“I will be signing the (recall) petition along with my husband,” [township resident Kim] Croy said. “You have proven yourselves unworthy of the elected position you currently hold and nothing you say at this point could mend the rift that you have created by being so arrogant to those who once trusted you.” “Thank you for the letter,” township resident Wendie Switala told the township board. “It really clarified a lot of things. “Stop it,” she told them. “Stop the flyers, stop the attorneys, do what you’re going to do because we’re going to referendum it (the wind ordinance) anyhow. So quit wasting the taxpayers’ money. Our time to vote is coming.”
DOUGLASS TOWNSHIP – The Patriots for Montcalm group funded and mailed out a letter which was signed by the Douglas Township supervisor, clerk and trustee who are all facing a possible recall.
The letter was discussed at length during Wednesday evening’s Douglass Township Board meeting by residents who say the document makes it clear where the township board stands on the wind energy issue.
The April 21 letter was signed by Douglass Township Supervisor Terry Anderson, Clerk Ronda Snyder and Trustee Tom Jeppesen, all of whom are facing a recall attempt. Underneath the three signatures, the statement was written: “Paid for by Patriots for Montcalm.” The letter was mailed out on April 28 by “Patriots for Montcalm” from the address of PO Box 81 in Stanton.
The Patriots for Montcalm policy action committee (PAC) also has an address of PO Box 81 in Stanton and supported efforts to keep Sidney Township Trustee Jed Welder in office (Welder was recalled on Tuesday). The PAC lists Laura Engel of Stanton as its treasurer and Jennifer Jane Farnsworth of Grand Rapids as its designated record keeper.
Patriots of Montcalm is also affiliated with the Montcalm Community Advocates Facebook page (the page was originally known as Montcalm County Wind when it was created in October 2020, then the name was changed to Montcalm County Wind Energy Resources in November 2020 and changed again to its current name this past February).
As of Monday, the Facebook page had a listed address of 211 W. Main St. in Stanton, which is also the address of the Montcalm County Administrative Building. The Daily News on Monday asked Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Brenda Taeter about this and she said she had no idea who was running the Facebook page, nor did she authorize use of the county admin building address.
The Daily News emailed the Facebook page on Monday to clarify the address and ask who runs the page, and immediately received a response from an unknown person saying, “I am not sure how this occurred, but this has been mistake.” The Facebook page address was then corrected and is listed on the page’s website (patriotsformontcalm.com) as PO Box 81 in Stanton – the same address the Douglass Township Board recall-related letter was mailed from.
Regarding who runs the Facebook page, the unknown person who responded to the Daily News only wrote, “The Patriots for Montcalm runs the page.”
“Family, friends and neighbors,” the letter from Anderson, Snyder and Jeppesen begins. “In the coming days, an anti-renewable energy group may be knocking on your door asking you to sign a petition to have us recalled. We stood up for our principles and voted to have Paul Olson (who has signed a lease with Apex Clean Energy) on the Planning Commission. Paul has been rooted in the Douglass community all his life as a dairy farmer. As farmers and conservatives, we believe property rights are sacred and part of our nations founding principles.
“Over the last several years, we have watched Carson City schools, Gratiot County, Sheriff’s Department, township fire departments and the Gratiot County Road Commission benefit from their renewable energy development and the increased tax base. Also, in talking with farmers and township trustees east of us, they have related their positive experiences. We’ve also listened to the many people that live here that believe renewable energy would be a good thing for West Michigan and for Douglass Township. One thing we’ve heard repeatedly is that it’s a shared belief that property rights are important, that a landowner has the right to be a steward of their land as they see best. We want to thank the overwhelming number of residents that have reached out to the three of us in support of these ideals.
“We have worked very hard to always make sure the health, safety and welfare of our community is considered. Together we have serviced our community for around 30 years. Tom Jeppesen has been serving as a trustee for the last 24 years. Terry Anderson was a trustee for 10 years before he became your supervisor for the last 23 years. Ronda Snyder served as a deputy first and then as a clerk for six years. She has also been doing elections for the last 20 years before and during her time working for the township.
“We have been humbled by the trust you have placed in us. Respectfully we would ask you to leave your name off of this petition,” the letter concluded.
Multiple residents mentioned the letter during public comment of Wednesday’s township board meeting after township board business had concluded after just 12 minutes.
“You’ve been telling us for a year and a half that you aren’t pro-wind, but now you’ve aligned yourself with the Patriots of Montcalm,” township resident Sheila Crooks said. “I really appreciate the honesty there, finally. What I appreciate the most about the letter is that it vindicates us for all the times we’ve been bullied and harassed because we didn’t believe what you were telling us. Clearly we were right, so thank you for that.”
Crooks also referenced Tuesday’s election in Sidney Township in which Erik Benko was elected and Welder (who has signed a lease with Apex) was recalled by a 62% to 32% margin.
“Terry (Anderson) told us ‘we’re going to watch what happens in Sidney Township.’ Well, I hope he was watching last night when one of our candidates won by a landslide,” Crooks said. “It turns out that silent majority of pro-wind advocates may not exist after all.”
In response, township resident Kellie Jeppesen said that local citizens mailed out the letter, to which multiple audience members pointed out, “Signed by the three of them.” (referring to the three township board members).
“I compliment you guys for signing it,” township resident Melissa Bannen told the township board. “It really shows the township where you’re at. That letter, Kellie? You give enough rope, you’ll hang yourself. I love it. Thank you.”
“I’ve gotta say, I’m confused,” township resident Steve Crooks added. “I got the letter that was sent out and where I’m from, if you sign a letter, you endorse it and I’ve got three signatures on it.”
Township resident Kim Croy expressed disgust with the “pathetic, groveling letter.”
“I will be signing the (recall) petition along with my husband,” Croy said. “You have proven yourselves unworthy of the elected position you currently hold and nothing you say at this point could mend the rift that you have created by being so arrogant to those who once trusted you.”
“Thank you for the letter,” township resident Wendie Switala told the township board. “It really clarified a lot of things.
“Stop it,” she told them. “Stop the flyers, stop the attorneys, do what you’re going to do because we’re going to referendum it (the wind ordinance) anyhow. So quit wasting the taxpayers’ money. Our time to vote is coming.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding