Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Men Who Cook - Last Call

August 30, 2011




Saturday, September 10, 2011

5:30 – 8:30 pm

This year’s MEN WHO COOK!! fundraiser will be at

the George Young Recreational Facility the first

Saturday after Labor Day weekend – Saturday,

September 10, 2011, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

Please join us! Your ticket to this great event can

be reserved by sending your check for $35 per person

payable to “Kinship of Iron County” to:

Sara Basso

PO Box 63

Iron River MI 49935

Please include your name as you would like it to appear on

your name tag. Rather than sending out printed tickets,

we will have printed name tags at the registration table.

I would also appreciate your address, phone number and

email address.

If you have any questions, please email me at

ironcountymenwhocook@gmail.com or call

906-265-4410 and leave a message. I will return your

call as soon as possible.

Tickets will be made available to the general public the

first week in August – so don’t wait! Send your check

today to reserve your date with MEN WHO COOK!!

Thank you for helping to make Iron County a great place!


Sara J. Basso

PS – If you are unable to attend this year’s event, please

consider making a contribution to Kinship of Iron County.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Iron County Service Model

Some time back, in a discussion with a local lifelong
resident of Iron County, she told me that at one
time she had worked at the local J.C. Penny store.

As the “low man on the totem pole” she was the one
who was required to take the odd lunch and keep
the store open while the rest lunched. She said it was
really great because the folks who came in to buy
something during that time had to buy from her.
She sold everything, including some very expensive
items, and that really helped her along.

This very nicely brings us to repeat an old theme of
mine, the service model.

On Friday, August 26, 2011, I visited the County Clerk’s
office in Crystal Falls to gather some more information
about the TIF lawsuit (we have an article or more in
the works) involving several elected officials of Iron
County, Iron County, Caspian and Iron River.

As the time approached noon I was told that the Clerk’s
Office closes at noon for a half-hour lunch. Interestingly
I had run into the same thing several years ago at the
x-ray department of the hospital at Iron River. Both
offices have more than one person involved in running
the office. The Iron County Clerk appears to have four.

So the issue of “what is the mission” of each of these
offices immediately came to mind. What is the function
of the County Clerk’s office? To serve the public.

How does one achieve that if they close during the middle
of the day, the same limited time that is available to
working people to get information, passports, and various
other services the clerk's office furnishes?

Obviously they cannot.

So who are they actually working for, those four ladies
who cannot seem to bear taking separate lunches in
order to be available to serve the public during normal
business hours? They’re already keeping company with
one another all day! They allege to be working for the
public. But such practices present a truly lousy service
model. I’ll go so far as to say “arrogant.”

I ran into a similar situation in the Extension Office a few
years ago. Julie Melchiori was away on business, and the
office help had been prohibited from providing the public
with any information unless it was approved in advance
by Julie.

On my way home I stopped at Snyder’s Drugs. I walked
past a municipal vehicle parked in the fire lane with the
driver sitting in it. I took care of my business. On my
way out, I stopped to find out what town the car hails
from. I was told it comes from Iron River. So I went back
to my car, grabbed a camera, and snapped the picture that
appears in this article.

Then another woman came out of Snyder’s, got into the
municipal vehicle, and the vehicle left.

I had noticed earlier that police cars that visit the Riverside
Plaza (this covers state police, county sheriff’s department,
uniformed prison/jail guards, and city police) invariably park
in designated parking areas. Unlike some parts of the US,
the police here demonstrate a proper respect for the public
they serve.

So then what of this municipal car and its mission? If they
were city employees on a private shopping excursion, why
were they using a car at public expense on time they were
being paid to work on our behalf? If they were on a mission
to buy for the city, why did it require two employees, at
public expense? Why was the shopper of the duo gabbing
with store employees?

Let’s assume, for a moment, that the duo had a perfectly
legitimate set of reasons for being there shopping on company
time. Why, then, did the driver violate MCL 257.64(1)(aa)?

(1) A vehicle shall not be parked, except if necessary to avoid
conflict with other traffic or in compliance with the law or the
directions of a police officer or traffic-control device, in any of
the following places:

(aa) In a place or in a manner that blocks access to a space
clearly designated as a fire lane.

(4) A person who violates this section is responsible for a civil

And finally, who is paying for damages this vehicle has
sustained? Did the damage happen during the course of
legitimate business?

These issues represent a cultural climate that has no
justification in the 21st century, especially where
government entities are involved. Indeed, the driver
of the vehicle appeared to be shocked that she was asked
what municipality the vehicle belonged to. It seems that
local governments in this part of the world are not used
to being questioned about anything. (This has been a
recurring theme, by the way.)

Hopefully that’s changing.

Opinion piece by Bill Vajk

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