Kidabaloo attracts crowds despite weather

By Haley Kluge
The Holt Journal

Freezing temperatures did not stop 1,000 spectators from coming to Holt High School on Feb. 15 for Townsquare Media’s Kidabaloo event.

Thirty-five vendors featured events and activities during the five-hour expo, in addition to special guest Joey Bragg from Disney’s Liv and Maddie.

“Parents are not coming for themselves, they are coming to give their kids, something fun to do on a cold day,” Jennifer Taylor, Townsquare Media’s live events manager said. “We’re really happy to see such a great turn-out.”

Events included bounce houses, Disney princess look-a-likes, autographs with Bragg, mini golf, face painting, prize booths and more.

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Register to vote

By DeAnna Sanders
The Holt Journal

Amy D. Finch CMC, Delhi Charter Township Assistant Clerk

The May election is less than three months away, but you have less than two months to register, according to Delhi Charter Township Assistant Clerk Amy D. Finch.

“The deadline to register to vote for the May election is April 6,” F inch said. “The actual day to vote is May 5.”

Armon Sims, a Lansing Community College student from Detroit, has never voted and wondered how to register. “My vote isn’t important, said Sims.” “Besides I don’t even know where to vote at or how to register.”

“It’s important to vote in every election, not just the May election, Finch said. “Just to get your voice heard to have your voice count.”
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Kidabaloo helps bust wintery blues

By Haley Kluge
The Holt Journal

Holt High School’s typical student population was replaced with younger children, inflatable bounce houses, face painting and clowns at Kidabaloo on Sunday, Feb. 15.

Kidabaloo, an event sponsored by Townsquare Media, is hosted across the country and was created to break up the winter with entertaining indoor activities.

“With two step-daughters myself, it spurred from the fact that my family is constantly looking for fun things to do that won’t break the bank,” said Jennifer Taylor, Townsquare Media’s live events manager. “In the middle of the winter, it’s nice to have something for kids and parents to do on a cold day.”

But before children and parents ever arrived, Townsquare Media had been prepping for longer than half a year.
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Local fire departments begin working together

By Ryan Kryska
The Holt Journal

The initiative is headlined by a Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, a Joint Arson Task Force, and Blue Card training, which have all been set in place within the past year.

The automatic mutual aid system spans political and geographical borders by sending the closest unit to emergencies.

“MABAS is a closest-unit response system. It provides all personnel needed and is pre-scripted throughout the entire county to be efficient and safe,” said Delhi Township Fire Chief Brian Ball.

“MABAS organizes the response by what resources are available and it sets the game plan for public safety,” said Delta Township Fire Chief John Clark.

“To achieve automatic mutual aid we must look more alike,” said East Lansing City Clerk Marie Wicks. “We must work on the same shifts and speak the same language. We are not completely there, but blue card training is designed to achieve this continuity.”

Blue card training has been a huge asset to the shared service municipalities, and is a large part of the mutual aid system’s success.
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Holt schools meeting state standards, facing achievement gap

By Kelsey Block
The Holt Journal

At the October Board of Education meeting, Holt Curriculum Director Ruth Riddle reported that six schools in the district have a significant achievement gap.

Earlier this year, the Michigan Department of Education released a top-to-bottom ranking of schools in the state. The list is based on data collected through the 2013-2014 MEAP tests.


Six schools in the Holt District were designated as focus schools this year in the Michigan Department of Education’s top-to-bottom ranking. Focus schools are highlighted in blue.

Within that list, schools can receive one of three designations: reward, focus or priority. Reward schools are the top 5 percent of schools in the ranking, priority schools are the bottom 5 percent of schools, and focus schools are the 10 percent of schools that have a significant gap in achievement between the highest and lowest scoring students.

Out of Ingham County’s 72 schools, 23 are focus schools. Six of those are in the Holt School District. Dimondale Elementary, Elliott Elementary, Holt Junior High, Hope Middle School, Sycamore Elementary School and Wilcox Elementary were all designated as focus schools.

A school can be labeled a focus school even if it’s meeting all state requirements. For example, all six of Holt’s focus schools met most state standards last year.

Laura Colligan is the school improvement and leadership consultant with the Ingham County Intermediate School District. Before moving to the ISD, Colligan was the principal at Dimondale Elementary. She said the purpose of the designation is to encourage schools to look deeper at the data, even if they’re doing well on state tests.

“When you become dedicated as a focus school, you need to do a district-level systems check to make sure you’re servicing all kids,” Colligan said. “Meaning, they want you to be aware you have issues in your system.”

According to its website, the Michigan Department of Education developed the designations as part of the approved No Child Left Behind Act flexibility waiver, which gave states the option to request flexibility from accountability metrics set in place by the act.

“You give it a ranking, so there’s always got to be one at the top and one at bottom,” Colligan said. She added that a variety of factors can contribute to achievement gaps in the classroom, like teachers not having enough time or training to be able to properly identify and work with students who aren’t scoring at the top.

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Pumpkin passing party a hit with Delhi residents

photo (2)By Kelsey Block
The Holt Journal

On the chilly morning of Nov. 1, crews were putting the last of the finishing touches on Delhi Township’s Sycamore Trail as the Friends of the Delhi Trail set up for the Great Pumpkin Pass.

Starting at 4 p.m, Delhi Township residents lined the trail, taking turns to carry a small pumpkin from the intersection of Jolly and Aurelius roads to the Valhalla Park pavilion. They made it in 55 minutes, 11 seconds, and were greeted with hot cider and pumpkin cookies provided by Friends of the Delhi Trails.

Jared Yenchar was the last person to carry the pumpkin. Going down on one knee, Yenchar presented it to Mark Jenks, the director of Delhi Township Parks and Recreation.

photo (3)

“It was fun,” the 11-year-old Yenchar said. “All eyes were on me.”

Since the opening of the trail in late September, a diverse group of people has been using the trail, Jenks said.

“Moms with strollers, seniors on bikes, joggers,” he said. “Last weekend we had hundreds of people on the trails, and the numbers only grow.”

Jan Stuart, a member of Friends of the Delhi Trails, said she’s excited about the new trail because of its connection with the Lansing River Trail.

“You can ride for miles in a safe environment,” she said.

George Hayhoe, after whom Hayhoe Trail in Mason is named, calls himself a trail enthusiast. He said he and his wife have traveled on trails all over the state.

“It’s safe and fun,” Hayhoe said. “And this has all the benefits of being close to home.”

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Holt School District voters oust incumbents


Julie Bureau, Mark Perry, Craig Anderson, and Douglas Needham shake hands and celebrate one another for the 3  out of 4 election win at Buddies Grille.

Julie Bureau, Mark Perry, Craig Anderson, and Douglas Needham shake hands and celebrate one another for the 3 out of 4 election win at Buddies Grille

By Laniesha Evans
The Holt Journal

Only one incumbent, Deborah Roeske, survived in the Nov. 4 Holt School Board election.

Mark Perry and Douglas Needham won 6-year terms and Julie Bureau won the 3-year term on the Holt board of education.

The campaign was divided into two groups, candidates who support the new senior campus and candidates who are against it.

“The senior campus was one of my reasons for running for board, and there has been a lot of community support in our favor,” said Needham.

Three of the four newly appointed board members reflect voter disapproval of the senior campus.
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Voters renew tax for police, fire

By Ryan Kryska
The Holt Journal

Township voters strongly endorsed tax renewals that provide substantial funding for fire and police services on Tuesday.

The Fire department proposal passed with 71 percent of votes in favor, and the Police department proposal passed with 69 percent of votes, according to unofficial results from Ingham County.

Read more here.

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67th Michigan House Rep. Cochran wins over Hayhoe

By Ryan Kryska
The Holt Journal

Democratic State Rep. Tom Cochran outpolled John Hayhoe by 2,695 votes, 16,975-14,280, according to unofficial Ingham County results.

Cochran and his campaign celebrated election night at Pizza House in East Lansing.

“Being the 67th District Representative means a great deal to me,” said Cochran. “I remember back when I went to Everett High School we used to ride our bikes to the State Capitol and venture around, and now I am on the House floor. It is very humbling.”

Cochran has plans for his introduced codification bill on joint account transparency requiring full access to accounts. Also introduced is his bill to stop fracking flow-back byproduct usage as dust suppression on roads.
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Election turnout in Delhi Township steady

photo 3By Kelsey Block
The Holt Journal

Voters in Holt began lining up at 6:45 a.m. Tuesday for precincts 3 and 4.

Donald Leaf, 4th Precinct chair, estimated a 40 percent turnout. By 8:35 a.m., he said approximately 159 people had voted in that precinct.

Kathryn Wardwell, 7th Precinct chair, said had seen around 100 voters by 10 a.m., which she thought was a lower than average turnout.

Precinct 4 volunteer Paul Goulat said he's been working with the elections for 20 years.

Dick Gober, 59, said he votes during every election because he’s worried about the trajectory of the country. “Unfortunately, a lot of young people aren’t paying attention,” he said.

Both precinct chairs said they had a fairly steady turnout throughout the morning.

Christine Oudesma says she’s been volunteering as a precinct chair for 15 years. This year, she worked at the polls for Precinct 3. “It’s a great thing, giving back to our community,” she said. “I feel good about it.”
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