Deal, Grant and Lewis win school seats

By Katie Krall and Tiago Zielske
The Williamston Post

Nancy Deal, Timothy Grant and Christopher Lewis won 6-year seats on Williamston’s school board Tuesday.

Deal pulled away with 22.25 percent of votes. Grant secured 17.17 percent of votes and Lewis finished with 14.85 percent. After the election is certified, the candidates will need to sign documents accepting their positions, but the three new board members won’t begin their terms until January.

Deal said that when she heard the news, she was excited.

“I am very humbled and honored to be voted into the position as a Williamston school board member,” Deal said. “I am also grateful for all the support I received during my campaign.”
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Township voters reject road millage

By Katie Krall
The Williamston Post

Williamstown Township voters denied a millage proposal for secondary road preservation, reconstruction and maintenance in the Nov. 4 election. Those opposed totaled 54.2 percent.

The proposal would have increased taxes by as much as 1.5 mills. This translates to $1.50 per $1,000 of a home’s taxable value. The increase would have lasted for 10 years. If the millage was levied the full 1.5 mills, the township would have collected an estimated $328,342 in 2014.

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Williamston cleans up charter language

By Katie Krall and Tiago Zielske
The Williamston Post

Voters in the City of Williamston approved three charter amendments Tuesday.

Those in favor totaled 56.18 percent on the Deputy Administrative Officers Proposal, which will amend Section 6.6, Chapter 6 of the Charter. This amendment will allow the City Council to authorize deputy administrative officers and those same officers will be appointed and removed by the city manager.

The next two Charter amendments were accepted by wider margins.

Charter Amendment Section 6.4, Chapter 6. passed with 75.81 percent of the vote. This amendment will delete obsolete references to the City Justice of the Peace and City Justice Court in the listed clerk’s responsibilities.

Voters approved Charter Amendment section 8.9 by 78.9 percent, which will make claims against the city for injury to persons and property in accordance with state law.

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Even in a rainy, off-year election, voting matters

By Kirsten Rintelmann
The Williamston Post

According to Williamston School Board member and Township Clerk Ernie Gaffner, Election Day rain did not dampen mid-afternoon voter turnout in precincts one and two.

Williamstonrain

“Voting has been pretty steady all day in both precincts,” said Gaffner. “People are serious about their voting.”

Although it was a non-presidential election, Gaffner said that what’s on the ballot is still very important. Aside from gubernatorial candidates, Williamston School Board election candidates were also being elected.

Gaffner said that voting on the school board not only determines who fill those seats, but it also affects other things in the district.

“The majority of registered voters do not have children in schools,” said Gaffner, “but things that happen in the schools also reflect on the community.”

According to Gaffner, an example is the direct relationship between how well a school performs and the property values in a community. The better a school is, the higher the property values.

City Councilman Ben Stiffler said there are differences among candidates and that “They should be voted for because they are the most qualified.” said Stiffler. “They should also be someone who is well educated and knowledgeable in the position they want.”

Although voting numbers were expected to be much lower than in a presidential election, voters “need to be a part of it because every single vote does count,” said Gaffner. “If the person they want is on the ballot and they didn’t vote, then they really shouldn’t complain.”

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School board candidates make their cases

By Katie Krall and Tiago Zielske
The Williamston Post

Vacant seats on the school board in Williamston will be filled Nov. 4. Three of the six candidates will win 6-year terms. One candidate has dropped out of the race for a 6-year term seat, so there will be seven names on the ballot. Jeffrey S. West is running uncontested for a 4-year term.

Each of the six active candidates for 6-year seats talks about their qualifications and aspirations as a school board member. Answers have been edited for length.

Nancy Deal

Q: Why do you feel qualified?
A: I know education. I understand and can speak about the requirements the federal and state government place on districts. I know specifically what Williamston is doing to meet those guidelines and ensure that ALL students receive an appropriate education. I know the issues and can address them specifically, not talk around them.

Q: What is the biggest challenge facing Williamston Community Schools?
A: Williamston Community Schools’ challenge will be to keep the integrity of our high-achieving programs while staying within our budget. As long as we continue to produce high-achieving students, we will continue to grow as a district and community.
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Rolling Video Games coming to Williamston High School

By Tiago Zielske
The Williamston Post

A new attraction could roll in for Williamston High School’s home football playoff.

Board Member Charles Hasemann presented the school board with the fundraising idea Oct. 20.

Rolling Video Games is a game truck trailer with four widescreen high-definition TVs that cover the walls of the trailer, with built-in vibration motors synched to the on-screen action and speakers in the front and back.

Hasemann said, “At events where there are lots of families with lots of kids who aren’t participating in the event…it gets all the siblings engaged in something worthwhile to the kids.”

The school board wanted to get the trailer for the last home game but missed their opportunity, so they will have the trailer come in for the first playoff game for the Hornets.

It will be parked by one of the end zones and kids will be able to buy a wristband to get access for the evening.

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Williamston High to be national model

By Katie Krall
The Williamston Post

Williamston High School will be a nationwide model for Project Lead the Way. A broadcast team visited staff and students on Oct. 8 to produce a video that will be used to show other school districts how the curriculum works.

Project Lead the Way is a Dart-funded curriculum that focuses on engineering. Courses address the growing need for highly skilled technology workers.

Chain of a pulley machine

Pulley machine built by Williamston High students in Principles of Engineering

“It’s a hands-on, practical approach. Not theoretical, not lecture based,” Williamston High School Principal Jeffrey Thoenes said. “Kids are learning by doing.”

Members of the Dart Foundation wanted to create a video to demonstrate Project Lead the Way to other schools and districts. The video team interviewed faculty and students and documented what was happening in these classes.

Two courses are offered at the high school level: Engineering Design with Computers and
Principles of Engineering. Each is year-long elective. Thoenes said Williamston High has a computer lab specifically for Engineering Design with Computers and students create 3D designs of parts and materials.

“It’s really quite fascinating,” he said. Continue reading

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Williamston Theater receives grant

By Tiago Zielske
The Williamston Post

The Williamston Theatre has won the National Theatre Company Grant honor from the American Theatre Wing.

Best known for being the creator of The Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards, the American Theatre Wing awarded 12 theaters this year with its National Theatre Company Grant.

Williamston Theatre has been awarded $12,000 to help with general operations.

The Williamston Theater will be premiering The Grave Digger, A Frankenstein Story from Sept. 25 to Nov. 2.

The Williamston Theater will be premiering The Grave Digger, A Frankenstein Story from Sept. 25 to Nov. 2.

According to the American Theatre Wing website, companies chosen to receive the grants have “articulated a distinctive mission, cultivated an audience and nurtured a community of artists in ways that strengthen the quality, diversity, and dynamism of American Theatre.”

“It’s great to get this validation of our work. We’re in terrific company, as the other theaters recognized are doing some really groundbreaking work and having a great impact on their respective communities,” said Development Director Emily Sutton-Smith.

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Trick-or-treat with your dog downtown

By Kirsten Rintelmann
The Williamston Post

Sheri Munce asking her dog, Cami, to shake.

Sheri Munce asking her dog Cami to shake.

The fifth annual Trick-or-Treat with Your Dog will take place in downtown Williamston on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 2-4 p.m.

It is a fundraiser for the non-profit organization For Better Independence Assistance Dogs, which trains facility and assistance dogs. According to Gary Spanski of FBI Dogs, dogs and their owners will have the opportunity to go store-to-store and get a treat— just like children go house-to-house on Halloween. A map locating all participating stores will be handed out. Some stores will have their own employees’ hand out goodies and others will have bowls of treats set out.

Spanski said additional events will take place at McCormick Park from 2-5 p.m. Some
include raffles, games, bobbing for hot dogs/tennis balls and an agility course. There will also be contests such as best costume, dog/owner who drove the farthest, best trick and largest dog. Judging will begin at 4:30 p.m and prizes will be donated by Joey’s Pet Outfitters and Caraway Kennels.
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Count day at williamston high school shows increase in student numbers

Williamston High School students catching the bus.

Williamston High School students catching the bus.

By Kirsten Rintelmann
The Williamston Post

On Wednesday, Oct. 1, the Williamston School District held its first of two count days for the 2014-2015 school year.

Count Day establishes how much funding a public school will receive and each student that attends class determines how much total money it will get. For public schools, including Williamston High School, Count Day is really important.

The money goes into the general fund and split into spending areas. According to Jeffrey Thoenes, principal, 80 percent pays staff salaries. The remaining 20 percent is used for district spending that includes but is not limited to lighting, utilities, maintenance, plowing and technology.

Exact pupil count for this year has not been determined, but according to Thoenes, the number of students attending WHS is approximately 575. This is more than last year’s count where the number was roughly 560. If WHS increased it’s student count more than 20 students, this would also mean more money into the general fund.
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