out of were soon filled with onlook- Holy Cross Church in Marine City. Burial took place at Great Lakes ers holding flags to show National Cemetery Thursday morning. their support for the fallen Right, students from Cardinal Mooney High School, Reifert’s alma soldier and his family. mater, turned out for the service. Six pall bearers brought the casket into the church from Kansas, the area was There was a strong media preswhile the assembly solemnly looked also flooded with law ence, as cameras were set up in a on. Family and friends attending the enforcement from Marine designated staging area and closed service drove past rows of City, St. Clair County and reporters wove into the crowd. Due sympathetic faces of men, women to the possible arrival of a protest and children outside the church. group from Westboro Baptist Church See REIFERT on page 2

Irene Bird elected mayor of Algonac Movie makes plea to Third woman to sit reign in toxins released in the mayoral seat from Chemical Valley JERI PACKER


Irene Bird was nominated by her fellow council members to be the third woman to hold the mayoral office in Algonac. June Crocker and Karen Cole also served as mayors. Bird retained her seat on the council with the highest number of votes of the five other candidates running for three vacant seats. That still didn’t qualify her to be mayor, she said. A council member is required to receive a nomination from another member and, if the nomination is supported and gets a majority vote, the nominee becomes the next mayor. “It is different when you move over to that seat and look out at the audience,” she said. “I’m proud of the fact that I’m the third women to be mayor in Algonac. At the organizational meeting following the election, Amy Amiels nominated Bird with Gary Tuzinowski, who was later voted in as Mayor Pro Tem, seconding her nomination. The vote

Panel gathers at college auditorium to discuss local water quality Photo by JERI PACKER

Councilman Joe Nugent, Mayor Irene Bird, councilpersons Amy Amiels and Mark Thompson at the first council meeting after the election.

was unanimous for Bird’s move to the mayor’s seat, occupied temporarily by the past mayor pro tem, Helen Meldrum. Mayor Jim Wisdom, a 20year veteran on the council, lost his seat by 33 votes. After the election, he expressed his gratitude for being able to sit on the council since 1990. “I appreciated serving the city of Algonac for 20 years,” he said. “I also appreciated the 469 voters who voted for me.” Tuzinowski said he and Bird became council-members about 12 years ago, so he’s known her for a long time.

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“She’s liked and respected,” he said. “She’s more user-friendly.” He added that Bird was hard-working and budgetconscious. He also said he looks forward to a council that will work together and continue to work on relationships with other communities. “I see it as a good sign that Irene and I were voted in unanimously. It sets up the groundwork for a good working team. Everyone gets different ideas and approaches things differently, but I think we may have more cooperation.”

Chemical Valley in Sarnia was the subject of the documentary and Nov. 18 discussion.

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”When I think back, I wish we’d never come to Sarnia,” says resident Jean Simpson in the opening of Pamela Calvert’s 2007 documentary, “The Beloved Community.” “My dad had a choice at

the time, but they thought Sarnia was Imperial Oil, they thought wow, this is a big oil city - and it was, there was a lot of work here. When we got off the train down at the station, and they took us down to where we lived in

2 -

The Downriver Voice


the ceremony to stand. The legal distance for a protest during an event is 500 feet, Gabor added. The group never showed up, but the suggestion of their presence appeared to enhance the size of the crowd. Many spoke of their anger and shock at a soldier’s ultimate sacrifice being exploited by a hate group, saying they came out to make sure the family wasn’t victimized by their taunts. Several members of the Algonac Lions Lioness Club came out for the same reason. “When we heard about the group disrupting this family we came right out,”

continued from page 1

Michigan State Police. Barricades were put up for crowd control, with officers stationed at all corners. City Manager John Gabor said signs were banned from the area outside the church either for protesters or counter protestors out of respect for the ceremony. “We want to keep it a solemn event at the church,” he said. “It distracts from why we’re here.” Officials provided an area 450 feet from the church for Westboro members and other protesters attending

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said President Sharon Brewer. “We came to support a young man for what he did for our country. This group came to shake up the town, but what they did was bring everyone together.” Solidarity could be felt everywhere. One lone sign among a sea of flags managed to meet the approval of law enforcers: “United We Stand.” Todd May of the Sweet Tooth, a Marine City shop, passed out flags donated by Marine City VFW 12085 Henry Francis Bashore Post. Veteran’s groups from surrounding areas were in attendance along with the Patriot Guard Riders, a group that regularly escorts fallen soldiers to their resting place. Capt. Sam Cottle of the Patriot Guard Riders of Michigan said the group originally set out to protect families from groups such as the Westboro group but soon realized making sure the families were given the proper respect was a vital service they could provide. The national organization of riders’ mission statement is: “We stand for those who stand for us.” “Our organization is a respect organization,” Cottle said. “At the wishes of the

November 24, 2010

Photos by Dave Angell

Uniformed military personnel presented Reifert’s family with the colors “on behalf of a grateful nation.”

family, we will meet with them at the airport when their soldier is flown in from Dover. We’ll escort them to the funeral. We’ll stand at the funeral home and then we’ll stand here like today at the funeral and escort them also to the cemetery. Our place today is to honor Shane for his service. He laid his life down for us, for our freedom in America. His family will pay the price for our freedom every day of their life.” Gabor was pleased with the turnout. “Everything has gone as planned in regards to it being a very solemn event for the young soldier.” Marine City Police Chief Don Tillery thanked surrounding departments for their support. “I am extremely pleased with the assistance received for this event. The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, Algonac Police, Marysville Police, Marine City Fire Department, Tri-Hospital EMS, St. Clair County Emergency Management, Central Dispatch and Marine City government all came

Motorcycle-riding veterans came out to support the family and protect them from the words of Westboro Church protestors. The Kansas-based church group did not attend.

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Burial followed at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly. In lieu of flowers, the family has asked for donations that will be used to support Reifert’s surviving fellow servicemen. Donations can be made online by visiting m, which can be found on the blog section of The Voice website at The blog states 100 percent of funds given will be used to buy equipment, gear, clothing or anything else that would benefit U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

together to allow the funeral of PFC Reifert to be a respectful, solemn occasion. All citizens that were at the site were there to honor a man who paid the ultimate sacrifice for his country,” he said. Reifert was assigned to the 2nd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) out of Fort Campbell, KentuckyTennessee border. He was the first from his platoon to die in this deployment. His casket arrived at Selfridge Air National Guard Base on Sunday.


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Downriver Pages  

The first two pages of the 11/24/10 edition of the Downriver Voice

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