"Our whole goal here is to build student leaders," said Hoover. "When you give these outstanding young people responsibility and authority, their true leadership shines through."
The students were in charge of everything from meeting with the designer to making all the decisions in regard to what the commons area would finally look like. All of their choices had to fit within the budget they were given. They visited other schools and colleges to get ideas, designed the layout of the area on computer and even helped paint the area in the rush to have it ready for students and staff the Monday after Valentine's Day.
The result is a modern commons area that's not just a place for school lunches, but a place where students look forward to stopping by to study and socialize. The area is open 7 a.m.-8 p.m. every weekday, has wireless Internet and offers snacks and deli sandwiches.
Nicole, Stephanie, Collin, Elena and Josh are to be commended for creating such a special place for East Jordan High School students both today and in the future.
Eye on invention
An Ellsworth High School graduate is making his mark in the eyewear market.
Twenty-one-year-old entrepreneur Tyler Essenberg is the creator of the new g-raps, decorative silicone band that fit around the temple area of eyeglasses. The g-raps personalize eyeglasses. They can make a fashion statement, support a charity, or show allegiance to a university. Examples of g-rap designs include pink bands inscribed with the word "Believe" -- a portion of these sales benefit breast cancer charities; as well as hunting-themed variations and popular university colors. Essenberg said he hopes to establish a larger selection of university-themed bands with licensed logos.
Unlike other wearable items, Essenberg noted people often put on the same pair of glasses day after day without a way to freshen the look. This observation triggered a problem-solving interest that Essenberg, a student at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, said he's had since childhood.
Thus, was born the idea of g-raps. He and his partner, Calvin Beeke, a former Davenport student, worked together to create the decorative silicone bands which began hitting the market this winter.
"We've been on the market a few weeks, less than a month, and we've sold a few thousand," Essenberg said.
"Everything's made in Michigan," he continued. "The product is made in Grand Rapids, the packaging is made in Grand Rapids."
So far, g-raps have been offered for sale mainly at west Michigan eye doctors' offices, but Essenberg is looking to line up similar offices in Northern Michigan as retail sites. They are also available via his website, www.g-raps.com. Essenberg said the business also is in discussions with a distributor that could help arrange access to chain retailers.
Essenberg's g-raps is an invention sure to catch on.
We're pleased to see Petoskey City Council remaining so involved in the dormant Petoskey Pointe construction site.
In its efforts to keep the giant hole in downtown Petoskey safe, council enlisted the expertise of engineering firm C2AE.
Soil & Structures, an engineering firm working on behalf of Petoskey Pointe site owner Northwestern Bank, presented a plan earlier this winter for shoring up the retaining wall lining three sides of the site, but C2AE's study of the site resulted in a differing option. C2AE recently reported it did not expect the Soils & Structures plan to resolve some of the erosion concerns existing along the wall. C2AE believes the partial hole filling wouldn't eliminate the need for some of the anchors attaching the upper part of the wall to the surrounding earth. These anchors have exceeded their intended life span.
After receiving a report from city manager Dan Ralley about C2AE's findings, Petoskey City Council members reiterated their position that the Soils and Structures plan fell short of meeting their expectations.
Ralley said the city's next step in dealing with site questions will be to arrange a meeting with Northwestern Bank representatives and find out whether they agree with C2AE's findings.
Along with assuring long-term wall stability, council member Jeremy Wills said there are concerns to be resolved about the presence of Petoskey Pointe's perimeter fence, such as encroachment on city sidewalks, aesthetic issues and potential visibility obstructions for motorists making turns at nearby intersections.
Mayor Bill Fraser said the site's appearance presents "a blight on the whole community," and that a timetable needs to be established for resolving problems there.
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