Eisinger new chair at Orrock Twp.

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
Orrock Township supervisors held their regular monthly meeting, which went on for three hours Wednesday. This was followed by a 30-minute reorganization meeting which was continued until Friday (May 9).
Sup. Ron Dolly submitted his resignation from the board, leaving a vacant seat. Sup. Mike Meier, who chaired the meeting, suggested waiting before appointing a new supervisor. 
The township board and Clerk Brenda Kimberly Maas are responsible to form a committee to choose Dolly’s replacement, says Township Attorney Bob Ruppe.
The meeting began with the sheriff’s report, submitted by Cmdr. Steve Doran.
“You had 152 calls for service which was up by 26 over the last month,” Cmdr. Doran said. “But overall in the first quarter you had 565 calls for service. last year at this time there were 595 calls.”
Sup. Mike Meier said he attended the Big Lake Fire Board, where subjects for discussion ranged from the need to repair the cement apron in front of the building, some leaky roof issues to hiring guidelines. They also discussed the possibility of organizing charitable gambling as a means of fundraising.
Spring Clean-up
Volunteers are needed for the annual spring clean-up day, said Clerk Maas. Orrock has been asked to provide six volunteers to help out at the event. Five people had volunteered but two dropped out, leaving Orrock three volunteers short.
Sup. Eisinger asked to have the township attorney look into what would be necessary to vacate an easement on property which has a deep well in the Winter Meadows Development. The old irrigation well is located on property owned by James and Sara Fisher and is not currently functioning. It has been capped. The motion passed, 3-1, with Sup. Shane Berg opposed.
“I think it is premature to go that far,” he said.
Fisher asked the board to delay vacating the well to give the DNR or other parties who might be interested in it time to investigate the possibilities.
“It isn’t costing anything to have it sitting there,” Fisher said. “There is no need to rush to judgement.” There was also some conversation about erecting permanent signage for springtime weight restrictions on Orrock roads.
“I’m not an expert but there is no way our roads can support 10 tons,” said Sup. Eisinger.
Some commercial vehicles, such as school buses and garbage trucks, are exempt from weight restrictions. Even when road weight restrictions are in place, residents can request a permit or waiver should they have to drive heavier vehicles through the township.
Road Vacation
There was some discussion brought up by Eisinger over the vacation of three township roads, 255th, 273rd and 239th. Attorney Ruppe suggested asking Livonia Township if they would care to take on the responsibility of maintaining two roads whose only purpose seems to be to connect the townships. No Orrock residents live on the roads and one of them  has become a dumping ground for trash.
The third has become basically a private driveway with only one property owner living at the end of it, although it is still plowed and maintained by the township. A public hearing has been scheduled for May 28.
Developer Clint Corrow said he owned land south of 273rd which he planned to develop at some point in the near future.
“I just wanted to show you what I was thinking about before this went to far,” he said.
Parking Restrictions
The board discussed initiating new parking regulations on some of the small roads around Ann Lake and Big Eagle Lake.
“Some of those roads are so narrow that when you have people parking on both sides of the street, and emergency vehicle could not get through,” said Sup. Eisinger. “It’s a public safety issue.”
The plan, which has yet to be drafted, includes allowing parking on only one side of these roads. The conversation came about after Eagle Lake resident Susan Rivers complained about a culvert and a holding pond by her property which has filled up with water. 
“Drainage is an issue. The culvert is blocked with sand,” she said. “When are you going to come and clean that up?”
Resident Joel Mayer addressed some concerns about dust and vehicles racing and tearing up the area next to the road where he lives on 239th Avenue. 
The board approved the list of pay claims and the treasurer’s report. The general fund balance is less than $7,000.
“We may have to move some funds from the capital improvement account next month,” said Treasurer Laura Jones. “It depends on what bills we have to pay. We don’t get more money from the county until June.”
Township Engineer Mike Nielson of WSB & Associates reported on the township spring road tour. Nielson said the most pressing need was to do crack filling and sealing after the long winter.
“Pennies spent on crack filling now will save dollars in the long run,” he said. “There are some gopher holes that need filling and some shouldering to be done.”
The board gave Nielsen direction to seek quotes to crack fill all the township roads. 
No quotes were received for mowing or brush and tree trimming in Orrock Township. Clerk Maas will continue to search for a contractor willing to perform these services.
Sup. Eisinger asked for an accounting of the salt and sand used in the township over the winter.
The meeting was recessed before the board moved forward with their reorganization meeting, even though they are one supervisor short.
Sup. Eisinger is now the chairman of the board. Sup. Charlie Gotzian was appointed to the road committee and made road authority. The vote passed three to one with Berg opposed.
Meeting dates were established. The board meets the last Wednesday of the month except for November and December. November’s meeting is scheduled for Nov. 19 and Decembers meeting will be held Dec. 17.
Pay for supervisors will remain at $15 per hour. Clerk Maas and Treasurer Jones pay rate was increased to $18 per hour, to keep it more closely aligned to surrounding townships.
The supervisors  authorized a pay increase for election judges from $12 per hour to $15 per hour.
“They are hard to find,” said Clerk Maas.


(From left) Lexi Freund (Big Lake), Betsey Cornelius and Ben Cornelius (Nowthen), Gunner Dorweiler and Colton Dorweiler (Princeton), Ben Manning (Zimmerman), Bailey Dorweiller (Princeton) and Salene Krueger (Big Lake.) The county fair runs from July 16-19. (Photo by Ken Francis.)

Dr. Lola Sutherland is retiring from clinical practice after 33 years in the Big Lake community. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards.)

SMITTY’S AMATEUR FIDDLERS CONTEST drew 22 musicians to compete in Big Lake this year. They were accompanied by Gilmore Lee.

LEE GERHARDSON, 47, from New London, was found dead in Big Lake near the swimming beach in 10 feet of water Monday. Cause of death is unknown at this time but foul play is not suspected.

Adopt-a-Road participants volunteer for Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and work to clean roadsides that border and bisect refuge land. This spring, from April to June, approximately six individuals, three families, and seven groups, such as boy and girl scouts and 4-H groups, volunteered to clean countless miles of roads. (Submitted photo.)