Oakland Press: Cultivate the love of reading during March is Reading Month

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Studies continue to demonstrate the connection between the development of good reading skills and one’s success as a student and a lifelong learner. Fostering these skills earlier in life, rather than later, is key to a strong educational foundation.

The benefits of parents talking, reading and singing to their infant children and continuing on for the first several years of their children’s lives are immense. Children learn more rapidly in their first six years than at any other stage in life as the brain’s neurons, synapses and connections are formed and strengthened by a caregiver interacting with a child.

This early emphasis on good verbal skills pays off enormously when a child enters school. Without this emphasis, the results can be disastrous. According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years.

In addition, about one in six children who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade do not graduate from high school on time, a rate four times greater than that for proficient readers. Encouraging students to read and teaching the basics of language is a vital step on the path to a brighter Michigan future.

This recognition of the importance of reading is the reason we observe March is Reading Month. Here in Michigan and across the nation, parents, children, teachers and students will celebrate reading this month and work together to develop strong reading habits in our children.

Here in Oakland County, for the second straight year I participated in the Oakland County READS! program. Oakland County READS! is an initiative of the Oakland County Superintendents Association in partnership with Oakland Schools, Oakland County government, the Oakland County School Boards Association, the Oakland Schools Education Foundation and Scholastic.

The event was held on Friday, March 10 at Oakland Schools in Waterford Township. Oakland County READS! is a way to kick off March is Reading Month here in the county.

Reading expands our imaginations, helps us to successfully navigate our world, and teaches us how to create a better life. Take time during March is Reading Month to help cultivate your own love of reading, and share the joys of reading with a child in your life as well.

This column first appeared in the Oakland Press. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Save the Date: Kowall and Horn announce Linden event honoring Vietnam era veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Ken Horn on Friday announced they are sponsoring a formal Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony on Monday, April 24 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Horn, R-Frankenmuth, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Linden in conjunction with American Legion Family Post 119, Post Commander Jesus Lozano, and Linden Community Schools.

The ceremony will give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. The lawmakers encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration, will be held at 4 p.m. on Monday, April 24, at Linden High School, 7201 Silver Lake Road, in Linden. RSVP to Jesus Lozano, Linden Michigan Vietnam Veterans Pinning, at 810-354-8130 or via email at LMVVP@aol.com.

Kowall and Horn will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location. The symbolism attached to the lapel pin is significant, Kowall said.

U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Terry L. Groves will emcee the event and the guest speaker will be U.S. Marine Corps Vietnam veteran Joe Caballero. The invocation will be given by Chaplain Richard Laing, American Legion Family Post 119; Veterans of Foreign Wars 3243 Fenton Color Guard will post the colors; and Marianna Ziegler-Hickey will perform the national anthem.

Other highlights include:
•    Static military vehicle display by Dan Brewer on the front lawn of Linden High School;
•    Special Guest Alida Rose Smith — Miss Poppy American Legion Auxiliary 119 Linden — will lead the Pledge of Allegiance;
•    American Legion Auxiliary 119 Linden will serve light refreshments; and
•    The “Old Timers Band” will perform a variety of patriotic and 60s era songs throughout the ceremony.

“The Commemoration honors all Vietnam veterans, whether they served in-country, in-theater, or were stationed elsewhere during the Vietnam War period,” he said. “All were called to serve and the overwhelming majority of these veterans served honorably and admirably.”

The Commemoration was authorized by Congress and established under the secretary of defense, and then formally launched in 2012. It was designed to thank and honor Vietnam veterans and their families in hometown America, in light of the 50th anniversary of the war. Recognition is given to these heroes when commemorative partners, such as Kowall, hold events for the veterans and their families.

“Michigan’s Vietnam veterans, whether drafted or enlisted, served our country with honor. Tragically, too many returned home with little thanks for their service and not much help transitioning to civilian life,” Kowall said. “This ceremony is a way to recognize veterans of the Vietnam War era and their families for their service and sacrifice on behalf of a grateful nation and the Michigan Legislature.”

Horn agreed.

“I had the honor of participating in Senator Kowall’s pinning ceremony at the state Capitol last year,” Horn said. “I look forward to once again placing a pin on each of these American heroes as a symbol of the long-overdue thanks they most certainly deserve for the sacrifices they gave our country.”

Kowall has held numerous events, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including VFW/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

“It is always a moving time for me when I am able to present the lapel pins and personally thank each veteran for their service,” Kowall said.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Kowall announces $850,000 business development grant

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall announced that $850,000 in grant money from the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) has been awarded to Lineage Logistics, LLC, which plans to relocate from Irvine, California to the city of Novi.

The company will establish its new headquarters in Novi, investing $8.1 million and creating 92 high-paying jobs. The city of Novi has offered support to the project in the form of a property tax abatement and/or staff assistance.

“Lineage Logistics has decided to make this move to be closer to its growing customer base in the Midwest and east coast, choosing Novi over a competing site in Illinois,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “This is great news for Novi and the entire area.”

Lineage Logistics is a warehousing and logistics company committed to delivering sophisticated, customized and dependable cold chain solutions to leading food, retail, agriculture and distribution companies.

For more information about the Michigan Strategic Fund, visit www.michiganbusiness.org/michigan-strategic-fund-msf.

Photo Advisory: Kowall and Bieda award lapel pins to Vietnam veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Steve Bieda on Monday participated in a Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony in Fraser at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6691 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Bieda, D-Warren, hosted the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans, Gold Star Mothers and their families. They were joined by residents and veterans in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Gold Star Mothers Elsie Mannerow and Mary Jean Linville, whose sons were killed in action in Vietnam, were the guests of honor. Each received an “In Memory Of” pin exclusively presented to Gold Star Mothers. Teri Johnson, president of the Michigan department of Gold Star Mothers, was a guest speaker at the ceremony. Johnson’s son, Army Sgt. Joe Johnson, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010.

Any Gold Star Mothers or Gold Star Wives of the Vietnam era who would like to receive an “In Memory Of” pin at a future lapel pinning ceremony should contact Lynn O’Brien in advance of the ceremony at 517-373-0563.

Monday’s event was made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration. More information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Note: For a print-quality version of this and other Kowall photos, click the image or click Photowire under the Media Center tab, above.

Kowall announces $1 million grant for Lyon Township road construction

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall announced on Tuesday that the Office of Economic Development has awarded a $1 million grant to the Road Commission for Oakland County to modify an intersection in Lyon Township.

The Transportation Economic Development Fund Category A grant is part of a $1,675,000 project that will enable the future addition of a traffic signal at the intersection of South Hill Road and Grand River Avenue; reconfigure the intersection to include dedicated left, right and through lanes in all four quadrants; and add a deceleration lane and an acceleration lane to Grand River Avenue in front of the Cosma Body Assembly of Michigan (CBAM) facility.

“CBAM is an integral part of our business community and part of one of the world’s largest automotive parts manufacturers,” said Kowall, R-White Lake. “By the time this current expansion project is completed, the company will have invested $59 million and will have hired 250 new employees.

“This growth and investment mean much heavier traffic in the area, and these modifications at South Hill Road and Grand River Avenue are necessary for employee and freight traffic to access the CBAM facility.”

CBAM makes structural underbody systems for major automotive original equipment manufacturers. The company recently constructed a manufacturing facility at the intersection of Grand River and South Hill Road and is already planning an expansion at this site to service new business. These improvements will accommodate the expected growth in traffic due to CBAM’s expansion.

The Transportation Economic Development Fund is part of the Office of Economic Development, which administers the fund and coordinates extensively with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and local road agencies to provide necessary infrastructure improvements across the state.

For more information about the Transportation Economic Development Fund, visit www.michigan.gov/tedf.

Spinal Column: Cultivate the love of reading during March is Reading Month

Sen. Mike Kowall

Sen. Mike Kowall

By Sen. Mike Kowall
15th Senate District

Studies continue to demonstrate the connection between the development of good reading skills and one’s success as a student and a lifelong learner. Fostering these skills earlier in life, rather than later, is key to a strong educational foundation.

The benefits of parents talking, reading and singing to their infant children and continuing on for the first several years of their children’s lives are immense. Children learn more rapidly in their first six years than at any other stage in life as the brain’s neurons, synapses and connections are formed and strengthened by a caregiver interacting with a child.

This early emphasis on good verbal skills pays off enormously when a child enters school. Without this emphasis, the results can be disastrous. According to the National Adult Literacy Survey, children who have not developed some basic literacy skills by the time they enter school are three to four times more likely to drop out in later years.

In addition, about one in six children who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade do not graduate from high school on time, a rate four times greater than that for proficient readers. Encouraging students to read and teaching the basics of language is a vital step on the path to a brighter Michigan future.

This recognition of the importance of reading is the reason we observe March is Reading Month. Here in Michigan and across the nation, parents, children, teachers and students will celebrate reading this month and work together to develop strong reading habits in our children.

Here in Oakland County, for the second straight year I participated in the Oakland County READS! program. Oakland County READS! is an initiative of the Oakland County Superintendents Association in partnership with Oakland Schools, Oakland County government, the Oakland County School Boards Association, the Oakland Schools Education Foundation and Scholastic.

The event was held on Friday, March 10 at Oakland Schools in Waterford Township. Oakland County READS! is a way to kick off March is Reading Month here in the county.

Reading expands our imaginations, helps us to successfully navigate our world, and teaches us how to create a better life. Take time during March is Reading Month to help cultivate your own love of reading, and share the joys of reading with a child in your life as well.

This column first appeared in the Spinal Column newsweekly. Senator Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, is the Michigan Senate majority floor leader. He serves the residents of the 15th Senate District, representing western Oakland County.

Reminder: Kowall and Bieda honoring Vietnam era veterans at Fraser event

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall and Sen. Steve Bieda on Wednesday reminded interested parties of a Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony next Monday, March 20 in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the war.

Kowall, R-White Lake, and Bieda, D-Warren, are hosting the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” in Fraser to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans, Gold Star Mothers and their families. They encourage all interested residents and veterans to join them in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

Kowall said the event, made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration (VWC), will be held at 1 p.m. on Monday, March 20, at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6691, 17075 Anita Ave., in Fraser.

The lawmakers will provide a Vietnam War Commemorative Lapel Pin to U.S. veterans who served on active duty at any time from Nov. 1, 1955 – May 15, 1975, regardless of location.

RSVP to Post Commander Larry Rosseel at LPRosseel@comcast.net or Lynn O’Brien in Kowall’s office at 517-373-0563.

Gold Star Mothers Elsie Mannerow and Mary Jean Linville, whose sons were killed in action in Vietnam, will be the guests of honor. Each will receive an “In Memory Of” pin exclusively presented to Gold Star Mothers. Teri Johnson, president of the Michigan department of Gold Star Mothers, will attend the ceremony. Johnson’s son, Army Sgt. Joe Johnson, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2010.

Any Gold Star Mothers of the Vietnam era who would like to receive an “In Memory Of” pin at a future lapel pinning ceremony should contact Lynn O’Brien in advance of the ceremony at 517-373-0563.

Guest speakers will include U.S. Navy veteran and Fraser Mayor Joe Nichols and Teri Johnson, president of the Michigan department of Gold Star Mothers. Old Settlers Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4659 Color Guard of Shelby Township will present the colors. Post 6691 Auxiliary President Debbie Scheetz stated that the post and the post auxiliary will serve lunch.

Kowall has held numerous lapel pinning ceremonies, in both Lansing and throughout the state. The ceremonies are held in a variety of locations, including Veterans of Foreign Wars/American Legion posts, veteran memorial parks and banquet halls. Kowall often partners with the senator of the district where the event is being held.

Information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Photo Advisory: Kowall and colleagues award lapel pins to Vietnam veterans

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kowall, R-White Lake, on Saturday participated in a Vietnam veteran lapel pinning ceremony in Grand Rapids at the American Legion Boat and Canoe Club in commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the conflict.

Kowall and colleagues Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell, and Sen. Pete MacGregor, R-Rockford, hosted the “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Event to Thank and Honor Vietnam Veterans and Their Families” to give long-overdue recognition to Vietnam War era veterans and their families. They were joined by residents and veterans in paying tribute to the men and women who were too often forgotten when they returned home.

The event was made possible in part by the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration and hosted by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3946 and American Legion posts 2, 258 and 356.

More information regarding the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration can be found at www.vietnamwar50th.com.

Note: For a print-quality version of this and other Kowall photos, click the image or click Photowire under the Media Center tab, above.