The Press Newspaper
By Over the summer, Woodmore High School Spanish teacher Tom Adams went on a one week mission trip to Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, with his sister and three other members from her church in Temperance, Michigan.
During the mission trip, Adams stayed with fellow missionary Kathy Kemmer, who has been living in the country for the past six years.
While in Nicaragua, Adams and his team were involved in many projects to help the local impoverished communities which include working at a local orphanage, building furniture for a preschool and helping elementary students make Ojo de Dio or God’s eyes, which is a simple arts and crafts project.
Adams and his team also completed larger projects. For three days, they built one 11 foot by 11 foot house each day using only concrete for the floor, a wooden frame and tin for the roof and siding. Although it may seem like not such a nice home, it was a vast improvement to their previous homes which were made from trash from the city dump.
“There are many beautiful parts to Nicaragua, but there are also parts that are devastatingly poor and need help,” Adams said.
Dennis Recker, former administrator of the village of Whitehouse, is the new administrator of Northwood.
Recker will replace current Administrator Pat Bacon, who is retiring at the end of this month.
Northwood City Council unanimously approved Recker, upon Mayor Mark Stoner’s recommendation, at a special council meeting on Oct. 7. Recker will work with Bacon until she leaves office.
Recker told The Press that he applied for the job because the city has many strengths, including its attractive business environment and proximity to mass transportation.
“Northwood is situated in such a way that it has major outstanding features that could lead to further development,” said Recker. “They have it all – a good, strong workforce, excellent transportation – just a very, very fertile area for growth and development as we weather this economic downturn.”
As the administrator of Whitehouse, which has a population of 4,300 compared to Northwood’s 5,500, Recker prepared a downtown revitalization plan that was the basis for a major revitalization grant. The village secured pledges from over 80 percent of business operators and commercial property owners to participate in active improvement projects under the grant program. The village also worked with a local manufacturer and a local property owner to fund an expansion of the village industrial park.
Alexis Taylor would have turned 17-years-old next February. She was on course to graduate from Woodmore High School four months later, and from there the world was her oyster.
But that all ended on Nov. 10, 2009, when Alexis died unexpectedly. Her mother, Gibsonburg resident Consie Rickard-Taylor, is joining with her family and Woodmore to set up two Alexis Taylor Memorial Scholarships for Woodmore students.
“We are in the baby stages of setting them up,” Rickard-Taylor said. “We have to set up applications, and we haven't filed everything with the school. We want to have two scholarships with the school. They are both going to be Alexis Taylor Memorial Scholarships. We're trying to encompass everything Alexis was into.”
Rickard-Taylor, who also has a son, Ian, 12, said many people saw Alexis as her mother's twin.
“A lot of people said she was my clone,” Rickard-Taylor said. “She was about 5-foot-6, medium build, strong legs, brown eyes and brown hair. She was an honor student. She was an athlete. She was also into photography, arts, and ceramics. She loved to read and she loved soccer. She played ever since the first grade.”
Rickard-Taylor said one Alexis Taylor Memorial Scholarship will go to a Woodmore student based on grade-point average and financial need.
By around 9 p.m., well before the dance was scheduled to end, a number of students had left in protest of a recently instituted “no-grinding” policy that prohibited the popular form of dancing that school officials feel is sexually provocative and a little too “up-close-and-personal” for a school setting.
Sophomore Dakota Jakey said he feels it wasn’t just the policy, but the timing of the announcement that grinding would be prohibited at the dance added to the students’ frustration.
“When we heard the announcement Friday morning, we were mad,” he said. “People had already bought their tickets to the dance. This type of dancing had been allowed in previous years, so why not announce the policy earlier so we could decide whether or not we even wanted to go?”
Though Jakey admitted it may be “awkward” to describe grinding, he said many students enjoy the dance style. “The principal said they were issuing a no-grinding policy because they didn’t want students’ genitals rubbing against one another,” he said. “That made some kids laugh, but many of us were upset that our choice of how to dance was taken away.”
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