The Cassopolis Village Council honored the winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest Monday night. From left are second place finisher Jaret Sanchez, first place finisher Dynisha Hackworth and third place finisher Madeline Sanchez. (Leader photo/RACHEL BREDEN)
The Cassopolis Village Council honored the winners of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Essay Contest Monday night. From left are second place finisher Jaret Sanchez, first place finisher Dynisha Hackworth and third place finisher Madeline Sanchez. (Leader photo/RACHEL BREDEN)

Archived Story

Village council honors essay winners

Published 8:37am Friday, February 14, 2014

The Cassopolis Village Council honored three Cassopolis Public School students for winning the Martin Luther King Jr. essay competition.

Dynisha Hackworth, a seventh grader, won first place for the third year in a row and was a finalist for the Michigan History Essay Competition in Detroit. She was one of 25 sixth and seventh graders who qualified for the competition.

Jaret Sanchez, a sophomore at Ross Beatty High School, came in second place and his sister, Madeline, who is in eighth grade, came in third. All three winners tutor younger children in the elementary school and Jaret helps with basketball.

Trustee Geraldine Sims presented each of them with framed certificates honoring their achievements.

Also at the meeting, Adam Mensinger, the district representative for state senator John Proos, spoke about the state of some of Michigan’s financial situations.

“This year the state of Michigan had a $970 million surplus that will allow us to make some more investments,” he said. “The governor proposed putting more money into education. Senator Proos would have liked some more money to go to roads.”

According to Mensinger, in his state of the state address, Governor Snyder spoke of the importance of career and technical education.

“Proos introduced bill 66 that would allow for more flexibility for career and technical education.” Mensigner said. “Michigan leads the way in new manufacturing jobs.”

The council also discussed the condition of road clearing equipment. Ben Anderson, department of public works superintendent, said they have had problems with the bobcat breaking down, the four wheel drive truck being out of service, and running out of salt.

“The amount of snow has overwhelmed the budget and the equipment.” Trustee Eugene Wagner said. “Obviously the equipment is not up to task so we need to talk about it.”

Village Manager Cynthia LaGrow said borrowing equipment from Niles or Dowagiac is not an option because they are having the same problems. The village has already used 160 percent of the budget or $6,000 more than expected on major roads and $7,000 more on local roads.

“We still have a good two to three snow storms left so we are going to amend the budget to account for that,” she said.

Other highlights from the meeting include:

• The Blossomtime Pageant asked the village to support the Cassopolis queen in the pageant with a sponsorship ad. The village is not allowed to use funds for that sort of advertisement, however, so some council members opted to donate money for her support.

• More than $13,500 was confiscated in a traffic stop. The “drug money” went to the police department to use for drug enforcement. Before the department only had $400 allocated for drug enforcement. The money can be used for any purchases related to drug enforcement such as cameras and bullet proof vests. The council passed a policy allowing the department to spend up to $1,000 without having to go to the council first.

• The council voted to send Cynthia LaGrow to the Main Street Conference in May to learn more about how to move forward with the Main Street program and pay the conference fee of $355. They may also discuss sending additional members.

• LaGrow gave updates on the zoning rewrite and the SAW grant. She said they are waiting on the code people to give them a quote for the cost of the zoning rewrite. Cassopolis did not get win the initial grant dollars for the SAW grant, but is up for the remaining $77 million in the lotto. An announcement of the rankings for the lotto is expected later this month.

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