Inside the Newsroom

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

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Newspapers win awards

I am so proud of my staff, current and former, at The Saline Reporter and The Milan News-Leader. On Friday, results of the Michigan Press Association 2008 Better Newspaper Contest were released, and we won 12 awards. Of Heritage Newspapers' western region publications, which include Saline, Milan, Chelsea, Dexter and Manchester, 34 awards were garnered. All of us competed in the weekly Class D category with circulations under 4,001.

Staff Writer Sue G. Collins won first place in the spot news category for her piece on the closing of AutoLign in The Milan News Leader.

Brian Cox won third place for feature story with his piece "Finding a Purpose" in The Saline Reporter. Judges wrote that the presentation and writing set it apart from the other entries.

The Saline Reporter won second place and The Milan News-Leader won third place for its editorial pages. Judges wrote that Saline deserved a higher ranking over Milan because of its volume of letters to the editor.

A surprising win was honorable mention by Ryan Michaels at The Saline Reporter for his movie reviews. Ryan, who was 10 at the time, was recognized for his talent, "writing with confidence and conviction," the judges wrote, and the newspaper was recognized for having "made the right choice in having the courage to welcome this 10-year-old to its writing team."

Another nice surprise was reader Terri Sibo-Koenig's second-place prize in the feature picture category for the shot she submitted for our use in The Saline Reporter called "Flying High." It was of a skateboarder jumping over some kids. The judges wrote, "Great sense of perspective, timing and motion."

The Milan News-Leader grabbed first and Saline took third in sports writing for Jerry Hinnen's work. His first-place award was for the story "Girls Hoops Coach Resigns" and second place was for "Festival of Feats." Jerry also led The Saline Reporter to first place in the sports coverage category. The judges wrote, "This guy must work 24/7."

In lifestyle pages, The Milan News-Leader's "Community" section grabbed second place. The judges wrote, "Very community oriented with good photography and a nice use of color. The writing was done in an entertaining but informative style."

The Saline Reporter grabbed two awards in special sections category, taking first place for its Celtic Festival tab and third place for the Saline Area Directory.

In addition, Heritage Newspapers won first place for its "Moving Forward" section produced last spring and published in all the papers. The judges wrote, "This comprehensive series gives readers a thorough understanding of the economy in the southeast Michigan area and the direction it is headed in. The four parts are well planned out and organized by themes. Excellent cover design."

Two of Heritage Newspapers' publications grabbed Newspaper of the Year accolades. The News-Herald, covering Downriver, and The Chelsea Standard were given the honor in their respective circulation classes.

There were 3,781 entries submitted by 116 Michigan newspapers. The contest was judged by the Pennsylvania Press Association. If you want to read the complete results, visit the MPA Web site at

A letter from our senator:

Dear Ms. Rogers,

It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to send my personal congratulations to The Saline Reporter and The Milan News Leader on the awards of achievement presented by the Michigan Press Association to each of these fine papers.

I feel truly privileged to have a group of such talented writers covering the communities I represent. The obligation the press has to its patrons is a true challenge and responsibility. It is good to know the residents of Saline and Milan have good, reliable news reporting and information available to them through their community papers. It is with the outstanding accomplishments that the Michigan Press Association has recognized you for, that you and your staff can better serve your community with valuable information they need.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication in informing the public. I look forward to reading more articles from both The Saline Reporter and The Milan News Leader. Again, congratulations to all of you!


Randy Richardville
State Senator
The 17th District

Friday, September 26, 2008

Come Visit Bunny Town, USA

OK, I'll admit it. I am a little biased when it comes to bunnies. When I was in charge of the Pet Appeal tab a couple of months ago for Heritage Newspapers-West, guess who was featured along with the regular lineup of dogs and cats. Yes, rabbits. And when I am covering the Washtenaw County 4-H Youth Show and Saline Community Fair, guess what animal I always stop by to look at and photograph. Yes, the rabbits.

I grew up with rabbits. I find them to be adorable, sweet, independent, quiet, low-maintenance creatures. Quiet and low-maintenance are probably the key to my relationship with them. I have two at home right now.

Puddin' lives in my upstairs bathroom with a baby gate blocking her escape. It's her house, with a litter box at each end of the bathtub and Timothy hay in between, so she can jump in the tub, bounce back and forth between litter boxes and enjoy a snack. She also likes to nap on top of the toilet seat, which I think is oh so cute. Then there's Oompa, who has her own little bunny condo in my home office.

Both have very distinct personalities. Puddin' is always trying to get under my bed. When she is successful, she likes to thump her foot several times to let me know that she beat me at my game of Keep-the-Rabbit-Out-of-the-Bedroom. Oompa is fiercely protective of her home and will growl, lunge and bite me if I try to stick my hand in to grab her and even put food in. She's territorial. Once I trick her by throwing something at one end of the condo and grab her from behind as she tries to attack it and get her safely in my arms, she melts and becomes totally docile. I can flip both on their backs and put them in trances for long periods of time. In fact, I think of myself as the bunny whisperer.

It's these rabbits and the long line of bunnies before them that have moved me to do whatever I can to help the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary, a home for abandoned, abused and neglected rabbits in Willis. It's located, more specifically, in Augusta Township, about 15 minutes from my home in Pittsfield Township. Just a short drive down Willis Road, off US-23, to Whittaker, left on Judd. I bring newspapers for their use and help in other ways. Most recently, I created two videos: a seven-minute video posted on our news Web sites and an 18-minute version on YouTube and Both feature Tim Patino, president of the group, talking about the needs of the sanctuary, the largest rabbit sanctuary in the United States, with more than 500 rabbits to care for. Their budget is $300K a year, and last year they fell short by about $50K. They need help, and we're hoping the video will entice people to donate funds or items on their wish list, which can be found at

On Sunday, Oct. 12, the Great Lakes Rabbit Sanctuary will host an open house. It's a way to raise money and awareness, as well as educate those with bunnies or thinking about getting bunnies about their care. If you're looking for something to do, it should be a fun time, with activities for children, in addition to tours of the farm, where potbelly pigs live too. There will be a haunted "Hoppy Hollow" and bunny merchandise for sale, and a performance by Delirious Love, a band that features Manchester Enterprise Editor Daniel Lai. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for children 12 and younger, and that money will go toward a great cause.

The farm, which is known as Bunny Town, USA, is located at 8260 Judd Road. It's not too far from Saline. Just take Willis Road to Whitaker to Judd. I hope to see you there!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Best and worst sports movies

Given the fact that I once considered being a film major, I think I should take the time to combine two of my greatest loves, movies and sports. Who doesn't love a good sports flick? Based on my own personal evaluation system, I will now rank what I believe to be the best sports movies available for viewing today. That system is based on a combined analysis of acting, set design, cinemotagraphy, soundtrack, originality of screenplay and overall entertainment factor. Here we go...

Best sports flicks ever!

15. "Miracle"

This movie gets points for creativity in the opening montage. I'm also a large fan of the cinematography, and I enjoy that most of the actors are hockey players rather than the other way around. Plus, that long practice scene with the spliced frames of blue line sprints is great. Also, who would have thought Kurt Russell would look exactly like Herb Brooks. However, this movie gets points taken away for pumping me up less than the documentary on HBO.

14. "The Hustler"

I love me some Paul Newman. What a babe. This film is one my professors made me study in film class, due in part to costume and lighting, which aren't really a large part of my eval system. However, it is rock solid in creating a mood and sending a message about being in too deep. And yes, pool is a sport. The black widow is still owning the table on ESPN. So long as that sports network considers the game athletic in nature, I get to keep this on my list.

13. "Slap shot"

Paul Newman does it again. This movie gets points for comedic timing and really good dialogue, albeit a tad dirty. The Hansen brothers made gold here, and I always enjoy a flick that takes to the darker side of hockey. Also, Canadian accents are great.

12. "Jerry Maquire"

"Show me the money" will be a line that is reused in the popular media for decades. That means this film gets credit for a solid screenplay, not to mention a solid analysis of the professional sports world. And the acting isn't too bad either! I'm always willing to go back and watch pre-crazy Tom Cruise. These were his best years. Plus Cuba never made a movie as good as this again, and Renee looks like a normal human being. Points were taken away here because some of the movie's best moments are not sport moments.

11. "Remember the Titans"

Extra points were given here for over-the-top cheesiness. From Ryan Gosling's cliche cowboy role to the conflicted interests of a racially divided small town, this movie delivers a lot in the way of cultural observations. Plus, whenever the starting quarterback gets hurt, that's a recipe for tears.

10. "Tin Cup"

A golf movie should be on here, especially when the main actor is Kevin Costner. From his fiesty little caddy to the hot shrink that everyone wants to sleep with, there is a lot of good character development going on here. Plus, once you get past the dimwitted jokes and whatnot, the scene on No. 18 when he goes for it is surprisingly exciting and meaningful.

9. "A League of Their Own"

I still watch this everytime it shows up on TBS. Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Madonna are all involved, not to mention Rosie O'Donnell before everyone hated her. The cast is really great, and not only does it portray a meaningful event in America's history, it does so with a lot of humor and simplicity that makes it fun to watch over and over. Extra points for the soundtrack. The final bravado when the Peaches lose makes me sob.

8. "Field of Dreams"

Costner is on here twice, I know. But James Earl Jones plays God, and I think that's just about right. This movie combined the best elements of sports, including motivational moments, an average guy, talented play and meaningful history.

7. "Sandlot"

I think I probably have too many baseball movies on here, but "Forrreeevvveerrrr" is probably used to make jokes by my circle of friends multiple times a month. This movie touches on something that brings the audience together. That is the memory of a time when afternoons were free and playing games with friends was the drama of the day. Again, James Earl Jones (a Michigan man) makes an appearance at the side of a daunting pooch that reminds me of Beethoven.

6. "Hoop Dreams"

Anytime a documentary sticks around on the movie stands for longer than a year, it belongs in some sort of hall of fame. Sometimes, nothing is more motivational than the truth, especially when it comes to these basketball athletes and their hopes and hoop dreams. It is actually shot quite well for the budget it was on and the year it was made.

5. "Raging Bull"

I refuse to put this in the top three because I think the Scorcese-DeNiro combo is a bit overused and takes itself too seriously. However, this is a well directed movie with a lot of great moments and some great fight scenes. I don't mean to give anything away, but this movie is a poor man's Rocky.

4. "Friday Night Lights"

I enjoy the honesty of this movie. The story is dark, and completely true, and it makes a great observation about the influence of sport in our society. These athletes play their hearts out like our community's athletes do every week. This is also a good, and enlightening, read if you can get a hold of the book.

3. "Rudy"

I went to Michigan and I still have a place in my heart for this. This hits America at a time when factory workers really had it tough. I enjoy multiple things here. For one, the father-son storyline is really great and adds an element that interlaces with sports all the time. Second, Notre Dame has one of the greatest home stadiums in the country, as well as some of the best traditions. Sean does a great job as Rudy, the tiny little tike that he is. This movie sort of offers what Invincible didn't.

2. "Hoosiers"

The game scenes are great, the young boys are inspirational and the small-town element is classic. Plus, the quintessential element of sports movies is the pep talk. Gene Hackman is spot on here, filling his role as coach like a pro. The fact that my parents grew up in Indiana earns the movie extra points.

1. "Rocky"

This speaks for itself. Adrian, I did it.

That about sums it up. Obviously, this is just my opinion of the best sports movies. It varies individually, especially if certain thematic elements don't matter to the viewer. The entertainment factor, however, is present in all of the above. If you haven't seen one of them, rent it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Go to school and be counted

Tomorrow, Wed., Sept 24 is "Count Day" in the Saline Area School district. The attendance numbers are used by not only the district but also by the state for funding. So, scoot your little darlings out the door tomorrow morning on time, send them to school sick for one day and tell them it's for the good of the many. There's a lesson.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Veteran Reporter Joins Staff

As readers will discover Thursday, we have a new reporter in our ranks. And she's no newbie.

Lisa Allmendinger, a veteran reporter with 27 years of experience in journalism as an editorial page editor, assistant city editor and reporter, has succeeded Brian Cox at The Saline Reporter and The Milan News-Leader. Her beats include Saline and Milan, but mostly Milan, including local government, schools, features, events coverage and photography. In fact, she's at her first council meeting right now.

This is the second time I've worked with Lisa. She was a reporter for me when I was editor of The Chelsea Standard and The Dexter Leader. She left for a freelancing gig at The Ann Arbor News and has been covering western Washtenaw County for the last four years. I am sure many readers are familiar with her reporting of local municipalities and have seen her photos in the daily newspaper. Now she's part of our team and is excited to be able to concentrate her efforts on these two communities.

What some readers and local sources may not know is that Lisa also edits a national publication. She has been editor of I Love Cats, a New York-based cat magazine with a circulation of about 250,000, since 1988. She also helped launch the now-defunct Washtenaw County Insider Business Journal, and is a University of Michigan graduate.

We're very excited to have her talent and wealth of journalism experience on staff. She plans on breaking a lot of news online and producing video coverage, so check our Web sites regularly.

Please join us in welcoming Lisa. She can be reached at and would love to hear your story ideas and suggestions for better coverage in both communities.

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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Relay for Life pushes through rain

We haven't had a steady rain for a month and on the day of Relay for Life of Saline/Milan, it rains? What's up with that? Well, fortunately, as the American Cancer Society's Jason Keech said in a video interview with me earlier today at Wilson Park in Milan, "The rain can't dampen our spirits in the fight against cancer."

The American Cancer Society kicked off its annual local relay at 9 a.m. with an opening ceremony in Wilson Park, followed by the survivors victory lap and celebration. I met a lot of strong and brave people at the event who touched me deeply. I snapped a photo of Mark and Nancy Massey of Azalia, donning rain gear and holding hands, as they completed their survivors lap in the rain. And right after them came Barb Latocki of Saline, who looked at peace clutching a carnation while waiting in line at the survivors breakfast. She is an 11-year cancer survivor and has participated in the local relay for seven years.

I sat under the tent as the rain came down to talk to some of these lucky souls. I know how lucky they're because I lost my husband to colon cancer four years ago. Ethel Fleszar of Milan shared her story on video with me. While she has participated in the Relay for Life for the last 10 years, this was her first year as a survivor after a breast cancer diagnosis. "I wanted to make sure everyone is aware of what's happening and there can be a cure," she told me was the reason she was there.

Jan Rice of Carleton, who retired from Ford Motor Co.'s Milan plant in 2004 and was diagnosed with cancer shortly after, was another survivor I met and admired for her dedication to the cause. She has been participating in the relay since 2001, and volunteers at other American Cancer Society events. Jan, who also spoke to me on video, is an advocate for early cancer detection. "I really press the issue of mammography (with my daughters) because they're over 40 now," she said. "All of my friends, I try to convince them to get checked."

I'll share more cancer survivor stories as part of an article I am writing this weekend about the Relay for Life. I'll return to the event at 4:30 p.m. for the Fight Back ceremony and 9 p.m. for the Luminaria before I put pen to paper. So, in addition to the three videos I've uploaded to our Web site already, I hope to have a couple more, as well as an article and photos for the newspapers.

If you read this today, I encourage you to stop by Wilson Park and show your support. There are a number of activities going on, from musical entertainment and a magician to themed laps. If you can't make it, I hope you can find it in your heart to donate. Visit or contact ACS Associate Director Jason Keech at

More tests for our kids?

Get out the Wheaties, mom. There's more testing for our kids this week. Kids get freaked about the MEAPS, hopefully, these won't be so bad. Here's a note from the superintendent:

Beginning September 15th, 2008, Saline Area Schools will begin to administer the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) assessment in grades 2 through 10. More specifically, we will be giving the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) tests. The NWEA MAP assessments are computer adaptive tests. The assessments utilize technology similar to what is found in the GRE and GMAT graduate school level tests. The main purpose of the NWEA is to give teachers, parents, and students an academic performance level for a student and to measure student academic growth over time. For an overview of the MAP assessment, you can find an on-line tutorial at the following link:

Here are the answers to some FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions):
1). When will my student be testing?
The first testing window is from September 15th-October 3rd. Subsequent windows will be in late January-early February and early May.
2). Where will my student be testing?
Testing will occur in the computer labs at the individual schools. Heritage students will also be using a computer lab at Liberty School.
3). What will be tested?
Students will be tested in reading, English language arts (language usage), and mathematics.
4). How long are the tests?
Students will take three tests that are approximately an hour long.
5). When will my students receive the results?
Students receive preliminary scores immediately after completing the test. Full reports will be available and sent home with your student at the conclusion of the testing window. Your student's teacher will be discussing your student's NWEA score at parent teacher conferences
6). How accurate are the results?
NWEA has more than three million students involved in their normative study through their 3100 partner school districts in the United States. With such a large sample, the test produces very accurate data about your student.
For more information on the assessment please feel free to visit the following websites:
If you have any questions please contact Dr. Sean Enright, Executive Director of Assessment and Secondary Education at or 429-8015.

Friday, September 12, 2008

More cowbell, I say!

So it's about my fourth week here. I'm three papers deep, and I've attended quite a few games. All I have to say is there is a shockingly weak level of cowbell at the Saline games. So shame on you, Saline. You are a neighbor to Ann Arbor. You know of the importance of the cowbell's ring/ping/ding/whatever. Our athletes need as much hollaring and cheering and clapping and singing and COWBELL as possible. It will make opponents fear you. And, yes, we want that.

This is what should be done: each sports' group of parents should elect a particularly cheery representative to have cowbell duty at home games. If you feel like being really organized, you could even put a schedule together and all chip in. They aren't that expensive (about $25) and can be found at most music stores, as well as online.

I should also remind the community that tonight (Sept. 12) is Saline's first home varsity football game. If there was ever a game that required vast amounts of cowbell, this would be it. Chelsea is a tough team and the boys will need our support. So someone in this community, whether it be a percussion kid in 5th grade or a grandma with tamborines and such, the crowd should make their presence known.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Most like the High School hallways

What do students and staff think of the still-shiny high school? We know you love the pool and theater, how about the colors? the security? Check out a survey completed by the builder and architect. The report was presented to the board of education at Tuesday's meeting, which I attended, as I start to cover school affairs. There are some smart, tough (in a good way) men and women on that board, giving our district direction. Over 80 percent gave the Saline High School facility an A or B. As a parent (of three, in three different buildings this year!), I'd be proud of those grades.

Have a good day. And, as I tell my kids every day when they get on the bus, "do something nice for someone today."


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Relay for Life will take your breath away Saturday

Have you ever been to the local Relay for Life event? It's happening this Saturday for Saline and Milan area teams raising funds for the American Cancer Society. It takes place in Milan. So far, there are 524 participants on 23 teams that have raised over $22,000. Just four days till the relay.

Here's more info: which explains:
Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society's signature event, is a fun-filled overnight experience designed to bring together those who have been touched by cancer. At Relay, people from within the community gather to celebrate survivors, remember those lost to cancer, and to fight back against this disease. Relay participants help raise money and awareness to support the American Cancer Society in its lifesaving mission to eliminate cancer as a major health issue. During Relay For Life events, teams of people gather at schools, fairgrounds, or parks and take turns walking or running laps. The events are held overnight to represent the fact that cancer never sleeps. Through the survivors' lap and the luminaria ceremony, we honor the people who have faced cancer first hand, and we remember those who have been lost to this disease.

Audrey Barkel, here in Saline, is a two-time cancer survivor and for her team, hosted a dinner to raise funds. They raised over $1,500 by serving 50 pounds of beef brisket.

"You should see the luminaries. It's solemn and magical," she said.

Audrey said that over 100 motorcycles will cruise through Saline early Saturday morning to announce the event.

The event will take place Sept. 13-14 at Wilson Park. If you’re interested in learning more or have questions, please email us at or call 734-971-4300


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Who are YOU voting for?

Here at the Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader, we are very interested in covering the upcoming elections and how our readers are voting.

If you have a political sign in your yard, why not fill out the following questionnaire. We will publish your comments, and those of others who are speaking out on behalf of their favored candidates.
We are calling the feature, “Who’s behind the sign?”

Feel free to complete some, most or all of the form and fax it, email me just your answers (noting the number of the question you are commenting on), publish here as a comment or drop it off at our office downtown Saline.

If you would like to email a photo of your family standing behind your sign, please do so: Please send it as an attached jpg.

Please complete (as much as you like) and return: fax to 734-429-3621, email to me at

1. Whose sign is in your yard?
2. Have you had political signs in your yard in the past?
3. For whom/when (if you remember!)
4. What made you put a sign in your yard this year and where did you get the sign?
5.Have you ever been harassed or questioned by neighbors or passers by for putting a sign in your yard?
6. Who else are you endorsing?


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Web Extras!

Hello, Saline! This is my first blog, so I'll just introduce myself real quick. My name is Jana. I'm the new sports writer for the Saline Reporter and Milan News-Leader, which makes me a hip, fun female. I'm stoked to be here.

As some people have already figured out from talking to me, I love sports. All sports. That means I'm making an effort to cover everything I can. Obviously I can't publish everything in the paper, because our pages are limited. However, I do make an effort to at least write up on lots of different things, including (in many cases) club, JV, and freshman teams. If I can't publish something in my section, my solution will be to publish it online instead. The extra stories' headlines will be listed in the upper right or left corner of the sports section. They can be found at They will be listed in with the other online versions of sports articles. Hopefully this will help the community to stay up to speed with more of the sports, rather than just the typical coverage of the popular ones.

Also, I wanted to note that everyone should feel free to donate pictures from meets, games, and tournaments if they have them. I am running around as much as I can to get photographs myself, but my two legs are somewhat limiting. Plus, I met two parents last week who have a bigger camera than mine. That makes me sad. In the future, I may buy a hardcore camera myself. I was once into photography, but I use an old-school film camera as opposed to digital. Perhaps it's time I entered the 21st century. But again, pictures are welcome and make life easier.

So please, by all means, check out the web extras, check out the games going on this week, take pictures, and happy reading!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Miss Saline Pageant produces winners

If you weren't there to witness it firsthand Tuesday night, the Miss Saline Pageant put on another successful program. Sponsored by the Former Miss Saline Association and the Saline Community Fair Board, the pageant marked its 60th year as Katie Beck, a senior at Saline High School, was crowned Miss Saline.

Beck was among nine contestants seeking the crown. The daughter of Janice and Michael Beck, she is a member of the National Honor Society and is active in the Chamber Choir and Saline High School Drama Club. Her future plans include the University of Michigan, where she would like to study literature and science.

Beck was joined by first runner-up Tara Dauer, who also was named Miss Congeniality, and second runner-up Michelle Rupp. Dauer, the daughter of Doug and Kathy Dauer, is also a senior at Saline High School. She serves as co-captain of the varsity cheerleading squad, and is an avid twirler, student council historian and editor of the school yearbook with aspirations to become a cardiologist. Rupp, a junior at Saline High School, is the daughter of Roger and Jill Rupp. She is a member of the Chamber Choir, plays violin in the Chamber Orchestra and participates in National Honor Society. She wants to attend business school and would one day like to open a hotel.

The pageant, which also featured performances from Miss Washtenaw County and the Harmonettes, was judged by Tom Kirvan, editor in chief of Detroit Legal News Publishing; Gina Valo, Miss Washtenaw County 2003; and Myrna Williams, a 1969 Saline High School graduate who works as a counselor at Tecumseh High School.

Nicole Stegenga, Miss Saline 2003 and a senior at Hope College, was mistress of ceremonies.

If you missed the event or want to see the crowning moment, check out video on our Web site.
Or go directly there by clicking here.

Saline's youth - thinking smart again.

Saline Youth Council's Dress for Less Event – Sunday, September 7, 2008
Saline Youth Council (SYC) is sponsoring a "Dress for Less" sales event on Sunday, September 7, 2008 12-4 pm at the Saline Rec Center, 1866 Woodland Dr., Saline, MI. If you are looking for a great deal on a Homecoming Dance dress, this is the sale for you. If you want to donate or consign your slightly used dresses, here's your opportunity. Saline's Homecoming Dance is just three weeks away – Saturday September 27th.
To sell or donate dresses: Drop your gently used, clean dresses off at the Saline Rec Center September 3-5, 2008 from 4 – 6 pm and September 6, 11 am – 2 pm. You can either donate your dresses or consign them to sell. SYC will price the dresses from $5 to $50 and put them on racks for Sunday's sale. If your consigned dress sells, you'll receive 50% of the sale price. If your dress doesn't sell, you can pick it up from the Rec Center, or leave it with us to donate to charity. To buy a dress: Come to the Saline Rec Center on Sunday, September 7th, between 12:00 – 4:00 pm. Bring your friends and try on some beautiful dresses! If you purchase a dress, you can enter a drawing for prizes like Homecoming Dance tickets, hair product, corsages, and more.
Clean out your closet and earn some money or donate to give joy to someone less fortunate who would love a new dress. Save your money – buy a Homecoming Dance or Prom dress without spending a fortune. Proceeds will help the Saline Youth Council earn money for teen events and conference attendance.
Call Jody Roberts at 429-3502, ext. 2505 or email for more information.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Former Saline mayor speaks from eye of storm

Editor's Note: Rick Kuss, a former Saline mayor, is sending updates from New Orleans, where Hurricane Gustav hit mi-day Sept. 1. The storm, predicted to be Category 3, was downgraded to Category 1 that afternoon. It hit west of New Orleans. Kuss is deputy lead environmental and historic preservation officer for the Department of Human Services/Federal Emergency Management Agency. He is the former executive director of Saline Area Chamber of Commerce.
Monday September 8, 2008
I have been working around the clock since the hurricane hit New Orleans. I have been making regular trips throughout southeasterm Louisiana surveying damage. Currently we are watching the next system, Hurrican Ike. Projections have the 3 and 5 day cone with New Orleans in the preliminary path.
One issue that has been a concern to officials has been the enormous amount of returning evacuees.
Rick Kuss

Wednesday September 4, 2008

I have lost track of time and the days are running together. Tuesday was a day that I did not have time to catch my breath or write down my thoughts.
A tornado touched down in the area I was doing windshield surveys. When you think it's safe, another band from the hurricane just slips in.
After all this is over, I take some time to provide a better written summary of my experiences.

For the last few days I have been in meeting after meeting with the wide number of emergency responders discussing planning process for evacuees coming back to the City. People are anxious to get back, but the uncertainty of what condition their homes are in are questionable.
It would be wise if everyone waited until the weekend but that isn't going to be realistic.
Power: 57% back on line.
Number of people without power in Louisiana, OVER 700,000.
New Orleans has limited gasoline stations, convenience stores, and grocery stores.

Airport opened for first plane last night.

City crews throughout the area on 24/7 duty to clear roads and interstate.
Traffic coming back to the city is heavy.
Just imagine over 1 million people headed back here.

And while response and recovery operations are under way, we are all looking at the new hurricanes and tropical storms headed our way.

Rick Kuss

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The weather today is slightly windy. Response efforts have begun in the southern parts of Louisiana. We are still receiving updates and assessments from the state and parishes. In New Orleans electricity and cell phone service has created some problems. I am driving around New Orleans and reporting back with initial sight assessments.Interesting note, a few bars are open in the French Quarter on Bourbon Street and that's another story in itself.Issues that will be facing New Orleans, the need to refill gas supplies to stations and automobiles, returning evacuees, debris cleanup, etc.I wish I could write more, however I have had no sleep for 2 days and it looks as though we still have a lot more work to do.Additionally we need to watch the next two storm systems near the gulf.One thing I would like to add, my respect for first responders was always high. But after working withe police and fire, these guys risk their lives for us. The next time you see either, tell them how much you appreciate what they do.Chief Bunten, Jack Ceo, Chief Hufft and Saine Police and Fire, You guys are the greatest. I have always appreciated what you have done.Elected Officials,Develop an emergency plan, not just from the County, but a City of Saline Emergency Plan. Work hard to not only say you want to promote Regional Planning, Just Do It, Make it happen. It worked down here, we will reassess our needs, But you need a plan.Please excuse my spelling, vocabulary and writing. I am doing this fast and in between resting.And so much has happened in such a short time, I need to sit back and pull all that I have doing together

Peace, Rick Kuss

Monday, September 1, 2008
Concern at the Industrial Canal area near the 9th Ward. The water is overflowing at this area. There are reports of a barge and two ships being loose. While I have heard this from two sources there are many reports that are not verified.

Waiting for the next few hours to see what effect the surge.

A few fires in the city of New Orleans, snapped power lines, other high wind effects.

Once again all the governmental agencies have been extremely cooperative.

Eye right now over the Houma Louisiana area.

Tornadoes reported in other areas throughout Louisiana.

While there are first responders, police and the National Guard throughout the area, Air operations and other assessments will not proceed until the winds are below 45 mph.

We still have a ways to go.

I still have to say, with all governmental units cooperatin, and the regional/local emergency planning efforts that have been developed after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina,Louisiana is much better prepared. The people in Louisiana have done a great job.


--- On Mon, 9/1/08
Evacuations have worked well so far. Plenty of intergovernmental cooperation. We believe after midnight we will be seeing stronger winds and rain. A few tornadoes sighted earlier. I describe this as a quiet period before the storm.

Rick Kuss

Sent: Sun 8/31/2008 5:43 PM
To: Editor - Saline Reporter
Subject: New Orleans

Well, This is Rick Kuss. I am in New Orleans at command center for the hurricane. My direct email is My number is 504-235-2318.

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