Child abuse cases up in Schoolcraft

MANISTIQUE — The Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners heard a Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) annual report at its Thursday meeting and learned child abuse and neglect cases have increased locally.

Jamie Lemay, acting director of the Alger Marquette Schoolcraft DHHS, reported most of its services experienced no significant changes in the past two years. However, Child Protective Services programs providing for the investigation and/or remedies for abuse and neglect and/or exploitation of vulnerable children were up. “We served 91 children in 2017,” she said. “That’s pretty high for Schoolcraft County.” Also higher than previous years were the number of children in out-of-home placement. Fifteen children were placed in foster homes in 2017, compared to 12 a year ago and nine in 2015.

The commission also approved a number of contracts and agreements at its Thursday meeting.

The board accepted a block grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation for a snowplow truck for the airport. It will cover the cost of the $276,543 vehicle, which is being purchased from UP Truck Center in Quinnesec.

Commissioners also approved a contract with the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission (CUPPAD) for geographic information system mapping — a system designed to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present all types of geographical data. It is often used in providing 911 emergency services.

“This is long overdue,” Board chair Larry Mersnick said. He congratulated the board on its professionalism and said, “CUPPAD will cross the T’s and dot the I’s. This will not be a financial burden.”

The commission also approved a contract to have Delta County provide emergency management services to Schoolcraft County for $10,000 annually.

Commissioners authorized a request from Doug Erickson to be the pass-through agent for the CUP Youth Baseball League. For the past 12 years, the Sault Tribe of the Chippewa Indians has given 2 percent funding to the league. It had been previously administered by the Big Bay de Noc School System, but children from that area are no longer participating. The county will receive the money and give it to the CUP league for its activities at the Nelson Ballfield on 5th Street. Erickson explained the money would be used for general maintenance, garbage removal and electricity along with programs for the children.

In other action, the board confirmed the reappointment of Victoria Stewart of Gulliver and Dale DuFour to the county’s Veteran’s Administration Board.