Introducing the new and improved SAT

By Hannah Watts – Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

Introducing: the new and improved SAT


 Pictured: Grand Ledge High School  Photo Credit: Hannah Watts

The ACT  makes up the majority of the market for standardized testing in the United States. Starting in 2016, high school students around the country will face a newly refurbished version of the SAT.

College Board officials announced that the new SAT would be a “more accurate” assessment of college readiness for high school students.

“They also say it will be more evidence-based and less subjective, putting emphasis on the types of knowledge that students will actually need in college and in the workplace,” explained Linda Wacyk, director of communications at Michigan Association of School Administrators and trustee on the Grand Ledge High School Board of Education.

A market scramble  

Whether students take the ACT or the SAT is contingent on the requirements of the college or university they wish to attend.

The ACT  dominates the market for college-preparatory testing, especially in Michigan, but this has not always reigned true. In fact, SAT test-takers historically outnumbered ACT test-takers until 2012.


satVSactPictured: The number of ACT test-takers versus SAT test-takers.
[Graph Courtesy of Huffington Post]

“This is Coke versus Pepsi trying to hold onto, or in this case trying to regain, market share,” Bob Schaeffer, director of public education at FairTest told the Huffington Post.

Transition period

College freshmen often experience difficulty in adjusting to college level expectations. Linda Forward, director of the Office of Education Improvement and Innovation at the Michigan Department of Education, explained that a main reason for the changes is to help students transition between high school and college expectations.

“We want kids to go somewhere and do something after high school without experiencing a lot of remediation,” Forward said. “The first year is often taken up trying to catch up on expectations between high school and college.”

Student and community impact 

Though standardized test scores are an increasingly important benchmark for institutions to admit students, they are not the single determining factor.

“If I were a college administrator, test scores would be just one thing I would look at when admitting potential students,” said Brody Boucher, president of the Board of Education at Grand Ledge High School. “That [the test] is one day– three hours. They [the scores] are our indicator, as education officials, that we are making the right choices in educating our children.”

In addition to test scores, institutions admit students based on factors like cumulative GPA, the rigor of the high school curriculum, quality extracurricular involvement, community service and solid admissions essays.

“Education testing is a big business,” Wacyk said. “The College Board has every right to try to improve its product and gain a bigger market share but I hope that by having access to a better test, students will be the ones to win in the end.”

Contact reporter Hannah Watts at 


“Rocky Horror” draws business from all over state to Grand Ledge

by Ariel Rogers

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

GRAND LEDGE- The small town of Grand Ledge is relatively conservative during the day, but on some Saturdays at midnight, fans of all ages come out to the Sun Theatre for a night of fun.

The Grand Ledge Sun Theatre draws people from all over the state to see the cult classic movie, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Photo by Ariel Rogers.

Dylan Sowle organizes the showings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the theater with the help of his friends.


Lack of communication may interfere with knowledge of help-rooms

By Mayara Sanches

Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

GRAND LEDGE — The Grand Ledge School Board had a lack of communication informing parents about the intervention program and how it helps students, but plans to get their support.

Failure rates in general education subjects decreased 20 to 60 percent due to intervention at Grand Ledge High School, but members of the board realized that the parents’ knowledge of the help-rooms is vital in continuing the decrease.


Intervention programs to grow in Grand Ledge schools

By Mayara Sanches

Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

GRAND LEDGE — Grand Ledge School Board members agreed with the high school’s intervention board to try to expand the Grand Ledge Public Schools‘ help-room program to allow more students to succeed.

After a presentation from the intervention board at the school board work meeting at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 10, both parties decided on expanding the program that already sees more than 1,000 students in each help-room per semester.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for students who are struggling to be able to go to a special room where they’ll be able to get specific help,” said Brian Metcalf, the Grand Ledge superintendent. “Obviously we’re seeing the failure rates decrease and student learning increase, which is really what we are all about.”

Member of the intervention program speaks to the board in behalf of the group. Photo by Mayara Sanches

Member of the intervention program speaks to the board in behalf of the group. Photo by Mayara Sanches

The subjects offered in help-rooms are: social studies, science, math and English. Metcalf and the other school board members saw the rates of improvement in the presentation.


Grand Ledge crime rates remain consistently low with a possible spike in property crimes and thefts in Spring 2014, according to police and fire officials.

By Hannah Watts — Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

GRAND LEDGE – Grand Ledge crime rates remain consistently low with a possible spike in property crimes and thefts in Spring 2014, according to police and fire officials.



Pictured: Grand Ledge Police Department
Photo Credit: Hannah Watts

Small town setting

The types and amount of crimes committed in Grand Ledge differ greatly from crimes that occur in surrounding cities. According to Grand Ledge Police Department officials, the crime rate in Grand Ledge remains fairly consistent.

“I think it’s fair to say that our crime rate has stayed the same for the last 5 years,” said Martin Underhill, Police Chief at the Grand Ledge Police Department.

Matt Stalding, on-duty officer at the Grand Ledge Fire Department, explained that the low crime rate is attributable to the small town setting.

“There’s not much here to attract people from out of town, so most people go to a surrounding larger city, like Lansing for recreation,” Stalding said.

With the extreme weather and temperatures experienced in the winter months, general safety continues to be a main priority.

“General safety related to weather conditions will be a main focus going forwards because of the volume and frequency of snow and the bitter cold temperatures,” said Dennis James, Detective at the Grand Ledge Police Department.

Breaking down the numbers 

The Grand Ledge crime rate per 100,000 citizens has been below the U.S. average for the past decade.  It was recorded at 102.4 for 2012, according city data. Lansing’s crime rate crime rate was more than 4 times that amount in 2012 at 422.6.

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 10.52.06 AM

Pictured: Pie chart courtesy of displaying the most recent crime data for Grand Ledge (2012).

Thefts and burglaries make up the majority of the criminal incidents in Grand Ledge. James said that extreme winter weather may cause an increase in the occurrences of property crimes and vehicle thefts for Spring 2014.

“Generally we may expect a slight increase in property crimes, vehicle break-ins and vehicle thefts,” James said. “The cold has kept people inside this winter rather than engaging in those criminal activities. Our main focus going forward is deterring those crimes and maintaining patrols in at-risk areas”

Though crime rates within the city have remained consistent, Underhill draws a distinction between crime rates in small towns like Grand Ledge versus large cities like Lansing.

“It’s not like being in a large town like Lansing,” Underhill said. “We don’t have big emerging crime patterns. In a town of just over 8,000, we spend a lot of time on singular problems rather than trends.”

Brandon Moore, firefighter at the Grand Ledge Police Department, said that fast response times also deter potential crime. “Response times are faster, and we have more resources here to get to the scene more quickly and a smaller area to cover,” Moore said.

Crime rates are often higher in large cities because perpetrators have the ability to remain anonymous.

“We try to make it inconvenient for crime in Grand Ledge,” Underhill explained. “That’s easy in a small town. Many people will go to places where crime is most convenient, like Lansing, which has more ground to cover and offers more anonymity.”

Resident relationships

Underhill stated that  relationships formed between Grand Ledge residents help in keeping the rate low.

“You tend to see more crime in the community when people care less about the community,” Underhill said. “That’s not the case in Grand Ledge. Our population is less transient and the people who are here care about the city and each other.”

For more information on crime rates, visit,, or contact local officials.

Contact reporter Hannah Watts at




Pothole season is in full effect

by Ariel Rogers

Grand Ledge Gazette Staff Writer

GRAND LEDGE – The weather warming up brings a bigger problem than just slushy shoes – potholes. Michigan is well known for roads in poor condition. Jenne Street, the Meijer parking lot and the Quality Dairy parking lot are major problem areas for potholes in Grand Ledge. Blair Ballou of the Eaton County Road Commission said it  is easier to talk about roads in good condition since there are so many that are not. The two Grand Ledge roads Ballou said that were the least problematic in Grand Ledge are Willow Highway and Broadbent Road due to recent resurfacing.

“There used to be a sink hole that would need to be patched often on Willow Highway,” Grand Ledge resident Eric Beadle said. “It was not remedied until the recent repaving of Willow Highway.”

Grand Ledge resident Nic Houle was driving down Willow Highway last winter when he unknowingly drove over a large snow covered pothole.Willow Highway in Grand Ledge used to be riddled with dangerous potholes before it was recently resurfaced. Photo by Ariel Rogers.

Willow Highway in Grand Ledge used to be riddled with dangerous potholes before the city resurfaced it. Photo by Ariel Rogers.

“It jarred me enough that I didn’t realize anything was wrong, but about a quarter of a mile later I could tell my car was messed up,” Houle said. “I pulled over at the GoLo [gas station] and realized that I had ruined the rim because it was so shredded.”A large number of big potholes in the Quality Dairy parking lot are dangerous obstacles to drivers. Photo by Ariel Rogers.

A large number of big potholes in the Quality Dairy parking lot are dangerous obstacles to drivers. Photo by Ariel Rogers.

Government funding

“The state government funds road repair, and I’m sure with Michigan weather being what it is, that is not cheap,” said Grand Ledge resident Austin Gullett.

Gullett is right. The Michigan Senate just approved $100 million to go toward road repairs, and the House is looking to get more.

“Michigan weather is awful for roads, but it’s a part of life here,” Gullett said. “Imagine having chronic back pain for your entire life. Eventually you learn to live with it. It still hurts and is still a major inconvenience, and the brief periods of relief do not go unnoticed. You accept it as a part of your life that just always needs to be dealt with.”

To provide residents with information, the Michigan Transportation Team created a website to encourage Michigan residents to contact legislators to increase funding for damaged roads. There is also a contest on the website for four $500 prizes that will go toward car repairs caused by potholes.

Repairing the damage

Contrary to popular belief, potholes are not a major cause of car damage. Tony Ciaramella is a customer manager in the service department at Sundance Chevrolet in Grand Ledge and sees usual winter repairs.

“Our influx of repairs just because of potholes is not tremendous,” Ciaramella said. “Repairs we see more of are suspension work and ball joints breaking. These problems are often caused by speed bumps. ”

Ballou said that the Eaton County Road Commission is going to focus more on repairing high-speed roads, as they pose higher safety risks.

“Residential areas are less likely to have a safety problem due to lower volumes of traffic and slower speeds,” Ballou said. “In the past week, and for the next three weeks, we’re going to concentrate on the large holes and the 45 and 55 mph roadways.”

Ciaramella said a lot of the damages that cars undergo are due to poor maintenance and upkeep by the owners.

“If you take care of your car, your car will take care of you,” Ciaramella said.

For more information, contact Ariel Rogers at


Grand Ledge commissions Ciesa Design for new city logo

by Melissa Delekta- Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

GRAND LEDGE- On Feb. 24 the Grand Ledge city council held a committee of the whole meeting to discuss a new logo that the city commissioned through Ciesa Design.

The new logo will be used throughout city hall. Photo by: Melissa Delekta

The new logo will be used throughout city hall. Photo by: Melissa Delekta


Beginning the Project

On Jan. 28, 2013 a resolution was passed to develop a brand and logo for the City of Grand Ledge. According to the meeting minutes from Jan. 28, Keith Mulder moved to have it passed with Rick Lantz seconding to adopt the resolution. It was then passed with unanimous vote.

City Administrator, Jon Bayless, said that about a dozen firms developed a proposal for the city to choose between, and in the end Ciesa, who is based out of Lansing, won the bid.

“They [Ciesa] have put in a lot of time and energy, which I think is note worthy,” Bayless said.

Creating the Brand

A committee formed of both city council and community members that worked with Ciesa to develop a logo and brand, which would represent the city.

John Donohoe, account manager of Ciesa Design, said that developing a brand “is a matter of teasing it out.”

“You have to look into what the organization is, and how they want to portray themselves,” Donohoe said. “If you present yourself in such a way that is inauthentic then people would come here and be disappointed.”

The committee and Ciesa went through many versions of the logo and found that pairing down to one icon to use in the logo challenging

“We struggled with what to pick as the single icon of Grand Ledge,” council member, Rick Lantz said. “We were trying to convey too much in one logo and it became busy.”

Members of the Grand Ledge city council informally discuss the new logo after the committee of the whole meeting. Photo by Melissa Delekta

Members of the Grand Ledge city council informally discuss the new logo after the committee of the whole meeting. Photo by Melissa Delekta

The Ledges

The committee decided that the ledges of Grand Ledge was the thing they wanted to highlight in the design.

“It is a single unique quality that no other community has,” Lantz said.

The ledges are an outcropping of sedimentary rock on the banks of the Grand River. Grand Ledge Climbing offers rock climbing and other activities.

Finalizing the Design

The committee spent a lot of time tweaking the design of the logo.

“We could work on this for 10 years,” Bayless said.

Finally they came up with a design that the committee unanimously liked.

“What we started out with totally evolved,” special committee member, Marilyn Smith said. “It was a long process. I had no idea what would go into something like this.”

When Smith saw their latest design, though, she was sold.

“We did not come to a consensus on any of the others,” Smith said. “But when I saw this one I immediately thought, ‘this is it.’”

The vote on the logo by the city council will take place at their next meeting on Mar. 10, 2014.

For questions, concerns, or comments contact Melissa Delekta at


11th Annual St. Patricks Day parade is back

st pattys day parade


by Sydney Ford

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

GRAND LEDGE– Mid Michigan’s only St. Patrick’s Day parade kicks off in Grand Ledge on March 15. This is the 11th year that the parade has come to Grand Ledge and it is creating quite the buzz.

Blake Washington, a Grand Ledge resident says, “When the St. Patty’s Day parade comes, it really is a good time. We have fun food, music and drinks. It’s a great event for families to come to.”

It’s not just for the locals that want to celebrate, but people can come from surrounding cities in Michigan to have fun at the St. Patrick’s Day gatherings.

“On Friday, Mar. 14, from 6 p.m. to 11p.m. the Opera House will have Irish dancers (townsfolk can join in too), The Glen Erin Bagpipe Band, Irish food and drinks,” said Melanie May, the facility manager, “The Opera house hosts the events, Dan O’Shea is the one that puts it all together. We look forward to it every year.”

Mar. 15, will be packed full of events. The Irish Stew cook-off from 11a.m. to 4p.m. Grand Ledge residents can go to the Cole Briggs Post on 721 N. Clinton and vote for their favorite stew.

The kids will be able to enjoy a free movie at noon in the Sun Theatre. Their movie will finish just in time to see the main event, the parade, at 2p.m.

“The parade always has lots of music and floats made by some of the local businesses,” said Dan O’Shea, a board member of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Association.

Lanny Preston, the owner of a local bar, was proud to announce that his bar is a four time winner when it comes to floats. “We had the best and winning float last year, it was for our 100th year anniversary,” said Preston.

O’Shea added new features when planning the parade this year. Instead of holding a scheduled dinner, he has set up Irish food set up a la carte.

This way the residents can eat if they would like and continue watching the entertainers, enjoying the Irish bands, and hearing some new local artists even after the parade has ended.

Businesses are able to benifit from the surge of customers during the St. Patrick’s Day events. Preston’s Bar is one of them. They are one of the many bars and pubs included in the annual bar crawl event.

“Its gets really busy when people come in for drinks and we also serve free corned beef and cabbage for as long as it lasts. We like to really take care of our customers.”

You can contact reporter Sydney Ford at


School year extended in Grand Ledge High School

By Jiabin Liu

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

School Board Meeting on Monday in Grand Ledge high school Photographer: Jiabin Liu

School Board Meeting on Monday in Grand Ledge high school
Photographer: Jiabin Liu

GRAND LEDGE ­– Grand Ledge high school extended the last school day to June 10 and will have students attend in the morning.

The last day for seniors remains on May 23, and graduation is on May 30.

Because of the weather circumstances, Grand Ledge high school closed 11 days throughout the polar vortex.