October 22, 2014

Prison Watch will try to connect with newly elected officials

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STANDISH — Members of Prison Watch recently met to discuss a number of topics, including taking initiative to contact some of Michigan’s newly elected officials like Governor-elect Rick Snyder and new State Treasurer Andy Dillon.

Prison watch is a group of community leaders that formed in August to dispel rumors and inform the public about the Federal Bureau of Prison Officials and the future of the Standish Correctional Facility.

Standish City Manager Michael Moran said it is the job of Prison Watch to represent the community’s stance on the sale of the Standish Maximum Correctional Facility. He added that he will begin looking at the Michigan State Corrections website to locate contacts.

“We would like to talk and inform them on who we are,” he said. “It’s our job to bring (everyone) up to date.”

Mayor Mark Winslow said the group needs to talk with Snyder and other officials soon because they have issues to fix across the state.

“We (Prison Watch) need to let (Snyder) know who we are and what we are doing here right away,” he said. “We are looking out for our own community; he has bigger fish to fry.”

Curt Hillman of the Standish Downtown Development Authority said talking with Michigan’s leaders is important.

“We need to make new friends in high places,” he said.

Among the topics discussed at the meeting were a newly created petition for those who want to show their support for the purchase of Standish Max by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and information that will be appearing on the Standish Chamber of Commerce’s website.

Along with showing support for the purchase of Standish Max, signing the petition also shows support for the consideration of hiring of local residents to work at the prison.

The Chamber of Commerce will also have information for anyone who has any questions.

Moran said information will continuously be updated on the website as soon as it is available. A phone number will be available on the site for those looking for more information or who want to express their concerns.

“People will be able to call into the (Chamber of Commerce) or post to the website,” he said.

Hillman said he would like to see Prison Watch do its best to get all information out to the public.

“The entire community will benefit if the prison reopens,” he said. “We have to do everything we can to help this community.”

Moran said it does not matter how it reopens or who reopens it, he just wants to see the prison reopen.

“It does not matter to me if it is bought by the (Federal Bureau of Prisons), or if it is bought privately,” he said. “We just want to see it open.”

Anyone with concerns or questions about Standish Max can go to the Chamber of Commerce website at www.standishchamber.com, or call 989-846-7537.

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