Category Archives: Local News

April 13, 2011

Message from Hudson Area Schools Superintendent Michael Osborne

As superintendent of Hudson Area Schools it is my responsibility to work along side our elected board of education, school families, community and staff to ensure that we provide the best education possible to our children. We do this first and foremost because we care about our children. We want them to have opportunities and we want them to be successful. We also do this because we care about our community. A strong and successful school district is part of what makes a strong and successful community. Although we are in the midst of one of the most challenging times of our lifetime, it is my hope to give you hope that we will make it through these difficult times and that we will be even better and stronger.

The primary problem that schools have encountered these past several years is that costs have increased substantially but revenue has decreased. For example; retirement costs will cost the district $978,932 for 11/12, $1,108,697 for 12/13 and $1,215,233 for 13/14. In addition, we have sky rocketing health care cost and greater state mandates. Over the past several years we have also seen revenue continue to decrease due to State cuts, enrollment loss and a decrease in property value.

Hudson Area Schools has been addressing these financial concerns by annually making reductions since 2002. As the financial crisis intensified in 2009 and the district entered into deficit an even more aggressive action was necessary. The district cut over $1.5 million dollars from its budget. This was a devastating reduction but with the help of a supportive staff it was doable. The district has balanced its budget and is on schedule to come out of deficit.

Now, we are preparing for the 2011/2012 school year. Governor Snyder has proposed his budget cuts. The result of these cuts will require another reduction of over $1 million dollars. This is a devastating proposition given all that the district has done these past years. It leaves few places to search for cost reductions.

I point out these facts not to frighten anyone but to create an opportunity to give hope. Just as we have done these past years we will continue to look for reductions. But, we will not compromise on a quality education and we will ensure that children receive valuable learning experiences. We are also in negotiations with our staff. Our staff love and support our students and this community. Together we will creatively find ways to take care of our staff and the needs of this district.

You may also be aware that Hudson Area Schools is placing a bond proposal on the May 3rd ballot. This is a critical part of our financial recovery. The purpose of the bond is only to take care of the facilities we have inherited. Many years ago, a generation similar to ours had a dream of a strong education and strong community and they provided what we have today. Our goal is only to care for what we have for future generations. Bond monies can only be used for items such updates, improvements, energy efficiencies and safety issues. (a more complete list can be found at http://www.securinghudsonareasfuture.com/ ). To see the needs of the district first hand, there will be grounds and facility tours Saturday, April 16 from 10 AM – Noon starting at the high school. Passage of this millage will preserve what we have and free funds currently being wasted on energy costs and maintenance and repairs needs.

Our community has always had a deep commitment to our school district and our children. These are difficult times but they are not times for us to be frightened. These are times for us to continue to pull together for the strength of our school district and the strength of our community.

April 13, 2011

Break is over: spring sports get under way

By Bill Mullaly

Spring sports are just getting going this week with five different Hudson High Schoool teams slated for action. With none of the track and field teams or the ball teams competing last week due to the vacation from school. They all will find plenty of competition this week. Spring sports are unique in this area as they face some circumstances and distractions that the other sports don’t normally see. Whether an athlete plays boy’s or girl’s track and field, baseball or softball or perhaps boy’s golf they are participating in a spring sport that is different than how things are in fall or winter sports. There are just a lot of issues that make the spring sports so unique and challenging.

Here is a look at why the spring sports are up against it when they take place each year:.

First, the spring sports are the third sport each school year or the last one. They are just as important but still many athletes perhaps are tired or worn out and they not want to do a spring sport. It is often tough for coaches to recruit spring sport athletes after many have played two sports to start the school year.

Then each March when practice commences the teams are battling against the annual all-school play. Nothing wrong with that except it cuts into and takes valuable practice time away from the athletes who are also in the play. Hudson started spring sports practices on Monday, March 14th and the play was also going on that time with play practices leading up to the big weekend of March 24-27th. Each year in doing the preseason stories the coaches tell me repeatedly that they are unsure of there numbers or exactly how things are going due to the play and not all athletes being at all the practices. It is something the coaches have learned to live with but it is unlike the other two seasons that don’t have to worry about this issue. Then the coaches of spring sports have to deal with practicing inside, which is tough on the teams. If they get some good days great as they can get outside but if not then it is in the gym where what they can do is limited.

So, the teams are working with the play schedule and fighting the weather issue and then the next thing you know the third week of practice gets going and the kids are all there and the weather is improving slightly and what do you it is time for the annual spring break. The students this year took off on April 1st so if the coaches wanted to practice over spring break it was good luck trying to get the athletes there as many head to warmer climates in far off places like Florda, South Carolina or Mexico if they are really lucky.

Spring break is just a fact of doing business with spring sports and it is very hard to schedule games. Hudson took the smart path this year and didn’t schedule any athletic events for spring break as it is very hard to get students all there. Practices are hit and miss as it is hard to even practice when many are missing and is it fair to those who don’t leave for spring break to have to practice? Schools are against demanding  students stay home and play or practice as many of the spring break trips are family affairs. In Michigan it is just the thing to do to get away after a long, hard, cold, snowy winter.

Okay, the weather is getting nicer, the play is behind them, spring break is over and now it is time to tee it up, batter up or runners get set but hold on. In April in Michigan the rain is a common occurrence and happens often. It is nothing for teams to on occasion miss a whole week of action if the weather is inclement and does not cooperate. It is tough to schedule games in the spring as you never know about the weather.

Games and meets often do not go off as schedule and it plays havoc with the schedule but that is a fact of life in the spring time. Rainouts are common for the ball teams of baseball and softball and golf. Track and field can go in the rain but it often is better to reschedule if it is a heavy or consistent rain. Making matters worse for Hudson is that we compete in the LCAA with three far off teams. Thus, the question is do we send a team to Ida at 2:00 for a 4:00 doubleheader when it is raining, might rain, is forecast to rain or  is just starting to cloud up? You certainly don’t want to go all the way over there and then not be able to play. Rescheduled events are just a way of life in the spring and it will always be that way in Michigan.

Things are starting to settle down and all the early spring things are behind the teams and then it is time for the prom. Hudson is one of the smart schools that does not try to play on the day of prom. This year the event is Saturday, April 30th and Hudson is going to have all five teams playing on Friday, April 29th so there is no conflict with the prom. This is a wise move and something they have done for the past several years but some schools still try to play on the prom date and it makes it tough for all involved in what is the biggest social event of the year for many students.

Prom is past and then spring sports have to deal with the problem of “senioritis” as the soon-to-be-graduates can get edgy at this time of year and it is easy for them to lose focus on the sport they are playing. Hudson will graduate on Sunday, May 29th and all students are done on Friday, May 27th. This means that for some of the sports that the big games will be with the students not in school. This gets them off their daily routine and makes it tough at times. All coaches always say it is better for the kids to keep the same routine but in the spring sports at least at some schools like Hudson the school year is over but the teams are still playing. This is just another issue the fall and winter sports don’t face.

Okay, so the season is winding down and then it is over like that and the athletes say “gee the season went quick.” Another problem with spring sports is that they face the shortest season of all. The fall sports all go at least nine to ten weeks of competition and the winter sports are longer. In the spring the teams start this week and will play seven full weeks and then it is Memorial Day weekend. All junior varsity sports are done in a seven-week time frame. Not very long to really have a solid season of ball or competiiton. The varsity sports can go one week longer or more if they win in the districts. Thus, shorter seasons are just another issue that works against spring sports and that is while they face very possible inclement weather forcing the missing of events, especially at the junior varsity level as they don’t have to be made up contest like the vasity does.

Finally, throw in all the other things like graduation, open houses, senior trips or class trips not to mention field trips and there is a lot going on in the spring. It is fun to be outside on nice, warm or perhaps hot spring days but there is a lot for athletes and coaches to compete against to make it all seem worthwhile. With that said good luck to all the five spring sports at all levels as they compete for league, team or personal success. Go Tigers!

Golfers open season

On Monday it was time to tee it up as the Hudson linksters were on the course at the Lenawee Country Club. Hudsonand Sand Creek were up against much bigger schools as they were the lone Division 4 teams competing. Hudson was 13th of 16 teams. “It was a good start considering spring break just ended and that the conditions and the course were tough,” said coach Kevin Reed. “We have been doing our best to practice at Evergreen but the course was affected by the ice storm and that has put us a bit behind. The Shaffers have done a great job getting the course cleared and ready for us to use.”

The top golfer for Hudson on Monday at the Adrian Invitational was Jon Ames with a 92. Others golfing were Brian Crater with a 93, Richard Varner a 99, Justin Boies with a 104 and Zach Woodford a 109. The team was at Ida yesterday (Wednesday) and will head to Dundee for the first LCAA jamboree on Friday.

April 13, 2011

Hudson Museum Auction to be May 7

Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 7th. The Hudson Museum auction and dinner will be held at the American Legion Home. Dinners are $15 per person. Antiques, collectibles and services donated by community merchants are in the auction. If you would like to donate materials for the auction, please drop them off at the library. Your dust collector might be someone’s wanted treasure. So hit your attic this weekend. We are also accepting money for the dinners and donations. Proceeds from the auction pay for the operation costs of the museum (heat and lights). All workers are the museum are volunteers.

April 6, 2011

Council studies "static" 2011-12 city budget

The Hudson City Council got their first look at the proposed budget for 2011-12 at their meeting on Tuesday evening. City manager Steve Hartsel categorized the budget as “mostly static, not changing much from last year” with the exception of spending around $100,000 for a new dump truck. “We hope to keep things flat in hopes revenues increase,” he told the council.

Hartsel noted that the General Fund fund balance is expceted to be around $80,000 this year, and that there is no intention of using that fund balance to balance the budget.

The city manager said that the city hopes to reduce expenditures wherever possible in the upcoming budget. He noted that over the course of the previous year there have been considerable savings in several city budget line items, including office supplies by 42percent, phone by 50 percent, heating fuel by 31 percent, and wages and benefits by 26 percent. Read more »

April 6, 2011

Spring Sports gets into seasonal swing

By Bill Mullaly

The Hudson High School spring sports action won’t really get going until the Monday after spring break ends as school will resume on April 11th. However, the girl’s varsity softball team was the first official spring sport to get into action as they participated in a doubleheader with Morenci a week ago Tuesday. On a sunny but cool afternoon the Lady Tigers got a split of the two games against the Lady Dawgs winning game one 5-4 before losing the second game 4-3. It was a good start to the season for Hudson as they rallied to score two runs in their final at bat to take the narrow win over the Bulldogs in the season opener at Morenci. Senior Courtney Walter and freshman Ali Anderson both reached base in the top of the seventh via walks and a passed ball moved them to second and third base. With two outs junior clutch hitter Sam Merillat ripped a basehit into the gap in center field to score both girls and put Hudson on top 5-4. Then the game’s hero Merillat went out and shut down the Bulldogs in the bottom of the seventh as she recorded two strikeouts and a groundout for the Hudson win. The key to her pitching win in the opener was that she didn’t issue a walk and she also had seven strikeouts despite giving up nine hits. Hudson was the beneficiary of eight walks in the opening game win as they totaled just five hits but they got the win.

In the second game the contest was again very close but this time Morenci prevailed with its own one-run win. Hudson scored a run in the fourth inning on a pair of Bulldog errors to make it 3-1 as they trailed. They were able to add two more runs in the sixth as catcher Ashley Monahan tripled and scored on a triple by Merillat who then scored on a single by Ashley Schneider to knot the score at 3-3. In the seventh inning it looked like Hudson was take the lead as Katie Benschoter smacked a triple to lead off the inning but she was stranded by a trio of strikeouts recorded by Bulldog pitcher Tia Tompkins. Then with two outs the Bulldogs used two singles and a walk to load the bases. A bloop single to center that just fell in scored the winning run for Morenci in the bottom of the seventh to help them salvage a split. Lady Tiger pitcher Jada Bellfy came on in relief of Merillat for the final four innings and she suffered the loss in the circle. Bellfy had two strikeouts, walked one and allowed six hits.

Hudson head coach Connie Varney in her first season back coaching the girls was pleased with the results. “We had kids come through at big times,” said Varney. “This was definitely was plus for us. We were down to our final outs a couple of time and kids came through in the first game and also in the second game. We just needed one more hit in that second game and we could have won both.”

Tompkins got the win for Morenci in the second game as she walked just one this time and had eight strikeouts while allowing three hits.

Morenci had put in just six full practices due to the long run of the girl’s basketball team to the state semifinals but they were ready to go on this cool, early spring afternoon in 40 degree game-time temperatures. Hudson’s softball team will resume action after spring break and the other four teams of baseball, golf and the two track and field teams will also get underway.

April 6, 2011

New Books at Hudson Library

The rhyme “April Showers Bring May Flowers” from the 1500s is a lesson in patience. April’s weather does give way to the milder, warmer weather of May that produces flowers galore. April and May are also great publishing months for the book world.

Hazel Monahan has donated the mysteries: Scones and Bones: A Tea Shop Mystery by Laura Childs; Bless the Bride: A Molly Murphy Mystery by Rhys Bowen; Though Not Dead by Stabenow and Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree by Nancy Atherton.

The Dolly Parton Imagination Library has donated The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter; Holler Loudly by Cynthia Scott Smith; Big Sister, Little Sister by Marci Curtis; and A House is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman.

Betty Capper has donated large print novels: Solomon’s Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson; The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by Kevin and Alex Malarkey; and The Distant Hours by Kate Morton.

Large print Western fiction in memory of William (Bill) Klinger from his daughter Donna are: Cowboy for a Rainy Afternoon by Stephen Bly; Valley of Outlaws by Max Brand; The Cuchillo Plains by Ray Hogan; The Scorpion Killers by Ray Hogan; The Searching Guns by Ray Hogan; Cutthroat Canyon Sidewinders by William W. Johnstone; The Apache Kid by Will Henry; Mankiller Colorado by William W. Johnstone; Devil’s Rim by Sam Brown; Gunman’s Rendezvous by Max Brand.

Mary C. Tanner has donated the romances: Heart for Home: Home to Blessing by Snelling; Night Road by Kristin Hannah; Singing You Home by Jodi Picoult; and Hearts Aglow: Striking a Match by Tracie Peterson.

Stan Redding has donated Mystery: An Alex Delaware Novel by Jonathan Kellerman.

Friends of the Library have provided a variety of novels for adults: Back Spin: A Myron Bolitar Novel by Harlan Coben; Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel; Breaking the Rules: A Novel that Marks the Return of Izzy Zanella by Suzanne Brockman; and Started Early, Took My Dog by Kate Atkinson. Young adult and t’ween books: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver; Dandelion Fire: Book 2 of 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson; and Chestnut King: Book 3 of 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson.

Books for Children: There’s a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Seuss; Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown; Dram Big, Little Pig! by Kristi Yamaguchi; How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills (Parent’s Choice Award); Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (Newberry Honor Book); How Does My Garden Grow? by Editors of DK; and First Animal Encyclopedia: A First Reference Guide to the Animals of the World by Editors of DK. The Friends have also decorated the library for the Easter season and worked in our gardens getting ready to plant.

Old Maid’s Puzzle: A Quilting Mystery by Terri Thayer from Cheryl Hephner.

Steve Laut donated Hockey Shorts: 1,001 of the Game’s Funniest One-liners by Glenn Liebman and NHL Hockey: An Official Book of the Game by the National Hockey League.

Melonie Mitchell donated Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury.

William G. Thompson Fund has provided the audio books on CD: 1984 by George Orwell, read by Simon Prebble and John Adams by David McCullough, read by Nelson Runger.

Cynthia Corner and Aiden Evans have donated Faith: World Religions by Maya Ajmera.

By popular demand for books on sustainability are the new releases: A Chicken in Every Yard: The Urban Farm Store’s Guide to Chicken Keeping by Robert and Hannah Litt and Keeping Bees with Ashley English: All You need to Know to Tend Hives, Harvest Honey and More by Ashley English. These are provided by book sale revenues.

You can check out our new book arrivals on www.facebook.com. Look under Hudson Public Library.

New books check out for a week, all other books check out for two weeks and can be renewed. We can renew books on the phone. Books that are kept overdue have a fine of 10 cents per day per book accrued to them. The fines go into our operational budget. Also, if we do not own a book, you can order one from another library on www.mel.org and pick it up at the library. Stop in and check out our book collection.

April 6, 2011

Thunderstorm Takes Down Power Pole

HUDSON FIREMEN WERE CALLED to a burning power pole on US-127 south of Hudson Monday morning. Firemen speculate that the pole was hit by lightning in a thunderstorm that hit a few hours earlier, and that the pole smouldered until it burnt in two. There was little actual damage except to the pole, but nearby homes were without power for a while. It was just a reminder that thunderstorm season is not far off!

March 30, 2011

Michigan tornado season is here

Despite the slow start to spring this year, it’s getting to be time to be thinking about severe weather and tornado safety — a fact that was brought home by the amount of damage caused in the area by the February ice storms.

Michigan Severe Weather Safety Awareness Week is March 27-April 2, to bring the public’s attention to weather related threats such as flooding, lightning, hail, and especially tornados and thunderstorms.

It’s been a while since there has been a serious tornado event in Lenawee County, although there was a minor tornado strike last near near Onsted, and the same storm caused significant damage near Dundee. Spring, however, is the peak period for severe weather, especially tornados, and while the odd weather this spring may have delayed the onset of severe weather, it’s no less a danger. Read more »

March 30, 2011

More High adventure in Alaska wilderness

Justin High and his lead dog Yangtzee

Justin High, of Hudson, has finished his qualifiers for the 2012 Iditarod. Since the last article Justin has finished two more races to finish his qualifiers; the Willow-Tug 300, starts in Willow, AK and runs to Skwentna, AK to Knik, AK and the Two Rivers 200 that begins in Chatinika, AK and runs to Chena Hot Springs, AK, in the Interior of Alaska close to Fairbanks.

“The Willow-Tug 300 was a real challenge for me and my dogs,” High said, “A bad trail that really took a lot out of my dogs to breaking a runner on my sled. We went out at the start at a super fast pace, led by Yangtzee. We had 13th start position and moved up to 3rd place in the first 10 miles. For my puppies that I was running was a real fast pace for the start of a 90 mile run. After we got the pace back under control we got into some real bad trail that just had 2 feet of fresh snow on and just broke out the day before the race.

“We got to the first check point at Yentna Station Road house on the Yentna River. After a 6 hour rest we took off to do a loop to Yentna to Skwentna and back to Yentna again. With 40 miles still to go on the run we made it to Skwentna and was on our way back when I stopped to snack my pups when a moose came out behind me. Yangtzee was at lead and he loves to try to chase moose. He turned the team around and took off after the moose. Fortunately I was able to grab the line and stop them, but the flex on the sled broke a runner.

“After I recovered the team and got them straightened back out pointing the right direction we took off down the trail with me standing on one runner. But, we made it back to Yentna for a long rest. We took 10 hours and I fixed my runner so at least it wasn’t going to fall off but it still was no good to steer with. We left for the finish but 15 miles into the 75 mile run one of my big young puppies came up with a sore shoulder, so he was going to get a 60 mile ride into the finish line. We kept on trucking though and made it in to the finish line after about 12 hours on the trail coming in 19th place.

“The Two Rivers 200 was a much easier race on my team. A warm and sunny race with temperatures reaching the mid 30’s during the day it was quite warm for some of my bigger dogs, which just slowed them down a bit but they still powered through the heat. The only mishap on the race happened at the 150 mile mark after my second layover. Leaving this check point I missed the turn for the 50 mile run to the finish line and went about 15 miles out of my way. By the time I got the team turned around and back on the right trail the team thought it would be a better idea to go back to where we just came so we went back for a little more food and a bit of a nap. Just an extra 32 miles on the 200 mile race, but the team was used to 300 mile races so they thought it was nothing new. We pulled out of the check point again and made sure we got right on the correct trail. And made it in to the finish line in 9th place.”

Now that Justin High is qualified for the 2012 Iditarod he still has a lot of work to do in order to be able to run the race next year. The major part of this is fund raising — the average cost for some one to run the Iditarod is about $20,000. Major expenses included the entry fee of $4,000, dog food, and shipping of supplies to checkpoints. It takes a lot of equipment to stay warm and dry in the Alaska wilderness.

Also two sleds will be necessary, one to run the first half and another back-up sled that is shipped out after some of the more dangerous sections in case the first one breaks. There will also be work to do such as training his team which begins this spring with getting puppies ready to replace retiring dogs, or team members graduating up to his boss’s team (Dee Dee Jonrowe. who finished 12 in her 29th Iditarod this year).

Justin will be home in May for his brother’s graduation and will be doing a fund raising potato dinner and silent auction at the Hudson American Legion on May 25th. There will be Alaskan art, race memorabila and many other items for auction. You will be able to meet Justin’s lead dog Yangtzee who will be making his first trip out of Alaska. He will have his merchandise for sale at the dinner, but if you are ready to help support him now you can buy a “Pursuit of Adventure” T-shirt on his web site www.highsadventure. com,  or call Bryan and Lynnette High at 517-448-8374. The shirts are $20.00 and if they need to be mailed $4.95 for shipping

March 30, 2011

Liby Receives Scholarship

The Michigan District of KEY Club bestowed a scholarship on Elizabeth Liby last Saturday during the 60th annual District Convention in Dearborn. She was selected for her service, leadership and giving back to her community through KEY Club service. Attending the convention were Hilary Monahan, Deanna Meyers, Elizabeth Liby, Allisyn Taylor,Stephanie Jackson, and faculty Advisor Beverly Surratt. KEY Club is the largest student led leadership program in the world, sponsored by Hudson Kiwanis. Her parents are Ann and Jeff Liby of Hudson. She will attend business school in the fall and will graduate Hudson High School in May. Left to right, Jordan Belanger, KEY Club Govenor, Elizabeth Liby and District Administrator Gregg Smith.