09-21-2017 Letters and Commentary

Local government is narrow-minded, not pro-business

Dear Editor,

This is Tim and Willie at Clear Water Meats in Eau Claire.  Since you wrote an article about our butcher shop a year ago we thought we would give you an update for another article.

Business has been steadily increasing as our name and products are getting around.  We have gotten involved with Eau Claire High School’s Agri Science program by sponsoring fundraisers and having the class out for a field trip to learn a little about meat cutting.

We have recently doubled the square footage of our operation with an addition of a livestock holding barn and future retail area.

After an extremely successful deer season last year we entered some of our products in the Michigan Meat Association’s state-wide competition in Lansing.  We won state champion specialty game meats with our venison Jalapeno and Cheese Salami and also Grand Champion Smoked Fish with a Hot Smoked Brown Sugar Salmon.

After returning from the competition this spring we hit the road and talked with many area restaurants about how we could help them incorporate local Michigan meats onto their menu.  We now supply meat to a few great area restaurants such as Mason Jar, Tosi’s and Doggie Bag.

As our popularity is growing we realized that we need to incorporate a retail meat market into our business.  We approached Pipestone Township in April of this year with our plans and requested an ordinance amendment to include a retail meat farm market at our establishment.   The planning commission in our township 100% agreed with us that our retail meat market would be a great asset to our community.

We were met with extreme pushback from our township that we should not have a retail store on our property.  They continually suggested we pull our current location, and force us into a commercial building in the HUGE metropolis of downtown Eau Claire.  Month after month the board tabled our request without doing anything about it.

One board member brought up that we were destroying the country living in our area because we deal with livestock and that they moved to the country because they do not want to see, hear or smell farm animals.

Finally, after 4 months of getting treated like a criminal with all of the negative comments and pushback, we knew we were not getting anywhere.  We contacted the Michigan Department of Ag’s Right to Farm department.

In the Right to Farm act it protects farmers and allows them to have a “Farm Market.”  Well we just so happen to be grain and livestock farmers, combined we operate around 600 acres and raise around 100 head of cattle a few blocks north of the butcher shop.  After working with them the last few months we are now nearing the final stages of the State verifying our farm and farm market is in compliance with state regulations.

Wednesday September 13, 2017 the township board turned down our request for permission to open a retail meat market at our butcher shop.  Since we are relentless and determined to provide the community with a fresh meat market due to the fact there is no grocery store in Eau Claire we will keep working with the State.

Although discouraging that the local government is so narrow-minded and not pro-business, we will be moving forward with getting the State’s certification for a farm market and open to the public as soon as possible.  When our farm market opens we will be selling natural beef raised by us and processed by us! We will also be selling Michigan pork and work into selling goats, sheep, chicken and eggs grown on our farms.

As we wait for the State to come through we will continue to do custom processing as well as deer processing which starts very soon.  Future plans include another retail location so we are encouraging local townships and towns to contact us if they are searching for a boost in local business.  Watch our Facebook page for updates as to our progress with opening our farm market!

Tim Nimtz & Willie Hannan

Michigan men encouraged to discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctor

 Prostate cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in men aside from skin cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer death among Michigan men. Therefore this September, National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, is the best time for men to become aware of their personal risk for prostate cancer and talk to their doctor about screening.

In Michigan, it is estimated that there will be 5,350 new cases and 830 deaths due to prostate cancer in 2017. Older men, African-American men, and men with a family history of prostate cancer have a greater risk for developing prostate cancer.