Girl scouts give back

Troop members Brenna Mcdonald, Jozie Rafferty, and Abby Hulinek.

Members of Schoolcraft Girl Scout Troop 80302, led by Nikki Hulinek and Toni Rafferty, wanted to make a difference for their community during the holiday season. The girls decided to use some of their proceeds from selling cookies, nuts, and candies to help stock the food pantry at the Eagles Nest in Schoolcraft. The girls realize that this past year has been hard on many families and recognize that supporting the local food pantry could make a direct impact. On December 19, they shopped for food, and when they returned, the girls, with satisfaction and smiles, added their purchases to the shelves of the pantry.

January 26, 1978

By Marilyn Jones, Schoolcraft’s Poet Laureate

The blizzard of ’78, my friend
Is one we’ll remember from beginning to end,
It all started late Wednesday night,
By Thursday morning it was really a sight!

It covered Indiana, Ohio and Michigan too
The snow literally buried Kalamazoo.
The winds gusted with a tremendous might
And created a world entirely white.

It closed up schools, factories and banks
People at home, warm and safe, gave thanks.
Looking outside, we said, “This can’t be!”
Our cars were covered and the swing in our tree.

Our doors wouldn’t open … they were drifted shut
The windows were covered, like living in a hut,
Some of us thought it was kind of fun
We baked, played games and prayed for some sun.

There were others, of course, that didn’t fare well
Stranded travelers will have some stories to tell.
Women had babies, some folks got sick,
Snowmobilers brought supplies over snow 3 ft. thick.

Have you ever waded through snow to your waist?
It’s kind of scary, you don’t go in haste.
You lift a foot then scoot it ahead,
Lose your balance and sink to your head.

Ski slopes were perfect but none could get there
Cross-country skiers got tickets, it didn’t seem fair,
The drifts, would you believe, were 12 ft. high!
We hoped no more white stuff came out of the sky.

On Saturday, the National Guard roared into town
And helicopter pilots were searching the ground,
The big machinery with all of their traction
Shoved all that snow – really went into action.

I’m sure that none of us will ever forget
The biggest blizzard we’ve ever had yet!

Activities at Schoolcraft Community Library

The library is taking a step back from programming for the month of January … BUT, we DO have a lot of great things available that you might not be aware of!

Transparent Language allows you to learn a new language right from your own personal device. Sign up with your library card!

Our 3D printer is available to use! Schedule a print with Tom.

Learn how to crochet, explore the night sky, build a robot, play with magnets, etc. with our Discovery Kits! Check them out!

Come and read in our new reading corner in the children’s room!

Curbside is still available for you. Text 269-820-0434 (Gabbie on our catalog page) if you need this service. We also deliver to homebound patrons who live in our service area.

There’s always lots of great reads on our new book display!

Adult Book Club, preschool story hour, children and adult crafting, 3D print classes and teen programming will resume in February. Stay tuned!

Visit our Facebook page @schoolcraftlibrary or our website

Schoolcraft eyes uses for pandemic relief funds

By Travis Smola

The Schoolcraft School District expects to receive more than $1.3 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding. How to use the pandemic-related relief funds isn’t a simple matter, the board was told.

Finance Director Kendra Drewyor and Elementary Principal Matt Webster gave short presentations on the district’s allocation of three segments of the funds.

The funds are being distributed through three formulas, with Schoolcraft already receiving ESSER II formula funds of nearly $200,000. The district has used some of this money to hire a new guidance counselor for the high school.

Schoolcraft will also receive ESSER funds in excess of $444,000, and ESSER III equalization formula funds in excess of $700,000. Drewyor said compared to COVID-19 relief funds given last year, these new funds come with strict rules on how they can be spent. All use of them must be thoroughly documented, trustees were told.

“There’s a lot of red tape that comes with that one,” Drewyor said of the ESSER III funds. “We can only spend that on a very small subset group of students.”

More specifically, it means they can only spend that money on low-income students, students learning English, racial or ethic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, or students in foster youth care. Within those groups, only small amounts can be spent on summer school and after school programs. Drewyor said she’s been consulting with other districts which received similar ESSER III payments to gather ideas on how to use the funds.

Webster described results of a survey of parents and staff members on other possible uses of the funds. Most of the responses were from parents. Webster said most indicated they would like to see additional staff hired to help accelerate learning. With teachers, the top opinion for using the money was for increasing services for students with risk factors.

“They’re the closest people to those students who have those risk factors, they aware of what those factors are, they know who those kids are, and that was their number one,” Webster said of the teachers.

Improving indoor air quality and air conditioning and providing additional learning time were also popular as people’s second and third choices for how best to use the funds.

In other news, Superintendent Rick Frens noted the district is closely monitoring a staffing shortage. It has had many staff absent recently due to COVID concerns and already planned medical procedures. It is not a huge problem yet, but administrators are keeping an eye on it.

Frens also said the district did a review of safety procedures in the wake of the Oxford High School shooting north of Detroit. He noted administrators are looking at ways to improve internal communications. Frens suggested the possibility of a radio system and possibly the addition of security cameras. He noted some of the ESSER funds might be used for these purposes.

While the district hasn’t had any threats against any building, Frens said the staff would treat any as a real threat. He encouraged parents to closely monitor what their children are doing and saying. Frens said “just joking” would not be acceptable as an excuse.

“We will take those threats seriously,” Frens said.

Schoolcraft boys dominant against Vicksburg

By Travis Smola

The Schoolcraft boys’ varsity basketball team opened the season with a one-sided 68-26 win over the Vicksburg Bulldogs.

The Eagles scored their first points less than 10 seconds into the game, and never relinquished the lead after that thanks to excellent passing, blocking and shooting. For Head Coach Randy Small, it was a relief to see after a bevy of preseason issues.

“Our biggest struggle for the last couple weeks is having 10 guys in practice. We’ve had injuries and illness,” Small said. “Last night was the first time we were able to go five on five, so that’s a good sign.”
No less than four Schoolcraft players – Tyler DeGroote, Eli DeVisser, Ty Rykse, and Shane Ryske – had at least 10 points on the night. DeGroote led the way with 18. After the first period it was 21-9 in Schoolcraft’s favor. Nolan Strake, Asher Puhalski, and Tucker Walther also played a key role in the scoring for the Eagles.

On the Vicksburg side, Dylan Zemitans and Carter Brown led the scoring with eight points each. Grant Anderson, Garrett Schramer, and RJ Vallier also got on the board. The Bulldogs had opportunities but saw many of their shot attempts blocked by Eagles defenders. That aggressive defense helped the Eagles to shut down the Bulldogs completely in the second as the Eagles went up 38-9.

“I think the first game is kind of like a scrimmage, everyone is a little bit fast, everyone gets playing a little too fast,” Small said. ”So sometimes it’s good to have a little bit of cushion to work with before you have an opportunity to make some mistakes and have it not be so glaring. Overall, I thought we did a good job getting a lot of deflections.”

The Bulldogs got back on the scoreboard in the third, but at the end of that period the gap had widened to 58-18, virtually eliminating all chances of a comeback. The Eagles slowed down the attack and defense in the fourth, but the Bulldogs only managed to put eight more points on the board.

The Eagles and Bulldogs both dropped their next matchups of the season. Vicksburg lost to Sturgis 46-28. Schoolcraft lost to Parchment 55-49 the following week, although Small feels the Eagles have a good chance to go deep in the playoffs if they perform at home.

“If we win here that will give us an opportunity to be in contention in the league,” Small said. “From there, it’s preparing for tournament. Every year we hope we can make a deep run, but districts is the hardest part of the tournament to get out of, and we’re in a tough one.”