Written by DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer
Thursday, 18 July 2013 10:33
WALBRIDGE - Tragedies have struck three village officials and their families.
At Wednesday's council meeting, Mayor Ed Kolanko said tax commissioner Patty Crawford's home at 204 Guy St. is a total loss after a Sunday afternoon fire. She, her husband and son reportedly lost most of their possessions. No one was injured, and the son and family dog got out of the house.
Councilman Lauren LaRoe said a dinner and auction to benefit the family will be held Aug. 18 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the VFW Post 9963 hall on Main Street. Donated items can be dropped off at the village hall or police station.
State Bank is also accepting donations for the family.
Kolanko said the Crawfords have insurance, but almost everything, including furniture and clothing, was lost in the fire. He also said Patty Crawford is well known around town as the tax commissioner, volunteer and a former bank employee.
Two other employees have had personal crises, Kolanko said.
Police Chief Kenneth Frost, who is also the village administrator, had some damage to his Fremont home after the wind storm last week.
Pam Klotz's son was in a horrible vehicle crash this weekend, the mayor said, but he is recovering. Klotz is Walbridge's council clerk, administrative assistant and clerk of court.
Kolanko also announced that Pastor David Stogsdill with Grace Bible Baptist Church on Union Street has volunteered to open the church as a shelter in case of a tornado warning.
The village has been without a shelter since the elementary school, next door to the church, closed earlier this year.
After the meeting, Kolanko said 60 to 70 people could fill the church basement during an emergency. There are two mobile home parks in the village.
Councilwoman Sue Hart-Douglas pointed out that the church is not handicap accessible.
Also at the meeting, council approved a five-year lease agreement with Professional Transportation Inc. The company, which transports railroad workers to terminals, will pay the village $643 a month for the first year of the contract, with 1.5 percent increases annually.
PTI's building is located at 30801 Drouillard Road. Council voted in March 2009 to buy that property and lease it to PTI to keep the company's business in town. The business is responsible for about $20,000 annually in income tax to the village.
Councilman Ron Liwo, chairman of the budget and finance committee, reported that village income tax is down about $30,000 from this time last year. He blamed it on the elementary closing and a dentist office moving out of the village.
Also at the meeting, council:
• Heard a first reading on an ordinance leasing two copiers for the office and police station for $251 a month for 60 months with MT Business Technologies Inc., Holland. Kolanko said the copiers will allow employees to store records electronically, making the offices more efficient.
• Voted to extend the pool season until Labor Day. Usually the pool closes around the third week of August when school starts. But, due to a late opening this season, it will be open after Aug. 18 from 4 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 8 p.m. on the weekends. The pool will close early on Aug. 10 for setup for fireworks, which will be held around 9:30 that night.
• Approved placing temporary stop signs at Rehton Parkway and Windsor Drive. A safety committee meeting to further discuss the issue will be held Monday at 9 a.m. in the town hall.