Signs Point to Controversy

Billboards were proposed near Dexter schools to gain additional revenue; board tables discussions

By: Nick LeBlanc and Caden Koenig

To kick off the year, Dexter Community Schools created a proposal to increase revenue for all of its constituent schools. The proposal is for two electronic billboards that would project advertisements.

According to dexterschools.org, the billboards are predicted to generate over $40,000 each year (twenty thousand each). The billboards are planned to be placed on the corner of Shield and Baker Road and on Dexter-Ann Arbor Road, east of the current traffic light. To go along with the two billboards, the proposal also included a request for one pedestrian-actuated warning system — a crosswalk much like the one already on Shield Road, where lights flash to warn passing cars of pedestrians. This would make the trip shorter and safer for students who walk or bike to school. Lastly, the school would get free advertising at anytime on both of the billboards.

If the billboards do become a reality, according to dexterschools.org, every advertisement has to follow Board Policy 9700, which states that there cannot be any advertisements that promote alcohol, drugs, sex, religion, political opinion, violence, or R-rated material.

The reason for the proposal of these signs is that they would help the school district immensely with funding for certain academic necessities that run out near the end of the school year, such as lined paper. In addition, planners have been fading out due to lack of funding, leaving students without the commodity that has been consistently provided at the high school in previous years. Some teachers at the high school have discussed the positive outlook on the billboard project’s ability to provide revenue for the school.

“Wherever the revenue ends up, it will hopefully loosen up money from the general fund for other student-driven initiatives,” DHS math teacher Paige Lumpiesz said.

However, as always, there is opposition to this proposal too. People feel like the light pollution could be annoying, the billboards could be distracting, and some don’t see why the school system can’t just pursue a grant.

Some opposition may be unwarranted, however, because according to the proposal, the billboards have no light effect on any nearby houses due to their low-light nature. The proposal continues by saying neighboring houses with porch lights on will have more of an effect than the billboards. The argument that they may present a distraction is viable. The distraction to drivers is a possible danger because there are constantly new drivers going to and from the high school, and they could grab the attention of experienced drivers too much as well.

As of early March, discussions between concerned citizens and the school board in regards to the new billboards have been pushed back until later in the year.

The Day After

On March 16, 2012, the Dexter community quickly came together to overcome a natural disaster that affected many

By: Nick LeBlanc and Caden Koenig

The peace that preceded the tornado was followed by shock. Dexter’s bubble finally popped.  A community that once stood in silence came together. Adversity was a rare thing for the 4,127 citizens of Dexter to face, as nothing serious has ever happened in the small, peaceful town.

Before the sun rose that day, the streets of each neighborhood were packed with insurance companies, disaster relief companies, and newscasters getting prepared to deliver a story about  a village in southeast Michigan.  News about the tornado reached all over the nation reaching even to Hawaii.

Dexter exemplified a close knit community. Local businesses and restaurants donated food and other goods to the devastated areas. Busch’s played a key role in helping families by donating cases of water and having a cookout that night. To add to this, Mill Creek Middle School and Creekside Intermediate both combined with The Red Cross, and opened up their doors for people who needed a place to stay that night

Gloves, long pants, boots, protective eyewear, tools.  All were used to collectively gear up the people of Dexter.  Adults and kids alike came from all over the district to help the unfortunate families in Huron Farms, Horseshoe Bend, and numerous other businesses and households.  Kids ventured out into the neighborhood to help clean up the possessions of others like drywall, insulation, siding, furniture, roofing shingles, and, sadly, more.  Despite the chaos of the tornado, citizens of Dexter were at their friendliest.  People walked around with food and water for the affected and for the workers.  Businesses, like Busch’s by Huron Farms, opened their pantry to help feed families that lost their ability to fulfill the task of preparing something as basic as food.

The winds that the tornado produced equated to those consistent with an EF3 tornado; easily ripping through the seemingly insignificant village.  Over one hundred houses were hit and thirteen were completely totaled.  In total, the damage took a

In all, while the people may have had different opinions, goals, and lifestyles, in the end the community came together and put aside their differences.  This is because we’re all human and deserve love during times of grief.  By coming together during the tornado the people of Dexter shows why we live by one phrase: Dreadstong.

Memories from Members of DHS

Five years after the Dexter Tornado, two students, a teacher, and an administrator reflect on the how the day has changed their lives

By Megan Sarns and Julia Bell

Having formerly lived in Florida, sophomore Kara Young and her family are used to ominous weather conditions.

“We had hurricane after hurricane near our house,” she said.

So, when a storm started rolling into Dexter on March 15, she didn’t think much of it. The family was actually getting ready to go to church for weekly “Thursday night dinners.”

Continue reading “Memories from Members of DHS”

5G Network Coming Soon to Ann Arbor

Verizon is going to be introducing a 5G (fifth-generation) mobile network. 5G is expected to be 10 to 100 times faster than the current 4G networks.

Network testing will be occuring in 11 cities later this year. Ann Arbor will be one of the 11 cities they will be testing in. With Ann Arbor only ten miles away, some Dexter students may be able to participate in the trial.

“That’s really cool that Ann Arbor is getting it and it’s so close to us,” junior Nick Barnes said.

The other 10 locations are Atlanta, Georgia; Bernardsville, New Jersey; Brockton, Massachusetts; Dallas, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Houston, Texas; Miami, Florida; Sacramento, California; Seattle, Washington; and Washington, D.C.

Other companies like Nokia and AT&T are also starting to test these 5G networks with their customers, but have not released specific details yet.

How Businesses Helped Out

Shortly after the tornado struck Dexter, local businesses stepped up as the community tried to recover from the devastation

By Truman Stovall

In the aftermath of the tornado five years ago, businesses in Dexter and surrounding cities assisted in the relief effort. When affected families were in need, they took it upon themselves to generate money, food, and shelter.

A minute’s walk away from the path of destruction through the Huron Farms subdivision stands the local Busch’s Fresh Food Market. The Dexter branch of the southeast Michigan chain set up tables of food with artificially low prices to make basic necessities more affordable. The grocery store also asked regular customers to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar so that the remainder could be donated.

Equally close to where the tornado hit, the Dexter LaFontaine automotive dealership became a big player in the recovery.

Despite having nearly all of its cars sustain hail damage, Tony Duncan of LaFontaine insisted that the dealership got “very lucky. When [the two initial tornadoes] combined, that’s when it hit hard. We were up on a higher plane; it followed the valley.”

LaFontaine, like other businesses in the community and across the country, believed it had an obligation to use its relative fortune to assist however it could.

“We were doing relief work for a good two-week period. Our biggest thing was helping people who didn’t have a place to go or to eat,” Duncan said.

LaFontaine also helped a family that lost both of its cars find short-term replacements before coming to a permanent agreement later, and the dealership gave discounts on automobile purchases to customers who donated to relief funds.

The Ace Hardware in downtown Dexter, a place where many supplies were bought to rebuild damaged buildings, offered a variety of discounts and gave away many supplies for free.

Wings n’ Things, Chelsea State Bank, the radio station 102.9 W4 Country, and countless others all found ways to help make Dexter’s quick recovery a reality. Despite the tragedy of the tornado, it was a great demonstration of the selflessness of the Dexter community.

OUR VIEW: The Billboards are a Smart Decision

OUR VIEW: Money received from the billboards outweighs any consequences

$40,000 would buy over 8,000 daily planners for the high school. It would buy new art supplies for each school in the district. $40,000 would buy a lot and benefit every student in the community.

This is the proposed amount Dexter Community Schools would receive from Adams Outdoors for two on-campus electronic billboards. $40,000 for the schools well outweighs the negatives that accompany the proposed billboards.

Adams Outdoors wants to place two electronic billboards on DCS property: one on Baker Rd between Creekside Intermediate and Bates Elementary, the other on Dexter-Ann Arbor in front of Mill Creek. Due to where the proposed billboards are located, they aren’t under city dictation and the decision falls into the hands of the school community.

Parents are protesting the billboards, with arguments ranging from “The ads could be inappropriate!” to “The lights will distract those that live near them!” To those people we say put up some blinds. Not to be harsh, but these arguments do not make much sense. We have other billboards in town that advertise, such as the one in front of Mill Creek now (which seems to have a new Dexter Orthodontics advertisement every week), and have had no problems with “inappropriate” advertisements. To those that think the lights would be distracting, come on, the proposed places of these signs do not have them facing into people’s front windows. The lights would not be that bright nor distracting.

Many of the people protesting the billboards are the ones who do not spend much time in the schools. As high school students, we witness first hand where $40,000 could be spent in the school district. Such as the fact Dexter High School did not receive student planners this year due to not enough money being in the budget.

As a school district, we are constantly growing and we need materials to support this growth. Having a strong and supportive structure is critical to student success. Each year, money is budgeted out to what is considered most important for the district. This year it seemed getting Apple TV was more important than planners that a large portion of students use each day [but that’s a whole other issue to tackle]. Or, prevention of  the yearly lined-paper drought as we reach the end of second semester. Or, fixing the sinks so that we have more than one working in each bathroom. The $40,000 given to the schools each year could be put towards solving these issues.

Dexter prides itself in being an excellent learning community. The high school views itself as on it’s way to becoming an IB school, with qualified teachers and students that are invested in their learning. We have the teachers. We have the students. It’s time we had a school district that fully matched and supported the vivacity those who spend their time in it demonstrate.

The billboard investment is a smart and necessary choice DCS needs to make.

 

Non-Browning Apple

Soon to hit markets in the Midwest, a new fruit is causing minor controversy among consumers and farmers

By: Lisa Zuiderveen

Over the next few months, a non-browning apple will be appearing in select grocery stores in the Midwest. Arctic Apple is finally launching the apple that they have been testing for nine years. There is a lot of controversy on genetically modified organisms (GMOs) because of possible adverse effects in the future.   

This apple has been genetically modified to eliminate the browning that occurs when an apple is left out in the open air. Advocates hope this will appeal to consumers and people will begin to view GMOs positively rather than negatively.

GMOs have been used for our food products since the beginning of civilization. Farmers would take the largest apple and take the seeds and then plant those to create a breed of the bigger apples. The same thing occurs with corn, and corn has had a massive impact in many foods we consume. It’s changed sugar, gas, and is used as a primary ingredient in animal feed.

Continue reading “Non-Browning Apple”

Trump’s Policies

Straight from the mouth of the President-elect

By Alex Strang

Education

President-elect Donald Trump wants to localize primary school curriculum and end the common core curriculum. “I’m a tremendous believer in education, but education has to be at a local level,” Trump said. “We cannot have the bureaucrats in Washington telling you how to manage your child’s education.” He wants to give everyone the opportunity to go to the school of their choice by redirecting education spending. In addition, he wants to make college more affordable and expand technical and vocational training.

Economy

Trump wants to renegotiate the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). He also wants to reduce taxes on businesses and the wealthy. It will, in theory, lead to more money for investing and hiring to grow both business and the economy. “That’s going to be a job creator we haven’t seen since Ronald Reagan,” Trump said of his policy. He wants to allow states to raise the minimum wage as they see fit.

Immigration

Trump plans to suspend immigration from regions associated with terrorism where vetting cannot always be effective. “We’re going to bring people in, but we’re going to bring people in legally,” Trump said. This includes preventing Syrian immigrants from entering the country. He wants to enforce the country’s immigration laws (much more than President Obama did, he said) and deport illegal immigrants. He wants to build a wall along the Mexican border.

Defense

Stopping Islamic terrorist groups is a priority for Trump. He wants to defeat ISIS, potentially in a joint military effort with Russia. He wants to put American interests before any other country: “‘America First’ will be the major and overriding theme of my administration,” he said. He will push NATO allies to pay their fair share so the U.S. does not have to spend more on defense for other nations.

Health Care

Trump has vowed to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). In a recent interview, Trump stated, “We’re going to repeal and replace it.” The plan is to replace it with Health Savings Accounts which, according to Trump, “will be great healthcare for much less money.”  He wants to make insurance available to purchase across state lines and give more flexibility to states for localized Medicaid programs.

Climate Change

Trump has stated that he doesn’t think climate change is real: “I believe in clean air, immaculate air, but I don’t believe in climate change.” Trump wants to get rid of Obama’s EPA mandates. He also plans to cancel the Paris climate agreement which aims to limit greenhouse gas emissions. However, Trump is a supporter of private businesses making the transition into environmentally friendly power sources to make the air, water, and environment clean.

A Comeback for Coming Home?

The DHS Student Council is making a push to bring back a winter dance; 68 percent of students are in favor of the proposal

By Alex Strang

The last time Dexter High School hosted a winter dance, the class of 2017 were freshmen. The dance was the same night as the Coming Home basketball game, and students paid five dollars for admission to both the dance and the game. “Less than one hundred kids showed up, and student council ended up losing money with the cost of the DJ,” student council adviser Al Snider said.

Coming Home used to be run in a similar fashion to Homecoming: game on Friday, dance on Saturday. However, when students began to not show up to the dance, Snider switched the system three years ago.

The profits gained from each school dance are split five ways to student council and to each graduation class for their senior trip. The problem with the winter dance three years ago was that only half of the money collected was split this way. The other half of the five dollars went to the athletic department for the basketball game. This made it twice as hard to gain a profit.

Having a dance on a Friday night after the basketball game presented multiple problems. Students didn’t have enough time to go to the game, get ready for the dance, and come back to the high school. If the dance were to be on another weekend besides the week of coming home, during the night of an away basketball game, then students that go to the game would not be able to attend the dance either.

A recent survey showed that a majority of the student body is interested in a winter dance. Of 187 students, 68 percent said they would go to a winter dance if the school hosted one. “I would go to a winter dance because it gives me a reason to dress up and hang out with my friends,” senior Meg Bellottie said.

Others want a winter dance because a similar event exists at neighboring high schools. “We should have a winter dance because our school only has homecoming and prom while other schools have more dances,” junior Madi Hofe said.

To have a successful winter dance, “at least 250 students need to show up to cover the cost of the DJ and to make a profit,” Snider said. If student council can figure out a date for a winter dance, then it is possible to bring it back this winter. This could permanently bring back a winter dance if a few hundred students attend.

A Generation Immortalized

An inside look at the new banner, featuring sports, clubs and other activities, that now spans the length of the commons

By Truman Stovall

The DHS commons got a makeover recently: a new banner that spans its longest wall. It features a collage of action shots from sports, clubs, and other types of events.
“It was a project that originated with [Principal Kit] Moran this summer. He came up to me and asked, ‘Can you help make it come to life?’” Assistant Principal Karen Walls said.
Featured photos were taken by Robert Bowden, members of the Squall, the yearbook, or compiled by Hope Vestergaard. A photo of last year’s graduation day was taken by Walls herself. The company hired to print and install the banner is called Steve’s Custom Signs, Inc., located in Saline.
The goal, Walls explained, was to display something “representative of Dexter as a whole. We tried not to have too many faces [on the banner], but that’s very hard to do. We wanted to keep it timeless.”
For those whose faces do appear on the banner, the general reaction is positive.
Seniors Caroline Shoopman and Nick Palson can both be seen in a photo of a past Homecoming dance. Shoopman thought being visible was “exciting,” and Palson said it feels “amazing,” believing he had been immortalized in the school.
“When I saw the final product, it was cool,” Palson said. “I didn’t realize I was on it until a few days later… I get to be up there forever now.”
Both would be in favor of the school adding more signs like the one in the commons in the future. Palson cited the possibility representing more sports since only a few made the cut for a spot on the banner.
Currently there are no plans to add more signs, but the idea is being considered. Walls said it will “depend on funding. If we [have] the opportunity, we would do it.”