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Shane Nelson finds inspiration for songs everywhere he goes. Riding down the highway, even the smile on someone's face can spark music for the Superior High School sophomore. With bassist Devin Griffin and drummer Zack Ross, Nelson will step onto the DECC stage Sunday to share his music with an expected crowd of 3,000. The group, known as Coldfire, will face off against 14 other high school groups in Junior Achievement's third annual Battle of the Bands Sunday. "If we win, that would be awesome," Nelson said.
Handing a fundraising project over to teens may sound like a risky proposal, but faith in Superior Middle School students paid off both for members of the Superior-Douglas Leadership Program and Animal Rescue Federation. In eight days, SMS students raised more than $1,400 for ARF. Members of the school's After School Program led the "Pennies for Paws" campaign. "They did a lot of work," said Donna Protokowicz, a member of the leadership team that partnered with the youth. Every day, the students picked up penny jars from 60 homerooms and counted the money inside.
Danielle Deming is building sweat equity at Solon Springs School. The long-term substitute teacher launched a new fitness club in February to encourage fitness and boost community health. "It's building a habit and building an awareness that this is important," she said. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the club meets after school in the choir room. Deming mixes up their workouts -- one day it's yoga, the next kick boxing or a CD of "The Biggest Loser Workout." They stretch, they move and they bond. "It gives me confidence and something to do," said Dakotah Hartshorn, a junior.
The Maple School District will offer 4-year-old kindergarten programming for the 2009-10 school year. The school board approved the recommendation to add the programming, commonly referred to as 4K, during a Monday meeting. Only one member, Tim Follis, voted against the move. "It's becoming the norm," said Board Clerk Eve Zosel. And, she added, "It's good for kids." The program will include a mix of school- and community-based sites, with school-based classrooms proposed at Northwestern Middle School and Iron River Elementary School.
Stacey Anderson is breaking the barriers to dental care, one mouth at a time. With a bright orange chair and a briefcase-sized battery of tools, the registered dental hygienist boosts smiles for students in the Superior school district through the Just Kids Dental Health program. Her portable clinic travels to all six grade schools and Superior Middle School, providing teeth cleanings, sealants and information to about 20 students a day. Thursday, 10-year-old Mackenzie Krenzel got her first taste of Just Kids' style of preventative care.
It was business as usual in the Douglas County District Attorney's office Wednesday. After months of campaigning and a down-to-the-wire finish in Tuesday's election, the two candidates for the judge's bench were back at work. Assistant District Attorney Kelly Thimm, who won with 300 more votes than his boss, District Attorney Dan Blank, was still letting the win sink in. "I appreciate the support and people coming out (to the polls)," he said. And to those who did not support him, Thimm wanted to extend an olive branch.
Superior Voices promises a feast for music lovers. The concert combines smooth tenors, rich baritones, sweet sopranos and pieces running the gamut from tragic Verdi to cheeky Gilbert and Sullivan tunes. "It's going to be a wide variety of music," said UWS voice faculty baritone Jeff Madison of the fundraising concert at the college Thursday. "Plenty of comedy, plenty of tragedy. I think it's going to be great." The event showcases UWS students. They will share the stage with renowned opera singers John David De Haan and Cynthia Lawrence.
Community support led to a tight race for the Douglas County Circuit Court Judge seat held by retiring Judge Michael Lucci. In unofficial results, Assistant District Attorney Kelly Thimm won the election by 300 votes over District Attorney Dan Blank. "I'd just like to thank everybody for supporting me," Thimm said.
Thursday, the Douglas County Council on Child Protection pulled the community together to kick off National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month. "Let's be defenders of our children," District Attorney Dan Blank, a council member, told those assembled in the Government Center atrium. It was a day to celebrate children, who had something of their own to say. "Hands are not for hitting," kindergarten students from Cathedral School told the audience.
The Great Yanisch is a basement artist. His tools can, for the most part, be found at your local hardware store -- latex paint, Dremel bits, pencils and blocks of wood. They travel well, and the resulting works fill Yanisch's home on Person Lake with color and light. Bright landscapes dot the walls. And eight wooden sculptures line a lighted case.