A Quick Tour Of Mullett Township

Mullett Township News & Views-Promoting Open Government in Mullett Township

There is also the Mullett Township Party Line or you make drink the Kool-Aid from the Topinabee Development Association "Artesian" Well

Mullett Township
is a general law township in Cheboygan County, Michigan. The population was 1312 in the 2010 US census. The township and Mullett Lake are named for John Mullett, who with William Burt, surveyed much of the area between 1840 and 1843.

The commercial center of the Township is the quiet unincorporated Village of Topinabee located on the west shore of Mullett Lake on M27 highway. The village is a trailhead for the DNR Trail with off-street parking and restrooms.

The village has a Post Office, Convenience Store with gas pumps, Public Library with 24 hour outdoor WiFi, an artisan-owned woodwork shop, a breakfast cafe and a bar and grille. Township owned buildings include the Library, Township Hall and Fire Hall, and an unused former school building on Lea St.

Recreation needs are served with a beachfront park and covered picnic area, free public boat launch at the north end of the village, a small public access to Mullett Lake across from the Nokia Cafe and tennis court, ball-field, and playground equipment at a public park located up the hill on Lea St.

The east side of Mullett Township is largely rural, with no commercial development. Township services include a Fire Hall and volunteer East Mullett Lake Fire Department.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

♚You're the Queen ♚♚NO, You're the Queen♚

These two Mullett Township Board members, Supervisor MaryAnne Gale and Clerk Rachel Osborn were apparently rehearsing to take their act to the Jerry Springer Show before the 2015/2016 Budget Workshop started. 

♚You're a Queen. 

♚No, you're a Queen.

In truth, they should just take off the gloves and use the proper label; it starts with a B....and ends with H.

The Mullett Township Board Meetings no longer warrant attendance by anyone outside of the Topinabee Development Association. Like a black person in the segregated South in the 1960's, you can sit at the counter, but you will never be served unless you are the TDA.  

The only attendees are TDA members, employees attending under threat of firing, and "diehards" who should know better.

That leaves a very small group of electors to cast votes for more of the same at the next election. The East Mullett Lake attendees concerned about roads were dissed and never came back. The lighting district SAD hearing attendees were also dissed, their opinions ignored-NO lights or fewer lights, and the Board voted to proceed.

The Topinabee Beach Park  Spring 2013
The Topinabee Beach Park  Spring 2015
At least 19 trees destroyed to install a "flush" and forget TDA Streetscape storm sewer. This polluted storm water run-off flows directly into Mullett Lake next to a public beach. Storm water run-off is the leading cause of beach closures in Michigan. Tom O'Hare and the TDA followers don't care. Their children don't swim at the public beach; your children do. 

Happy Valentine's Day

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Topinabee's Paul Bunyan and Babe-The Blue Ox

Napoleon once said, 'What is history, but a fable agreed upon?” Mr JW Earhart's letter in The Straitsland Resorter  “Some history of improvements made to Topinabee” was more fable than fact. JW reminisced after reviewing the Topinabee Centennial tabloid from 1981, a collection of local recollections and vintage photos. As a northern Michigan native I always enjoy our locally produced histories but we shouldn’t accept these remembrances of our forefathers as scholarly works.

JW repeated one of the local stories immortalized with a plaque on the side of the Topinabee Library stating the Mullett Board “borrowed” $8,500 to buy the MCRR Depot and beach in 1958. The Cheboygan County Clerk Register of Deeds has a different story recorded within the legal property records. In 1958, James Wozniak, a Mullett Board member, and his wife Catherine were the sole grantees named on a deed from the MCRR and NYCRR. Six years later, in 1964, the mortgage was discharged identifying the deed holders as the Wozniaks and Louis Nims. JW might remember Nims as the owner of the MCRR passenger car that sat on the Topinabee siding for years? Only then, in October 1964, was the depot and beach property finally deeded from the Wozniak’s to all the Mullett Board members named individually and Mullett Township. The entire Mullett Board may have had the “foresight’, but James and Catherine Wozniak put their signatures on that mortgage in 1958 and JW’s fable never even mentioned their names.  

Mr Earhart may still believe the fable perpetuated with a plaque on the Township Hall stating that Chief Topinabee’s name means “Big Bear Heart”. After verifiable sources including Pottawatomi tribal histories proved that Topinabee translates to “He who sits quietly” there was discussion of correcting the error. The Mullett Board decided Topinabee’s own “Paul Bunyan” fable would remain on that public building. That is no surprise in a community where the sign above the entrance to the township hall says “established 1900’s”. Any time last century is accurate enough.

Supervisor Gale presents Streetscape "news" at an annual TDA meeting
JW Earhart’s comments on past volunteerism was a lead into creating a fable that the TDA has selflessly contributed “pro bono” work to refurbish the Topinabee Beach Park at a cost he “uncertainly” refers to as $350,000. Gratis is free and pro bono means “for the public good”.   The $400,000 park project, funded by taxpayers and a MNRTF Grant was far over budget before ground was broken. Numerous scope items were cut, later requiring donations pay for benches, tables, grilles, and the wasteful fake artesian well where another misleading plaque resides. TDA founder Thomas O'Hare stated at a MNRTF Board hearing in June 2015 that the first stage of an MDOT Storm Sewer never disclosed as a scope item and sized to handle the TDA sponsored Streetscape was in that over-budget recreational project. We do know the park is still substantially closed to sportsmen in winter, has serious legal and safety issues, and has cost more than $500,000 to date. 

Was this really all for the public good? Apparently not. The MNRTF Board agreed with the majority of people in Mullett Township and did not award any grant to install more Streetscape storm sewer and pave over more grass in Topinabee allegedly for needed parking.  

The MNRTF Grant application scored in the bottom 25% of the 117 development applications submitted in 2015. Thousands of dollars of design work and $2,500 wasted on a Grant Writer for what is a simple on-line application based on need and facts that must meet a criteria.     

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Is Topinabee's BIG Heart A Medical Condition?

This is not a trick question. Who is more likely to lie, cheat, and steal; the poor person or the rich one? You’ll find some answers in an article by Daisy Grewal published in the Scientific American on April 10, 2012 that referenced numerous studies. The article says it’s tempting to think that the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to act fairly and think about what others may need. But research suggests the opposite is true: as people climb the social ladder, their compassionate feelings towards other people decline.

With Warren Buffet’s “Giving Pledge” encouraging billionaires to pledge at least 50 percent of their wealth to philanthropy or charity, we might think all wealthy people are altruistic. Forbes reported 1826 billionaires in the world this year and Buffet’s pledge has only been adopted by 137 billionaires. Less than 14% of the world’s wealthiest people are willing to give away 50% of a wealth that is measured in thousands of millions of dollars. Does that poorest billionaire with only one billion
dollars, which is one thousand million dollars; really need that second 500 million dollars to be happy? Apparently yes.

Berkeley psychologists Paul Piff and Dacher Keltner ran studies looking at whether social class, as measured by wealth, occupational prestige, and education influences how much we care about the feelings of others. In one study they discreetly observed the behavior of drivers at a busy four-way intersection. They found that luxury car drivers were more likely to cut off other motorists instead of waiting for their turn at the intersection. This was true for both men and women upper-class drivers, regardless of the time of day or the amount of traffic at the intersection.

Keltner and his colleagues published studies looking at how social class influences feelings of compassion towards people who are suffering. One study found that less affluent individuals are more likely to feel compassion for others. They are more likely to agree with statements such as, “I often notice
people who need help,” and “It’s important to take care of people who are vulnerable.” Previous research had shown upper class individuals are worse at recognizing the emotions of others. Did you think the wealthiest would be the most giving and the neediest the most selfish?

There is speculation that wealth and abundance may give us a sense of freedom and independence from others. This self-focus can combine with the fact that upper-class people may be more likely to endorse the idea that “greed is good.” These attitudes can predict participants’ likelihood of engaging in unethical behavior.

I was not surprised to find who had “fudged” the facts on the Mullett Township MNRTF Grant application. With that application denied, their Christmas
socks are as empty and barren as the concrete under the Topinabee Christmas tree.

We may have a dearth of billionaires in Cheboygan County, but we do have the same growing inequalities in incomes found across the country. There are the lakeshore associations and the locals employed to cut their lawns, install the docks, and serve the meals when they dine out. There are the wealthier retirees with defined benefit pensions or plump 501Ks and retirees subsisting on Social Security and part-time work trying to make ends meet.

There are of course exceptions to every rule and many in our communities, wealthy or not, have hearts bigger than any purse. At the December Mullett Board meeting in Topinabee, that “Small Community With A Big Heart”, Supervisor Gale stated she would no longer allow “non-employees” to decorate the Topinabee Library for Christmas. Non-employees? Those remarks insult every volunteer that picked up a shovel, carried a ladder, coached a youth team,
served a meal, picked up trash, or those thousands of other deeds done freely by those of us with hearts and minds open to helping. Supervisor Gale also apparently found fault with the Topinabee Library float in the Indian River Christmas Parade. All volunteered time, materials, and equipment and that is the thanks she gives? Why would any elected official thwart grass roots volunteers who take action without the need for organizations, meetings, and award banquets?

When communities find that grass-roots volunteerism has died, point the finger at people like Supervisor Gale who helped kill it off. There is no place for Mrs Scrooge in Topinabee. I’ll turn my back on our local scrooges and wish everyone who has given selflessly of their time or resources a blessed and Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Mullett Fudges the Facts on Grant Application

Many of us are blessed to have the capability to give of our time and resources to family, friends, and the community. It truly is better to give than receive. The Michigan Natural Resource Trust Fund (MNRTF) practices charity annually by giving millions of dollars of revenue received, most from oil and gas leases on public lands, as grants to needy recreational projects while spending a sizable amount acquiring and creating even more public lands. In 2014 the MNRTF gave about $6.5 million dollars in recreational development grants and spent about $18 million dollars to acquire private land for local governments ($8,880,000) and the DNR ($9,369,900). Unlike us, the DNR’s annual charity giving returns a large share of the funds to themselves; 100% of acquisition grants were funded while only 34% of recreational development grants were successful.

I remember as a child sitting on Santa’s knee at the JL Hudson Department Store. I assuredly fudged the truth and said I had been a good boy in the hope of finding those toys on my Christmas wish list under the tree. Santa brings toys to good little girls and boys and the MNRTF Board delivers their grants to those who follow their rules. The MNRTF Board encourages trails, picnic pavilions, fishing piers, playscapes, boat launches and signage and rewards buzz-words with points. On-line applicants are coached on the point system used to score applications and the applicants and projects are largely self-policed. Outright lies are treated the same as fibbing to Santa.

The 2013 Topinabee Beach Park project gained points with a never built “fishing/viewing pier” and instead delivered a large storm sewer sized for the TDA’s envisioned MDOT “Streetscape”. That secret storm sewer was the second most expensive component of the Topinabee Beach Park recreational improvements completed in 2013. 
 When the secret could no longer be hid, quoting the June 2015 minutes from the MNRTF Board Meeting held in Alpena: “Mr. O’Hare further stated that as to the storm water runoff issue, there has not been an effective storm water system in place to handle the runoff from the highway to the parking areas and surrounding areas. A drainage system does exist along US-27, but it is decades old and is environmentally outdated. When the park was constructed, it incorporated a modern stormwater system that addressed the immediate concerns, but it also had the capacity to accommodate runoff from this project should additional stormwater systems be added, as is part of this plan. It was also designed to accommodate any future streetscape improvements.” 
Contrary to Mr O’Hare’s spin, the park’s lawns, trees, sand beach and a playground did not create immediate concerns or any need for a storm sewer. It was not until this year that Mr O’Hare was forced to disclose the plan was to eventually dump polluted M-27 storm water into Mullett Lake next to the beach where your kids swim. Mr O’Hare has now publicly admitted the next phase of the MDOT storm sewer again hides within another Mullett Township “recreational improvement”.

The “recreational improvements”, a proposed paved parking lot allegedly needed because of increased park use will accommodate only 15 vehicles. It includes the grant seeking buzz-words; kayak rack, rain-garden and interpretive signage. The truth is the new parking lots will only accommodate about half as many vehicles as the existing gravel lots that naturally filter storm run-off. This MNRTF Grant application is simply another attempt to use a MNRTF recreational grant to install sewers for a future MDOT grant funded project that will not pay any costs outside of the M-27 right of way.

The Mullett Township Board has now fudged formal Resolutions of Collaboration saying Mullett Township shared use of recreational assets and parks, including costs and maintenance, with both Burt and Tuscarora Township. This Resolution has absolutely no basis in fact. It is fabricated only to gain MNRTF points. Did these two townships join the conspiracists in Mullett Township ? Are both the Burt and Tuscarora Township Boards going to sit on Santa’s knee and also fib that they have collaborated on shared township recreational costs? 

Update: November 13, 2015

A FOIA request to Tuscarora Township
Please provide any  recreational facility "collaborative agreements" between Tuscarora and Mullett Townships and any documents that substantiate the paragraph submitted to the MNRTF, re: TF 15-0009 Grant Application.

Inline image

The following "events" were submitted to the MNRTF Board as "collaborative" events shared by Mullett and Tuscarora Townships. Please provide any documents identifying and substantiating which, if any, of these events that Mullett and Tuscarora Townships collaborated on.  Evidence of that might include written collaborative agreements,  invoices showing shared costs, advertising "tear sheets" identifying township sponsors, etc., or any documentation that  substantiates the above paragraph that states "Tuscarora and Mullett Township, for example, coordinate in the provision, scheduling, and programming at their two main parks (Topinabee Beach Park and Marina Park)". 

Marina Park and Topinabee Beach Front Park Events
 Art and Wine Night
 Family Fun Night
 Pizza of the North Competition
 Rubber Duck Races
 Lobsterfest
 Battle of the Bands
 Entertainment Tent
 Topinabee Fireman’s Association Annual Chicken BBQ
 Topinabee Community Church Annual Picnic
 Farmer’s Market
 Friends of Topinabee Library Board Meetings
 Story Time in the Park
 Bass Fishing Tournaments
 Walleye Fishing Tournaments
 Host Station for Michigander Bike Ride
 Host Station for Dal-Mac Bike Ride
 The Big Chill Winter Festival
 Private Family Parties and Picnics
 Annual Lapeer Michigan High School Track Team Field Trip
 NMARN and TDA Annual Community Rummage Sale
The November 10, 2015 response from Tuscarora Township Clerk Sue Fisher: Records requested denied because "Record Does Not Exist" .

A FOIA Request to Burt Township:

Please provide any  recreational facility "collaborative agreements" between Tuscarora and Mullett Townships and any documents that substantiate the paragraph submitted to the MNRTF, re: TF 15-0009 Grant Application.

The November 12, 2015 email response from Burt Township Clerk Donna McDougall

Hi Carl,
Burt Township only contracts with Mullett Township for fire protecton services and library services.
If you have any other questions, please let me know.
Donna McDougall, Clerk
Burt Township

Friday, October 30, 2015

O'Hare's Great Up North Needs Money Again

From May 2014- 

Motion by Kathy Flory to enter into an agreement with the Great Up North Alliance in cooperation with the PURE MICHIGAN campaign.  This campaign will promote Cheboygan County including all nineteen townships.  Mullett Township agrees to a contractual arrangement in the amount of $2,000.00 per year for 2014-2015-2016 to support the funding of this campaign.
On the November 3rd Meeting Agenda-

Pure Michigan Campaign (Great Up North) Mullett's Participation

Is the Great Up North Marketing Alliance (GUNMA) back for another $2,000 "donation". Where are the results? What was done? Where are the invoices? How many Pure Michigan spots were run and where? 

If Tom O'Hare believes so strongly about marketing Cheboygan as the Great Up North; let him fund it himself.

At the very least, the following 3 Mullett Board members benefiting professionally or personally from tourism related businesses and/or employment income derived from tourism should recognize the conflict of interest and recuse themselves from motions or votes to fund  GUNMA.

Supervisor MaryAnneGale- Owner of Bed & Breakfasts and Butterfly House on Mackinac Island

Treasurer Kathy Flory-Bookkeeper for Topinabee Market and owns/rents tourist cottage

Trustee Dennis Dombroski- City of Mackinac Island Building Inspector

  • Linda Socha
    Linda Socha
  • By Richard Crofton
    Editor, @richard_crofton

    Posted Mar. 22, 2014 at 12:01 AM

    Accusations have been made recently about the Cheboygan County Commission being anti-development for not supporting the “Great Up North,” GUN, group, which is trying to promote the county.
    One of the main players in GUN, Tom O'Hare, has come out attacking the commission for its lack of supporting economic development and questioning why the panel does not do it.
    County Commission Chair Linda Socha has broken the silence and has responded to those attacks, which she says are unfounded.
    “We want to make sure we have cops on the streets and safe communities,” she said in an interview with the Cheboygan Tribune. “This is one of our priorities as far as economic development is concerned.”
    Socha said the county's role in economic development is one of streamlining the process for permitting and making it easy for people to get what they need for construction and to open up the doors
    “We are conservative in that we don't want to be restrictive. We want to make sure it is done right and done legally,” the commission chair said. “We want good people who can work with people. We want to make sure people are comfortable. … We have cleaned up the permitting. Our intent is good. We are aiming to be good for the public.”
    She said other groups should take over the funding of economic development.
    “The county’s role is making sure the regulatory system is in place (for economic development),” Socha said. “Economic development should include the chambers and bureaus for marketing and the EDC is meant to help with financing. The CEDG could be a good thing if every time they came up with something they didn’t run to the county to fund it. That isn’t how it works. That is what irritates the public.”
    She said the county supports other groups that can help with economic development.
    “We have NLEA (Northern Lakes Economic Alliance) and the DDAs have tax increment financing. Three of them capture money out of county tax money. That is a loss for us. In a way that is economic development,” Socha said. “We have our own website, we support the marina and the airport. We formed the airport with the city for economic development and they don't fund it. We also formed the marina with the city which they also don’t support. We also support NEMCOG which does Pure Michigan.”
    She said with all of this, the taxpayers are saying enough.
    “You get the same taxpayer paying five times,” she said. “How many times can you take it out of the same taxpayer?” Taxpayers' dollars to the county also have been flat as well. “Our revenues are flat. We need to finish what we need to do. We have enough money to do that,” Socha said. “These unelected groups are trying to wag the dog. This has nothing to do with meeting with constituents. … Groups want us to be the bank for development. I believe we are playing the right role.”

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Mullett Board Allows Adverse Possession of Park

861 862 Days and Counting 

Over two years ago, the Mullett Board held a Special Meeting and in public view, illegally transferred public park property recently purchased from the DNR to Mary Nissley. 

                    PROPOSED MINUTES OF SPECIAL MEETING'                  
JUNE 9, 2013 - 7:00PM
The Mullett Township Board of Trustee met at the Mullett Township Hall in Topinabee, Michigan at 7:00pm on June 9, 2013.  The following board members were present:  Mary Anne Gale, Rachel Osborn, and Dennis Dombroski.  John Brown and Kathy Flory were excused.

The meeting was opened by Mary Anne Gale and Dennis Dombroski led with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Public Comment was opened at 7:01pm and was closed at 7:03pm.

Motion to pay for the movement of the ADA Driveway in the Topinabee Beach Park at a cost of approximately $1,000.00 several feet West to make room for the driveway at the Nissley Property, to plant 10 foot cedars and re-grade the slope on the East Side of the sidewalk/driveway in the park by Dennis Dombroski and seconded by Mary Anne Gale, motion passed.

Motion to give the Nissley's an easement tied to their parcel number of their property with a survey of the driveway and to draw up a legal description including the trees of same, by Dennis Dombroski and seconded by Mary Anne Gale, motion carried.

Motion by Mary Anne Gale to pay Timothy MacArthur all attorney fees for the settlement of the Nissley property issue, seconded by Dennis Dombroski, motion passed.

Motion by Dennis Dombroski to pay for the 10 foot cedars to replace those on the West Side of the Nissley driveway with a cap of $5,000.00 for the expense of those trees. Seconded by Mary Anne Gale, motion passed.

Meeting adjourned at 7:30pm
Respectfully submitted,
Rachel Osborn
Mullett Township Clerk

On August 12, 2015, faced with continued pressure from this "watchdog" and the public disclosure to the DNR that their June 9, 2015 motions  contravened the MNRTF Grant "non-conversion" of use agreement, the Mullett Board discussed the issue in secret in a closed meeting and then publicly rescinded the motion.

Why was this discussion done in secret? All the facts should be public. 

Why is the Board acting like criminals and hiding behind attorney/client privilege? Is there something to be ashamed of? Like the thief caught with their hand in the till, perhaps you can't  handle the truth? Lot's of questions are unanswered.

Today,  63 days after that secret meeting, reality has not changed. The gate still remains locked on this "public" access to the Topinabee Beach Park.

This access off Beeson St, a legally recorded Mullett Township ingress/egress easement granted originally in 1958 by the railroad and eventually purchased from the DNR remains locked. 

Here could be a winter park access that has been denied to ATV and snowmobile riders by the TDA Park closure. Call Supervisor MaryAnne Gale, 231-627-6624, and ask her to remove this gate and the lattice fence before winter. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Any East Mullett Business on October Agenda?

Meeting Agenda


Call to order at 7:00pm

Pledge of Allegiance

Public Comment

Close of Public Comment

Approval of Minutes for the September 1, 2015

Treasurer's report

Expense report for 2nd Quarter of Fiscal Year 2015-2016

Timothy V. Small Lot Split revisited

Bowes Land Division

Lot Split Ordinance consideration by board: take a look at #9 and the new one

Carl Muscott appeal

Approval of snowplowing of the DNR Public Access at $512.86 for the season

Re-instate Connie Ogg as a possible fill-in person for the Library

Approval of the overage of the Fitzek bid because of the changes made in the soffitt arrangement
on the library:  original bid was $6420.00, with the changes a total of $11,500.00, need approval
of the amount of $5,080.00

Letters in support of the Beach Park Improvements

Letters in support of the Topinabee Public Library

Board Comments