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Harsens Island could lose ferry service

Don Coles

Harsens Island is known as a laid-back retirement-and-vacation community in Lake St. Clair. About 1200 people live there year-round, and that number grows to 5,000 during the summer months.

In order to visit the island you can take your own boat or you can take Champion’s Auto Ferry. But people who live there may not be able to take the ferry in the near future because the company’s owner wants to retire, and since the ferry service is a private business, it’s not clear whose responsible when it comes to maintaining service.

Judy Palnau is a spokeswoman for the Michigan Public Service Commission. “It’s the only means of transportation to and from the island, so because of that there’s a public interest concern.”

The commission has opened a formal investigation into the issue and given the company’s owner 120 days to come up with a plan. The commission also wants the public's feedback.

Champion’s Auto Ferry said no one was available for comment.

Kyle Norris is from Michigan and spent ten years as a host and reporter with Michigan Radio, the state’s largest NPR-affiliate. He lives in Seattle and works as a substitute host and producer at KNKX.
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