November 24, 2014

Area schools, municipalities receive 2 percent funds from tribe

Kevin Bunch
Pinconning Mayor Jennifer DeLorge, right, presents Chief Dennis Kequom, center, with the key to the city as thanks for the tribe’s support.
Kevin Bunch
Arenac Eastern Superintendent Bill Grusecki, right, thanked the tribe for all the support it has given the school district, following remarks by AE teacher Laurel Baird, left.
Kevin Bunch
Mason Township Supervisor Fred Heideman thanks the tribal council for the grant money.
Kevin Bunch
Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe Chief Dennis Kequom gives his opening remarks during the 2 percent gaming grant disbursement ceremony May 31.
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By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
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STANDISH TWP. — Representatives for Arenac County, local school districts, and local governments filled the Saganing Tribal Center Thursday, May 31, as the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe distributed its spring 2 percent gaming revenue grants.

The tribe gave out a total of $646,937.28 in its spring distribution, with $181,142.44 going to schools, and another $465,794.84 to governments in Arenac and northern Bay counties.

The Arenac County government received the lion’s share of the funds, with $308,000 in grant money for projects. The Independent has not received the list of projects approved by the tribal council for the county at this time.

The city of Standish received $62,444.84 to work on paving the drive leading to the new Standish Area Fire Authority fire barn. Standish Mayor Mark Winslow thanked the tribal council, and said that with the number of requests the tribe receives, narrowing it down to specific ones is tough.

The city of Au Gres received $10,000 for roadwork on South Street, which borders the city. City Manager Pat Killingbeck said she was “very happy” with the grant especially with poor economic conditions for local municipalities due to the recession and a drop in state shared revenue.

Omer received an $8,350 grant to build a fence around the park near City Hall. Mayor Alice Sproule said city officials wanted one to help protect children playing there.

“I had the chance to start serving the city the same time the tribe started helping the area,” Sproule said. “They’ve made such a difference to the city, and helped with the library.”

“The tribal members have no idea how much it means to us. Now, because of you, our children will be safer in our parks,” she told the tribal council.

Pinconning received $15,000 to fix the aging heating and cooling system in City Hall.

The village of Twining received $12,000 to purchase new equipment for snow removal and mowing. Village President Todd Forshee said it would be helpful for clearing sidewalks and keeping grassy areas from getting overgrown.

Various townships — Arenac, Au Gres, Deep River, Lincoln, Mason, Pinconning, Sims, Standish, Turner, and Whitney — each received a $5,000 general allocation from the tribe, which can be used for various purposes.

Au Gres Township Clerk Michael Oxley said in the past, the money had gone toward new voting equipment, upgrading computer systems, and paving the road to the cemetery. Deep River Township Supervisor Robert Budz said the money would be helpful in the construction of a new playground in the township.

For the schools, Arenac Eastern received the largest amount of funding, $75,810.44. The district received money for 13 projects, many of which apply to the elementary school.

Among AE’s projects include $28,102 to finance the school’s curriculum adjustments to new state math standards for grades K-8, another $9,678 to adjust science and math texts for the middle and high schools, $4,200 for high school senior trips, and $14,052 for student management systems for all grades.

The Au Gres-Sims district received funds for eight projects totaling $34,957. The lion’s share of that, about $30,000, went toward purchasing new interactive whiteboards for the school. AGS Principal Chad Zeien said it was a major step toward getting the school on par with other, technologically well-off schools in the state.

AGS also received $1,606 for the Read Naturally program, $1,365 for the Adapted Mind math program, and $750 for a library computer system replacement, among other, smaller disbursements for supplies.

Standish-Sterling received $41,050 for two projects. $38,450 is for interactive whiteboards, according to Sterling Elementary Principal Clinton Potts, while the remaining $2,600 is for an Acting Up theater grant.

“A theater company comes in, and writes a play with the students,” Potts said. “Then they practice, and the students make costumes, and put on a show.”

Pinconning High School received $29,325 for a computer-controlled laser for the industrial design classes.

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