River Center officials speak to Montmorency commissioners

ATLANTA — The Thunder Bay River Center presented an update to the Montmorency County Board of Commissioners on the progress of the center during Wednesday’s commissioners meeting.

River Center board Secretary Judy Kalmenak told the commissioners the center received support letters from Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency, Oscoda and Presque Isle counties. Those five counties are all a part of the Thunder Bay River watershed. The center was able to obtain $45,000 from Rural Development based on those letters.

Kalmenak and River Center Chairman Roger Witherbee said the goal of the River Center is to protect and preserve the Thunder Bay River watershed.

The other goals of the center are to promote and teach renewable energy technologies, to engage everybody in hands-on studies, and monitoring invasive species.

The center will have many features, including aquariums with 81 species of fish, outdoor lab sites, river-themed artwork, and water testing stations, along with many others.

Kalmenak said she will attend a meeting in the fall to get another letter of support from the commissioners. Kalmenak also told the commissioners the center is in need of helpers to make the center successful.

“I’m excited about all the different species of fish,” county board Chairman Daryl Peterson said. “How much more local can you get to be able to get all of that? All the kids are going to love it.”

Peterson thanked Kalmenak and Witherbee for coming and speaking to the commissioners about the center.

“It’s right in Alpena across from the hospital and that is a perfect location for everyone,” Peterson said.

Commissioner Stacy Carroll said the center and the opportunities it can bring to everyone is very exciting.

For more information about the Thunder Bay River Center, visit http://www.thunderbayrivercenter.org.

In other business, Sheriff Chad Brown spoke to the commissioners about purchasing vests for corrections officers. Brown said the department wants to provide all correction officers with a stab proof vest. Brown said it is approximately $8,300 for the vests. Each full-time officer will get their own vest and there also will be three generic sizes for those who work part-time. The commissioners will discuss purchasing the vests at the next meeting on Sept. 27.

Julie Goldberg can be reached via email at jgoldberg@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688.