Observer 2/27/2015 : Page 1

Tri-Community Homeowners Can Expect To See An Increase In Their KLSWA Bills In April Page 3 Request By Dune Ridge SA To Build Septic Fields For New Homes Is Put On Hold By Saugatuck Page 3 Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Saugatuck MI Permit No. 30 CURRENT RESIDENT THE LOCAL OBSERVER WE BRING YOU THE NEWS SERVING February 27, 2015 Vol. 13 No. 9 FREE SAUGATUCK * DOUGLAS * SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP * LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP * FENNVILLE * GLENN * GANGES TOWNSHIP * HAMILTON * HOLLAND * SOUTH HAVEN Bus Carrying Chicago High School Students Catches Fire Near Saugatuck No One Hurt As Police Escort Students & Chaperones Off I-196 To Spectators Restaurant To Await New Ride Staff Report Although a group of 38 stu-dents from a Chicago high school were promised a “hot time” in Michigan, no one thought that a real fire was going to be part of the pack-age! But that’s exactly what the students and two chaperones found themselves having to deal with when the bus they were riding in caught fire near Saugatuck’s Exit 41 on south-bound I-196 Wednesday (Feb. 25). The group was safely removed from the flaming bus and then all hoofed it to Spectators Bar & Grill on Blue Star Highway for warmth and some good eating while they waited for new transportation. The incident happened about 3:10 p.m. No one was hurt. Saugatuck Township fire-fighters -joined by the Graafschap Fire Department -were immediately on the scene, along with local police help secure the scene and fight the flame-and-smoke-filled bus. Firefighters were seen rip-ping away metal siding of the vehicle and punching through its roof to ensure they extinguised the fire. The driver of the bus told authorities he heard a loud popping sound from the rear of the vehicle and then saw flames shooting from the rear axle. He then stopped the bus and helped make sure all the students and chaperones exited safely. The driver, whose name was not released, then grabbed a fire extinguisher and fought the blaze until help arrived. The Michigan State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division have launched an investiga-tion into the incident. The back third of the bus appeared severely damaged. The students had just visit-ed Grand Valley State University as part of a field trip and were on the way home back to Chicago when the fire broke out. Police provided them an escort as they all walked down the middle of the road while coming off the expressway ramp. The staff at Spectators pro-vided them with food and soft drinks while they waited for a new ride home. Another bus arrived a short time later and picked up the unlucky travelers and brought them safely home. Traffic became snarled and backed up as the firefighters battled the blaze along the highway. It wasn’t until almost 4:30 p.m. that cars were able to clear the area and move past the charred remains of the bus. Saugatuck Holds Narrow Lead In USA Today’s “Best Coastal Small Town In America” Contest Your Online Votes Are Needed Every Day Until March 16th To Make Saugatuck No. 1!!! Staff Report The City of Saugatuck is clinging to a narrow lead in the race for votes to make it USA Today and 10Best Readers Choice Travel Awards’ “Best Coastal Small Town In America”. Ever since the editors of USA Today newspaper recently announced that Saugatuck was one of 20 cities and towns across the U.S. nominated for this prestigious title, the race was on, led locally by Felicia Fairchild, executive director of the Saugatuck-Douglas Convention & Visitor’s Bureau. The winning city or town will be determined by online votes that can be made up until March 16 and Fairchild has pulled out all the stops to try and gain the title for Saugatuck. She has sent out a multi-tude of email messages, called on businesses and even sent requests to cities throughout West Michigan ask-ing for their help and their votes. The winning coastal town doesn’t just receive a nice award cer-tificate noting the honor. USA Today’s editors -along with nationally renowned marketing representatives -say the national press afforded the winner can mean thou-sands -perhaps tens of thousands -of new visitors traveling to the victorious muncipality with pockets full of dol-lars to spend at local businesses, such as hotels, B&Bs, restaurants and retail shops. “You can’t pay for or afford this type of promotional push the winner gets from being named “Best Coastal Small Town In America”, says one USA Today editor. Fairchild agrees. “Winning this contest does-n’t just mean a little blurb in a news-paper, it equates to bringing in a lot of new visitors that will see the press about us and decide to come see how special Saugatuck/Douglas truly are,” says Fairchild. “That means more overnight tourists who need accomo-dations and have money to spend here. It really means an economic boost for everyone!” To ensure Saugatuck remains on top in the voting for this honor is going to take the combined efforts of everyone to take a moment to vote for our local treasure. As of Wednesday, Saugatuck was in first place in the voting! But that top spot can only be maintained if all residents, friends, visitors, students, etc. -cast their ballots for this great city of ours! To vote Saugatuck into first place, visit: Each individual can vote once a day through the duration of the contest. Voting ends Monday, March 16, with winners being announced Wednesday, March 18. “By now we should all be old hands at this voting thing, so lets saddle up the horses, move ‘em on-out and keep voting Saugatuck Number One!” says Fairchild. USA Today and 10Best Readers Choice officials said, “Prior competitions have been hotly contest-ed and we look forward to seeing how you rock the vote in your own com-munity.” The competition for this award is even stiffer than last year’s “Best Weekend Getaway” contest in which Saugatuck walked away with first-place honors. Fairchild says everyone can join in on the voting fun by putting the word out to all your friends, work colleagues and families -even if they don’t live in Saugatuck -and provid-ing them the voting URL ( on all your Facebook pages, email send-outs, Tweets, and any other communica-tion method you may use, and ask them to vote for Saugatuck! Let’s all join in and help keep Saugatuck on top! Cast your vote today!

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