Archive - Jun 2010

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June 23rd

Tecumseh School Board considers proposals to reduce costs for sports


When the Tecumseh High School Athletic Department was asked to pare $75,000 from its budget for next year, Athletic Director Griff Mills said he talked to coaches, parents, students and others to brainstorm where cuts could be made. He said different options have included cuts in middle school and freshman sports, cuts of an athletic trainer and various coaches and programs, and cuts in transportation.

“We know that we’re going to have to cut something and it hurts,” he said. “We came back together to brainstorm and there’s just no great idea.”

Mills said that the group looked at plans that would “spread the pain,” and include potential transportation ideas which could include not providing transportation, continuing to provide one-way transportation and having parents take athletes home, and no weekend transportation.

Mills said that Chief Financial Officer Bill Wright is “very good at crunching the numbers,” so after meeting with coaches, Mills proposed, “Instead of cutting, let’s try to generate more revenue to offset.” The plan would include raising approximately $35,000 along with implementing some ideas such as raising participation fees to $165 at the High School, $110 at the Middle School as one-time fees per student; increase family passes from $100 to $150, the first increase Mills remembers; and charge at the gate for baseball, softball and lacrosse games.

“We know on weekends we wouldn’t have transportation, and we would either fundraise or the parents could provide transportation,” said Mills. “I don’t have all the logistics worked out but really what we would like to do is not cut opportunities for kids so we don’t get short-changed on how many coaches there are out there working with kids and put ourselves in some challenging situations.”

Tecumseh City Council, commission discuss possible ordinance to restrict service business in downtown


A special joint meeting of the Tecumseh City Council and Planning Commission was held Monday evening to discuss a proposal that would restrict the use of first floor space in downtown businesses from Pearl Street to Ottawa and possibly to Oneida. As recommended and explained in a 2007 report by Hyett Palma, a consultant group, an ordinance change to restrict any additional office or service space would help retain retail businesses.

Monday’s discussion followed previous meetings of the Planning Commission, council and the Downtown Development Authority, which has deliberated the issue with downtown business owners. City Manager Kevin Welch was seeking a consensus on Monday from the two groups for direction.

Director of Development Services Brad Raymond said there are three options:
Amend the ordinance to prohibit office/service uses on the first floor of downtown businesses; amend the ordinance to restrict the use to the first 40’ from the front of the business; or do nothing and retain the existing ordinance. If enacted as proposed, service businesses would be allowed on the second floors. In building with second floor businesses, elevators would be required, according to Raymond.

A majority of comments at the meeting supported a change in the ordinance.

Jan Fox, owner of Grey Fox Floral, said, “I would encourage first floor retail because once it’s gone, it’s hard to get back. Retail breeds retail, and consumers are reluctant to progress down our street (S. Evans). Having retail businesses adjacent to each other is extremely important.”

Resident questions city’s silence on officers disciplined in arrest of sheriff deputy


At Monday’s Tecumseh City Council meeting, Kilbuck Street resident William Shell asked why the city was not being “transparent” regarding information on three Tecumseh Police officers who were recently disciplined as a result of an intoxicated sheriff deputy arrested last February for OWI.

The city has not released the names or disciplinary action taken against the three officers.
The issue stems from an incident on Feb. 27, 2010, when Tecumseh Police officer Darrin Briggs drove Lenawee  County Sheriff Deputy Kelley McCrate home from the Tecumseh Plaza.  McCrate was stopped at the plaza where he registered a BAL (blood alcohol level) of .19. Approximately 90 minutes later, the deputy was involved in an accident on Matthews Hwy. Two other Tecumseh police officers, Troy Stern and Chad Rogers, responded to the accident, according to  the Feb. 27 police report.

“It’s odd,” Shell said of the silence regarding the issue. “They’re public employees. Why is this shrouded in mystery?”

Mayor Harvey Schmidt said there are still issues to be resolved. “We are not at liberty to discuss,” he said.

Shell said if it were anybody else it would be made public, but because the police did it, “it’s hidden behind a cloud.”

City Manager Kevin Welch said,  “It is an employer-employee situation, and some things I can’t make public.” Attorneys have recommended withholding information, according to Welch

“Is council comfortable with this?” Shell asked.

“I am comfortable,” Schmidt responded. “We have employees going through a grievance process.”

City Attorney Laura Schaedler said the officers did not commit a crime, and said labor laws are now protecting them.

Understanding how the State of Michigan’s School Foundation Allowance works


Michigan’s method for funding public education changed significantly when voters approved Proposal A in 1994. The nearly 400 pages of laws directing the state’s school funding mechanism can be complex and convoluted. A key component of the system is the per-student “foundation allowance” and two common myths pertain to it.
First, each year the Legislature establishes a “basic” foundation allowance ($7,151 per student in the 2009-2010 school year), which many incorrectly assume is a state grant to each district. It’s not a grant, but one part of a complicated formula that limits per-pupil funding disparities across districts.

Second, because each school district uses the number generated for it under the foundation allowance formula to estimate its annual operating revenue, many believe the figure represents the total amount per student that each school will have to spend for the year.
In reality, the school aid grant each district receives from the state only represents one portion of each district’s total annual operating revenue. Official figures indicate that in 2009-2010, total state spending under the foundation allowance formula was equivalent to $5,730 for each Michigan student. But districts do not necessarily get this particular sum; instead they receive different amounts based on the formula.

The rest of each school district’s annual operating revenue comes from an 18-mill property tax on the district’s nonhomestead property (i.e. commercial, industrial, etc.). The amount this raises in a particular district varies, and the amount is also included in the foundation grant formula. The combined revenue from this tax and the state school aid grant represents the total amount the school will have to spend for operations under the Proposal A funding mechanism.

Clinton coach Al Roberts stunned, bewildered with another loss at Division 3 state softball tournament

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Leaving Bailey Park’s Jim Drikakis Field without giving a post game interview to the Herald, Clinton coach Al Roberts looked stunned and bewildered after being ousted in yet another state final tournament in Battle Creek on Saturday, June 19.

The sudden end of the road was yet another in the coach’s string of consecutive losses at the Division 3 state meet. This year, Roberts and the Redskins were beat 1-0 in the semifinal with a home run belted out of the park in the top of the seventh inning, hit by Allen Park Cabrini pitcher, Karyn McCarty.

Clinton’s starting sophomore pitcher, Tierney Nelson, did everything right up until the point of no return when she gave up a home run to kill her no-hitter in the seventh inning. She even gave the Redskins a desperation hit in the bottom of the seventh with two outs and the bases empty to try and make something, anything, happen to extend the season. Nelson reached first base on a fielding error. Her replacement courtesy runner, freshman Keely Quiring, went all out as well, but was thrown out when attempting to steal second base to end the game.

The only other base runner the Monarchs had was Brianna Surma, who drew a leadoff walk in the fourth inning. She advanced to third base but was left stranded with Nelson adding another strikeout to her final list of nine.

Clinton positioned itself for the win throughout the game, advancing runners to second base in the first, third and sixth innings. Cabrini’s McCarty (34-1) gave up four hits to Clinton while striking out six and walking one.

Jordan Randall led Clinton’s offense, going 2-for-3 while Haley Mercy and Kelsey Karapas added the other two hits.

While the Redskins believed the title was theirs for the taking, Cabrini’s coach said they were just taking it one game at a time.

Allen Park Cabrini’s players yelled with joy after tagging out Clinton’s Keely Quiring on an attempt to steal second base to end the state semifinal game. Cabrini’s pitcher belted out a home run in the seventh inning for the only run of the game. Photos by Mickey Alvarado

Barley 11th at Michigan Open

Tecumseh resident Jerred Barley was hangin’ with the big boys during this year’s Michigan Open, finishing 11th in the four-round event at the Orchard Lake Country Club on Thursday, June 17 with a score of 277.

Barley qualified for the Michigan Open by placing first at the Clinton Country Club with a score of 71.

The 22-year old Tecumseh High School graduate was tied for ninth place at the Open after round three with a score of 207. He opened the tournament by carding 68. He followed with a score of 71 the next day but cut his card back to 68 in round three. The final day, Barley carded 70 to place 11th overall out of the 74 listed placers. He was the lone amateur in the top 15 placers.

Ryan Brehm of Mt. Pleasant erased a two-shot deficit to capture his second consecutive championship. The 24-year-old shot a final round 67 for a total of 268.

Gary Smithson of Grand Rapids had the lowest score in the final round with a 65 that tied him for second with Eric Wohlfield of Brighton at 270. Andy Matthew of Ada, who had led the entire tournament, slipped to fourth place 273 with a final round 74.
Barley finished last year’s Open tied for 55th place.

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