Inside the Newsroom

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

Monday, February 27, 2012

A commendation to Milan High School student Alyssa Stuart writer for telling her story

Like most others, I was amazed at the writing of Milan High School student Alyssa Stuart when she wrote about her experience of being bullied to the point of being assaulted earlier last week.

I commend Alyssa for her writing of what happened. It's tough for anyone to do, let alone a high-schooler. I was assaulted in high school, and not once did I feel the need to write about it in such detail to share my story. Especially with the way publishing is these days, it means the whole world can potentially have insight into what happened that day.

It takes writers such as Alyssa, who has written about bullying before, to help bring light to what happens in high school. It's been almost six years since I was in high school, but I'm certain some things have changed, while others have not. Unfortunately, bullying doesn't seem to have gone away, even with the loads of education against it.

Of course we will wait and see what happens, since someone has been charged in the case. Until then, it's best we look at how to help eradicate problems such as bullying, and use examples such as Alyssa's to do just that.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Local fire chiefs talk about cooperation and consolidation between departments

I've put together and uploaded two videos today based on my talks with Saline Fire Chief Craig Hoeft and Pittsfield Township Fire Chief Sean Gleason. I interviewed them for a story that will be appearing in an upcoming special section called What's Next. One video is on cooperation in general and possible consolidations in the future.

The second focuses on one of the topics, a specific example of cooperation, that will be featured in the full story: a box alarm system between Ann Arbor, Pittsfield Township, Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township.

It was great talking to both Chief Hoeft and Chief Gleason.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's paczki day: where did you get yours?

Tomorrow begins the season of Lent for Catholics and many Protestants, a season of fasting and penitence. Which means it's time for the metro Detroit favorite, the paczki.

Breakfast of champions...?

A Polish favorite, the paczki has gained statewide popularity. I picked mine up at Benny's Bakery in downtown Saline this morning, and the line was the longest I've ever seen at the bakery.

Where did you pick yours up around Washtenaw County today? And who makes the best paczki?

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A reflection on Native American imagery in sports in Milan

The "Flying C" replaced a spear and feather on the helmets at Central
Michigan University years ago. Although the jerseys look different
now, it's still a sharp-looking logo. (Courtesy photo)

What's in a nickname?

What does it symbolize? Does it symbolize the fight and tenacity of an athletic team or school? Does it represent something else?

Flashbacks of my college days came as this story out of Milan was published, discussing the call to end the use of Native American imagery for the Big Reds.
I graduated from Central Michigan University in 2010.

Our nickname, of course, was the Chippewas, a nod to the area Native American tribe, although the term "Ojibwe" is more accurate in description of the tribe. Living near and visiting the nearby reservation, home to the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, educated me greatly on Native culture, and what it means to be a living among a Native community. Growing up in suburban Detroit, I had never met a Native American person, nor did I give it much thought until 2005.

In 2005, the NCAA began its crackdown of schools using Native American imagery. Many schools began changing their nicknames and logos, taking out the Native American imagery and replacing it. Some schools, such as CMU, received waivers because of their relationship with the local tribes and their approval of the name. One of the last schools to hold out, North Dakota, is currently in the midst of removing the imagery from its campus.

Now, "approval" means the tribal council has approved it; it doesn't mean the complete tribe approves. The subject came up of changing the nickname at least once a year, and of course it was always shot down and no steps were ever take to change the name.
Before attending college, I wasn't against using Native American imagery. I compared it to schools such as Alma and Rochester Adams, which use "Highlanders" as a mascot. I found no offense in that term, as I hold mostly Scottish blood.

But my views changed. I met Native people and heard their case. CMU has students go through orientation sessions when they arrive on campus with local tribal officials on proper use of the nickname in how to honor the tribe and its people. And it stuck with me. 

How does this pertain to Milan? Mostly just to point out this happens elsewhere. CMU axed the Native American imagery decades ago, and has a strict policy on students attending athletic events in Native American wear (Namely, they don't allow it. At all. Show up in it, and they ask you to leave).

Students still attend football games, although barely in recent years, and they still have a great time and love their school. I'm certain students will still do the same after all traces of Native American lore are gone from football helmets, banners and signs.

Of course several factors go into making a decision such as this, and the district has said they are working to phase out the use of images such as a spear and feathers. I'm just here to offer my observations from someone who has observed this issue firsthand. 

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Monday, February 6, 2012

It's time to get those potholes filled, Washtenaw County Road Commission

The most obvious sign of the warm weather we've had the last few weeks can be spotted on Austin Road, west of Saline in Saline Township. The potholes are some of the worst I've driven in quite some time.

They stretch from the west side of the City of Saline and then mostly through Saline Township. Once you get to Bridgewater, most of the nasty potholes stop.

The weather looks pretty nice out, perhaps the county could take their truck and fill some of them...?

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