Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

August 6, 2013

Idea would use signs to warn of rough waters

MUSKEGON (AP) — A new idea would use temporary signs to warn about the possibility of dangerous waters in Lake Michigan following the recent death of a swimmer.

Hugh and Kathleen Kallen own an online design business and are pastors at Bluffton Church. Following the July 19 death of 15-year-old Raybeon Jenkins of Ypsilanti at Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon they designed a sign to warn beachgoers of dangerous conditions.

“We wanted to do something for the next rip current day because there aren’t any warnings posted on the severe days,” Kathleen Kallen told The Muskegon Chronicle for a story published Monday.

There currently are only permanent signs warning visitors of possible dangerous waters, not signs or flags to indicate current conditions.

The Kallens’ signs would look similar to political yard signs and they would come out when hazardous conditions are predicted. A prototype reads, “SWIMMING DANGER Red Flag Alert Day,” in red letters. Underneath, it says, “RIP CURRENTS can grab you and quickly pull you away from shore. Be Safe! Stay on shore!”

City officials, however, aren’t sold yet on the idea. Such signs would need to be officially sanctioned, they said, or they could be taken down.

Muskegon City Commissioner Byron Turnquist, who represents neighborhoods near the beach, said beach safety is a priority for local officials. He said the Kallens are “great neighbors” and he believes they have the neighborhood’s best interest at heart.

“We’ve had a number of different discussions with different people and my feeling is that it’s a city beach and the city needs to initiate whatever action it deems necessary,” Turnquist said.

Information from: The Muskegon Chronicle, http://www.mlive.com/muskegon

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