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Michael Patrick Shiels
WSJM-FM 94.9

Posted: Thursday, 09 January 2014 2:10PM

Berrien County Commissioners Face Opposition To Pier Jumping Ban Idea

A pier jumping ban is under consideration by the Berrien County Board of Commissioners. The commission held a public hearing on the ban Thursday, but took no action on the proposal. Mark Parren is a noted area photographer and a retired paramedic and was among several who spoke out against it.


He told commissioners most of the people he rescued during his career were juveniles and mainly from out of the area. Bernt Krebs called it an attack on people's right to pursue happiness.


If enacted, violators would be subject to fines of up to $250. The county's attorney, Donna Howard, noted water rescues are expensive and said a proposed ban gives the county some ground to charge those pulled from the water after jumping off the pier for that service.


There is precedent elsewhere in the country. Arizona has what's called the "Stupid Motorist Law," in which drivers who ignore warnings about dangerous places have to pay for their own rescue. Commissioners have not indicated when it could be decided. Everyone who spoke at the public hearing was against it, and additional questions were raised by commissioners about whether or not a county ordinance would supersede a local ban already in place in New Buffalo.


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