By Jim Newell
The Orion Township Board of Trustees has accused Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services of “thwarting” residents “constitutional liberties and personal freedoms.”
The board passed the “Board of Trustees Resolution to Support Continuance of Youth Athletics during the COVID-19 Pandemic” resolution by a 5-1 vote during the board’s meeting on Monday.
Trustee Julia Dalrymple cast the lone nay vote. Supervisor Chris Barnett was absent from the meeting, with notice. Clerk Penny Shults, Treasurer Donni Steele and Trustees Brian Birney, Mike Flood and Kim Urbanowski supported the resolution.
Birney brought the idea to the board saying he was frustrated that kids ages 13-19 had to have regular COVID-19 tests in order to play in the Orion Oxford Soccer League (OOSL), which is run by the township parks and recreation department.
OOSL has about 80 kids in the 13-19 age range.
“Why we’re testing healthy kids is beyond me. Why can 12-year-olds play and 13-year-olds can’t is beyond me? I don’t understand it, it makes no sense, like most of the things that have come down from the state regarding this virus. To me, this is finally our chance to say, ‘Enough is enough, we’ve had it. We’re protecting our citizens. Most importantly, our children,’” Birney said, adding, “Hopefully, there’s action after this…I hope we stand together and get back to normal and take care of our kids.”
The resolution is largely a symbolic stand against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the health order from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). If the township willfully violates MDHHS epidemic orders, it could face fines or other punitive measures.
At the behest of Birney, the board directed attorney Dan Kelley at its April 5 meeting to prepare a resolution for discussion and possible adoption at the April 19 meeting.
The resolution reads, in part: WHEREAS, the threat from the virus, though serious, has resulted in a thwarting of constitutional liberties and personal freedoms without sufficient regard for ongoing and potentially irreparable economic, emotional, educational and other societal abuses…
The resolution also addresses businesses that have been fined, penalized or had their licenses revoked for failing “to obey and enforce unconstitutional Executive Orders.”
The full board resolution is available on the Orion Township website, Oriontownship.org, and will be available in this article on The Lake Orion Review website, lakeorionreview.com.
A MDHHS epidemic order from March 22 required that beginning April 2, athletes ages 13-19 are required to be tested consistent with the testing protocol specified in MDHHS Interim Guidance for Athletes. That order has been extended to May 24.
Participants must also wear masks while playing, unless a sports organizer has decided that playing a particular sport while wearing a mask is unsafe. In that case, a more frequent testing protocol would be required.
During the meeting, Birney also advocated getting rid of masks.
Shults, Steele, Flood and Urbanowski thanked Birney for bringing the issue before the board, applauding as he stated his case for the resolution.
Urbanowski pointed out that her children are in dance, winter guard, color guard and marching band and practiced long days without having problems.
“We have to be safe, there’s no question about that, no question,” Urbanowski said.
“If not for marching band and my kids having something to do, I guarantee you that their mental health would not have been what it is now. It was hard before we got to do marching band. There’s something to be said for fresh air and sunshine and being around other people,” Urbanowski said.
Shults said she had been to youth sports and said she witnessed that it was difficult for kids to breath while wearing masks and playing sports.
“I’m glad this is before the board. I thank you, Brian, for just keeping this before us. I know there’s a lot of other areas where I would like to see us take a stand as a collective board,” Shults said. “When I was watching the kids on Saturday and they were wearing their masks they were struggling to breathe. That is just ridiculous. These kids are so far away from one another running up and down the fields and they’re wearing a mask that’s constraining them from getting oxygen. And some of the kids were coming off the field crying because they couldn’t breathe.”
Dalrymple, a teacher at Lake Orion High School, asked if the township could find a compromise and use the COVID-19 test results that athletes and students take for school as proof for playing in the township’s sports leagues.
She added that she did not believe it was fair for school districts, which are required to test athletes, to be reimbursed but that the parks and recreation department is not.
However, Dalrymple noted that the state had, or would be, giving COVID relief money to the township and questioned whether the resolution would jeopardize that.
Dalrymple also said as a teacher sees hundreds of kids each day and has to constantly remind them to pull up or put on their masks. She noted that some kids may have to quarantine even if they are following the rules if those around them are not
Parks & Recreation Director Aaron Whatley said the department would have to follow any MDHHS guidelines regarding athletes. The parks and recreation department is currently working on the logistics of implementing the soccer program under MDHHS guidelines, he said.
Copies of the resolution will be sent to Whitmer, the MDHHS, state legislators and the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.
CHARTER TOWNSHIP OF ORION
COUNTY OF OAKLAND
STATE OF MICHIGAN
BOARD OF TRUSTEES RESOLUTION TO SUPPORT CONTINUANCE OF YOUTH ATHLETICS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
At a regular meeting of the Township Board of the Charter Township of Orion, Oakland County, Michigan (the “Township’), held on the 19th day of April, 2021.
PRESENT: Brian Birney, Mike Flood, Julia Dalrymple, Kim Urbanowski, Clerk Penny Shults,
Treasurer Donni Steele
ABSENT: Supervisor Chris Barnett (with notice)
The following Resolution was offered by Brian Birney and seconded by Mike Flood:
WHEREAS, we live in a time of pandemic; and
WHEREAS, we are now entering into the second year of the global pandemic which has impacted every Orion Township resident in a myriad ways; and
WHEREAS, the threat from the virus, though serious, has resulted in a thwarting of constitutional liberties and personal freedoms without sufficient regard for ongoing and potentially irreparable economic, emotional, educational and other societal abuses; and
WHEREAS, Governor Whitmer working with the Directors of the Michigan Health Department and the Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, did engage in fining, penalizing, and revoking the licenses of businesses for failure to obey and enforce the unconstitutional Executive Orders; and
WHEREAS, the orders by the MDHHS lack full legislative support of the democratically elected representatives, having been initiated unilaterally and unconstitutionally by the Governor of Michigan; and
WHEREAS, the orders by the MDHHS have diminished the degree of personal accountability and have placed cumbersome burdens and restrictions on local businesses, local employees and the residents of Orion Township; and
WHEREAS, the orders by MDHHS mandate antigen testing on our Township youth, age 13-19, as a requirement to participate in organized sports; and
WHEREAS, an active and healthy lifestyle includes the participation in youth organized sports; and
WHEREAS, the prescribed testing under MDHHS order requires invasive diagnostic testing on our community’s children; and
WHEREAS, the MDHHS has issued orders, without providing funding or sufficient guidance for the administration and enforcement of such orders; and
WHEREAS, the right and responsibility of individuals to self-determine what is best for their own health, liberty and pursuit of happiness is necessary and ensured by our Constitution, which we have taken an oath to defend and uphold;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, The Orion Township Board of Trustees calls upon the Michigan Legislature to exercise their co-equal authority by adopting constitutionally sound measures, which limit the unchecked exercise and abuse of executive power, which restore individual responsibility and accountability, and which return Michigan to the ranks of freedom-loving governments everywhere;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, we call upon the residents of Orion Township to act responsibly with regards to others while determining for themselves what is best for themselves, for their own families and loved ones and how to contend with the ongoing risks associated with the COVID-19 virus;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, we call upon local businesses to use their own good judgment to operate in a manner which minimizes risk to patrons while protecting the health and welfare of their businesses, care for their employees, and the community;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that copies of this resolution be transmitted to Governor Whitmer, the Michigan State Legislature, Oakland County Board of Commissioners, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Director, and posted on the Orion Township web page.
RESOLUTION DECLARED ADOPTED.
YEAS: 5 (Brian Birney, Mike Flood, Kim Urbanowski, Clerk Penny Shults,
NAYS: 1 Julia Dalrymple
STATE OF MICHIGAN )
COUNTY OF OAKLAND )
I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and complete copy of a Resolution adopted at a regular meeting of the Charter Township of Orion, Oakland County, Michigan, on the _____ day of April, 2021, the original of which is on file in my office.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto affixed my official signature this _____ day of April, 2021.