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Tag Archive | "Ed Holtzlander"

Taking fire truck put people at risk


 

I am not a resident of the Village of Sand Lake, but I am in the area serviced by the Sand Lake Fire and Rescue. I was appalled when I read the recent article about one of the units being taken to a parade in an area not even served by Sand Lake when back-up is needed. Just thinking about the risk this created for those of us who often work in fields and woods not accessible to the big, heavy, awkward vehicles gave me a horrible sense of abandonment. Is there no common sense in politicians?

The Unit Being taken: probably Wrong

The Unit Being taken without the knowledge and consent of the Fire Chief, Ed Holtzlander; definitely WRONG.

The Unit Being taken and used to support a politician; NO BRAINER. Again I ask, Is there NO common sense in politicians?

Sincerely,

Karen Hayden, Ensley Township

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Missing fire truck sparks controversy in Sand Lake


By Judy Reed

Some tempers are flying hot again in the Village of Sand Lake after Village President Tom Norton took a Sand Lake Fire Department grass fire/medical truck without discussing it with the Fire Chief and allowed someone in the Curt Benson for Judge campaign to drive it in the Pulaski Days parade last Saturday, October 6.

The Post got a tip about it from someone earlier this week, and then called Fire Chief Ed Holtzlander to verify what had happened. 

According to Holtzlander, he went into the fire station Saturday and saw it was missing. “We already had engines 6 and 7 reserved to go to Cedar Springs for the Red Flannel parade and now this one was missing. We use it for grass fires but it’s also our second medical truck,” explained Holtzlander. 

He said he found out that Norton had spoken with a DPW taking the truck. When Holtzlander saw it was missing, he immediately called Norton. 

“I told him to he had 20 minutes to get it back here or I’d report it stolen,” said Holtzlander. “He told me he didn’t need permission to take it.”

The pickup did arrive back at the building about 20 minutes later. But none of the firefighters recognized the guys who brought it back.

The Post spoke to Norton about it, and he verified that he did take the truck without calling Holtzlander. “The Chief doesn’t run the fire department, the President of the Village does,” stated Norton. 

When the Post asked why he didn’t call him and let him know, Norton responded, “The Chief never calls me back anyway.” He also said he had a new phone and didn’t have everyone’s phone number in it.

He assured the Post that it was completely legal. “Under a general law village, a president can do that.” 

“We were asked by someone to send a truck to the parade. An email was sent out on Friday evening to the Chief and Council,” he said. “I got no response. People have smart phones with emails popping up all the time. There’s no reason not to see it.”

The email was reportedly sent at 12:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

“One of the reasons I delayed the email was to see if we were going to have rain,” explained Norton. “We’d had three days of rain so knew we wouldn’t need it. The only time it’s used is during a grassfire so this is a complete non-issue.”

But Holtzlander said that’s not the case. It’s also a four-wheel drive vehicle with medical supplies and they just recently used it to get back to where someone had fallen out of a tree stand.

But who was driving it in the parade? Norton said he swore a guy into the village so that he would be covered by the village insurance and legally be able to drive it.

In the email that was sent out (which Norton read to the Post over the phone) it was mentioned that doing this would help with grants by making other community’s parades look bigger. The Post spoke with some other Village sources (not Sand Lake) who said that they knew of nothing like that. Instead, they said they don’t allow the use of Village property for political purposes to avoid the look of impropriety.

“I’m appalled,” said Sand Lake Village Council member Danielle Hardenburg. “I did some investigating and don’t like what I found out at all,” she said. 

Hardenburg is also a firefighter and said she understands Holtzlander’s frustration. “We don’t even know the drivers, or if they were certified to drive the vehicle. I had to take a course, and then a test, and then a driving test, and then an annual test every year just to be able to drive it. The fire chief also signs off on who drives it.”

Hardenburg said the vehicle should only be used for when the village is responding to a call. “We just had a conversation recently about who can use village property,” she said. She also doesn’t think it should be used to endorse a candidate. “We should try to stay neutral.”

“This was a complete disrespecting of the head of the fire department by not asking to use the vehicle,” she added. “It shows extremely poor judgment and a complete disregard for public safety. This is a serious matter. I think he should resign and let president pro-tem Dave Dewey take over, even though he only has a month left.”

Norton’s term will be up this fall and he will soon be moving out of Sand Lake.

Hardenburg, who will run for Village President as a write-in in the November election, said she plans to call for Norton’s resignation at the next meeting.

“I feel Tom is incapable of performing his presidential duties. He’s abused his power. It’s a dishonorable service to the community. It makes our board look unhealthy and it needs to stop. I am so floored. What if we had been toned out and showed up at the station and the truck wasn’t there? What would’ve happened?”

The next Sand Lake Village Council meeting will be Monday, October 15, according to the dates posted on their website.

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