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CITY/STATE

THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2011

IN BRIEF Awaiting landfill session results

The Montmorency-Oscoda-Alpena Solid Waste Authority held a special meeting on Wednesday to communicate with its attorney about litigation taking place involving the landfill and former engineering firm GZA. The board went into closed session for about an hour during the meeting to seek legal advice from its attorney about what direction to take. The two parties had a meeting several weeks ago in which representatives from GZA, the landfill and the attorney met to discuss possible solutions to the legal disagreement. The commissioners had no comment about what took place during the executive session or where things currently stand in the matter.

PI comm. to discuss reports

The Presque Isle County Commissioners will meet today at 9:30 a.m. Agenda items include the drain commissioner’s annual report, the introduction of a 4-H program associate, an MSU Extension summer recreation program commitment, a resolution for the industrial hemp organization, discussion on boilers and air conditioning maintenance, a K9 Unit proposal from the sheriff department, the 2010 medical examiner’s report and payment of a retainer fee and the 2010 Huron Under Cover Narcotics Team report.

Intro to kayaking class

Plaza Pool is hosting community education classes brought by Friends of the Plaza Pool May 14 from 12-2 p.m. at 3303 S. Third Avenue. This month’s topic is introduction to kayaking. There will be a lecture followed by in-pool learning. For more information visit www.alpenaplazapool.com

Weather delays water shutoff

Due to inclement weather, the construction scheduled for Tuesday has been canceled and rescheduled for today from 7 a.m. until approximately 5 p.m. (weather permitting). Crews will be working in the intersection of Tuttle Street and Washington Avenue. The following areas will be affected: Tuttle Street between Washington and Eighth avenues. Anticipate your water needs before water is shut off; when water is restored refrain from drinking, doing laundry, washing dishes or food preparation, as water may be discolored. When water is restored there will be a boil water notice until two consecutive bacteria samples have been approved. This will take at least two days.

4 of 7 treated after lightning strike discharged

PORTAGE (AP) — Four of seven people treated at Kalamazoo hospitals after lightning struck a park have been discharged, and the other three were listed in good condition Wednesday. One of the seven people suffered cardiac arrest when lightning struck in Westfield Park in Portage on Tuesday. Pablo Soria, 33; Fernando Aguirre, 22; and Oscar Garcia, 20, were listed in good condition, and two children had been treated and released from Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo, said spokeswoman Debbie Pawlicki. Two other victims, who were taken to Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, were treated and released, spokesman Lew Tysman said Wednesday.

THE ALPENA NEWS ∫ 5A

Szczesniak named Zonta Woman of the Year By DIANE SPEER

News Lifestyles Editor

ALPENA — As is its customary practice, the Zonta Club of Alpena pulled off another surprise coup by naming an unsuspecting Barb Szczesniak as this year’s Zonta Woman of the Year. Szczesniak attended Wednesday’s banquet, and along with many others in the Holiday Inn banquet room, was waiting patiently to hear who would be named the 2011 honoree. Unbeknownst to her, many of her family members and friends knew ahead of time that she was the recipient. They were hiding in the wings, ready to congratulate her. “I was thinking, why would it be me? I’m the least likely candidate,” Szczesniak said, shortly after being singled out for her many volunteer contributions with various groups and causes in the community. This year marked Zonta’s 45th Woman of the Year program, which is held traditionally on Administrative Professionals Day. Mistress of ceremonies Joyce McCoy praised Szczesniak, an Alpena native, for the difference she makes through her volunteering. “Since returning to Alpena in 1996, Barb has placed her energy and talents in promoting the Alpena community through her extensive volunteer work,” McCoy said. “She has learned to do that while also balancing work and her family. Barb is one of the most dedicated and hardworking volunteers I have ever known. It’s always a pleasure to work with her because you know that she will go above and beyond to ensure the success of any activity/event that she is involved with.” Szczesniak previously served as president of the Tray Club, where she assisted in raising funds for Alpena Regional Medical Center through the club’s annual Tour of Homes. She also was the originator of a first-time Chocolate Extrav-

News Photo by Diane Speer

The 2011 Zonta Woman of the Year, Barb Szczesniak, is surrounded by family during Wednesday’s banquet. Back row left are son-in-law and daughter Doug and Stacy Chroninger, husband Lee, the honoree, son-in-law and daughter Shane and Ashley O’Keefe. In the front row are grandchildren Rachel and Taylor Chroninger and Brady and Regan O’Keefe. aganza event for that organization. She has been an active Project Blue Light volunteer for the past six years, helping to plan the annual ceremony that memorializes officers who have been killed in the line of duty. Her nephew, Ryan Seguin, a Broward County, Fla., deputy sheriff, was struck and killed in 2006 while making a traffic stop. In 2007, Szczesniak’s family established the Deputy Ryan Seguin Memorial Golf Scramble. She is actively involved in all aspects of this annual fundraiser, which provides financial support to area law enforcement agencies and scholarships to area students. She has been a member of

the board of directors at Art in the Loft since 2005. In that capacity, she has held the office of secretary for six years and chaired or cochaired many events, including Glamour & Gourmet in the Gallery and Taste of the Town. Additionally, Szczesniak served on the first Passport to the Arts project in 2009. This group created a highly successful collaboration of arts organizations in the region that was selected by the Michigan Municipal League and the City of Alpena as a model program for other communities to follow. Szczesniak also was a member of the Alpena Tri/County Zonta Club from 2000-07 and served as the club’s president, secretary

and board member. “I’m very honored and very humbled to join this group of women who have received this award, and I’m not quite sure why the honor was bestowed on me,” said Szczesniak, in brief remarks made after receiving a bouquet of yellow roses and a crystal vase from Zonta President Penny Boldrey and Banquet Chair Luciana King. Szczesniak said she didn’t really begin volunteering until she returned to Alpena after having lived out of the area for a number of years. “I have to thank my best friends from Alpena Regional Medical Center — Kay (Gonyea), Barb (Beamish) and Al Moe,” Szczesniak said. “They are the best volunteers in this

whole community, and I have to say I learned it from them.” She also thanked her family and her longtime group of stitching friends for all they have meant to her. This year’s banquet theme was “Making a Word of Difference One Person at a Time.” Among previous recipients in attendance were Cynthia Taylor (1983), Donna Beck (1991), Bronwyn Woolman (1992), Mickie Frongillo (1994), Rita Tibbals (1997), Florence Stibitz (1998), Judy Ableidinger (2000), Ilene Larson (2004), Avis Hinks (2005), Donna Precord (2007), Annie Olsen (2008), Marie Deno (2009) and Kathy Garant (2010).

Hillman Elementary School Invasive plant overcomes risk factors of low species need to be addressed, controlled student achievement By CRYSTAL NELSON

By PATTY RAMUS

News Staff Writer

HILLMAN — Hillman Elementary School is beating the odds. The school is one of 135 schools in the state of Michigan that are finding ways to overcome identified risk factors to low student achievement, according to the Michigan Department of Education. Interim Superintendent Shawn Olson received an email from the Department of Education last week and is excited about the news. She said the elementary school was selected because its socio-economic status is an identified risk factor – approximately 85 percent of students receive free and reduced lunch – yet the students performed well on the MEAP test. “We have worked very hard. We have a great staff here, we have exceptional students, and we have parents who are committed to their child’s education. I think all three of those go hand-in-hand,” she said. Olson said because she has been in the district for eight years, teachers and students know what to expect, and together they’re beating the odds. According to Olson, the state’s mandated curriculum is moving from grade level content expectations to core standards. The district has worked closely with the Alpena-MontmorencyAlcona Educational Service District to align those standards per grade level so teachers know what students need to learn in that school year. Kindergarten teacher Dahna Burrone thinks it’s amazing the district is able to beat the odds and is proud the school is able to provide for students in a way that they’re enjoying learning. “As a kindergarten teacher, we set the foundation for ongoing learning and to enjoy learning,” she said, adding that to be confident learners in the first

News Staff Writer

News Photo by Crystal Nelson

Dahna Burrone, kindergarten teacher at Hillman Elementary School, helps students with their vocabulary words. Burrone is one of many staff at the elementary school who played a role in helping the school beat the odds. grade, students need to know beginning reading skills, how to count to 100, and how to add and subtract numbers. Fifth and sixth grade science teacher Maria Meyer does a lot of hands-on activities in her classroom to make learning fun and keep the student’s interested. “I think that bringing more activities into the classroom and making things more interesting makes kids want to learn,” she said. “It makes school a bit more interesting, and they seem to enjoy it a lot more and they seem to do better.” Ken Rundell, fifth and sixth grade math teacher, said teachers work hard to keep up with the curriculum and state standards and the students also work hard to understand the curriculum. He makes sure to connect with the kids so they don’t think they need to do the work just because but that they’re going to use the information in the future. According to Olson, curriculum documents are reviewed frequently, and the most important thing that’s

done is to assess where the students are. She said MEAP scores are the main assessment examined. Olson and the teachers will perform gap analysis on the scores where they perform an item analysis on each question. The school also offers an individualized curriculum. Olson said the school also has paraprofessionals and a response to intervention specialists who provide interventions with students who aren’t quite mastering a specific benchmark. The district also takes advantage of any professional development the AMA ESD has to offer and a school success worker who is also a part of the school’s success. “I think parents are a big key in all of this because they know what’s expected of their children,” she said. “We have high expectations here, and they know that and they support that.” Crystal Nelson can be reached via e-mail at cnelson@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5693.

PRESQUE ISLE — The advisory committee for Negwegon State Park, Rockport and Thompson’s Harbor learned on Tuesday about some agencies’ collaborative efforts to address invasive plant species. Secretary Jeff Shea said the committee heard a presentation from Daria Hyde of the Michigan Natural Features Inventory, Lindsay Ross of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources recreation division and Tim Engelhardt, Huron Pines restoration specialist, about invasive species control. According to Engelhardt, Huron Pines is working with the natural features inventory to find interested people and organizations that can help with invasive species control projects. The natural features inventory is identifying areas where sensitive species are located and assessing whether they’re threatened by any type of invasive species. Huron Pines is coordinating the response and control efforts. The agencies want to work with property owners to address invasive species on private lands. They are working with the DNR to possibly conduct projects on state parks and state land. “The presentation was to kind of offer some of that to interested people and ... kind of just to let people know what we’re doing,” he said. Engelhardt said they discussed the invasive species they’re focusing on, which include phragmites, buckthorn and purple loosestrife, and some of the control efforts for them. They’re just trying to get the word out about these efforts and the resources available to help people. The agencies are hosting an invasive species summit at 10 a.m. June 17 at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, Shea said. “We’re bringing together a lot of our partners to kind of discuss where we’re at, what’s going on and what we can do to improve things for the future. There’s also going to be some public sessions so we encourage individuals to come as well as organizations that are interested,” Engelhardt said. Engelhardt said Jennifer Muladore, Huron Pines ecologist, can be contacted at 344-0753 for more information about the summit. In other business: ∫ Paul Curtis, DNR parks management plan administrator, gave a positive report on the funding situation for the DNR recreation division. The DNR needed 17 percent of people registering their vehicles to sign up for the recreation passport to be even with the former way state parks were funded. As of Tuesday the rate was at 22 percent, and the DNR expects its funds to support the recreation division and will increase for the next fiscal year. ∫ the committee discussed replacing Peter Pettalia as vice chair because of his election to the state House. The committee voted to appoint a replacement for Presque Isle Township and recommended the township board to appoint Supervisor Pat Pokorski. ∫ Jim Larson, a member of Friends of Negwegon, gave a presentation about the steps the group went through to become a formal friends group for the benefit of Mike Grohowski, a former committee member who wants to try forming a friends group for Thompson’s Harbor. ∫ Brandon Schroeder, Michigan Sea Grant extension educator, spoke about a Great Lakes Stewardship Initiative project with Alpena students who are working on a geology display at the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan. Patty Ramus can be reached via e-mail at pramus@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5687.


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