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Month: May 2016

Grants aims to connect local students with local nutrition

Amy Jo Kinyon What do sunscreen and maple sugar have in common? On the surface, few comparisons can be drawn. Jenna Burns and her team of volunteers, however, combined the two and spent Wednesday afternoon handing out free samples of each at the Greater Lansing Athletic Conference track meet at Maple Valley High School. The sunscreen is in support of Relay for Life and skin cancer awareness month. Many attendees expressed their delight at having the protectant readily available. The sugar samples, from the Benedict Family Farm, are part of a three-phase grant awarded to Burns and the Maple Valley School District. Burns has been working with a grant from the MSU Extension Office to connect local growers to students through a Farm to School grant. The program website detailed that the grant is part of the National Farm to School Network and centers around efforts to serve local foods in school and early childcare and education food programs. The first two phases of the grant explore the local growers and producers in the area and introduce their product to students and the community. Phase three integrates their products into the school system. For Burns, this means spending time cultivating relationships with growers and community members. Countless hours at events, like Wednesday’s track meet, have been spent networking and promoting the program. Burns is optimistic for the programs and said...

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New leadership to take helm at Olivet Public Schools

Amy Jo Kinyon The Olivet Board of Education voted Monday evening to offer the leadership role in the district to Rocky Aldrich. Aldrich is the current superintendent of Ubly Public Schools and beat out five other candidates for the superintendent position. Two rounds of interviews and a site visit to the home districts of the top two candidates were performed before a selection was made. The decision weighed heavily on the minds of the board members who said they are looking for a consistent leader who will work with staff and community members to strengthen the district in a...

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Help bring ‘Keys in the City’ to Charlotte

Keys in the City, a popular public art program combing music and visual arts, may be coming to Charlotte this summer. Keys in the City places vibrantly decorated, and fully functioning, pianos in public spaces where they can inspire both visually and musically. The program is well-known throughout Mid-Michigan, and many people have been delighted by the unexpected music and lively visual decoration. The pianos are placed in public spaces where everyone is invited to play them. Whether it’s a child plunking out the notes from their first piano lesson, or an adult with professional chops, Keys in the City brings music to the streets. Local project organizers are looking to the community for help on this project in a few unique ways. First and foremost, the project needs a piano. The ideal piano is sitting in someone’s front room or on their back porch right now. It’s a vertical piano of ‘studio’ or ‘upright’ size (at least 44 inches tall), it is in working condition (if not in tune), and it is looking for a new home. If you think you have this piano and would like to donate it to this project, please let us know by contacting Travis Silvas at The County Journal newspaper at (517) 543-1099. Once obtained, the piano will be moved to Windwalker Art Gallery downtown, where an artist will spend a few...

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Momentum, excitement prove Charlotte is ‘Rising’

There was a time in Charlotte when the bricks on the buildings weren’t crumbling and the windows on the top floor of our downtown area weren’t smeared with musty grime. Front doors were welcoming and inviting, and parking spots were seldom empty. The busy hustle of our main street filled the corridor’s atmosphere with vibrancy. Charlotte was a place to be, to live, to thrive. Yet over time we veered off that path and now far too many of those parking spots see the light of day and the welcome mats don’t feel the footprints of as many newcomers....

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Pocket Park project adds to building momentum in Charlotte

Revitalization efforts in Charlotte have begun to move from concept and theory to tangible progress. The momentum is just beginning to build and already a group of local investors has announced a new project they believe will create an east side gateway into downtown Charlotte. Working with several local investors, Precedent Properties has entered into a purchase agreement to buy the buildings located at 108 and 110 E. Lawrence Avenue (the old Carriage Cleaners building and location of a meth lab that exploded in a second story apartment a couple years ago). The plan is to turn the property over to the city, wherein the building will be razed and the property will be turned into a pocket park. Charlotte city council voted unanimously Monday, May 23 to agree to accept assignment of the purchase agreement for the property located at 108 and 110 E. Lawrence Avenue. The motion included accepting funds necessary to complete the purchase. The deal is subject to environmental studies on the property, which Precedent Properties President Anthony Faulkner said will be covered by grant funds available through the Lansing Economic Area Partnership. The city is working to secure grant funding that will cover the cost of the demolition of the property. “It is exciting to bring a collaborative project to fruition,” Faulkner said. “This project would not be possible without the collaboration of the City...

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