November 25, 2014

Community packs house at prison rally

Posted
STANDISH — If there was any question about how the people of Arenac County felt about the closing of the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility, it was answered at the “Save Standish Max” press conference and rally at the Resurrection of the Lord Catholic Church Friday.

Approximately 400 – 500 people from the community and surrounding area packed the church to show their support for the prison. Those in attendance included 97th District Rep. Tim Moore (R – Farwell), State Sen. Jim Barcia (D – Bay City), Rep. Joel Sheltrown (D – West Branch), Rep. Jeff Mayes (D – Bay City), representatives from the Attorney General’s Office, the Arenac County Board of Commissioners, Standish City Council and Administration, Omer City Council, AuGres City Administration, the Michigan Corrections Organization, members of the Saginaw-Chippewa Indian Tribe, Standish Department of Public Works, Lincoln Township officials, Standish Township officials, Arenac County Treasurer Dennis Stawowy, 23rd Circuit Court Judge William Myles, Gladwin city administration and the Standish Area Chamber of Commerce.

Only one person spoke up on behalf of the decision to close the prison made by Governor Jennifer Granholm and the Michigan Department of Corrections (DOC), the Northern Director of the DOC, who was practically booed off of the podium during her speech.

The petitions that began circulating throughout Arenac County after the announcement made June 5 that the prison would be closed were tallied prior to the rally and according to Father Fitzpatrick, Resurrection of the Lord Catholic Church, who spearheaded the petitioning, the count was at 7,529 prior to the rally.

“And the numbers are still coming in,” he said. “I think that will get the governor’s attention.”

What was said at the rally?


Standish City Manager Mike Moran to the prison staff in attendance: You have kept our state, our community and the United States safe and we thank you.

Moran on closure: As far as Patricia Caruso (DOC director) is concerned, shame on you.

Senator Jim Barcia: I am convinced that we can find a way to balance our budget without cuts to public safety and without closing this prison.

Barcia on SMF’s 99-percent efficiency rating: You should be rewarded for this extraordinary achievement, instead you are being shut down.

Barcia on the next step: I will take your message directly to Governor Granholm. … Win or lose, we intend to fight. … This battle isn’t over yet.

Rep. Tim Moore: This is a regional issue.

Moore on what to do nextWe can’t just lay down, we need to fight. … We have to keep this positive energy that we have flowing here today

Rep. Joel Sheltrown on the prisoners: These are serious people that we have here (SMF).

I Sheltrown to the staff: I understand the difficulty and the danger of your job (aftr telling about one of his family members who was nearly murdered transporting a prisoner to a court hearing).

Rep. Jeff Mayes on the process of the prison closing: At a minimum, a review of the economic impact on the area should have been done.

Rusty Hilton from the State Attorney General’s Office: We are in a holy place, we believe in miracles, let’s pray for a miracle.

Saginaw-Chippewa Indian Tribe Public Relations Manager Frank Cloutier, who also as appointed to the Governor’s Council on the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth: Tribal Council met with the Governor on Monday and told her they are absolutely on the side of Standish and Arenac County. … My voice is your voice and I intend to use it.

Cloutier on how the Tribe can help: We are absolutely resolved to succeeding in this community more than we were last week.

Standish Mayor Kevin King: Lansing doesn’t get it. … The Governor doesn’t get it

King telling about his daughter’s reaction to prisoners being released before their sentence is up She said ‘That’s stupid.’ My 13 year old gets it.

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