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City receives state grant for N. Evans Street improvements

On Tuesday, Feb. 24, the City of Tecumseh was awarded a $222,396 grant for street resurfacing, curb repair and American Disabilities Act ramp upgrades along N. Evans Street. The city will match $74,132, which will come from the bond sale money, the project totaling $296,528.

“Tim Bock [Supt. of Tecumseh’s Department of Public Works] is responsible for getting this grant,” said Tecumseh City Manager Kevin Welch. “He’s done a phenomenal job.”

Originally, N. Evans St. was scheduled to be repaired through the $2.25-million voter-approved bond sale.
“With the grant it will allow us to do a much better job,” added Welch. The grant will repair N. Evans Street from Chicago Blvd. up to the Red Mill Pond dam.

Work is set to begin sometime in 2016.

Students earn credit through program with Kendall College of Art and Design

A current art exhibit at Tecumseh District Library shows the college art created by Tecumseh High School (THS) students Drawing I Foundations. A dual enrollment art class, students earn high school credit from THS as well as three credit hours from Kendall College of Art and Design.

Students must apply for the class. They interview with instructor Ron Frenzen and submit a portfolio of their work to Kendall. The fall semester had 13 students in the class.

“Kendall is very specific about students who take the class,” said Frenzen about the application process. “The college has the final say of who is in the program.”

Frenzen follows a specific curriculum for the class. The goal is for his THS students to have the same experience as a Kendall art student.

“We follow the syllabus from Kendall,” he said. “We do what they would do on campus. We meet during the school day. There are 40 schools in the state of Michigan that are doing dual enrollment with Kendall.”

Out of the 40 schools, THS is the only high school to offer the class during the day. The advantage is students involved in athletics or other after school activities are able to take the class.

In the Drawing I Foundations class, students worked with charcoal, pencil, colored pencil and white charcoal on black paper. Students selected their best work for the art exhibit at the library.

“This drawing class is drawing from observation. We’re not copying anything,” said Frenzen. “Each student could take two or three pieces to show. There are 31 pieces in the exhibit. We have the space for January, February and March.”
The exhibit is in a space where Community Arts of Tecumseh (CAT) instructors show their work. When Frenzen was asked if he wanted the space to show student work, he did not hesitate.

Local tax revenues increase to $3.48 million

At the Monday, Feb. 16, Tecumseh City Council meeting, City Assessor Amanda Lacelle presented the assessing department’s annual report.

Local tax revenue for the city was $3,427,648 for 2014 and is projected to be $3,488,952 in 2015 — an increase of $61,304. City revenue peaked in 2008 at $4,142,413, according to Lacelle.

“We’ve lost about $700,000 in revenue for the city,” she said.

The assessor’s report noted 185 home sales in 2014, with foreclosures down to 34 in 2014. There were 47 foreclosures in 2013 and 55 in 2012.

“We’re heading in the right direction,” said Lacelle. “There’s less and less foreclosures.”

In terms of home sales, 26 homes sold for under $50,000, while 66 homes valued between $51,000 and $100,000 were sold. Twelve homes over $200,000 were sold.

“Those numbers were a lot better seven years ago,” Lacelle added, “but still heading in the right direction in the fact that we have 66 in that median range, so it’s improvement.”

She added that in the previous three years there were no sales of homes over $200,000.
“2014 was a year of a lot of changes,” said Lacelle, adding the State of Michigan changed certificate requirements for level two, three and four assessors.

Lacelle said that assessors are in high demand, noting Columbia Township has been searching for a new assessor for four years.

“It’s been a very difficult year for finding an assessor if you need one,” she said.

Lacelle said going forward, the industrial personal tax will be fazed out in 2016 and replaced with the essential services tax. She said she has heard legislators are still working on the new tax, but added, “it will be a loss for the city of Tecumseh.”

Croswell announces auditions for summer Broadway season

ADRIAN — The Croswell Opera House in downtown Adrian has scheduled auditions for its summer Broadway season.
Auditions will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 21; 6-9 p.m. Sunday, March 22; and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, March 28. If callbacks are needed, they will take place on Sunday, March 29.

All auditioners will be asked to sing a vocal selection between 16 and 32 bars in length and should bring their own sheet music. An accompanist will be provided. Auditioners should also wear comfortable clothing and be prepared to dance. Anyone who has tap shoes should plan to bring them as well.

The season includes a wide variety of male and female roles for both adults and children.

The Croswell’s artistic team is committed to flexible, imaginative casting. Performers of all ethnicities and backgrounds are encouraged to participate. Reasonable accommodations will be made for anyone with special needs. The Croswell does not pay for participation in performances, but is committed to providing cast members with a professional-level experience in a friendly community theater environment.

The 2015 summer season consists of these shows:

“Into the Woods,” May 8-17. Directed by Eric Parker, with music direction by Dave Rains and choreography by Chloe Whiting-Stevenson. The show requires strong singers, both male and female, high school age and up. The original stage show is not the same as the 2014 movie adaptation and contains some adult themes.

TYT to present production of ‘Phantom Tollbooth Jr.’

The opening of “Phantom Tollbooth Jr.” at the Tecumseh Center for the Arts on Friday, Feb. 19, is the end of a theatrical journey that began when the musical was cast in September. Producer Lisa Davis and Directors Joel Cardella and Molly Rice have guided the 44 student performers and 10 student technicians in Tecumseh Youth Theater (TYT) for the past 14 weeks.

The musical is based on a children’s novel written by Norton Juster, originally published in 1961. It tells the story of a bored boy named Milo who can’t find anything to interest him.

The Phantom Tollbooth takes him to the Land of Wisdom for an adventure with danger, language and math to make things interesting. Milo helps two kingdoms and rescues two princesses, and finally learns there is a purpose to everything and no reason to ever be bored.

The actors started first by learning the music in December. Unlike many musicals, the music for “The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.” is relatively unknown to the students.

“It was all new music,” said music director Lucy Thompson. “It’s exciting but more difficult. The kids are doing a fabulous job.”

Only about half the performers have a background in music, and Cardella has been impressed with how they were able to manage singing in multiple keys and in three-part harmony.

“The challenge has been drawing the music out of them,” he said.

This musical has a smaller cast than many of the TYT middle school productions. “The smaller cast gives me the ability to use the stage more,” said Cardella.

“The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.” is perfect for interesting set designs and unique costumes. The sets and costumes are created by volunteers, many of them parents of the performers.

“The volunteers are what make it possible for us to offer the stage opportunity for the kids,” Cardella said. “It’s a many-hands job, and we can always use more volunteers.”

Local men involved in fatal crash on U.S. 12

An early morning two-vehicle crash on Michigan Ave., Friday, Feb. 13, claimed the life of Clinton resident Chad Hilborn, 33, and seriously injured Tecumseh resident James Austin, 43. The crash occurred on Michigan Ave. near Arkona Road in Bridgewater Township at 7:45 a.m.

Hilborn, a corrections officer for the Washtenaw County Jail, was westbound on Michigan Ave. when his vehicle crossed the centerline and hit Austin’s eastbound vehicle. Hilborn was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Austin was airlifted to the University of Michigan Hospital by Survival Flight. State police reported both drivers were wearing seat belts, and neither alcohol nor drugs appear to be a factor in the accident.

According to news sources, Austin was listed in good condition at University of Michigan Hospital on Monday. Family members stated his injuries include brain bleeding, stitches to his chin and mouth, fractured sternum, four fractured ribs, fractured fourth lumbar vertebrae, shattered heel, and a severely injured ankle.

Two fundraisers to help with Austin’s medical expenses have been set up online at Go Fund Me (http://www.go-fundme.com/mg2g7w) and You Caring (http://goo.gl/-SBYXCk). A fund to assist Hilborn’s family has also been set up on Go Fund Me (http://www.gofund-me.com/mdgdag).

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