By Rosemary K. Otzman
Last September, Joe Januszyk was named interim fire chief for Sumpter Township after the sudden resignation of his brother-in-law, longtime Fire Chief Leslie Powell.
The Sept. 11 township board agenda had listed the renewal of Powell’s contract as chief, when at the last minute, at the meeting, it was turned into a retirement instead. Powell signed a non-disclosure agreement with the township and so he has not discussed his abrupt departure.
On Feb. 26, the Sumpter Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously to promote Januszyk to the full fire chief position.
Trustee Peggy Morgan, board liaison to the fire department, said she put the item on the board agenda and wanted to say a few words on Januszyk’s behalf.
“I feel Chief Januszyk has done a fine job for the past six months … and he will bring a lot to us,” Trustee Morgan said. The rest of the board agreed.
A ceremony planned for the sudden retirement of another longtime firefighter, Marty Kalasz, was expected at the Feb. 26 meeting, but it was not held that night. At the Feb. 12 meeting Kalasz, a 40-year volunteer fireman who was fighting a disciplinary action for not signing a negative evaluation, instead agreed to retire instead.
In other business at its Feb. 26 meeting, the board:
• Approved two amendments to the Parks and Recreation Commission Constitution, as recommended by financial consultant Ron Traskos, paving the way for its move to become a 501c3 non-profit organization. A lot of paperwork has been done to send to the IRS and the final paperwork was expected to be sent out the next day;
• Approved plans by Joe Nasser for a medical clinic at the property he is in the process of buying from the township for $125,000 at 19130 Sumpter Road. Township attorney Rob Young said the final agreement will be brought back to the board before the official closing on the property. “It’s going to be a medical center and nothing but a medical center,” Nasser told the board. “… no retail, no medical marijuana…” Trustee Alan Bates said if he takes care of the medical center like he does his market at the corner of Willis and Sumpter roads, there won’t be a problem;
• Approved participating in the 2013 Senior Olympics, at a cost of $200;
• Approved selling at auction the “all-rusted-out” 1996 senior van;
• Approved the rezoning of 25891 Sumpter Road from R-2 Single Family to C-2 Commercial, as recommended by the Planning Commission. This is the property owned by John Chapman that has a 60-year-old commercial garage on it and adjoins other commercial property;
• Held a public hearing and then, during the regular meeting, approved a revised Community Development Block Grant budget for 2013-14 of $106,400 that includes: $6,384 for administration, $48,377 for Senior Service/Chore Programs (grass cutting, snow removal, plumbing/heating repairs), $11,639 for Senior Center Improvements (replacing doors that are rusting out); and $40,000 for demolitions. A letter from Peggy Peterson suggesting the township use CDBG funds to help residents move out of a deteriorating trailer park where she lives was read and placed on file, with township attorney Young commenting, “The letter is from a citizen and is not necessary the opinion of the township”;
• Heard a presentation from Larry Fix during the workshop concerning bringing Little League to Sumpter Township;
• Heard a presentation from Greg Keith, also during the workshop. Keith wants to use township-owned property for his Young Stars LLC program, that includes aerosol (paint ball) activities, which he said is very popular. The program also exposes kids to business, he said, and they start a business as part of the program. It is a for-profit business and was operating in Ypsilanti Township for eight months before it had problems that forced it to shut down. He said the township wanted permits for pallet structures. Attorney Young said other businesses that use township property (such as the credit union) pay a fee and Keith wants the property without charge. Young said they would have to look into safety and liability issues and invited Keith to present his paperwork on the business to the township offices for review. Supervisor Johnny Vawters said there is a church that has 10 acres down the street from its building that is willing to let Keith use it;
• Approved paying warrants totaling $826,218.57 with a roll-call vote;
• Heard Trustee Don Swinson announce that the Parks and Rec. annual Children’s Easter Egg Hunt will be at noon Saturday, March 23, (with a rain date of March 24) at Graham Park. The Easter Bunny may drop by;
• Heard Supervisor Johnny Vawters announce that a meeting was set for 9 a.m. Feb. 27 at the Van Buren Schools Administration building to discuss school and community safety. Representatives of the fire and police departments and elected officials from Belleville, Van Buren, and Sumpter were invited to the meeting by James Williams, head of building and grounds for the school district. The meeting had to be rescheduled because of the snow storm that closed the district on Feb. 27;
• Learned the second session of the annual dog clinic will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at the pole barn at the community center. The first session was March 2; and
• Heard Sharon Pokerwinski discuss debris in ditches and the letter received by her neighbor which was not deserved. She said Trustee Bill Hamm turned in the complaint. Supervisor Vawters said “The letter went out accidentally. Maybe somebody jumped the gun.” Pokerwinski also wanted to get information on how much money is left in the 2010 and 2011 Wayne County Park Grants allocated to Sumpter. She wanted to know if the township would be losing any of the money not spent on projects. Trustee Peggy Morgan said Deputy Supervisor Craig Moody, who had left the meeting, wouldn’t have a problem with attending a meeting of Parks & Rec. to account for the funds and projects, as he did about a year ago.
By Rosemary K. Otzman