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HARRISVILLE – The Alcona County Commission on Aging is so frustrated with an improperly treated bed bug infestation at Lincoln Manor that the agency broke its own policy against caring for residents in infected homes just so a senior can get a bath.

Aging Commission executive director Lenny Avery told Alcona County’s board of directors on Wednesday that a customer at Lincoln Manor needed a bath three times a month but had not had a bath in two months until officials walked in on Tuesday.

“We went in there and gave her a bathing aid yesterday, and we gave her another aid today.” he said. “To date – in about an hour and 25 minutes – we’ve seen six bed bugs in her apartment.”

The County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday recommended Avery contact the Village of Lincoln to see if a tenant protection ordinance could be written.

Avery announced to the board that Prime Properties Management, owner of the Lincoln-based senior residence, is playing “Whac-A-Mole” by treating one apartment at a time rather than spending the money treating the entire building.

Prime Properties has not responded to repeated requests for comments from The News.

Whenever bed bugs are found in an apartment, the Aging Commission has to stop serving the residents there. Avery said employees don’t want to spread the infestation to other seniors.

Avery told commissioners Prime Properties Management was not cooperative. He said the company had told him the commons and laundry room were free of bed bugs, but would not say if the apartments were still infected.

Avery said he reached out to local government officials such as the District Health Department No. 2 and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

“I’m at the limit of what I can do, which is to be the squeaky wheel in space.” he said.

“This is not unusual” Craig Johnston, chairman of the county board, told Avery. “There are ordinances to protect tenants and maybe they could take advice and work out an ordinance to protect tenants and start doing financial damage to someone who doesn’t keep their rents up to date.”

However, Johnston said it would be months before a regulation could be passed.

Meanwhile, the commissioners said they would call state officials and consult with a lawyer to see if there was anything else the county could do. Johnston noted that there are bed bug laws in the books.

Avery said he is “I’ll keep squeaking until we solve this.”

Crystal Nelson can be reached at 989-358-5687 or cnelson@thealpenanews.com.

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