Galaxy Roller Rink facing criminal charge, $15,000 fine for defying state orders

NOW: Galaxy Roller Rink facing criminal charge, $15,000 fine for defying state orders

NILES, Mich. -- A Berrien County business has been hit with two lawsuits from the county for remaining open despite Michigan’s epidemic orders.

Galaxy Roller Rink owner Amy Kidwell said her business has been part of the Niles community for decades, and with no end in sight to the state’s restrictions and not enough financial assistance to go around, she said it was either reopen or go under.

“People are told they can’t run their own business and make a living for their family, that’s the position I’m in, I’m up against the wall,” said Kidwell.

By December, her business was on the verge of failing and as customers were asking about the possibility of coming in to skate – despite state health department orders – she decided to try and open her doors.  

Come December 18th, when the state announced entertainment venues could reopen, Kidwell had already received a warning and misdemeanor ticket from Berrien County for both civil and criminal violations.

“It comes to a point where you’re losing everything or you try to make a go at it to survive,” said Kidwell.

Kidwell then being summoned to court Friday for defying the county and remaining open, then being hit with a $15,000 fine and having her parking lot and doors blocked off – preventing even her from going inside indefinitely.

Kidwell isn’t the only one outraged by the county’s move, she said her customers are now afraid of losing this community favorite forever.

“I have a huge community support, they’ve been loyal to me,” said Kidwell. “They started a Go Fund Me account because this has been a staple of this community for 40 years, it’s been a safe place for kids to go, it’s been all about the community.”

The Berrien County Prosecutor’s Office could not comment on the status of the criminal proceeding. As for the separate, civil suit, the county sent a statement to ABC57, saying: "After being made aware of skating parties at Galaxy Roller Rink in Niles Township, the Berrien County Sheriff's Department contacted the business owner and instructed her to stop operations which were in violation of current Michigan Public Health orders. When the owner repeatedly refused, the Berrien County Trial Court issued a restraining order. That court order was ignored, resulting in a hearing before Judge Dennis Wiley on January 8. Judge Wiley issued another order which requires that the premises be padlocked, and the business owner must pay enforcement costs within 180 days. Further violations could include jail time for the business owner."

To donate to the Go Fund Me set up for Galaxy Roller Rink, click here.

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