Letter to Residents of Centerville & Leland Townships
Ordinarily, I would be knocking at your door and asking about your views on community issues of concern to you and your family. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, this year it is not possible and I truly miss visiting with you.
The last six months have been a difficult, challenging, and confusing time for all of us. Unfortunately, many of our Leelanau businesses have been devastated by the pandemic.
We also lack adequate internet access to support our schools as they are opening, some in a hybrid format with in-person and online courses and others totally online. And, we are losing our childcare facilities at an alarming rate and deepening the challenges for parents who cannot work from home as well as those who can.
We all know Leelanau residents are resilient, and we will get through this current challenge to our families and businesses. As Commissioners, we acknowledge that our roles have changed and our first priority now is to help those in dire need of surviving this pandemic in every way we can.
As your commissioner, I am working diligently and collaboratively to address these issues and searching for solutions to the difficult problems before us today. As Chairperson of the Leelanau Peninsula Economic Foundation it is heartening to see so many local business owners participating in the weekly LPEF Leelanau Recovery Team meetings sharing ideas and supporting one another as the pandemic rages on.
I have also been working closely with the Leelanau Internet Futures Team (LIFT) and other organizations on the implementation of plans to expand high-speed internet capabilities. Internet access is needed desperately for students and family members who prefer, or are required, to work from home.
As chair of LPEF’s Early Childhood Committee and a member of a number of other early childhood organizations we are creating ways to assist childcare providers and families through public-private partnerships. We are also working with our State legislators on suggestions for tax incentives to businesses to encourage their participation with childcare providers, and tax breaks for families to help address the high cost of childcare.
The County Early Childhood Committee that I co-chaired last year with Commissioner Ansorge recommended an early childhood program be housed in the Benzie/Leelanau Health Department. The millage that you passed last November turned this recommendation into a reality. Because of that successful effort, the Health Department has been offering home visiting support and creatively meeting the needs of families whose children have been unable to join in healthy playgroups and releasing all that childhood energy.
As a member of the County’s Senior Service Advisory Committee, I was in awe of our Senior Services staff bringing meals to seniors over the past months, hoping to lessen their feelings of isolation as they remain at home and away from family and friends.
I am deeply honored to have served as your Leelanau County Commissioner for the past six years and ask for your vote, and the opportunity to continue serving you for the next two years. This will give me time to complete the work that we have begun together. With your help and support we can continue to address issues that impact our quality of life here in Leelanau.
Leelanau County Commissioner for Centerville and Leland Townships