Important information for area high school students!

A video on changes being made to MEAP and MME cut scores, and what students are considered "college ready."
Winter Wonderland coming to JCC on Friday
Chris Sell
   Columbia Central High School graduate Chris Sell has been in a number of classic musicals.
   His favorite production was Fiddler on the Roof where he served as an orchestra members.
   Sell will have a chance to show off his musical and dance talents on Friday as part of The Broadway Revue.
   Jackson Community College’s popular jazz/show ensemble – The Broadway Revue – will perform Winter Wonderland: The Ultimate Christmas Show in the Sheffer Music Hall of the Potter Center for Performing Arts at the College’s campus at 2111 Emmons Road, Jackson Michigan, on Friday.  Directed by the musical team of Keith and Joann Drayton and Dr. Stephen R. Murphy, the ensemble cast will perform holiday favorites, Broadway, jazz, and popular music in a spectacular holiday setting.
   Show time is 8 p.m. on Friday, December 9, at Sheffer Music Hall in the Potter Center for Performing Arts on the College campus at 2111 Emmons Road.

   For information about tickets, phone 796-8600 or visit   
   There have been a number of local Christmas shows. What has been your favorite? 
   Tell us in the comments below.

Columbia launches school survey

Columbia School District wants to know what you think!

Board members and faculty have created an online survey at the district’s website – – with questions regarding the schools. Each parent can access the school their child attends and answer questions regarding safety, communication and staff.

Board member Amy Miller said that it is part of Columbia’s ongoing mission to increase communication between parents and the school district.

“As part of our school improvement process, we periodically conduct surveys in order to gather valuable information that is used to refine and direct our efforts to continually improve teaching and learning,” Miller said. “Anonymous feedback from parents within the district is important to us.”

The survey has been launched this week to coincide with parent teacher conferences.

A spooky time in Norvell

‘Young Frankenstein’ Gabriel Michel, 1, was ready for tricks and treats at Norvell Township hall on Monday night. His mother, Margaret Michel, brought him to compete in the costume competition.

On right, Lindsey Hobbs, 9, won the costume competition in Norvell. She was dressed as a little devil and had horns and a pitchfork. Her friend Kasey Condra, 8, was dressed as a vampire. The two enjoyed candy and a cake walk at the event on Monday.
What happened on the stairs of the Norvell Township hall?

"Charlie goes to war."
Talon Wilson, 10, as Charlie Brown and Hunter Thayer, 9, as an Army man.

Norvell Township Hall was filled with little army men, Frankensteins, and vampires on Monday night who filled their bags with candy and enjoyed a number of other activities. Nancy Landes, who has organized the Halloween events in Norvell for the last 29 years, said she tries to make it better every year. 

“The township and the community really help me out,” she said. 

Kids in costume participated in a penny scramble, guessed a giant pumpkin’s weight, broke a piƱata, and drank cider. A cake walk made sure no one went home without sweets.

Remembering Dundee

   It has been a few years since I visited Dundee High School to watch a football game. Columbia Central will face Dundee in the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 5 playoffs on Saturday at 7 p.m.
   The last time I was down to that quality field behind Dundee Middle School was 2003. On that eventful evening, CCHS player Tate “Tater” Curtis dominated the action.

   The very large lineman planted the center and half of the line into the quarterback so many times, it was almost hilarious. He would play hard for two plays and then come back to the bench to catch his breath for a couple of plays.

   Tater put the fear of God into the Viking linemen that night. There may be a bump in the middle of the field where Tater buried a few players.

   If you go to the game – and please support the local team – remember this . . . there is seating on the opposition side for about 50 skinny women. You may want to take your own chairs like youth soccer matches.

   May the ghost of Tater rise up on Saturday.

Jeff Steers
Brooklyn Exponent editor
Brooklyn Exponent launches SmugMug picture gallery!

Your favorite photos from the Brooklyn Exponent (and a few you didn't know we shot) are now available to peruse at! Feel free to swing by and see your friends and family at events around the Irish Hills.

Conveniently organized into categories, such as Sports, Government, School and Events, you can click to purchase beautiful prints of them for your scrapbook. Stop by and see what we shot!

Dearmyer Road Bomber

Prosecutor says results of stupidity was punishment enough
Columbia Township Police Chief David Elwell said the department has solved the case in which two men were injured when a four inch fireworks mortar blew up in the pickup truck they were driving on Dearmyer Rd.
Daniel Robert King, 22, of Adrian, the driver of the vehicle, and Terry Lee Murphy, 23, also of Adrian, received severe injuries after the fireworks shell blew up in their pickup truck. The men originally claimed that an unknown person had thrown the shell from another moving vehicle into their truck just before it exploded.
Officers immediately suspected the credibility of the story. A following interview with a witness, who had observed the two men run into a nearby field after the explosion carrying items, further led them to believe that the story was concocted.
Elwell said a “grid search” of the bean field revealed several unexploded 3 and 4 inch mortars.
“Although all of these mortars being described are of the fireworks variety, they are extremely dangerous, especially in an enclosed area, and especially in the hands of untrained professionals,” said Elwell.
In follow-up interviews, Elwell said the men admitted that they had actually lit the mortar while in the truck and traveling down the road, and they did not realize that it would go off as quickly as it did. Evidence in the vehicle indicates that after being lit, the mortar fell to the floorboard between the driver’s feet, where the initial explosion lifted it to the roof inside the truck. The secondary explosion then went off, in the roof area above the passenger.
In this follow-up interview, King acknowledged that he had taken the fireworks from a house he had recently worked on, without the knowledge of the homeowner.
Sgt. Jay Niles was able to get the address and made contact with the homeowner. The man acknowledged that he did have some leftover fireworks from a show he had put on a year or two ago. The fireworks display had been done by a licensed individual, by his account, and he provided that person’s information. 
The homeowner still had approximately two dozen fireworks displays in his house, including numerous 3 and 4 inch mortars.  Elwell said they were secured in a second blast-proof container, and transported to the Columbia Township Police Department.
Since that time, the department has been in contact with both the ATF and the Michigan State Police Bomb Squad.  The bomb squad offered to take them, as well as gather evidence from one, and video record the destruction of another.
On Friday, September 9, 2011, the MSP Bomb Squad came to Columbia Township and took custody of the mortars and other displays. The ATF was likewise in attendance and took samples of the mortars. One mortar was taken to a remote location, where it was detonated, while the event was videotaped. 
Elwell said he requested that the blowing up of the fireworks be taped as an educational tool to highlight the danger they pose. The video will be posted on The Brooklyn Exponent website.
The investigative report from the incident was reviewed by the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office on September 12.  As both men involved in the explosion were injured fairly extensively, no criminal charges will be forthcoming locally, although the ATF is conducting their own investigation. 
Elwell said the investigative report was reviewed by Jackson County Chief Assistant Prosecutor Mark Blumer, who advised, in part, that “…both subjects were severely injured by their own stupidity”, and that prosecution would not be a “…reasonable use of public resources”.  
Elwell said he agrees.
Anyone finding fireworks mortars, or any item either marked as explosive or believed to potentially be explosive, is asked to call their local police or fire department, or 911.