Read through these articles Ive put in chronological order. Follow the links and watch the films,look at the pictures. Connect the dots and take a look at whats just under the surface. I think thefollowing information will help one see the Sappi picture more clearly. You can reach your ownconclusions and act as you best see fit from there.Enjoy! :) US Union, CEPPWAWU Protest at Sappi AGMICEM News release No. 11/2004 http://www.icem.org/en/77-All-ICEM-News-Releases/1124-US-Union-CEPPWAWU- Protest-at-Sappi-AGMUnion members of two ICEM affiliates rallied today against the anti-union practices of globalpaper company Sappi Ltd. outside the firms Annual General Meeting in Johannesburg, SouthAfrica.Representatives of US-based Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical, Energy (PACE) Workers Unionjoined union brothers and sisters from South African Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Woodand Allied Workers Union (CEPPWAWU) to condemn the companys aggressive attempts toweaken workers rights in both countries.The PACE delegation and CEPPWAWU leaders then gained entry to the AGM, whileCEPPWAWU members continued to rally outside the firms headquarters in the Braamfonteinfinancial district of Johannesburg."We have taken this action to serve notice to Sappi management that its refusal to deal fairlywith workers and their unions must come to an end," declared CEPPWAWU President PascoDyani, himself a Sappi employee at the Adamas paper mill in Port Elizabeth. "We are pleased tojoin with union members from America to build the international solidarity necessary to confrontSappis attacks on working families."CEPPWAWU represents workers at Sappis seven paper mills across South Africa. The union isin dispute with the firm over management demands to unilaterally impose so-called "labourmarket flexibility" that would severely weaken the unions ability to protect workers rights onthe shop floor.In the US, PACE Union members have been without new labour agreements for over a year attwo Sappi paper mills in Somerset and Westbrook, Maine. Sappi managers at those locationshave proposed to drastically cut workers income and health care benefits. Sappi has alsoproposed substantial cuts in retiree health benefits. PACE members at the two mills and a thirdUS mill in Muskegon, Michigan, have formed a bargaining alliance to reject managements
demands for concessions."Sappi stakeholders should understand that managements attempts to lower the living standardsof working families and diminish the rights of workers on the shop floor places the company ona collision course with labour," stated Keith Romig, Director of National and InternationalAffairs for PACE.The labour agreement at the Muskegon mill is scheduled to expire in June. Together, the threemills account for more than 80 percent of Sappis fine paper production in North America, and25% of production worldwide.The ICEM assisted the two affiliates actions in Johannesburg today. While in South Africa,PACE, CEPPWAWU and ICEM representatives will lay a foundation for more effectivecooperation among unions representing Sappi workers worldwide."Every Sappi mill in South Africa, Europe and North America is organized by trade unionsaffiliated with the ICEM," said ICEM Paper and Chemical Sectors Officer Marc Welters. "Bybuilding stronger bonds between all unions at Sappi, workers will gain the strength to dealeffectively with this companys hostile approach to labour relations."
Sappi Fine Paper reaffirms sustainability commitment http://www.reliableplant.com/Read/17098/sappi-fine-paper-reaffirms-sustainability- commitmentWith the celebration of Earth Day on April 22, Sappi Fine Paper North America on April 21announced that it will continue supporting Living Lands & Waters in 2009 and reaffirmed itscommitment to operating sustainably.As part of Sappi Fine Paper North Americas corporate sponsorships, since 2007, the companyhas supported Living Lands & Waters, a non-profit, environmental organization focused on theprotection, preservation and restoration of Americas major rivers and their watersheds. Lastyear, Sappi and Living Lands & Waters co-organized and participated in river cleanups inLouisville, Ky., and this year, Sappi will invite employees and customers to participate in futurecleanups to be held in the Midwest, which is where the organization is based. With Sappissupport in 2008, Living Lands & Waters activities included removing 250 tons of garbage fromAmericas rivers; reaching over 2,500 educators and students through educational workshops andin-school presentations; and cultivating over 338,000 viable acorns in their nursery as part oftheir MillionTrees Project."Sappi Fine Paper North America is pleased to continue its corporate sponsorship of LivingLands & Waters, for it is an environmental organization that is truly remarkable in its missionand its grassroots approach to cleaning up our nations rivers and watersheds. Our support forLiving Lands & Waters is just one of the many ways that Sappi is demonstrating our ongoingcommitment to sustainability," said Jennifer Miller, executive vice president of marketing andcommunications, Sappi Fine Paper North America.Sustainability is fundamental to Sappi Fine Paper North Americas corporate strategy and beloware highlights of some of its sustainability initiatives:Triple chain of custody certification: As of February 2008, each of Sappis coated fine papermills in North America – Somerset Mill, Muskegon Mill and Cloquet Mill – have triple chain ofcustody certifications to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Forest Stewardship Council(FSC), and Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) programs, andrenewed certification to the 2005-2009 SFI Standard, which was first achieved in 2004. Inaddition, the Cloquet and Somerset Mills are also certified to the Sustainable Forestry InitiativesFiber Sourcing program. All certifications were achieved through independent third-party auditsmanaged by Bureau Veritas.Offering products with post-consumer waste fiber: Sappi Fine Paper North Americas coatedfine paper mills use recycled fiber derived from post-consumer waste (PCW) to make Sappipapers available with 10 to 30 percent PCW.
Limiting contribution to greenhouse gases: Sappi Fine Paper North America is committed toreducing energy consumption and the use of fossil fuels in order to reduce the generation ofgreenhouse gases. More than 75 percent of all energy used in Sappis North American millscomes from renewable resources including hydroelectric power, and the burning of biomass andblack liquor. Sappis environmental initiatives at its mills have resulted in a 30 percent decreaseper ton in CO2 emissions across all Sappi Fine Paper North America manufacturing sites from2004 to 2008. The Cloquet Mill is certified by the Center for Resource Solutions as a Green-eprovider. One-hundred percent of the electricity used in the manufacturing of McCoy, Opussheets with 30 percent post-consumer waste (PCW), Opus web with 30 percent PCW and LOE,is certified renewable energy that is generated onsite by Sappi.Commitment to the communities where the company work: Sappi Fine Paper NorthAmericas sites build strong community relationships and donate and/or volunteer at local non-profit organizations, which include supporting programs in education, youth at risk and AIDSprevention.Achieving ISO 14001:2004 certification: The environmental management systems at Sappiscoated fine paper mills in North America are certified to the ISO 14001:2004 standard – theinternationally accepted standard used to demonstrate an organizations commitment to theenvironment.
Sappi Paper mill to close permanentlyPublished: Wednesday, August 26, 2009, 12:11 PM Updated: Wednesday, August 26, 2009, 6:08 PM By Lynn Moore | The Muskegon Chronicle http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2009/08/sappi_paper_mill_to_close_pe rm.htmlSappi Fine Paper North America announced this morning the permanent closing of its Muskegonmill, ending a 109-year tradition of making paper in the city of Muskegon.The company suspended operations in April at the plant on Muskegon Lake. It will not reopenthe massive industrial facility, leaving 190 union and salaried workers without a job.The decision by the South African paper giant to end its Muskegon operations was based uponthe "global economic downturn," company officials said."The permanent closure of the Muskegon mill, while an extremely difficult decision to make, isnecessary to ensure that we remain competitive in todays global marketplace," said RalphBoettger, head of Sappi Limited in Johannesburg.Mark Gardner, president and CEO of Sappi Fine Paper North America in Boston and a formerMuskegon mill manager, said the decision to close the operation is not a reflection on the localworkers. Sappi production workers are represented by the United Steel Workers of AmericaLocal 1015."We understand the hardship this decision creates for our employees at the Muskegon mill,"Gardner said. "Our workforce in Muskegon is very dedicated, achieving record productivity andsafety performance in the last year of operation. Unfortunately, the scale of the site made itdifficult to successfully compete against larger paper mills throughout the world."Workers have been hopeful the paper mill would reopen this fall but have braced themselves forthe worst, according to Mark Evans -- a 29-year veteran Sappi production worker and member ofthe Local 1015 bargaining committee. Union officials were told less than an hour before theformal announcement was made this morning."The Asians can sell the paper cheaper than we can make it," Evans said of the global realities."This is foreign competition killing the American worker again."
Sappi is now hiring an "advisor" to seek purchasers for the Muskegon mill but the company willnot be selling the property or its manufacturing assets in the coated paper or writing paper sector,Gardner said."We will be discussing with company officials the use of that property going into the future,"said Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington of the site that has nearly one mile of Muskegon Lakeshoreline. City officials are meeting with Sappi management Thursday, Warmington said.
Sappi Fine Paper North America Announces Public Auction of Muskegon Mill Assets August 6, 2010 http://www.na.sappi.com/aboutus/news/2010-08-6 – BOSTON - Sappi Fine Paper North America announced today that a public auction will beheld September 29, 2010 by LiquiTec Industries, in association with Can-Am Machinery, to sellthe assets from Sappis permanently closed coated paper mill in Muskegon, Michigan.Equipment from the Muskegon pulp mill, paper mill, and converting facility, will be for sale.Primary assets up for bid include a 174" wire width paper machine wet end, 2004 Bielomatikfolio ream wrapper, Jagenberg Synchro 86" folio sheeter, Jagenberg converting complex sheeterand ream carton packaging line, Voith pulper, and a MSK/Covertech automatic shrink wrap skidcarton line. For a list of the Muskegon Mill assets up for bid, visit: www.liquitec.net. Foradditional information regarding the auction, contact Cate Giltner with LiquiTec Industries, Inc.at 800-852-9252 or email@example.com.
AEDs Website http://www.biggerblast.com/ Demolition Gone Wrong (video) Uploaded by elitedata on Nov 11, 2010 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxdCwqJe1os Stack Demolition Falls Wrong WayNovember 12, 2010By JOSELYN KING Staff Writer With AP Dispatches http://www.theintelligencer.net/page/content.detail/id/548787/Stack-Demolition-Falls- Wrong-Way.html?nav=515SPRINGFIELD, Ohio - A demolition project went wrong this week for a firm associated withthe proposed removal of the Bellaire Toll Bridge.Advanced Explosives Demolition Inc. - the demolition crew featured on the reality televisionshow "The Imploders" - was taking down a nearly 300-foot smokestack at an old Ohio powerplant Wednesday when it toppled in the wrong direction. The motion sent spectators scramblingbefore knocking down two 12,000-volt power lines and crashing onto a building housing backupgenerators, officials said.No injuries were reported after the 275-foot tower at the unused 83-year-old Mad River PowerPlant teetered and then fell in a southeast direction - instead of east, as originally planned -seconds after explosives were detonated.Lisa Kelly, president of AED, said the explosives detonated correctly, but an undetected crack onthe south side of the tower pulled it in a different direction.
"Nobodys happy with things that go wrong in life, and sometimes its out of our hands andbeyond anybodys prediction. ... Were all extremely thankful no one was injured," Kelly added.In September, AED filed a legal complaint in Kootenai County, Idaho, court against DeltaDemolition and KDC Investments, Delta attorney Jeremy Domoczik confirmed. The complaintsurrounds the issue of whether AED or Delta Demolition/KDC owns the Bellaire Toll Bridgeand who has the right to take it down.AED purchased the bridge last spring from Bellaire businessman Roger Barack for $1. The firmthen reportedly sold the bridge to Krystle Chaklos of Delta Demolition - under the name KDCInvestments - for $25,000. Indications then were that KDC and Delta Demolition would useAED to take the span down with an explosion.
Smoke stack implosion: What went wrong? (w/ video)Company hired for implosion has perfect recordUpdated: Friday, 12 Nov 2010, 9:38 AM EST http://www.wdtn.com/dpp/news/local/springfield/smoke-stack-implosion-what-went- wrong%3FSPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) - 2 News has learned new information about the waywarddemolition that put Springfield in the headlines.Video of the smoke stack mistake made several national news shows.Company officials now say a crack on the side of the smokestack may be to blame in thisdemolition gone wrong.The Idaho based company Advanced Explosives Demolition was hired for the project. 2 Newshas learned the company has a perfect safety record.It is a small family based company, located in Couer DAlene, and the owners have beentoppling towers, smoke stacks, and blasting buildings for thirty years.According the companys website, they have no OSHA citations.Experts say demolition mistakes can happen, and are common.The company was imploding the Mad River smoke stack on Wednesday afternoon, but the towerfell in the wrong direction, crushing a power station, and toppling 12,500 volt power lines.Members of the media and spectators on the sidelines had to run for their lives, as power linescame crashing down toward them.2 News videographer said the power lines knocked a hard hat off a childs head.Many members of the media had commented about the proximity to power lines as they waitedfor the implosion."I said something to one of the guys, I said if that thing falls backward, its going to take out thelines. He says its not going to happen," said Hatcher."Then the blast went off, and it sat there for a minute. It was like, it just seemed like forever, andthen it started to sway backwards and immediately we knew that this is bad," added Hatcher.
Power lines snapped like twigs with the weight of the 275 foot tall structure."The lines were dancing around like jump ropes, double dutch. Two ropes going oppositedirections, just swinging around and you dont know where theyre going to go," said Hatcher.Officials were celebrating the fact that everyone walked away from the incident without ascratch."It was a close call, theres no doubt about it. 24,000 volts will kill you in a second. Theres nosecond chance," said Hatcher.Advanced Explosives Demolition is run by a husband and wife team. They were actuallyfeatured in a TLC documentary called "The Imploders".Our calls to the company headquarters in Idaho were not returned on Thursday.
Melchings Web Site http://www.melchingdemolition.com/ Melching Inc. of Nunica buys the Sappi Fine Paper mill property on Muskegon LakePublished: Thursday, August 25, 2011, 4:10 PM Updated: Thursday, August 25, 2011, 4:50 PM By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle http://www.mlive.com/business/west- michigan/index.ssf/2011/08/melching_inc_of_nunica_buys_th.html?utm_source=feedbur ner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+oak_business_review+%28Oakland +Business+Review+-+MLive.com%29MUSKEGON — Sappi Fine Paper North American made the stunning announcement Thursdayafternoon that a West Michigan demolition company has purchased its vacant mill on asprawling Muskegon Lake site.Melching Inc. of Nunica has purchased the South African companys Muskegon plant andwaterfront property for an undisclosed price, company officials said. The purchase includesabout 119 acres and nearly a mile of Muskegon Lake waterfront property in the city ofMuskegons Lakeside neighborhood."Sappi Fine Paper of North America slected Melching Inc. as the buyer based on its expertiseand successful track record in addressing industrial sites, strong long-term relationships in thelocal area and robust redevelopment plans," said Sappi Vice President Anne Ayer.According to Sappi officials, Melching is reviewing plans to redevelop the site for a "variety ofindustrial uses." Melching is a demolition, dismantling and industrial remediation servicescompany. Sanabe & Associates LLC was Sappis financial advisor in the transaction that wascompleted Thursday, company officials said.Sappi and previous paper companies had produced product on the Muskegon mill site for morethan 100 years. Sappi permanently ended operations on the site in August 2009 "due to industryand economic conditions," the company said. In 2010, the company had a massive auction of itsequipment.
Jonathan Seely FOX 17 Web Producer (w/video)8:54 p.m. EDT, August 25, 2011MUSKEGON, Mich.— http://www.fox17online.com/news/fox17-muskegon-paper-mill-sells-sappi-fine-paper- sells-former-muskegon-plant-20110825,0,2666326.storySappi Fine Paper North America announced Thursday the sale of their Muskegon Mill site toMelching, Inc. The Muskegon plant is a former pulp mill, paper mill and converting facility.Sappi closed the site in August 2009, citing unfavorable industry and economic conditions.Melching is said to be looking into redeveloping the site for a variety of industrial uses.In a statement published on the Sappi website, Sappi stated that Melching, Inc. was selected as abuyer for the site based on a successful track record with industrial sites, and robustredevelopment plans among other reasons.Melching is a demolition and industrial remediation services company based in Nunica,Michigan. Exact plans for the site are not known at this time.
Sappi paper mill in Muskegon bought by Nunica company7:00 PM, Aug 26, 2011 http://www.wzzm13.com/news/article/176900/2/Sappi-paper-mill-in-Muskegon-bought-by- Nunica-companyMUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - A demolition company from Nunica, Michigan has purchasedthe former Sappi paper mill in Muskegon.Melching, Inc. announced Friday that it has purchased the former paper mill site in hopes ofredeveloping the property. In a press statement, Brandon Murphy, the Operations Manager forMelching says that they are currently "working on a robust plan of redevelopment, and haveseveral interested parties."The statement goes on to say that they are looking for what is best for the Muskegon community.The first phase of the project will be the removal of obsolete equipment.Sappi suspended operations at the Muskegon mill in April of 2009 and permanently ceasedoperations at the plant in August of 2009.
Nunica company buys closed Muskegon paper millMark Brooky02:48 PMAug 272011 http://sip-phones.tmcnet.com/news/2011/08/27/5735675.htmMUSKEGON, Aug 27, 2011 (Grand Haven Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Servicesvia COMTEX) -- A Northwest Ottawa County demolition company has purchased the Sappipaper mill in Muskegon, which closed two years ago.Officials from Melching Inc. of Nunica announced Friday that they have purchased the formerpaper mill site in hopes of redeveloping the nearly 120-acre property on Lakeshore Drive, alongthe south shore of Muskegon Lake.In a press statement, Melching Operations Manager Brandon Murphy said that they are currently"working on a robust plan of redevelopment, and have several interested parties." The first phaseof the project will be the removal of obsolete equipment, Murphy said.The paper mill in Muskegons Lakeside district first opened in 1900 as the Central Paper Co. Itwas bought by S.D. Warren Co. in 1953 with about 700 people working there at the time,according to a website run by the S.D. Warren employees association. In 1967, S.D. Warrenbecame a subsidiary of the Scott Paper Co.Sappi Ltd., a South Africa-based company, bought the paper mill in 1994. According to Sappiofficials, market conditions changed over the next 15 years and it suspended operations at theMuskegon mill in April 2009, then permanently shut it down four months later.Sappi Fine Paper North America, which has U.S. headquarters in Boston, announced the sale toMelching Inc. on Thursday."Sappi ... selected Melching Inc. as the buyer based on its expertise and successful track recordin addressing industrial sites, strong long-term relationships in the local area and robustredevelopment plans," Anne Ayer, vice president of corporate development for Sappi, said in astatement.Melching Demolition was founded in 1986 by Doug Melching, the companys president. Itprovides demolition, environmental and asbestos abatement work in commercial, industrial andresidential markets.
Future of Sappi paper mill site in Muskegon likely to be industrial usePublished: Sunday, August 28, 2011, 6:03 AM Updated: Sunday, August 28, 2011, 9:31 AM By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle http://www.mlive.com/business/west- michigan/index.ssf/2011/08/the_future_of_the_muskegon_pap.htmlMUSKEGON — As large portions of the Sappi paper mill begin to crumble down, dont expectresidential condominiums, marinas, waterfront restaurants and art shops to sprout up in theirplace.It seems the future of the Sappi Fine Paper mill property on Muskegon Lake will remainindustrial in nature for decades to come. That could mean jobs with family-sustaining wages forMuskegon County residents.Sappi Fine Paper North America last week sold the massive 119-acre mill site at 2400 Lakeshoreon the edge of Muskegons Lakeside Neighborhood to Melching Inc. The purchase price of thesite on Muskegon Lake with nearly a mile of waterfront was not disclosed.Since the Sappi property sale was made public, the future of the critical waterfront site has beena topic of speculation throughout the Muskegon area, city of Muskegon officials said.Community leaders said the Sappi property sale was a significant development for Muskegon.In announcing the sale, Sappi said the new owners — a large demolition company in Nunica —will redevelop the site for “industrial” use. A statement from Melching late Friday indicated thesame, but no specifics were offered.“Melching … purchased this property in hopes of redeveloping the site and generating new jobswithin the community of Muskegon,” according to a statement signed by Brandon Murphy,Melching operations manager.“We are currently working on a robust plan of redevelopment and have several interestedparties,” Murphy said in the brief statement. “We are still seeking new plans for redevelopmentbut will be strongly influenced by what is best for the Muskegon community and its economicfuture.”
Doug Melching, company founder and president, told The Chronicle late last week that hiscompany had been working on the Sappi purchase for more than two years. He said his companywas investigated by the South African paper company and selected among five other companies."It was a long haul," Melching said of the deal. "For me, its all about Muskegon. We are taking ahuge risk but we have put together a great team that will make this happen."As the sale of the property was completed Thursday, new signs appeared at the paper mill plantentrance that included Melching Demolition and Dismantling, Lakeshore Environmental Inc. ofGrand Haven and HarborPointe Realty and its agent Mike Murphy.Those in the demolition and industrial real estate development sectors say they suspect thatMelching is the public company for a team that is supporting the redevelopment. They speculatethat other prominent West Michigan companies also may be involved in the purchase andredevelopment plans.Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington said he had a brief conversation with Murphy a weekbefore the sale was completed. He said the citys discussions with Sappi over the months sincethe plant closed in August 2009 makes it clear residential development is out.“In our conversations at the city with Sappi, I would suspect that there is a provision in the(Melching) buy-sell agreement that there would be absolutely no residential on the propertygoing forward,” Warmington said, adding that Murphy indicated the same. Murphy wasunavailable for comment.Warmington said Sappi offered the waterfront property to the city if the city would acceptenvironmental liabilities. Those knowledgeable about the Sappi property offer said the companywould not allow a prospective buyer to complete environmental soil testing prior to completingthe deal.Warmington said that without such environmental assessments, the citys attorney andenvironmental consultant advised the city not to take possession of the mill property.“The indication from the general manager of the mill was that there are no real hot spots ofenvironmental contamination but that the property has environmental issues,” Warmington said.“They didnt think there were any major environmental issues. I dont think there is anythingthere that the community needs to be worried about.”The environmental issues on the site are now the concern of the new owners. Melching officialsdeclined to discuss specific environmental issues concerning the property.If the Sappi site is redeveloped for industrial-type uses, the environmental cleanup of the site isset at a lower standard, thus saving the new owners and potentially Sappi major environmentalcosts, according to city officials and those with “brownfield” redevelopment expertise.
The property remains zoned “general industrial” in the citys zoning ordinance — the heaviestindustrial zoning available. That would allow for everything from further paper and pulpmanufacturing to a foundry or chemical plant, according to city ordinance.“As a community, we are excited about the potential for new jobs,” Warmington said. “Wecertainly hope for more rather than fewer jobs but realize we will not replace the 1,000 jobs thatSappi once had at the mill.“Anyone who looks to operate on the site needs to be sensitive to the adjacent residential areaand the location on the waterfront,” Warmington said.For the immediate future, Warmington said the new owners indicate they will have a user of thedeep-water slip and work with those interested in restarting the power plant that can produceboth electricity and steam.Most of the remaining buildings, Warmington said, would be demolished. Sappi is a huge,sprawling industrial complex that has been built up since the former Central Paper Co. beganoperation on the site in 1899.The plant demolition is expected to take up to a year to complete and would employ more than100 workers over that time, Warmington said of what the new owners have indicated.“The initial phase of the project will consist of removing obsolete equipment and maintaining thesite before moving forward with redevelopment,” Murphy said in a Melching statement on theSappi purchase.City of Muskegon officials have heard from many companies and groups interested inpurchasing or redeveloping the Sappi site, Warmington said. Those parties had redevelopmentplans for the mill power plant while others wanted to manufacture and distribute wind turbines,create a shipyard and set up an environmental reclamation operation, he said.The kind of uses being proposed created jobs and sewage flow to the Muskegon CountyWastewater Management System, the mayor said. Sappi was the wastewater systems largestuser and the plant closure drastically reduced the flow to the county facility, causing an increasein sewer rates for municipalities and industries.No group has more emotional interest in the future of the site than former workers. SteveKeglovitz worked at the paper mill for years and is a former union president. He now heads theWest Michigan Labor Council.“I was kind of disappointed to see the sale was to a reclamation firm,” Keglovitz said. “There is alot of good equipment on that site such as the power plant and a water system less than 20 yearsold. It wasnt bargain-basement stuff. We put in good equipment that I hate to see demolished.”But when it comes to the future use of the property, Kegloivitz said he is encouraged by thesignals being sent by Sappi and the new owners.
“I hope they keep it heavy industrial,” Keglovitz said. “The cost of cleaning up that property forresidential use will be too much … the site would then just sit there.”
Sappi paper mill property owner Doug Melching explains his purchase and plansPublished: Sunday, October 16, 2011, 6:21 AM Updated: Monday, October 17, 2011, 10:38 AM By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle http://www.mlive.com/business/west- michigan/index.ssf/2011/10/paper_mill_property_owner_doug.html?utm_source=feedbur ner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+oak_business_review+%28Oakland +Business+Review+-+MLive.com%29MUSKEGON — Doug Melching is a veteran West Michigan demolition expert and businessowner. His company Melching Inc. of Nunica purchased the former Sappi paper mill property onMuskegon Lake last month for $2.3 million.Last week, Melching answered questions from The Muskegon Chronicle on his purchase.Q: What is your motivation for purchasing the Muskegon paper mill property?A: Motivation for this endeavor is employment for Melching Inc., job creation for Muskegonand the overall West Michigan economic development. The land will not be “flipped.” Otherinterested parties will have the opportunity to propose offers, leases, buy and/or develop sectionsas they see appropriate for their use.Q: What kind of “industrial” use do you have in mind for the property?A: Proposed development plans currently under consideration are: Reactivation of the existingpower house, general land clearance of above-grade structures, improvements to the existing shipdock and shoreline with future “dry-dock” availability and the possibility of wind or solar-powered bio-mass energy development. Generally, the establishment of multiple industriallybased business enterprises that would benefit from establishment of multiple industrialenterprises that would benefit from rail, truck and water-based transportation needing largetracks of land and warehousing.Q: What is the initial work-plan for the property?A: Remove any or all existing obsolete site structures in an economic and environmentally safeprocedure to accommodate a “new industrial community” of potential partners, leases or owners.All the former mill structures may be targeted for demolition if redevelopment uses for theexisting structures are not found or conducive to reuse. We are underway now and with thecooperation of government entities will continue until these goals are met or completed.
Q: What is your basic understanding of the environmental condition of the property?A: The site largely consists of non-hazardous inert soils, foundry sand, lime, coal and formerwood-based products. Exhaustive investigation has been performed to assess the environmentalcondition of the site. The information generated from these investigations has been evaluated andno currently known litigation issues exist. Our investigative work revealed that the recent pastsite owners sought to maintain a sound environmental approach regarding all environmentalconcerns. Future operations will be conducted in a manner that adheres to applicable regulatorystandards.Q: What are the deed and covenant restrictions on the property?A: The restricted parcels may be used for industrial purposes only. Perspective clients areinformed of the restrictive elements and covenants as detailed in the deed. Potential businesspartners are interviewed for financial ability to participate and based on the deed covenants willneed to be financially sound independent of banks.Nearly the entire site was constructed with fill material and wood products for over 100 years.Restricted areas are areas that the former owner desires to be controlled. These areas, althoughcontaminated, are not of a hazardous composition and based upon available environmentalrecords are within industrial criteria parameters. To insure governmental compliance and asrequired within the covenants in these areas, Melching Inc. has retained the services ofLakeshore Environmental Inc. Demolition in these areas will be carefully monitored and therestrictions will be maintained.Q: What is the overall message you have for the Muskegon community?A: Our message is very simple and two-fold. We are currently in the process of renovating thesite and replacing the former mill with an economic development zone providing jobs for thelocal Muskegon area not only in the short term which involves workers during the demolitionperiod of two years but also revitalizing the property for attraction of future business and jobs.This is an excellent opportunity for both our company and future businesses coming on the siteto accomplish both these goals and we are very excited about that prospect.
Muskegons new Sappi paper mill site owner has plans for a new industrial communityPublished: Sunday, October 16, 2011, 6:20 AM Updated: Monday, October 17, 2011, 10:48 AM By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle http://www.mlive.com/business/west- michigan/index.ssf/2011/10/muskegons_new_paper_mill_site.htmlMUSKEGON — So much for grand ideas about a sprawling park. Or building condos and shopsalong a boardwalk on the 119-acre former Sappi paper mill site that meanders alongside about amile of Muskegon Lake.Even redeveloping the site for industrial use isnt a sure thing. The deed and purchase agreementsfor the site that now belongs to a Nunica-based demolition company place major restrictions onhow the property can be used. And Muskegon City Attorney John Schrier said he believes thoserestrictions hold true for anyone interested in purchasing the property in the future.“The deed restrictions make it virtually impossible to develop or get bank financing for a sale asit relates to the environmental issues,” Shrier told The Chronicle, after reviewing the documents.None of that worries Doug Melching of Melching Inc. who paid $2.3 million for the propertyand potentially could profit on the scrap value within the propertys confines.“Community leaders, public officials, lawyers and economic developers need to know that Ithink outside the box, " Melching said in an email to The Chronicle, in which he was askedvarious questions.Eye on industrial useThe vision is to create a “new industrial community” but the immediate task at hand will be todemolish obsolete and unneeded buildings among the 1.1 million square feet of industrialfacilities.If permits are secured, demolition could begin in November, Melching said, and it could taketwo years.The new owner of the site — a paper mill for more than 100 years until Sappi ceased operationsin 2009 — is confident there is a workable plan to move forward with industrial redevelopment.
“I have taken into account the risk associated with this project as I have always done and what Ihave learned from similar past endeavors,” according to Melching, who has had years ofexperience in taking down everything from the Muskegon Mall to industrial buildings onpolluted sites. “I will do what it takes to get the job done.”The property was purchased solely by Melching Inc. on a cash basis with no mortgage involved.And Melching will redevelop the site looking for financially sound partners to purchase or leaseportions of the site without bank financing, he said.Challenges awaitThe Sappi property deed restrictions prohibit other uses beyond industrial including residential,commercial, recreational and as park land, according to public documents. Those familiar withSappi Fine Paper and its South African ownerships sale of the property say the internationalpaper company structured the deal to protect itself from future environmental involvement andliability.Sappi spokeswoman Amy Olson said the former owners sought out a "responsible party" likeMelching in selling its Muskegon mill."In cases of brownfield development such as that at the Muskegon mill site, it is customary underthe circumstances to place limitations on land use to ensure that the property is deployed in themost appropriate manner," Olson said.Melching has a redevelopment team including Lakeshore Environmental Inc. of Grand Havenand HarborPointe Realty of Nunica. Melching already has sought initial demolition permits fromthe city for the property.The local company is taking a completely different public posture than Sappi, which wasguarded in dealing with its mill facility. The new owner has scheduled a Friday morning “meetand greet” for community leaders, public officials, economic developers and state legislators,giving a group tour of the site.Plenty of questions will be asked as Melching begins to engage the community.“The city will work with Melching to assist the new owner with the vision of creating economicdevelopment and job creation,” Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington said. “However, based onthe opinion of the city attorney and a read of the deed restrictions it might be more difficult thananyone would have hoped.”But when it comes to the future of the Muskegon paper mill site, Warmington said thecommunity should be pleased that the property no longer owned by an out-of-town corporation.Melching purchased the property Aug. 23.“Im glad we have local people involved who know and understand West Michigan,”Warmington said.
Environmental questionsAt the heart of the issues surrounding the Sappi site are the environmental legacy of so manydecades of paper making, especially those years before 1973 when the plants wastewater beganto be sent to the Muskegon County treatment system.The public documents involved in the propertys sale includes a “disclosure of facility status” asprovided by Sappi under Michigan environmental law.The disclosure lists the hazardous substances known to be present on the property to include:“gasoline, diesel, fuel oil and other petroleum … PCBs … acids, sodium hydroxide, sodium,sulfates, lead and arsenic.” An industrial development expert told The Chronicle that the list ofhazardous materials would be expected at a paper mill.Melching said that an investigation of the land by his company and an environmental consultantshows that it consists mostly of “non-hazardous inert soils, foundry sand, lime, coal and formerwood-based products.” The land is basically fill material from the lumber and industrial eras, hesaid. “Exhaustive investigation has been performed to assess the environmental conditions of thesite,” Melching wrote. “The information generated from these investigations has been evaluatedand no current known litigation issues exist. Our investigative work revealed that (Sappi) soughtto maintain a sound environmental approach.”The environmental covenants on the property include Melchings assumption of “allenvironmental liabilities.”“The foregoing shall apply to any condition or noncompliance with environmental law, includingany condition past, present or future, known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected,contemplated or uncontemplated …,” according to the environmental covenants to the quit claimdeed signed by Melching.Part of the covenants agreed to by Melching is an “indemnification” clause. Shrier said that legalprovision allows all environmental costs incurred by Sappi to be covered by Melching, even ifthe company faces environmental regulator enforcement for past contamination.The real estate sale documents restrict future development on the northside of Lakeshore Drivefor “industrial purposes.” The $2.3 million sale also included 10 properties on the southside ofLakeshore Drive as the paper mill owned residential homes and land across the street from itsoperations. These residential properties were sold without restrictions.The public documents show that Melching also has agreed to certain restrictions on demolitionand excavation of the site. Those restrictions would hold for any future owner of the site,according to the documents.
One small part of the property is restricted from demolition without the written approval of thepaper company. Another six small parcels on the paper mill property are restricted fromexcavation below the surface without written approval of the paper company.“All the former mill structures may be targeted for demolition if redevelopment uses for theexisting structures are not found or conducive for reuse,” Melching said in an email, adding thatdemolition and environmental work will employ 50.To that end, Melching has requested a demolition permit from the city of Muskegon. Theapplication dated Sept. 22 requests a “phased, partial demolition” with the first phase beginningwith the mills caustic plant, digester building, bleach plant and removal of a specific machine.Conflict with local law?Warmington said that anyone doing demolition in the city must abide by a city ordinancerequiring all buildings being torn down to include removal and cleanup of undergroundstructures such as basements. The mayor wondered if the restrictive excavation covenants on theproperty would allow Melching to meet city standards.Although the paper mill property deed limits future redevelopment of the site to industrial uses,there are plenty of parties interested in portions of the property, HarbourPointe Realtys MikeMurphy said.Melching said the paper mill site has an existing power house that could be recharged to produceboth electricity and steam, and a deep-port slip on Muskegon Lake for shipping activities. Theproperty is well-suited for wind, solar or bio-mass energy companies, the owner wrote.The property is well-suited for logistics and warehousing operations, shipping and alternativeenergy operations, according to Ed Garner, president of Muskegon Area First — the localeconomic development agency.“The types of uses that are being discussed for the property, I think, the public will not objectto,” Garner said, adding that whatever happens on the site will produce “hundreds not thousands”of jobs. Sappi recently had 800 employees at a plant that had once employed 1,200.Community leaders are interested in Melchings plans for the Sappi property because LakeshoreDrive is one of two routes to Pere Marquette Park, the regions leading beach on Lake Michigan.The plant also is on the edge of the citys Lakeside Neighborhood and its neighbors include GreatLakes Marina, the Muskegon Country Club and Balcoms Cove condominiums.To enhance the visual appeal of the property, community leaders are suggesting a “green buffer”for the industrial site, while others are wondering if the citys Shoreline Trail can be taken off ofLakeshore Drive and the bike path put on the paper mill land as is the case with other MuskegonLake properties, Garner said.
However, one of the deed covenants for the paper mill site states “access by the general public isrestricted or infrequent.”
Muskegon community leaders to tour the former Sappi paper mill property FridayPublished: Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 2:30 PM By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle http://www.mlive.com/business/west- michigan/index.ssf/2011/10/muskegon_community_leaders_to.htmlMUSKEGON — There will be plenty of questions when community leaders and public officialstour the former Sappi paper mill property on Muskegon Lake Friday morning.A group of two dozen representatives from the city of Muskegon, Muskegon County, MuskegonLakeshore Chamber of Commerce and Muskegon Area First have been invited to the 119-acresite that has nearly a mile of Muskegon Lake shoreline.The industrial site was recently purchased for $2.3 million by Doug Melching of Melching Inc.— a Nunica-based demolition and reclamation company. Melching has plans to create a “newindustrial center” on the property that had been a site of paper making for 109 years before theSouth African paper company ended its Muskegon operations in 2009.Community leaders and public officials have seen the deed restrictions that Sappi placed on theproperty, which were agreed to by Melching. Those restrictions have been called uncommon andsome of the most restrictive seen on a local industrial property, according to Muskegon CityAttorney John Shrier.The restrictions in the quit claim deed and associated covenants include:• The property on the north side of Lakeshore Drive is limited to “industrial purposes” andspecifically excludes residential, recreation and park uses.• One small parcel on the Sappi site has been restricted for demolition without prior approval ofSappi Fine Paper.• Six other separate, but small, portions of the site have been restricted for excavation below thesurface without prior approval of Sappi.• Access to the site by the general public is “restricted or infrequent.”
• The new owner cannot apply for “brownfield” designation for the site, which would providetax-increment financing and potential governmental grants for environmental investigation andcleanup.• The new owner cannot prepare or submit a “baseline environmental assessment” — a basicenvironmental study of past contamination and the propertys current condition — to anygovernmental agency.• The new owner and any third party cannot conduct environmental testing, including samplingof soils and groundwater.• Environmental remediation and response activities required under environmental law by agovernment agency shall be limited to achieving “the least stringent criteria applicable to theproperty.”• Any information regarding environmental liabilities of the property cannot be voluntarilyshared with government agencies unless required by law nor shared with third parties withoutwritten permission of the paper company.Many of the restrictions appear to be transferrable to subsequent owners beyond Melching. Howlong deed restrictions remain on a property and with subsequent owners are complex legalissues, economic developers say.“The Friday tour will allow the group to meet first-hand with the new owners,” said Ed Garner,president of Muskegon Area First — the local economic development agency. The tour was setup through Melchings real estate agent — Mike Murphy of HarbourPointe Realty of Nunica —Garner said.“Mike knew that the community was very interested in the Sappi property, and he wanted to setup a tour of the site through our agency,” Garner said. “We hope they can share what kinds ofproposals they have had for the site and a timetable for their activities.”Melching purchased Sappi in August and has since made initial application to the city ofMuskegon for the first part of a phased demolition of the site.Demolition could take two years, the new owner said. Melching has said demolition of obsoleteand unneeded buildings among the 1.1 million square feet of paper mill facilities could begin yetthis year with materials being recycled.The plan is for industrial redevelopment of the site to create economic activity and jobs for thecommunity, he has said.The Friday tour will include the areas state legislators and economic developers from theMichigan Economic Development Corp., Garner said.
Former Sappi paper mill being re-developed (w/video)Submitted by WZZM13, News StaffFriday, October 21st, 2011, 5:06pm http://muskegon.wzzm13.com/news/news/63111-former-sappi-paper-mill-being-re- developedMuskegon,MI (WZZM)- For the first time since it became the Sappi paper mill more than 100years ago, our cameras were allowed inside the Muskegon plant.The new owners of the former Muskegon paper mill are renovating the site for mixed industrialuse. The Sappi paper mill closed in 2009. Demolition has been going on at the 120-acre site eversince. It was the owner of that demolition company, Doug Melching, that bought the land thatoverlooks Muskegon Lake."Its in an area that is very beautiful and my intentions are to remove a lot of the stuff that isnt sobeautiful. But, at the same time, it will environmentally improve what it used to be."The owner is looking at several options for the site, including aggregate storage, windmillassembly, or bio-mass manufacturing for energy creation.
Interest high in Muskegons former paper mill property as community leaders tour the site (w/photos & video tour of Sappi)Published: Monday, October 24, 2011, 5:51 AM Updated: Monday, October 24, 2011, 2:12 PM By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle http://www.mlive.com/business/west- michigan/index.ssf/2011/10/interest_high_in_muskegons_for.htmlMUSKEGON — Community leaders touring of the former Sappi paper mill learned recently thatthe vacant industrial facilitys power plant might have a buyer.An unnamed party has signed a “letter of intent” to purchase the 43-megawatt co-generationplant that produces industrial-grade steam and electricity, said Mike Murphy, real estate agentfor new paper mill plant owner Doug Melching of Melching Inc., a Nunica-based demolition andenvironmental cleanup company.Sappi Fine Paper used coal and wood scraps to produce energy but the power plant has beenmothballed since industrial operations ended on the site in 2009.If purchased, the new energy company would need about 25 power plant workers, Murphy said.If the plant is not purchased, Melching will sell off the power equipment and bring it down, hesaid.Melching purchased the 119-acre site on Muskegon Lake in August for $2.3 million. Plans forthe site, with its nearly one mile of shoreline, is to demolish and recycle materials from obsoleteand unneeded buildings among the 1.1 million square feet of industrial space.Plans are to subdivide the property for future industrial use to parties that would purchase, leaseor partner with the new owner.Melching and his team of demolition, scrap, environmental and development experts from WestMichigan showed the property Friday to more than 75 public officials, economic developers andinterested business leaders. The new owners are opening up to the community as the formerSouth African corporation owners never did.“Im fully prepared to take this on and to do the right thing for this community,” Melching toldthe community group. He said his goal is to create jobs and economic activity on a site that wasdedicated to papermaking for more than 100 years.
“I have a good team,” he told the group.Besides the power plant, the Sappi site has a 250,000-square-foot warehouse building, a 45,000-square foot office building that sits along Lakeshore Drive and a deep water port that the newowner said he hopes to get permits to dredge to a depth of 26 feet. All are marketable assets,Murphy said.Murphy told the group of community leaders that since Melching purchased the property theredevelopment team has been inundated with parties interested in the property. He said he isworking on developing four purchase agreements for various parts of the property.The power plant was expanded and upgraded in 1988 and in many ways is state of art, Melchingsaid. He took a tour group to the top of the boiler building which has stunning views ofMuskegon Lake, the Muskegon Country Club, the Bluffton Bay marinas, Nugent Sandoperations, Harbour Towne and Lake Michigan on the western horizon.“All you have to do is add power and this is ready to go,” Melching told a tour group from thepower house control room.Deed restrictions on the propertys future use, environmental testing and some excavation haveconcerned some in the community wanting the property to become a regional asset.“We believe the site is not as bad as some might believe,” Murphy said about the environmentalconditions.Melching is working with environmental consultant Roman Wilson, president of LakeshoreEnvironmental Inc. of Grand Haven. The two have teamed up in the past to tackle more difficultindustrial sites in the region, they said.Also working for Melching is Ken Callow, the former Sappi production manager, who hasbecome the demolition companys project engineer.“Sappi had been a pretty good citizen on environmental issues,” Callow said addressing thecompanys continuing deed restrictions. “But now the phrase might be that going forward we arenot out looking for problems.”Wilson said that he has been hired to make sure that environmental conditions on the site areimproved not worsened, and that state and federal environmental regulations are followed. Hesaid the Melching team has no indication that any environmental contaminants are leaching intoMuskegon Lake.The community leaders — including city and county public officials and state legislators — saidthey generally were encouraged by the Melching team presentation and tour of the site.
“It seems as if he is moving forward responsibly,” said state Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright, theDemocratic legislator for a district that includes the paper mill. “The focus is on local jobs. Theyseem to be environmentally responsible. Its all seems to be good.”Those who had never been in the Muskegon mill said they were impressed by its size. They sawthe 600-foot long vacant space on the shop floor where paper machine No. 5 once producedcoated paper for the publishing industry. The huge machine was dismantled and shipped to aMexican papermaker.The group also saw part of the 80,000-square-foot warehouse that was built in 1998. The originalsection of the plant dates back to 1899. “Theres a lot of square footage here,” said Kevin Donavon, president of MuskegonConstruction Co., who was on his first tour of the mill. “You could do anything in here. It isstaggering, the physical plant here.”Melching has an asbestos removal crew working in the plant and his own crew stripping outunneeded copper wire. There are about 15 people working in the building, but when demolitionbegins on site that will increase to 100 jobs, company officials have said.Melching said Padnos Iron and Metal of Holland, which has operations in Muskegon, is a partnerin the recycling work.“I know Doug, he can handle this job,” said Muskegon County Commissioner Alan Jager, whoowns and operates a demolition company in Holton.After Melchings presentation, Muskegon County Board Vice Chairman John Snider andMuskegon Mayor Steve Warmington said the community must rally around the West Michiganbusinessman.“As a community, we need to support his efforts totally,” Snider said. “We need to get behind hisefforts in the short term. Hopefully, this site can add to the stream going out to our wastewatersystem.”Besides the lost jobs — a few hundred at the end but from 800-1,200 over the course of decades— Sappi was the largest user of the Muskegon County Wastewater Management System andaccounted for half of the flow in the system at the height of the mill operations. The county islooking to increase wastewater flow to keep rate increases down for the remaining users.“I think we have to embrace this project as they have presented it, one opportunity at a time,”Warmington said. “We have to do the best we can for the community and to generate jobs outhere.”
Former Sappi paper mill workers recall the hard work, long hours, good pay ... and the foodPublished: Sunday, December 04, 2011, 6:03 AM By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle http://www.mlive.com/business/west- michigan/index.ssf/2011/12/former_sappi_paper_mill_worker.htmlMUSKEGON — Bring five former Sappi paper mill workers together and the conversationeventually will drift to food.The discussion usually focuses on how the meals were cooked in the various departments of thehulking paper mill on Muskegon Lake that now faces demolition.There are memories of old Mill Inn dinners brought into the manufacturing plant through a holein a fence from across Lakeshore Drive. Someone remembers breakfasts cooked by Jim Puckettthat he sold to plant employees every morning with the mill manager being a customer.And then there were the stories about Curly Taylor, who was known for his “U.S. 31 stew.” If itwas found dead on the side of U.S. 31 as Taylor made his way to work, it ended up in the stew,they said.So whats all this food talk about as the five workers walk through the cavernous, 1 millionsquare-foot-plus facility at 2400 Lakeshore Drive that was home to thousands of paper makersfor 109 years?The former Sappi workers said those employed at the paper mill were family. And it was a largefamily with a peak employment in the 1970s of more than 1,200 workers.The bonds forged by back-breaking industrial work and exhausting double-shifts establishedlifelong relationships in the plant that evolved from Central Paper Co. to S.D. Warren Co. and,finally, Sappi Fine Paper.And when families gather, food — or the talk of it — is shared.“We were cooking down here all of the time,” explained Lyle Robbins, who left the plant the lastday of operations in 2009 after 35 years of service. His father, Lyle Sr., and grandfather, MerlinWright, worked in the plant.
“If you came for a shift and your relief didnt show up, you had a 16-hour day,” Robbins said.The mill operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. “You could live here for awhole week … and some did,” he said.Robbins was among five former Sappi mill workers who toured the plant late last month withThe Muskegon Chronicle.Some workers had wanted to take a last look at their former workspace when the industrialfacility was still owned by Sappi — the South African paper company with North Americanheadquarters in Boston. Sappi officials in Boston denied the tour and any media access to themill property.That all changed in August when Melching Inc. of Nunica purchased 119-acre site with nearly amile of Muskegon Lake waterfront for $2.3 million.New owner Doug Melching of Fruitport welcomed the former mill workers back into the plantbefore major demolition begins. The tour was conducted by former mill engineer Ken Callow,who remained onsite with Sappi while the plant was for sale. Callow now continues with thefacility as Melchings project engineer.The workers tour was an emotional experience, beginning as they walked into the finishingdepartment devoid of not only workers but of all equipment. Much of the paper mills machineswere sold in a Sappi auction in December 2010.“This is so sad,” said Steve Belmarez as he walked into plant for the first time since he took a2004 severance package during a major layoff. “This place bought a lot of homes and raised a lotof families in this town.“Its amazing,” he said while shooting pictures of the vacant industrial space on his cell phone.The emotion of the workers walking through the sprawling plant goes to the nature of the workand relationships in the mill over the decades, they said. They talked of family bonds.“Here, people really took care of each other,” said Steve Keglovitz, who began working in theplant in 1986 and left in 2005 on disability.“If you were on swing shifts, you worked three weekends a month,” Keglovitz said. He waspresident of the mills union when it was PACE Local 1015. “Youd lose touch with friendsworking like that. So when we hung out, we hung out with each other.”The former mill employees joined company bowling leagues and had softball teams. Familiescame together at company picnics, the men said. The guys gathered at the nearby Marine TapRoom for a beer after shifts, be that at 7 p.m. or 7 a.m.
The workers fondly remembered the years prior to 1994 when the company was owned by ScottPaper, when company management and union employees worked hand-in-hand in thecommunity as volunteers.“Muskegon lost a lot of money when this plant went down,” Evans said. The loss was more thanwages and contracts for West Michigan industrial suppliers. “It lost a lot of people who gave andserved in the community.”There were no typical work weeks at the Muskegon mill. There were three eight-hour shifts andworkers moved around in the work schedule. The system provided plenty of overtime with bigmoney offered to those who would work holidays, they said.Callow explained that paper mills are such capital-intensive enterprises — paper machines costhundreds of millions of dollars and new mills having price tags over $1 billion — that themachines could never shut down.“Every down time was so expensive … that is time driven by economics,” Callow said. Amalfunction that could take three to eight hours to bring the paper machine back to productioncould cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars.A lost hour of production on the huge Paper Machine No. 5 could cost the company $85,000,workers said they were told.A work week might be 44 hours, or it could be 48, 52 , 60 or more hours, they said.“There was no such thing as a 40-hour week down here,” said Mark Evans, 53, who had worked28 years in the mill as an operator until it closed.Such a pace of work was hard on marriages and relationships. Keglovitz said spouses wouldbecome suspicious of the odd hours and drive by the plant just to make sure their mates carswere in the parking lot, he said.“People gave up a lot of stuff to work here,” Keglovitz said. Workers had the money for all ofthe toys of life — boats, motorcycles, campers and northern cottages — but never enough time toenjoy them.“I remember driving back from our lake property up north, leaving when everyone was thereenjoying the SeaDoo and cooking out,” Keglovitz said. “I was going back home to go to bed so Icould get up and go to work.”And the labor was physical and, most of the time, monotonous, the former workers said. Thecoated, publishing-grade paper came off the machines and was put on huge rolls that workersmoved throughout the processing and shipping departments.
Mechanics and operators that worked within the electric- and steam-powered paper machinesworked at the risk of life and limb. And it could be hot, up to 130 degrees in the confined spacesunder the machine where work had to be performed, they said.“That no one was killed on this machine over the years is amazing,” Keglovitz said looking atthe 600-foot long vacant space that once housed Paper Machine No. 5 — the pride of thecompany, which produced paper from wet pulp to dry product in one continuous operation.Sappi sold Paper Machine No. 5 to a company that dismantled it and trucked it piece-by-piece toMexico for assembly, Callow said. “I cried when I saw them haul out No. 5,” Keglovitz said.Although no one was killed in the plant, there were injuries over the years, some of them serious.Robbins is missing part of the middle finger on his left hand that was caught in a chain on oneshift in the plant, he said. And Keglovitz limped through the mill, hobbled by job-related backand joint issues.But they said they arent looking for sympathy. They enjoyed the top industrial jobs in MuskegonCounty when the plant was in operation.“When I got a job at the mill, I felt like I hit the lottery,” said Keglovitz, who also had worked atCWC Textron in a foundry and for Shaw-Walker Co. making office furniture.The paper mill jobs were the most highly sought industrial jobs in Muskegon County. Pay was atthe top, benefits were generous and overtime provide financial resources that high-schoolgraduates could never have anticipated.At a union bargaining session in recent years, union leaders found that the average wage at theplant for its members was $58,000 and the average production worker put in 60 hours a week.By 2005, Sappi told local officials that the average plant wage was $70,000 when engineeringand management positions were calculated.As the tour progressed, Callow allowed the workers to linger in areas of the plant. They stoppedto look through the drawers in the water system testing and laboratory room, where several hadworked. Belmarez was able to sit down in his old desk chair for the last time.But it was the vacant space left by the scrapping of Paper Machine No. 4 that stunned Evans.“Youre killing me, youre killing me,” Evans said as Callow told of the old machines fate.“I knew every screw on that machine,” Evans said staring into the void that was once No. 4. “Imust have turned everyone one of them at least once.”As the former mill workers concluded their tour of the plant, demolition workers were strippingmiles and miles of electrical lines for recycling of the copper while others began dismantling thetanks and out buildings.
The five former paper workers came to one conclusion: What ever Melching does with the millproperty, it should remain an industrial use.“This needs to stay industrial,” Belmarez said. “We need those jobs.”
Going to waste: Muskegon seeks industrial users for wastewater facilityTuesday, December 13, 2011By Kym Reinstadler | MiBiz www.mibiz.com/news/agribiz/19122-going-to-waste-muskegon-seeks-industrial-users- for-wastewater-facility.htmlMUSKEGON — Jonathan Seyferth has returned home to Muskegon County to look for dirtywork. Lots of it.Seyferth, 33, joined Muskegon Area First in October as business development manager. Hisprimary charge: increase flow to the county’s wastewater management system, where averagedaily flow dipped to 28 percent of capacity in 2010.Muskegon County commissioners hiked sewage treatment rates 45 cents per 1,000 gallons inSeptember. Attracting more industrial users would make the system more efficient and couldprevent future rate increases, said Ed Garner of Muskegon Area First.Attracting new business users to the area is Muskegon Area First’s preferred way of increasingflow through the system because that would also result in bringing in new jobs to the area,Garner said.As recently as 1996, the 11,000-acre ground filtration site straddling Moorland and Egelstontownships was operating at 75 percent of capacity. Since then, Muskegon County’s primarywastewater producer, Sappi Paper, has ceased operations locally, leaving the facility woefullyunder-used.“There’s no silver bullet out there,” said Seyferth, whose family has been prominent inMuskegon County’s business community for three generations. “There aren’t many businessesthat use as much water as a paper company.“But,” Seyferth continued, “the cleaning process we use is really suitable and marketable to a lotof different industries. A combination of different things will probably be the ticket, although itwill take time.”The county may have to look farther afield if the facility is to achieve 100-percent utilization ofits capacity because so many commercial and industrial users have taken “green” steps to reduceconsumption and to reuse water, he said.“The system really could go regional because its capacity is so large,” Garner said.Because of the facility’s close proximity to U.S. 31 and M-46, Seyferth considers the facilityconvenient to West Michigan food producers who may want to truck in wastewater.
The excess capacity could come in useful since some West Michigan communities areapproaching capacity of their water treatment plants. It might prove to be more cost-effective toextend the lines to Muskegon or to truck or ship wastewater there than building new facilities inthe communities themselves, Garner said.It is also possible that sewage could be transported for treatment by boat, because Muskegon isthe deepest water port along Lake Michigan’s Michigan shore, Garner said.Coincidentally, the former Sappi site does have a dock on Muskegon Lake. Melching Inc., aNunica-based demolition company, now owns the 119-acre former mill site. The company hashopes of redeveloping that site for industrial use, since residential and commercial developmentis unlikely due to environmental issues related to the century-long paper mill operations at thesite. According to published reports, Melching plans to market the site for industrial uses.About 70 percent of Muskegon County residences and businesses are already using thewastewater system, which ranks among the most economical in the state, even after the rate hikethis fall. Some non-users are in rural areas too remote to make hooking up affordable.Seyferth devoted his first two months on the job to studying the problem and developingmarketing strategies to lure additional users.A committee of Muskegon County Wastewater Management System users will take December toreview and give input to the plan. Seyferth expects to present a synthesized marketing plan tomembers of the Muskegon County commission in January.Seyferth is reluctant to share specifics before his plan benefits from the internal vetting process,but he disclosed that Muskegon Area First has already done a direct mailing touting the systemto food processing companies.He’s also working with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Michigan State UniversityProduct Center to explore what it would take to establish the site as an Agriculture RenaissanceZone, which would allow new agribusinesses to operate there tax-free for a period of time.The massive system, which began operations in 1973, is unique in its effectiveness at filteringbiological debris without diminishing the oxygen content, Seyferth said.It includes aeration and settling basins, holding ponds and cropland. Gray water is used toirrigate the corn, alfalfa and hay fields on the site during the growing season. The county sellsthe crops as livestock feed to offset energy costs of the operation.Cleansed water is returned to Muskegon Lake or Lake Michigan.The West Michigan city of Hart uses a similar wastewater treatment process, but on a muchsmaller scale, Seyferth said.
Viewpoint: Industrial firms that pollute our community should pay for the cleanupPublished: Friday, December 30, 2011, 6:05 AM By The Muskegon ChronicleFollowShare Email PrintBy Sean Mullally http://www.lakenews.com/News.asp?ID=F8F74F73-F546-47BA-BA46- B7DB0EFAA764&SiteID=MI022Muskegon’s history as an industrial powerhouse helped build this community and give economicsecurity to generations of local families, but it also left us with a toxic legacy of polluted soil andlakes. During my years on the board of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, these toxic hot spotswere always a top concern. Fortunately, in recent years significant progress has been made inremedying this pollution. As recently reported by The Muskegon Chronicle, an extensivecleanup of contaminated sediment in Muskegon Lake’s Division Street outfall is reachingcompletion. Our community has also benefited from the cleanup of other sites, Muskegon’sRuddiman Creek and the former tannery property on White Lake to name just two.We can be proud of this progress, but the job is far from finished. Industrial contaminationremains a problem in other places like the former Zephyr Oil tank farm on M-120 in MuskegonTownship, which continues to seep toxic pollutants into Muskegon River and Bear Creek. TheMichigan Department of Environmental Quality worsened the situation several months ago bydeciding to shut off numerous recovery wells that had been preventing the pollution fromspreading. But there is good news. The two legislators representing Muskegon Township,Democratic State Rep. Marcia Hovey-Wright, and Republican State Sen. Goeff Hansen, havefound an area of bipartisan agreement and tentatively secured at least $6 million to start cleaningup the Zephyr site.Our legislators should be commended for their attention to the Zephyr contamination, but Iwould also ask for their attention on another pollution problem nearby in Laketon Township. Foryears, Bear Lake has been being fouled as petroleum has slowly but steadily dribbled up from anabandoned well in nearby Fenner’s ditch. The contaminants have also seeped into nearbyresidents’ well water. This has been a well-known and unaddressed problem for years. I wouldask our legislators to take a close look at the ongoing Fenner’s ditch leak and take action tofinally stop it.
Each of these contaminated sites has been an albatross around the neck of our community, andeach is well worth the effort it has taken, or will take, to clean them up. But it is not cheap. Theseactions are costing taxpayers millions of dollars, while sometimes the polluters aren’t paying apenny.We’ve learned some lessons from these experiences. We now regulate our industries much betterto prevent the worst soil and water contamination before it happens. But one lesson we are stillstruggling with is holding polluters accountable when pollution does occur. Too often we’ve letthem shove expensive cleanup cost on to taxpayers. We need stronger “polluter pays” laws torecover cleanup costs from those responsible. Sometimes this is difficult. If decades have past,companies may have disappeared and prior owners passed away.Sometimes however it’s easier to find the responsible party. This brings me to recent sale of theSappi property on Muskegon Lake’s southern shoreline. The Sappi corporation sold its formerpaper mill under some very unusual terms. Sappi placed several restrictive covenants into thedeed that legally prohibit the new owner (and presumably any future owners) from conductingenvironmental testing of soil and water on the property, from sharing information they mighthave about contamination with government agencies, and from engaging in, or allowing others toengage in, cleanup efforts to remove contamination. Sappi’s motivation seems clear. If it cancreate legal roadblocks to future cleanup efforts, that reduces the chance of someone eventuallychasing them down to pay for it.Restrictive covenants have a shameful past. They were one of the legal instruments used toenforce housing segregation. Restrictive covenants were placed on real estate deeds to preventnew homeowners from reselling to people of certain ethnicities or religions. Our governmentrightly struck down such restrictions as morally repugnant. I would suggest that Sappi’s deedrestrictions preventing environmental testing and cleanup are also repugnant and should bestruck down as well.The new owner of the mill property is a local businessman who seems to have the experienceand intention to redevelop this property responsibly. Our laws and regulations should empowerhim to do so, not legally shackle him to the last wishes of a prior owner whose only remaininginterest in this community is dodging environmental responsibility. Our elected representativesshould void Sappi’s deed restrictions, with new legislation if necessary, and immediately pushfor a full environmental survey of the mill property.We can’t know what pollution a century of paper making did or didn’t leave along this mile ofMuskegon Lake’s shoreline unless we look. But if contamination is found, it should bethoroughly cleaned up today at Sappi’s expense, not decades into the future by taxpayers.Sappi knowingly bought the environmental responsibility for this site when it bought S.D.Warren. That was part of the deal, and the company shouldn’t be allowed to sweep it under therug now. The company has chosen to leave our community, but this is our home and we have aright to insist the company leave it clean.Sean Mullally lives in Laketon Township.
Plans are developing for new Muskegon industrial park on Muskegon Lake paper mill sitePublished: Friday, January 13, 2012, 8:52 AM Updated: Friday, January 13, 2012, 10:39 AM By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle www.mlive.com/business/west- michigan/index.ssf/2012/01/plans_are_developing_for_new_m.htmlMUSKEGON — A group of Lakeside Neighborhood residents got the first look this week at theproposed Muskegon Lakeshore Industrial Park on the former paper mill property.The industrial center with deep-port access to Lake Michigan would be a continuation of themanufacturing history of the property that began with Central Paper Co. in 1899 through the $2.3million sale of the site by Sappi Fine Paper in 2011.New owner Melching Inc. of Nunica has hired Triangle Associates of Grand Rapids — a designand construction company — to create a master plan for redevelopment of the 123-acre site withnearly a mile of Muskegon Lake shoreline.Triangle Chairman and CEO Craig Datema gave about 60 members of the LakesideNeighborhood Association a look at a preliminary site plan for the paper mill property. Melchingis currently reviewing its concepts with city officials in hopes of presenting a site plan to theMuskegon Planning Commission in February, company and city officials said.The initial conceptual plan for the critical waterfront property received mixed reviews from theneighbors.Some wanted to see a mixed-use commercial/residential development or removal of the hugeindustrial complex and an environmentally cleaned site left vacant. Others applauded thecontinued industrial use of the property in hopes of creating jobs that would replace the papermill employment, which had been more than 1,000 employees as recently as 30 years ago.What Lakeside residents saw was a mixed use of industrial and port facilities with a majority ofthe paper mill being removed and allowing for new uses. Melching and future users are restrictedby Sappi-required provisions in the deed keeping the site industrial, which is the current cityzoning on the land.
“This is a preliminary plan; This plan will change,” Datema said, not handing out a copy of thesite plan shown to the neighborhood group. But nonindustrial use of the property is not an optionat this time, he emphasized.“After trying to sell condos next door at Balcoms Cove, I can tell you condos wont work … wejust cant do it,” said Datema, whose Triangle Construction Co. built the Balcoms Cove condotowers just west of the paper mill site. A licensed architect, Datema said he owns one of thecondos in Balcoms Cove.Starting on the west end of the property, which had been used for decades as the wood storagelot for the paper mill, the Melching plan calls for construction rock and sand storage to beshipped by road, rail and boat.The initial plan shows deep-water docking along the entire shoreline of the property and twospecific freighter docks extending into the property. One dock is existing but would be enlargedand another was historically on the property but filled over the years, Datema said.Moving to the central portion of the property, the plan calls for the mills power plant to beretained and operated by a new owner. Next to the power plant, a portion of the mill would bekept for bio-fuels operations that could be developed in conjunction with the power plant, whichthe paper company used to produce both electricity and steam.At the mid-point of the property along the waterfront, a chemical storage site is shown,potentially for a liquid asphalt terminal. Next to the chemical storage facility would be a metalrecycling area with port access.Toward Lakeshore Drive and on the east end of the current paper mill, a warehousing facility ofabout 270,000 square feet would be preserved, the initial plan shows. That plan also shows theold, three-story historic paper mill office building along Lakeshore Drive would remain.On the far east end of the property, initial plans show the vacant area available formanufacturing.The property, which would be divided into various parcels and sold to separate owners, would betied together with a new road. The plan shows the road entering the property from LakeshoreDrive at the paper mills main entrance on the east and going down the middle of the property toexit back to Lakeshore Drive on the west where the wood operations were located.The property owner and the city would need to determine whether the road would be private orpublic, Datema said. Taking the citys Lakeshore Trail pathway on to the property is not a goodmix with the industrial use, Datema said.Datema said that Melching will limit access to the site to existing “curb cuts” from LakeshoreDrive to limit traffic congestion. Residents told the new owner that traffic on Lakeshore Driveand other roads through the Lakeside Neighborhood generated from the new industrial center is amajor concern.
The first look at the initial master plan for the property raised many questions and concerns fromneighbors.“What you are talking about right here, I dont like,” one unidentified resident told the Melchinggroup.Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington was at the neighborhood meeting and cautioned residentsthat nothing has been decided by city officials. He praised the new owner and Triangle forreaching out to neighbors before completing a final plan for submission to city planners.“We all are not going to agree with what is going to go on down there,” Warmington said of thehistoric mill site. Warmington owns the Marine Tap Room in the Lakeside Business District, justeast of the mill site.“This is not going to be a cakewalk for the owner to do all what he wants,” Warmington said ofcompany President Doug Melching. “I already have had disagreements with Doug over elementsin the plan.”Datema told the neighborhood group that the eventual end users of the property will not includeMelching, who runs a demolition company that is on site beginning to remove portions of themill.“We will minimize any impacts of the property,” Datema said. “Any new user has to be a goodneighbor.”For some, being a good neighbor will mean “zero” noise, dust, pollution and additional traffic,one resident told Datema and Melching.Mark Evans, a former Sappi employee and member of the Muskegon Lake WatershedPartnership, encouraged Triangle to expand the “buffer zones” along Muskegon Lake. Evanssaid he wants the plan to give as much space to native plants, fish and wildlife as possible andprovide views of Muskegon Lake from Lakeshore Drive.All of the Lakeside Neighborhood Association members were concerned about theenvironmental condition of the property. Detama said there are concerns in some specific areasand they will be left alone in the demolition and redevelopment, while Lakeshore EnvironmentalInc. of Grand Haven continues testing on the site.“This is not a Superfund site,” Datema said, referring to the federal designation for the nationsworst environmentally-contaminated properties. “After 100 years of operations, youd be amazedat how little we are finding.”While some residents were not happy with the initial plans for an industrial center, othermembers of the Lakeside Neighborhood said the community needs the jobs that could be createdon the site. Datema estimated the property could generate $100 million in new investment in thecoming years.
“I look forward to you being my neighbor,” Lakeside resident Bill Schaefer told Melching,adding that the neighborhood had been home to many of the paper mill workers and the residentsare accustomed to an industrial use of the lakefront. “Maybe we can get some jobs from this.”Lakeside Neighborhood Association President Ellouise Hieftje said she was pleased thatMelching and his redevelopment team came to the neighbors first.“People just want to know what is going on,” Hieftje said. “I think this is a great plan. This iswhat we need.”Datema reminded residents that Melching is restricted by the Sappi deed and that the land iszoned for industrial use by the city. Muskegons shoreline has historically been a port facilitywith industrial use, he said.The property continues to get great interest from a variety of investors and developers, Datemasaid.“None of the deals we have been talking to developers about are done,” Datema concluded. “Weare trying to come up with a plan that will make it all work together on this site.”One resident told Datema: “Since you are in Balcoms Cove, wed hope youd put nothing on thesite that you didnt want to live next door to.”
Down she comes: New Muskegon paper mill owner wants to blast smokestack (w/video)Published: Friday, January 13, 2012, 11:35 AM Updated: Friday, January 13, 2012, 11:50 AM By Dave Alexander | firstname.lastname@example.org www.mlive.com/business/west- michigan/index.ssf/2012/01/down_she_comes_new_muskegon_pa.htmlMUSKEGON — For those who think progress in demolishing the former Sappi paper mill onMuskegon Lake has been slow, have patience.In a matter of weeks, property owner Doug Melching has plans for an event that will leave noone wondering if the industrial plant is coming down.The propertys largest smokestack — an industrial icon for Muskegon — will come down in thematter of seconds. Melching Inc., the demolition company from Nunica, has hired a world expertdemolition explosives company to bring down the nearly 300-foot stack.No doubt the work of Advanced Explosive Demolition from Coeur dAlene, Idaho, will bringabout a huge interest from all over West Michigan. The companys plans will first get a reviewfrom the Muskegon City Commission.Muskegon City Manager Bryon Mazade said city officials have begun discussions withMelching and his explosives contractor about razing the stack — a masonry structure that is 30feet in diameter at its base, Melching said.The plan is to explode the base of the paper mill stack in such a way as to have it tumble north tothe ground toward Muskegon Lake, Melching said. The stack is close to Lakeshore Drive, whichis to the south.“We handle everything with extreme caution no matter what size the building,” AED PresidentLisa Kelly said in a YouTube.com video of a demolition of a stack, which her company broughtdown.“Smokestacks are an easy structure to shoot,” Kelly said. “Silos can be tricky because they squatbut smokestacks most always fall.”Melching said he hopes to have AED bring the Sappi stack down in the coming weeks. He firstneeds “written approval” of the city of Muskegon.
The citys ordinance prohibits explosive demolitions unless there is written approval of the city,Mazade said. When receiving Melchings request for the stack demolition, Mazade said he willconfer with city police, fire, public works and inspections officials.Then a staff recommendation will go to the Muskegon City Commission for final approval,Mazade said. The city manager said the process might take a while since issues such as the likelyclosure of Lakeshore Drive for the blast need to be considered.Melching said that AED is one of the foremost explosive demolition companies in the world.Eric Kelly blasted his first smokestack at the age of 14 with his father. He took over AED in1980 after being chief blaster for the company.AED under Kellys ownership has pursued the “highest and most hazardous” demolitions,according to the company website. The company is the holder of several world record blasts.It takes down everything from smokestacks and grain silos to hospitals, casinos and horseracetracks. The company website shows it has successfully brought down stacks the size of theone on the Sappi site, including a 715-foot stack in Kellogg, Idaho.Melching is continuing what might be a two-year process of bringing down and recycling 75percent of more than the 1 million square feet of industrial facilities. Work has begun on the backside of the building, so little has been seen by the public driving by on Lakeshore Drive,company officials said.The site will be redeveloped as a waterfront industrial park with deep-port access. TheMuskegon Planning Commission is expected to review a master plan for the site in February.
AED Trips Sappi Bleach Building (video) Uploaded by thedabbler1 on Jan 17, 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOMgbiW4gK4&feature=fvst Sappi smokestack may be demolished (w/video)Submitted by Amy Fox, WZZM Executive ProducerMonday, January 23rd, 2012, 2:17pm muskegon.wzzm13.com/news/news/65909-sappi-smokestack-may-be-demolishedMUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) - The new owners of Muskegons old Sappi Paper Mill want todemolish the mills smokestack.Melching, Inc., based in Nunica, bought the closed paper mill in 2011. The mill closed in 2009.Melching is asking Muskegon city commissioners for permission to demolish the smokestack.The commissioners will consider a "use of explosives" permit at a Tuesday night meeting.If the permit is granted, the company plans to move forward quickly with plans to demolish thestack.The smokestack is 280 feet tall.The 120 acre site on Lake Michigan is being renovated for mixed industrial use.
Muskegon City Commission asked to give permission to blow up Sappi stackPublished: Monday, January 23, 2012, 8:55 AM Updated: Monday, January 23, 2012, 2:58 PM By Dave Alexander | email@example.com www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/01/muskegon_city_commission_asked. htmlMUSKEGON — The new owners of the Muskegon paper mill have asked the city of Muskegonfor permission to use explosives to bring down a 280-foot smokestack and a bleach plantbuilding on the mill property.The citys demolition ordinance prohibits buildings and structures to be brought down withexplosives unless such plans receive written permission of the city. City Manager Bryon Mazadewill go to the Muskegon City Commission Tuesday to receive the authority to grant MelchingInc. permission after a demolition plan is reviewed by city departments.Melching told The Chronicle this month that his company has hired Advanced ExplosivesDemolition from Coeur dAlene, Idaho, to bring down the largest stack on the Muskegonwaterfront property. Melching has purchased the former Sappi Fine Paper mill property todemolish a large portion of the huge facility and redevelop the property as an industrial centerwith deep-water port access to the Great Lakes.Melching said that the stack, which is 30 feet in diameter at its base, would fall towardMuskegon Lake to the north. However, the stack is relatively close to Lakeshore Drive on thesouth.Melching indicated that he wanted AED to bring the stack down within the next few weeks.Mazade said he didnt know how long it would take for a demolition plan to be approved. Thecitys police, fire, public works and inspections departments would have to review and approvethe use of the explosives, the city manager had said.According to Melching and the companys website, AED is an internationally-known demolitionexplosives company which has taken down dozens of similar stacks.City commissioners will hear about the Sappi demolition project at their Tuesday meeting.Commissioners will meet at 5:30 p.m. in the commission chambers of Muskegon City Hall, 933Terrace. The meeting is open to the public, and citizens can address commissioners on any topic.
Also on the busy commission agenda Tuesday is a payment in lieu of taxes request from the newowners of the Bayview Tower low-income, senior citizens complex. The request is to extend thetax break and payment for city services for another 40 years, which will take an amendment tocity ordinances.Commissioners also will consider a resolution of support for the North Bank Trail acquisitionfunding plan. Crockery Township has asked for support for its Michigan Natural Resources TrustFund grant application that would turn an old railroad bed into a bike path.Tuesdays commission agenda also includes a change in precinct boundaries for the citys 14polling places, due to changes found in the 2010 U.S. Census. Such changes also would alter thelayout of the city commissions wards in future elections.Finally, the city commission will consider refinancing bonds from its Local DevelopmentFinance Authority that had been sold to support construction of the Grand Valley StateUniversity Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center on Muskegon Lake. Morefavorable bond rates are now available, providing the city a potential savings in bond payments,city officials indicate.
Muskegon City Council Meeting (1/24/12) (video) http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/19985048 http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/19985048/highlight/235586 Melching and explosives company want to bring down Sappi stack Sunday morningPublished: Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 7:59 PM Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 10:32 AM By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle www.lakenews.com/News.asp?ID=145B61B9-4691-4F12-BD14- F1545C0FA6CF&SiteID=MI022MUSKEGON – Pending final city of Muskegon approval, Melching Inc. and its internationally-renowned explosive demolition contractor plan to bring down the Sappi paper mill smokestackthis Sunday morning.The Muskegon City Commission voted 6-1 Tuesday evening to authorize staff to approve thedemolition of the 250-foot stack if city departments sign off on the details. City ordinance doesnot allow demolition by explosives unless with written city approval.Muskegon City Manager Bryon Mazade was non-committal after the commission vote. He saidhe was not yet prepared to approve the smokestack blast and was unable to say if approval wouldbe granted before this Sunday.Owners of Advanced Explosive Demolition of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho provided citycommissioners with details of the blast plan, which would “lay” the 30-foot diameter stack onthe ground to the north toward Muskegon Lake. Along with the stack, AED and Melching areasking for permission to use explosives to bring down a six-story tall, 50,000-square-foot formerbleach plant that sits between the main paper mill facility and the lakeshore.AED plans for a 9 or 10 a.m. explosion when it would be the least disruptive to the community,company President Lisa Kelly told The Chronicle. Lakeshore Drive from Cottage Grove toMcCracken Avenue would be closed for about 15 minutes prior to the blast to 15 minutes after.
The event, whenever it occurs, will provide quite a public spectacle. AED and property ownerMelching will have a VIP viewing area along with one for the media. The public will have plentyof opportunity to view the demolition with the Cottage Grove launch ramp parking lot probablyone of the prime locations.The regulations for a blast that will bring the stack to the ground in seconds calls for a 500-footsecurity zone that no one will be able to be within and another 750-security zone in which thepublic must be behind, AED officials said.“If this blast did take the stack in the wrong direction there is a 300-foot zone that it would fallinto,” property owner Doug Melching told commissioners. But it would not reach LakeshoreDrive, he said.“But that’s not going to happen,” Melching assured the city commission.“We believe that we have taken into consideration all of the wildest fears,” Kelly toldcommissioners. “We’ve covered it all. Safety is always our top concern.”Before Tuesday’s meeting, Mazade told The Chronicle that city officials from the police, fire,inspections and public works departments are reviewing the detailed AED plans. Concernsinclude potential damage to underground utilities, the transportation and storage of theexplosives, the safety zone and closure of Lakeshore Drive among other items, Mazade said.“We are not through all of the issues yet,” Mazade said.The concern of a group of Occupy Muskegon members was for the potential of pollution comingfrom the 109-year-old industrial facility that could get into Muskegon Lake or the air. Melchingpurchased the vacant industrial plant last year and has begun demolition with hopes of creating alakefront industrial center with deep-port access to the Great Lakes.Kelly told the Occupy Muskegon members and city officials that the smokestack that vented thepaper mill’s old boilers has been cleaned and contains no hazardous materials.“This is the safest way of bringing down the stack without hurting anyone,” Kelly said. “Wehave cleaned the stack of contaminates.”Occupy Muskegon member Dan Mills of North Muskegon told commissioners not to rely on theopinions of the “experts” but go to the people to get approval. Mills didn’t say how such acommunity consensus was to be determined.Commissioner Willie German, Jr. was the only commission vote against granting approval forthe stack demolition at this time. He said after the meeting that back-up plans for potentialproblems were not well defined by AED officials. He said he had concerns about environmentalissues surrounding the blast.
Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington asking citizens to be involved in their neighborhoodsPublished: Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 6:00 AM Updated: Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 10:35 AM By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/01/mayor_steve_warmington_asking.ht mlMUSKEGON — When it comes to fighting urban violence and its causes, Muskegon Mayor SteveWarmington will leave job creation, literacy initiatives, life skills training and youth mentoring to others.But when it comes to rallying city residents to get to know their neighbors and to take care of each other,Warmington is a crusader.Beginning this year, Warmington is making the rounds to all of the citys neighborhood associations topreach the gospel of being a good neighbor in hopes that alert and concerned citizens will stem crime andmake the citys streets safer.“We need to do more for our young people, and that will take a lot of money,” Warmington told theNelson Neighborhood Improvement Association last week. “But through neighborhood awareness, it isapparent that we, the residents in our community, need to be back involved in our neighborhoods.”The days are over when residents never lock their doors at night and leave their keys in their carsignitions, the mayor said. Gone, too, are the days when everyone on the block knew each other andlooked out for each others children, he said.“No longer are we living behind white picket fences but instead behind security fences because we wantour privacy and no one to steal our lawn furniture or grill,” Warmington said. “We need to become friendly again,” Warmington told the Nelson association members, in a message hehas repeated at seven other neighborhood association meetings. Warmington has another fiveneighborhood meetings, concluding March 19 with the Oakview and Sheldon Park association.The message goes beyond being friendly, to challenging the associations and citizens to organizeneighborhood watch groups to work among themselves and with Muskegons community policingofficers.
All of the Muskegon mayors efforts go back to the 2010 shootings on the streets of mainly Muskegonand Muskegon Heights, as young people took their anger and frustration out on each other. The violencethreatened everyone in the neighborhoods.When the summer of 2011 began the same way, with shocking gunplay Memorial Day weekend at thecitys Pere Marquette Park on Lake Michigan, city officials, law enforcement and community leadersjoined forces to stem the violence. A Muskegon County Social Justice Commission of law enforcementand ministers and Warmingtons Mayors Task Force of community leaders began to attack the problems.The reduction of urban violence in the second half of 2011 is attributable to good police work inapprehending the shooters, key community leaders reaching out to those participating in the violence andefforts to work on the underlying social issues causing the violence, Warmington said.Muskegon city officials also credited concerned and brave citizens stepping forward with information thatled to arrests and convictions of those involved in shootings.Thats why the citys revival of the Neighborhood Watch Program is at the heart of Warmingtons messageto Muskegons neighborhoods.“Neighborhood Watch, Block Watch … Crime Watch — whatever the name, its one of the mosteffective and least costly ways to prevent crime and reduce fear,” according to the Washington D.C.-based National Crime Prevention Council.The city of Muskegons encouragement for Neighborhood Watch programs is being organized through itscommunity policing unit and Denny Powers, the Muskegon Police Departments police-communitycoordinator.Neighborhood Watch programs will be designed to fit the needs of each block and the variousneighborhoods, Powers said. The mayors visits are to gauge interest and collect names of those willing tohelp organize the efforts, which will come in March.“The whole thing is to get all of us to know our neighbors,” Powers told the Nelson Neighborhood group.“You just need to be the neighborhoods eyes and ears.”Powers told of a past rash of burglaries in the citys Sheldon and Oakview neighborhoods on the citys fareast side. Concerned neighbors went beyond a “watch” group to organize a “neighborhood patrol” inconjunction with police, he said.Within the first month of operation, the neighborhood patrols reduced burglaries in the neighborhood by60 percent, Powers said.The Third Street commercial area of the Nelson Neighborhood already has an organized block watchgroup, said Greg Borgman — a Houston Street resident, neighborhood association board member and co-captain of the watch group.
“We have been working on this, and we have established a block club,” Borgman said of the effort puttogether with the help of Chris Drake, another Houston Street resident, association board member and cityfirefighter.Drake and Borgman said that after organizing a watch group in their part of the Nelson Neighborhoodthey have begun working with residents in the Heritage Village area of Clay Avenue to establish a similargroup.“This is something that needs to be expanded,” said Nelson association President William Parker. “Timeshave changed in the neighborhood. This is a good thing for our residents.”There is always a fear of retaliation for those that report crime and suspicious activity or provide a witnessstatement for incidents like street shootings, according to Nelson Community Officer Mike Fort.“If you see something happen, call 911 at the time,” Fort asked for the Nelson residents. “I cant dosomething with it if I hear about it a month down the road.”Powers said that those who are uncomfortable talking to a community police officer or evencalling 911 can still report information to authorities anonymously through the Muskegon PoliceDepartments blue “crime prevention card.” The cards are available at the Muskegon Post Office.The basic report of a crime or suspicious activity can be mailed to police without identifying thesource of the information. Fort said that crime activity dealing with drugs will be shared with theWest Michigan Drug Enforcement Team, while burglaries or loitering crowds in a specific areamight activate the citys “neighborhood response team.”The mayor made a final plea for cooperation this year in establishing Neighborhood Watchgroups. Currently, the city budget allows for community police officers, but with potential lossof property tax revenues due to the closure of the Sappi paper mill and potentially the B.C. Cobbpower plant, police officer cutbacks might be needed in the coming years.Warmington said he hopes to have the citizen watch programs operating while community policeofficers are in the neighborhoods to assist.“We hope to do this one block at a time,” Warmington said.
Former Muskegon paper mill smokestack demolition still unsure for Sunday, property owner saysPublished: Wednesday, January 25, 2012, 5:11 PM Updated: Thursday, January 26, 2012, 11:46 AM By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle www.lakenews.com/News.asp?ID=33C1042B-0C28-4461-95A9- DD65658C9493&SiteID=MI022MUSKEGON — Plans for a Sunday morning demolition of the 280-foot smokestack on the formerMuskegon paper mill property by explosive charges are still up in the air, the propertys owner said lateWednesday.The Muskegon City Commission Tuesday gave authorization to city staff to approve blasting the stack tothe ground when all details with city departments are settled. Muskegon City Manager Bryon Mazade isnoncommittal as to whether the blast will be approved for Sunday morning as paper mill property ownerMelching Inc. and officials from Advanced Explosives Demolition hoped."There are some complications," property owner Doug Melching told The Muskegon Chronicle lateWednesday afternoon. "I am not sure if it will happen Sunday."There is no decision yet by city officials, but for the demolition to go forward mid-morning Sunday, afinal determination will need to be made by Thursday, Melching said.The city has an extensive plan from the property owner and the Idaho-based AED, city officials have said.That plan is being reviewed and discussed among the citys police, fire, inspections and public worksdepartments, Mazade has said.The blast to bring down the stack was planned for Sunday morning to be the least disruptive to thecommunity, according to AED President Lisa Kelly. Lakeshore Drive in the direct vicinity of the papermill property would be closed for about a half-hour as the stack is brought down, AED officials have said.The explosive demolition, which also will include the propertys old bleach plant building, is expected todraw the public to the Muskegon Lake property to view the event. Melching and AED will have a VIPand media viewing section, company officials said. The public will be kept behind a 750-foot blast zone,they said.
Date set for Sappi mill smokestack demolition (w/video)12:29 AM, Jan 25, 2012 www.wzzm13.com/news/article/196200/14/Date-set-for-Sappi-mill-smokestack-demolitionMUSKEGON, Mich. (WZZM) -- The landscape of Muskegon will change this weekend nowthat city leaders have approved the demolition of parts of the former Sappi paper mill.Two structures, including the mills 280-foot high smoke stack, will be brought down usingexplosives. The old Sappi mill is on Lakeshore Drive, where it was built in 1899.The Muskegon City Commission voted Tuesday to move ahead with the demolition, now set forbetween 9-10 a.m. Sunday, January 29th.There was some public concern over environmental hazards generated by the collapse of thesmoke-stack. Douglas Melching, who is president of the company tearing down the facility, saysthe impact would be minimal."The site is a filled site, theres a lot of contamination out there, but its all within industrialguidelines," said Douglas Melching, president of Melching Demolition. "Its been filled forhundreds of years with fill sand, various leftover materials from the paper mill, but all with anon-hazardous consistency."The smokestack is planned to fall towards Lake Michigan. The president of MelchingDemolition says every precaution is being made to ensure a safe demolition.A portion of Lakeshore Drive will be closed for approximately a half hour between 9-10 a.m.this Sunday morning for the implosion
Potential pollution concerns cause blast of former Sappi smokestack to be delayedPublished: Thursday, January 26, 2012, 2:56 PM Updated: Thursday, January 26, 2012, 4:40 PM By Dave Alexander | Muskegon Chronicle www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/01/potential_pollution_issues_cau.htmlMUSKEGON — Blasting down the smokestack on the former Sappi paper mill property inMuskegon has been delayed until spring or summer because “unknown contaminants” have beendiscovered by the propertys owner.Doug Melching — president of Melching Inc., which owns the former industrial plant on Muskegon Lake— wrote Muskegon city officials Thursday of the problems that have delayed removal of the 280-footstack with explosives. Melching had wanted to blast the stack Sunday morning.“In the interest of public safety … we have decided to cancel our current schedule regarding thedemolition of the smokestack and additional blasting at the former Sappi mill site,” Melchingwrote Muskegon City Manager Bryon Mazade Thursday afternoon.“During the process of our continuing analytical testing of substances and air monitoring, wehave discovered some previously unknown contaminants pertaining to the smokestack,”Melching wrote. “Until we have fully investigated the regulatory requirements in the continuedprocess of handling abating, further testing and final disposition of such materials, we aresuspending demolition of the smokestack.”Melching did not indicate the nature of the contaminants nor their location in the letter toMazade or in a conversation with The Chronicle. Melching did tell The Chronicle that hisdemolition company will work with state environmental agencies to determine how to proceed.“We still anticipate proceeding with our regular demolition agenda and will eventually need ablasting permit this spring or summer from the city of Muskegon,” Melching wrote the citymanager.Melching Inc. is a Nunica-based demolition company that is taking down a majority of the papermill facilities. Eventual plans are to create an industrial center on the 119-acre site with deep-water port access to the Great Lakes.The Muskegon City Commission voted 6-1 Tuesday to authorize Mazade and city staff to giveMelching permission to bring down the largest stack on the Muskegon Lake shoreline propertywith explosives.
Permission was contingent on all details being reviewed and approved by the citys police, fire,public works and inspection departments. City ordinances do not allow demolition by explosionwithout written approval from the city.“We had not determined that they were ready to proceed,” Mazade said of the city review as ofThursday. “We will now continue to work with Melching on its request.”Melching has hired Advanced Explosives Demolition from Idaho, an internationally-knowndemolition company, to bring down the stack and a 50,000-square-foot paper mill bleach plant.AED President Lisa Kelly told commissioners at Tuesdays meeting that there were noenvironmental hazards involved in blasting the stack.In public comments to the city commission, members of Occupy Muskegon — a local offshootof a national protest movement — raised questions concerning environmental issues from theblast.
Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington objects to congressmans position on the S.S. BadgerPublished: Saturday, January 28, 2012, 8:15 AM By Dave Alexander | firstname.lastname@example.org www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/01/muskegon_mayor_steve_warmingto _1.htmlMUSKEGON — Congressman Bill Huizengas position on the S.S. Badgers continued dumpingof coal ash into Lake Michigan does not reflect the opinion of his entire constituency, MuskegonMayor Steve Warmington said Friday.Warmington reacted to Huizengas comments to The Chronicle Editorial Board Thursday insupport of extending a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency permit for the Badger to continueits disposal practices.Huizenga, R-Zeeland, is supporting the Ludington-based Lake Michigan Carferrys attempt toextend the EPA permit or secure congressional action to keep the Badger operating past the endof this year when its current permit expires.“It is our congressman who believes it is OK for coal ash to go into our lake,” Warmington said.“He did not go up and down our shoreline to ask other waterfront communities whether theyagree.”And for one, Warmington said he does not support the extension of the coal-dumping practice.Huizengas 2nd Congressional District runs the Lake Michigan shoreline from Holland to northof Manistee, including both Ludington and Muskegon.Warmington said his position on the Badger is not based on competitive issues surrounding theMilwaukee-based Lake Express ferry, a competitor of the Badger that operates betweenMuskegon and Milwaukee. The Badger operates between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wis.“It is not a question of fairness to Lake Express,” Warmington said. “But it is a question offairness to the environment and Lake Michigan. I am speaking about the lake and about its waterquality.”Chronicle attempts to reach Huizenga to respond to the Muskegon mayors concerns wereunsuccessful late Friday afternoon.
Huizenga argued in an interview with Chronicle editors that the continued operation of theBadger is critically important not only to Ludington but also to the entire region. Without solvingthe historic coal-power ferrys fuel issues or receiving a new permit from federal regulators, theBadger faces ending operations after the 2012 sailing season.The first-term congressman argued that Lake Michigan Carferry is exploring alternatives such asthe conversion of the Badger to compressed natural gas. All efforts to find an immediate andreasonable solutios that would allow for continued operations have been unsuccessful, Huizengasaid.Huizenga told The Chronicle that the EPA ban on continued dumping of coal ash in the lake islike a “government taking,” in which what was once a legal activity was changed to thedisadvantage of the private ferry service.Warmington said he doesnt buy that argument.“The congressman loses the fact that it is not private property but the public waterway wherethey are discharging the coal ash,” Warmington said. “The Badger owners have had permitextensions and have had time to make a decision on whether it is a good business decision tocontinue. Others have had to invest millions of dollars because of changing governmentregulations.”Specifically, Warmington said he is prepared to support the Badger in converting to a new fuel.He said he would write a letter of support for the same kind of maritime federal loan guaranteethat Lake Express used to launch its service in 2004.“But they need to invest their money,” the mayor said of Lake Michigan Carferry. “I cantsupport another government bailout or subsidy to a private business.”The bottomline is that the Badgers coal ash dumping practice has to stop, Warmington said.“If they are making a decision for all of us, it wont be to have a coal-powered Badger,” he said.
Sappi Mill, Tank "Tripping", AED & Melching, Inc (video)Uploaded by biggerblast on Jan 29, 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSy5p0uySpo Muskegon City Commission will be involved as public begins to debate future of Sappi sitePublished: Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 7:27 AM Updated: Tuesday, January 31, 2012, 11:22 AM By Dave Alexander | email@example.com www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/01/muskegon_city_commission_will.ht mlMUSKEGON – Not only will the redevelopment of the former Sappi paper mill property be atthe center of the public debate in Muskegon this year but the Muskegon City Commissionintends to be actively involved.At a half-day-long annual goal-setting session with commissioners and key city staff late lastweek, commissioners prioritized about a dozen potential initiatives and issues facing the city in2012. At the top of the heap was the redevelopment of the Sappi property.Other key issues on the commission’s priority list include continued revitalization of cityneighborhoods, review of downtown central business district zoning, cooperation with other areamunicipalities in providing shared services and an emphasis on creating a diverse MuskegonCity Hall staff, especially in the police department.The goal-setting session was critical this year because three of the seven commission memberswere newly elected in November and took office at the beginning of the year. The newcommissioners are Eric Hood in Ward 1, Willie German Jr. in Ward 2 and Byron Turnquist inWard 4.
The former Sappi Fine Paper mill is a vacant industrial site that closed in 2009, leaving idle morethan 1 million square feet of the former paper manufacturing facility. The site on LakeshoreDrive has nearly a mile of Muskegon Lake shoreline and 119 acres of industrially-zoned land.The Sappi site was sold last September to Melching Inc., the Nunica-based demolition companyowned by Doug Melching. Melching has begun the demolition of what will be a majority of theplant, a process that will take two years.A highly-restrictive deed transferred by Sappi to Melching leaves little room for redevelopmentof the property beyond continued industrial use. Melching provided an initial look at a tentativepaper mill site master plan at a Lakeside Neighborhood Association meeting earlier this year.Melching showed the paper mill neighbors a plan for a waterfront industrial center that proposesto use the deep-water port facilities of the property. Those plans are being developed and areexpected to be shared with the community at a special Muskegon Planning Commission meetingin late February, city officials said.In the meantime, the goal setting session made it obvious that city commissioners are extremelyinterested in the debate over the Sappi site. Their discussion showed the consensus is to makeoverall decisions on the property’s future and not piece-meal decisions on specific sites in theproposed industrial center.Muskegon planning staff indicated one way is to have the Sappi site plan approval as a “plannedunit development” – a zoning tool that allows the most flexibility. A PUD zone change wouldallow first planning commission members and then city commissioners to rule on an overall butspecific plan for the site, city officials said.The commissioners set neighborhood revitalization as the second most important issue for 2012.The focus on improving the residential areas of the city comes as Mayor Steve Warmingtonbegan a series of meetings with all of the city’s neighborhood associations, calling for citizenengagement and development of neighborhood watch programs.Commissioners have a variety of tools in their neighborhood improvement toolbox, city officialssaid. The city could target certain trouble areas for code enforcement to cleanup residentialproperties or initiate a more aggressive housing rehabilitation program than the city already has.Commissioner Sue Wierengo said the city needs to put a strategy together to attract more high-income housing developments, either single-family or condominiums, she said.“Our neighborhoods can be a focus but we need to keep in mind our budget,” Warmingtonwarned the commission.The city general fund is in relatively strong financial position, city commissioners were told, butthere are economic issues facing the community such as the potential closing of the B.C. Cobbpower plant in two years – the city’s largest single taxpayer.
City Manager Bryon Mazade also told commissioners to expect the city’s CommunityDevelopment Block Grants and home improvement funds from the federal government tocontinue shrinking. These are the funds that the city has used to demolish vacant houses in theneighborhoods and purchase properties for rehabilitation.Downtown business zoning as the redevelopment of the city’s central business district continuesand exploration of shared services with other local municipalities are other key goals.The city planning staff expects to have a workshop for planning commission members and citycommissioners on the downtown zoning issues, city officials said. The city participated in aMuskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce shared local government services study in 2011and Warmington continues to have discussions with other mayors and township supervisors onthose issues.Increased diversity of city staff, especially having the police department better reflect the racialmakeup of the city, received the most discussion during the goal-setting session. Commissionersseem poised to again put the elimination of the city’s civil service system as a charteramendment on the August primary or November general election ballot, commissionersindicated.Elimination of the civil service system in the city might not be the only ballot proposal beforecity voters this year. Commissioners discussed the possibility of also putting a special roadmillage on the ballot this year.
Editorial: Muskegon knows the value of a clean Lake Michigan, so leave our mayor alone LudingtonPublished: Friday, February 03, 2012, 1:31 PM Updated: Sunday, February 05, 2012, 8:25 AM By Paula Holmes-Greeley | firstname.lastname@example.org www.lakenews.com/News.asp?ID=8051A732-0A68-42EE-94F5- 93813741DB74&SiteID=MI022Nobody knows better than Muskegon knows the destruction that occurs when waste is dumpedinto the Great Lakes --- or into the ground near the lake.One of the legacies of Muskegons manufacturing era is a double listing on the EnvironmentalProtection Agencys Great Lakes toxic hot spots list -- once for Muskegon Lake and once forWhite Lake.For more than three decades, this lakeshore county has gotten almost as much recognition for itspollution as it has for its gorgeous beaches, innovative metals manufacturing, first-rate healthcare system and its fantastic festivals.So, of course, were a little sensitive when our lakeshore neighbors -- and our elected officials --support continued dumping of coal ash in a public waterway by the coal-fired SS Badger ferry.The Ludington Daily News even accused our mayor, Steve Warmington, of nefarious purposeswhen he challenged Congressman Bill Huizengas support of continued dumping of coal ash."One cant prove intent," the LDN opined. "In this case its difficult to believe that suddenlycarferry coal ash is a concern to our neighbors to the south."Its no secret that Muskegon also is port to a cross-lake ferry carrying passengers to Wisconsinand that the community is quite proud of that. And its no secret that the two ferry companies arein major competition with each other. And its no secret that both communities need the tourismdollars and jobs the two companies generate.But how does that translate into celebrating polluting Lake Michigan -- even by very smallamounts, which by the way, begin to add up over 50 years.The Ludington editorial was headlined, "All we are saying is give Badger a chance." Were goodwith that. But the owners of the Badger have known since at least 2006 they were facing adeadline to convert their ship to another fuel or find a different way to dispose of the coal ash.They even negotiated the current 2013 deadline with the EPA in 2009.
Now they want to be allowed to continue dumping for the life of the ship, when coal-fired shipsin the Pacific northwest and other communities have all converted to a different fuel.If you really do love the lake, Ludington, we say prove it.It took a hardy bunch of Muskegon County citizens, plus elected and appointed officials,working diligently every day to find a way to clean up our pollution. Finally, the millions neededhave been coming this way to remove polluted sediment, restore shorelines and return habitatneeded so wildlife and fish can thrive in our lake.We are so close to getting off the toxic hot spot list, we can almost smell the marsh marigolds.What will that mean? That our children and grandchildren and their grandchildren will be able touse the public waterways for recreation without fear of exposure to something toxic. It means thelakes will thrive and continue to sustain this area.Our community also plans to continue using the lake for commercial purposes. Theres beenrenewed interest in the use of Muskegons deep water port. Huizenga warns that a runaway EPAcould regulate the communitys plans out of existence, a reference to the Badgers predicament.Of course, Muskegon County doesnt want to see that happen. But, if the EPAs rules will protectthe hard work already poured into the lakes to clean them up, we say bring them on.This community will work to find solutions to the challenges. And we wont do it by pollutingthe publics lakes.
Viewpoint: Embracing the Blue Economy means continuing to clean up the errors of our pastPublished: Monday, February 06, 2012, 10:14 AM Updated: Monday, February 06, 2012, 10:14 AMBy Dave Fisher www.lakenews.com/News.asp?ID=C83C46A8-EF89-4FC0-AE35- 8F04976225F3&SiteID=MI022The message of John Austin of the Brookings Institution and Chronicle reporter DaveAlexander’s follow-up article on “Embracing the blue economy” were most impressive. It wouldbe difficult to expand on Austin’s view on the economic advantages we possess. Our forefathersrecognized all these ideals as did the American Indians before them. It is a great feeling tocelebrate the wonders we have at our reach. We deserve to celebrate it. And as Austin eludes, wemust learn to market it. Therein lays the core of our dilemma. Are these great assets a resource ora commodity? This is not a new question, but one that receives merit on both sides.When we consider water alone, it is a wonderful resource. This is proven by its abundance in ourlives, the life sustaining function it serves and finally, its inherent ability to cleanse itself throughthe natural cycles it goes through. It is a resource because we cannot live without it. It is aresource because it enhances our quality of life in so many ways that listing them is a challenge.Many of us long term residents of West Michigan too often nod in agreement to such discussionsthen go on with our lives taking for granted all of the opportunities our direct access to waters ofthe Great Lakes presents us with.When and how does water become a commodity? The natural cleansing ability of water has beeninterrupted and in some cases destroyed by our many uses. This very fact is the good and the badof Austin’s message. I do not wish to take anything away from his message, however, we havelearned to embrace the economic opportunities and sadly ignored the waste and errors of ourpasts. All around us are the remnants of years of waste and misuse. Many of these sites havereceived a lot of press and attention from time to time, but very few get the attention necessary toremove the blights.How many more uncapped wells must we find before we demand them to be closed and sealed?How can the Zephyr site sit for over 20 years, transfer through at least a half dozen ownershipchanges including the federal government, the State of Michigan and the Township of Muskegonwithout ever being required to perform soil testing? How does a former refinery remain acontinuing source of groundwater pollution to Little Black Creek for over 50 years without aplan for cleanup? Tearing down dozens of houses is not a cleanup plan. How does Mona Lake’sphosphorous problem continue to be a plague on that lake when we have known for a number ofyears where the greatest source of contamination is?These are but a few of the questions we need to answer. These are our “dirty little corners” thatno one wants to lay claim to. These are the costs sometimes associated with economic uses.
When there is a cost associated with the use, then the resource has become a commodity. Itmatters little if you pay to secure and use the resource, or if you pay to reclaim or dispose of theresource.The challenges before us today are the mandatory roots to building the blue economy Austinspeaks of. The Great Lakes have approximately 40 “areas of concern” or AOCs. This is a federaldefinition for a body of water that has documented a loss of a number of its beneficial uses. Outof that 40 or so locations, Muskegon County has two of them in Muskegon and White Lakes. Weneed to rid ourselves of this stigma.I do not wish to speak all doom in gloom. To the contrary, there is an increasing number ofresidents who have embraced these challenges and serve unselfishly on committees and boardstrying to address the issues. I serve on many of these boards and committees with these folks andwish to applaud those individuals who continue to bring their passion and unwaveringcommitments to our communities and the resources we are so blessed with. Their efforts havebrought success in dealing with issues that for so long have been just accepted as the norm, orsomeone else’s problem. As Alexander points out, Ruddiman valley, Division Street outfall, andMuskegon Lake’s shoreline are but a few of the accomplishments. The recent appropriation of$6 million by the State of Michigan to the Zephyr site is another example of our elected officialsstepping to the plate on behalf of West Michigan.Yes, we need to continue to pursue the Blue Economy. Marketing our wastewater system,coming together as one community on water production, managing our deep water port potential,and growing business on the basis of our greatest resource is paramount. It is easy to challengeour local and state officials in pursuing such goals. Why not extend the same challenge to ourlocal and state officials to clean up our community. Some of our local officials have stepped tothe plate to assist these grassroots efforts. We know who these folks are and appreciate theirefforts. However, local governmental partnering has generally been in areas where newregulations require it, or to sign on for grants that others have brought to the table. It is easy tostep forward and look for new roads. It is harder to put your foot down and demand somethinggets done to correct the errors of our past.So, my challenge to the readers is to continue to ask your representatives and local councilmembers if they are ready to do what it takes to address these ”dirty little corners” of ourcommunity. Are you ready? If we are ready and take these challenges, then the Blue Economycan and will grow.Dave Fisher is Muskegon County Drain Commissioner.
Muskegon City Council Work Meeting (2/13/12) (video) http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/20431326 Muskegon City Council Meeting (2/14/12) (video) http://youtu.be/oWbjUKlGb_Q Melching Inc. asks to store construction materials on Sappi paper mill sitePublished: Saturday, February 18, 2012, 7:00 PM By Dave Alexander | email@example.com www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/02/melching_inc_asks_to_store_con.ht mlMUSKEGON – The public debate on the future of the former Sappi Fine Paper mill property onMuskegon Lake begins Thursday afternoon.The Muskegon Planning Commission has scheduled a special meeting Thursday at 4 p.m. on arequest by the property’s new owner, Melching Inc., for outdoor storage of constructionmaterials on a portion of the 120-acre site.The public hearing is for Melching’s request for a special use permit to allow the constructionmaterials to be stored on about 26 acres on the west end of the property at 2400 Lakeshore. Thestorage of sand, gravel, rock and other materials would likely involve those items being off-loaded from freighters, stored and transported off site by truck.
The entire paper mill site is zoned “I-2” for heavy industrial use, but the storage of constructionmaterials is allowed only with a special use permit from planning commissioners, according tothe city zoning ordinance. If approved by the planning commissioners, the special use permitwould not need city commission approval.Although not part of the specific request from Melching, the Nunica-based owner of the site withnearly one mile of Muskegon Lake frontage has provided city planners with a “preliminaryconceptual master plan” for what is being called the Muskegon Maritime Business Park.The initial master plan for the property calls for other industrial uses with an extensive portion ofthe waterfront designed for the docking of Great Lakes freighters. Owner Doug Melching and hisdesign team from Triangle – an architectural and construction company from Grand Rapids –have been sharing their preliminary ideas for redevelopment of a paper mill property withsurrounding residents.Melching purchased the 120-acre site from Sappi Fine Paper in September with the intention ofdemolishing a majority of the more than 1 million square feet of industrial facilities andredeveloping the property for marine-based industrial use.Sappi placed deed restrictions placed on the property making industrial use the only option forredevelopment, the new owners have said. Commercial, recreational or residentialredevelopment of the site is not possible, Melching has said.In the meantime, Melching Inc. has begun the demolition process, which could take up to twoyears to complete. Sappi closed its operation in 2009 after 109 years of paper-making activitiesat that location.The special Muskegon Planning Commission meeting is in the city commission chambers atMuskegon City Hall, 933 Terrace. The meeting is open to the public and citizens will be givenan opportunity to react to the request to store construction materials on site.
City planner recommends against construction materials on Sappi site; site master plan revealedPublished: Sunday, February 19, 2012, 3:07 PM By Dave Alexander | firstname.lastname@example.org www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/02/city_planner_recommends_agains.ht mlMUSKEGON – The city of Muskegon Planning Department is recommending against a specialuse permit that would allow the storage of construction materials on the former Sappi paper millproperty.The Muskegon Planning Commission has a special meeting Thursday afternoon for a publichearing on the special use permit requested by owner Melching Inc.The 120-acre paper mill property on Muskegon Lake is zoned for industrial use, but the city’szoning ordinance calls for a special use permit to store construction aggregate.City Planner Michael Franzak wrote the staff report for the planning commissioners and cited thecity’s 1999 Waterfront Redevelopment Sub-Plan as the reason for his recommendation.Storage of construction aggregates is a use the waterfront plan suggests for the eastern end ofMuskegon Lake. The Sappi site is adjacent to the Lakeside Business District, a portion of theshoreline that the 1999 plan targeted for waterfront residential use.Meanwhile, Melching provided city planners with a proposed master plan for the industrialredevelopment of the entire property in making the request for a special use permit for 26 acreson the west end of the Sappi property for storage of sand, gravel and other materials.
“The owner wanted to show what overall that they have in mind for the property,” Francek saidof the “preliminary conceptual master plan” for what is being called the Muskegon MaritimeBusiness Park.Muskegon City Commissioners at a half-day goal-setting session in January identified theredevelopment of the Sappi property as the most critical issue facing the city this year. In thatdiscussion, commissioners came to a consensus that they want to make overall decisions on thefuture use of the property and not decisions one parcel at a time.The “bulk storage” use of the west end of the Sappi site is one of 11 industrial lots shown on thesuggested site plan prepared by Triangle of Grand Rapids.City commissioners have suggested they would like to consider the entire master plan. Cityplanners have suggested that the zoning ordinance allows for a “waterfront industrial plannedunit development” zoning for the property that would require a public hearing before theplanning commission and final approval from the city commission.The Melching master plan for the property shows exclusively industrial uses for the site zonedfor heavy industry. When Melching purchased the property in September, the deed from SappiFine Paper restricts redevelopment to only industrial uses.After members of the Lakeside Neighborhood Association saw the redevelopment plans lastmonth, several were frustrated that the plans didn’t suggest residential, recreation or commercialuses. Citizen concerns were voiced on the environmental state of the property and thewillingness of the new owner to clean up pollution from past mill operations.Company owner Doug Melching has said his vision is to locate businesses on the property thatwill add to the Muskegon-area economy and create jobs. At its peak over the 109-years ofpapermaking on the site, more than 1,000 people worked in the mill.Seven of the 11 parcels shown on the Melching plan have shoreline frontage, taking advantage ofthe deep-water port on Muskegon Lake. The proposed master plan shows two boat basins cutinto the property where only one exists now.As expected, the plan shows the continued use of the old paper mill’s generating plant that canproduce both electricity and steam. But only a portion of the massive 1 million-square-footindustrial facility is shown remaining after ongoing demolition is complete.The largest remaining part of the current plant is the east end warehouse, a relatively newstructure of about 250,000 square feet. Another part of the mill is shown just east of the powerplant that could be used for biofuels production using the electricity and steam generated on site.One of the waterfront sites shows one of the boat basins could be used for “tug boat and bargerepair.” That is just one of the many suggested uses for the property since Melching purchased it,the owner has said. Melching has been talking to potential buyers of the business park lots.
The proposed master plan shows a new private road beginning at the main entrance of the formerSappi site at 2400 Lakeshore on the east end of the property and exiting back on LakeshoreDrive on the west end where the former mill’s wood lot was located.The site plan provided to city officials shows extensive tree buffers on both the east and west endof the property. It also shows the former paper mill office building – an historic, three-story brickstructure directly on Lakeshore Drive – remaining.The public debate on the future of the sprawling industrial site on Muskegon Lake begins withthe special Muskegon Planning Commission meeting Thursday at 4 p.m. The public meeting isin the city commission chambers of Muskegon City Hall, 933 Terrace.
Take our poll: Paper mill site redevelopment in MuskegonPublished: Monday, February 20, 2012, 6:38 AM Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012, 6:45 AM By Paula Holmes-Greeley | email@example.com http://www.mlive.com/opinion/muskegon/index.ssf/2012/02/take_our_poll_paper_mill_s ite.htmlA major redevelopment is being proposed at the former paper mill site in the Lakesideneighborhood of Muskegon. The uses are industrial and the 120-acre site is being divided into 11parcels with different proposed uses, ranging from proposed storage of sand and gravel to tugand barge repair.Muskegon city commissioners have identified the redevelopment of the Sappi property as themost critical issue facing the city this year.A Muskegon Planning Commission meeting will discuss one aspect of the proposal -- a requestfor a special use permit to store sand, gravel and other material on 26 acres at the west end of thesite -- at 4 p.m. Thursday.Tell us what you think by taking the poll and posting your comments below.Thank you, we have already counted your vote.Reject the plan 43.2% (89 votes)Accept the current proposal 30.1% (62 votes)Require commercial uses on the street side of the property 15.53% (32 votes)Accept the proposal without the sand and gravel storage 11.17% (23 votes)Total Votes: 206