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The Gwinn Community Schools Board of Education has voted to terminate a total of 15 staff and teaching positions. The board accepted the recommendations of District Superintendent Kim VanDrese to eliminate 9 teaching positions and 6 staff positions last night. The staffing cuts were identified at a special District budget work session held last week. The cuts are expected to save the District over $861,000. Those savings and $840,000 from the school’s fund balance will eliminate a 1-point-7 million dollar deficit for next year. The problem is, the district will now be left with just over 40 thousand dollars in their fund balance. The Gwinn School District has lost over 400 students over the last decade and District officials say they have cut all of the budgets and programs they can and are now faced with cutting staff.
A Marquette County father and son who have gained national attention with their effort to change a Michigan High School Athletic Association eligibility policy will testify on the issue in Lansing tomorrow. Dean and Eric Dompierre of Ishpeming will speak before the Senate Education Committee at noon. State Senator Tom Casperson introduced a resolution last week, calling on the agency to adopt a policy that allows an age-eligibility waiver in certain, limited cases. Michigan students currently cannot compete in high school sports if they are older than 19 before September 1. Casperson says the Dompierres will testify on behalf of more than 90,000 people who have signed an on-line petition calling on the MHSAA to adopt an equitable policy like the one 23 other states have, which balances the special needs of disabled students with the need to protect the integrity of high school sports.
The order to forcibly medicate a mentally ill Upper Michigan man charged with placing an explosive device outside the McNamara Federal Building in Detroit has been suspended. The medication of Gary Mikulich of Kingsford by prison officials was approved last month by an order handed down by a magistrate judge after he refused to take the medications willingly. Mikulich was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial after being charged with leaving explosive components outside of the building last year. Federal Judge Allan Edgar will hear an appeal about the original order in Federal Court on Marquette on May 7-th.
The U.P. Regional Blood Center, a service of Marquette General, is in critical need of O-negative and A-negative blood throughout the Upper Peninsula. The need is high in all service areas including Escanaba, Hancock, Iron Mountain, Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie. You can donate blood in the Marquette area at the U.P. Regional Blood Center in Marquette at 427 West College Avenue, adjacent to Marquette General Hospital. Call for an appointment at 225-4610. The U.P. Regional Blood Center has offices in Escanaba, Hancock, Iron Mountain and Sault Ste. Marie as well and officials remind donors that all blood donated stays in the U.P.
M-DOT and the Michigan D-N-R say a federal Transportation Enhancement grant and a grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund will be used to expand the Iron Ore Heritage Trail in Marquette County. The Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority also is making a financial contribution. The project involves the construction of 12 miles of a shared-use pathway by the Marquette County Road Commission that will provide access to and interpret the area’s natural heritage and resources as part of the Marquette Iron Range. The new pathway will start at the Negaunee Senior Citizens Center and run east to County Road 492 near Ely Street, where it will follow historic railroad grades. The trail will continue east, ending with improvements to the former Soo Line Railroad bridge over the US-41/M-28 bypass in Marquette. The total cost of the project is 1-point-4 million dollars including $777,800 in federal funds, $460,000 from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund, and $202,200 in local match from the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority.