HURON COUNTY – Wind energy development and planning commission woes continue to dominate county business.
At the previous meeting of the county board of commissioners, on Jan. 16, Commissioner Steve Vaughan said a change needed to be made in how the county planning commission conducts its meetings – following the agenda in an orderly manner and sticking to the purpose of the planning board.
Vaughan said the disorderly meetings are delaying the county master plan update, which can affect funding for projects. He also said he wants the county to have a sustainable future and that’s not being addressed by the planning board.
At this week’s county board meeting, Vaughan requested two motions be added to the agenda directing the planning commission “to begin the corrective process.”
Vaughan said county commissioners would be responsible for any consequences of the planning board’s actions or inactions. He explained that if the motions weren’t placed on the agenda, or if they were voted down, he would place them on the next agenda.
Commissioner Ron Wruble objected to voting on late motions. He said he wanted time to review any motions and would prefer language on a subsequent agenda.
Vaughan’s request to amend the agenda was defeated on a tie vote: Chairman Sami Khoury, Wruble and John Nugent voted no, while Vaughan, Todd Talaski and John Bodis voted yes.
In other business, the board accepted with regret the resignation of Huron County Register of Deeds Sheri Stanton, effective Wednesday, Feb. 28.
To fill this position, a committee of Huron County Clerk Lori Neal- Wonsowicz, Probate Court Judge David Clabuesch and Prosecuting Attorney Timothy J. Rutkowski will accept resumes until Friday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. for the purpose of conducting interviews.
Neal-Wonsowicz said if the committee cannot find a replacement by Wednesday, Feb. 28, the Chief Deputy Register of Deeds Sarah Durr would assume the position.
The board approved a motion to authorize the clerk to advertise for people to fill vacancies on boards: three planning commission members; two for the construction board of appeals; and four members to the mental health services board.
The board heard from Huron County Building & Zoning Director Jeff Smith that there will be a public hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. regarding extending the moratorium on permits, licenses and approval for wind turbine projects for one year or until the county master plan has been revised. The meeting hearing will be held in the Huron County Building, Room 105 (District Courtroom), 250 E. Huron Ave. (M-142), Bad Axe.
During public comments, citizens spoke about wind energy development and suggested the county do random sound tests to see if turbines comply with the county’s ordinance.
In other action, commissioners authorized up to $168,000 from the older citizens fund to the Human Development Commission for an additional day of hot meals; authorized Sobczak Construction to construct a server room in the county building for up to $3,975; and applied for membership to the Oakland County Courts & Law Enforcement Management Information System for up to $155,528.
The board approved a late motion from the finance committee to advertise for bids on 79 acres of county owned land to be farmed.
The board heard a presentation about children who experience or witness abusive situations and learned what the local community is doing to help children who have experienced trauma from these situations.
The Huron Trauma Team, which meets monthly, includes Karen Southgate from Huron and Tuscola Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Natalie Nugent, a psychiatrist at Huron Behavioral Health, as well as others from the schools and service agencies. A larger group, the Huron/Tuscola Trauma Team, meets periodically through the year.
Karen Currie, Director of General Education at the Huron Intermediate School District and a Huron team member, told the board a large body of evidence indicates that physical health, emotions, behaviors, relationships and learning are all negatively impacted by trauma during childhood. Growth and development can be negatively affected by chronic stress and childhood trauma can impact physiological health and the child’s ability to learn.
The Huron team is working to establish a network of people who can assist the children in becoming ‘resilient’ – despite a history of bad experiences. The team’s goal is to train all educators and human services agencies to recognize the warning signs of trauma and adverse childhood experiences and ensure staff members know how to find resources that will support children and their families.
Teachers are struggling as well, Currie said. In addition to teaching academics, teachers have to function as counselors because students have such significant psychological needs; abuse and neglect is often the cause of problems. She said teachers are required to report any suspected abuse or neglect, and that it isn’t the school’s responsibility to determine if abuse or neglect has occurred. The schools make a referral and the Department of Health and Human Services investigates and make any determinations, she noted.
Another team goal is to set up a countywide network to share information about trauma and adverse childhood experiences – an example being one red flag that a family may be struggling with multiple problems is frequently moving from district to district.
The larger Huron/Tuscola Trauma Team’s Mission is “To promote compassionate understanding and support for children and families who have experienced trauma by raising the standard of care and providing access to services in Huron and Tuscola counties.” A compiled list of counseling service providers available and willing to have people contact them for ongoing mental health services is at www.greatstarthuron.com.
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