Greater Lansing’s Fire Departments begin working together for quicker call response times and specialty training, via the Capital Area collaboration initiative.

By Ryan Kryska
The Holt Journal

The initiative is headlined by a Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS), 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 MABAS, now erases political and geographical borders by responding to a scene with the closest unit.

“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 MABAS’s success.
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Budget, Delhi Township government, Events, Fire Department, Police Department, Public safety, Services, Town Hall Meetings, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

chart

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.

Continue reading

Share
Posted in Education, Holt schools, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pumpkin passing party a hit with Delhi residents

By Kelsey Block

photo (2)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.”

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

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.
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Education, Elections, Holt schools | Tagged , | Comments Off

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.

Share
Posted in Elections, Fire Department, Police Department, Public safety | Comments Off

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.
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Delhi Township government, Elections, Events, Roads, Volunteers | Comments Off

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.”
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Elections, Holt schools | Comments Off

School election a referendum on new policies

By Laniesha Evans and Kelsey Block
The Holt Journal

Tuesday, Holt voters will determine which four of nine candidates will take their places on the Holt Public Schools Board of Education. Three, 6-year seats as well as one, 3-year seat are up for election.

Four candidates with similar platforms are running as a team. Doug Needham, Julie Bureau, Craig Anderson and Mark Perry are campaigning together. While each has specific goals in mind, all share similar opinions on the north campus, academic achievement in the middle grades and AP course offerings for high school students.

“We are not happy with the current board and administration and we want it to change. We feel they are out of touch with the community and we’ve chosen to bind together to be the community’s voice,” Needham said.

Current board members have a 3- to 4-year district improvement plan that has been ongoing, said Malatinsky.

“The board meets once a year with all of the district’s administrators. We review the accomplishments of the past year and update the plan for the upcoming year. We weigh changes in funding, legislation, and student performance. Once this is done, we map out our goals for the upcoming year and determine how we will measure success. This plays a major role in the district’s ability to remain a viable educational and business entity,” said Malatinsky.
Continue reading

Share
Posted in Elections, Holt schools | Comments Off

Fire, police millages key issues in election

By Ryan Kryska
The Holt Journal

Delhi Township Clerk Evan Hope said the current fire and police tax rates of 1.5 mills, which expire at the end of 2014, were voted for in 2010 to counter the drop in state aid due to the recession of Michigan’s economy from 2007 to 2009.

The owner of a $100,000 home is taxed $75 annually for each department, a total of $150 a year for public safety. This rate would remain the same if the issues are approved.

Hope said the millage has been extremely helpful to the departments. The rates have generated $1 million toward both of the departments’ operating costs.

If the proposals are voted down, the departments would each lose $1 million. The lost revenue would be just under half of the planned 2015 budgets of $2.16 million for fire, and $2.49 million for police.

A Delhi firetruck at the township station on Oct. 23, 2014.

A Delhi firetruck at the township station on Oct. 23, 2014.

“Delhi Township would have to make major cuts to the fire and police departments. The millage revenue is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” said Hope. “The major problem with losing out on the millage would be potential cuts to our paramedics and having to look into using more paid-on-call firefighters.”

Continue reading

Share
Posted in Budget, Delhi Township government, Elections, Fire Department, Meetings, Police Department, Public safety | Tagged | Comments Off

District reports north campus is working; objections remain

By Kelsey Block
The Holt Journal

The Holt Board of Education discussed the status of the district’s new north campus during Tuesday’s meeting. The concept of a separate building for 12th-graders generated controversy when it was introduced earlier this year.

High School Principal Mike Willard told the Board that, while he knows not everyone agrees with the idea, a “north campus culture” has developed. The students are taking ownership of self-directed learning, he said.

“The teachers told me out of 25 years of teaching, this is the best year they’ve ever had,” Willard said, adding that the students have also started their own coffee business.

Superintendent Johnny Scott said the senior campus operates on a bell-less schedule and promotes a collaborative work environment.

“The whole premise that the north campus experience is designed around is creating an environment that would prepare kids for life beyond high school that would be similar to a college-like atmosphere,” Scott said.

Since the beginning of the year, the district has been working out the logistical issues associated with the north campus. Holt residents were concerned about students’ ability to get to class on time and cross the road safely. Scott said a shuttle system runs students among the campuses three times a day and students are also able to drive their cars.

“We had to work some logistics out and synchronize times on how classes would begin and end, so there were some nuances we had to work through,” Scott said. The superintendent added that he is currently pleased with the way the north campus is working.

Continue reading

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off