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The Share reader comments online Look for In Your Voice at the bottom of the story Towne Courier © 2010 Lansing Community Newspapers TM Your very own newspaper serving East Lansing, Okemos, Haslett, and Meridian Township Vol. 47 - No. 44 E.L. schools to get budget boost Magical moments Woman, 84, relives her horse-riding days By DAWN PARKER By DAWN PARKER W hen Jean Barber was a young girl, she had a beau named Tony. The Lansing native saw her friend once a week, when her family traveled to Saranac for Sunday dinners at her aunt Hattie’s farm. Tony – tall, dark and handsome – knew the sound of her family’s car, and when it pulled into the driveway he would kick at his stall door. The romance, you see, was the age-old story of a girl and a horse. “Tony was the horse that I bonded with,” Barber said. “It was just love.” Tony and Jean had many adventures, including going into the hills to help bring in her aunt’s cattle. “That wasn’t work for me – it was fun,” Barber said. Now 84 and a resident of Burcham Hills Retirement Center, Barber got to rekindle that love affair with horses Nov. 16 when Beekman Therapeutic Riding Center manager Janet Gross brought her horse, Ano, to East Lansing. Ano, a 12-year-old Haflinger Therapeutic Riding Horse, and Gross made the trip to give Barber her “Experience of a Lifetime”. The Burcham program, which began informally last winter, aims to grant one resident’s wish per month. “They are so pleased to just have a day,” said Alexis Schneider, Bur- November 21, 2010 Photograph by Dawn Parker Burcham Hills Retirement Center resident Jean Barber received the “Experience of a Lifetime” with a visit from Ano, a Haflinger therapeutic riding horse. cham’s life enrichment coordinator. Barber was enchanted by the chestnut horse with the long blond mane, petting Ano and hand-feeding him treats. When the treats were gone, Ano stubbornly looked for more. “You leave my fingers alone!” Barber said with a laugh after the horse nuzzled at her hand in search of more nibbles. The experience was everything she could have imagined. “I’m just so thrilled. It’s just marvelous, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” Barber said. “I never realized I could see a horse again.” Gross – who said she hopes Barber will be able to achieve her ultimate dream of riding – was also pleased. “She made me very happy,” Gross said of Barber. That’s the effect the Experience of a Lifetime program hopes to gives Burcham residents. And it gets even better – next month’s recipient is being flown to Texas for a holiday visit with their 97-year-old sister, who is in a nursing home. “(We’ve told residents) that it’s so important to never stop dreaming and to never stop living their dreams,” Schneider said. EAST LANSING – East Lansing schools will soon recoup operating funds back from the state. Thanks to recent action taken by the Michigan Legislature, East Lansing is one of six districts in Michigan to see the return of so-called “20j” money. The other districts involved are all in Wayne and Oakland counties – Avondale, Clarenceville, Livonia, Harper Woods and Northville. Under the terms of House Bill 6212, East Lansing is slated to receive a bump of $182 per student, giving them a per-pupil student aid allowance of $8,489. The legislation would give the district an additional $660,000 in funding for the 2011-12 school year. “Michigan schools have endured some tough cuts, and all of our schools should get the resources they need to educate our kids and better prepare them for the workforce,” Sen. Gretchen Whitmer, D-East Lansing, said in a statement. “East Lansing schools have had their funding cut earlier this year, and this bill will help provide more money for our classrooms and our kids.” East Lansing was one of numerous 20j districts statewide to receive additional state funds following the passage of Proposal A in 1994. While it would not restore the district’s full 20j funding, which was $8,621 per student in 2008-09, an analysis of the bill prepared by the House Appropriations Committee notes the additional money would “address the inequity wherein voters in these six districts are paying more mills than voters in comparably-funded nonhold harmless districts.” The veto in 2009-10 of 20j funding meant the district’s residents were paying more in millages than residents of comparably-funded districts, according to the analysis. East Lansing director of finance Richard Pugh said he expects the district will net just $420,000 of that money. As the district’s foundation allowance rises, Pugh explained, it loses a portion of state aid funds allocated to non-resident (School of Choice) students. “The additional revenue will certainly help the district as it addresses its 2011-12 budget,” Pugh said. Fall Savings Specials! SAVE UP TO LJ-0100054530 MECHANICAL, INC. 3,275 $ * Call us for details* (517) 327-7777 • How to reach us: Advertising: 517-377-1141 Circulation: 866-226-1812 News: 517-541-2510 Classifieds: 877-475-SELL or 877-391-SELL

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