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Letter to the Editor
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Treat Gelman waste to a pure standard

Why is the Gelman corporation allowed to cause so much stress in the neighborhood? Since 1986, when 1,4-dioxane was found in the wells of neighbors living close to the plant, there has been a constant denial, then “gracious” agreements to treat the waste so no new aquifers would become polluted.

Many times, I have trusted Gelman to do what is right, only to find that the company has not followed through on promises.

Now, I find that new negotiations with the attorney general’s office will permit them to treat their waste to a less-pure standard. This is unfair, when Gelman has admitted the waste can be treated to 0-3 parts per billion, and this waste is being treated to that standard in North Carolina.

My well is a mile north of Gelman. I want that waste treated to less than 3 ppb before reinjection to their purge wells and before that waste-laced water is put into Honey Creek. No new aquifers, no new wells should be allowed to become contaminated. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality should monitor the cleanup, as we believed they were doing. The Attorney General’s office should not negotiate with an offending company without thinking of the consequences to trusting taxpayers. Marilynn Dickerson Ann Arbor

Story glosses over role of Gelman in pollution

It was with great astonishment that I read your Dec. 1 article entitled “Gelman reinvents retirement.” I would have thought you were describing someone totally different than the controversial figure so well known to our community! This article painted Charles Gelman as a brilliant scientist and kind-hearted entrepreneur while glossing over the seriousness of the groundwater pollution problem caused by his company.

The News chose only to mention a positive aspect of Gelman’s role within the community, as an employer of those in need. Yet, how could the paper fail to bring up the way in which Gelman has treated those living within the plume of his company’s contamination? That rather than making amends with the neighbors of Gelman Sciences, he hired a team of lawyers and sued them! I’m sure that the residents of Scio Township (who had to pay thousands of dollars each to get connected to the Ann Arbor water system and

now must pay city taxes, as well) view Gelman as anything but a caring community member!

Any summary of Charles Gelman’s career cannot be complete without describing his pattern of badgering his critics. As reported in The News over the past several years, targets of harassment by Gelman have included former Mayor Liz Brater, former State Sen. Lana Pollack, Drain Commissioner Janis Bobrin, and lobbyist for the Michigan Manufacturers Association Heidi Grether (any coincidence they’re all women?).

The record should also state that Gelman and his associates spent several years trying to dissuade funders and hinder operations of the Ecology Center - and subjected some of the center’s staffers to intense intimidation campaigns - all because the Ecology Center was advocating a comprehensive cleanup of Gelman Sciences’ pollution.

I request that in the future The News take more care in presenting an accurate picture of matters of historical importance to our community. Phillis D. Engelbert Ann Arbor

Gelman has contributed to quality of city life

It was good to read that Chuck Gelman will remain in Ann Arbor after retirement.

Over the years, Gelman - the man, as well as the company - has contributed tremendously to the quality of life in our city. Anyone who reads the small print listing of sponsors of their favorite concert series knows this. I was aware also of his generous support of community bicycling events.

Apparently, I knew only of a portion of his other philanthropy. I did not know of his support for Neighborhood Peace Center. Maybe we can find a way to persuade him to again support the fireworks display that was such a wonderful family event for so many years.

Daniel S. Cutler

Ann Arbor