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This is just Wrong...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by CRC, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    WWII Veteran Freezes To Death In Own Home
    Bay City Electric & Light Restricted Power To Man's Home After Not Paying Bills

    POSTED: 2:20 pm EST January 26, 2009
    UPDATED: 6:33 pm EST January 26, 2009
    BAY CITY, Mich. -- Officials in central Michigan say a 93-year-old man who owned more than $1,000 in unpaid electric bills froze to death inside his home -- where the municipal power company had restricted his use of electricity.

  2. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    I pray for people that would make a poor old man freeze to death because of poverty; may all of you burn in hell. Amen.
  3. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    This is truly a sad story. It seems there should be some safeguard that allows an override of an automatic shutoff, some protocol to notify social services under similar circumstances. It was simply part of the bureaucracy to order the shutoff.

    A caveat for us all - check in on our elderly neighbors and family members, even if they are a little cantankerous by nature.
  4. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

  5. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    In Wisconsin it is illegal for a utility to cut off service in the winter months...
  6. CRC

    CRC Survivor of Tidal Waves | RIP 7-24-2015 Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    In Texas, and South Carolina....(and probably some others...) it's illegal to cut off the AC in the hottest part of the Summer...So many people have Asthma, COPD, and other breathing problems....they can't get by without AC.....

    I need to check in to all the states that have similar laws...

    That story really hit me hard....My Dad is 85, and a WWII Veteran...and he runs the heat , even in June, here...He has no body fat, and is cold all the time....Luckily, his power is included in his "rent" at the facility where he is here.....(He has his own apartment...Full 1 BR apt) ...He can run the heat or AC all he wants and the monthly charge doesn't change..His little hands are cold, even in late Summer, early Fall....I check on him, and have someone that does when I'm out of town....

    I bet that Power Company catches Hell for this happening....and rightly so.

    And RH? You're right...we should all check on our elderly neighbors...It's the right thing to do....Thank you for the reminder...
  7. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Freezing death of Mich. man in house sparks anger

    Freezing death of Mich. man in house sparks anger

    BAY CITY, Mich. – When neighbors went inside Marvin Schur's house, the windows were frosted over, icicles hung from a faucet, and the 93-year-old World War II veteran lay dead on the bedroom floor in a winter jacket over four layers of clothing.

    He froze to death — slowly and painfully, authorities say — days after the electric company installed a power-limiting device because of more than $1,000 in unpaid bills.

    The old man's sad end two weeks ago has led to outrage, soul-searching and a resolve never to let something like this happen again.

    "There's got to be a way in today's computer age they can find out if someone's over a certain age," said Chad Sepos, 37, a copy machine installer who lives a block away in this Lake Huron city of 34,000 people, about 90 miles from Detroit. "It's just sad."

    One of the saddest things of all was that Schur appeared to have plenty of money, and, in fact, one of the neighbors who entered the home reported seeing cash clipped to a pile of bills on the kitchen table. Schur's nephew suggested the old man's mind may have been slipping.

    Schur, or "Mutts," was a retired foundry worker who lived alone, his wife having died a couple of years ago. The couple had no children. He could often be seen through the big front window of his comfortably furnished home of 50 or 60 years, watching TV or keeping an eye on his neighborhood.

    On Jan. 13, a worker with the city-owned utility installed a "limiter" on Schur's electric meter after four months of unpaid bills. The device restricts power and blows like a fuse if usage rises past a set level. Electricity is not restored until the device is flipped back on by the homeowner, who must walk outside to the meter.

    Bay City Electric Light & Power did not contact Schur face-to-face to notify him of the device and explain how it works, instead following its usual policy by leaving a note on the door. But neighbors said Schur rarely, if ever, left the house in the cold.

    At some point, the device evidently tripped and was not reset, authorities said. Schur's home was heated by a gas furnace, not electricity, but some gas furnaces do not work properly if the power is out.

    Neighbors discovered Schur's body on Jan. 17 in his home, a yellow house with peeling paint. The outside temperature ranged from a high of 12 degrees to a low of minus 9 on Jan. 15, the day he was believed to have died. A heating pad was on his favorite armchair by the window. The oven door was open, perhaps to heat the place.

    "The body has a tremendous fighting power for survival. He died a slow, painful death," said Dr. Kanu Virani, who found frostbite on Schur's foot when performing the autopsy. Investigators are trying to establish how long he was without electricity.

    City officials are reviewing their procedures and in the meantime have suspended shutoffs and removed all limiters from homes after using the devices for 18 years.

    The medical examiner is looking into whether Schur suffered from dementia, particularly after police found enough cash lying around in the home to cover his bills. His nephew William Walworth said Schur told him two years ago he had $600,000 in savings.

    "It's definitely not a situation where money is an issue. The issue has to do with the mental faculties you have and your ability to make good decisions," said Walworth, 67, who lives in Ormond Beach, Fla.

    "I think the utility's policies are horrible and insane," he added. "For 50 years he paid the bill on a regular basis and never had problems. If people would know who their customers are and take concern for their customers, maybe they'd go knock on the door and see if everything is OK."

    Neighbors and others have posted messages on the Internet, complaining it was a shabby way to treat a veteran and demanding city employees be fired or prosecuted for not taking a few minutes to check on Schur, who was a medic in the South Pacific and earned a Purple Heart.

    One blogger noted that even a pet owner who leaves his dog outside to freeze can face charges.

    Sharon Gire, director of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging, said Schur's death was preventable. "He was one of Michigan's most vulnerable citizens in need," she said. "It is a tragedy that he had to suffer such a painful death."

    Michigan's big, state-regulated utilities are not allowed to shut off power to senior citizens in the winter and must offer payment plans to the poor. State regulators also discourage the use of limiters. But Michigan's 41 smaller municipal utilities — Bay City's included — are not overseen by the state.

    Schur's death has prompted Michigan lawmakers to start writing legislation that could ban the use of limiters by municipal utilities.

    "The concern was particularly with elderly customers; they can be frail or confused," Public Service Commission spokeswoman Judy Palnau said. "Anything that can require some sort of mechanical intervention can be overwhelming."

    Bay City Manager Robert Belleman said that he was "deeply saddened" by Schur's death and that State Police will investigate. But he also said neighbors have a responsibility to each other.

    "I've said this before and some of my colleagues have said this: Neighbors need to keep an eye on neighbors," Belleman said. "When they think there's something wrong, they should contact the appropriate agency or city department."

    (This version CORRECTS utility name to Bay City Electric Light & Power, not City Electric Light & Power, in 8th paragraph and CORRECTS spokeswoman's first name to Judy, not July, in 21st paragraph.))
  8. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Re: Freezing death of Mich. man in house sparks anger

    Fken Disgusting....
  9. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    I have been debating on wheather or not to post on this thread, becasue my opinion may ruffle a few feathers. So against my better judgement here goes.

    First I think that it is very sad that the man died. But in a free socioty I don't believe .gov has any right to tell an electric company that they must continue to give power to someone who is not paying their bill. This may sound mean or harsh but it's not ment that way. It's just that if you what .gov to stay out of your life you have to take the good with the bad. [2c]

  10. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    While I agree with you in theory ozarkgoatman, I wonder if these are automatic shutoffs or if an actual human being visited the residence before the power was cutoff. I know that every business if overwhelmed with compliance costs, it seems reasonable to require face to face contact before a shut off during periods of life threatening cold. The original premise of social agencies was to help those unable to help themselves, thus my thought that a face to face meet might been able to avert this tragedy. These are hard issues in light of the abuse of the welfare system but, like crc, I think of my own dad at that age. Was he mentally and physically equipped to deal with a similar circumstance? Lacking family or friends to be alert to the situation, it could happen to anyone.
  11. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Amen Sea
    A 93-year-old World War II veteran should be allowed to live for free; he has put more on the line for OUR Country than all of the 10 thousand Illegal aliens who get to live free of charge on us.
  12. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    But where do we stop??? Those type of government mandates just continue to put us further into a nanny state, and reduce the need for self-reliance/indepenice.

  13. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

  14. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    I don't know of too many 93 yr olds who are completely self-reliant although they may have an independent spirit. Maybe it's that very independence that was this man's death sentence.

    Even though I am quite a bit younger than that gentleman, I already find that I'm not as self-reliant as I was 20 years ago - it's an age thing, not spirit.
  15. NVBeav

    NVBeav Monkey+++

    What gets me is that everyone will be clamouring for more Government Regulation on an already highly-regulated industry. Of course, We The People will foot the bill with higher utility rates and taxes (gotta pay those gubermint inspektors). There are already more people working for the government than there are people working for private industry.

    I agree with OG -- we don't need more government interference in our lives. Reactionary hysteria only leads to more problems (see also AK-47 madness and the piper leading them against the 2nd amendment).
  16. Quigley_Sharps

    Quigley_Sharps The Badministrator Administrator Founding Member

    Yes you should….. You should be already to some extent; don’t you get veterans check for your disability?
    I also believe all War Vet’s shouldn’t have to pay taxes either.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com<img src=" />
    I am a Veteran but not a War Veteran and I should be required to pay as I am doing now. IMHO
    I would pay this mans heat bill during the winter it’s the least I could do for his service during war to make sure I remain free.
  17. OzarkSaints

    OzarkSaints Monkey++

    Although it is almost impossible to not be disgusted by this event, and want to make sure that this type of thing never happens again...the simple fact is that when the liberals look at a shooting death in this country, they too feel disgusted and want to make sure that it does not happen again.

    In both cases I would argue that increased government control is not the answer.

    Also, please let's not taint a Patriots death with half truths and platitudes.

    This is not a case of big biz callously turning off an old man's heat in the middle of winter, premiditately forcing him to choose between freezing to death or paying his bills...this is a case where someone did not pay their bill for four months straight, and the electric company (it would seem) logically concluded that the place was vacant and put a device on the meter that would need to be re-set after a certain amount of electricity had been used, therefor limiting their loss without leaving the home absent of power.

    I truly agree that this should not have had happened; much less have happen again.

    I think however, that the right way to keep this from happening again is to promote the return of community.

    Let us not ignore one of the answers to keeping things like this from ever happening again; if we simply mandated that all elderly have their money and all other assets taken, controlled, and distributed for their own good by the federal government, then the old fellas electric bills would have been paid on time and this would have never happened.

    However, I sincerly doubt that is what the old Patriot fought a war and risked his life for.

    We should also not ignore the fact that to ordain such actions would be a disgrace to him and every other Patriot that ever went through hell for Freedom.
  18. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    I served. Viet Nam era, but not in a combat zone, tho' what I did was arguably of higher risk. I do NOT want special treatment, that is not what I served for. Moreover, special treatment goes entirely against my personal grain. To require additional consideration such as the power company might be forced to provide will just create another whole layer of bureaucracy that will have to be funded publicly in addition to (say) the VA. Granted, if earned and recognized, a certain amount of reward may be warranted, but not in and of itself as a result of service. Reward me with respect sufficient to watch over me when I become too stiff in the joints and mind to look out for myself. The VA should be taking on that duty, it is paid for by ourselves and the rest of the citizenry in recognition of the service.

    That vet was dishonored by the inaction of his tribe. A damn shame, and it happens too often. OS said, "I think however, that the right way to keep this from happening again is to promote the return of community." OS has it right, it wasn't the power company that dropped the ball, tho' it could be argued that they might have tried knocking on the door a couple times.

    My tribe will look out for me as I will them when the rest of society fails.
  19. RightHand

    RightHand Pioneer in a New World Moderator Founding Member

    My main point is that the non=payment might not have been an issue of finances but rather of issue of senility. As far as public fund paying the bill, I would much rather my dollars when to his bill that the fat pig across town with 6 kids under the age of 7 because she was either too stupid to take a pill or too too afraid to get clipped.

    It is the tribe who should be caring for our elderly but if, for whatever reason, there is no tribe at hand, what then.

    I am not advocating anything other then having one human being check on another human being before the power was cut.

    Prisoners on death row get more consideration of their comfort than the average elderly person living alone.

    Since I am on the downhill slide of life, I know it could have been me sitting in that chair with icicles dripping from my nose.
  20. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    Well I'm glad I not out hanging on the edge of this cliff by myself. :D

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