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June 04, 2014 - Pre-school will be missed, volunteer says

Dear Editor,

Traditions come in all shapes and sizes. They are as international as May Day; as national as the Fourth of July, as local as the Tulip Festival.

Still others, with little fanfare, become very personal , very special. On May 14, 2014, one of those special traditions, the Clarkston Pre-School on Waldon Road at the Clarkston United Methodist Church, ceased operation.

According to its website, it has been "nurturing happy souls since 1969." I can attest to at least 20 years of that as my wife, Marilyn French, has been one of those nurturers. Many factors are contributing to its closing. Not important here.

What is important is the legacy these nurturers leave behind to hundreds of their 3's and 4's, and to their parents.

Marilyn, along with Karen Girard and Jill Tice, touched so many small lives in such big ways.

As a classroom parent for four children, I was witness to so many transformations, not only for my own but for others. Each morning started with hugs. The shyest, most reticent child, was soon eager for those warm embraces.

Years later, teenagers who easily forgot what they ate for breakfast, would excitedly greet Marilyn with those hugs.

It was this soul-touching quality that made Clarkston Pre-School a very personal, very special tradition that seems to live on in these children-turned young adults.

I am continually amazed at how many still recognize Marilyn and how many she calls by name, siblings and parents too. The devotion and respect she, Karen, and Jill gave to these students and their parents, and the selfless efforts of parents often harried with their own lives but always there in the classroom for their children, call to mind the finest family traditions that indulge our need for unity and purpose.

Yes, I have a personal connect with the school and its closing. But well beyond that, it's just one more small tradition gone away. It will be replaced, but I doubt by anything with as much character.

Pre-schoolers will have places to go, but no place with as much heart. And they'll have their teachers, but none who will touch young lives like these three have.

John Ouellet

Oxford

Historical society calls for preservation of library

Dear Editor,

Since 1999, the Clarkston Heritage Museum, operated by the Clarkston Community Historical Society, has been connecting residents and school children to local history because we believe the more people understand the past, the more invested they are in the future.

Our location within the Clarkston Independence District Library makes the museum a cost-effective, convenient and valuable community resource, drawing thousands of visitors each year to our free, continuous exhibits that change twice yearly; as well as lectures and programs that complement the library's education and enrichment activities.

Now, the future of our museum your museum hinges on the Aug. 5 library ballot initiative.

The proposed 1.25 mills replace all current millage and contract funding for the library in the township and in the city. The millage constitutes 95 percent of the library's budget so without it, there is likely no library and certainly no museum. The costs associated with acquiring and maintaining a separate museum facility are prohibitive.

We're taxpayers, too, and we understand many families are just beginning to recover from the recession and housing crisis. A homeowner whose residence has a market value of $200,000 will pay about $125 per year. In many households, that's less than a single monthly bill for "bundled" cable services.

While the library and museum are community assets everyone can enjoy, it's our most economically vulnerable citizens including seniors who most need the many services our library provides. It's truly a community hub that provides the cultural and professional enrichment and quality of life that make Clarkston such a desirable place to live.

If you value our local history and the joy of learning, please vote "yes" for the library millage on Aug. 5. Future generations will thank you for your investment.

Respectfully submitted,

Clarkston Community Historical Society Board of Directors, Jennifer Arkwright, president; Debbie DeVault, vice president; Jonathan Smith, treasurer; Kim Huttenlocher, secretary; Ann Degen; James Schultz; Kelly Kolhagen Crawford; Hope Mason; Melissa Luginski; and Toni Smith, museum director

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