March 23 01:22 AM

Tempers are elevated

Overspray from paint job at Imlay grain elevator draws ire of some residents

July 11, 2007
IMLAY CITY — Painting the town red is one thing, but painting it silver is another matter.

Four residents, including a pair of city commissioners, voiced displeasure last Tuesday after finding silver paint specks on their vehicles.

They attributed the tiny specks to a crew of painters hired to apply a fresh coat of paint to the silos at Lapeer Grain at 140 E. Second St.

Resident Al Karwowski, whose vehicle was among those hit by the spray, said as many as 58 vehicles were affected, all of them parked downwind of the grain elevator.

Before contacting painting company owner Patrick Sherlock, Karwowski said he attempted to remove the paint from his vehicle.

"I tried power-washing it but the paint's still there," he said. "It won't come off.

Karwowski said he contacted the South Carolina-based painting company and was told that the situation would be rectified.

"I'm willing to give him the opportunity to fix this," said Karwowski, "but the damage is significant. My car is completely covered."

Amy Sadler, another victim of the errant, wind-blown spray, said she also took measures to remove the paint from her vehicle but was equally unsuccessful.

"My car had been parked at the Baptist church (on Almont Avenue) on Sunday," said Sadler. "It's now covered in paint. I took it to be professionally cleaned and it did not come off. I'd like to know if that company is insured."

Commissioners Earl Gass and Rodney Warner said they found silver specks on their vehicles, too, although both view the incident as a "non-city" matter.

Stressing that he is acting solely as a private citizen and not as a commissioner, Gass is organizing an effort to resolve the situation for all parties.

"I talked with Ray Graham at the co-op (Lapeer Grain) to let him know this is a widespread issue," said Gass. "He seems willing to do whatever he can to help. Mr. Sherlock is also interested in trying to resolve things."

As a result, said Gass, both men have agreed to participate in a paint-removal effort Sat., July 14 at 9 a.m. at Heatherton Place apartments, at 208 E. First St.

Gass said the co-op owner will provide coffee and doughnuts that morning, while Sherlock will bring a crew to remove the paint from affected vehicles.

He said the crew plans to apply a non-abrasive citrus-based cleaner and buff out the affected areas.

"The man (Sherlock) is stepping up to the wire and trying to remedy the situation," said Gass. "Hopefully this can turn a bad thing into a good thing."

The recently-painted silos at Lapeer Grain East have become a source of controversy after some of the paint spray drifted. The painters will buff out vehicles at Heatherton Place Apts. this Saturday. photo by Tom Wearing.
Should the paint-removal efforts prove unsuccessful, vehicle owners may need to seek other recourse.

Commissioner John Lengemann suggested that vehicle owners file claims with their respective insurance carriers.

"The problem is that most people have deductibles of at least $100," said Gass. "By the time they pay that, they may as well have the vehicle detailed."

Gass added that if Sherlock and his crew don't have enough time on Saturday to remove the paint from every vehicle, there has been discussion of a return visit to finish the job.

Staff Writer
Castle Creek
03 - 23 - 19
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