Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — n To the organizers of Operation Christmas Child, which has delivered simple shoeboxes filled with small gifts and toys to more than 100 million boys and girls in over 130 countries since 1993.
Church groups and individuals are taking part in the program across northern Lower Michigan and are filling shoe boxes with toys, school supplies, hand-knit hats or mittens, hygiene products and other small items. Area coordinator Laura O’Connor said she hopes to ship in excess of 10,000 boxes from a 10-county area.
n To a new public-private partnership that will provide free information technology training and certification for Michigan veterans. The “Michigan Shifting Careers: IT Networking Certifications Program for Military Servicemembers” pilot program will give veterans “the fast-track training they need to successfully transition into civilian employment,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. The program is being offered through the Workforce Development Agency.
n To the Old Town Playhouse for staging The Little Mermaid, a one-act musical that was to have a six-performance run that ended Sunday. About 80 children auditioned for the musical, which has a cast of 41, ranging in age from 7 to 18. The production is based on the Hans Christian Andersen story and is an adaptation from Disney’s 1989 animated version as well as its 2008 Broadway production.
n To Street Advocate of Grand Traverse, a grassroots group partnering with Goodwill Industries and Safe Harbor that is the first homeless mentoring program in the Grand Traverse region. The core idea is that an army of mentors will help support the efforts of Ryan Hannon, Goodwill’s street outreach coordinator, who helps an estimated 80 people in the Traverse City area who are chronically homeless. The average number of homeless people seeking overnight shelter at Safe Harbor increased from an average of 37 in 2011-12 to 44 in 2012-13.
n To Cherryland Electric Cooperative, which is trying to prevent electric outages by aggressively cutting diseased trees that could fall on its power lines, even those trees located outside Cherryland’s 30-foot right-of-way. The targets include ash trees, victimized throughout Michigan by the emerald ash borer.
The invasive beetle burrows into trees and lays eggs beneath the bark, where the larvae then move around and cut off the nutrient flow within the tree.
Affected trees usually die in a few years and leave them poised to fall. Cherryland cut about 500 trees since implementing the policy in June. The utility estimates there are 6,000 so-called danger trees in its service area.