Meeting Minutes

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES February 11, 2021 7:00 pm, Zoom Call (see info below) due to COVID-19

published: March 12th, 2021

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Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm

Members Present: A roll call of members was taken and a quorum was present.

Richard Micka (7:12PM)

Dan Stefanski

Milward Beaudry

Brian Egen

Andrew Felder

Butch Uhl (7:05PM)

Catharine Calder

Barry LaRoy

Absent:           Ed Kane

Guests:           Melanie Foose-EGLE AOC Coordinator

Meaghan Kern-USEPA Region 5 Task Force Lead

Approval of Agenda – Motion by Stefanski, Seconded by Beaudry, motion passed via roll call.

Approval of minutes from January 14, 2021 meeting – Motion by Calder, Seconded by Beaudry, motion passed via roll call.

Open Meeting Act:  COTE discussed the latest information on the Open Meeting Act (OMA) information on email exchanges and virtual meeting requirements and how to not violate the OMA.  Discussed quorum requirements, stating roll call requirements (full name, via zoom, city, state, township, etc).  Emails were discussed on avoiding potential deliberation of a quorum of COTE members (5 members), deliberations must be public.  Any requests, agenda items, or questions should be sent to the Chairman or Vice-Chairman.

2020-2022 PAC Support Grant: Discussed PAC grant tasks (1, 2, 5 & 6).  Task 1 (documentary) is ongoing and are planning to film this weekend for winter footage.  Discussed task 6 draft poster with revised wording (thanks Melanie Foose), the draft will be emailed to members for review & comments-send to Egen or LaRoy.  Task 2 will start after task 6 with task 5 to follow later in 2021.  Discussed updated website logo (thanks Jake Perry and Jody Egen).  A Motion by Stefanski, Seconded by Beaudry for LaRoy to discover / investigate / recommend ideas and alternatives to migrate the existing RR Legacy website to either the City of Monroe website or alternate website vendor, motion passed via roll call.  The quarterly report was submitted to EGLE and the reimbursement has been processed.

River Raisin PAC Implementation Plan Revisions from U of M Students: Melanie Foose, EGLE mentioned the COTE member comments were provided to the U of M students and the they were integrated into report.  Stefanski was asked to review the revised draft in which a few comments were provided.  These comment will be built into the final report and analysis which is scheduled to be available in April 2021.

Future Topic Items: Stefanski requested revisiting working with the RR Watershed Council (RRWC) on the Stream Monitoring and Bug ID work that is through the Adopt-A-Stream program.  Work could be through COTE, schools, & volunteers, revive local participation if possible, he will reach out to the RRWC and bring information back to COTE.

Egen mentioned an education opportunity and exploring the option of developing a short curriculum, stewardship and possibly creating a subcommittee to put it together.  Recommended Calder to assist with helping on program and advise where to go to provide to teachers in Monroe County.  Topics could be Michigan history, RR history, watch RR documentary, use field guides, participate in environmental outreach (i.e. Sterling State Park, cleanups, etc).

Egen requested / encouraged Beaudry and Uhl to further their brainstorming ideas for integrating programs with the river cleanup, scavenger hunts, kayaking, etc for putting into the 2021 cleanup.

EGLE Items:

  • Noted U of M student revisions to report.
  • Mentioned state of Michigan requirements to telework until May 1, 2021.
  • Discussed mink trapping at Ford Warehouse, not likely for 2021 due to required agreement. Discussed potentially having City & Ford be party to the agreement and EGLE fund the work, will investigate with City Administration & EGLE Management, possible trapping in 2022, possibly be part of amending the PAC grant.  Went through the options completed for gaining access.
  • SPAC mtg March 9, 2021-virtual so all are encouraged to attend.
  • March COTE meeting-EGLE & USEPA are planning to discuss the 2019 CAP data and workplan for 2020. Attendees will be EGLE, USEPA, and Army Corp of Engineer members, a ppt is planned.  Will likely discuss the 2020 dredging sample results from the navigational channel as well.

Members Time:

Beaudry-none.

LaRoy-none.

Stefanski–discussed older media he has including pictures, reports, items for show & tell, history, discussed river uses, tugboats, possibly using any footage for documentary, possibly having a subcommittee to review the items, discussed woody debris removal projects, and appreciated the U of M students report-paying dividends already with COTE efforts.

Felder-discussed engaging the community to be more involved with education curriculum, give to leaders, if we build infrastructure then plan on using it more, requests a call to action like having associate members, events, community engagement efforts.

Micka- discussed getting his COVID vaccine shots (moderna).

Uhl-none.

Egen-none.

Citizen Comments: none.

Adjournment: 8:29 pm a motion made by Felder, Seconded by Micka to officially end the meeting, motion passed via roll call.

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES January 14, 2021 7:00 pm, Zoom Call (see info below) due to COVID-19

published: March 11th, 2021

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Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:01 pm

Members Present: A roll call of members was taken and a quorum was present.

Richard Micka

Dan Stefanski

Milward Beaudry

Brian Egen

Andrew Felder

Butch Uhl

Catharine Calder

Barry LaRoy

Absent:           Ed Kane

Guests:           Melanie Foose-EGLE AOC Coordinator

Rick Hobrla-EGLE AOC Supervisor Great Lakes Management Unit

Approval of Agenda – Motion by Micka, Seconded by Stefanski, motion passed via roll call.

Approval of minutes from November 12, 2020 meeting – Motion by Stefanski, Seconded by Beaudry, motion passed via roll call.

COTE Chairman and Vice-Chairman Nomination – Motion for Brian Egen to remain as COTE Chairmain and Barry LaRoy remain as COTE Vice-Chairman by Micka, Seconded by Stefanski, motion passed via roll call.

River Raisin PAC Implementation Plan from U of M Students: COTE members discussed their input on the RR PAC Implementation Plan (plan) and the survey questions.  COTE members were encouraged by Melanie Foose (EGLE) and Chairman Egen to complete the survey by the deadline for input.  Micka input included four topics (PAC perception-move COTE content to beginning versus middle, Public Outreach partnering, Joining the Great Lakes and St Lawrence Cities Initiative, and Life after Delisting).  Stefanksi input included COTE background, ordinance establishment, associate members.  Rick Hobrla (EGLE) gave an introduction on his background and indicated once delisted the PAC doesn’t exist any longer but is encouraged to look beyond the PAC.  Discussion continued with how to use the PAC report, considering adding it to the agenda permanently once finished to update it, bring speakers/people to COTE meetings on their background/efforts such as the 1st AOC Coordinator (Roger Jones), working outside the AOC / City limits.  Felder/Stefanski noted COTE works outside the AOC/City limits-example is recent flowering rush spray within Frenchtown & Monroe Twps along with the AOC projects completed in 2012-14.  Egen added once final report done we can add to agenda, discussed discussion with the DDA chairman on DDA projects tied to river & working with COTE, and pre-COVID education work already done.  Calder added to start small, mentioned that the library is partnering with MCRC to place story markers along the roadways, starting at Dorsch, consider using the framework established for river story markers.  Melanie Foose stated the students will take the communication and update the report, Stefanksi added we are all champions for the river and desires to have COTE and members develop.

2020-2022 PAC Support Grant: Discussed PAC grant tasks (1, 2, 5 & 6).  Task 1 (documentary) is ongoing, waiting for winter to end to restart filming.  Suggested task 2 & 6 schedules to flip flop, task 5 will be later in 2021. Content provided for task 6-non-scientific poster, showed a markup draft, asked COTE for assistance in reducing the proposed poster wording.

Future Topic Items: Discussed adding PAC Implementation Report to agenda in future, adding speakers for each meeting (i.e. Port, Matt Doss, etc).  Send recommended speakers to COTE Chairman or Vice-Chairman.  Felder introduced a topic on open burn policies within the City limits for COTE input and to send him any thoughts.

EGLE Items:

  • River Raisin AOC BUI status update provided, send questions to Melanie Foose.
  • Mike Alexander has not provided the CAP report since no monitoring done in 2020, working on workplan for 2021 CAP monitoring, once done will provide 2019 monitoring results to COTE (Lee/Meghan).
  • 2020 dredging sample results almost done/available from Army Corp of Engineers from the navigational channel, will provide to COTE once available.
  • BIG Thanks to Ed Kane for the mink trapper assistance. Mink trapping is needed for AOC work near old Ford Motor facility, tissue samples for deformity BUI-will help with other species tracking (tree swallows, forge fish, bald eagles, and herring gulls).  COTE assistance requested for gaining access with no restrictions on weekends.  LaRoy volunteered to assist.
  • Rick Hobrla noted the U.S. AOC Conference will be in Muskegon, MI on 9-29-21/9-30-21, AOCs encouraged to attend, thanks for having him on COTE mtg, SPAC mtg March 9, 2021-virtual so all are encouraged to attend.

Members Time:

Beaudry-Behind St Mikes – island in the river – suggested City and Sisters IHM partner to develop it for an observation deck.

Micka-Discussed a meeting with the International Wildlife Refuge on potentially using left over Rail Consolidation funds for purchasing some property for wetland development.

Stefanski–discussed the prior bridge to the Sisters IHM island in the river.

Felder-discussed funding for island development and will discuss potential with City Manager.

Uhl-supports island development idea, discussed open burn and problems encountered with the practice.

LaRoy-mentioned Fish Passage 4 (behind post office) issues, went through background, request for redesign/rebuilding funds to NOAA/EGLE.  No update per EGLE, will email contacts for input on funds.

Egen-Showed image from Tony (DDA) on potential drainage structures work.  Has been requested by Dr Hartig to write a chapter in an upcoming book.

Citizen Comments: none.

Adjournment: 8:56 pm a motion made by Stefanski, Seconded by Felder to officially end the meeting, motion passed via roll call.

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES November 12, 2020 7:00 pm, Zoom Call (see info below) due to COVID-19

published: March 11th, 2021

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Call to Order: Vice Chairman LaRoy called the meeting to order at 7:07 pm

Members Present: A roll call of members was taken and a quorum was present.

Richard Micka

Dan Stefanski

Milward Beaudry

Brian Egen (7:12 PM)

Andrew Felder

Ed Kane

Butch Uhl

Catharine Calder

Barry LaRoy

Guests:           Melanie Foose-EGLE AOC Coordinator

Jeremy Waechter-Michigan Dept of Health & Human Services (MDHHS) Outreach Coordinator

Emily Rau & James Polidori, U of M Students – Master of Science Candidates

Approval of Agenda – Motion by Stefanski, Seconded by Micka, motion passed via roll call.

Approval of minutes from September 10, 2020 meeting – Motion by Felder, Seconded by Stefanski, motion passed via roll call.

Eat Safe Fish: Jeremy Waechter, Outreach Coordinator for the MDHHS went over the Eat Safe Fish program, how they are expanding their sites from 23 to 27 along the Detroit River, covers from the Grosse Pointe/Detroit border to Pointe Mouliee.  They have seen an increase in fishing, recreation, utilization of facilities.  Paid Riverwalkers (MDHHS staff) give information to the fishing public about contaminants in fish; they meet with people all year long, partnering with various community groups / businesses.  They have AOC partnerships that are long term partners and share in PAC progress.  People are fishing regionally in which more local sites are desired such as Sterling State Park, Bolles Harbor, etc.  COTE is willing to assist.  Various COTE members discussed the 2016 signage installed, updating them, catch & release, DTE corporate levee, etc.

2020-2022 PAC Support Grant: Discussed all PAC grant tasks and the schedule.  The Homeowner’s guide work / Field Guide update and posters need content to formally start and will be will starting a little later than anticipated.  Fishing Mounts are done; Examples of the finished Static Clings / Stickers were presented to COTE that will be handed out at river cleanups and other outreach events; An update on the documentary was provided on the progress being made; an interview with Liesl Clark, EGLE Director or pre-recorded video may be obtained as part of the documentary, the Mayor provided a contact with SEMCOG for an interview.

Current Topic Items: None

EGLE Items:

  • Mink trapper needed for AOC work near old Ford Motor facility, tissue samples for deformity BUI-will help with other species tracking (tree swallows, forge fish, bald eagles, and herring gulls). Several COTE members offered options and will be assisting to help locate a local trapper to help EGLE.
  • Sediments-2019 monitoring report will be presented to COTE once Meghan Kern (USPEA) returns, likely early 2021-benthos BUI related.
  • CAP-Army Corp Engineers sampling (July 2020) results in the nav channel-forthcoming-dredging BUI related.
  • An update on all BUIs coming with December COTE mtg.
  • Emily Rau & James Polidori – discussed the U of M work that has occurred and a draft report will be forthcoming in Feb 2021.

Members Time:

Micka-discussed numerous webinars he has been attending, old river bed, wildlife habitat council, DTE-Kristen LaForce, and he will be reducing his emails to all!

Felder-discussed the LaZBoy development cost overage, wetland portfolio, developing a city wide bank system-will be forwarded to City departments for input.

Uhl-none.

Stefanski–none, happy to be hear, Mason Run cutoff several times.

Beaudry-none.

Kane-none.

LaRoy-none.

Egen-Happy Thanksgiving!

Citizen Comments: none.

Adjournment: 8:27 pm a motion made by Stefanski, Seconded by Felder to officially end the meeting, motion passed via roll call.

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES September 10, 2020 7:00 pm, Zoom Call (see info below) due to COVID-19

published: March 11th, 2021

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
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Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:01 pm

Members Present: A roll call of members was taken and a quorum was present.

Richard Micka

Dan Stefanski

Milward Beaudry

Brian Egen

Andrew Felder

Ed Kane (7:25PM)

Butch Uhl

Barry LaRoy

Excused:         Catharine Calder

Guests:           Melanie Foose-EGLE AOC Coordinator

Katie Goplerud-Smith-River Raisin Outreach Coordinator

Approval of Agenda – Motion by Stefanski, Seconded by Felder, motion passed via roll call.

Approval of minutes from August 13, 2020 meeting – Motion by Stefanski, Seconded by Micka, motion passed via roll call.

2020-2022 PAC Support Grant: Discussed all PAC grant tasks.  Homeowner’s guide work will be starting next quarter, drafts will be provided to COTE for input & review; Fishing Mounts are under contract and scheduled to be done by the end of September; Examples of the waterproof lanyards phone & wallet bags were presented to COTE that will be handed out at river cleanups and other outreach events; Interpretative sign maintenance will be started in 2021; River Raisin posters will be starting soon; Window clings and stickers were discussed such that COTE decided to use an interior and exterior window static cling type with the COTE logo-no bumper stickers, purchases will be made soon; Website updates are ongoing, assistance on changing the logo will be needed from Monroe News or City staff.  A brief video was shown from recent filming for the documentary work for background, Egen discussed the documentary efforts

Future Topics: Kane noted he has made efforts to obtain records / newspaper clippings from the 1930’s from the Monroe News and Monroe County Museum, however COVID has limited the accessibility to them.

EGLE Items:

  • SPAC meeting is scheduled for October 14, 2020 virtually, it is a full day and open to all.
  • EGLE will be completing 2020 forge fish and game fish sampling for the deformity and consumption BUIs, respectively. Looking for a trapper to assist EGLE with trapping mink for additional verification, EGLE reached out to DNR and contact info to the Ford Warehouse was provided.  The goal is to have data with forge & game fish, herring gulls, bald eagles and possible mink.
  • Briefly discussed the Phase II mtg and update scheduled for 9-17-20 with the U of M students.

Members Time:

Beaudry-none.

LaRoy –discussed flowering rush spray schedule, water quality statement information provided to Monroe News and thanking the COTE members for contributing, discussed U of M student interview with the Equity group that are working with the Healing of our Waters under Dr Seelbach at U of M, other discussion occurred with the hope they will present their findings when done.

Stefanski–none, will be on the 9-17-20 Phase mtg call, but not sure about being able to attend the October COTE mtg.

Kane-none.

Uhl-none.

Micka-discussed Port of Monroe dredging, Port Director tug boat, 2016 EGLE staff report issues & corrections, and using Huron River as a reference site for the Raisin AOC-Melanie Foose provided responses.

Felder-discussed grant effort with County Solid Waste to spray river outside of City that is within Monroe Twp & Frenchtown Twp, support received to date, River Raisin Watershed will likely be handling the grant application work, language for the application at the next COTE mtg for discussion & support.

Egen-On proposed river cleanup day (cancelled due to COVID) went into the river & pulled out some items, seeing lots of osprey in river & diving for fish, Commissioner Uhl came over & caught a gar pike-picture provided, seeing lots of kayaking in the river.

Citizen Comments: none.

Adjournment: 8:08 pm a motion made by Micka, Seconded by Stefanski to officially end the meeting, motion passed via roll call.

The City of Monroe Commission on Environment and Water Quality MINUTES August 13, 2020 7:00 pm, Zoom Call (see info below) due to COVID-19

published: March 11th, 2021

Please click the link below to join the webinar:
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Call to Order: Chairman Egen called the meeting to order at 7:09 pm

Members Present: A roll call of members was taken and a quorum was present.

Richard Micka

Dan Stefanski

Milward Beaudry

Brian Egen

Andrew Felder

Ed Kane (7:25PM)

Butch Uhl

Barry LaRoy

Excused:         Catharine Calder

Guests:           Melanie Foose-EGLE AOC Coordinator

Approval of Agenda – Motion by Micka, Seconded by Stefanski, motion passed via roll call.

Approval of minutes from July 9, 2020 meeting – Motion by Stefanski, Seconded by Beaudry, motion passed via roll call.

2020-2022 PAC Support Grant: Egen discussed the different logo font/color approved at the July 2020 meeting in which COTE liked the capital letter font best.  Egen discussed the Documentary efforts, went over the documentary scope of work, discussed interview plan including a local Potawatomi tribe contact (Marcus Winchester), discussed City of Monroe & County of Monroe approving to partner with sharing assets with documentary. If additional funding is needed above the budget a potential source is a County Museum grant.  More interviews will be needed once COTE reviews the scope emailed out including possibly Dr Hartig, Jon Allen, Mike Alexander, etc to cover history, economics, efforts, & community revitalization.  COTE discussed the fish mount pilots installation, will check with contractor to paint interior of mounts to avoid rust drainage paths.  Ed Kane thanks the welder for installing the pilot pole mounts.  Discussed other tasks that are planned, overall the grant tasks are on schedule.  Window stickers/clings and lanyard/waterproof phone pouch with logos have been purchased.

Future Topics: Discussed a U of M reporter working for the Manchester Mirror on input from COTE that was combined to respond to her questions.  Will work to provide some status of AOC document & provide our AOC coordinator contact info.  Discussed an AOC interview request from the equity group of U of M students that is focused on social success & equity of the AOC projects.  Interview will be on 8-14-20 with LaRoy for now, other COTE members may be needed.

Micka discussed the Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) cost benefit ratio (CBR) equals the coastal zone management act under Annex 2 where ACE has perpetual care and in his opinion their operating costs have been significantly reduced for maintaining the Federal Navigation Channel as their responsibility for perpetual care.  Lots of discussion occurred on the understanding of the claim and vetting of allowing ACE to take over the perpetual AOC responsibilities that fall under EGLE care.  The AOC coordinator advised that EGLE and ACE are not willing to support or accept this scenario with how implementation of the regulators operate, ACE is a wonderful partner who works in tandem with EGLE with the goal of removing BUIs and delisting.  It is unknown on the willing to accept the stewardship and how the responsibilities will be handled after delisting other than that current regulations will not allow such an act of contamination to occur.  Examples of existing AOCs that have been delisted are functioning.  A motion by Stefanski and seconded by Micka was made to table this subject / topic and proposed scenario by Micka until communication / correspondence is received from all three agencies (ACE / EGLE / and USEPA) that all are in favor to support the suggested actions to transfer current and future obligations / responsibilities as proposed by Micka and to not discuss this subject at COTE meetings until communication is received, motion passed via roll call.

EGLE Items:

  • Discussed SPAC meeting, Micka & Egen were participants, discussed presentation, polling of PACs, next SPAC mtg is October 14, 2020 virtually.
  • Lee (EGLE) will be presenting the 2019/2020 sediment sampling / monitoring, will coordinate presentation to PAC at future mtg.
  • Meaghan Kern indicated she will be able to listen in on the next mtg, possibly the Oct COTE mtg of the sampling results. A work plan from QEA Anchor regarding the SPME sampling issue resolution will be proposed.
  • Next week in the navigation channel EGLE sampling will be occurring before ACE dredges.
  • Discussed Dr. Grasman studies on herring gulls/eagles-bird research information is forthcoming.
  • EGLE will be completing 2020 forge fish sampling.

Members Time:

Beaudry-history question on prior use of Ford property that may have contaminated site.  COTE provided Kelsey Hayes, Newton Steel and ALCOA, however discussion occurred on the Ford processes that have been documented resulting in current contamination finds.

Stefanski–not sure if he will be able to make next COTE mtg, may not be available, it is desired for him to attend the EGLE sedimentation sampling results.

Kane-none.

Micka-thanks to Stefanski for making the ACE/EGLE/USEPA motion.

Uhl-none.

Felder-none.

LaRoy –noted flowering rush is up, contractor has been contacted on what their schedule is for spray this fall.

Egen-while kayaking noticed pond weed under the water causing patches in the river, also noted a section of the river upstream of the City limits was noticed while kayaking that is in part of Monroe & Frenchtown Twp that has significant flowering rush.  Discussion occurred on how to notify and help our adjacent townships to address this issue, funding, spray permit, etc.  The area is west of Custer Airport to the City limits within the river.  Egen pointed out that Commissioner Calder advised she would like to provide educational outreach to students and incorporate it into their curriculum.

Citizen Comments: none.

Adjournment: 9:09 pm a motion made by Micka, Seconded by Felder to officially end the meeting, motion passed via roll call.