Barley helps clean the chimney


Editor’s note: The Barley MacTavish Fund welcomes letters from Midland County residents about themselves or others, explaining why they need help and what they have tried to do to solve their problems. Write Barley, c/o Midland Area Community Foundation, 76 Ashman Circle, Midland, MI 48640 or call (989) 839-9661. Be sure to include a daytime phone number and email address. The names of the candidates are never published.

There is no real Barley MacTavish. This fund was started by an anonymous donor and continues with private financial support, as well as donations from area residents during the holiday season. The project was undertaken to help make Midland a better place to live. The letters addressed to Barley are not from actual candidates, but represent typical requests.


Dear Barley,

We moved into our first dream home last spring with our three children. We were so happy to have our own home after living in a small apartment for so long. We knew we would be on a tight budget, but we hadn’t planned on any surprise expenses.

We were delighted with the fireplace, thinking we could burn wood to save on our heating bill. However, the previous owner had not used it for over six years. We were shocked to learn that we had to have the fire pit inspected and cleaned before using it. Hope there is no damage.

We contacted the local ‘chimney doctor’ and the quote for the inspection and cleaning was beyond our budget, especially now during the holidays. It’s ironic that we bought this house with the fireplace to save money. We don’t have the extra money and wonder if you could help us this time. Thanks.

Dear friend,

Congratulations on buying your first home! You can be proud of your achievement. It can be frustrating to deal with unexpected costs. I send a check to your service provider to pay for the inspection and cleaning of your chimney. You and your family members can enjoy the warmth of a fire this winter knowing you are in a safe environment.

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