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  Tri-City Times   ST. CLAIR LAPEERMACOMB  Your Hometown Newspaper Treasured Green & Whitememories 143rd Volume - Issue No. 9www.tricitytimes-online.com 50¢  Wednesday, March 1, 2017  TRI-CITY  TIMESONLINE tricitytimes-online.com FACEBOOK  facebook.com /Tricitytimes/   The Tri-City Times is printed on recycled paper ...see page 3-A Farewell to Mike Seven Ponds Directorheads off to retirement, ...see pages 7-A Hoops, hearts Almont Middle Schoolstaff, students square off Former Imlay City basket-ball standout Matt Van Dyk’s three-year career at Michigan State University is coming to a close this year. Matt received a full scholarship from Coach Tom Izzo this past sea-son. Turn to page 8-B for more photos of Matt and his parents, Doug and Beth, during the Senior Day celebration at Breslin Center.    P   h  o   t  o  p  r  o  v   i   d  e   d Almont teacher, staffaid student after fire Aubertin family grateful for outpouring of support  IMLAY CITY —   Dean Aubertin, whose home on N. Van Dyke Rd. sustained heavy damage in a mid-January fire, finds yet more reasons to be thankful. Thankful mostly for his daugh-ter, Jennifer, 18, who alerted him and four other occupants of the fire, which allowed all of them time to escape the home unharmed. He’s also thankful for the kind-ness and generosity of the many  people who have supported his daughter. In particular, Aubertin acknowl-edged Jennifer’s teacher, Dawn Wedemeyer, along with school staff throughout the district. Aubertin credited Wedemeyer with organizing a recent effort to  provide Jennifer with new clothing and other much-needed items. “Mrs. Wedemeyer is a great teacher who has always been sup- portive of Jennifer,” said Aubertin. “In this case, she went out of her way to make sure Jennifer was pro-vided things she most needed. Aubertin said Wedemeyer recently went shopping for Jennifer with the purpose of purchasing items of greatest need. “She (Wedemeyer) has her own family,” said Aubertin, “but she still found time to do this for my daugh-ter. We’re both so grateful for her and everyone’s kindness.” Wedemeyer says she prefers to not be singled out for her kindness. Rather, she says it is the entire Almont Schools community that has rallied to support Jennifer. “This was a school-wide effort,” Jen, who is often referred to as the Raiders’ ‘number-one fan,’ accepts gift cards from her friends at halftime of Friday’s basketball game.    P   h  o   t  o   b  y   J  e  r  r  y   H  e   l   f  e  r  p   h  o   t  o  g  r  a  p   h  y By Tom Wearing Tri-City Times Staff Writer  Whistleblower suit settled  LAPEER COUNTY  — A Whistleblower law-suit filed in 2015 against Lapeer County and former Prosecuting Attorney Tim Turkelson was quietly set-tled last fall. Former assistant prose-cuting attorney Maya Gertsberg was awarded $167,500 in a settlement that was facilitated by retired Wayne County Judge James Rashid on October 6, 2016, three months after the primary election in which Turkelson lost his seat to fellow Republican attorney Michael Sharkey. Gertsberg brought the action after being fired by Turkelson for raising con-cerns about fellow county employee John Miller, who was serving as Turkelson’s chief assistant at the time. Gertsberg concluded that Miller was doing work for a private employer while on Lapeer County taxpayers’ dime, in effect embezzling his salary and/or taxpayers’ time. Gertsberg’s complaint alleged that Turkelson’s attitude toward her changed, as did his treat-ment of her. She said she was given the “cold shoul-der,” and also that he mocked her accent (she is a Russian refugee). She was seeking dam-ages in excess of $25,000. The $167,500 settlement is “justice for Maya,” and vindication, says attorney Tom R. Pabst, who along with Michael Sharkey, Michael Kowalko and Jarret Pabst,  brought the suit on  behalf of Gertsberg. Pabst says the request for facilita-tion—settlement negotia- Former assistant prosecutor awarded $167,500 By Catherine Minolli Tri-City Times Editor  Tim Turkelson History a click away Imlay Twp.’s 10,000 cemetery records now available online   IMLAY TWP. —   Family history hunters with ties to the Imlay City area now have access to a new tool that should make their search a bit easier. The township’s 10,000 cemetery records have been digitized and are available online through the Imlay Twp. website, www.imlay-township.com. The program allows users to search by name or any keyword with results listing the interred and plot ownership. Additionally, maps depict what lots have been  purchased or are available. The cemetery’s mausoleum is included in the database too. By law, entities responsible for cemeteries are required to keep good records but, for most, that consists of note cards not digitized records, says Carla Jepsen, who started the  project three years ago as part of her deputy clerk duties. Jepsen and Clerk Liz Makedonsky worked together to select a good program that was also economical. The township cemetery, located on Fairgrounds Rd., was established sometime in the 1850s. “This is still definitely a work in prog-ress,” Jepsen said. “It’s frustrating that some gaps still exist  but when the weather’s nicer I hope to spend some time in the cemetery physically, filling in those gaps.” For instance, records from some of the older parts of the Fairgrounds Rd. cemetery only lists who purchased the plot, not who is  buried there. Jepsen estimates there are at least 250 veterans buried there, dating as far  back as the Spanish-American War, while others-many who were killed overseas in World War II-are represented by a headstone in Imlay Twp. but their remains were interred elsewhere. “We’ve been able to use different govern-ment resources to fill in the blanks for veter-ans and some old death certificates have also helped,” she said. Those documents and others often paint tragic tales, but some are more lighthearted. “One woman chose to bury her arm there following an amputation,” Jepsen said. The cemetery is the resting place of sev- Officials say the online database should be a valuable tool for all users, espe-cially genealogists.    P   h  o   t  o   b  y   M  a  r   i  a   B  r  o  w  n By Maria Brown Tri-City Times Assistant Editor  Settled page 6-ASupport page 6-AHistory page 6-A  Page 2-A-TRI-CITY TIMES-MARCH 1, 2017  Published weekly by Delores Z. Heim. Office: 594 N. Almont Ave. ã P.O. Box 278, Imlay City, MI 48444. USPS No. 014440. Additional entry application pending. Subscriptions: $30 per year Lapeer & St. Clair Counties; Out of Counties $32 per year, Senior Citizens $27 per year In-County. Out-of-State mailing $40 per year. Outside USA $60 per year. Single Copies 50¢. Periodicals paid at Imlay City. Postmaster please send address changes to P.O. Box 278, Imlay City, MI 48444. T RI -C ITY  T IMES   IMLAY CITY —   Anyone interested in learn-ing about the art and sci-ence of wildlife rehabilita-tion is invited to attend a  presentation at the Ruth Hughes Library this eve-ning (Wed., March 1.) Licensed rehabilitator Holly Hadac will discuss the ins and outs of wildlife rehabilitation, why it is not a hobby and why it is important to leave it to pro-fessionals. Hadac is a guest of the Imlay Conversation Salon, which meets the first Wednesday of each month. This evening’s presentation  begins at 6:15 p.m. The event is free, all interested  persons are welcome to attend. The Ruth Hughes Library is located at 211 N. Almont Ave.. Wildlife rehabilitator to speak Farmers Market expanded to include Saturdays   IMLAY CITY — Residents and visitors can do a little weekend shop- ping at the Farmers Market. The Imlay City Downtown Development Authority has expanded the  popular market to include Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1  p.m. The market will con-tinue to run on Thursdays as well from 1-6 p.m. The market will open in May and run every Thursday afternoon and Saturday morning through October. It’s located at the corner of Third and Main streets. DDA Director Dana Walker notes that they’re also seeking a Farmers Market Manager to oversee the Thursday and Saturday markets. Anyone interested in the position is encour-aged to contact Walker at 810-724-2135 or via email to dwalker@imlaycity.org The DDA is also busy scheduling the Summer Concert Series. Ten weeks of concerts are planned for every Tuesday night begin-ning June 6th through August 22, with the excep-tion of July 4 and July 25. Concerts are free and they’re held in Lamb Steele Park from 7-8:30 p.m. This year’s expanded lineup will replace the summer movie series previously sponsored  by the DDA. Walker adds that the DDA is also hiring a Summer Entertainment Coordinator to assist with the Summer Concert Series. Again, anyone interested in filling the part-time posi-tion is urged to call Walker at 810-724-2135 or send an email to dwalker@imlayci-ty.org. By Catherine Minolli Tri-City Times Editor  Visitors check out the sweet treats and honey-related items from Ed’s Apiaries, a frequent vendor at the Imlay City Farmers Market.    F   i   l  e  p   h  o   t  o Auction items needed for Chamber fundraiser 2017 Blueberry Auction is March 25 at Castle Creek   IMLAY CITY — Auction items are still  being sought in advance of the 2017 Blueberry Festival Auction on Saturday, March 25 at Castle Creek Golf Course. Attendees will be able to preview auction items at 5:30 p.m., with the live auction to begin at 6 p.m. Sponsored by the Imlay City Area Chamber of Commerce, the event will again feature Brian Rowley of Rowley Auction Services as the auctioneer. For a $10 donation, auction attendees will have the opportunity to bid on scores of donated items, including trips, household items, gift baskets, gift cer-tificates, services and much more. Food and beverages will be available for pur-chase.  New Chamber of Commerce Director Wendy Muehleisen says an Auction Committee comprised of volunteers Julie Salsido, Melanie Lindquist, Dennis Collison, Tiana Vaubel and Brandy Schwab has  been working hard to coordinate the upcoming event. Donated items may be dropped off at the Chamber of Commerce office at the Imlay City Hall on Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon. All funds raised from the Blueberry Auction will go toward the 2017 Imlay City Blueberry Festival, which runs from July 21-22 in downtown Imlay City. Specifically. money generated from the event will help pay for live music and entertainment, chil-dren’s games and activities, food concessions and the traditional fireworks dis- play. Those who cannot attend the auction but would like to support the Blueberry Festival may make a financial donation  by mailing or dropping off checks at the Chamber office. For questions or more information, call Wendy Muehleisen at 810-724-1361 or email: executivedi-rector@imlaycitymich.com By Tom Wearing Tri-City Times Staff Writer  Business  briefs...  Editor’s note: Notices  for this column must be received in writing by noon  Monday prior to the publi-cation date. Notices may be edited due to space con- straints.  CAPAC —   A Grand Opening Celebration will  be held at ‘Love’s Creations,’ 127 N. Main Street, on March 4. The store features items from the area that are handmade by local arti-sans. The Grand Opening Celebration includes a raf-fle, door prizes, snacks and refreshments. Visitors are welcome to stop in and enjoy the celebration  between noon and 4 p.m. Learn more about the store and see photos of the dis- plays on Facebook at www.facebook.com/lovescre-ationsdisplays/ Love’s Creationscelebration on tap ROMEO THEATRE 66120 Van Dyke ã In the Village Shopping Center MOVIE HOTLINE 586-752-3455 ADMISSION PRICES BEFORE 6PM All Seats Are $6.00 AFTER 6PM Adults $8.00 Children 12 & under $6.00Senior Citizens 55 and older  $6.00Students with Student ID $7.00 Join Our Email Club www.RomeoTheatre.com SAVE $$$ GET COUPONS! Special Premiere Version Thursday, March 02, 7:00pmFriday, March 03 & Saturday, March 04, 12:30, 3:30, 6:45 & 9:30pmSunday, March 05, 12:30, 3:30 & 6:45pmMonday, March 06 thru Thursday, March 09, 6:45pmWednesday, March 01 & Thursday, March 02, 7:00pmFriday, March 03 & Saturday, March 04, 1:00, 4:00, 7:00 & 9:30pmSunday, March 05, 1:00, 4:00 & 7:00pmMonday, March 06 thru Thursday, March 09, 7:00pm PG-13PG        5:00  7:00     70              8074954 ON TH OL D  , w,    Mh 3  3,  7h  4h  h $73 h $9     $  N         Knights of Columbus FISH FRY!  (Cod) ADULTS: $   11 ã CHILDREN: 10 & UNDER $   6 ã UNDER 5: FREE 1405 N. Van Dyke Road ã IMLAY CITY ã 810-724-8563 www.kofc4556.com “FRIDAYS” IN LENT 2017!! March 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th & 31st and April 7thFrom 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm PROCEEDS GO TO SUPPORT LOCAL YOUTH GROUPS AND CHARITIES Bring in a can/box of food and receive $1.00 OFF your meal! LIVE ENTERTAINMENT!50/50 RAFFLES ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH  ALL YOUCAN EAT March 3, 17, 24 & 31 4:00–6:30 pm or until sold out Adults: $10Children 12 & under: $5 Children 5 & under: Free Meal includes Baked or Fried Fish, French Fries or Baked Potato, Mac & Cheese, Coleslaw, Roll, Dessert, and Beverage 4331 Capac Rd., Capac ã 810/395-7572 ã Carry-Out Available 810-724-9000 1935 S. CEDAR ã IMLAY CITY ã WWW.EATBIGJOES.COM Cod ã  Lake Perch ã  Catfish ã Shrimp Smelt ã Clam Dinners Everyday! LENT MENU + TAX  EVERYDAY LUNCH SPECIALS $5 COD, CHICKEN, WING DINGS, PULLED PORK,   SUBS, SANDWICHES, PITAS, AND MORE! INCLUDES BROASTED POTATOES OR FRENCH FRIES AND SMALL DRINK  WE DELIVER!!! IN HOUSE JEWELRY REPAIR Over 26 Years Experience Gem & Diamond Specialist  Downtown Imlay City810-724-RUBYTues.-Fri. 10:30- 5:30Sat. 10:30 - 3:00 STADIUM SEATING For Showtimes &Ticket Information www.ncgmovies.com or call 810-667-7469 1650 DeMille Tuesday $5.00 All Day For Most Movies 145 E. Capac Rd in Imlay City810-724-0055 N   ick's COUNTRY OVEN  Restaurant & Spirits in Imlay City  Quality Fresh Home-Made Food  We also have on the menu: ãBroiled Atlantic CodãFried Shrimp Dinner ãFisherman’s Platter (cod, shrimp, smelt) ãBroiled Salmon All You Can EatFish & Chips$9.99 Specials for Lent  LENT SPECIALS Beer Battered Fish n' Chipsã ã ãGrilled GarlicShrimp Pastaã ã ãPan Fried Perch   ã ã ãBaked Great Lakes Whitefish 535 N. Cedar St. ã Imlay City Silver GrillFamily Restaurant (810) 724-2300 Open Everyday 7am - 9pm Check out our website . . . www.tricitytimes-online.com T RI -C ITY  T IMES LentenSpecials  Page 3-A-TRI-CITY TIMES-MARCH 1, 2017 Champagne bids farewell to Seven Ponds   DRYDEN —   The out-door landscape has changed over the years,  but the dedication and stewardship of that land has remained steady for staff mem- bers at Seven Ponds  Nature Center. Yet anoth-er change is under-way, as the nature center’s Director—Mike Champagne—moves into another phase of life after 25 years of service. Champagne took the helm in March of 1992— and he’ll mark his last day on March 10. The well-respected and highly skilled naturalist says he’s enjoyed every minute of his time at Seven Ponds, where staff, volunteers and members have become like family. “From the minute my wife and son and I got here, we felt very wel-come,” Champagne says. “It really is like a big fam-ily here.” The nature center also happens to be the place where Champagne and his wife Gayle raised their own family. “My son grew up here at Seven Ponds. He was in first grade when we got here,” Champagne says. “Now he’s a college pro-fessor who will be teach-ing ornithology this spring.” Champagne’s family isn’t the only thing that’s grown over his tenure at Seven Ponds. On his watch, the center acquired additional acreage, having expanded from 273 to 500 acres. The facilities have also expanded through a capital campaign and proj-ect that allowed for reno-vations as well as expan-sion. In the early years, Champagne says the prior-ity was geared toward acquiring more land and enlarging the nature pre-serves. Over time, that pri-ority shifted to dealing with invasive species. “I’ve been in this field for 42 years, and with the advent of more and more invasive species, we’re spending less time trying to get more land and more time trying to fight the invasive species, which have had a tremendous impact on the lands we have.” He says the emerald ash borer had a devastat-ing impact at the nature center, killing off hundreds of trees, which dramatical-ly changed the landscape. “When the trees disap- pear, other perennial inva-sives like garlic mustard and bittersweet enter the  picture,” he says. “It’s a  problem facing all of our national and state parks, local preserves and every-one involved in preserving natural land.” He says the scope of the invasive species prob-lem wasn’t anticipated. Like the vigorous invasive  plants themselves, the situ-ation crept up on the nature center. “It sort of snuck up  behind us,” Champagne says. “It’s kind of like a fire going on, and we’re turning around instead of going forward. We’re  backing up to fight the fires.” Still, Champagne says working at Seven Ponds was a rewarding experi-ence, highlighted by the connections he’s made with staffers, volunteers, members and visitors. “While the brick and mortar-type accomplish-ments are great, what real-ly stands out the most are the people,” he says. “It really is a whole culture of  people who are passionate about the environment and who believe strongly in the need to preserve land and educate the public.” Champagne and his wife have purchased a home in South Haven, an area in which they also have many connections. “It’s a wonderful place where I worked for 16 years before coming to Seven Ponds,” Champagne says. “There are dunes,  prairies, forests and Lake Michigan. It’s a very spe-cial place.” He hopes to spend time  planting trees, and enjoy-ing the South Haven Trail, which runs from Kalamazoo to South Haven. New Director Daryl Bernard will take over full time upon Champagne’s retirement. He joined the staff last month, and has  been working closely with Champagne in preparation for taking the helm on March 10. Well-respected director to retirefrom nature center on March 10 By Catherine Minolli Tri-City Times Editor  Retiring Seven Ponds Executive Director Mike Champagne shares his vast knowledge of owls with visitors to the Imlay Conversation Salon last year. Champagne always took a hands-on approach to nature-related education.    F   i   l  e  p   h  o   t  o Mike Champagne Grace Whitney a Merit finalist Imlay City senior one of 15,000 advancing for national scholarship   IMLAY CITY —   Countless Spartans on their way to graduation have wracked up academic awards and accolades but only a select few can claim to be a National Merit Scholarship finalist. Grace Whitney is now a member of that exclusive group. The Imlay City High School senior recently learned that she was was one of 15,000 students from across the country who had advanced to the Finalist standing. Later this month, that field will be narrowed in half and Grace hopes to find a scholarship letter in her mailbox. “I was pretty excited and happy,” Grace said of learning she’d advanced. Last January she took the Preliminary SAT test and learned last fall that she was a National Merit Scholarship Program (NMSP) semi-finalist. By attaining that semi-finalist standing, Grace earned a full-ride scholar-ship at Wright State University in Ohio for in-state tuition, housing and  books. Now, as a finalist, she’s in the running for additional scholarship money. “I plan to study biology and pre-med and hope to  become a pediatri-cian,” Grace said of her  post-high school plans. She’s considering the addition of a French minor to her studies with an eye toward working with Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières). A significant portion of the organization’s missions are in French-speaking coun-tries. Grace said that she’s known she wanted to enter the medical field since her freshman year, specifically when she took teacher Jeff Gartrell’s biology class. “That’s when I found out I really enjoyed this subject,” she said. When it came time for Grace to submit an essay as  part of the NMSP applica-tion, she chose to write about how her biology teacher inspired her interest in science and medicine. Grace notes that her  band teacher, Scott Pries, has also been an influential educator in her life. “He’s helped me a lot with balancing a lot of things in my life,” she said. In addition to the band, Grace is also a member of the National Honor Society, Quiz Bowl and Chemistry Club. Scholarship finalists are selected based on their abil-ities, skills and accomplish-ments. What advice would Grace give to other students hoping to achieve a similar honor? Give it your all. “I know that test taking can be frustrating but it’s important to try really hard,” she said. Founded in 1955, the  National Merit Scholarship Corporation established its scholarship program to “identify and honor scho-lastically talented American youth and to encourage them to develop their abili-ties to the fullest,” the orga-nization states on their web-site. Past scholarship win-ners include Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan and Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the Federal Reserve. Senior Grace Whitney, with her Certificate of Merit from the National Merit Scholarship Program, is in the running to earn additional scholarship funds.    P   h  o   t  o   b  y   M  a  r   i  a   B  r  o  w  n By Maria Brown Tri-City Times Assistant Editor    TRI-CITY AREA —   We’re on Facebook!  Navigate your way to the Tri-City Times Facebook  page and become a follower. We’ll be posting fre-quent news updates, photos and event reminders. You can find us at www.facebook.com/Tricitytimes. Have any suggestions for what you’d like to see? Post your thoughts while logged on or send us an email at tct@pageone-inc.com. Join Tri-City Times on Facebook Imlay City Big Boy 1949 S. Cedar & I-69 810-724-3664 www.bigboy.com for more information Loaded with Breaded Ta-lapia, Tender Clam Strips, Breaded Shrimp, Pasta Al-fredo, and a Variety of Your Favorite Sides. Also Includes Our Endless Soup, Salad and Fruit Buffet.Something new added...Great Lakes Perch! Children 5 & Under  EAT FREE  Starting . . . Friday, Feb. 24  Page 4-A-TRI-CITY TIMES-MARCH 1, 2017 Bob Jurn remembered as brave, friendly  Editor’s note: The fol-lowing remembrance of  Robert ‘Bob’ Jurn was written by Ronald J.  Kazmierczak, Chaplain and Post Adjutant for the  Imlay City VFW Post 2492. Bob Jurn passed away on February 24, 2017. For a full obituary, turn to page 12-A. O ne, two, three, four, and-a-one, two, three, four. This is what Robert (Bob) Ralph Jurn did when he was in the Army. They marched from one  place to another. Private First Class Jurn was sent to hell and back, he was stationed in North Africa at the European Theater of Operations (ETO N. Africa). What was the “European Theater of Operations” during World War II? “European Theater of Operations” was the term used by the United States in World War II to refer to all U.S. military activity in Europe that fell under the admin-istrative command of “European Theater of Operations, United States Army” (ETOUSA). It was  bordered to the south, by the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (MTO), covering North Africa and Italy. The United States Department of War offi-cially established ETOUSA, on June 8, 1942. Its mission was to conduct planning for the eventual retaking of Europe, and to exercise administrative and opera-tional control over U.S. forces. From February 1944, the “Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force” (SHAEF) took over oper-ational command. As an Allied command, SHAEF also had operational con-trol of British and all other allied land forces and tactical air forces in the European theater. The term “European Theater of Operations” should not be confused with the European Theater of World War II, which is often defined to include the years  before the U.S. entered the war, and other cam- paigns and actions which did not involve the use of American forces. The term “theater of oper-ations” was defined in the American field manuals as “the land and sea areas to be invaded or defended, including areas necessary for administrative activi-ties related to the military operations.” On June 8, 1945, Robert Jurn entered the United States Army to do his duty to protect the United States and end the war by doing his part. From then until November 15, 1946, Robert Jurn did his job and came home after the allied forces won the war and brought peace to the world. After Robert came home, he found his wife-to-be, Margaret. As time  passed on, Robert and Margaret got married and started a family in the Imlay City area. Robert Jurn joined the VFW on Mar 28, 1947. Robert Ralph Jurn was the lon-gest continuous member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States at VFW Post 2492 with 65 years. He received the Blue Sapphire Award on  November 11, 2012 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States Membership Awards/Event get-together. (65 years anniversary of any kind is the Blue Sapphire). At the upcoming VFW, Continuous Membership Award/Event get-together, Robert Jurn would have received his 70-year pin/patch and the Platinum Anniversary stone award. We will real-ly miss Robert and his funny wit and warm and friendly smile, too. “Rest in peace Robert, rest in peace.” Robert Jurn1927-2017 LCCF scholarships are available   LAPEER COUNTY  —   If you will be a 2017 high school graduate in Lapeer County, scholarship funding is available. The Lapeer County Community Foundation announced this week that the 2017 student scholar-ship application season has  begun. Applications are currently being accepted for 20 local scholarships designed to help meet the financial needs of graduat-ing high school seniors and those pursuing post-sec-ondary education. The Lapeer County Community Foundation manages endowed and non-endowed scholarship funds made possible through the generosity of local donors. Through their commitment to furthering the education-al opportunities of Lapeer County youth, funds have  been established which reflect diverse interests and  potential career paths. Students have an opportunity to apply for scholarships directed to their studies in agriculture, engineering, teaching, law enforcement, medicine, law, the arts or generalized studies. The Lapeer County Community Foundation manages 63 funds to pro-vide grants for a wide range of charitable purposes. Since 1996, more than $3.4 million has been given to enhance the quality of life in Lapeer County. In 2016, the Lapeer County Community Foundation awarded $83,650 in scholarships to 64 students. Students can find infor-mation on eligibility and applications for the Lapeer County Community Foundation scholarships on the Foundation’s website, www.lapeercountycf.org. All applications can be downloaded as fillable forms. March 17 deadline The deadline to apply for scholarships is 5 p.m. on Friday, March 17. Students are encour-aged to apply early. Information regarding these scholarships as well as others available through their local school district is available on each district website and has been pro-vided through the schools’ counseling office. In addition to youth scholarships, the Lapeer County Community Foundation Women’s Fund offers scholarships to assist “non-traditional” female Lapeer County students attending Mott Community College Lapeer or Flint. Award amounts up to $1,000 can assist students with books, fees, child care, and transportation costs. For further informa-tion, please contact Nancy Boxey, Executive Director, at 810-664-0691. By Tom Wearing Tri-City Times Staff Writer  Rotary support Rotarian Dennis Collison (top) delivers gift cards from local grocery stores to the Imlay City United Methodist Church's Food Pantry. The Imlay City Rotary Club granted $1,000 to the local food pantry and the District matched with an additional $500. Rotarian Joyce Nolin Capman (center, bottom photo) hands check to Linda Looper and Wes Davis of St. Paul's Food For Families ministry. Again, the Imlay City club donated $1,000 and received a matching grant of $500 from the District. Nolin Capman says the commu-nity makes the donations happen through their support of Rotary events like Premier Night and the beverage tents at the Blueberry Festival and Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend.    P   h  o   t  o  s  p  r  o  v   i   d  e   d Wolff spells herway to the top  DRYDEN —   The Dryden Junior High Spelling Bee was held on February 8, in the Dryden High School Multi-Purpose Room. The champion was 8th grader Miya Wolff, who will represent Dryden Junior High in the Lapeer County Spelling Bee on March 21 at the Lapeer County Education and Technology Center. Miya’s winning word was “avalanche.” The runner up was Joe Close an 8th grade student. The following stu-dents also participated:  Nathan Schenkel, Claire Sobek, Charles Fliedner and Isabella Hill. Miya Wolff Joe Close Winners emerge inAlmont Spelling Bee   ALMONT — On Wed., Feb., 22nd, the Almont Middle School held its annual school-wide spelling bee to determine its representatives for the 2017 Lapeer County Wide Spelling Bee. With 45 spellers on hand, Almont crowned two champions and four total representatives. A champi-on was determined for 5th grade and 6th grades com- bined and a second cham- pion for the 7th and 8th grades combined. Winning the 5th/6th grade portion of the bee was 6th grader Ashley Sowa. She is a repeat champion in the 5/6 grade level, having taken first as a 5th grader last year. Her championship clinching word was clarify. The 5th/6th grade run-ner-up was 5th grader Autumn Hunger. For the 7th-8th grade, the champion was 8th grader Nathan Stefanski. His winning word was voltmeter. This is Nathan's third first place finish in a row. Finishing second was 8th grader Elizabeth Bennett. All four will be repre-sentatives for Almont at the county-wide bee. Finishing in 3rd place and an alternate for the 5th-6th grade was 5th grader Ryan Conn and for the 7th-8th grade was 7th grader Seth VanHoutte. The four representa-tives will attend the Lapeer County Spelling Bee on Tuesday, March 21 at the Lapeer County Education and Technology Center in Attica. The winner of the Lapeer County Spelling Bee will win a trip to Washington D.C. to repre-sent the Lapeer County Press in the 2017 Scripps  National Spelling Bee to be held in May. 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