Swanton Village Council Addresses Concerns With New Mobile Game

Ingress players Chaz Schmidt and Stormy Gordon explained the game and the encounter they had that caused concern.

Ingress players Chaz Schmidt and Stormy Gordon explained the game and the encounter they had that caused concern.

By: Bill O’Connell
THE VILLAGE REPORTER

On Monday, 2/21/16, at 7:00 PM, Mayor Ann Roth called to order a meeting of the Swanton Village Council. All council members were in attendance including Tamara Haselman, Jeff Pilliod, Gary Moore, Paul Dzvak, Dianne Westhoven and Michael Rochelle. Interim Village Administrator Edward Ciecka and Village Clerk Kathy Kreuz were also present.

After approving minutes from the previous meeting the council heard from Swanton resident Chaz Schmidt about issues surrounding a new globally-played internet/reality game called Ingress that is gaining popularity in the Swanton area. The game requires teams or individuals to physically visit pre-selected points of interest such as local landmarks and photograph and record the visit on their cell phone or tablet. Recently, while participating in the game, Mr. Schmidt and his companion Stormy Gordon encountered some resistance. The problems arose when residents, unaware and concerned of what they were doing, contacted the Swanton Police Department to investigate. The police were able to track down the game players at the American Legion Hall and determined there was nothing harmful or illegal about the game and informed the concerned citizens.

The next day, however, while playing again, Mr. Schmidt and Ms. Gordon were confronted by a local bar owner as they took photographs of the war memorial on Zeiter Way across the street from the bar. According to Mr. Schmidt the confrontation escalated to the point where he felt threatened and filed a report with the Swanton Police Department.

Sometime after the report was filed, Swanton Police Chief talked to Ms. Gordon to learn exactly what was involved in the playing of the game. He will be passing this information along to all his officers so they will know how to deal with future Ingress participant issues that may arise.

Chief Berg also stated he has attempted to contact the local bar owner to address that specific situation.

Mayor Roth then explained to the council members she invited Ms. Gordon to the meeting to explain the game so they can give an informed response if they receive phone calls or are questioned by citizens asking what is going on. Mr. Schmidt passed out copies of the Ingress game rules to the council. Councilman Dzvak recommended that the local media be contacted and social media be used to inform the general public about the game.

Councilwoman Haselman gave the Public Works Department report then made a motion to allow fund raising baseball tournament at Memorial Parks beginning on 5/26/16 and running through 5/29/16. The motion was seconded and carried unanimously pending proof of insurance from the tournament organizers.

Mayor Roth then introduced the new incoming village administrator, Rosanna Hoelzle. Ms. Hoelzle will officially begin her duties on 3/7/16.

A vote on Ordinance 2016-04, authorizing the Swanton Chapter of Rotary International to install a fountain in Pilliod Park was put before the council. The ordinance carried with seven yeses and one abstention.

Interim Village Administrator Ciecka gave the financial report and stated the books on 2015 had been closed during the prior week. The council unanimously approved the report.

Councilman Pilliod made a motion for the village to fund 50% of the cost to replace a staircase that led to an apartment in a building that was adjacent to a building on Main Street that was razed in 2015 in the interest of public safety. The original staircase was destroyed during the demolition. Midwest Contractors have estimated the total cost to be approximately $24,000. The motioned was seconded and it was carried with a unanimous vote.

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM.

Bill O’Connell may be reached at
publisher@thevillagereporter.com

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