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Lisa Allmendinger on November 25th, 2014


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Lisa Allmendinger on November 25th, 2014

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Alan Ashley for the photos in this gallery. For more of Alan’s work, please click here.)

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Lisa Allmendinger on November 25th, 2014

Schlegelmilch_Ralph_2Ralph Bernard Schlegelmilch of Dexter, age 84, went to be with The Lord on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014 at his home.

He was born Nov. 1, 1930 in Flint, Michigan, the son of Ralph “Bill” Bernard and Ada Genevieve (Keller) Schlegelmilch, Sr.

Ralph worked for the Ann Arbor News, in the stereotype department and on the press for 44 years, and retired in 1993. He was a member of St. Thomas, St. Frances and St. Joseph Catholic Churches. Ralph was a member of the National Guard for six years. He also rode motorcycles for many years, and was a dog fancier. Ralph enjoyed taking pictures of different wildlife on the 10 acres of land his home was on.

On Feb. 3, 1951, he married Barbara Jean Green in St. Thomas Church in Ann Arbor, and she survives.

For the full obituary, please click here.



By Crystal Hayduk

It was standing room only in the McKune Room at the Chelsea District Library Wednesday evening, Nov. 19, when the Chelsea Education Association (CEA) presented a community forum about the current status of the school district. Attendees included general members of the community, parents, high school students, and teachers.

The meeting, moderated by Dexter attorney Frank Grohnert, began with presentations by two district teachers. High school English teacher and Link Crew advisor Rachael Wismont highlighted a number of scholastic achievements, such as the 95 percent graduation rate, MEAP scores that have trended upwards in the last five years, average ACT scores of 23.3, and placement in the top 10 percent in the state’s top to bottom rankings.

Beach Middle School teacher Brian Boos said that the primary job of a school district is to educate children, but “… they must also feel seen, heard, appreciated, safe, known, and loved.”

He said that the district is using its money as a safety net rather than to reduce class size, provide remedial courses for struggling students, or to attract and retain quality teachers. Chelsea school teachers have been working without a contract since July 1; and due to state mandate, new hires do not have pensions or health care following retirement. “Many people are unaware of how unattractive teaching has become,” he said.

Boos suggested what can help to remedy the situation by offering new teachers full-time positions and raises that match inflation. “But Chelsea lost four fantastic people last year to places with better offerings. Veteran teachers that we all know and love are looking elsewhere,” he grimly reported.

Boos shared the recent contract timeline, which began in November 2013 when a district-wide health insurance committee assembled, followed by recommendations in March 2014. Contract negotiations began in April, with team meetings from May through August. The last contract ended on June 30. In September, a state mediator was requested, followed by a request for fact finding in October (the first time in the history of the Chelsea School District).

A question-and-answer session followed the presentation, in which about 20 audience members addressed the teachers. Many asked questions about district finances, teacher salaries, and health insurance benefits.

Chelsea Education Association President Rick Catherman said that the district’s fund equity is 18.6 percent as reported at the last board meeting. The starting salary of a full-time teacher is just under $39,000 a year. There was a collective gasp from the audience when they learned that new teachers for the 2012-13 year that had been hired part-time left the district for full-time employment this year.

Audience member and former teacher Lenny Solomon said that when he retired in 2003, new hires could expect $35,000. Adjusted for inflation, “we make less today,” Solomon concluded.

Health insurance was a hot topic, with teachers expressing dissatisfaction with the current “flawed plan.” Teachers and audience members alike emphasized that reliable health insurance is a priority.
It was noted that Chelsea employees pay more than employees in 95 percent of other districts pay. Catherman later clarified that when the state mandated that school employees pay a portion of their own health care costs, districts could choose to either split the cost 80/20 with  their employees or become a hard cap district.

Chelsea is a hard cap district, which means that the district pays a set amount toward health insurance, and the employee pays the balance.  The CEA conceded to pay more to help the district financially, but even though the state law has been amended several times since then, nothing has changed in Chelsea. Currently, 95 percent of hard cap districts pay almost $16,000 toward a family health plan, whereas Chelsea School District pays $14,500.

Former community education director Jeff Rohrer pointed out that state cuts to local funding and increased retirement costs have reduced the district’s income by nearly $1,000 per student. “Who is your real opponent?” he asked. “Your real issue is Lansing.”

The next school board meeting is Monday, Nov. 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the board room at the Washington Street Education Center. The community is always welcome to attend board meetings, and may express their opinions during the designated time for public input.


Lisa Allmendinger on November 24th, 2014
File photo. Everyone was all smiles as the giant stocking drawing took place.

File photo. Everyone was all smiles as the giant stocking drawing took place.

Hometown Holidays concludes on Sunday, Dec. 7, and here’s what to expect.

On Sunday, Dec. 7, Chelsea Chamber Players present free performances at the First United Methodist Church at 3 and 7 p.m. These special holiday performances feature Sunrise Mass by Ola Gjeilo, works for string orchestra and a Christmas Carol sing-a-long.

At 11:30 a.m. , there is a drawing to win a 6-foot tall stocking at the Chelsea McDonald’s.  Music is provided at the event by Chelsea choirs.

Also, “The Nutcracker Ballet” will be performed by Ballet Chelsea at Chelsea High School at 2 p.m.

For a full list of events, please click here.


File photo. Father, son (and turkey) outside the library.

File photo. Father, son (and turkey) outside the library.

On Tuesday, Nov. 25, there will be a Thanksgiving Evening Storytime for ages 2-6 years beginning at 6:15 p.m. at the Chelsea District Library.

Meet a live turkey at 6:15 p.m. in KidSpot, and then move to McKune for a special Thanksgiving storytime at 6:30 p.m. with Miss Karen and Miss Jessica, complete with stories, songs and Thanksgiving crafts.

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Lisa Allmendinger on November 24th, 2014

RiethmillerFloydred1Floyd Joseph Riethmiller of Grass Lake, (Waterloo), age 84, died Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, due to complications of colon cancer.

He was born May 27, 1930 in Jackson, Michigan, the son of Floyd J. and Ruth Alice (Jones) Riethmiller Sr.

Floyd graduated from Jackson High School in 1948.  He worked for Chrysler from 1964-1989 as a driver/ mechanic.  Floyd was a charter member of the International Harvester Club Chapter 11.  He enjoyed tractor pulls, restoring International tractors, and collecting International Harvester memorabilia.  He was a farmer for many years.

For the full obituary, please click here.


Lisa Allmendinger on November 23rd, 2014
Courtesy photo. Lynn shares photos and information about her quilts on her blog. She likes to use her barns as settings in the quilt photographs. This quilt, Wind Farm, was made for her niece as a high school graduation gift. Directions for it are included in her book.

Courtesy photo. Lynn Harris  shares photos and information about her quilts on her blog. She likes to use her barns as settings in the quilt photographs. This quilt, Wind Farm, was made for her niece as a high school graduation gift. Directions for it are included in her book.

By Crystal Hayduk

Lynn Harris is a woman who is living her dream – a dream that she shares with others in her book, “Every Last Piece,” published by Fons and Porter and scheduled to be released in May.

Harris is self-employed as a professional quilter. In addition to making her own quilts from scratch, she is a longarm quilter, which means that she uses a special machine to sew together the layers and quilt the top of blankets for others. Harris teaches quilting, and is a contributor to quilting magazines.

The book is for both beginning and experienced quilters. “I love making scrap quilts and this book will encourage others to use ‘every last piece’ of fabric in their scrap piles,” Harris said. “I included quilt designs that are useful no matter how big or small your scrap pile is. As you work your way through each chapter, you’ll end up with beautiful quilts and a cleaner sewing room. I also included ideas to help readers design their own quilts.”

Although the process from first words to publication has taken two years, Harris has been piecing together ideas for the book for many years, starting with the title. “My grandmother taught us to never throw anything away that could be useful,” Harris said of her thrifty background as a child in Virginia.

“Both of my parents grew up on farms, and made do with what they had. I always liked the look of scrap quilts as well as the memories that get stitched into them.”

Courtesy photo. “Nancy” is composed of string pieced triangles set with a Chartreuse solid. It is a traditional design but updated with the addition of a nontraditional color for the setting fabric.

Courtesy photo. This quilt is composed of string pieced triangles set with a Chartreuse solid. It is a traditional design but updated with the addition of a nontraditional color for the setting fabric.

Harris learned to sew from her mother, who taught the skill in 4-H club. She made many items of clothing as a youth, but finished her first quilt when she was a middle-school student in 1976. “There was a rise in the popularity of quilting then that coincided with the (country’s) bicentennial celebration,” Harris explained.

Harris’ favorite class in high school was geometry. “Geometry had rules to follow and things fit together.” She went on to major in engineering in college, but when she graduated she found work as an activity therapist at Mott Hospital. Along the way, she was always making things. “I can’t not make things,” Harris said, as she described her need to keep her hands busy with sewing, knitting, and crafting.

Although it seems like a huge leap from engineering to quilting, Harris believes her art was always inside her, unrecognized by school advisors. “If you like geometry and color and making things, nobody ever says, ‘You could be a quilter.’ They look at good grades and suggest college.”

Quilting involves more than designing the finished appearance of the piece. There is also the heart that goes into the process of sewing it. “When I’m working on something, whatever else is going on in my life or mind gets stitched into that quilt,” Harris mused. Hence, every quilt is a unique piece of artwork in itself.

Lynn Harris blogs here and has an artist page on Facebook here.

“Every Last Piece” is available for pre-order through Amazon here. Once the book is released, it will be for sale in quilt shops and book stores. Autographed copies can be obtained directly from the author.

Another Chelsea connection
Not only is “Every Last Piece” authored by a Chelsea resident, but the illustrator grew up in Chelsea. Sophia Pappas graduated from Chelsea High School in 2009, and is the daughter of John and Candace Pappas.

Pappas spent her high school years primarily involved in the music program as a violinist. In her senior year, she decided to pursue art. “Though my parents are both in creative fields, I didn’t have any formal art training until I started school at the College of Creative Studies in Detroit,” she said.

Pappas earned her Bachelor’s Degree in fine arts from CCS in 2013, and recently relocated to southern California where she works for an ad agency and is a freelance artist.

“I feel so lucky that I was able to work on the project with Lynn and I can’t wait to see the final version (of “Every Last Piece”) in print,” Pappas said.

Sophia Pappas can be found on the web here.

Courtesy photo. Stars times two ...

Courtesy photo. Lynn enjoys making tiny star blocks from her scraps. This is a quilt made with 3-inch stars and 2-inch star blocks, which were used in one of the quilts features in “Every Last Piece.”

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Lisa Allmendinger on November 23rd, 2014
Children of all ages had breakfast with Santa at the Village Conference Center at the Chelsea Comfort Inn Saturday morning.

File photo.  Breakfast with Santa at the Village Conference Center at the Chelsea Comfort Inn.

On Saturday, Dec. 6, the Hometown Holiday festivities continue with various events planned in Chelsea’s shops.  Look for holiday bargains, unique treasures and giveaways in the community calendar here.

Saturday morning from 8:30-10:30 a.m., you are invited to bring the children to “Breakfast with Santa” at Chelsea Comfort Inn and Village Conference Center, sponsored by Lake Trust Credit Union(Chelsea Update will be taking photos of children and Santa at the event for free, but, of course, donations are also appreciated. I will ask you to supply your email address so I can email you the photos in the next few days after the event.)

File photo. About 100 families decorated a gingerbread house for free during Chelsea's Hometown Holiday on Saturday.

File photo. About 100 families decorated a gingerbread house for free during Chelsea’s Hometown Holiday on Saturday.

Back by popular demand, the “Gingerbread House Workshop” will hold two sessions on Saturday this year – one from 11 a.m. to noon, and a second session from noon to 1 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 121 East Middle St. Families work together to decorate a gingerbread house for the holidays. Only 100 houses are available, and must be reserved by calling the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce at 475-1145. This event is sponsored by Bill Ballagh, State Farm Insurance Agent.

New this year, Chelsea Area Historical Society invites visitors to join a docent-led walking tour of historic homes on East Middle Street.  Tour tickets are $15 per person, and are available in advance at the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce and Chelsea Pharmacy. Proceeds benefit Chelsea Area Historical Society.

Courtesy photo. Shopping buddies.

Courtesy photo. Shopping buddies.

The Chelsea First United Methodist Church hosts the “5th Annual Children’s Christmas Bazaar” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.  Children ages 4 years through 6th grade can shop for the holiday from thousands of affordable items all $5 or less.  Limited appointments are available and children must register in advance at www.chelseafestivals.com.

For tweens ages 10 to 17, the Chelsea District Library presents a craft workshop from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, where registered participants can make and wrap a personalized gift.  Registration is required, so call 475-8732 for details.

On Saturday evening, the 10th Anniversary Holiday Light Parade begins at 6 p.m. with fabulous lighted floats and marching units. The parade ends at the Chelsea Teddy Bear Company where participants and viewers can enjoy sweet treats, sip hot chocolate, and join in the Community Sing led by Counterpoint.  At 7:30 p.m., the Chelsea Teddy Bear Company hosts its annual “Bear Cub Run”, selecting several children to run through the warehouse and grab as many bears as they can carry.

The weekend also features “The Nutcracker Ballet” performed by Ballet Chelsea at Chelsea High on Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and again on Dec. 7 at 2 p.m.

Courtesy photo from the Youth Dance Theatre website.

Courtesy photo.


Lisa Allmendinger on November 23rd, 2014

(Chelsea Update would like to thank Shirley Hoppe for the information in this story.)  

Once again, it’s “Donut Central” at Salem Grove United Methodist Church.

Stop in for free coffee and watch donuts being made in the kitchen of this 19th century country church.

Enjoy traditional home baked goods, hot dogs and hot and cold drinks while you dine in or take some home for later. Handcrafted seasonal items will also be available.

The event takes place on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 28-29, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., then on Saturday, Dec. 6 and 13, also from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The kitchen will also be open from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 30.

To find Salem Grove Church, located on Notten Road, take I-94 to Kalmbach Road (Exit 156), then head south 1/4 mile to Kilmer Road and turn right. From there, it is 2 miles straight to Notten Road and the church.

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