Ice Frozen River, No Sugar Island Ferry

I have written to both The Evening News and Senator Levin’s Office asking for help with the present “River Ice Conditions.” I personally believe that GOD made the ice, but that the problems the residents of Sugar Island are experiencing are all created by the “People Paid To Control The Ice.”

I have been a local Island dweller, from St. Joe to Sault, Michigan to Sugar for the last 69 years. Ice and Ferry boat operation has always been a problem. We use to use boats in the warm weather and “Ice Bridges” in the cold weather. Then came the St. Lawrence Seaway, which allowed for and made shipping seasons longer to accommodate big business. This created many problems for the “Island Residents” and the Island Resident made loud noises about the disruption this was causing to their way of life.

There was a flurry of corrective action taken by the Corp. of Engineers, The Coast Guard, The Lake Carriers Association and our Federal Government to restore some semblance of normal river crossing accessibility. The Federal Government funded Ice Breakers, The Corp. of Engineers installed large air compressors for “Air Bubbler Systems”  and high capacity drilled wells on both sides of the ferry landings to raise the water temperatures at the docks. The Lake Carriers Association paid for the building of special “Ice Cutting Propellers for the Ferries and the placement of “Ice Booms” in the River above the crossing sites.

After a period of time (I think it was about two winters) it was determined that the air compressors and wells where to expensive to maintain for the benefit it was thought they produced. The Government keeping the Big Mackinac Ice Breaker in the Lake Superior and Lake Michigan area along with the berthing of smaller ice breakers in the Sault and St. Ignace along with the Ice Boom placement turned out to be a fairly good fix.

Now to the heart of what I see as to how our present problem developed and became a reality. The Ice Booms, that the Corp. of Engineers have been placing up river from our Ferry boat for years in about mid December, were not placed. The winter has returned to about normal temperatures for us, in other words “Global Warming”  didn’t happen this winter, at least not so far. The Big Mackinac (that would open the channel wide with one or two passes) has gone to be a “Tourist Attraction” in Cheboygan, Michigan. These smaller ice breakers that we were told were adequate for our small ice breaking needs are not able to handle the job for us, and keep big business running at the same time.

It seems to me that “cost saving and vastly underestimating God’s ice creation abilities” has created the whole “We are stuck and can’t cross the river Ferry Problem.” It is time to “Suck it up,” “Admit you where wrong,” Shut the shipping season down early, Get the ice booms in place,  Start getting a proper sized ice breaker built or bring the Mackinac back, to restore a normal way of life for the residents of three Islands.  ”I believe the restoration of a normal way of life to Island Residents is just as important as a few tons of iron ore is for a big business.”

Jesse Knoll

Please leave your name with any comments you may have on this subject.

Here is my letter to the Senator.

January9, 2014

Good Afternoon Senator Levin,

Our Ferry boat here at Sugar Island, Michigan has been stopped from running most of the time for the last two days. Now they say the Coast Guard can’t help because the Commercial vessels are more important than us. It is because of them breaking the ice to get up and down the river that we have an ice problem. The Coast Guard has at least three ice breakers down river helping the very boats that caused our problem. The CG says they are obligated to help them first and us when they can. They say they will send air help if needed for the ambulance. I say horse hockey! That chopper is two hours away at best and we have more old heart and stroke type residents on this Island than the average rest home. Mark Gill of the CG says “well you choose to live there.” That is true, we do choose to live here, and a few of us lived here before they put that seaway through here in the fifties.

The people of Sugar, Needish and Drummond Islands are taxpayers too. We don’t have lobbyist or big power brokers over the CG, but we are American Citizens and deserve the same or even more consideration than a big steel company. Has our Government come down to where the Coast Guard has to bow and scrape for money to survive from a steel company, or is there yet more under the table money available for a few individuals, perhaps on a local basis. This may need checking into by your Office.

I ask you Senator, please do something, we have over 450 men, women and children that go to the mainland to work, attend schools and all sorts of health treatments that are needed daily. I am told they are saying that we can expect the same treatment until the 15 of January, which is the close of shipping season. Are a few extra tons of iron ore more important that the preservation of life in an emergency. If we aren’t to care about safety why have we got all these Boarder Paytrol people here? I sure hope it is to protect us, not the businesses in Canada. We never had this much trouble when we had the Mackinac Ice Breaker, not this one they sent us now, but the real one they turned into a tourist attraction for business profits in Cheboygan.

They said the ice boom didn’t help, well look for yourself.

I FOUND THE PICTURE. Yup it does hold the ice back for our Ferry. The other two booms out in the river will hold the rest of the ice coming from up river back too, if they are put in place. They haven’t been, why???

 Thanks for reading my ranting. Please do all you can for us. We need the help to protect us from the ICE.

Jesse Knoll

1710 N Honey Ln

Sugar Island

Sault Sainte Marie, MI.49783

906-632-9810

jesseknoll@wildblue.net

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