To the organizers of the fifth annual CherryT Ball Drop, which raised $7,000 for charity, primarily Goodwill Industries and the Traverse Bay Children’s Advocacy Center. An estimated 10,000 people braved single-digit temperatures to pack downtown Traverse City to watch a large cherry-shaped ball tick down the last moments of 2013. The event raised more than $16,000 in its first four years.
n To the History Center of Traverse City for extending the annual Festival of Trains exhibit for a few days this year. The exhibit was originally scheduled to end Wednesday, but it ran through Saturday, thanks in part to high traffic volumes and New Year’s Day falling in the middle of the week.
n To a local development group for purchasing a high-profile commercial property on east Front Street that houses Chase Bank and several nonprofit agencies. Partners Snowden Development and the Miller Investment Company bought the four-story Chase Bank building at 250 E. Front. The deal also includes a Chase drive-through structure on State Street and two parking lots. The new owners on Monday said they will upgrade the property and there are no plans to evict tenants or raise rental rates. The building had been owned by a firm out of Westmont, Ill.
n To several Traverse City Light & Power employees who sacrificed their holidays to help restore light and heat to downstate communities. Linemen Corey Schichtel, Tim Adams, Branden Wheaton and Brian Zionskowski had been working 18-hour days to help restore power to homes served by the Lansing Board of Water and Light. A storm swept through Michigan the weekend before Christmas, leaving an estimated 598,000 homes and businesses without power.
n To Traverse City Area Public Schools students who are performing good deeds as part of a contest of altruism between students from both sides of Traverse City. Students from West Senior High School and West Middle School are vying with their counterparts from Central High School and East Middle School to do good deeds in the competition, called Acts of Kindness. Students must photograph their good deeds and post the pictures to the social media service Instagram. TCAPS judges will evaluate the pictures and decide which schools demonstrated the most willingness to help the community.
n To Amy Burk of Mancelona, executive director of Communities In Schools of Mancelona, who oversees prevention and intervention services for students and families with the aim of increasing graduation rates. The program does everything from providing school supplies to tutoring to offering warm winter clothing. Burk previously worked as administrative assistant at the Mancelona Family Center, a sort of one-stop shop for Mancelona-area social services.