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LASD board to discuss design concepts at meeting

The Ludington Area School District’s board of education will discuss and determine a “schematic design concept” with its engineering firm during a regular meeting of the board at 6 p.m. Monday at the district’s Central Business Office.

In Superintendent Jason Kennedy’s memo to the board, he indicated the board would discuss proposals by GMB Architecture and Engineering for schematic design proposals of the new elementary school that will be built on the district’s acreage on Bryant Road near Jebavy Drive.

“The board will select the schematic design concept so that GMB can begin designing the scheme and seeking staff, student and commuity feedback through the design process,” Kennedy wrote to the board.

Related to the bond proposal. the district will choose between two bidders to conduct geotechnical soil boring. Driesenga & Associates had a bid of $12,875 plus $21 per linear foot. Nordlund & Associates had a bid of $7,600 plus $15 per linear foot. Kennedy is recommending the district approve a contract with Nordlund & Associates.


As a part of the district’s consent agenda, four non-union contracts are up for approval. Sarah Cooper is being recommended as the director of the Pere Marquette Early Childhood Center. Cooper is the Great Start Readinuess preschool teacher at West Shore Educational School District, and she would take over for Julie Marshall, who retired.

Brent Gillett would be hired as the director of recreation programs, and he currently is the dean of students at Foster Elementary School. The district would need to fill his current position.

The annual contracts of Melanie Tomaski, director of Oriole Work Based Learning Academy, and Michelle Holtrust, director of online learning, also would be renewed.

Rachael Wilbur, who taught science at O.J. DeJonge Middle School, accepted a science position at L’Anse Public Schools in L’Anse. Kelley Hatch requested to fill the position. To fill Hatch’s position as a third grade teacher, Kennedy recommends the hiring of Sara Roesler. Roesler is a site coordinator for Project FOCUS for first through fourth grades at Spitler Elementary School in Hart. Roesler’s hiring is not a part of the consent agenda, but rather a part of the new business before the board.

Other business

In other business, the board will consider:

• A recommendation to approve the milk bid to Prairie Farms and the bread bid to Aunt Millie’s. Kennedy noted the costs for bread remained the same, while the milk prices to the district went up a fraction of a cent.

• A request from Ludington Area Catholic School and Covenant Christian School to form a co-operative program with Ludington Area Schools for middle school cross country and track. Kennedy said there are three athletes who participate in those sports and want to do so with the district’s student-athletes. Neither school has enough athletes to have a complete team in either sport.

• In a special meeting, to be called at 5:30 p.m., the board will have two closed session hearings for reinstatement to the district. The board, according to an agenda, will consider the two separate cases in open session following the closed session hearings.

Dawson Segraves spends summer filming movie 'Julie'

Dawson Segraves is a filmmaker in every aspect of the word.

The high school senior has spent much of his summer break at locations throughout Mason County, filming his movie, “Julie”, which he wrote during the winter. The movie — not his first — is a love story between two students who meet in the summer of 1974.

“I can’t tell you where the passion for filmmaking comes from,” Segraves said. “Other than the ability to tell a story though film is something that brings tears to my eyes. There is nothing else I’d rather be doing than working on a film in my free time.”

Segraves said he choose to set the film in the 1970s because that time period just interests him.

“I love the music of the era,” he said. “I just love the whole vibe of the ‘70s in general — the music, the things going on in the world and what culminated because of it.”

He wrote the 43-page screenplay and based it loosely on his own high school experiences.

“Being in high school, you go through relationships,” he said. “So any notable moments I heard of and any notable moments in my own life are peppered throughout this film. Any one who knows me well will see these scenarios play out.”

Segraves credits his mom, Jen, who is a photographer, for getting him into the world of cameras.

In 2016, Segraves started taking videos of his dog, Zoe, at the time using his phone. He, along with the help of his friend, Hans Morgan, made about six videos.

Segraves eventually got some camera equipment, including a tripod and an old DSLR camera.

“With each ‘Zoe’ film the production would go up a little more,” Segraves said. “I would get more equipment. We ended up stopping after six videos and two years of work on those.”

Following the “Zoe” films, Segraves wanted to get into more serious projects that included films with dialog.

He said the video side of filming has all been self-taught, and he’s learned to edit by just working at it.

“You can definitely see though the years how I have improved with it,” Segraves said. “I have miles and miles to go to improve with it, but every film and project that I do, I learn a little bit more.”

“A Vittras Box,” the most recent film that Segraves made, was shot during his junior year in high school. The cast consisted of many of his friends who have helped him out on past projects.

“‘A Vittras Box’ was a moody and dramatic film; it was the first thing that I have done like that,” Segraves said. “To be honest, I don’t think I will do a film like that again. I like to stick to the fun side of things.”

Segraves said he is grateful to his friends, parents and his aunt Michelle Mentus and uncle Jody Post for all of the help that they have provided to him and his films.

“I have immense appreciation for my friends, because without them I would not be able to do this kind of stuff,” he said. “Hans Morgan has been a big part of it; there has been people that have come in and out in the past. Torren Saxton has helped me direct, and Savannah Stark, I’d call her a co-director of this film; she also helped me write it. She is behind the camera on this film.”

Segraves and his friends have given up a lot of their summer plans to participate in the project. Many of the cast and crew have summer jobs, and finding the time to get together to shoot is difficult. There are many sacrifices that have to be made by each and every one of them.

“I’d be lying if I said that they weren’t’ a few times over the process of making this film where I thought it would be kind a nice not to have to worry about it,” Segraves said. “But overall the ability to be able to tell a story through this film that I and my friends have made has been worth it.”

Segrages said the expected release date for “Julie” is sometime during October. Previous work by Segraves can be seen on YouTube.

Notable 8/17/19

Free Little Libraries available throughout Oceana County

Read early. Read often. (RERO) Oceana is teaming up with local agencies and businesses to provide Free Little Libraries for families to utilize at places like the laundry mat and health department, and also to take home to read, according to a press release from the Community Foundation for Oceana County.

Books are available at District Health Department No. 10, the Department of Health and Human Services, Bread of Life Food Pantry and the Laundry Basket in Hart. At these locations, children can look at and read books while they are on-site as well as take a free book home with each visit.

In 2018, RERO distributed 4,958 books. As of July 1 of this year, the program has already placed 3,200 books into the hands of children in Oceana County.

Bookcases for some of the Free Little Libraries were built by people at the Pentwater Artisan Center and funded with a grant from the Community Foundation’s Youth Advisory Council.

The Community Foundation for Oceana County provides leadership for the program in hosting coordinator Danielle Siegel, an Americorps VISTA member. Siegel builds the capacity of the program through fundraising and grantwriting, advocacy and outreach, and making and building new connections.

“It has been awesome working with area students from the Youth Advisory Council; they understand the need and continuously support the program when they are able,” Siegel said. “Local funding going back into a local agency (Pentwater Artisan Center) for bookshelves, and the bookshelves going back out to provide local businesses with a place to give out free books, really puts their money into the community.”

For information about getting a Free Little Library at a location, contact Siegel at (231) 861-8335 or Book

donations can be dropped off at any Oceana County library, the Community Foundation for Oceana County Office located at Shelby State Bank in Pentwater, or dropped into any one of the Little Free Libraries.

More information on RERO can be found at Donations to support the RERO program can be sent to the Community Foundation for Oceana County at P.O. Box 902, Pentwater MI, 49449.

High bids for lift station repairs on Scottville agenda

SCOTTVILLE — City commissioners on Monday will consider moving forward with planned repairs to a wastewater lift station near Wildwood Meadows apartments, but the bids for the work came in higher than expected, and officials are unsure as to exactly why that is.

The city has been planning to make repairs to the station since December 2018 — and water rates for residents were increased by 4.5 percent to help cover the cost of the project — but the estimated projected cost has increased twice since then.

“It was originally around $400,000,” City Manager Courtney Magaluk told the Daily News on Friday. “By the time it was engineered (by the firm Prein & Newhof) it was at $625,000.”

The bids surpassed that estimate by about 33 percent, according to a memo from Mason County Drain Commissioner Dennis Dunlap.

The two bids — one from Jason Merkey for $855,475 and one from K&R for $867,500 — combined with about $75,000 for contingencies, bring the project about $234,475 over budget, according to Dunlap.

Magaluk said the higher-than-expected bids could be due in part to cross-connections increasing the volume of the water in the sewer system.

“If you have cross-connections, that allows rainwater to actually mix in with the sewer water that’s going back to the plant (for treatment). So you’re treating more than you need to,” Magaluk said. “Also there are some design things … that the lift station sits down in a pit almost where the pumps are, that there might be some challenges in that regard.”

Dunlap told the Daily News on Friday that some increase from the estimate was expected, but not such a substantial one.

“We had been forewarned that this might be the case. Apparently there’s quite a bit of work out there,” Dunlap said. “But the two bids we got were very close to each other, so I think the scope of the work was well-defined.”

Dunlap added that the lift station is jointly owned by the City of Scottville and Amber Township, and maintained by the county, and noted that Scottville’s water accounts for more than 50 percent of the water that flows through the station.

“The system was originally financed by the county, and the entities pay off a bit of it each month when they pay their sewer bills. Amber Township has paid off its part, Scottville has yet to pay its portion off,” Dunlap said.

Until Scottville pays for its portion, the station will continue to effectively be owned by the county, he said, though he added that the cost of repairing the station would still be covered jointly by both municipalities, with the City of Scottville paying for 53 percent of the cost and Amber Township paying for 47 percent, Dunlap said.

He said county officials will look into why the cost has increased so sharply.

“The Board of Public Works is meeting on (Wednesday), and we’ve asked our engineer to review that very issue and tell us where the increase occurred,” he said. “We’re hopeful that he’ll have (more information).”

Magaluk added that Scottville officials are also eager to determine a definite reason for the higher estimates, and said there will likely be some discussion and review of possible cost-saving measures before a bid is accepted.

“The inflation in cost is troubling,” she said. “There might be a little bit of back-and-forth.”

Also on Monday

Magaluk will update commissioners about an increase in rent that CSX Transportation is attempting to impose on the city for portion of its property on the north side of the railroad tracks between Columbia and Blaine streets.

In early August, commissioners became aware of an increase in rent from $115 to $650 per year for the lot, which the city uses to store excess snow during the winter.

Because the city also handles all the upkeep and maintenance of the property, the city commission proposed a counter-offer of $215 per year based on a motion from Mayor Bruce Krieger on Aug. 6.

Magaluk said she has spoken to representatives from CSX about the issues, and will have some new information for commissioners on Monday.

She said that Scottville is not the only municipality facing rent hikes.

“I talked to the representative, and they’ve been negotiating with different leaseholders,” she said. “It’s going to be a matter of negotiation.”

Commissioners will also discuss the city’s blighted properties, specifically a property on South Reinberg Avenue.

The city commission meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday at Scottville City Hall, 105 N. Main St.