Grand Haven Tribune

December 20 2014

The Grand Haven Tribune - A Michigan newspaper with comprehensive Local News and multi-media from all around West Michigan and the Lakeshore

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2013 & 2014 Newspaper of the Year Saturday, december 20, 2014 50¢ Weekday, $1.00 Saturday www.grandhaventribune.com INSIDE: Update on Seat of Wisdom campaign See Story, Page 2 INSIDE: Local pastor addresses cross controversy See Religion, Page 6 tomorrow's Weather Partly to mostly cloudy High 38 Low 26 Grand Haven Tribune Keep up with breaking news 24/7 at www.grandhaventribune.com Page 7 Lakers win thriller over Bucs SPORTS WEEKEND EDITION statefarm.com BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. BUSY. Life insurance shouldn't wait. Even though life is busy, take a moment to reflect on what's most important. For peace of mind, protect your family with State Farm ® life insurance. We put the life back in life insurance. ™ CONTACT AN AGENT TODAY. State Farm Life Insurance Company (Not licensed in MA, NY or WI), State Farm Life and Accident Assurance Company (Licensed in NY and WI), Bloomington, IL 1311012 Mike Heck, Agent 923 Franklin Avenue Grand Haven, MI 49417 Bus: 616-847-8400 mike@heckinsurance.com Sam Martin, Agent 1475 Robbins Road Grand Haven, MI 49417 Bus: 616-846-8470 sam@insurethehaven.com Doug Heins, Agent 701 E Savidge Spring Lake, MI 49456 Bus: 616-846-4040 doug@dougheins.com Voters will decide Mich. road funding Gas price gift Fuel cost dips below $2 in time for holiday travel Local school works to close math gap By Marie Havenga mhavenga@grandhaventribune.com The red lights that spell out gas prices may be as welcoming as the red-suited man who will be dropping in for a visit next week. Pump prices began falling under $2 a gallon in the Tri-Cities area on Friday. Local residents — and especially those who will be driving during the holiday travel period — are seeing the pump prices as gift- wrapped gas. "This is great for the holidays," said Spring Lake Township resident Jennifer Dinger as she filled up her vehicle Friday at the By alex Doty adoty@grandhaventribune.com The fate of Michigan's road funding will be put into the voters' hands next spring. The state Legislature approved a $1.6 billion road and school funding deal early Friday. It comes with a ballot proposal, which will be placed on the May ballot. "That's the funding source for all of this, so it needs to be approved by voters," said state Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township. Price said she is pleased with the outcome, and thinks voters will ultimately decide to go with the plan. "I think when they understand the different options (they' ll be willing)," she said. The May 5 statewide ballot proposal will ask voters to increase Michigan's 6 percent sales tax to 7 percent and eliminate the sales tax on motor fuel, generating a net $588 million — $300 million for schools (the equivalent of $200 per pupil) and nearly $100 million for local governments. The state sales tax was last increased in 1994, from 4 to 6 percent. The plan also would bar the Legislature from spending School Aid Fund revenue on public universities. The money could be spent on community colleges, however. Lawmakers passed 11 bills that would only go into effect if the ballot measure is approved in May, Price said. Here's a breakdown of what the bills would accomplish: — In October 2015, Michigan's flat 19-cents-a- gallon gas tax and 15-cents- per-gallon diesel tax would be converted so they are based on wholesale prices and significantly rise, with floors and ceilings in place so taxes couldn't fluctuate significantly with changing fuel prices. Of the $1.3 billion collected, $1.2 billion would go to roads and bridges at state and local levels, and about $100 million to public transit. — The fuel tax rate would be 14.9 percent — equaling about 42 cents a gallon initially — but be By Krystle Wagner kwagner@grandhaventribune.com SPRING LAKE TWP. — Dylan Schaner focused on the small white paper that Cameron Brown held in front of him. After a brief moment, Schaner responded with the correct answer as the two Lake Hills Elementary School third- graders worked as partners during an activity in their math special, which is a 30-minute block of time four days each week for them to focus on math, in addition to classroom instruction. Since the beginning of the school year, all Lake Hills third- and fourth-graders have broken into groups for the math special. The block of time is one of the ways the school's staff has been working to improve students' proficiency and understanding after being labeled as a "Focus School" by the Michigan Department of Education. Focus Schools are the 10 percent of schools that have the largest gap between the highest- and lowest-achieving students, according to the state education department. Focus Schools have to take steps such as participate in the Superintendent's Dropout Challenge — in which 10 students are identified by attendance, behavior problems and proficiency, and then partnered with mentors. Staff members also have data dialogues to identify teaching and learning priorities to close the gap. Additionally, Title 1 schools work with a Michigan State University district improvement facilitator, and Lake Hills also worked with an official from the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District. Each month, the school's improvement team meets and Can you solve these third-grade math story problems? 1. There are fi ve classes with 20 students in each class. They are divided into two groups for gym. How many students are in each class? 2. Hailey begins reading her book at 9:55 a.m. She read for 1 hour and 35 minutes. Then, she spent 45 minutes doing homework. What time did Hailey fi nish her homework? 3. Justin has 42 muffi ns. He divides them evenly between some boxes. If he puts six muffi ns in a box, how many boxes will he have? Tribune graphic/Sandy George Answers: 1. 50 students 2. 12:15 p.m. 3. 7 boxes See MATH on Page 3 Tribune photo/Alex Doty Michigan's roads and bridges may soon get the funding needed to make repairs. the state legislature approved a $1.6 billion road and school funding deal that would be placed in front of Michigan voters in May. See FUDNING on Page 3 See GAS on Page 3 Tribune photo/Marie Havenga spring lake township resident Jennifer Dinger fills her tank Friday at the lloyd's Bayou admiral station. she said her bill was half of what it has been in recent months. YOU SAID IT: Jennifer Dinger Spring Lake Township "Buy a car wash and put it toward Christmas presents. I'm going to get a ham. It covers it." Bonnie VanOrman Spring Lake Township "Save it. I don't think I will spend more money just because I'm saving some money." Audrey Van Linn Grand Haven "I have so much more Christmas money. I spent more on my parents and siblings, and I know they're doing the same." Brian Bench Spring Lake Township "I'm going to go to Cabela's and buy some Christmas gifts, maybe even for myself." Dina DeCator Grand Rapids "Christmas gifts. Always Christmas gifts." "What will you do with the money you're saving in gas purchases?" Q:

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