Manistee expands affordable early childhood education

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More three- and four-year old children will benefit from a quality preschool experience due to a new program for families.  Seventeen partial tuition scholarships were awarded through the collaborative Manistee County Preschool Scholarship Program.

"The research and evidence about the positive benefits of a quality preschool experience are overwhelming," said Patti Borucki, Manistee's Great Start Collaborative Coordinator.  "Through this new scholarship program, we are providing a growth and learning experience for Manistee County children - an experience that research shows will dramatically improve their odds of success in future years."

Preschools become eligible to receive scholarships for their families by entering into an agreement involving state licensure and a three-star rating in the Great Start to Quality Star Rating System.  A committee reviews applications from interested families and scores them according to predetermined criteria including financial need and other factors. Launch Manistee Program Coordinator Mary Ann Behm said “This new preschool scholarship fund is accelerating the pace of Launch Manistee toward achieving our early childhood goal -- that by 2020, all three- and four-year old children in Manistee County will have access to a range of options for quality preschool experiences regardless of ability to pay,".

Ludington chooses Ferguson-Holman, Vanderwall, and Huizinga

Court House

Last night saw close elections in not only the national race, but our very own local races. Ludington decided on Kaye Ferguson Holman as mayor, beating Cheri Stibitz-Rozell  by only 8 votes.  Gary Castonia garnered a respectable 741 votes in his bid for mayor.

Les Johnson was able to retain his 3rd Ward City Council seat with a strong margin. Tom Rotta received 159 votes to Les Johnson's 406.

Brandy Henderson is the new councilor at larger.  She wins with 1899 votes to Dave Buskirk’s 1222.

Ludington's Curt VanderWall defeated Democrat Dan Scripps in the race for the 101st District State House of Representatives seat receiving 24,642 votes to Scripps 20,531 votes.

Bill Huizenga defended his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Michigan's 2nd District, against Dennis Murphy. Bill Huizenga received 6,617 votes to Dennis Murphy’s 3,41. Jack Bergman took the 1st District U.S. House seat with 2,258 votes to Lon Johnson’s ,1,442.

The fire millage that would cover fire department costs for the Mason County Rural Fire Authority for the next year passed. The voting machine at Lakeview School malfunctioned.  This delayed final tabulations until 12:30 Wednesday morning.

Boomerang-ing students back

Boomerang event

West Shore Community College welcomed students to a Boomerang event yesterday at the recreation center. Director of Buisness Opportunity Center and event coordinator Crystel Young said, "Boomerang is a career exploration fair. Most kids choose a career from the five people closest to them, and we have's some amazing things going on in Mason, Manistee, Lake, and Oceana Counties. Students can come and see so many options in regards to different businesses as well as different opportunities within those businesses. There's not necessarily a job now, but the idea is that students go away [to higher education] and then come back and have a better idea of what opportunities are available in our area."

2nd District Congressional Candidates speak at forum

Ludington Daily News and Ludington & Scottville chamber of commerce hosted a candidate forum last night at the ludington area Center for the arts. Dennis Murphy and Bill Huizenga are running for Michigan's 2nd District Congressional seat.  The forum opened with social security. Huizinga suggested changing the way social security is set up in order to ensure social security is a sustainable program. Murphy’s plan includes “leapfrogging” over to the wealthy and take a .1% surcharge to help social security.

In regards to Obamacare, Murphy wants to see tweaking to the affordable care act by changing enrollment period to closer to tax time, Huizenga stood by his previous votes to repeal and encouraged the audience to check out the GOP Healthcare plan at

Bill Huizenga admitted that budget cuts would not balance the national budget said that taxes would not need to be raised in order to address the national debt. Murphy said that taxes can be raised on some people, but not the middle class in order to address debt.

 On immigration, Huizenga said he supports a touchback visa, Murphy focused on getting people documented and then complete background checks.  

On foreign policy, both candidates agreed that Kurdish forces should be supported to address conflicts in Iraq and Syria. When identifying the largest foreign threat, Mr. Murphy identified Russia as a concern, Congressman Huizenga said Nuclear proliferation with Iran and North Korea.

The value of technical and mechanical skills were lauded by Congressman Huizenga as he spoke on the increasing costs related to college, saying “being a welder is honorable.” Mr. Murphy drew an emotional response from the crowd regarding the upcoming overtime rule after saying, “If you can’t find a better way to manage your workforce than making somebody work 60 hours a week for 25,000 a year, I think you’ve got a problem with your business model.”

Both candidates feel strongly regarding gun rights. Mr. Murphy told a personal story of how he used his second amendment right to protect himself and his family in the past.  The forum concluded with each candidate expressing thier love for West Michigan as they talked about what they would want Washington to understand about their congressional district. A complete video of the forum will be available on

Tree stand accident in Newaygo County

On Sunday it was reported that a man had fallen from a hunting tree stand and CPR was in progress. Michigan State Police, Hart post were dispatched to the scene in Ensley Township. Domingo Castro Jr, of Sand Lake, had been working on building a tree stand with friends and family when he lost his balance and fell from the top of the tree stand.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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