Category Archives: Opinion — Letters to the Editor

Letter to the editor: ‘VOTE YES!’ on the Huron Schools bond proposal


Letter to the editor posted Monday, May 6, 2019 -- 10:00 a.m. EST

Dear Editor,

I have lived in the area of Huron Public Schools in New Boston since 1959. My two children attended from elementary through high school. My grandchildren (4) and now three great grandchildren are getting the advantage of selectively hired staff who work diligently to bring to students the best that is out there!

The passage of the current expiring 9.7 mills is needed to upgrade and improve the current buildings. We want them to be safe for students. I have always supported bonds and renewals because others have voted to make sure that my children were in safe buildings. How about yours? We need to do what others have done for ours. Do as I do, VOTE YES!

Most sincerely,

Alice I Ferguson
Past 30 year employee
21 year School Board Member 1965-1995, 1995-2016


The Huron Hub accepts letters to the editor from all points of view. Submit your letter to ScottBolthouse@huronhub.com or through the contact page at HuronHub.com


Related articles: 

Public safety director, township supervisor: Huron Schools bond proposal will make schools safer

Superintendent explains ballot language in the Huron Schools bond proposal

Letter to the editor: Support the Huron Schools bond proposal on May 7

Community to vote May 7 on Huron School District bond proposal

Letter to the editor: Vote yes for our Huron Chiefs


 

Public safety director, township supervisor: Huron Schools bond proposal will make schools safer

Everette Robbins, director of public safety (left) and David Glaab, Huron Township supervisor.


Published by The Huron Hub on Monday, April 29, 2019 — 12:00 p.m. EST 

The public safety director and Huron Township supervisor released a statement Monday that showed support for the upcoming Huron Schools bond proposal that will be decided on May 7.

Everette Robbins, director of public safety, and Supervisor David Glaab say in the letter that “the Huron School District Bond Proposal seeks to make our school buildings safer for our students by providing the necessary funding required to renovate and equip our schools with modern day features proven to increase school security.”

Below is the full text from the statement, unedited:

Dear Huron Township Residents,

Providing for the safety of our children is one of the most important functions we perform. As your Public Safety Director and Township Supervisor, we want to share some critical information about the May 7th School District Bond Proposal. We hope you find this brief overview helpful.

A safe learning environment is important for students of all ages. A secure classroom is essential for students to focus on learning as they develop the skills necessary to prepare them for the future. Unfortunately, recent episodes of mass school violence have forced communities and their school districts throughout our nation to devise strategies and methods to combat potential school place threats. Your Huron Township Police Department has responded in part by increasing the level and frequency of its training particularly in the area of active shooter exercises. However, a major area of vulnerability that remains is our conventional school buildings that were designed and built before the emergence of mass school violence.

The Huron School District Bond Proposal seeks to make our school buildings safer for our students by providing the necessary funding required to renovate and equip our schools with modern day features proven to increase school security. Some of these plans include updating the interior and exterior doors with reinforced frames & hardware. Realizing that school safety literally starts at the front door, state of the art visitor access and secure entry controls and mechanisms are proposed as key components of a comprehensive safety plan update.

Effective and reliable public address systems are critical during any school threat scenario. A mass notification system allows school officials to convey a clear set of instructions to students and staff the moment a crisis begins. The quicker the superintendent can implement a lockdown over the public address system, the greater chance our children and their teachers will survive a threat. Again, the Huron School District Bond Proposal would make funds available to ensure our schools are equipped with these vital communication systems.

Finally, the bond proposal includes a plan to make arriving and departing school safer as well. The parking can be a very busy and dangerous place, particularly at the beginning and end of the school day when things can get a bit chaotic. The bond proposal incorporates improvements to our school parking lots to make them safer for our students and their parents.

The safety of our students remains our first priority. We hope you found this information helpful and that it helps you evaluate the May 7th Bond Proposal including the many safety benefits it offers.

Respectfully,

David A, Glaab
Huron Township Supervisor

Everette Robbins
Director of Public Safety


Related articles:

Community to vote May 7 on Huron School District bond proposal

Superintendent explains ballot language in the Huron Schools bond proposal

Letter to the editor: Support the Huron Schools bond proposal on May 7

Letter to the editor: Vote yes for our Huron Chiefs

Superintendent explains ballot language in the Huron Schools bond proposal

Huron Schools Supt. Donovan Rowe.


By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub
 
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Published April 26, 2019

On May 7, the Huron Township community will vote on the Huron Schools bond proposal.

If the proposal passes, it would allow the Huron School District to make much needed facility improvements — including safety and security at district buildings — and upgrade heating and electricity.

The bond will also fund a young five’s program at Sunnyside Center.

The bond, according to the district, would generate $49,075,000 without increasing the tax rate or mill rate from the previous year.

It would maintain the current school debt millage rate of 7.0 mills.

With the wording on the ballot pertaining to the tax rate being a bit confusing to read, I reached out to Donovan Rowe, superintendent of Huron Schools, and asked if he would explain the ballot language.

I’ll share the ballot language first, and then Rowe’s explanation about how the bond’s passage will not raise taxes.

Language on the May 7 ballot:

Shall Huron School District, Wayne and Monroe County, Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed Forty-Nine Million Seventy-Five Thousand Dollars ($49,075,000) and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefor, for the purpose of:

remodeling, including security improvements for, erecting additions to, furnishing and refinishing and equipping and re-equipping existing school buildings; erecting, furnishing and equipping a new school building; acquiring and installing instructional technology and instructional technology equipment for school buildings; equipping, developing and improving athletic fields and facilities, playgrounds, driveways, parking areas, and sites?

The following is for informational purposes only:

The estimated millage that will be levied for the proposed bonds in 2019, under current law, is 1.34 mills (1.34 on each $1000 of taxable valuation) for a -0- mill net increase over the prior year’s levy. The maximum number of years the bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of any refunding, is thirty (30) years. The estimated simple annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt is 3.97 mills ($3.97 on each $1000 of taxable valuation).

The school district expects to borrow from the State School Bond Qualification and Loan Program to pay debt service on these bonds. The estimate total principal amount of that borrowing is $4,099,796 and the estimated total interest to be paid thereon is $2,206,613. The estimated duration of the millage levy associated with that borrowing is 13 years and the estimated imputed millage rate for such levy is 7 mills. The estimated millage rate may change based on changes in certain circumstances.

The total amount of qualified bonds currently outstanding is $13,280,000. The total amount of qualified loans currently outstanding is approximately $794,008.

(Pursuant to State law, expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited, and the proceeds cannot be used for repair or maintenance costs, teacher, administrator or employee salaries, or other operating expenses.)

Below is an email from Rowe to The Huron Hub about the bond language.

I would appreciate the opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding pertaining to the language. Believe it or not, misunderstanding the language is fairly common, because the state of Michigan requires certain financial information to be included on the ballot, and that language is almost always confusing for voters. Specifically, the confusion relates to the “for informational purposes only” section of the ballot.

First, let me start by saying that it is true when we say that there is a 0% tax rate increase/mill increase over the millage rate paid last year.

The confusion usually relates to the “simple annual millage anticipated to be required to retire this bond debt… 3.97 mills ($3.97 on each $1000 of taxable valuation).”

The best way I can explain this is that the District is currently levying 7 Mills, and with this new bond, we will continue to levy 7 Mills. The scheduled amount of repayment for the bond issue varies each year over the 30 year life of the debt. Therefore, each year the allocation of the 7 Mills varies to meet the needs of each of our bond debt issues. The first year of this new bond issue we would allocate 1.34 Mills toward it and 5.66 for our previous debt. Next year, and each year after, the allocation will vary, with the “average” for this bond issue being 3.97 Mills over the life of the debt. The tax rate of 7 mills to the taxpayer will remain the same, it is only our allocation to each of our bond debt issues that changes. So the tax payers will not see a tax rate increase/mill increase, because we will continue to levy 7 mills.

Think of it like a check that you receive. Let’s say that the check is for $7000. If you have a house payment, a car payment, college tuition, and a boat payment that all equal $7000, you will use the entire check to pay for your debt. If you pay off the car payment, and you want to continue paying $7000 toward the other debt, you may allocate more money to the boat, house payment, and college tuition, but it is not going to cost you more money per month, since you are still paying $7000. This concept is similar to what we are talking about with this ballot language. The first year of allocation to this proposed bond issue is for 1.34 mills, and as other debts are paid off by the district, we will allocate more mills to pay off this debt, but that will not increase the tax rate for the taxpayers. They will continue to pay the same amount that they are currently paying.

It is important to remember that this Bond Issue will be financed for 30 years. The State of Michigan, Department of Treasury, assigns a proposed debt payment schedule that the district will use to pay back the debt. This language related to “3.97 Mills” directly pertains to the way funds are allocated in order for the district to pay back the debt. This language is not meant to imply a tax rate increase at a later time – that will not happen. It also does not relate to a mill increase at a later time. This language only relates to the proposed debt schedule and the way the debt is repaid.

Donovan Rowe
Superintendent of Schools
Huron School District


 

Letter to the editor: Vote yes for our Huron Chiefs

Madeleine Furkas


Letter to the editor published April 10, 2019 — 10:30 a.m. EST 

Vote Yes for Our Huron Chiefs!

As an eighth grade student at Renton Junior High who is excited to go to the high school in the fall, it would be beneficial to all students if the bond was passed. The bond proposal will provide secure-entry doors that will make our buildings safer, additional classrooms and labs with new technology that can help students learn the curriculum using 21st century methods, new drinking fountains that will allow us to refill throughout the day, and more lockers and parking spaces to accommodate our growing student body. I’m also a member of the cross country and track teams and a new track would help our team remain competitive in the Huron League and improve our sports’ facilities.

On May 7, I hope that you’ll be voting yes to support our students and community.

Thank you,
Madeleine Furkas, Renton Middle School student


The Huron Hub accepts letters to the editor from all points of view. Submit your letter to ScottBolthouse@huronhub.com or through the contact page at HuronHub.com

Where is your favorite fish fry?

(Hub file photo)

By Scott Bolthouse | The Huron Hub |
ScottBolthouse@HuronHub.com

Published March 6, 2019 — 9:30 a.m. EST

Wednesday marks the beginning of the Lenten season, and for many, it’s also a great time to seek-out a delicious fish fry.

That begs the question: who does the best fish fry in the Huron Township area?

We want to hear from you.

Give us feedback in the comments section of this article with the location information of your favorite sport, or post your responses on our our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Once all of the responses are in, we’ll update this article with the best fish fries around.


 

Addressing balance issues in older persons can be a life saver

(Photo/Google)

Public service announcement published March 6, 2019 — 8 a.m. EST 


Many people experience increasing difficulty with balance and safe mobility as they age, which leads to the common and serious problem of falls. These problems are associated with loss of confidence and decreasing ability to function independently. In many cases it leads to the consideration of institutional care. Injuries from falls are a major cause of death in the older population. Fortunately, most causes of falls and instability can be treated successfully and the risk of falling reduced. The Michigan Podiatric Medical Association (MPMA) answers some common questions about balance issues.

How common are falls and balance problems in older persons?
Each year, falls occur in over a third of persons over age 65, and in over half of persons over age 75. About a third of the older population reports some difficulty with balance or ambulation. This percentage increases in frequency and severity after age 75.

What are the major causes of falls?
The most common causes of falls include environmental hazards (such as slippery floors and loose rugs), weak muscles, unstable balance, dizziness, vision problems and side effects from medications (such as dizziness and confusion).

How can I tell if I am at risk for falling?
The most important predictors of fall risk include: muscle weakness (difficulty rising from a sitting position without use of hands to push off); unsteady balance (needing to walk slowly or with a wide base of support to maintain balance); having fallen in the past year; and taking certain medications (some blood pressure medications as well as psychoactive medications, such as sedatives or anti-depressants).

What can I do to decrease my chances of falling?
Ask your MPMA doctor to evaluate your strength, balance, gait, entire medication list and overall risk factors for falls. The chances are good that there will be a number of things that can be done to reduce fall risk, such as adjusting medications, obtaining physical therapy, starting an exercise regimen, or receiving an assistive device such as a cane or walker, to make walking safer.

How can I make my home environment safer?
There are many pamphlets available to assist in hazard-proofing your home environment. Alternatively, a home health provider, such as a visiting nurse or occupational therapist, can come to your home and provide a hands-on inspection and set of recommendations. Common recommendations include installing bathroom grab bars, improving lighting in key areas, removing hazardous conditions on the floor, and making stairways and entrance areas safer.

What kind of walking aids are available and whom should I talk to about getting the right product?
A whole spectrum of walking aids are widely available, ranging from simple canes to elaborate types of walkers and wheelchairs. Any walking aid should be carefully measured to the right size and provide the optimal level of stability without creating too much dependency. Your MPMA doctor can help you with proper fit and advice.

To find an MPMA podiatrist near you, visit www.mpma.org.

About the MPMA:
The Michigan Podiatric Medical Association (MPMA) has been dedicated to serving and protecting the public’s podiatric health and maintaining the highest standards of ethical conduct among its members for over 100 years. The four main objectives of the organization are: to improve the quality of foot care; to promote the importance of foot health among the general public and health care professionals throughout the state; to increase awareness of the art and science of podiatric medicine and surgery; and to provide continuing medical education to podiatrists.

Source: MPMA


 

4th annual Swift Transportation Christmas dinner for veterans to be held Dec. 16; Michigan Memorial Funeral Home joins to accept donations for veterans

Swift family volunteers pictured with Huron Township volunteers and Santa Claus during last year’s event. (Photos courtesy of Swift Transportation)

This will be our fourth year hosting this wonderful event and with each passing year it grows. It is hard to find the right words to express just how much this dinner means to us, to the awesome people who support it and for the ones who attend. This event is open to the public; if you have never attended please try to come this year.

Each year we are able to do a little bit more to help our veterans and their families. This is all due to the support of our communities, families and our veterans. And this year is no different and we have a lot of help making it all happen. I like to recognize some of the wonderful people from Huron Township. Their support, hard work and giving hearts have made a difference in many lives.

Thank you to Amy Niemann and each of her students from Brown and Miller Elementary Schools. Amy and her students have been making a positive difference in the lives of our veterans and our deployed troops from the very start of this event. For the last four years, thousands of cards Amy and her students have made were given to our veterans and sent to our deployed troops. Their support has been shown worldwide. To each student over the last four years and to Amy, I say to you, thank you for caring. Your thoughtfulness has and will continue to shine brightly to each person your cards have touched. You do make a difference.
Angie and Katie Greene have been supporters from the start, too. Not only did Katie take part in all the wonderful cards that were made but she helps with the dinner each year. She cleans tables, helps restock the buffet, and she is one of Santa’s helpers. Ms. Katie also helps her mother, Mrs. Angie Greene organize the raffle table. Mrs. Angie Greene collects raffle items, helps with the tickets and she helps with one of the hardest tasks, food shopping for the dinner. The Greene family has been supportive and very involved in this event from day one. Thank you for making a difference.

Mary Ann Rowland, thank you for joining us last year. From the time you called me last year stating, “I want to help. What do you want me to do?” you have not stopped with your support. Not only does Mary Ann help with raffle items, donations, preparations for the dinner, she has the inside scoop on Santa! I am about to share a secret with all the kids… Mary Ann is Mrs. Claus! Thank you very much for everything you do and for making a difference.

From the individuals to corporate supporters, you all have made a difference. I would particularly like to thank two of our corporate supporters Huron Township.

Chapp and Bushey Oil Co. You have always been a huge supporter of the community and willingly make a positive difference in the lives of so many. Thank you for supporting our wonderful event over the years.

Photos: Last year’s Christmas dinner for veterans

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This year one company made a very generous donation toward this event that will make a huge impact and we hope that you will be at the event to share this with us. Their generosity made it possible for us to transport homeless veterans to attend the dinner in their honor; with their generous support the transportation costs were covered.  Thank you Michigan Memorial Funeral Home for make this possible and making a difference.

Not only did Michigan Memorial Funeral Home make a generous donation, they also offered to be the collection site for the homeless veterans care backpacks. With the help of Mary Ann Rowland and the point person for the Eternal Knights Masonic Riding Association from Southgate, Debbie Taylor, this awesome group will ensure that our veterans will have some of the basic items they need. When we call do a little we accomplish a lot. Donations will be accepted at Michigan Memorial through Nov. 10.

It takes a lot of volunteers to help with this event and the Eternal Knights Masonic Riding Association jumped right in and has been giving 110% to make this another great day for our veterans. Not only are they heading up the veterans care backpacks they support this event until the last table is cleaned after the dinner. This is an awesome group of people who can inspire you to get involved and do more. Thank you, Debbie Taylor and the Eternal Knights Masonic Riding Association.

For more information about Michigan Memorial’s donation drive, please click here

There are a lot of people who make this day possible for our veterans but the one thing that really stands out is the food. Succulent turkey, mouthwatering ham, creamy hot gravy, fluffy buttery potatoes, sweet and savory sweet potatoes, tender green bean casserole, warm fragrant dressing and hot fresh rolls. This excellent food is prepared by the students of the Riverview High School Culinary Program. These future chefs come from many different school districts and put so much love and time into preparing this excellent dinner… it shows in their end result. Thank you to each and every student who has been involved over the last few years; you all have made a positive difference.

To all the employees of Swift Transportation who donate to Swift Charities, thank you for helping to make this day possible. When we all do a little, we accomplish a lot. And this extends to our employment opportunities to our veterans with our Military Apprenticeship Program.
Military Apprenticeship Program is through the Department of Labor and the Veteran Administration. Swift is the only carrier with a National Approval under the Valor Act. This means more help for our veterans and this includes the National Guard. Our wonderful recruiter, Scott Hanly here in New Boston, can give you all the details for this program. You can reach Scott at 248-980-1074 or scott_hanly@swifttrans.com.

Respectfully,
Swift Transportation and Swift Charities