Saturday, May 9, 2015

DRUG FREE TAYLOR: Plenty of awards handed out before 140 families

The annual Celebration for a Drug Free Taylor Awards ceremony was held Thursday, April 30, at the Heritage Park Activities Building with more than 140 families in attendance.

Sponsored by the Taylor Substance Abuse Prevention Task Force, the event recognized Taylor students for participating in the Celebration for a Drug Free Taylor youth competition which included class banners from elementary schools and artwork, poetry, essays and multi-media from higher grade levels.

“It was a very successful event,” said Sandra Kluk, Task Force chairperson. “I received so many compliments from the students and their families. They are the reason we love to hold this event every year.”

Winning elementary classes will receive a pizza party from the Task Force before the end of the school year and individual student winners received gift certificates and student achievement certificates at the ceremony.

Sandra Kluk was the Master of Ceremonies. Guest speakers included Taylor City Councilman Alex Garza and Taylor School District Assistant Superintendent Teresa Winnie. 

The special Guest of Honor was Da’Stanza Murphy, the current Ms. Michigan United States 2015. Murphy is a Taylor resident and 2006 graduate of John F. Kennedy High School. Murphy spoke with the students about vision, goals and achievement. She also performed “"O mio babbino caro" from the opera Gianni Schicchi (1918) by Giacomo Puccini.

This year’s theme for the Drug Free Taylor Celebration event was “Drugs and Violence Defeat Dreams.” Students and classes recognized for their achievements included the following:

Elementary School Banners
Kindergarten—Holland (Madden)
1st Grade— Kinyon (Oswald)
2nd Grade— Kinyon (O’Neil)
3rd Grade—Eureka Heights (Bell)
4th Grade— Eureka Heights (Valleau)
5th Grade—Kinyon Student Council
Sixth Grade Academy Dream Bubble Competition 
Awesome Achievers: Steven Young, Landen Duff, Kayla Morris, Raven Hoskins
Transformers: Jenna McIntee, Amiah Thomas, Annie Gullette, Morgan Bolsley, Jaxson Kubitz
Wizards: Josalynn Norris, Afaq Chohan, Malina Rowe, Laiba Chohan, Aijalon Muhammad
Extraordinaire: Rayven Freeman, Adam Ritthaler, Morgan Traywick, Amelia Smigielski, Bobbie Druyor
West Middle School 
Artwork—Adria Nyarko, 7th grade 
Essay— Haylee Pardue, 7th grade

Titan High School
Essays—Ricky Shinavier, 12th grade, Jenna Turner, 10th grade

Kennedy High School
Artwork— Mecca Lumpkin, 10th grade 
Essay—Haley Pongracz, 11th grade
Poetry—Tania Eaton, 9th grade

Truman High School
Artwork— Shanel Evans
Video— Rachel Trombetta & Linda Szabo, 11th grade
Music— Braxton Bailey  “Six B”
Essays— Destini Murphy, 12th grade, Ellyn Bremer, 12th grade
Poetry-- Rose Dobek, 12th grade

Other notable moments included:

Several basket raffles were held with many winners enjoying valuable prizes donated by community sponsors.

Task Force  and community members who volunteered for set up earlier in the week or participated during event included: Lisa Nagy, Michigan Works; Lavern Robinson, Michigan Department of Human Services; Deb Eskridge, Downriver Children’s Program; Margie Wright, McKinley Properties; Bob Krzeczkowski of BK Productions;  Michelle Calvillo, Taylor School District Virtual Academy; Jamie Balavitch, Taylor Teen Health Center; Mallory Teglesh, Taylor Teen Health Center; Rob Cox, Taylor Teen Health Center; Melissa Stellini, Taylor Teen Health Center; Dom Cooper, Taylor Teen Health Center; Courtney Martin, Taylor Teen Health Center, SAVE Peer Educators, Taylor Teen Health Center;  Shirl Solomon, Taylor resident; and Simone Calvas and Kathleen Trent community organizers for the Task Force.

Elected officials participating in the event included Alex Garza, City Council; Ed Bourassa, Treasurer; Angela Croft, City Council; Blaine Honeycutt, Board of Education; and Doug Geiss representing State Representative Erika Geiss.

Margie Wright of McKinley Properties presented a check from McKinley properties to support the cost of the pizza parties for the elementary schools.

Bob Krzeczkowski, treasurer of the Task Force and owner of BK Productions in Grosse Ile, provided audio and video production for the event.

Additional event sponsors included: Luanne Beaudry; Delray Bakery; Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority; Carefree Catering; Carey Music Company; City of Taylor; Deborah Eskridge; Game On; Great Clips; Jim’s Tuxedo; Journey of Hope Community Church; Kennedy School Store; Sandra Kluk; Lisa Maze; Joyce McCabe; Lisa Nagy; Oakwood Taylor Teen; Health Center; Pump It Up; Dena Sadd; S.A.V.E. Peer Educators; Sky Zone; Symon’s Party Rental; Tan Bellissimo; Taylor CafĂ©; Taylor Police Department; Taylor School District; Taylor Yoga; Texas Road House; Thrifty Florist; Truman School Store; Vitamin Shoppe; Yazee’s Boutique; Zap Zone.

TAYLOR RECREATION CENTER: Closed Monday and Tuesday for renovations (but classes are still being held)

The Taylor Recreation Center will be closed on Monday, May 11, and Tuesday, May 12, due to the install of new flooring.

However, Zumba and Karate classes will be held on these two days. Everyone attending these classes MUST enter through the rear doors.

MOTHER'S DAY: Why not chose brunch at the Lakes of Taylor?

Mother's Day Brunch will be served at The Lake House Grille inside the Lakes of Taylor Golf Course on Sunday, May 10.

Seatings will be scheduled between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Reservations are required. Call (734) 287-9001. 

Prices are $9.99 for children 10 and under; $22.99 for seniors 55 and older; and $23.99 for anyone over 11 years old. Tax and gratuity will be added.

On the menu will be Vegetable Frittata, French Toast, Hash Browns, Bacon, Stuffed Pork Loin, Vegetable Lasagna, Chicken Chadonnay, Kielbasa and Kraut, cheesy potatoes, green beans, salad bar, fruit, rolls and soft drinks. There will also be a dessert bar.


The Taylor Parks Elementary School PTA surprised students with outdoor recess equipment.

Kick balls, jump ropes, chalk, Frisbees, soccer balls, whiffle ball sets, and much more.  Using money raised by fundraising, it was finally time to shop and give back to the students. 

Shannon Vance, PTA President, along with the help of Watch Dog James Ferry, spent hours shopping and then more time distributing to each classroom. 

To say the students were excited is an under statement .  PTA also purchased new floor hockey equipment for gym classes.

TAYLOR PARKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Staff appreciates the love!

The Taylor Parks Elementary School staff are convinced that they are appreciated and loved. 

First, teachers were given a gift of a red and white mouse pad, picturing the mascot “Roadrunner.” A very kind note from Ms. Downie, principal, and Mrs. Payter secretary, was attached thanking each for their hard work and dedication.

Ms. Downie then invited her teaching and support staff to a wonderful luncheon, provided by Pia's Restaurant. 

The staff enjoyed pepperoni loaves, antipasto salad, chips, popcorn and a huge array of desserts. Staff members were able to enjoy the food along with the company of their friends. 

Thank you, Ms. Downie.

TAYLOR PARKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Don't judge a book (or person) by their cover

Taylor Parks Elementary School students had a surprise waiting for them during their visit to the library.

The "usual selection" was removed from the shelves and replaced with disguised books that haven't seen the hands of any student for a while. 

To entice the students, Mrs. Lind, librarian, wrapped the books in paper bags with only the summary of the book and the reading level taped on the outside. 

Mrs. Augustyns' fourth-graders were up to the challenge, reading what the book was about instead of selecting the “same ol' same ol'” based on the cover.

Once all books were checked out, the students were able to rip open the bags to see their choices. 

"It was like Christmas," remarked Mrs. Augustyn. 

The discussion after was how we should NOT judge a person or a book by its cover!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

TAYLOR FOUNDATION FOR EDUCATIONAL EXCELLENCE: $30,000 donation to be used for annual scholarship

A retired Taylor educator has donated $30,000 to be used for scholarships in the Taylor School District.

Charlie Dickelman, known as “The Big D,” is one of the most liked teachers in the history of the Taylor School District. “D” started in Taylor the same year as the first graduating class of Taylor Center High School and – what a coincidence – he retired the same year as the last Taylor Center graduating class of 1997.

What a fabulous career he had – he taught at Taylor Center Elementary School, Taylor Junior High, School Taylor Center High School, Kennedy High School and then back to Taylor Center. 

In addition to his classroom teaching, he was assistant coach in baseball and tennis and was the yearbook advisor at both Kennedy and Taylor Center.  It seems he can tell you something about every student he ever had.  Though he is now retired, Charlie has not and most likely will not ever retire from his ties with the Taylor School District.

Starting in 2016, a Charles Dickelman Scholarship award of $2,500 will be offered to graduating students of Kennedy or Truman, who has been accepted to the University of Michigan or the University of Michigan-Dearborn.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

MCDOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Pennies for Patients a success

Students at McDowell Elementary School have a reason to be proud. In March, they participated in a school-wide fundraiser called “Pennies for Patients.”

All funds raised from this event benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). LLS is an organization that funds blood cancer research and also works on finding cures and improving the quality of life for blood cancer patients and their families. Students were asked to collect coins from home, and ask family members and friends to donate coins for the cause.

The Student Council set a school goal to raise $1,000 and McDowell’s generous students and families exceeded that goal. In fact, they raised $422 more than last year for a grand total of $1,141.03!

In addition to a school goal, each class was challenged to see how much money they could raise. The classroom that raised the most money would be treated to a delicious pasta party from Olive Garden. The winning classroom, Ms. Donaldson’s fourth-grade class, did an outstanding job of raising over $200.

Grrrr-eat job to all of the participating McDowell Bulldogs for their generosity!


Here’s a three grade drug free banner Mrs.VanDerworp's Class at McDowell Elementary School.


The third graders of McDowell Elementary School performed in a wonderful concert under the direction of music teacher Mrs. Arndt recently.

They used lots of instruments, learned how to waltz and sang beautifully the following songs: Follow the Drinking Gourd, Walrus went Waltzing, Land of the Silver Birch, Rocky Mountain, and I Bought me a Cat.

MCDOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Chicks abound in the classroom

Chicks abound at McDowell Elementary School

Here are a few of Mrs. Doll's kindergarten students showing their most recent project. They labeled a picture of one of our new baby chicks.

MCDOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: Fur Angels come to the rescue

The wonderful Fur Angels were at McDowell Elementary School recently.  Mrs. VanDerworp's third-grade class had the pleasure of meeting five lovely dogs and their nice owners.  The students first learned about dog safety and then read to each dog.  Hope you enjoy the photos as much as they enjoyed the experience.


The City of Taylor's annual "Citywide Rummage Sale" is scheduled for May 15-22.

No permit is required to hold your sale during this week only. Any unwanted items after the rummage sale can be disposed of at the Taylor Hills Transfer Station/Compost Site, 16300 Racho Road, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Residents will be required to use any available dump passes or pay the cost to dispose of any unwanted items.

No commercial dumping is permitted. No explosive, autos and auto parts, boats, concrete, hazardous waste, compost materials, tree branches or tires will be accepted.


The City’s annual Armed Forces Remembrance Day Ceremony, presented by the Taylor Veterans Museum Committee, will be held Saturday, May 9. The ceremony will take place in the Cameron Priebe Plaza inside the City Hall complex, near Goddard Road and Pine Street. The crowd plans to begin gathering at 11 a.m.

Special commemorative medals will be given to military veterans of the Desert Shield-Desert Storm (1990-91) era, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the conflict. The event will also celebrate the 150th anniversaries of the end of the Civil War (April 9) and President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination (April 14).

Between 250 and 300 people attended last year’s event, which included Taylor Community Chorus, Kennedy and Truman JROTC programs, Taylor Police Department Chaplain David Edwards, National Anthem singer Michelle Pfeifer, City Council, Clerk Cindy Bower and Treasurer Edward Bourassa, then-U.S. Rep. John Dingell and State Rep. Douglas Geiss. Some of the special moments included the performance of bag piper Tim McHugh and the keynote speech given by Mayor Rick Sollars.

LOVE POETRY SLAM: Scheduled for May 7 at Hoover

The "Where is the Love Poetry Slam" will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 7 at Hoover Middle School.
A poetry slam is a competition where poets read, recite or perform original poems.Any sixth through 12th grade student attending any public, private or charter school in the City is eligible to compete. Cost is $2 per entry, and tickets are $2 to attend.

First- and second-place winners will be awarded prizes. Judging will be done by Taylor teachers, a Taylor student and a local radio personality (to be announced). The goals of this event are to showcase Taylor talent, unite the community, allow the voices of youth to be heard and to raise money for MAD (Make a Difference), a Hoover club.

The theme of the event is "Where is the Love," by the Black-Eyed Peas, the contestants should aim to create poems with a positive message. Students are encouraged to tackle issues close to them, and express their feelings.

Guidelines include:
  • Each contestant is allowed three entries
  • Each entry may involve from one to six contestants in the same poem
  • Each poem should be between one and five minutes in length
  • Each poem must be the contestant's own words -- plagiarism will be disqualified
  • Language and content must be school appropriate
  • Poems must be submitted one or before April 30 via email to

To view examples of great poetry, check out YouTube performances like Dark Son, America in 4 Minutes, Shots Fired and Dear Young Man of Color.

SWEET CHARITIES: Annual Rotary event is May 7

The Rotary Club of Taylor's mission is service above self and Sweet Charities remains Taylor Rotary’s No. 1 fundraising event. 

There are more than a dozen organizations supported by the annual Sweet Charities Auction and it produces the majority of the funds that support their efforts in the community throughout the year. Businesses and individual sponsors donate gift baskets, trips and prizes to be auctioned off in silent and also live auction experiences. 

The Sweet Charity event will take place from 5:30-10 p.m. on May 7 at Crystal Gardens in Southgate. 

Dinner will be served via gourmet food stations along with an open bar and a dessert table. Ticket prices are $60 per person ($65 at the door) or $600 per table of 10. All of the proceeds stream directly to programs that directly impact the heart of our community and also help fund international missions to developing countries to create a better way of life for children and adults living in poverty.

If you would like purchase tickets to attend the Sweet Charities Auction, donate a gift basket or other large item to be auctioned for the charity, if you would like to place an ad in the program or would like more information about the Rotary Club of Taylor’s meetings, programs or volunteer opportunities please contact Eleana Voran Keding at or by phone at 313-706-7768.

Some of the local efforts supported by Sweet Charities include:
  • The Taylor Reading Corps: An amazing community volunteer coalition dedicated to the literacy of our Taylor youth.
  • Fish and Loaves Food Pantry: Community volunteers serve to stock the cupboards of the needy providing a consistent avenue of help to Taylor and its surrounding cities.
  • Penrickton Center for Blind Children: Wonderful people meeting the various needs of blind children and their families. Penrickton is a blessing to our community.
  • The Taylor Conservatory & Botanical Garden: Devoted volunteers creatively maintain the beauty of the landscape as the community Jazz events launch this natural gem to the height of popularity. This summer’s “place to be”, the Conservatory is now offering educational classes, hosting wedding events and planning more spectacular concerts.
  • Operation Warm: Rotarians partner with local elementary schools to identify the children most in need of warm coats each year. Rotary aligns with community partners to fund and distribute over 600 new winter coats this year.
  • Turn off the Violence: A collaborate community event that showcases educational, spiritual and health conscious programming throughout the city.
  • The Children’s Fishing Derby held at Heritage Park in Taylor.

HEALTHY TAYLOR: Program seeks public input

Attention Taylor residents – we need your input!  Healthy Taylor, a partnership between the City of Taylor, Taylor Public Schools and Oakwood Healthcare System, would like to know what you see as health priorities for our community.
A meeting is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on May 13 at Ford Senior Center located at 6750 Troy Street, Taylor. 

Please attend and share your thoughts and ideas to promote health and wellness in our schools, in our parks and recreational programs, in our workplaces and in our community gathering places. Your input will help us target our resources and to seek out additional resources to address your community’s needs.  

All are welcome!

COME PLANT WITH US: Hantz-sponsored event is May 9 in Detroit

"Come plant with us!" is the slogan the these days as the public is being invited to join in the Hantz Woodlands Tree Planting and Tours event on May 9 in Detroit.
The event is gathering at 3030 Fairview (Detroit, MI, 48214) at 10 a.m. for registration and tours and an 11 a.m. planting.

The campaign will be planting 5,000 trees, giving bus tours of the Hantz Woodlands, offering bike valet, free lunch and ice cream, food trucks, food stands, a showcasing of local businesses, face painting, a live DJ, a mobile piano player, a live machinery demonstration and "leaf blower croquet."

Hantz Financial continues to transform blight to beauty on Detroit's lower east side. This time, it will involve the planting of 5,000 tulip popular trees.

For more information, click on

SAFETY TOWN 2015: Police-sponsored event scheduled for June 22-26

Safety Town 2015 bought to you by the Taylor Police Department has been scheduled for June 22-26. Registration deadline is 5 p.m. June 10 and the location of this year's Safety Town is to-be-announced.
The safety town program is offered in two sessions -- morning (10-noon) and afternoon (1-3). It is open to students attending schools in the City of Taylor, and costs $25 per child for one session. Each child receives a safety town shirt, art supplies, course materials and snacks. 

Safety town is a week-long program that teaches children how to be safe in their own community. It uses hands-on activities taught in a small pretend town to teach children about aspects of safety and injury prevention. Traffic safety, personal safety, fire safety and much more is the focus. The program will include a visit to the Taylor Fire Department.

This program is designed for children entering kindergarten in the fall of 2015.

Space is limited. If you are interested, fill out the forms and return them in an envelope marked "Taylor Safety Town" to the front desk of the Taylor Police Department, 23515 Goddard Road.

COFFEE WITH THE MAYOR: Mayor and two council members to hold event

Mayor Rick Sollars, along with City Council Chairwoman Linda Parker-Craig and Councilman Tim Woolley, will be attending a "coffee with the mayor" at Panera Bread on Monday, May 4. 

It will take place from 8 to 10 a.m.

The public is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Panera Bread is located at 23301 Eureka Road.