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Alcona Community Schools Expanding

A significant change could be coming to Alcona Community Schools in the next academic year.

For the past four years a newer addition to Alcona's high school and middle school has been sitting vacant, waiting for the sounds of students and class bells to fill its hallway.

"As budget reductions and student aid became less and student enrollment decreased, we had closed this wing due to supervision issues because our student body was spread so thin," said Principal Daniel O'Connor.

But now the wing will be re–opened to make way for seventh and eigth graders.

"We have four classrooms in this wing, a set of lockers, and a computer lab. The hope is we're going to have four teachers move into this wing, each in a classroom," said O'Connor.

The new space may also take away the anxiety of sharing a building with high schoolers, which middle school students are currently doing.

"The majority are going to be more relaxed because they're going to have the opportunity to get used to some things. That's not saying they won't have the opportunity to go elsewhere in the school at different times, but this allows them the nice slow process to get used to the secondary building and transition to the high school."

Using the newer wing will not result in additional costs to the school. And teachers and staff members are eager to finally utilize the space.

"This is doable, it will work, and it will be great for the kids."

Yellow Jug Old Drug

The Yellow Jug Old Drug program which started right here in Alpena is now in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and this year they are expanding to Pennsylvania and New York.
The Yellow Jug Old Drug program allows for people to dispose of their unwanted, unused drugs for free to help keep the community and the environment safe.
'I've been a pharmacist for 25 years and the question arises on a daily basis what do we do with the old medications and up to this program starting, it's always been to flush them down the toilet or get rid of them in some manor that way," Pharmacy Manager Jim Straley said.
The problem with flushing medication down the toilet is it then gets absorbed into our water, a 2007 U.S. Geological Survey concluded that 80% of streams sampled contained detectable levels of compounds found in common medications.
"They have done studies it is affecting fish it is affecting some of the amphibians, so we're really ahead of the curve on this one before it becomes a huge environmental issue," President of Great Lakes Clean Water Chris Angel said.
For years only law enforcement was allowed to collect controlled substances but as of September of 2014 the secure drug disposal act was passed which will now allow pharmacies to collect controlled substances.
"That's game changing this is really exciting for pharmacies, it's also great for public health because it makes it easier to get rid of controlled substances," Angel said.
Great Lakes Clean Water takes all medications collected to a high temperature incinerator, to dispose of properly.
 This keeps the drugs out of people's hands and out of our water.
Great Lakes Clean Water has several goals for the future but one of them is to expand to other states not just those surrounding the Great Lakes.

Sanctuary Advisory Council

Guest Stephanie Gandulla from the National Marine Sanctuary talks about the Sanctuary Advisory Council.

Ella White Fifth Graders Need Your Vote

Some fifth graders from Ella White Elementary School are looking for your vote to win a national competition and a chance for $10,000.

Bob Thompson’s fifth graders from Ella White Elementary School created and submitted a research project to "Teach for the Planet Challenge", which is a national competition that looks for projects focused on the environment.

The students project named, "Engineered Lake Trout Delivery System" was chosen as one of the semifinalist.

If the students when the final round of the competition, they will receive $10,000 in credit for other projects.

To vote visit the bit.ly/teachplanet01 and pick a project for each category.

Ella white will be located in the Grade 3-5 category.

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