STANTON — The United States is fighting terrorism — one snow cone at a time.
Montcalm County recently received a $900 Arctic Blast Sno-Cone machine.
The West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC) is a federal- and state-designated agency responsible for managing and administrating the homeland security program in Montcalm County and 12 other counties.
The WMSRDC recently purchased and transferred homeland security equipment to these counties — including 13 snow cone machines at a total cost of $11,700.
The machines were funded by a grant from the Michigan Homeland Security Program. The request for a snow cone machine came from another county, but all 13 counties received them.
The purchase raised some questions at a recent Montcalm County Board of Commissioners meeting. Commissioners wondered about the machine and questioned its purpose.
The Michigan Homeland Security Grant Program’s Allowable Cost Justification document, dated May 9, 2011, says the snow cone machines can make ice to prevent heat-related illnesses during emergencies, treat injuries and provide snow cones as an outreach at promotional events.
WMSRDC Executive Director Sandeep Dey said one county requested a popcorn machine, but that request was denied. He said the snow cone machine request would not have been granted by itself, but was approved because it came with other homeland security equipment.
“It is used to attract people so they can be educated and prepared for homeland security,” Dey said from his office in Muskegon. “More importantly, they (homeland security officials) felt in a medical emergency the machine was capable of making ice packs which could be used for medical purposes.”
The snow cone machine is currently being stored in the Montcalm County Emergency Services (MCES) building in Stanton. MCES Director David Feldpausch said the machine could be useful at the scene of a large fire or during very hot weather.
“I don’t like the term snow cone machine, because it sounds horrible,” Feldpausch said. “When you look at it as an ice shaving machine and its purpose, it makes a little more sense. I assume it will get used in Montcalm County a lot more in the summertime by the Fire Corps.”