Lead-footed Benzie County drivers rejoice. You have a friend in high places.
No more worries if a state trooper or deputy writes you up for doing 70 mph on U.S. 31.
No more anxiety about costly tickets and higher insurance costs for hot-footing it down M-115.
You got a little problem with the law? Just give Benzie County Prosecutor Anthony "Tony The Fixer" Cicchelli a call, then fuhgeddaboudit!
Tony the Fixer, Benzie's prosecutor since 1996, indeed is the man for all your ticket-fixing needs. Just check the record: In 2002, The Fixer tried to whack a friend's traffic ticket, then lied about it to a magistrate and subsequently to state police who questioned him about the incident.
Sure, he was jammed up a bit -- a state Attorney Discipline Board ruled Cicchelli committed professional misconduct. He pleaded no contest to making "negligently inaccurate statements," prompting a trip to the lawyer's woodshed for a "professional enhancement workshop" and 40 hours of community service.
But hey, shake it off. What good is public office if a fella can't use it to help family and friends?
Which brings us to The Fixer's most recent brainstorm. In March, a state trooper nabbed The Fixer's stepson, Larry Marshall Hoffman, 21, as he zoomed along U.S. 31.
Hoffman was doing 71, according to notes on the ticket, but the trooper wrote him up for 60, a perhaps benevolent gesture, since Hoffman already had three recent traffic tickets to his credit, as well as a warning letter from the secretary of state's office.
Now, most drivers likely would have fretted over a pricey ticket and higher car insurance rates, but not Hoffman, not after The Fixer scribbled a note on prosecutor's office letterhead and ordered Magistrate Hope Cicansky to make the ticket sleep with the fishes.
"The prosecutor is the chief law enforcement officer of the county," Cicansky told a Record-Eagle reporter. "To me, if he tells me to dismiss something, that's what we do."
Badda-bing, badda-boom. Ticket gone.
The Fixer's actions didn't please the state trooper who wrote the ticket, and he voiced his concerns to superiors at the Traverse City post. The fact that a public official fixed a ticket -- a repeat offender fixer, no less -- impressed post commander Lt. William Elliott so much that he ignored it.
Law and order? Ahhh, that's for people who aren't in the law and order business.
But word of the fix leaked, and now The Fixer's in the spotlight and enough of an embarrassment that he has competition in the August primary election.
Will voters take The Fixer for a long drive to nowhere? That may depend on how many of them receive speeding tickets between now and election day.