City election forum

Listen to last night’s Adrian city election forum online

Both candidates for mayor and six candidates for Adrian City Commission took part in a forum Tuesday night at Siena Heights University organized by the Lenawee County chapter of NAACP. The candidates for mayor are Jim Berryman and Kirk Valentine. The candidates for city commission who attended the forum were Chuck Chase, Tom Faulhaber, Allen Heldt, Ray Lennard and Lad Strayer, who are on the ballot, and Devin Stevens, who is running as a write-in candidate. The sixth candidate on the ballot, Nicole Gestwite, was unable to attend. Continue Reading

Devin Stevens

Write-in candidate Stevens expands city commission candidate list to seven

Though only six candidates are on the ballot, a seventh person is in the race for Adrian City Commission, with an announcement by Devin Stevens that he plans to run as a write-in. Stevens, who has been active in conservative political circles since well before his graduation from Madison High School in 2013, works at Old National Bank. In his campaign announcement on Oct. 7, he listed public safety as his first priority. He also talked about economic development and changing the way city commissioners are elected to get more representation from the east side of Adrian. Continue Reading

The site of a proposed Taco Bell on North Main Street.

Proposed Taco Bell snarled by state and federal red tape

City officials are growing frustrated with state and federal red tape that’s tying up plans for a new Taco Bell on the north side of Adrian. “We have run into some very interesting roadblocks that, when you are familiar with the property, don’t necessarily make sense,” city attorney Sarah Osburn said at Monday night’s city commission meeting. It all started because, in order to put an entrance onto North Main Street, developer Sundance Inc. needed to buy a small parcel of city-owned land in order to get the entrance far enough north to not cause problems with the intersection of North Main and Albert. The property the city is trying to sell is .27 acres of land adjacent to Island Park. When the city commissioned a title search — a normal part of selling a property — the title examiner discovered that the state of Michigan had a deed dating back to 1989 that entitled it to 70 percent of any mineral rights on the land. Continue Reading

The candidates for Adrian City Commission in the November election are Chuck Chase, Tom Faulhaber, Nicole Gestwite, Allen Heldt, Ray Lennard and Lad Strayer.

Meet the candidates for Adrian City Commission

Candidates for the Adrian City Commission turned in their petitions this week, and one thing is basically certain: there will be at least two new faces on the commission after the November election. Commissioners Julie Berryman Adams and Jerry Gallatin have both decided not to seek re-election to a second term, leaving Tom Faulhaber as the only incumbent in the race. Six people are running for three seats on the commission. All commission terms are four years long, and the mayor’s term is two years. As we reported previously, Kirk Valentine is challenging incumbent Jim Berryman for the office of mayor. Continue Reading

Mayor Jim Berryman, left, faces a challenge from Kirk Valentine in the November election.

Kirk Valentine to challenge Jim Berryman for Adrian mayor

Kirk Valentine, a local business owner and former city commissioner, is planning to challenge Mayor Jim Berryman in November for the city’s top elected office. Berryman and Valentine are the only people who have told the city clerk’s office they plan to run for mayor. Nomination petitions are due by April 21. Valentine said one reason he’s running is that he feels the city commission acted more transparently during his time in office, from 2005 to 2009, than it does now. “I don’t think there’s much open debate going on right now,” he said. Continue Reading

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City reaches contract with police sergeants’ union

After an unsuccessful attempt at mediation and nearly going to arbitration, the city of Adrian and its police sergeants have reached a deal on a new contract. The four-year contract between the city and the Police Officers’ Labor Council, which represents the three sergeants in the Adrian Police Department, was approved Monday by the Adrian City Commission. It had already been ratified by the union. The sergeants will receive the same 1 percent cost-of-living increase that other employees received previously, retroactive to Oct. 15. Continue Reading

Ada and Dennis Marvin are pictured outside their store, White Elephant Flea Market & Consignment. The Marvins say a directive from the city to take down a banner they had been displaying outside the store has cost them 60 percent of their business.

Couple says Adrian’s sign ordinance could cost them their business

The owners of a local flea market say they’ve lost 60 percent of their business since being told that the banner outside their store was against city regulations. Dennis and Ada Marvin opened White Elephant Flea Market & Consignment at the beginning of May at 4650 West U.S. 223, across from the Carlton Lodge. The building is hard to see from the road because it’s set back about 200 feet, so not long after they opened, the Marvins had a red-and-white banner made to display on the lawn. The banner came down earlier this month after the Marvins were told it violated the city’s sign ordinance. Since then, they said, they’ve lost so much business that they could end up being forced to close. Continue Reading

Trestle Park in Adrian is pictured Tuesday.

Retired parks director blasts city on maintenance of Trestle and Comstock parks

A retired Adrian parks and recreation director had harsh words for city commissioners Monday night about the condition of Trestle and Comstock parks, and one city commissioner suggested that park maintenance be privatized. But city administrator Shane Horn said that while the parks aren’t in ideal condition, city staff members are doing the best they can with limited resources and an increased workload. Ray Maxe, who headed Adrian’s parks for many years, spoke at Monday’s commission meeting and said that Trestle Park, which was originally built during his tenure, “looks like a piece of crap.” “I’m ashamed to go there and you all ought to be ashamed,” he said. Maxe said the park has rusted railings, rotted timbers, and tall weeds that were only recently cut down, and with about $750,000 per year available from the Fee Estate, a bequest that was left to the city for parks and beautification projects, Adrian should be doing better. Continue Reading

The city of Adrian's local preference policy allows contracts to be awarded to local companies that aren't the low bidder as long as they're within a set percentage of having the lowest price.

How much preference should the city give local contractors?

Keep costs down or buy local? That’s the question Adrian city commissioners wrestled with tonight when deciding whether to award about $300,000 of asphalt work to Slusarski Excavating of Adrian or a company from Lansing. The city has a local preference policy that lets contracts be awarded to Adrian businesses that aren’t the lowest bidders as long as they come close, but the $11,000 difference between the local company and the lowest bidder in this case was larger than the difference allowed by the policy. The commission voted 6-1 to stick to the policy and give the contract to the Lansing company, but not without some discussion. Mayor Jim Berryman was the only commissioner to vote for awarding the contract to Slusarski instead of to American Asphalt, which was the lowest bidder at $286,603. Continue Reading

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Utilities director to be hired soon; city looks at combining two other management jobs

A new utilities director for the city of Adrian should be in place July 1, city administrator Shane Horn said Monday, and two other vacant department head positions may end up being merged into one. City commissioner Jerry Gallatin asked during Monday’s commission meeting about the “game plan” for the city’s vacant leadership positions. Three department head positions are either vacant or about to be:

Utilities director, which was Horn’s job before becoming city administrator. City engineer, which has been vacant since former engineer Kristin Bauer was fired in March. Parks and forestry director, which will be vacant after June 13, when current director Justin Combs will leave for a job in Kansas. Continue Reading