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Tag Archive | "Community Building Development Team"

CBDT postpones Community Gala


The Gala scheduled for October 20, by the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) was recently postponed. Unfortunately, mailing providers temporarily lost the invitations, delaying the opportunity for invitees to make room in their schedules and to RSVP. Additionally, as often happens, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) delayed approval for the placement of the amphitheater until two weeks ago. The CBDT Board had set the date for the Gala believing at least the foundation and base of the amphitheater would be in place by Red Flannel Day and the Gala would be an opportunity to celebrate another giant step forward in the building of Phase I of the “Heart of Cedar Springs.”  

Therefore, the CBDT decided to forgo the gala until completion of more projects within the Phase 1 of the CBDT’s Master Plan.  

“It is still hoped Part 1 of the amphitheater, which includes excavating, electrical, and concrete, will be done yet this fall depending on weather conditions and contractor’s availability. If you wish to see the design plans for the amphitheater, they are available at the library, “explained Kurt Mabie, President of the CBDT Board of Directors. “Also scheduled to be done this fall are the concrete pads and placement of the donor benches and a sculpture recently donated. 

“Sometimes we are forced to move at the speed of government agencies but things continue to move along at a good pace and we are excited to get started and finished with the amphitheater as soon as weather and final engineering permit. Our apologies go out to the community for the postponement. The CBDT appreciates the community supporting these valuable community development projects through both financial gifts and the donation of individuals’ time. All is priceless to the betterment of our community,” continued Mabie.

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CTA celebrates 20th anniversary


L to R:  Dan George, CTA School Leader/Superintendent; Ron Rizzo, Director, Ferris State University Charter Schools Office; Lexie Coxon, former Superintendent; Dr. Richard Halik, Consultant for Board Policy, National Charter Schools Institute; and Dan Quisenberry, President of Michigan Association of Public School Academies. Courtesy photo.
This ceiling in the auditorium at CTA (which was formerly Jordan Chapel) is made up of planks from area barns. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

This ceiling in the auditorium at CTA (which was formerly Jordan Chapel) is made up of planks from area barns. Post photo by J. Reed.

When Lexie Coxon was told in May of 1998 that Ferris State University was going to issue a charter to Creative Technologies Academy to become a school for grades 7-12, she wasn’t sure how they were going to get the 120 students they needed to open. But they did it by the skin of their teeth—and opened with 122 that September.

“It was a tremendous challenge,” she said.

Coxon and others spoke about the school’s journey during CTA’s 20th anniversary celebration on Friday, May 11.

The property at 350 Pine Street, in Cedar Springs, was originally the home of Jordan College, founded by Lexie and her husband DeWayne. In 1966, they bought the property, and in 1967 they built their first building. Coxon explained how back then, they got building materials from area farmers who were tearing down their barns. A good example is in the planking in the chapel roof—it all came from area farmers.

In those early days of charter schools, Lexie and DeWayne’s son, Rob Coxon, told them to get a charter, they would need to have something unique. So they decided to go into being a computer based program. “We were one of the first schools to have computers for all students,” said Lexie.

She also noted that while most charter schools were for-profit, they wanted to remain a non-profit. And needing to have 120 students was tough—they had no money and no resources. But they made it work.

As time went on, they added in grades K-6. This year the school had 319 students K-12.

Lexie was also proud of the fact they have had 100 percent compliance with all of the paperwork that is needed. Ron Rizzo, with FSU, backed her up on that. “I don’t think there is any other academy that has had 100 percent compliance for 17 years,” he said. “It’s amazing. That means every document turned in on time.”

Rizzo said CTA was one of their original class of nine academies. “I’ve been here for 16 of those 20 years. It’s very welcoming. You truly are here for kids, doing what’s best for the trajectory of their lives. You should very proud of what you have accomplished here,” he said.

Dan Quisenberry, President of the Michigan Association of Public School Academies noted that CTA feels like family. “Charters were intended to be that—partnerships. Think of the kids’ lives you’ve impacted here. You are doing something important.” He also noted that charter schools are the “R&D” (research and development) of education. “Dan (George, current school superintendent) doesn’t view CTA as a competitor, but as a partner,” he said.

He noted that CTA teacher Kayla Campbell, who was recently named one of the top 5 charter school teachers in the state by MAPSA, represented CTA well. “We did a Facebook live announcement and I think you had every student in here. When we announced it, I thought this place was going to fall down,” he said.

Former teacher and coach Gary Bailey shared both some funny stories and some more serious thoughts. “Most coaches know that our success is measured by #s (winds and losses) after our name. But we know success is more than that.” He went on to share how a former student had sent him a video at 1:40 a.m. that morning, thanking him for being a mentor.

Kurt Mabie, a former educator who retired five  years ago from public education, said he’s been involved with CTA for 15 years. And he has been happy to work with Dan George and CTA via the Community Building Development Team. “Through collaboration, great things can happen,” he said. “Nothing happens on its own.”

One of those things is the recent donation of 10 acres to CTA by Fred and Carolee Gunnell. The property will be the future home of a new gymnasium for the school with a soccer field, and a couple of classrooms. And when it is not being used by the school, it will be open to the community, which fulfills one of the goals of the CBDT—to have a recreation center. 

George said that the planning, fundraising, and construction of that facility would be a major undertaking and their biggest project over the next five years.

The Post asked George what he is most proud of accomplishing at CTA. “I can answer that in two ways, institutionally and personally. First, we are proud to be able to give the families of the communities we serve a quality choice for the education of their children while partnering, not competing, with our neighboring traditional public schools. That produces a shared focus on doing what is best for kids. Personally, I’m proud of the staff that has become my team over the last 8+ years. Their dedication, love of kids, professionalism, and pursuit of learning is unsurpassed,” he said.

For more on CTA, visit www.ctachargers.org.

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Library celebrates one-year anniversary


The Cedar Springs Library one year after opening. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The patio off of the library community room. Post photo by J. Reed.

The new Cedar Springs Public Library just celebrated one year of being in their new building, and what a year it’s been!

The library, which is designed to resemble a train depot, is a star attraction in the heart of Cedar Springs. The new building is beautiful, spacious, modern, and comfortable. And it sits right in the forefront of a parcel containing lush green grass, a flowing well, a decorative sculpture, a foot bridge, and Cedar Creek rushing by.

The new 10,016 square-foot building was built with donated funds, products, and services from the community and local businesses. The additional 8,000 square feet has allowed for much greater areas for reading, special events, and small group gatherings.

Last summer the library was able to hold many of their summer reading programs on site, both indoors and outside, something they had a hard time doing before.

As a matter of fact, the number of people registering for library cards, and those visiting, has doubled, and in some cases tripled. From April 2016 to April 2017, the library issued 337 library cards; from April 2017 to April 2018, they issued 956! During the summer reading program months of June and July, the old library had 5,469 patrons visit in 2016, but had 15,356 in 2017!

The new library includes separate areas for children, teens, and adults; 12 computer stations that are consistently being used by kids after school, as well as teens and adults; four stations for children’s computers; a cozy reading or meeting area with fireplace and chairs; three small group rooms for tutoring or studying, which has also been constantly in use; and a classroom with white board and screen. 

Another draw has been the community room, which holds up to 75 people with the tables and chairs, and 100 without. “This has been bringing in income and is being rented a lot,” noted Library Director Donna Clark. “It’s a really great resource for area families.”

A complete kitchen opens up into the community room. People can walk out of the community room to a patio with a beautiful view of the creek and other amenities of the parcel, which will  also include an amphitheatre in the near future.

Clark said they plan to celebrate their one-year anniversary with a big party on June 11, in conjunction with the big community summer celebration and their summer reading program kickoff from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

“The entire Heart of Cedar Springs will be buzzing with fun activities, games, animals (no, not the kids!), the City, the Fire Dept., the Chamber, local organizations—everyone is getting in on celebrating all that is wonderful in Cedar Springs!” said Clark. 

“I want to personally thank all of you for the part you played, and still play, in the success of our new library; and for being forward-thinking to the amphitheater and other projects. The Library is just one example of what we can do as a team. Every day that we can work and serve our community in this new, spacious building is a blessing, and it all happened in our CBDT (Community Building Development Team) meetings with Kurt Mabie’s reminders to look up and say, ‘What’s best for Cedar Springs?’  That was our guiding star…and still is.  On the ground there are things to complain about, but that’s why we look up!

 “I’ve often said that God could have given us a new Library building years ago, but now, after years of the process of working together, we have a community library! Thank you all for helping our community get to this special day! You are all invited to come to the Heart of CS on June 11 to celebrate!” 

 

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Earth Day clean up


 

Rose Powell helped clean up on Earth Day. Courtesy photo.

Denny Benham helped stack brush and limbs during Earth Day clean up. Courtesy photo.

On Saturday, April 21 from 9 am to noon, about 20 volunteers, as young as 1 year old, gathered to clean up the park area off Pine St and along Cedar Creek behind the library. Brush was cleared and put in a pile for the Cedar Springs Fired Department to burn at a later date. Logs were hauled out and cut up as well as debris put in garbage bags. It was a beautiful sunny day for community volunteers being led by the Community Building Development Team to participate in a local Earth Day cleanup. 

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Community organization seeking members


 

Would you like to make a hands-on difference in your community? If you’re interested in getting involved in the Cedar Springs community, the Community Building Development Team is looking for new members. The CBDT spearheads major community projects in the City and is responsible for the new community library, community gardens, and is actively working on developing playgrounds and an amphitheater in the Heart of Cedar Springs park. If you want to make a difference, consider joining the CBDT at their next meeting January 16, at the new Cedar Springs Public Library at 6:00 p.m. to see how you can make the City a better place to live.

You can visit their website at http://www.cscommunitycenter.org/.

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Top story of 2017: Library grand opening


The new Cedar Springs Community Library was a dream that finally became reality in 2017. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

This is one of the library’s newest visitors, who seems to be enjoying reading and returning books. Courtesy photo.

A lot of things happened in Cedar Springs in 2017, but one that will be remembered and treasured for generations to come was the building and grand opening of the new Cedar Springs Community Library, located in the heart of Cedar Springs, at the corner of Main and W. Maple Streets.

The project, which was many years in the making, became a reality on May 13, with a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony. The library, which is designed to resemble a train depot, is now a main attraction in the heart of Cedar Springs. 

The new 10,016 square-foot building was built with donated funds, products, and services from the community and local businesses. The additional 8,000 square feet (the former library was 2,000 square feet) allows for much greater areas for reading, special events, and small group gatherings.

The new library is beautiful, spacious, modern, and comfortable. It includes separate areas for children, teens, and adults; 12 computer stations; four stations for children’s computers; a cozy reading or meeting area with fireplace and chairs; three small group rooms for tutoring or studying; and a classroom with white board and screen. 

Another draw is the community room, which holds up to 75 people with the tables and chairs, and 100 without. A complete kitchen opens up into the community room. People can walk out of the community room to a patio, which is facing the creek. 

The Community Building Development Team partnered with the City, Solon Township, and the Library board to get the project up and running. Many local residents and businesses made generous donations or provided in-kind services, and frequent fundraisers were held to help raise the funds. In July, the $1,845,190 project was officially paid off.

“We are so excited to be able to announce that our community’s library building is now completely paid for,” said Library Director Donna Clark, in a previous Post article. “With a lot of substantial financial help and support of the Community Building Development Team, the Library Board’s Building Committee and the wonderful members of our community, we have no mortgage, no interest, no debt!”  

Also sitting on the property is a Veteran’s Clock Tower, a bridge across Cedar Creek, a steel dragonfly sculpture, and the historic flowing well. An amphitheatre is slated to be built on the rear of the property in the near future.

If you are interested in helping the library raise funds for books and other equipment, you can purchase a brick for $50 or $100, or simply make a donation. For more information, visit http://cedarspringslibrary.org/news/bricks-and-blocks-for-new-library/ or call the library at 696-1910 for more information.

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Hard work brings beauty to library grounds


 

by Donna Clark and Sue Wolfe

The asphalt being poured on the walking trail at the Library.

Volunteers continue to work hard to complete the projects around the library and surrounding park areas, which includes the flowers around the stainless steel structure and the native grasses in the rain garden on the south. Naturalists Tom Mabie and Perry Hopkins took oversight of these two projects, gathering most of the native grasses and plants from the area around Cedar Creek, and then babying them to be sure they survived.

From the first days of May to the Grand Opening of the new Library, many good folks from the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) and beyond came together to put in the shrubs, trees, stones and lawn around the Library. An underground watering system on timers has been key in aiding in the growth and stability of the healthy plants and lawn. The system was provided by Dan McIntyre and his company, Splash, and then installed at no extra cost to the Library. Several free visits have been made as adjustments or replacements to sprinklers have been needed.

City Councilor Dan Clark has put in a lot of hours tending to the library grounds.

Councilman Dan Clark has spent many evenings and weekends around the Library and walking path in the surrounding park areas off Main and Pine Streets, hand-mowing the lawn,  edging, checking on the sprinklers, making sure the timers are set right, and cleaning around the new asphalt and placing sod to prevent any washouts. Clark is doing the finishing touches that take a lot of time but really pull things together for a neat and crisp appearance. Also spending many hours toward cleaning up the grounds, trimming bushes, and sweeping sidewalks has been donated by Andy Dipiazza.  The public grounds are really beautiful!

Along the new path you can now see the (36) 10”x8” brass plates inset into the retaining wall blocks. Thanks to Don Snow and his team at CS Tool Engineering, Inc., the plates and engraving are finished, and at no cost to the Library. Thanks to Dale Larson, owner of Northwest Kent Mechanical and his team, 36 plates were installed with great care and precision on September 27 and 28. 

An example of one of the many bricks available to purchase.

The 129 bricks that have sold this past year have arrived and will be installed very soon. With the help of our new DPW Director, David Ducat and his team, and any other volunteers needed, the plan is to install them at the entrance of the new Library. According to Duane McIntyre, foreman of the project, we have 410 places for bricks, depending on the sizes purchased. The sizes offered are the 4×8 for $50 or the 8×8 for $100. On the 4×8 there can be 3 lines of 21 characters, including spaces between words and for the 8×8, 6 lines. These will make wonderful holiday presents! In fact a long-time community person with lots of family and grandchildren recently said she was going to purchase 21 bricks for her family Christmas presents.  

Mayor Gerry Hall and Councilman Perry Hopkins have been assembling the 10 benches purchased through the CBDT. The nameplates will again be engraved under the direction of Don Snow. Memorial and honorary brass plates will be installed on these benches, also. McIntyre and Hopkins will oversee the installing of the benches on various cement slabs around the library and surrounding park area. 

You perhaps noticed the four six foot benches around the clock tower and the sidewalk at the east side of the Library, ready for Red Flannel visitors.  They were in constant use and a very attractive and useful addition to our festivities!

Director Donna Clark was on hand at the library on Red Flannel Day offering tours and information about the vision our community has embraced called, the “Heart of Cedar Springs.” The entire property, going even beyond the edge of Cedar Creek and the White Pine Trail, will be a park-like area, developed and supported through a base constituency of over 100 volunteers and donors, the Community Building Development Team.  

The next project is building an amphitheater along where the White Pine Trail and Cedar Creek meet west of the park property.  A new fundraising campaign has begun. The City of Cedar Springs and the CBDT will work together on submitting an application for a Economic Development Grant for a $50,000 match within the next few weeks. Watch for details soon on how you can get involved. 

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Library signed over to city


The Cedar Springs Community Library reverted to the City of Cedar Springs in a signing ceremony Wednesday, August 30. From L to R: Julie Wheeler, notary Independent Bank; Kurt Mabie, Chair of the CBDT; Bob Ellick, Library Board Chair; Gerald Hall, Mayor of Cedar Springs; and Rebecca Newland, Cedar Springs City Clerk. Photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

The ownership of the Cedar Springs Community Library was transferred to the City of Cedar Springs Wednesday in an official signing ceremony at the new Library.

The Community Building Development Team had previously entered an agreement with the City to develop the library on City property, and then sign it over to the City on completion. Both the CBDT and the Library signed a real estate conveyance agreement, quit claim deed, and transfer agreement.

Signing for the CBDT was Chair Kurt Mabie; signing for the Library board was Chair Bob Ellick, who is also Solon Townships Supervisor; and signing for the City of Cedar Springs Mayor Gerald Hall. City Clerk Rebecca Newland was on hand to distribute the paperwork, and Julie Wheeler of Independent Bank served as notary.

The City will now lease the building to the library board.

The new $1.6 million facility was completed in the spring. “This just shows what we can do when we work as a team,” remarked Hall. “We owe a debt of gratitude to a great many people.”

Included are Tom and Claudia Mabie, who donated $300,000 in December of 2006 toward the construction of a new library in an effort to kick start enthusiasm for the project. The signing was an emotional event for Claudia, who has waited a long time to see the library come to fruition. “Cedar Springs is full of kind, caring, hard working people. Good things can and will happen in Cedar Springs,” she said. “Cedar Springs has something to be proud of.”

Other people mentioned included the Holton family for their contributions; Duane McIntyre for his volunteer work; and the dedication of Nugent Builders on the project.

Kurt Mabie said that the next part of the project would be the amphitheatre, which will sit to west of the library. They also hope to have all the bricks in place by Red Flannel Day. There are bricks still available to purchase. You can pick up a brochure at the Library or contact them at 616-696-1910.

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CBDT to seek matching grant for amphitheatre


The Community Building Development Team held a concert last weekend to celebrate the next phase of the “Heart of Cedar Springs” and to update residents on the status of the project.

Now that the library has been completed, they will be working on the amphitheatre, towards the back of the city’s property on W. Maple Street. According to the CBDT, approximately $50,000 is needed to complete the stage portion of the amphitheatre by fall. Efforts have begun to secure a matching $50,000 grant to  make residents’ dollars more valuable to this effort. Watch for more details in the Post, or you can go to their website www.cscommunitycenter.org to donate if you wish.

CBDT plans for the “Heart of Cedar Springs”

The CBDT held their Grand Gala in the spring, which raised $39,000. They said that a grand total of $2.5 million, which includes money, land, services and products, has been donated over the last three years from the community toward building the “Heart of Cedar Springs” projects.

Some of their accomplishments include:

  • Additional land was purchased by the CBDT and donated to the City, enlarging the public park area known as the “Heart of Cedar Springs” located on the north west corner of Main & Maple Streets along with other land.
  • Tests and permits were acquired from the Department of Natural Resources, Department of Environmental Quality, and other state and local agencies.
  • A detailed long-term site plan was created for the “Heart of Cedar Springs” area.
  • Success in routing the North Country Trail (longest walking trail in the United States) through Cedar Springs with efforts nearing completion to name Cedar Springs a North Country Trail Town.
  • A state-of-the-art $ 1.8 million Cedar Springs Community Library was built and is paid in full.
  • A beautifully custom-designed metal sculpture was placed along Cedar Creek which will be surrounded by a rain garden and learning station of the plants and vegetation.
  • A new bridge linking the properties on the north and south sides of Cedar Creek was built to replicate the original Carmody Bridge from the 1800s.
  • A clock tower was built and erected which will eventually include a memorial for Veterans.
  • Preliminary designs for an amphitheatre, community building, and walking trails have been completed.

If you’d like to be  more involved, or just keep up on what is happening, you can attend one of their meetings. The CBDT meets in the new library on the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. There will not be a meeting in December.

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Hometown Happenings


Hometown Happenings articles are a community service for non-profit agencies only. Due to popular demand for placement in this section, we can no longer run all articles. Deadline for articles is Monday at 5 p.m. This is not guaranteed space. Articles will run as space allows. Guaranteed placement is $10, certain restrictions may apply. You now can email your Hometown Happenings to happenings@cedarspringspost.com please include name and phone number for any questions we may have.


Free Outdoor Family Concert

Aug. 19: The Community Building Development Team is hosting a Free Outdoor Family Concert on Saturday, August 19th from 3 to 7 pm. It will be held in the “Heart of Cedar Springs” (park near the new Library). Two bands will be performing: Barn Cats and Whiskey Bound. Bring a lawn chair or a blanket and enjoy! #31-33p

Open Mic at the CS Library

Aug. 19: You are invited to join local and regional writers in a night of reading original prose and poetry from 6 pm to 8 pm at the new Library in Cedar Springs, 107 N. Main Street. Readers will be initially scheduled for 5 minutes, but may be allowed more time depending on turnout. For more information on reading, email event master of ceremonies Ken at kdn13@hotmail.com. You may reach the Library at 616-901-7173. Feel free just to come to listen. Families welcome! #33

Dinner at the Legion

Aug. 21: American Legion, 80 S. Main St. Cedar Springs, is hosting a Pork Chop dinner on Monday, August 21st, from 5 – 7 pm. Included will be mashed potatoes & gravy, stuffing, veggies, salad, roll, dessert and drink. The cost is $9 for adults, children (15 and younger) $4.00. Come and enjoy home cooking. Take out is available. 616-696-9160.  #33p

Annual Second Best Sale

Aug. 25,26: Holy Spirit Episcopal Church’s Annual Second Best Sale is Friday, August 25 from 9 am – 4 pm and Saturday, August 26 from 9 am – 2 pm. There is a $5 “Early Bird Admission” charge on Friday only from 8-9 am; after 9 am admission is free! The sale is sponsored by the Episcopal Church Women (ECW) in support of parish activities. We have something for everyone, and everything is priced to move! Holy Spirit Episcopal Church is located at 1200 Post Drive NE, Belmont (corner of Post & Pine Island, 1/4 mile west of Exit 95 on US 131). #33,34b

HCNC Benefit Auction

Aug. 27: Come join us at Howard Christensen Nature Center on August 27th for our Benefit Auction! Not only are we auctioning off items we no longer have use for, but we will have food, drinks, and other items for sale! Browsing will start at 1:30 pm, with the auction kicking off at 3 pm. Don’t miss out! If you have any questions or gently used items to donate to the auction, please let us know before the date of the event. 16160 Red Pine Drive, Kent City, 616-675-3158. #33

Improv Night at the Kent

Aug. 30: Fans of Improv need look no further than the Kent Theatre as the Cedar Springs Community Players hold Improv Night at 7 pm on Wednesday, August 30th on the stage of the Kent Theatre in downtown Cedar Springs. The Players held its first Improv Night in February and are excited to offer another night of comedy on August 30th. Tickets are available at the door for $5.00. Doors will open at 6:30 pm. Hope to see you there! #33,34b

CSUMC August Rummage Sale

Aug. 30,31: Cedar Springs United Methodist Women will holding our annual rummage sale in the fellowship hall of United Methodist Church at the corner of Main and Church Streets. Wednesday, August 30th, 9 am to 7 pm & Thursday, August 31st, 9 am to 2 pm. There will be a $3.00/bag sale all day Thursday on clothing and linens. #33,34b

Wine and Water Colors

Sept. 9: Meet our resident artist Tracey, as she takes you through the steps of creating your own masterpiece! Joined by Kare our Sommelier, you are sure to have an enjoyable evening, full of laughter. Saturday, September 9th from 6 to 9 pm. $35 per person, $20 for members. This is an adult only event. Location to be determined. Pre-registration requested www.howardchristensen.org, 616-675-3158. #33

Red Flannel Day Talent Show Tryouts

Sept. 13,20,28: Looking for talented kids of all ages. The Red Flannel Talent Show is searching for singers, vocal groups, dancers, instrumentalists and variety acts for the Red Flannel Day Talent Show on October 7th. Come in and show us what you got. Tryouts on Wednesday, September 13th and 20th, Thursday September 28th at 7:00 pm at the Kent Theatre, 8 N. Main St. Cedar Springs. Dress rehearsal will be Thursday, October 5th. So, get together with friends and family and plan your act now. If you have any questions, or can’t make it on tryout day, please contact Len by email, len@laphoto.com or 231-750-2337. #33,34p

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