Inside the Newsroom

News, commentary, insight on local happenings and fun from the staff of The Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Check out the new Saline library

Leslee Niethammer's face was beaming this morning when a crowd of more than 100 local residents gathered in front of the renovated facility on Maple Road for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. She was joined by members of the library board, staff and the contractors hired to expand the facility. It was exciting to be there and then walk into the facility, which is absolutely gorgeous. You can view video of the ceremony and the interior of the library on our Web site at

The expansion is the result of Saline voters passing a 0.55-mill levy in 2006 to fund a $5.8 million expansion. The facility grew from 16,450 square feet to 33,000. It has many nice features, including new computers, a children's area, puppet theater, Saline history room featuring the Bixby Marionette Exhibit that was previously housed at the Saline Area Chamber of Commerce and, my favorite, the magazine and newspaper room.

Among the highlights today were ice cream given out by the Saline Lions Club, a bouncy slide and Moonwalk for children outside and dedication of a peace pole by the Saline Girl Scouts.

If you were unable to make it to the ceremony and events today, please take the time to visit soon, even if you're not a library regular. The amenities the library offers are plentiful, from books, DVDs and CDs to Internet access and local history. It really is a community gem and should be utilized to its full potential.

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Saline High School Graduation Sun June 1

Saline High School graduation is Sunday. Outdoors at Hornet field (SHS football stadium) at 6pm or, in case of inclement weather indoors at Saline Middle School. Call 429-8000 after 10am Sunday to find out if ceremonies will be in or outdoors.
Former SHS principal and current Woodland Meadows principal, Jean Durst will address the near 430 graduates. Class President Matt DeFauw will speak on behalf of his fellow grads.
Hiroshi Onuma, the fabulous photographer with The Saline Reporter will be on hand to snap some great memories. He's awesome. We are lucky to have him on board.
Congrats one and all seniors. Enjoy your parties, but don't be silly with your choices (I am, afterall, a mother, too!)
Blog here, with your messages to your classmates and community. What memories will you take with you about Saline when you leave home?


Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Memorable

Memorial Day in Milan is always memorable. This is the second year I've covered events and I've again walked away with a renewed feeling of patriotism and respect for those who have served our country, defending our right to freedom.

I had the pleasure of meeting Harry McCrea, 89, and Bob Harbison, 87. Both Milan residents served our country in World War II. McCrea had the honor of serving as grand marshal in this year's Memorial Day parade. They were like celebrities as spectators took their pictures and shook their hands before the start of Monday's Memorial Day opening ceremony in front of American Legion Post 268.

I also met Seantell Pratt of Milan, who has performed "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes for the last five years as part of the program at Marble Park Cemetery. We talked about her commitment to the program and reasons for being part of it. "I feel it's my duty because my father was in the Marines and it has been a big deal in our household," she said. "It's my way to pay tribute to the people who have served and passed away."

Among the dedicated and longtime participants of the program were Len Federer, 1st vice chairman of American Legion Post 268 in Milan; Jean Early and Barb Gauntlett, members of the American Legion Auxiliary in Milan; and co-chair Eileen Kanitz, who joins Federer every year in putting together the program.

Also returning from last year were Bethany and Kyle Anderson, who sang "America the Beautiful" and Robbie Bolog of Milan, who played "Taps" on the bugle.

In particular, I was impressed with Mayor Kym Muckler's speech. She did an excellent job conveying the meaning of Memorial Day and relating it to everyone in the community. "In our hearts, we know that we could never fully express our gratitude and fulfill our obligation to these men and women," she said.

"We know they did not die for parades, wreaths or glory. They died so that in freedom our nation might endure.

"We should remember that our way of life is because of the sacrifices of our men and women of the military. Some from our very own community."

View her full speech on video at our Web site There are three videos total capturing all the events, including the parade.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Great perennial plant sale Sat - so much in Saline

The ladies at St Paul United Church of Christ, our neighbor here at the Saline Reporter/Milan News-Leader office, were buzzing getting ready for their annual plant sale

Sat. morning. (May 24, 9am - noon, just a block west on Mich Ave from the four corners, downtown Saline).

There are amazing hostas, lush flowering perennials, ground cover, fruit plants, trees and a sweet array of greens for your garden. All the plants were dug up by the green thumb brigade at UCC and will be for sale Saturday morning. "They are all going!" said organizer Florine Rentschler. The ladies were pricing and organizing plants. DO stop by tomorrow morning. What a great way to supplement your yard with plants grown with TLC from gardens and farms around Saline.
From left are Florine Rentschler, Beulah Weisznreber, Gayle Burmeister, Lisa Rentschler, Ginny Bassett, Mary Rentschler, Phyllis Doll, Grace Linemann, Kathy Koskinen, Shirley McGuire.


Thursday, May 22, 2008

Saline's Parks are gems

Looks like the holiday weekend forecast is all about sun and warmth. The perfect time, I say, to get out and enjoy one of the awesome parks in Saline. Here's a photo of some adorable volunteers who showed up at Mill Pond Park earlier this month to help with the annual Parks Clean-up Day. DID YOU KNOW... there is a covered pavillion and grills at Curtiss and Mill Pond? The trails at Wilderness are the perfect challenge for a young family. Park in the dirt lot at the corner of S. Ann Arbor and Willis and enter the park through the grassy lawn. It's really lovely in there. Magical. The play structures at Brecon, Marlpool and Canterbury - three sweet neighborhood parks are fun for kids. A nice change from the backyard. Enter People's Park off S. Ann Arbor - park on Pleasant Ridge and walk across the street. More cool trails, a little creek and plenty to look at. Have fun. You don't even need to put gas in the tank to enjoy the weekend.
Have fun!


Monday, May 19, 2008

Learn about wind power May 20

Using turbines to harness the wind’s power to generate electricity is an intriguing idea: what could be more clean and abundant than the wind? On May 20, at 7:00 pm at the Pittsfield Township Administration Building, Saline Sustainability Circle will feature a presentation on wind turbines by John Sarver of the Michigan Energy Office. The public is invited to attend and learn more about a renewable resource that is gaining popularity throughout our state.

Wind is one of the cleanest and greenest of alternative energies, but as we seek alternatives to fossil fuels, it is also important to study the impact of wind turbines. Community leaders and residents will find this presentation helpful in developing appropriate ordinances and location guidelines. Will ultra low frequency noise be a problem? What is “shadow flicker” and can it be abated? Are birds and bats affected? If large propellers aren’t feasible in a more urban or suburban setting, how about barber pole or roof mounted turbines?

The Saline Sustainability Circle is always bringing cool issues to the table. Check out this meeting if you have time!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Circle of Art - Go, don't be a Square

I can't take credit for that headline. But, it's a winner. You MUST Must stop by Saline Picture Frame on Saline-AA Rd to preview the simply amazing works of art (380 at last count) on display and up for auction. The folks there (Sara, Mary and Peter Bowe and crew) have worked their buns off to organize the fourth annual silent auction and party (this Sun., May 18 - noon to 5pm). btw, I was on the Plymouth Salem HS swim team with their sister, Jane Bowe (artist and teacher living in Petoskey -- who will be there on Sunday ("Our Rocks Don't Sink" was our motto. Good times. good times. 1979).

Go to their website ( to check out the paintings, jewelry, sculpture, photographs. They have harnessed the talent of local artists (where did they all come from?? The creativity is staggering) who have donated small-sized works of art. I popped in the other day and felt like a kid in a candy shop. Color, texture, landscapes, drawings, cool stuff. All the proceeds go to Food Gatherers. So, I mean it -- stop in to Saline Pic Frame or, if you're really a good time Charlie, go to the auction Sunday afternoon. The closer to 5pm, the more feverish because people will be hovering over the art they want to win. It's tons of fun. Great people doing great things in our community. See you there. (I'll be the one hovering by Linda Kortesoja Klenczar's work or loitering near Stephen Kerr's cool little 3-D work). Be There. Don't be Square.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Celebrating National Nursing Home Week

This week is National Nursing Home Week and I had the pleasure of celebrating the kick off this morning at the Evangelical Home in Saline. The theme was "Spirit of America: A Tribute to Our Service Men and Women." Staff and residents organized a week of activities that kicked off with a balloon lift-off. Sue Hurst, administrator at the nursing home, delivered opening remarks to a room full of residents, staff and visitors, including daycare children.

Hurst led the crown in the Pledge of Allegiance before handing the mic over to Saline Mayor Gretchen Driskell, who shared her appreciation for everything the staff at the Evangelical Home does to make residents feel comfortable.

One of the more touching moments was when Betty Flanders, a resident at the facility, recited the poem "Flanders Field," by Lt. John McCrae. Richard Champine, a resident of Mill Pond Manor, read "America's Response," by R.W. Lillard.

To wrap up the morning's events, those gathered sang "God Bless America," while staff let loose nearly 200 balloons filled with messages of hope and prayers for soldiers.

The rest of the week sounds like fun, too. Tomorrow, Saline American Legion and the Honor Guard will visit with residents. On Wednesday, there's a sports theme and residents will play baseball in the atrium. Thursday is traveling day, with staff putting flags on a huge map of the United States, marking everywhere they've traveled. Friday will wrap up the week with songs and an ice cream social.

If you have a minute, stop by or write a note of appreciation to the nursing home's staff in recognition of their hard work. Also, please check out our video of Monday's kick off at

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Check out the farmers' market

The Saline Farmers' Market opened last Saturday and saw a big turnout that first weekend. Today I was in Saline early to open The Saline Reporter to the pest control guy, who was spraying for ants, and decided to head over to the market and check it out. There were lots of friendly faces and a variety of agricultural offerings, as well as crafts and a Master Gardener dispensing advice.

A staple of the market, Cheryl and Perry Plouff's dog Bandit was crossing at Michigan Avenue and Ann Arbor Street, pulling a number of the market's offferings behind him in a cart. As I entered the market, I was greeted by Valerie Mann and her husband, who were just leaving. First, I met Adam Ulbin, owner of Stone Hearth Breads, a bakery in Brooklyn. He sells his baked goods every Saturday at farmers' markets in Saline, Chelsea, Adrian and Jackson. It was his second year there and we spoke on video. Unfortunately, there was a problem with my camera and his segment didn't turn out. (If you're reading this Adam, I apologize. Maybe we can shoot it again another time.)

I also met Jeffrey Brown, a beekeeper in Garden City who owns J. Brown Honey Farm. He was there selling honey and various bees wax products. It is Jeffrey's second year at the market. Patty Henes of H & H Harvest represented the Saline contingent at the market. She has been a regular since its inception eight years ago. Both were interviewed as part of my video, which can be viewed on our Web site.

Don't miss the Saline Farmers' Market. It's a community gem, features lots of local produce and goods, and is a great meeting spot to catch up with your neighbors on a beautiful Saturday morning.

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Darling Rocker

If you're a fan of '70s and '80s rock, you're going to love this kid. Ian Darling, 13, a seventh-grade student at Milan Middle School, rocked out just before the parade May 3 during Discover Milan Day. He was incredible, playing AC/DC and other hits from my teen years. Check out his video at this link or view "Rockin' Out" at

Ted Montei, who organizes acts for Open Mic Night at Milan Coffeehouse, helped set up Ian's performance, as well as others, including Gloria DeNoyer on the recorder. Open Mic Night is held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Stop in and catch some local talent.

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Discover Milan Day in Pictures

Milan saw a great turnout for Discover Milan Day May 3. The parade of Little League and T-ball players was adorable. There was plenty to do, from children's activities organized by the Milan Girl Scouts on the grounds of the American Legion Post to sidewalk sales, an arts and crafts show at the Milan Senior and Community Activity Center to the Rubber Ducky Race in the Saline River. We posted three videos from the day's events and published some photos. Below are more. Enjoy!

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