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NorthEastern Michigan’s Newspaper



Today’s weather

Mostly sunny High: 61 Low: 50





Hillman tops Fairview in North Star League volleyball. 1B.

Energy-efficient AHS teacher publishes first book. 7A. lights on their way to NLA. 5A.

Chance of rain tonight. Forecast, 8A.

City plan to be addressed

Checking flow

By STEVE SCHULWITZ News Staff Writer

In 2007 the City of Alpena drafted a comprehensive plan that outlines some of the goals it would like to achieve in the future. The state requests the plan be review and amended as needed every five years and Planning and Development Director Greg Sundin thinks there are a few critical goals that should be included when the plan is updated. Sundin recommended to the Alpena Planning Commission that five elements be considered. The first would be the support of business incubators that would help local entrepreneurs grow small businesses from the ground up, from under one roof. The second is to continue for the continued growth of fiber optic communication. Fiber currently is provided for educational institutions and nonprofit organizations, but Sundin

thinks making it available to private enterprise would help bolster the local economy. “It is the key to any community’s economic growth. It is vital,” Sundin said. “If we really want to see substantial development, then we need to find a way to make it available to the private sector as well as the schools and nonprofits.” The third thing on Sundin’s list was the creation of a deep-water port in Alpena. He said many manufacturers are utilizing the use of ships over trucking and rail. The forth and final recommendation Sundin made was to have a “green” plan in place for city buildings. He told the planning commission how several buildings owned by Alpena Marc, LLC in downtown area are accredited for being energy effiCity plan, see page 2A

Shafto, city to host Grand Haven officials By STEVE SCHULWITZ News Staff Writer

News Photo By Krista Tacey

Mark Soik of R & R Fire Truck Repair of Northville checks the pressure on the freight line fire truck at the end of 11th Avenue Tuesday afternoon by the Thunder Bay River. Soik said the truck is a part of the Alpena Fire Department and is one of four trucks he would be inspecting as part of an annual safety inspection. He said the stream of water thrown from the truck’s hose is over 60 feet high.

Increase in bats in Northeast Michigan By STEVE SCHULWITZ News Staff Writer

Last year’s unusually warm winter and the dry summer that followed, has led to an increase in the population of a pesky animal in Northeast Michigan — bats. Duane Haske, owner of Pesky Paws in Alpena, said he has noticed a large jump in the amount of complaints he is getting that are related to the rodent and the damage they do to people’s homes. Haske said the number of bats that occupy people’s houses differ from situation to situation. One thing is for sure though, if the problem isn’t fixed, it can make those who reside in the house ill. “There definitely is an increase in the amount of bats and the amount of people trying to get rid of them.” Haske said. “Last year I had about five calls, and I already have had 15 so far this year. I think it’s due to the mild winter and the dry summer. It just made for perfect breeding conditions. I’ve been to a home that has only had a singe bat in it, then I’ve been to homes that have several hundred in the attic. It becomes a major health issue. The droppings have spores that can become airborne and could lead to someone getting histoplasmosis. That is why it so important for people to stay alert and aware.” There are a few simple things people can do to help determine if they have a problem with bats. Haske said the easiest is just to

keep a close eye on what is happening outside the home. “There are a lot of broad signs that someone can look for, but the easiest is probably just to sit outside in the evening and observe the house,” he said. “Watch the side of the home and look for points to where they may be getting in. A bat can squeeze into a crack that is only a quarter of an inch long, so it don’t take very much for them to get in. It’s finding those points that is important.” Haske said finding these little crevices take time, but there are certain marks to look for to determine where a bat is entering your home. “Look at your siding and look for brown stains. The bat’s hair is really oily and it will rub on the side of the house,” Haske said. “Inspect the building from the peak of the room to the ground and if you find and area where the bats are entering install a excluder. This allows the bats to leave the house, but not enter.” There are nine species of bats in Michigan, but Haske said primarily only three of them will dwell in a home. He said most like the cool, damp conditions of rock and cave formations. He said no matter what type a bat you have, avoid touching it because if bit, it could lead to a trip to the emergency room and the discomfort of a series of rabies shots. “The most common bats are the brown

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Shafto, see page 2A

Truck catches fire

Alpena Fire Department responded to a truck that caught fire in front of the John A. Lau Saloon Tuesday afternoon. The fire department was dispatched to the scene at 2:55 p.m. and arrived to find flames and heavy smoke coming from the engine compartment and spreading into the passenger compartment of the 1980 Ford Ranger pickup truck. Fire crews attacked the fire from the sidewalk to protect buildings nearby. The fire was knocked down enough to allow fire

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Increase in bats, see page 2A

The mayor exchange program in Michigan is a good way for city officials to compare similar cities in the state that mirror Alpena. It also gives local government officials the opportunity to take notes on how programs are managed, examine the economy and troubleshoot for problems the two cities share. This year Mayor Carol Shafto and a contingent of Alpena dignitaries visited the Lake Michigan port town Grand Haven. Shafto said a lot of thought goes into selecting a city each year, for various reasons, and this week Grand Haven officials come to Alpena. “We choose very carefully and target cities we think will bring the most similarities, learning and value,” Shafto said. “We have chosen Great Lakes port cities in the past such as Traverse City, Bay City last year,

Grand Haven this year, and perhaps Manistee or Sault Ste. Marie next year. This year Grand Haven selected us, which we feel is a real honor. It is nice to have a Lake Michigan thriving community Carol Shafto want to exchange and learn from us and with us.” Shafto said Grand Haven shares some of the same problems Alpena has. She said it was also beneficial to learn how the city attempts to find a solution to them. “As with our other mayor exchange cities, I was struck by the similarities in problems to be solved,” Shafto

News Photo by Crystal Nelson

crews to open the hood and completely extinguish the fire. The truck sustained heavy damage and there were no injuries. The truck’s owner, Joel Craner of Alpena, said he smelled smoke and then the vehicle quit running at the intersection of Fletcher Street and Second Avenue. He didn’t realize the truck was on fire until he pulled over in front of the restaurant. He then ran into the restaurant to call 911. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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TOMORROW IN THE NEWS Hoeft State Park to host event this weekend


Mostly sunny High: 61 Low: 50 Hillman tops Fairview in North Star League volley- ball. 1B. AHS teacher pub- lishes first book. 7A. Energy-ef...