Horn Hometown Tours: Huron Eastern Railroad and Sargent Docks

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn last week joined Huron Eastern Railroad staff for a tour of their operations and a trip down the rails to one of their common stops, Sargent Docks.

Beginning in Buena Vista, Horn met with representatives from the railroad as they prepared for their trip along Saginaw’s railways to the docks.

“The tour was fantastic from the start,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “The folks at Huron Eastern Railroad were kind enough to pick me up in Buena Vista and give me a ride to the docks on one of their train engines. It was a really neat experience coming into the docks via railway.”

As Horn made his way through Saginaw toward the docks, the Huron Eastern crew made sure he had a chance to experience every aspect of the train, from how the train is started and the process to get it moving to lessons on the various gauges, dials and levers inside the engine.

“I didn’t quite know what to expect when we first planned this,” Horn said. “But after I climbed up the ladder and into the engine, I knew I was getting into something that would be an incredibly fascinating and educational experience.”

Horn and the crew continued down the tracks and eventually reached their final stop at Sargent Docks in Zilwaukee. Upon arrival, Horn was kindly greeted by staff and promptly began a thorough tour of the facilities.

“The tour was unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Horn said. “The massive silos at Sargent Docks are filled with salt, potash and various other minerals. We walked from silo to silo and the staff were able to tell us what was in each one, when they got it and where it was going. They are incredibly on top of their operations.

“They also shared various stories of their experiences over the years. One that specifically struck me was a shipment they had gotten from Canada; it was so cold out that the product arriving on the train was negative 20 degrees. It is hard to imagine being out there and working in such a harsh environment, but these guys are making it happen.”

Lastly, the group made their way back toward the tracks and watched as loads of potash, which is commonly used in fertilizers, were unloaded from railroad cars onto the conveyer belt and up into the silo.

“The sheer volume of product that they deal with is astonishing,” Horn said. “They use salt to make brine for our roads, potash and aspire, which staff explained is potash mixed with Boron and is designed to optimize plant health. They even keep limestone for Consumer’s Energy to use as a foundation for their poles.”

Horn said he considered the tour to be a great success and a perfect way to continue the series.

“We were incredibly fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and courteous staff on the railroad and at the docks,” Horn said. “What really impressed me was how intertwined the operations of the railroad and the docks are with all of the local businesses in the area.

“Sargent Docks uses a company out of Bridgeport to build their silos, and both the railroad and the docks work with local farmers and companies in my district. It is a textbook example of what I want people to see in these tours.”

To view a video of Horn’s tour, click here.

Horn’s Hometown Tours feature various communities in the 32nd District. If you are interested in having Horn visit, please contact his office at (517) 373-1760, toll-free at (855) 347-8032 or by email at SenKHorn@senate.michigan.gov.

###

Editor’s note: A print-quality copy of each photograph is available by clicking on the image or by visiting www.SenatorKenHorn.com. Click on “Photowire” under the Media Center tab.

 

PHOTO 1 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, gives the crew on the ground a “thumbs up” as the engine approaches the yard at Sargent Docks.

PHOTO 2 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, stands with Bill Webber, owner of Sargent Docks, in front of a mound of salt as they discuss how the salt is converted into brine, which keeps our roads safe in the winter.

 

PHOTO 3 CAPTION: State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, stands with Bill Webber and Dock Operations Manager Jim Cnudde as the silo behind them is being filled with potash.

Horn to hold September office hours in Frankenmuth

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, reminded residents that September office hours have been scheduled for the 32nd Senate District.

Horn will be available to meet with constituents at the following date, time and location:

Monday, Sept. 28

1 – 3 p.m.

James E. Wickson District Library

359 S. Franklin St.

Frankenmuth, MI 48734

Horn will be on hand to answer questions and respond to concerns any residents of the district may have. No appointment is necessary.

For more information or to contact Horn, please visit www.SenatorKenHorn.com or call 517-373-1760.

###

 

Horn supports legislation calling for federal balanced budget amendment

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn on Thursday supported legislation to officially petition Congress to call a constitutional convention for a federal balanced budget amendment (BBA).

“The national debt is now more than $18 trillion. This is a staggering amount to burden the future generations of this nation with,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “Every year over the past five years, the Michigan Legislature has passed a balanced budget ahead of schedule to ensure that our taxpayers are confident that their money is being used responsibly. The federal government needs to do the same.”

Senate Bill 306 enters Michigan into an interstate compact to petition Congress to take the necessary steps toward passing a BBA to the U.S. Constitution. Once 38 states — three-fourths of the state legislatures — join the compact, they will then petition Congress to refer the BBA vote to the states for ratification by a three-fourths vote under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.

Legislation has already passed in four states and is pending in three more.

“This action by the states shouldn’t be necessary,” Horn said. “If we continue on the road we are on the federal debt is estimated to surpass $21 trillion by 2019. We simply cannot let Washington continue to dig our children and grandchildren further into this hole.”

SB 306 is now before the Michigan House of Representatives for consideration.

###

 

Sen. Horn thanks Daimler for choosing Michigan

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, chairman of the Senate Economic Development and International Investment Committee, issued the following statement Thursday in response to Daimler North America Corp. announcing it will be increasing its presence in Michigan by relocating its North American headquarters in the state.

“It’s great to hear that Daimler North America is centralizing its operations here in Michigan. The state is continuing to make a strong comeback, and drawing employers like this is proof that we are moving forward.

“This comes at the same time that Michigan’s unemployment rate has again dropped and is now at 5.1 percent, the lowest since 2001. We welcome Daimler North America and hope to see more moves like this in the future.”

###

Horn announces September office hours in Frankenmuth

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, announced that September office hours are scheduled for the 32nd Senate District.

Horn will be available to meet with constituents at the following date, time and location:

Monday, Sept. 28

1 – 3 p.m.

James E. Wickson District Library

359 S. Franklin St.

Frankenmuth, MI 48734

Horn will be on hand to answer questions and respond to concerns any residents of the district may have. No appointment is necessary.

For more information or to contact Horn, please visit www.SenatorKenHorn.com or call 517-373-1760.

###

 

Horn legislation resolving Buena Vista’s debt passes Senate

Sen. Ken Horn

Sen. Ken Horn

LANSING, Mich. — State Sen. Ken Horn’s legislation to assist Buena Vista with an ongoing issue that stemmed from the dissolution of the school district in 2013 passed the Senate Thursday.

Senate Bill 356 provides a mechanism for the Saginaw, Frankenmuth and Bridgeport school districts to start collecting non-homestead taxes for territory that was inherited through the Buena Vista dissolution. All money collected must first go toward paying down the Buena Vista debt, currently estimated at approximately $700,000, until the amount is paid in full.

“This has been a largely cooperative effort between legislators and state and local officials,” said Horn, R-Frankenmuth. “Everyone involved has been diligently working to find a solution to an issue very specific to the Saginaw area. We’re determined to find a compromise that will not only benefit the community of Buena Vista and the receiving school districts, but the state of Michigan as a whole.”

In the specific case of Buena Vista, the annual 18-mill school operating tax generates roughly

$1.6 million in revenue which, prior to dissolution, was used to support the cost of the district’s per-pupil foundation allowance, with the state paying whatever was not covered by the $1.6 million. Until the debt is repaid, the state is indirectly also paying that $1.6 million through higher state share foundation allowance costs paid to the receiving districts since the districts themselves cannot currently collect that revenue.

If the receiving districts had the ability to levy taxes themselves, as this bill would allow, the operating debt held by Buena Vista could be repaid in just one year. The $1.6 million to cover operational costs could then be levied by the receiving districts, thereby reducing state costs in the same amount.

“I hope the state never has to dissolve another school district, but if it does, I want to make sure we don’t run into the same problems that we’re seeing in Buena Vista. There needs to be specific guidelines to facilitate the process,” Horn said. “I am happy that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle were able to see the importance of this legislation and voted to continue progress on this issue.”

SB 356 is now before the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee for consideration.

###