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Local News Summary - February 24, 2021 Edition

Pastrana takes first place in Sno*Drift Rally
Travis Pastrana returned to rally driving in 2020 and took first place, overall, his first time back at Sno*Drift on Feb. 20 of this year. Some 50 cars started the rally, but only 17 finished. Pastrana won with co-driver Gelsomino Rhianon and their Subaru WRX STI.

“I’m stoked to be back in a Subaru again!” Pastrana said in a 2020 interview with PR Newswire. “The last couple years I’ve been itching to get back in a rally car full time and compete for a championship, and Subaru is where it all began for me in rally.”

Pastrana first appeared in a Subaru rally car in 2005 and moved on to other projects in 2010, including rallycross, NASCAR and co-founding the Nitro Circus action sports franchise. He has raced rally cars, intermittently, but returned full time to rally in 2020. He is scheduled for every American Rally Association event this year.

Modifications were made to Sno*Drift, this year, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two-day rally was reduced to one with drivers running four different stages three times each. There was no group dinner scheduled for the drivers, and stage routes were not published to reduce the number of spectators gathering at key spots.

The scoring system was also changed because of COVID-19. Instead of passing paperwork between organizers and drivers, an electronic system was implemented so scoring communication could be done in a “touchless” manner.

The pandemic did not discourage driver participation as registration at Sno*Drift was comparable or slightly higher than last year. The next rally in the circuit, 100 Acre Wood in Missouri, is also reflecting slightly elevated participation.

Summer school, testing, and finances, all topics at Atlanta School Board meeting
Summer school will not likely be feasible for Atlanta Community Schools until the summer of 2022. At the regular Feb. 15 school board meeting, Carl Seiter, superintendent, said he hopes the funding earmarked for additional educational programming and summer school will still be available then.

Staff endured teaching last year, spent the summer developing alternative methods for teaching curriculum because of COVID-19 and have been implementing multiple teaching formats, this year, without a break.

“I am so fearful of the mental health of our staff, right now,” Seiter shared. “Everyone is operating on fumes.”

Jill Olsen, business manager, pointed out the next round of federal COVID-19 relief funding is expected to be four times the amount of the first round of funding and must be spent by Sept. 30 of 2022, which would allow for summer school next year.

However, Dr. Michael Rice, state superintendent, is suggesting additional days in the school year, possibly 200 instead of 180, which could begin this year. Seiter told board members he has concerns the state will claim some of the federal funding for schools for use in mandating school year extensions, statewide. Seiter estimated it costs between $10,000-$20,000 each day to operate the school district in Atlanta.

Despite the hardships of learning during a global pandemic, Tawny Hisscock, principal, reported test results from the Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA) indicate many of Atlanta’s students have met growth expectations from fall to winter.

“All-in-all, with what these kids have been through and all the instruction that has been missed…we’re pretty pleased with the growth that we did see,” Hisscock commended.

Most classes, she said, excelled in math more than reading. Seventh graders did not excel as much in math, Hisscock explained, because there was not a remedial math class able to be offered during the first semester. Those students were scheduled for math in the second semester.

The NWEA is an assessment approved, nationally, and Seiter said Atlanta student success with it speaks volumes for the students.

“We do NWEA three times a year, and our instruction is driven by those results,” the superintendent said.

Ice shanty removal dates fast approaching for portions of Lower Peninsula
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that ice shanty removal dates are quickly approaching.

Shanties in the northern Lower Peninsula must be removed by midnight Monday, March 15. Those counties include Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Arenac, Bay, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Isabella, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Montmorency, Newaygo, Oceana, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Wexford.

Ice shanties in the remaining counties of the Lower Peninsula must be removed by midnight Monday, March 1.

Regardless of the set removal dates, changing ice conditions could require the removal of fishing shanties before those dates. This is a possibility every year because all shanties must be removed once ice can no longer safely support them.

Based on the 10-day forecast, portions of the Lower Peninsula are predicted to experience fluctuating temperatures near or above freezing, said F/Lt. Jason Wicklund, DNR Law Enforcement Division. Temperature fluctuations can create unstable and unsafe ice conditions very fast. It’s the angler’s responsibility to safely remove their shanty before it falls through the ice.

Shanty owners whose structures fall through the ice are subject to penalties of up to 30 days in jail, fines up to $500, or both. If a shanty is removed by a government agency, the court can require the owner to reimburse that agency for up to three times the cost of removal.

Daily use of ice shanties is permitted anywhere in Michigan if ice conditions permit and if the shanties are removed from the ice at the end of each day.

People venturing onto the ice should use extreme caution as temperatures begin to rise or fluctuate. The repeated thawing and refreezing of ice weakens its strength, decreasing its ability to support the additional weight of people, snowmobiles, ORVs and shanties. Deteriorating ice, water currents and high winds increase the probability of pressure cracks, which can leave anglers and others stranded on ice floes or at risk of falling through the ice.

Death Notices
Full obituaries are in the Tribune print & paid online edition
Jessie V. (McEachin) McCann Case
James B. Smith
Jill (Kidder) Hooker
Wallace C. Kibby, Jr.

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