Sen. Levin visits Rock

ROCK – U.S. Sen. Carl Levin briefly visited Rock Saturday where the long-time legislator received kudos for helping support the area communities with fire department funding over the years. The senator is not seeking relection after his current term ends.

Levin made several stops across the eastern half of the U.P. where he had opportunity to see how federal monies have helped local communities. His visits included Sault Ste. Marie, Whitefish Point, Grand Marais, Seney, Munising, Marquette and Hyde.

Prior to his stop in Rock, Levin visited the Biogenic Reagents, a biomass plant at K.I. Sawyer. While in Rock, the senator met with residents and firefighters from the Tri-Township Fire Department which is made up of Ewing, Maple Ridge and Turin townships.

Fire department representatives and township officials expressed their gratitude to Levin, who was given a fire department t-shirt and shown the equipment he helped acquire with grant funding over the years.

Levin was instrumental in obtaining a grant in 2003 for the department to purchase new fire gear and oxygen tanks, said Maple Ridge Township Supervisor Judy Trudell, the grant writer.

In 2009, the department received funds for Jaws of Life equipment, including a generator. In 2010, the department worked with Levin’s office to purchase a brand new tanker truck.

These three Assistance to Firefighters Grants totaled $270,000.

After receiving thanks for his efforts to help the local fire department, Levin said, “I’m proud to be a small part of it.”

Levin thanked the firefighters for volunteering to help protect the community and also praised the firefighters’ families.

In addition to the federal grants, Trudell said the fire department received a 2008 pickup truck for $1 last week from Enbridge Inc., a distributor of energy. The company also donated $1,000 towards a dry hydrant for the department.

Maple Ridge Township also recently received $30,600 in funding from the Michigan Recreational Passport Grant Program to upgrade its tennis court and ballpark parking lot, said Trudell.