Restitution set for polluting stream

Published 10:27 am Thursday, July 9, 2009

By NORMA LERNER / Vigilant/Argus

CASSOPOLIS – A 78-year-old Cassopolis man found out dumping old oil laced with antifreeze into a stream to eradicate a beaver who built a dam on his property was not the thing to do. It costs him a lot of money.

James Reed of 23040 Monette St. was fined by Judge Michael Dodge more than $6,000 Friday morning in Cass County Circuit Court for polluting the stream. He was also placed on two years probation.

Assistant Attorney General Amid represented the State of Michigan saying an agreement was reached.

Defense attorney Roosevelt Thomas of Dowagiac said Reed was agreeable to make full restitution which was $6,335.

Reed had no comment.

Dodge said it was March 15, 2007, when Reed enlisted the help of his son and another person to dump oil into the stream because beavers built a dam causing flooding onto his farm property. Dodge said the oil was laced with antifreeze to get rid of them. “I can’t believe you thought it was a legitimate way to solve the problem.” Dodge said a passerby saw the workers dump the oil and turned him in to authorities.

“You have an agreement for two years probation and a $6,335 fine.” Dodge said this complies with the agreement with no jail time.

Dodge said $755 goes to environmental quality and $5,580 to the Michigan Environmental Department. Other costs imposed to Reed amounted to $3,318.

Other sentencings Friday morning are as follows:

  • Kevin Bacon, 51, 21737 Fosdick St., Dowagiac, got 18 months probation for possession of a Taser and possession of marijuana March 4 on Grand Boulevard, Dowagiac. He is to pay $1,118 costs.
  • Cordera Williams-El, 22, 29561 Amerihost Drive, Dowagiac, got 150 days jail for possession of marijuana with intent to deliver on May 19 on School Street, Cassopolis. He is to pay $348 costs.
  • Larey Billingham, 49, 33674 School St., Eau Claire, got 18 months probation for larceny over $1,000 on Jan. 25, 2008, for stealing a hot tub from his sister’s house after a house fire. He sold it for $200 or $300 to a friend. He is to pay $1,308 costs.
  • Horese Ratliff, 28, 505 Chestnut St., Dowagiac, got one year jail for each of five convictions, deliver/manufacture marijuana, possession of a short barreled shotgun, possession of a firearm by a felon, maintaining a drug house and double-penalty possession of marijuana on May 7 on Cherry Street Dowagiac. His terms are concurrent. His driver’s license was suspended for one year. He is to pay $451 costs. Dodge said it was his final wakeup call, one last opportunity to avoid a prison sentence.