Letters to the Editor

Rotary Shoes for Kids benefits from newspaper sales

Dear Editor,
The Clarkston Rotary Club would like to sincerely thank all of those who so generously donated during the recent newspaper sales on local streets and holiday activities. The spirit of the donors was encouragement for those volunteers collecting, not only for their contributions but also for the appreciation of their efforts.
Shoes for Kids has been the Clarkston Rotary’s signature community service project for the past 39 years. It takes the collaborative efforts of not only club members but the many friends of Rotary and family members to bring each year’s project to fruition. The Clarkston Rotary has been proudly involved in a Goodfellow type newspaper sales and subsequent service project for the past 77 years.
On Dec. 9, 320 Clarkston Community Schools children were hosted at Oakland Woods Baptist Church and provided with new winter boots, shoes, hats, and gloves.
The Clarkston Rotary Club and all of the many volunteers would like to say thank you to the Clarkston community as collectively, “We Can Make a Difference in a Child’s Life.”
The Clarkston Rotary would like to express its gratitude and appreciation by acknowledging the following groups, organizations and businesses for the success of this year’s program:
A special thank you to The Clarkston News, Jim Sherman, publisher, and Don Rush, assistant publisher, and their staff for preparation and publication of the special Goodfellow edition, as well as the efforts of Rotarian Mary Sloan in bringing the paper to print.
We are truly grateful to Oakland Woods Baptist Church, Pastor Sheridan and their congregation for hosting the annual shoe distribution day. To their church members for volunteering their time to help insure that both projects are an absolute success.
To Boy Scout Troop #199 and their troop leaders for organizing troop members in collecting donations at three holiday event locations. They exemplify everything a community looks for from its future leaders. Troop #199 has provided continuous support to this community service project for the past 19 years.
To Cub Scout Pack #499 for participating in their fifth year of selling newspapers at Neiman’s Family Market. The enthusiasm and efforts of the scouts did not go unnoticed.
To the Clarkston Optimists for their continued support with the Opti-Socks program.
To the Clarkston Area Lions Club for providing free eye exams to all of the families attending.
To the City of the Village of Clarkston for providing their warm DPW garage for use as a newspaper headquarters.
To Lighthouse of Oakland County, and the Clarkston Community Schools administration, social workers, teachers and staff for their efforts and support of the “Shoes for Kids” program.
To MPK Photo and Mark Kelly for building family memories through the family portraits and photos taken with Santa throughout the day.
To Jim Jacques for spending the entire day in a warm red suit making kids laugh and smile as they tell Santa what they want for Christmas.
To Neiman’s Family Market for permitting Cub Scouts to learn community service by selling newspapers at their Clarkston store and their continued support of the Clarkston Rotary’s many community service projects.
To Hamlin Pub, Brioni’s Café and Deli, and Tim Horton’s on Maybee for their commitment and dedication in supporting the many volunteers involved over the two weekends.
A special thank you to the Clarkston elementary schools who hosted their annual Hat, Mitten and Glove Tree collections. Their continued support provides variety for the attending children as well as extending the program further into the community.
To all of the volunteers, friends, and family members of the Clarkston Rotary Club who gave so generously of their time, energy, and donations to make this year’s events a true gift. It is the dedication and commitment of the almost 300 volunteers over the two weekends that ultimately benefits so many Clarkston children.
Clarkston Rotary Club and
Joel DeLong, Shoes for Kids chair

Kudos to Team RUSH for leading lights parade

Dear Editor,
Thank you, Team RUSH, for an outstanding job executing yet another great Holiday Lights Parade.
I was thrilled to see our Clarkston area community come together to produce a fantastic evening for our families, the children and to show our support to community groups.
(Kurt) KR Richardson and his team of coaches along with the 2017 State Champions Clarkston High School Football team were on hand and the sense of pride was contagious.
Of course, you doubled down this year with the Santa float; the Big Guy and Mrs. Claus (who looked exceptionally regal) were at their finest as the community welcomed them to our city to participate in the holiday festivities.
My heart is filled with an overwhelming sense of pride and gratitude. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you; to all who participated in this event. It was yet another brilliant facet in the gemstone that we call our city and our home.
Mayor Steve “Santa” Percival

A call to City Council members to support information freedom or step aside

Dear Editor,
At the Dec. 11, 2017, City Council meeting, I asked what the information policy is for the city since the city’s documented policy is so different from what has been stated by attorneys representing the city in the Oakland County Circuit Court and Michigan Court of Appeals for a Freedom of Information Act challenge that has been going on for two years.
I received no answer.
There is no record of the city council deciding to go to court on this matter. There is no record of the council having knowledge of what their attorneys were stating in court on the city’s behalf until they were informed of it by members of the public. There is no record that the attorneys representing the city informed the city of their plan and strategy. In fact, there is no record that the city denied the FOIA request that has caused two years of legal battles and reportedly hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal expenses. The city attorney admitted to the council he, not anyone in the city hall, decided not to provide the disputed documents.
Then the Michigan Municipal League (MML), who provides the city’s legal insurance, got involved presumably at the urging of the city’s attorneys and stated to the Michigan Court of Appeals that Michigan’s 41 year old Freedom of Information Act does not apply to local governments at all.
I communicated with Dan Gilmartin, executive director and CEO of MML and asked if this was truly the position of the MML. His response was, “That isn’t an accurate representation of the League’s position. We teach our people to embrace FOIA at evey(sic) turn. The cases before the court are problematic for other reasons.”
He did not elaborate on what the other reasons are and did not deny the MML’s stated position in the Court of Appeals that, “State officers and employees are subject to FOIA, but officers and employees of municipal and local units of government are not.”
The city’s web site says the “City of the Village of Clarkston follows the State of Michigan Freedom of Information Act Policy and Procedures” and “Records regarding City business are always available to the public.” I don’t think anyone has disagreed the denied FOIA requests were for work done by city attorney Tom Ryan regarding city business, he was paid for that work with city funds, and the work must have been requested to be done by the city or there would be no reason for him to do it and be paid by the city. We know the information withheld was in regards to matters being deliberated by the city council.
Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act clearly states, “It is the public policy of this state that all persons,…are entitled to full and complete information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of those who represent them as public officials and public employees, consistent with this act. The people shall be informed so that they may fully participate in the democratic process.”
I request that every member of the council respond to the request I made at the Dec. 11, City Council meeting regarding the information policy for the City of the Village of Clarkston. If it is to have city related information withheld from the city council and public in contradiction to the intent of Michigan law, council resolutions and publicly acknowledged city policies, I ask that you resign from office immediately as you are in violation of your oath of office, the City Charter, council resolutions, your responsibilities to the public you were elected to represent and you do not want to be informed and participate in the democratic process.
Cory Johnston

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