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Students help Teachers

The Community Foundation for Oceana County’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) awarded funds to 100% of the teacher mini-grants submitted this spring. Additional resources beyond the youth fund were provided by the Mary Ann Peterson “Grandma Pete” Fund, the Ralph’s Kids Fund (in memory of Ralph Horton) and an anonymous donor. “We invite our donor advisors to help co-fund these mini-grants so we can fulfill as many needs as possible. The anonymous donor who provided an extra $500, based on a Facebook post encouraging teachers to apply, was just the cherry on top!” said Executive Director Tammy Carey.

“We connect teachers with a bit of extra financial resources they need,” says YAC President Cali Kinstner. “Our members enjoy reviewing these proposals and bring so much to the deliberation table given their own learning experiences in the local schools.”

The Youth Advisory Council has a 43-member board. The Foundation overseas this ongoing, community youth engagement program that involves a cross section of Oceana high school students chosen by their peers. Each year, the YAC reviews and recommends over $20,000 worth of grant awards that are awarded from the Oceana Foundation’s Youth Fund. In 2018, the allocation towards the Teacher Mini Grant program increased to $5,000.

Oceana public and private school teachers are invited to apply twice a year for mini-grants of up to $250.   Grants are not awarded for basic, everyday supplies.

For the spring 2018 round, mini grants were awarded to teachers in the following Oceana schools for these projects:

Steps Toward a Smoke Free Campus

West Shore Community College has announced the WSCC Student Senate will join a national movement to address smoking and tobacco use at college campuses throughout the U.S. The Student Senate will ask students, faculty and administration to support the adoption of a 100 percent smoke- or tobacco-free policy.

        “We are truly excited by the student led effort to make West Shore a safe, healthy and productive environment,” said President Scott Ward. “The health benefits of reducing secondhand smoke exposure are invaluable and could also help students prepare for the workforce where smoke-free policies are already the norm.”

           Over the next 17 months, the Student Senate will engage the campus community to address tobacco use. A taskforce will be formed to oversee the project, assess tobacco use behavior and attitudes, identify a treatment plan for current smokers and develop a policy. Two students will develop and lead educational efforts to build a movement to become a tobacco-free campus. Any policy change must be approved by college’s board of trustees.

           The Student Senate efforts are part of a growing trend to clean the air on campuses. Currently, more than 2,100 higher education institutions in the United States have gone smoke- or tobacco-free.

           West Shore was one of 18 minority-serving institutions and community colleges that will receive funds and technical support from Truth Initiative®, the nation’s largest nonprofit public health organization dedicated to making tobacco use a thing of the past. Over the past three years, Truth Initiative has partnered with 135 colleges, reaching more than 1.2 million students and 275,000 faculty and staff across 35 states.

        “With 99 percent of smokers starting before age 26, college campuses are critical platforms for preventing young adults from starting tobacco use, aiding those current tobacco users in quitting and reducing exposure to secondhand smoke for all,” said Robin Koval, CEO and president of Truth Initiative. “We are looking forward to supporting West Shore Community College’s efforts to make smoking and tobacco use a thing of the past.”

           Today, 38 million Americans ages 18 and above still smoke — including 21% in Michigan — and tobacco use remains the number one cause of preventable death in this country. Research also shows that there are dire health consequences for nonsmokers too. Secondhand smoke exposure causes cancer and cardiovascular disease among other secondhand smoke diseases, which are responsible for more than 41,000 deaths among nonsmoking adults in the U.S.

           Minority-serving institutions and community colleges tend to serve students who are at greater risk for tobacco use, including low-income, racial and ethnic minority and first-generation students.

           “The grant from Truth Initiative has set us up for success and I’m positive we can achieve our goals,” said Lisa Stankowski, who will oversee the administration of the grant and campus wide initiative. “We are going to hit the ground running with our plan so that we can finally take a breath of fresh air on campus.”

Citizens invited to collaborate on response to chronic wasting disease

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The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Natural Resources Commission will host a series of public engagement meetings on chronic wasting disease – a fatal central nervous system disease found in deer, elk and moose. The meetings will provide an opportunity for the commission and department to hear suggestions and observations from hunters and residents interested in the health of the state’s deer herd.

Vicki Pontz, chair of the Natural Resources Commission, said that both the commission and the DNR are focused on achieving specific CWD management objectives that include:

  • Slowing the spread of the disease.

  • Achieving a low prevalence rate.

  • Preventing the disease from reaching new areas.

  • Maintaining Michigan’s rich hunting traditions.

“Hunter and citizen involvement and support of efforts to contain and eradicate chronic wasting disease are critical,” Pontz said. “We want to hear from our stakeholders. We are asking them to share their thoughtful opinions on any new hunting regulations they believe may be needed before the start of the 2018 deer hunting season.”

At the meetings, DNR staff members will provide a CWD update and then collect attendees’ written ideas on how best to address this issue. Those unable to attend a meeting may participate in a web-based opportunity available starting April 10 at michigan.gov/cwd.

CWD public engagement meetings will take place in:

  • Bay City, April 10 – 6 to 8 p.m., Delta College Lecture Theater, Room G-160, 1961 Delta Road in University Center.

  • Cadillac, April 11 – 6 to 8 p.m., Wexford Center, 1320 North Mitchell.

  • Kalamazoo, April 12 – 6 to 8 p.m., Kalamazoo County Expo Center, 2900 Lake St.

  • Detroit, April 17 – 6 to 8 p.m., Doubletree Detroit-Dearborn, 5801 Southfield Freeway.

  • Rockford, April 18 – 6 to 8 p.m., Rockford Fine Arts Auditorium, 4100 Kroes St. NE.

  • DeWitt, April 19 – 6 to 8 p.m., DeWitt High School Auditorium, 13601 S. Panther Drive.

  • Marquette, April 24 – 6 to 8 p.m., Marquette High School, 1203 W. Fair Ave.

  • Iron Mountain, April 25 – 6 to 8 p.m. (central time), Bay College, 2801 North US 2.

  • Gaylord, May 1 – 6 to 8 p.m., Ellison Place, 150 Dale Drive.

  • Newberry, May 2 – 6 to 8 p.m., Tahquamenon High School Auditorium, 700 Newberry Ave.

  • Houghton, May 3 – 6 to 8 p.m., Magnuson Hotel, 820 Shelden Ave.

“Michigan’s hunters have successfully partnered with the DNR for many decades on wildlife and conservation challenges and opportunities,” said DNR Director Keith Creagh. “We know they care deeply about the long-term health and vitality of Michigan’s wildlife, and right now the state’s wild deer population faces no more serious issue than chronic wasting disease.”

Since May 2015, CWD-positive deer have been found in Clinton, Ingham, Ionia, Kent and Montcalm counties. As of mid-January 2018, 57 free-ranging deer in those counties have tested positive for chronic wasting disease. CWD has not been found in the Upper Peninsula; however, the disease has been discovered in Wisconsin, approximately 40 miles from the western Upper Peninsula border.

Since the first CWD finding, the DNR has taken quick, thoughtful action based on Michigan’s comprehensive CWD response and surveillance plan.

Meeting information, additional ways to provide input on CWD management, the latest testing numbers and more information are available at michigan.gov/cwd.

Locals March for Our Lives

There were two local demonstrations this weekend protesting as a result of the school shootings that have taken place across the country. Attendees report the Manistee March for Our Lives had a small but vocal group. Kathy Wiejaczka, who is running for 101st Seat in the Michigan House, was in attendance and spoke to the group. The candidate opposing Rep Curt VanderWall for the Senate seat, Mike Taillard, also spoke in Manistee. In Ludington approximately  70 people gathered in front of the courthouse with signs, garnering both waves and rude gestures. The student led movement had a lack of youth participation, with many questioning why. Some cited spring break for lack of students, others questioned parental support.

A Brush Fire

Sunday evening the Fountain Fire Department responded to a grass fire on Sugar Grove Road. This is a reminder of the current burn ban in Effect. 15 counties in the center of the state has been issued a burn ban by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

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The ban prohibits leaf and debris burning due to dry conditions. Included in the ban are Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Mason, Lake, and 12 other counties.You can see the complete map online at http://www.dnr.state.mi.us/burnpermits/

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