Grand Ledge Opera House Provides Unique Entertainment

By: Seth Kinker

Grand Ledge – When was the last time you had the opportunity to see a concert with guitars, a harmonica, a banjo, the Chinese horsehead fiddle and mandolin, and throat singing? The Grand Ledge Opera House recently held such a concert featuring Paul Meredith & the Nomads.

Paul Meredith & the Nomads performing at the Grand Ledge Opera House

Paul Meredith & the Nomads performing at the Grand Ledge Opera House

 

The concert provided members of the local community to see something they might normally not get the chance to see or hear.

“To me, it’s once in a lifetime to see these people,” said Ethelen Herbstreit, a local Grand Ledge resident, “When you get older you don’t want to have to drive and struggle with traffic, but you can come here and see local and international talent.”

The Opera House, which originally opened in 1884, has many talents that come through its doors.

“We try and have a variety of things as you can see today it’s very different,” said Marilyn Smith, a volunteer on the Board of Directors of the Opera House, “Last week we had the Chordsmen, which is a barbershop quartet group. Coming up soon on the 26th is a silent movie so we do a variety of things.”

Paul Meredith & the Nomads are a group of local and international musicians. The band plays a unique blend of music combining original songs with Chinese pop and folk classics. Paul Meredith, lead guitarist and vocalist, who is a Grand Ledge Native talked a little bit about the Nomads, himself, and returning to Grand Ledge to perform.

“I currently live in China, I’m a musician in China, and I’ve played there for quite a number of years,” said Meredith “I’ve always wanted to bring some of the people that I play music with here, for sharing.”

The people he mentions bringing here to share music with include two friends from China, Jerry Liu and Meng Ke Na Seng, who play the Chinese horsehead fiddle and mandolin. Along with these unique instruments they are both able to “throat sing” a low guttural throat sound not common in American music.

The next event at the Opera House is on Oct. 26th and features a silent movie with an original organ from the Michigan theatre in Lansing.

At the ledges, rock climbing is a popular hobby

Michigan State University graduate student Tom Hettinger walks next to one of the ledges on his way to begin climbing. Hettinger has been climbing for one and a half years.

Michigan State University graduate student Tom Hettinger walks next to one of the ledges on his way to begin climbing. Hettinger has been climbing for one and a half years.

By Kit Kuhne
Grand Ledge Gazette

GRAND LEDGE – If there is one thing that Grand Ledge is known for, it’s the ledges. Standing between 20 and 30 feet high, these sedimentary rock formations have been around for 250 million years or more, making them a tourist location for people all over  Michigan. But these ledges do not only attract tourists.

Residents from Grand Ledge, and the areas surrounding it, travel to Oak Park during the warm months to scale these ledges. According to Jessica Wortman, a graduate psychology student at Michigan State University, the difficulty of the ledges ranges from novice climbs to climbs that will challenge an experienced climber.

“There are climbs for basically every level,” Wortman said. “The climbs out there are all rated… They’ll range from something that you could probably get up slowly on your first day climbing versus something that you’re probably going to have to spend quite a bit of time practicing to get up successfully. There’s really something for all difficulty levels.”

Grand Ledge City Council supports road millage

By Kit Kuhne
Grand Ledge Gazette

GRAND LEDGE — All five attending members of the Grand Ledge City Council unanimously voted on Sept. 22 in support of a millage that would help fix roads in Eaton County.

The Eaton County Local Roads and Streets Repair and Rehabilitation Millage proposal would aim to raise roughly $60 million over 12 years, from 2014 to 2026. In the first year, Grand Ledge would receive approximately $304,000 to for the roads within the city limit

This millage would call for a $1.5 mil levy on the county-assessed taxable value of all homes in Eaton County. Meaning that on a house with a taxable value of $100,000, an Eaton County resident would see a tax increase of $150 per year.

“Even though that this is a significant amount of money for both the county and the city, the impact on the individual taxpayer, we hope, is at a level that is affordable for everyone,” Terrance Augustine, Eaton County Commissioner from District 3, said at the meeting. “Any increase in taxes paid by constituents is certainly felt, [but] I believe that it’s a reasonable level of investment to maintain our roads here within the city and the county as a whole.”

The goal of the Eaton County Road Commission with this millage is to resurface 262 miles of currently paved roads and reshape 500 miles of gravel roads with new processed gravel. Additionally, this would fund for all graveled surfaces in Eaton County to receive a dust control application twice per year.

Grand Ledge technology renovation

By Seth Kinker
Grand Ledge Gazette

Grand Ledge – This past May, there was a bond proposal from Grand Ledge schools that among other things would have improved infrastructure, buses and technology.

Although the bond proposal was then denied there was an approval of technology purchases on the agenda at the most recent board of education meeting that would have been included in the bond.

“I was the one who proposed the purchases,” said Mark Deschaine, Directory of Technology for Grand Ledge schools. “It encompassed five small technology projects.”

This project not only included an increasing number of iPads for an increasing amount of first graders, but new technology for the teachers as well.

“Along with that (new iPads for the students) we have iPads managed by the teachers not the district,” said Deschaine. “We needed to add a few more MacBook Pros to manage iPads.”

Is the ever-increasing presence of technology in the educational environment a good or bad thing? Brody Boucher, president of the school board who approved the technology purchases, said: “As we move forward as a society, a proficiency in the use of technology to achieve goals is becoming more commonplace. To be able to stay current with things such as textbooks, technology is the way to go.”

One common argument from opponents of technology in the educational environment is the distractions in brings.

“You can certainly try to mitigate some of that through policies and such,” said Boucher. “My converse to that is if you’re sitting at home reading a textbook book what stops you from turning on the TV and watching Sportscenter for ten minutes as well? There has to be a strategy.”

Community Services

Grand Ledge Emergency Assistance Program

Contact Phone (Grand Ledge United Methodist Church): 517-627-3256

The Grand Ledge Emergency Assistance Program is a collaborative service for citizens of Grand Ledge. The Advisory Board is made up of representatives from the Grand Ledge school district, local churches and the local government. This program also works together with the Grand Ledge Food Bank to help people.Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.46.40 PM

“This program is to help prevent homelessness in the community. Clients that live in the Grand Ledge school district can apply for help with eviction and utility expenses. In the existence of the program, there have been 400 participating families. The program is funded fully by donations.”     -Deb Nichols, Grand Ledge United Methodist Church Secretary

Services for Children

Youth Enrichment Services (YES) CenterScreen Shot 2014-09-17 at 9.42.13 PM

327 Harrison Street, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

Open 2:30pm-5:00pm, Monday through Friday

Jay Miller, Director

Phone: 517-627-0467

Email: grandledgeyescenter@gmail.com

Website: http://www.yes-center.org

“We run drug and alcohol prevention programs with a community wide approach. Kids come after school to hang out, do homework and eat snacks. Roughly eight to ten kids come each day.”            -Jay Miller, YES Director

Grand Ledge Area District Library

Grand Ledge Area District Library

Main Branch: 131 E. Jefferson Street, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

Main Branch Phone: 517-627-7014

Main Branch Hours:

Monday – Thursday 10 am – 9 pm

Friday & Saturday 10 am – 5 pm

Sunday 1 pm – 5 p

Wacousta Branch: 13080 Wacousta Road, Suite D, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

Wacousta Branch Phone: 517-626-6577

Wacousta Branch Hours:

Monday & Wednesday         3 pm – 7 pm

Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday       10 am – 2 pm

Friday & Sunday       Closed

Website: grandledge.lib.mi.us

“We have two branches, our main branch and our Wacousta branch. Our main branch is roughly 7,000 sq. ft. and we have a collection of nearly 50,000 items. We offer programs throughout the week like story time, after school activities and programs for adults.”             -Lise Mitchell, Grand Ledge Area District Library Director

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 7.11.24 PM

City Parks

Jaycee Park

Jaycee Park

E River St, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

(517)627-2149

Jaycee Park is located right off S. Bridge street and has the makings of a perfect afternoon at the park. The park has basketball courts, a pavilion, grills, swings and a play structure for children.

City Parks

Oak Park

Oak Park

W Front St, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

(517)627-2149

Oak Park is the location of the famous ledges in Grand Ledge and although the picture does not show, there is a path that leads to the ledges where many are known to come from afar to climb the ledges.

Grand Ledge School District

Grand Ledge High School

Grand Ledge High School

820 Spring Street, Grand Ledge, MI 48837

School Hours (Monday-Friday): 7:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. Office Hours 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Main Phone: (517) 925-5815,
Student Services: (517) 925-5900,
Attendance Phone: (517) 925-5818,
Fax: (517) 925-5829

Grand Ledge High School is the High School serving the city of Grand Ledge. The school is fed from one middle school, four elementary schools and one kindergarten center. The school is known for its academics, fine arts and athletics.