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Raisin Township Board votes no to higher wages

The Raisin Township Board of Trustees voted no to raising the hourly wage of two Raisin Public Works Department employees while working around a current grievance committee request by one of the employees.

The two employees, Richard Burgett and Sandra LeVeck, make $11.25 hourly. Raisin Township Supervisor Jay Cavanaugh made a motion to raise both to $15 an hour. Burgett is a full-time, year-round employee while LeVeck is a full-time seasonal employee working from March to November and then working part-time the remainder of the year.

The motion to raise both employees pay, particularly LeVeck’s who filed the grievance committee request, stems from LeVeck being paid both an hourly and per-job wage. According to Cavanaugh, it was believed LaVeck was employed under a 1099 though it was discovered she had filed a W2. Cavanaugh said LaVeck has had several of her paid-per-job cleaning duties taken from her in the last several months.

“I don’t know what’s going on here, but I also am getting word that other people are getting assigned these cleaning duties,” Cavanaugh added. “Whether they’re getting paid or not, I don’t know anybody who works for free. So I assume they are. So, I don’t want to get into whether she’s been fired… So I’d like to ask [Raisin Township Supt.] Mr. [Jim] Palmer directly what is going on with Mrs. [Sandra] LeVeck’s current employment status with regards to the duties I mentioned?”

Last month, the board instructed Palmer to approach the budget committee to see if a pay increase was possible. “The budget committee is reviewing that,” Palmer said. “It looks like we need to describe that job.”

Palmer said that he’d asked for three job descriptions. Currently, Burgett and LeVeck are the only two employees in the works department. In 2014, the township budgeted $23,400 for a full-time employee, $14,000 for a seasonal full-time employee and $3,000 for a temporary employee.

Tipton boy bags 25 lb. turkey

When nine-year-old Owen Williams and family friend Ed Johnson decided to go hunting on the evening of April 22, it would be hard to imagine that by the end of the night, they would make the record books.

That evening, Owen Williams shot a 25-pound male turkey, with a beard length of 11 inches and spurs 1-4/16 inches long. The bird was large enough to be included in the Commemorative Bucks of Michigan record book and one of the largest turkeys shot in Michigan this year. Williams shot the turkey with a Pardner 410 rifle at a distance of 15 yards in Onsted. Johnson called the bird in.

“Ed called me and asked if I wanted to go hunting after school,” Williams said. “When I saw the turkey I shot him right in the head, and he went down.”

Brad and Judy Williams, Owen’s parents and owners of Exact Wildlife Taxidermy located in Tipton, are pleased their son is now a record holder.

“We’ll mount the turkey for him, but pretty soon, he’ll be learning how to do it himself,” Judy Williams said. “He’s a very good hunter, and he’s known to catch some unusual animals.”

The male is Owen’s second turkey. The first turkey he ever shot was when he was six, an 18-pound hen. “I’ve shot deer, raccoons, and tons of squirrels,” Owen said.

“He once shot a 100-pound doe with a mane. That was very unique,” Judy said.

Owen’s other hobbies include playing baseball with the Tecumseh Little League, and fishing. “I’ve caught a 10-1/2 inch and 16- pound walleye, a 28-inch and 9.9-pound catfish, a 30-inch steelhead, and a 31-inch, 23- pound salmon. “The salmon I caught when I was six, when I shot the hen,” Owen said.

“That’s what we do on spring break, we go out on the Michigan lakes and fish. Yesterday, he caught 22 blue gill fish in our pond,” Judy stated. “The fish just come to him, and he says it’s all in the wrist.”

Visiting Chinese instructors shadow Tecumseh teachers

Twelve teachers from Zunyi Carey International School from the Huichuan District in Zunyi, Guizhou, China, are in Tecumseh until Sunday, May 17, and are studying Tecumseh teachers and their teaching styles to take back with them to China.

Last year, when the school’s director Wendy (Wang Hongshan) and teachers were at Lincoln Consolidated Schools she came to shadow Tecumseh School’s Supt. Kelly Coffin.

“She was very impressed with the work we were doing,” said Coffin, adding that is when she extended the initial invitation to have some of here teachers come here and for ours to go there.

Kalyn Sterzik, Wendy’s assistant, said the outreach program has grown out of Wendy’s understanding that while traditional Chinese education is focused on academics, it doesn’t necessarily yield the best results.

“We can do more,” said Sterzik. “We are more of a global community. We need to have all of our children understand the other cultures of the world so they can be prepared to interact more with other cultures. Undoubtedly, there are things we can each learn from each other.”

The teaching techniques between North American and China are very different, according to Sterzik.

“I think they’re [the Chinese teachers] very surprised by the differences both in the way we live our lives as Americans and the way we run our classrooms,” said Sterzik. “I could tell them our classes our different this way, but to see it is an entirely different thing. We see things here where kids are really excited to be learning. They’re engaged and having fun and pursing their own interests — things we want to try and put into our schools.”

The visiting teachers are intrigued by how much effort goes into creating lesson plans where students can participate in the learning process, said Sterzik. Traditionally, Chinese schools are teacher focused, with students learning straight from the text book and memorizing information.

Raisin Township police to begin patrolling 24/7

The Raisin Township Board of Trustees voted Monday to hire a fifth police officer allowing the Raisin Township Police Department to begin 24/7 patrolling.

In a 6-0 vote, with trustee Kami Johnson absent from the meeting, the board approved hiring Robert VanSinger as the township’s fifth officer. Van-Singer is currently a part-time officer in Morenci and has experience as a firefighter and EMT along with 14 years of law enforcement experience.

“Last weekend kind of reinforced my thoughts on this,” said Raisin Township Police Kevin Grayer. “We had a stabbing here in Lee Villa on Saturday morning… prior to our officers coming on, so Lenawee County Sheriff’s Department ended up handling the original [call] with us assisting. I wish we were handling and the county was supporting us.”

With the new hire, Grayer will work 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. working administration and on road patrol. Two officers will work 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. while the other two work 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

“It’s one of the thing I just feel that we’re in a position now as a township to be able to go to that 24/7 [coverage],” said Grayer. “I think it will help greatly. Having that 24/7, we’re actually able to cover our township when residents come to us.”

The addition of a fifth officer was budgeted for 2015, according to Raisin Township Supt. Jim Palmer.

Raisin Township Supervisor Jay Cavanaugh made a motion approving of the police department’s staff of up to five officers.

“When we started the department back in the early 2000s, the dream was to accomplish what we’re accomplishing right now,” said trustee Larry Crittenden. “And as a former supervisor and trustee, I’m really, really happy that we have moved, finally, to complete 24/7 coverage. Thank you Chief Grayer for moving us in that direction.”

“I appreciate the board for letting me go ahead and attempt this,” said Grayer. “The department is moving in the right direction and I just want for that to continue.”

Event to promote satire and freedom of expression

On Friday, May 15, local artists will be gathering at The Boulevard Market for “Je Suis Charlie: Tecumseh,” an event about satire, and the freedom of expression, according to event organizer and local artist Gregg Perez.

“I’ve done events in the past that are a little edgy,” Perez said. “I think there is a little bit of the community that likes that. This will be one of those events. It’s meant to be a fun event.”

The idea for the art show came out of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris where 11 were killed at the satirical newspaper.

“I want to support free speech some how,” added Perez. “It is controversial to promote an event like this.” Perez said the event isn’t about Muslim bashing. “It’s more about satire, and, if anything, educating the public on what satire is. If we can get people talking about satire, the main thing art does — that’s what it’s all about.”

On Facebook, Perez said he shared slides about what satire his and how to do it properly.

“You don’t have to be a jerk or obnoxious or profane,” Perez added. “Just because you have the right doesn’t mean you really should do it. You have to have some sort of restraint. You have to be your own editor and know your audience. You don’t have to be a provocateur.”

Perez advertised the event on Facebook, calling for artists to participate and submit works. As of last Friday, May 8, Perez said he had six confirmed artists showing their work.

“I put it out there to see how many would grab at it,” Perez added. “I know there’s a lot of people and artists talking about it. You don’t really know what is going to happen.”

Perez said the threat of backlash for the event is in the back of his mind and added some likely won’t attend because they may be afraid for that reason.

Tecumseh grad meets Marine Corps challenge

In July, Nathan Kossey returns to Quantico, Va. to challenge himself with the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School (OCS). Last summer, the 2012 Tecumseh High School graduate met the challenge and received the Commandant’s Trophy, an award given to the top graduate in the company, which started with 170 participants.

The six-week boot camp was created to train, screen, and evaluate candidates for an officer commission in the Marine Corps. Success in the program requires physical fitness, academic achievement, leadership qualities, and commitment to succeed.

Kossey’s goal for his second summer in OCS is to absorb as much as he can from the experience and help out his fellow candidates whenever possible. The Commandant’s Trophy, while gratifying to receive, isn’t his focus.

As challenging and brutal as his experience was last summer, Kossey enjoyed it. “I was having fun in the misery,” he said. “I liked pushing myself mentally and physically. The Marines run the show. OCS is to see if you have the composure in combat.”

Instead of focusing on the difficulty of the situations, Kossey worked to apply the physical and mental experiences of boot camp to what combat will hold for him and the men he hopes to lead in the future.

OCS is not designed to train young men and women as Marine Corps officers, but introduce them to the rigors of military life. For Kossey, there was a certain amount of self-education that went along with the Marine Corps experience, which centered on speed, volume and intensity.

“I tried to relate the chaos of the moment to the future,” said Kossey. “The more I can learn now, the more I can teach the men I will lead in the future.”

Since childhood, Kossey has had a dual desire to be a doctor and a Marine. The two goals didn’t seem to mesh for Kossey until the last few years, when he realized how he could achieve both.

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