Teachers Wanted! Grand Ledge schools looking to add educators

By Madison Morse
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at 11.43.14 PM

Graphic by: Madison Morse.

Help wanted: are you looking to teach? Good news, Grand Ledge is looking to hire.

Over the last few years Grand Ledge Public Schools has been consumed with a new problem, a lack of substitute teachers. The district is struggling to fulfill their need of 25-30 substitutes a day.

“The lack of subs is causing a lot of problems in our building. It’s one of our bigger problems,” said Neff Kindergarten Center Principal David Averill.

Grand Ledge Public School Superintindent Brian Metcalf believes he knows the reason why there is such a great need.

“There is two things happening I think. One is that the old, retired teachers that normally come back aren’t allowed to anymore because of the new law change. So every year you kind of have a new crop that is coming back in and enrolling in subbing. So every year it gets worse, worse and worse.”

“That and the connection with the economy getting better and more jobs being out there for capable people. I mean someone with 90 credits or higher are more employable so you have people in that system as well.”

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Growing up Grand Ledge

5-year-old Chloe Hoffman

5-year-old Chloe Hoffman

Community members enjoy hitting balls across the street from Grand Ledge's Country Club

Community members enjoy hitting balls across the street from Grand Ledge’s Country Club.

By Kaitlin Petrillo
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

Grand Ledge is welcoming to all ages. Growing up Grand Ledge is about why living in Grand Ledge and being raised in GL is so special. Every age group gives us a glimpse on why they love their small town and what makes this community special and fun for them!

LINK to Growing Up GL VIDEO STORY!!

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Community remembrance in Grand Ledge makes beautiful attraction

Photo taken on Memorial Walk by Kaitlin Petrillo

Photo taken on Memorial Walk by Kaitlin Petrillo

By Kaitlin Petrillo
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

Grand Ledge has offered a unique way to memorialize and honor loved ones in their community for years.

Every April, the Grand Ledge garden club works with people in the area to sell geraniums, memorial plaques, and trees in honor of Grand Ledge residents. The purchase includes the tree, the planting, one year of maintenance, and insurance.

One memorial plaque on the Grand Ledge trail.

One memorial plaque on the Grand Ledge trail.

“Memorializing a loved one really helps a family celebrate that life,” said Andrea Bregg, the manager and funeral director at McCabe’s Funeral Home. “You realize how fast time goes and I think it can really help the grieving process. When you see a memorial, you focus on what that person did, what they loved, who they loved, and I think that is really special.”

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It’s not just you: Grand Ledge residents are madly in love with their city

Downtown Grand Ledge Photo by Rachael Daniel

Downtown Grand Ledge
Photo by Rachael Daniel

By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

When it came time to relocate his mother, Bob Haddad Jr. wanted to choose a city she could fall in love with, a place small enough to feel like home, and large enough to keep her active and secure.

After working for over 30 years in Grand Ledge at his own insurance agency, Haddad’s Agency, he knew the small, welcoming community was the perfect match, even without actually living in town.

“When I had the opportunity to choose the community, I chose Grand Ledge. It has that small town feel, but it is still big enough to get the services that you need,” said Haddad. “You almost feel like you are living in your own little world, but at the same time you are only 15 minutes from a larger city.”

Haddad is nowhere near alone in his appreciation for the town of Grand Ledge. Its residents can not seem to stop talking about the long list of reasons to love Grand Ledge.

According to small town expert and author of “Small Town Rules” Becky McCray, Grand Ledge has everything that typically draws people to small towns.

“People are drawn to small towns for the quality of life,” said McCray. “Factors like a sense of community and belonging, an ability to make a difference, slower pace of life, lower cost of living and doing business, and connections with family and heritage all contribute to that quality.”

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Jaycee and Oak parks to undergo expansions in near future

By Madison Morse
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

Two of Grand Ledge’s most well-known parks are getting a makeover.

Starting this construction season, Jaycee Park and Oak Park will be undergoing expansions. The motion was brought forward at the April 11 City Council meeting. The additions will be made to fit the needs of the community, according to City Administrator Adam Smith.

Oak Park. W Front St, Grand Ledge, MI 48837. Map: Courtesy of Google.

Oak Park. W Front St, Grand Ledge, MI 48837. Map: Courtesy of Google.

“The acquisition will provide for the expansion of Jaycee Park and enhance a connector trail for the existing river walk and new non-motorized trail facility,” said Smith. “As discussed in city’s 2011 Parks and Recreation Plan, the need to provide fishing opportunities, wildlife viewing and public recreation opportunities.”

“Oak Park contains some of the most spectacular outcrops of bedrock ledges in the area. The project will enable improved access to recreational opportunities and will provide for improved maintenance of the natural features of the site through addressing erosion control and storm-water run-off.”

University of Utah Parks, Recreation and Tourism Professor Jeff Rose said that he believes the project is a smart move for the community.

“Jaycee Park boat launch adds a bit more water front opportunities. This is one of the trends that is occurring across the country. Boards are trying to get money donated and purchase land adjacent water resources,” said Rose. “Oak Park has lots of multiple use opportunities. All of which are looking for multiple uses of particular resources. Lots of different groups are satisfied. Everyone is happy. I believe these expansions are fairly intuitive and reasonable.”

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Grand Ledge teachers still without a contract; frustrations mounting for parents of students

By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

Six years ago when deciding where to raise a family, Bri Dennis had no doubts when choosing Grand Ledge.

Grand Ledge High School Photo by Rachael Daniel

Grand Ledge High School
Photo by Rachael Daniel

Her father and her husband’s parents all graduated from Grand Ledge High School and she believed her four children would receive the same quality education that they had, however in the last few years she has become frustrated with how Grand Ledge Public Schools has been treating its teachers.

Since the last contract expired in June 2015, the teachers union and administration have been negotiating a new contract for Grand Ledge Public School teachers.

Dennis was the first of several parents who stood in front of the Grand Ledge School Board at the school board meeting on March 28 to voice her specific concerns about one of the teachers’ main points of negotiation: planning periods.

“It pains me to see the direction our district has taken. You need to give them their planning hours. They cannot teach our children effectively if they do not get a planning hour,” said Dennis.

Grand Ledge School Board president Linda Wacyk said that parents and teachers have a different perspective of the situation than the board.

“They are looking at the problem through a different lens and their interests are narrowed to the interests of the teachers which is a very legitimate interest, but we are forced, the board, to look through a much broader lens and see a lot of different issues at once and realize that there are a lot of repercussions on kids no matter where we cut the budget,” said Wacyk.

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Grand Ledge Library undergoing renovations to help fit community needs

By Madison Morse
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

After years of saving and carefully well-thought-out plans based on community needs, The Grand Ledge Area District Library will be undergoing a massive renovation to start this spring.

“By very prudently saving we saved a percentage that was over our working capital that we needed for many, many years, said Grand Ledge Library Board of Trustees President Joan Kane. “Back in ’08 we tried to do this and had our same architect then realized we didn’t have enough money to do what we needed to do.”

Construction plans of Grand Ledge Area District Library.

Construction plans of Grand Ledge Area District Library.

“With the new renovation we will be pushing the entrance out. There will be an elevator that will go up to the club room which is the old 1931 building,” said Kane. “There will be a bathroom upstairs now, which there never has been. They are giving us 240 days, eight months, to complete the project.”

The renovation comes after much consideration of the needs of the Grand Ledge community.

“The community always needs space. People take up more space than books do,” said Grand Ledge Library Director Lise Mitchell.

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