Local units of government, schools receive 2 percent grants
STANDISH TWP. — A spirit of gratitude filled the Saganing Tribal Center during the Saginaw-Chippewa Indian Tribe’s 2 percent revenue distribution May 30.
The tribe appropriated about $627,888 in 2 percent grants, with units of government receiving $409,779 and school districts receiving approximately $218,108.
Arenac County was granted $153,699, with the largest portion of the grant, $51,907, earmarked for road work. The tribe allotted $45,000 for drainage district and parcel mapping, $20,000 for services and $16,632 for a new computer server. County Commissioner Jeff Trombley thanks the tribe for the funding and commented on past monies the tribe distributed to the county for operations at the senior center in Omer.
“They serve 55,000 meals a year,” he said. “They have seven vehicles they do home deliveries with every day. They have 10 visiting nurses.”
After the county received its grant, four cities near the Saganing Eagles Landing Casino — Au Gres, Omer, Pinconning and Standish — were awarded checks from the tribe. The city of Standish received $45,000, with $20,000 going toward rehab of the city’s Department of Public Works Building and $25,000 for Economic Development Corporation promotional tools.
City Manager Curt Hillman said the EDC had been posting promotional signage and paid for the production of a YouTube video in the past, and that the tribal grant would help with additional promotion.
“You’ll see that some of those are already out, but we want to do more of those,” he said.
Mayor Mark Winslow said the city had been taking steps to improve its appearance, and that city officials believed upgrading the DPW building was part of the city keeping up its end of the deal in beautification.
“It’s only fitting the city try to clean up its properties and facilities as well,” he said.
Omer’s grant for $25,500 was accepted by Mayor Alice Sproule, who said the monies would be set aside for the city’s recreation plan and fire department.
“Our fire department is running on just the funds that Omer and Arenac Township can give them,” she said.
Au Gres received $15,000 to continue improvements on boundary roads shared with Au Gres Township. Mayor Larry Malace accepted the check for the road work. Pinconning was granted $12,000 for bleacher foundations and a band shell at the Pinconning City Park.
Au Gres Township was granted $26,000, which was accepted by Supervisor Chester Pawlaczyk. The grant is for improvements to Proulx Road, as well as a $1,000 general allocation.
Turner Township Supervisor Herbert Keeley said the township’s $51,000 grant included $45,000 for a Freightliner fire truck. Kelley commented on the work the township had been able to perform on its roads with past 2 percent monies.
We just signed contracts this spring to do more work on Mackinaw, ditching and graveling, with the remainder of last year’s money,” he said.
Standish Township’s grant request was also for fire department equipment, and the tribe allocated $50,028 for Standish Area Fire Authority safety equipment. SAFA Chief Mitch Oliver said the fire department received money from the tribe even before it had a casino in Arenac County, and that tribal grants have positively impacted every truck in the department’s fleet.
“Every fire truck in our station has been helped by the tribe, up to and including today’s grant,” he said.
A grant of $2,652 was allotted to Mason Township, which included a general allocation of $1,000 and $1,652 to help with road maintenance. Whitney Township was granted $3,900, with $2,900 being set aside for the purchase of automated external defibrillators.
Pinconning Township received $20,000 for the Northern Bay Ambulance service.
Base grants for $1,000 were awarded to Arenac, Deep River, and Lincoln and Sims townships.
For local school districts, Arenac Eastern received the largest grant, being awarded $80,418. More than $79,000 of the grant will be used to purchase a new bus, according to principal Bill Lake.
Au Gres-Sims was granted $41,658, which the district plans to use for several improvements at the school, including $17,600 for Chromebook technology implementation.
“As you see with these tribal grants that you have allowed us, we focus very strongly on sustainability and curricular advancement,” said AGS Superintendent Jeff Collier.
Standish-Sterling Community Schools will continue to make technological upgrades and install cameras on buses with its $49,765 grant, according to Finance Director Mike Waldie.
“We currently have 22 buses and all but eight have cameras on them,” he said. “With this grant we can purchase five more, so our only buses without cameras on them will be our spare buses.”
SSCS Technology Director Ken Adrian said the technological upgrades will include installing wireless internet at Standish and Sterling elementaries.
Pinconning Area Schools received a $45,870 grant. Of that grant, $30,212 is being appropriated for the school’s industrial education department.
The Saginaw-Chippewa Indian Tribe grants out 2 percent of its Class III gaming revenue twice a year, with fund distributions occurring in May and November.