Volunteering in the South Pacific
Johnny Walker, a bartender at Leo‘s Lounge in Petoskey, says the thing he remembers most about Tim Harrington was his sense of humor.
“He was a really good person, really funny and open,“ Walker says.
“He was a pretty interesting character,“ he adds. “Really animated and a big pool player. He used to come in and play pool with his brother and if he won he used to make his brother get down and do push-ups. He always made us laugh.“
Walker and Leo‘s Lounge are hosting a benefit this Wednesday, March 19 for the three children Tim Harrington left behind in the wake of his murder on the evening of Jan. 17. His roommate, Bradford Carl Ross, 35, has been charged in 90th District Court with first degree murder for allegedly beating Mr. Harrington to death with a baseball bat during a fight at their home on Sheridan Street in Petoskey. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
A pit boss in charge of supervising gaming tables at Victories Casino, Mr. Harrington is survived by two sons and a daughter. Walker says the mother of Mr. Harrington‘s daughter died of a brain tumor, so the need for funds is especially pressing.
To lend a hand, Leo‘s Lounge is hosting a Chuck Barris-style “Gong Show“ karaoke night on Wednesday with a $3 cover to benefit the children. “The highest bidder will also be able to gong someone out,“ Walker adds. A professional
karaoke team called Kick-Ass Karaoke will be on hand to rev up the crowd.
Walker says he hopes Tim Harrington‘s memory will turn out the town in support of his children. “He had a really big funeral here,“ he says. “Tim knew everyone.“
Wrapping a river:
Kathryn Wadsworth, a 1983 graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, is involved in a proposed “Over the River“ project with artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who just wrapped up their historic “The Gates“ installation in New York City.
Wadworth was a state park officer in the late ‘90s when the artists first began considering the Arkansas River in Colorado for a project designed to cover 6.7 miles of the river with fabric. The project was delayed when the artists decided to create “The Gates in New York first. In case you missed it, “The Gates“ installed 7,500 fabric panels along 23 miles of Central Park pathways on February 12.
Today, as executive director of the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association, Wadsworth is working with the artists to determine the fate of the “Over the River“ project. If it‘s a go, the sheer wrap will follow the contours of the river for a temporary installation.
Gaylord‘s Montessori school struggles to hold its own
Katy Ross, a mother from Elmira with three children in the Gaylord School District, is doing her best to keep the doors open on an innovative new Montessori school in the district.
Recently, she and other parents were warned that the district may have to close the school in the face of a $1.2 million shortfall in state funding.
“It‘s a statewide problem and we‘ve had declining enrollment in the district for the past five years,“ Ross concedes. Still, she‘s disappointed with the threat of the possible closing because the “magnet school“ actually brings new students and state revenues into the district.
Several years ago, Ross pitched the idea of a Montessori school to the Gaylord School Board with the incentive of bringing new students into the district to attend the innovative educational program. The district responded by spending $500,000 to renovate an elementary school building which was opened as a Montessori school in the spring of 2003.
“Since that time, the new school has attracted seven or eight kids from out of the district from places like Alba, Boyne Falls and Bellaire, which is exactly what it was intended to do,“ Ross says. With each student bringing $6,700 into the district in state funding, she feels the decision to close the school “just doesn‘t make sense.“
Ross and other parents plan to be on hand to rouse support for the school at a March 13 school board meeting in which cuts will be reviewed.
“We‘ve lobbied the school board members but I‘m worried and afraid,“ she says. “I wish they had looked at this a little more in terms of the long-term benefits of the school.“
-- by Robert Downes
No human sewage, please
A new Save Our Waters From Sewage Act has been introduced in Congress by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) which would block the Environmental Protection Agencys (EPA) proposal to allow partially treated human sewage to be dumped into waterways including the Great Lakes.
The legislation comes one week after 135 bipartisan Members of Congress sent a letter to the EPA administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, stating their objections to a proposal to allow the discharge of partially treated sewage as opposed to fully treated wastewater.
It wasnt long ago, the deadly waterborne illness, Cryptosporidium, was found near Milwaukee and was traced back to a sewage dumping occurrence that would be allowed under this proposal. This contamination killed over 100 people and sickened over 400,000, Stupak said. Billions of gallons of human waste are dumped into our Great Lakes and other water resources each year. This sort of outbreak can happen again if we dont act now to prevent the EPA from rolling back our clean water standards.
The bipartisan Act includes co-sponsors Mark Steven Kirk (R-IL), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and E. Clay Shaw, Jr. (R-FL).