- To Jack Rineera, who for more than four decades has been the man behind a beloved community ice rink in Benzonia. Rineera builds and maintains the roughly one-acre rink at Academy Park along U.S. 31. A group now in its third year raised most of the $8,000 cost of the rink in its first year, and was pretty close in its second. It is again raising money.
- To the Committee to Improve the Suttons Bay Elementary School Playground, which launched a campaign to win a grant and raise money. They've entered a competition sponsored by Clorox that will award one $50,000 grant and six $25,000 grants. They've already received $1,000 from the Suttons Bay Support Staff.
- To Traverse City Area Public Schools for forging tentative agreements for several exchange programs during a recent trip to China. As many as 60 high school students likely will have their first opportunity to study in Dalian for 40 days starting June 1. Yearlong student exchanges could start next fall.
- To the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development for a $110,000 grant to Dutchman Tree Farms in Manton to expand its wreath-making operation. In 2011, Dutchman bought a wreath company and started its own production last year; it cranked out 90,000 wreaths.
- To members of Northwestern Michigan College's Engineering Club who are building a Baja car and raising funds to compete against 100 teams from around the world in an event in Bellingham, Wash., in May. All Baja teams start with a 10-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine and then modify them.
- To H. Cox & Son, which for 25 years has given turkeys to its employees for the holidays and this year, with its employees, decided to donate 65 turkeys to local families in need. The turkeys were distributed in partnership with the Salvation Army.
- To FoodSurveyTCkids.com, which is recruiting participants to keep a food diary of what they eat for five days for a wider research project. Twenty-five adults ages 18-60 and 25 parents with a child aged 4-7 can contribute. The project will compare how often certain foods are consumed by adults vs. children. Visit www.FoodSurveyTCkids.com for details.
- To 16 Traverse City Area Public Schools students who received All-State recognition after competing against thousands of student musicians. Students who won top honors will join other All-State winners for performances at the Michigan Music Conference in Grand Rapids Jan. 19.