Social Issues

Dave Miess on living amid Lac du Flambeau's road closures

Town of Lac du Flambeau resident Dave Miess considers how road closures by the tribal government over lapsed easements affect homeowners who have access blocked and shares hopes for a swift solution.

By Nathan Denzin | Here & Now

February 14, 2023 • Northern Region

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Dave Miess:
I don't think there's any one group that's to blame for this. I think you have, you have the town, which is a large entity, a bureaucratic entity. You have the Bureau of Indian Affairs that need to be involved, obviously a very big entity and a bureaucracy. You have the title companies that are involved and have their own reasons for and how they can settle and things like that. And you have the tribe. I think all those players have, you know, I'm sure at some point in time, you know, maybe gone slower than they needed to with this or, you know, didn't act upon things, you know, whatever. So I think there's, I think there's responsibility to go across all of it, across all those entities. I think the thing that we've tried to say is that the people that don't have responsibility and the people that ultimately are paying the price for this are the homeowners. We are the pawns. We have no say in how this works. I mean, we've, you know, we've talked with the title company, obviously. We've talked with the town. You know, we've had our elected officials contacting Bureau of Indian Affairs, Governor Evers was up talking to the tribe on Saturday. It seems like all of these entities are kind of, they're almost like, talking past each other and they really need to just sit down and get this hashed out. I mean, you know, and yes, it shouldn't have gone on for 10 years. I, you know, and I have no illusions about that. It's just that the people that are being affected, it's real people with their homes and being able to get to work and again, having to leave with a child with special needs, trying to figure out how we get medicines, how you get to a doctor's appointment, all those things. I mean, I have some neighbors on our lake who are in their 70s and need to go to doctor's appointments. Well, they're not gonna walk across the lake to do that. You know, so they've had to make special arrangements with the police department to be able to get in and out. You know, we had, I was at a meeting on Thursday with the town, and, you know, we were talking and you know, one of the things they will do, they've told us is, you know, there's a locked chain across us. Well, you know, obviously, how does a fire truck get to us? You know, we're in rural settings. How does a fire truck get to us? How does an ambulance get to us? Well, they all have keys to get the locks unlocked. And so last week, I, you know, I mentioned at a town meeting, I said, well, who's plowing our roads to get, so that those vehicles can get in? And they hadn't thought about that. The town said, well, we can't cross the barrier so we can't plow the road. And they at one point suggested, well, what we'll do is we'll send a plow out with the firetruck so that they can plow ahead of the firetruck, which does not seem like the greatest idea. Now they did rethink that and hopefully our roads will be plowed so that we don't have to wait until there's a fire. However, I just, again, it's like we need these people to all take responsibility for this, to get this things figured out, get these roads unblocked, get the easements in place, make sure the tribe is compensated fairly for their easements, and we can all get back to lives.

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