Michael Bennett: Productive and delicious visit to CassopolisPublished 10:53am Thursday, April 11, 2013
Cassopolis is the one area in Leaderland that I spend far less time in than I wish. That changed last week.
First, I received a call from Austyn Withers, a member of the RoboRangers robotics team to schedule an appointment. Withers and fellow Ross Beatty High School student Robert Jackson visited on Friday to discuss the team’s possibility of moving on to the state championships and the money it would take.
These two gentlemen were quite impressive. Together, utilizing a professional PowerPoint presentation, they told their story. The robotics folks from Niles High School helped them get started two years ago. In their second year, they placed 39th out of 210 in the state. Teacher Paul Chapin mentors the 23-member team. The team built a robot, but, even more importantly, they were each building life skills and pride in the community.
Learning teamwork was one bi-product of the experience. Physics along with other technical skills were also important. What impressed me was to see a student out of his comfort zone taking the risk to ask this publisher for money. And though nervous, did a fine job.
They earned our donation and found out on Monday they did make it to the state championship. It shows that the people from the small village of Cassopolis can make things happen. It turns out they successfully raised the $5,000 needed.
In the spirit of showing what you can do, there is a new grass roots organization, “Cass Can” that believes it can help Cassopolis bring the downtown area back to life. Roger Pecina, of the boat museum and Sinclair Station fame, coined the name.
He certainly has seen the jewel in Cassopolis and has done his part to help make it a destination area.
Scott Novak and I had lunch at the Broadway Café with another key driver, CeeCee Wilson. I was served a generous bowl of homemade split pea soup along with a tasty gyro. Co-owner Joann Christodoulides made us feel as if we were part of the family. If you want good food and great service, I recommend the Broadway Café.
Wilson spoke of Cass Can’s work with the farmer’s market and the Log Cabin Museum. The benches in the village are about ready for a paint job with designs representing different decades.
Whether it is the RoboRangers or Cass Can, Leader Publications is always willing to get behind those that are about building a better community. Stay tuned to hear more about both causes. And if you haven’t gotten to Cassopolis lately, you really should do yourself a favor and get there.