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Serving Tuscola County since 1868

Vol. 151 Issue 52


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Vassar picks former Pleasant Ridge leader as new manager By Tom Gilchrist Reporter


AZBA hears presentation for variances on additional turbines By John Schneider Editor

NextEra Energy Resources representatives Monday asked the Tuscola County Airport Zoning Board of Appeals to approve variances on eight additional wind turbines associated with the company’s Pegasus Wind Energy project. No decision was made at the meeting, held at the Saginaw Valley Research & Extension Center, 3775 S. Reese Road in Denmark Township. The AZBA will convene again at the same location at 3 p.m. Friday to further discuss the variance applications, and likely make a decision on whether or not to approve them. Monday’s meeting began at 4 p.m. with the reappointment of three of the AZBA’s five members – Paul Hoose, Donald Clinesmith and Tim Kinney – whose terms expired Jan. 1. See AZBA A9


1.15.2020 Scan for


Dough for the pantry: Group revives charity By Tom Gilchrist Reporter

After the Vassar Area Food Pantry announced it was out of money, the Vassar chapter of 100+ Women Who Care pulled out its checkbook. Group members voted Jan. 8 to donate to the pantry, which serves residents around Vassar, Mayville, Millington, Richville, Reese and Frankenmuth. “God bless the community. We’re blessed to live here; it’s very caring,” said Peggy Barnes, 69, the pantry coordinator, estimating the pantry could receive about $8,500 from the group’s 85 members. Each group member pledges to donate $100, quarterly, to a cause or organization chosen by the group. Its last donation, of $8,100, went to the Caro Fire Dept. to aid with purchase of a battery-operated Jaws of Life set designed to free victims trapped in wreckage or beneath machinery or other objects. “I put an article on Facebook (Jan. 7), which was very hard for me, because we closed (Jan. 8) for the first time in 35 years,” said Barnes – who began

(File photo)

Peggy Barnes, coordinator of the Vassar Area Food Pantry, said the charity was “blessed” Jan. 8 when the Vassar chapter of 100+ Women Who Care voted to donate funds to the pantry. Barnes said the pantry was out of money earlier this month, but estimates the pantry could receive about $8,500 from the women’s group, whose members pledge to donate $100 quarterly to a cause or organization chosen by the group.

this is my baby. It’s very personal.”

volunteering at the pantry in 1986 – when addressing the women’s group. “That was very hard for me because



Commissioners challenged on court workers’ pay Reporter

Thanks to steps taken in Lansing, Tuscola County finally has a 2020 budget. On Monday, the county’s Board of Commissioners approved the 2020 budget. It calls for the county to take in $59,210,402 and spend $60,316,796, cutting the total in the county’s savings account from $19,314,802 to $18,208,408. Changes made at the last minute by state officials – the last change was approved on Dec. 31 – had the greatest effect on the county’s general fund. The changes restored funding to such things as the felon diversion program, the state’s payment in lieu of taxes, secondary road patrol and child-care costs. Those alterations allowed the county to avoid spending $205,661 out of its general fund savings and instead to expect to add about $38,508 to that savings. “What that does,” controller/ administrator Clayette Zechmeister said, “is help us restore $406,315 to the general fund and $54,401 to our special revenue funds.” And that was after the commissioners, noting signed agreements with its unions that called for three percent wage hikes, voted to spend an additional $25,081 to give non-union workers that same

three-percent wage hike. The budget originally called for two percent wage increases, a three percent increase in retirement costs and a six percent increase in health care expenses. The higher wages, plus the additional money from the state, raised the income and expenses for the general fund – the biggest of the 55 funds overseen by the county – from the $14.1 million in the preliminary budget to $14.3 million in the final budget approved on Monday. One point of some contention, however, was what the budget did not call for, at least where the courts are concerned. The courts, and other county offices, had made requests above the two percent factored into the budget for a variety of purposes and reasons. Circuit Court Judge Amy Grace Gierhart asked for additional money, a $5,314 increase for the court administrator, a $14,492 raise for the district court magistrate, $5,000 apiece for the district court probation officers and improvements to the district court clerk salaries of $2,428 and $4,596 a year. She also sought to eliminate the family court administrator position, replace it with a juvenile probation officer and increase the pay of the chief probation officer by $834, which netted a $32,562 savings to the Child Care Fund.

CARO | A2 City manager post attracts crowd Forty-six people have applied to be the next manager of the city of Caro.

Budget goes final By Mark Haney





City leaders here hope to hire Scott Pietrzak – a former longtime city official in Pleasant Ridge in Oakland County – as Vassar’s new city manager. Vassar’s five city council members voted unanimously to pick Pietrzak from among five candidates the council interviewed Saturday as Vassar seeks a successor to Brian Chapman, who left the Vassar manager’s post in the fall for the same job in Sault Ste. Marie in the Upper Peninsula. Vassar Mayor Mike Damm and Chuck Fabbro, mayor pro-tem, are working with the city attorney to negotiate a contract with Pietrzak. Jeff Mueller of the Michigan Municipal League, hired by Vassar to oversee the manager search, also is part of the city’s negotiating team, according to Ben Guile, Vassar’s interim city manager.

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Prosecutor Mark Reene asked for a $6,000 raise in the pay of four employees, a $70,000 new assistant prosecutor, a $45,000 parttime prosecutor, a $46,020 new administrative assistant and a pair of $15,230 new part-time secretaries. Register of Deeds John Bishop asked for $19,499 more for a new account clerk. Friend of the Court Sandy Erskine asked for 15 percent wage increases for herself and 12 members of her staff for a total of an additional $72,773. Animal Control asked to add a full-time officer at a cost of $66,724. There also was a request from clerk Jodie Fetting for a $6,001 raise in salary and a request from Sheriff Glen Skrent for a three percent wage increase for himself and the undersheriff, the pair amounting to $1,427. If they approved all of the additional funding requests, District 2 Commission Thomas Bardwell said, it would cost the county $219,436, with $106,789 of that coming out of the general fund. “I am not in favor of us doing any massive increase for anybody for wages,” District 5 Commissioner Dan Grimshaw said, “other than the two percent or three percent. I think it would be setting a bad example.”

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Those people are seeking to fill the seat left vacant last month by the departure of Michael Silverman to Mississippi for a similar job.

TUSCOLA COUNTY | A3 Habitat for Humanity offering help for homeowners Habitat for Humanity of Lapeer and Tuscola counties is again offering its Critical Home Repair program for eligible homeowners. The program offers $7,500 grants for home repairs.

REESE | B1 Challenge accepted: Reese offense adjusts, beats Vassar Reese didn’t cash in with its outside shooting Friday night, but the Rockets did business with their defense. Reese didn’t hit a 3-point shot in a 70-53 win over visiting Vassar, but the hosts pressured the Vulcans’ offense, helping force 20 second-half turnovers.

CARO | B1 Family tradition: Caro thrower to continue career nearby To watch Sheridan Dinsmore during volleyball season, as the Caro High School senior would rise above the net to deliver a spike, it would be easy to not equate her athleticism with track and field throwing prowess.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020, The Advertiser

— A3

Thumb Community thumb business


Habitat for Humanity offering help for homeowners THE RECIPE


By John Schneider Editor

Habitat for Humanity of Lapeer and Tuscola counties again is offering its Critical Home Repair program for eligible homeowners. The program offers $7,500 grants for home repairs. Last year, the program helped about 62 homeowners fund home-repair projects, program director John Kulczyckyj said. About two-thirds of the homes were in Tuscola County. This year, Habitat is hoping to help about 80 homeowners in the two counties. “To be eligible, you have to earn between 30 and 80 percent of the median income of Tuscola County,” Kulczyckyj said. “There is a sliding scale based on how many people are in the household. And the $7,500 can go toward windows, doors, furnace, wells, hot water tanks, roofs, anything. “We’re trying to reach out and get more people involved.” Habitat for Humanity is hosting a series of meetings to explain the program to prospective candidates. In Tuscola County, meetings will be held in Caro at the Tuscola County Medical Care Community Business Annex, 1285 Cleaver Road. The meetings are scheduled for 1-3:30 p.m. Jan. 23, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Jan. 25 and from 4:30-7 p.m. on Feb. 13. Lapeer County meetings will be held at the Mayfield Township Hall, 1900 N. Saginaw St., from 1-3:30 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday and from 4:30-7 p.m. Feb. 6. Applications will be available at the orientation meetings. Those interested in attending are asked to reserve a spot by calling 810-664-7111. The program is open to homeowners who own not only own the dwelling, but also the property the building sits on. Anyone whose name is on the home’s title must live in the home. “It’s first come, first serve,”

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Please stop by my blog, Lynn’s Musings From a Deep Well at www. lseckerle.word press. com. Send recipes and requests to The Recipe Exchange at lynneckerle@gmail. com.


(File photo)

Habitat Humanity of Lapeer and Tuscola counties is hosting orientation meetings over the next couple of weeks to provide community members with information about its Critical Home Repair program, which provides $7,500 grants for eligible homeowners.

Kulczyckyj said. “We’re pretty excited, this is a busy time of year for us. We’ve had as many as 90 people at these meetings. We want them to call ahead of time to reserve a spot, because there’s always more people than we expect.” The Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis heads the grant program, which provides hundreds of thousands of dollars for eligible homeowners. A local member of the Federal Home Loan Bank is Mayville State Bank, which provided $84,000 for home-repair grants associated with the Habitat program in 2018. In addition to the federal loan grants, the Habitat program also offers additional funding through a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant program for homeowners 62 and older. That grant is


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for $10,000 and those eligible also can apply for a USDA loan, which would include a 1.5 percent interest rate over 20 years. A one-person household must have a gross annual income of between $12,350 and $32,900 to qualify for the grant. A two-person household must earn between $16,460 and $37,600 to qualify and a four-person household must earn between $25,100 and $46,950. For a full listing of income requirements by family size, call 810-664-7111 or visit html. John Schneider is editor of The Advertiser. He can be reached at john@


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WILLIE Do you like Tuxedo cats? Do you like friendly, loving, lap cats? Do you like playful and entertaining cats? Well, I’m none of those. JUST KIDDING! I’m ALL of those and more!! I’m around 6 months old, fixed, and up to date on all of my vet work. I’ve been in foster care for awhile and nobody understands why I haven’t been adopted yet. Life is good here with three square meals a day and plenty of toys, but it’s not the same as having my very own family. I’m hoping that someone will adopt me soon so I can make their life complete! Please call Karen at (989) 670-6717 for adoption details. “Like” Cass River Pet FriendZ on Facebook and visit www.



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Crepes: 1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips 3 T butter 1 c flour 1 c confectioners’ sugar 4 eggs 1/2 c milk 1/2 c water 1T vanilla 1 t salt Melted butter Confectioners’ sugar Filling: 3-8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened 3/4 c confectioner’s sugar 1/2 c milk 2 T grated orange rind DIRECTIONS: Crepes – Melt chocolate chips and butter in a pan over hot water. Pour into a blender container along with flour, confectioners’ sugar, eggs, milk, water, vanilla and salt. Blend until smooth. Brush a crepe pan or skillet with melted butter. When sizzling, pour 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan. Turn and tip pan immediately to coat bottom. Cook until crepe begins to dry, turn and cook a few more seconds. Remove from pan. Repeat with remaining batter. Spread 2 tablespoons of filling over each crepe. Roll up jelly-roll style. Place on a serving platter and dust with confectioners’ sugar. Filling – Combine cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, milk and orange rind in a large bowl. Beat until creamy and smooth. Makes 30 crepes. GALLIANO CREPES Crepes: 1 1/2 c milk 1 c cold water 6 egg yolks 2 t sugar 1/3 c Galliano liqueur 3 c sifted flour 2/3 c butter, melted Sauce: 2-12 oz jars apricot preserves 1/2 c Galliano liqueur Juice of 2 limes DIRECTIONS: Crepes – Place milk, cold water, egg yolks, sugar, Galliano liqueur, flour and butter in a blender or food processor. Process until smooth. Let batter rest for 2 hours. Lightly grease a small, shallow skillet. Heat over mediumhigh temperature. Pour 1/4 cup of batter into pan. Tilt to coat bottom in a thin layer. Cook for 1 minute, flip and cook the second side for 30 seconds. Slide crepes onto a plate. Cover with aluminum foil and leave at room temperature. Sauce – Combine preserves, Galliano and lime juice in a large skillet. Simmer gently. Place 1 crepe at a time to sauce. Gently fold into quarters and place on a serving plate. Repeat with remaining crepes. Makes about 24 crepes.

A6 — Wednesday, January 15, 2020, The Advertiser

Vassar hosts GTC cheer meet

Friends of Music series to continue

(Photos by Greg Hall)

(Courtesy photo)

Pianist Wendy Wan-Hsing Chu is the next scheduled performer in Caro First Presbyterian Church’s Friends of Music Series. She is set to perform at noon Jan. 24 at the church, 203 N. Almer St. in Caro. Originally from Taiwan, Chu began playing piano at age 4. She has performed at festivals, concerts, master classes and has been featured on PBS. She earned a master’s degree in piano performance and music education from Central Michigan University. A reception in the church parlor will follow the concert.

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Above: On Thursday, Vassar played host to the first Greater Thumb Conference competition of the competitive cheer season. Vassar placed third. Pictured are (from left) Amelia Atwood, Emma Hook, Breanna DeLorey, Raven Shelters, Alyssa Baron, Destiney Biston and Teresa Puebla. Standing in back is Paris Riedel.

Right: Amelia Atwood is tossed in the air during Thursday’s Vassarhosted Greater Thumb Conference meet. Preparing to catch her are Vassar teammates (from left) Destiney Biston, Breanna DeLorey and Emma Hook.


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Vassar competitive cheer member Destiney Biston is hoisted in the air Thursday by teammates (from left) Emma Hook, Raven Shelters and Breanna DeLorey. The Vulcans placed third at the Greater Thumb Conference competitive cheer meet.


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On Thursday, Vassar hosted the first Greater Thumb Conference competitive cheer meet of the year. Here, Alyssa Baron is on the shoulders of Paris Riedel during the competition.

A10 — Wednesday, January 15, 2020, The Advertiser


A push for private vows Weddings are very special occasions for two people who are in love. That’s why many couples want close family and friends nearby when they tie the knot. But even the happiest couples may express some nervousness about one particular part of traditional wedding ceremonies. Wedding vows are a way for couples to profess their love for each other. However, many couples who want to write their own vows are hesitant to say them aloud in front of an audience. If couples are intimidated by a heartfelt recital of their vows in front of a crowd, then exchanging vows in private may be for them. Wedding planners and industry experts say that private vows have become very popular. While the vows do not replace the public exchange that seals the marriage from a legal standpoint, they can be words shared in a private moment before the actual ceremony itself. A quiet moment alone allows couples to shed private tears and share a special moment before they make haste for the altar. The Knot, a premier wedding planning resource, notes that there are many reasons to share private vows. • You do not like being in the spotlight or become shy in front of crowds.

• There are words you would like to share with your future spouse that are deeply private, and you don’t want to express those feelings to every person at the wedding. • You do not want to censor your thoughts or words. • You desire an intimately private and personal moment together before all of the fanfare and rush of the wedding. • You’d like to recite loving words in a native language that some guests may not understand. • You desire the potential for some very great candid photos if you invite the photographer to be there at a distance.

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• You want to create a lasting memory that is only yours as a couple to share. The popularity of private vows exchanged before a wedding ceremony is growing. This growing trend provides yet another way for couples to personalize their weddings.


More couples are embracing edgy, adventurous weddings Brides and grooms once felt compelled to conform to the trappings of traditional weddings. From uber-romantic vows to pastel colors to the penultimate white tiered cake, various wedding components were long considered must-haves. But modern couples are increasingly expressing their individuality, and even embracing more edgy and adventurous elements, when planning their weddings. According to The Knot, a leading bridal resource and information site, today’s weddings are not what they were just a few years ago. Bold colors, exotic cakes and nontraditional foliage, are just some of the elements modern couples are embracing to set their weddings apart.

Adventurous locales Vineyards and catering halls can be great places to tie the knot, but couples who like to push the envelope are looking to more adventurous locales to impart their unique spin on their weddings. Sharing vows atop a mountain crest at the end of a favorite hiking trail or on a roller coaster at a theme park that harkens back to a first date are some adventurous places to tie the knot.

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Couples may want to break with tradition by offering a wide selection of foods at their receptions. These foods can include items that fit with their specific ethnic cuisines, gourmet comfort foods (think cocktail franks wellington), or foods that fit with their dietary choices, such as organic or vegan options. Work with a caterer to provide a variety of tasty choices.

Bold wardrobe choices Brides can put new spins on their gowns by adding color and texture. Sequins, bold embroidery, shorter hemlines, and whatever adventurous fashion style you want to impart can be considered. If white isn’t your thing, that’s okay, too. Yellow and slate gray look great together. Gentlemen can choose to wear a black suit or any combination of color and style they want to make a dramatic impression.

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Challenge accepted: Reese offense adjusts, beats Vassar By Tom Gilchrist Reporter

(Photo by John Schneider)

Caro senior Sheridan Dinsmore on Friday signs a letter of intent to compete in track and field for Saginaw Valley State University while surrounded by her family. Dinsmore was runner-up in the shot put and discus at the 2019 Division 3 track and field state championships. From left to right are Steven Dinsmore (brother), Doug Dinsmore (father) and Leah Dinsmore (mother).


Family tradition: Caro thrower to continue career nearby By John Schneider Editor

To watch Sheridan Dinsmore during volleyball season, as the Caro High School senior would rise above the net to deliver a spike, it would be easy to not equate her athleticism with track and field throwing prowess. But it’s that athletic ability which allows Dinsmore to throw the shot put and discus further than just about everyone.

1-6 p.m. tune in with

The Mitch








Friday, surrounded by family, coaches and friends, Dinsmore, the daughter of Doug and Leah Dinsmore, signed a National Letter of Intent to continue her track and field career at Saginaw Valley State University. “She’s a phenomenal technician,” said Caro track and field coach Jeff Schember. “She’s very fast and explosive, and she really enjoys throwing so she works at it.


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Reese didn’t cash in with its outside shooting Friday night, but the Rockets did business with their defense. Reese didn’t hit a 3-point shot in a 70-53 win over visiting Vassar, but the hosts pressured the Vulcans’ offense, helping force 20 second-half turnovers. “We won because we played defense,” said Brian Kern, coach of the (Photo by John Cook) Rockets, who improved Reese’s Damarquss Palmreuter (left) competes for to 5-2 overall and 2-0 a loose ball with Vassar’s Matthew Amend during a in the Greater Thumb Friday Greater Thumb West contest. Palmreuter scored Conference’s West a game-high 15 points as the Rockets won 70-53. Division with the victory. “(Vassar) came and they Rockets, while Darnell Davis came off played hard on both ends, and it made the bench to tally 10. it tough for us. They gave us shots and The game was tied, 14-14, after one we did not shoot well. We’re capable of quarter as Vassar – under coach Josh shooting way better.” Kennard – employed a man-to-man Reese sophomore Damarquss defense that sagged back and stayed Palmreuter drove to the basket close to the basket, with the exception repeatedly, scoring seven of his game- of the defender guarding Reese senior high 15 points in the fourth quarter. Johnson. Bryce Brechtelsbauer added 14 points and Isaac Johnson tossed in 13 for the See REESE B2

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SUNDAY, JANUARY 26-2020 at 6:00 PM


Jeff Keaton, Founder and CEO of RenewaNation, will be leading a discussion about the vision and interest in starting a non-denominational Christian school in the Tuscola area. He and his team will discuss, inspire and equip those who attend with what it takes to give children a biblical worldview education. This evening is open to any parents or people interested in learning and/or becoming a key role in making this vision a reality.

Date: Sunday, Jan. 26 • Time: 6pm Location: The Lighthouse Neurological Rehabilitation Center 1655 East Caro Road, Caro, 48723

Please RSVP to Brenda (989)553-6110 by Jan. 24


B10 — Wednesday, January 15, 2020, The Advertiser

Profile for Tuscola County Advertiser

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