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November 13, 2020
Statement Regarding Nov 12 Public Safety Emergency
Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) Police were alerted to a report of an SVSU employee threatening self-harm on Thursday, November 12. University Police contacted the individual on campus just before 8 p.m. SVSU immediately alerted the campus community.
University Police sought aid from other law enforcement agencies, and police negotiators spoke with the individual throughout the night. Despite those efforts, the employee died by suicide in the Science West building around 6:30 a.m. No students were involved in the incident and no one else was injured.
“We grieve over this loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with the individual’s family,” said SVSU President Donald Bachand.
The Student Counseling Center is staffed to provide counseling services to students. Information is available here: https://www.svsu.edu/studentcounselingcenter/. Faculty and staff, as well as students, may receive counseling through SVSU’s Employee Assistance Program by calling 1-800-854-1446 or visiting unum.com/lifebalance.
This remains an ongoing investigation. SVSU would like to thank the Michigan State Police, the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office, Saginaw Police Department, Saginaw Township Police Department, and Carrollton Township Police Department for their assistance.
The SVSU campus is closed today (Friday, Nov. 13). We will provide additional information on campus operations later today.
November 9, 2020
SVSU’s Master of Social Work program receives national accreditation
With faculty, staff and resources dedicated to empowering students eager to engage and enrich communities, the Master of Social Work program at Saginaw Valley State University was fully accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), an accreditation agency.
The organization’s Commission on Accreditation is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as the sole accrediting agency for social work education in the U.S.
The Council on Social Work Education administers a multistep accreditation process that involves program self-studies, site visits, and Commission on Accreditation reviews. This candidacy process for accreditation started in 2017 and lasted three years, which is typical for new programs. The program was approved for full initial accreditation in February 2020 for a period spanning four years.
“This initial accreditation is an exciting time for the Master of Social Work program,” said Lucy Mercier, an SVSU professor of social work as well as the Master of Social Work program coordinator.
"The faculty are looking forward to creating additional opportunities for community-engaged graduate education.”
Since the program was a candidate for accreditation beginning in 2017, graduates have been able to apply for state social work licensure. With the program now accredited, graduates will be able to continue applying for state social work licensure for the accreditation period, increasing the number of Master of Social Work practitioners in the regional area.
“Our region has been under-resourced in terms of Master of Social Work practitioners,” Mercier said. “Our program is helping to fill that gap, and we anticipate a significant improvement in services in each of the areas served by our alumni — including health care, mental health, children's services, aging adult services, substance abuse, and the criminal justice system.”
The Master of Social Work program is accepting applications for its 2021 cohort.
For more information, please contact Lucy Mercier by email at email@example.com or by phone at (989) 964-4077.
November 6, 2020
Empowered by SVSU program, Meridian Public Schools leader named Superintendent of the Year in Michigan
For the second consecutive year, a member of a prestigious Saginaw Valley State University leadership development program that empowers K-12 education leaders was recognized as the top superintendent in Michigan.
"This community and school district have been through a tremendous amount the last several months — with COVID and the flood — so I was incredibly honored and humbled to receive the award as there are so many others in this profession that deserve the same recognition," said Carmoney, also an SVSU alumnus.
He was nominated by staff, students, regional leaders and colleagues from across the state.
Carmoney is a member of the Gerstacker Fellowship Program
, an SVSU-operated leadership development initiative for professionals in K-12 education. The program was established in 2005 with a $1.5 million endowment from the Rollin M. Gerstacker Foundation, which invested an additional $1 million to expand the initiative in 2011. Each year, a new group of K-12 educators is selected to participate in leadership development seminars as well as international travel experiences that involve meeting educational leaders across the globe.
Carmoney’s latest recognition reinforces the value of the Gerstacker Fellowship Program, say organizers of the SVSU initiative. After all, his recognition represents the second consecutive year a participant in the Gerstacker Fellowship Program received the Superintendent of the Year award from the Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators. Last year, Robert Shaner, superintendent at Rochester Community Schools in Macomb County, earned the award. He was selected as a participant in SVSU's Gerstacker Fellowship initiative in 2010.
Carmoney, who joined the SVSU program in 2014, said he holds “so many fond memories” of the Gerstacker Fellowship initiative.
“The program really provided with me some great tools and networking opportunities that I've utilized to a great extent over the last several years,” Carmoney said.
"In the program, you are led by the best mentors and surrounded by esteemed colleagues that push you to do your best; you are asked to leave your comfort zone in order to grow your skills as a leader; you clearly understand what it takes to be a servant leader for your students, staff and community; and you continually seek to provide opportunities that produce outcomes that matter for your students."
Shaner agreed, saying the program provides "a transformational leadership experience that exponentially expands the ability to maximize potential, creatively solve problems and implement meaningful change in our K-12 teaching and learning communities."
Shaner said his participation in the SVSU initiative also empowered him with many of the skills that earned him the state's top superintendent award in 2019.
"Through international travel opportunities, Gerstacker fellows can appreciate the cultural elements that frame educational systems from around the world," Shaner said. "My personal experience also provided me with life-long mentors and friends. I am forever grateful for this educational leadership experience."
Carmoney was familiar with SVSU before participating in the initiative. He earned a master’s degree in educational leadership from the university in 2000.
His other credentials in leadership development include his participation in the Michigan Leadership Institute SUPES (Superintendent Professional Preparation Series) Academy as well as the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance Institute for Leaders initiative.
He also remains active in state and regional organizations including the Michigan High School Athletic Association, the New Tech Network District Leadership Council, the Midland County Long-Term Disaster Recovery Committee, Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce, the Midland Business Alliance, and the Midland County Career and College Access Network leadership team. He is a board of directors member for both the Greater Midland Community Center as well as Midland County Project DARE.
November 5, 2020
SVSU student-led fundraiser raises over $18K for Bay Area Women's Center
Overcoming logistical challenges presented by the pandemic, Saginaw Valley State University students worked hard to support a regional nonprofit, raising $18,573.46 to help the organization bolster its services preventing domestic violence and sexual assault.
While adhering to SVSU’s health and safety guidelines related to the pandemic, students hosted a series of fundraising events from Oct. 18-24 including a date auction, pumpkin-painting event, a pumpkin-smashing event, and a T-shirt sale. SVSU students last week presented the resulting $18,573.46 check to representatives of the Bay Area Women’s Center.
Olivia Nelson, the student who served as chairperson of the fundraiser organized by SVSU’s student government, said she was thankful for the dedication and support demonstrated by her peers during Battle of the Valley.
“I have never been more proud of our SVSU community for coming together in the way we did to raise funds for such an important cause,” said Nelson, a psychology major from Highland.
“In these chaotic times, seeing the level of student engagement at every single event while also witnessing everyone being mindful about keeping themselves and others safe was empowering.”
Lindsay Maynard Richardson, a 2013 SVSU alumna and director of development at Bay Area Women’s Center, said funding the center has proven difficult this year. Richardson said she was thankful for SVSU students’ support. The $18,573.46 in funds they raised will support the center’s crisis office operations, which includes a 32-bed emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence as well as a 24-hour hotline.
With the completion of this year’s Battle of the Valley, the annual tradition has provided $670,958 for nonprofits across the state in total since the event was established in 2003.
The fundraiser began as a competition between SVSU and Grand Valley State University before GVSU students backed out of the fall-time tradition last year. SVSU student-led fundraising has accounted for $464,532 of the total funds collected over the years.
November 2, 2020
SVSU, MiSTEM honor regional K-12 educators excelling in STEM
To honor the hard work, dedication and contributions made to STEM education, Saginaw Valley State University and MiSTEM East Central Michigan Region recognized 10 K-12 educators and staff with an award that will benefit their students’ education.
Recipients of the “STEM Star” award include K-12 teachers, coaches for high school Robotics teams, and staff members overseeing STEM programs. The awards were made possible through a collaborative effort between SVSU’s STEM Program and MiSTEM East Central Michigan Region. The MiSTEM Network — funded through a statewide grant — promotes the impact of STEM on economic development and education in the state.
Recipients received a $300 award to benefit STEM education in their classroom or program. The recipients work in Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gratiot, Midland, and Saginaw counties.
Nominations were reviewed by a selection committee.
Listed below are the STEM Star winners, including remarks about the recipient from their respective nomination letter.
- Ethan Shannon, a chemistry teacher at Garber High School and a Robotics adviser
“Mr. Shannon dedicates thousands of hours each year to STEM education. Through STEM education, he challenges, inspires, and empowers students of every age and skillset to be the very best version of themselves.”
- Mark Lyons, a technology integration specialist at Bay-Arenac ISD
“He is invited frequently to present across the state, making his STEM impact even greater than our region. He is indeed, though, an asset to our area schools and region, and we are proud to have him as part of the (Bay-Arenac ISD) team.”
- Kevin Smalley, a technology coordinator for the Robotics Club at Harrison High School
“The most important thing that Kevin has provided is a true leader and mentor figure. Harrison High School students know that he will hold them accountable but support them through hard work and their own creativity.”
- Duncan Gervin, a general and alternative education teacher at Farwell High School
“With the STEM learning objectives and the strong student relationships, Mr. Gervin weaves relationships into a masterpiece of academic success.”
- Amy Hindbaugh-Marr, a teacher at North Elementary School and South Elementary School in Ithaca
“Her enthusiasm was contagious, her work ethic impressive, and her knowledge of science and ability to create exciting labs for our students was second to none! She was a positive, inviting resource for the staff.”
- Jennifer Lenon, a learning coach at Northeast Middle School in Midland
“In her role as learning coach, she works with many teachers to provide support in the classroom to implement best practices and come shoulder-to-shoulder as a colleague to provide direct support for teachers.”
- Jessie Bassett, a teacher at Frankenmuth High School
“Through all of these involvements, she has been integral in creating a STEM culture in our district. Serving as our Science Department chairperson, Jessie has expanded her focus on science curriculum and instruction to include all of our buildings and grade levels. Her passion for science and math is evident, and her reach and impact seems to broaden each year.”
- Shawn McFarland, a teacher at Jessie Loomis Elementary School
“Mrs. McFarland is a dedicated, hardworking, creative, dynamic and patient teacher. She is so committed to teaching her students concepts and skills that she often supplements her teaching by using her own money to buy what she needs.”
- Terrie Robbie, a STEM coordinator at Arrowwood, Hemmeter, Sherwood, Weiss, and Westdale elementary schools as well as White Pine Middle School and Heritage High School
“Terrie has implemented many programs across (Saginaw Township Community Schools) district. At White Pine, she has built partnerships with Covenant (HealthCare), (Central Michigan University), SVSU, Nexteer, and (Hemlock Semiconductor). Terrie is worthy of being recognized as your STEM Star, as she certainly serves as ours.”
- Thomas Lockwood, a technology director and Robotics adviser for Hemlock Public School District
“Tom has been the instrumental figure in the new addition of a regional Robotics facility located at Hemlock High School. Tom has not only provided the students at Hemlock with an excellent facility but all students in the area, so each team can work together in collaboration.”
For more information about SVSU’s STEM program, visit svsu.edu/stem or follow the program on Facebook and Instagram.
October 29, 2020
SVSU theatre to stream play that explores race relations
As conversations about social justice and race relations are in the forefront of American culture, a Saginaw Valley State University theatre director hopes his latest production provides valuable perspectives for a constructive conversation.
SVSU will host a movie-style play, titled “No. 6,” available virtually to audiences at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, Nov. 4-7; and 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 8.
The $10 tickets must be purchased online. One hour before the play begins, attendees will be emailed a link where they can watch the pre-recorded production online.
Written by playwright TJ Young, “No. 6" centers on a fictional African-American family's experience during a real-life tragedy that struck the Cincinnati community in 2001. Following the shooting death of an unarmed African-American teen, protests and civil unrest shook the community for five days. “No. 6" takes place in the midst of that period, when one member of the family brings home an unconscious white man and the civil unrest creeps closer to the family's home.
The real-life unrest from 2001 in many ways mirrors elements of the modern-day Black Lives Matter movement, said Tommy Wedge, an SVSU assistant professor of theatre who is directing "No. 6."
“There are issues we wanted to explore,” Wedge said. “We want the audience to be thinking about what is happening today and how it relates to what happens in ‘No. 6.’”
Wedge is no stranger to shedding light on topics of race relations and spotlighting SVSU's strong community of African-American student-actors. He directed SVSU’s recent productions of “A Raisin in the Sun” in 2016 and “Stick Fly” in 2018. “No. 6,” similarly, will feature a largely African-American cast.
“It's important to elevate actors of color with roles written by and for them,” Wedge said. “That has to continue as we work toward strengthening ties with the diverse community in Saginaw and the Great Lakes Bay Region.”
Jahari Essex, an art major from Saginaw who is playing the role of Felix, is looking forward to engaging the audience in thought-provoking material.
“This play is an opportunity to tell a story that isn't as often told – or at least it's not told from a different perspective,” he said. “The ending starts a conversation, showing more hope than hurt.”
Jared Kaufman, a communication and theatre education major from Bay City, also was looking forward to providing audiences with engaging ideas. Kaufman plays the role of Kelly.
“Everyone has the opportunity to learn something from watching the show,” Kaufman said. “The audience can make a connection with any of the characters and the stories they have to tell.”
Wedge is experienced leading nontraditional plays. For SVSU, he directed a Zoom-based production of “Macbeth” in April. He also was the director of the 2019 production of “Mamma Mia,” which utilized the combined resources of three local community theaters in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
For “No. 6,” Wedge directed his student actors as if they were performing on a theater set, and then his team began recording them one scene at a time with a three-camera set-up. Filming began on Oct. 16, and video and audio will be edited together in the production's opening. This recorded production then can be accessed by patrons at the times of the performances via a livestream, similar to a streamed movie.
Wedge said the production at all times will observe practices that ensure the safety of all cast and crew members during the filming and production of “No. 6.” Along with practicing social distancing, actors will be wearing clear face masks.
To aid in their film movie production, five SVSU students were selected as video interns. Wedge said the unique nature of the production required extensive support from other SVSU faculty and staff. Among the chief contributors to that process were Peggy Mead-Finizio, SVSU assistant professor of theatre, as technical theatre supervisor; and Andy Sharrow, an event and theatre technology specialist with SVSU, as the video and editing supervisor of “No. 6.”
For more information about “No. 6" and to purchase tickets, go to the SVSU Department of Theatre website at svsu.edu/theatre/showschedule.
October 19, 2020
SVSU student-run fundraiser launches; Bay Area Women’s Center to benefit
In a year of unknowns, one thing remained certain for Olivia Nelson and a group of her fellow student leaders at Saginaw Valley State University: their commitment to enriching the community would not be obstructed. Despite challenges presented by a global pandemic, their dedication will power SVSU's annual student-run fundraiser known as Battle of the Valley, which kicked off Sunday and concludes Saturday, Oct. 24.
“This will give a sense of normalcy that students may not get with other parts of their college experience this year,” said Nelson, the chairperson of the fundraiser organized by SVSU’s student government.
Battle of the Valley has remained a proud tradition at SVSU since students organized the first fundraiser in 2003. Each year, a student-selected nonprofit benefits from funds collected during a series of fun activities often hosted on campus. This year, Bay Area Women's Center will benefit from Battle of the Valley.
Participants can donate to the fundraiser and view the lineup of events online at svsubattle.com
“We still plan to do all our big events — just outside and socially distanced,” said Nelson, a psychology major from Highland.
She said students this week will organize many of the beloved events that made Battle of the Valley one of SVSU’s signature traditions, including a “car smash,” ice cream social and T-shirt sales.
Bay Area Women's Center serves Bay and Arenac counties
, where the nonprofit works to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault while supporting its victims. Founded in 1975, the organization provides free-of-charge crisis intervention, advocacy and safe haven to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and violence prevention education to the community.
From Battle of the Valley's conception in 2003 until 2018, the annual event was a fundraising competition between SVSU and Grand Valley State University students. The two sides raised $652,385 for various nonprofits and organizations over the years. In total, SVSU raised $445,959 of that total.
October 16, 2020
SVSU enrollment shows gains in student retention and graduate programs
Saginaw Valley State University reported solid enrollment numbers for the 2020 fall semester, given the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. SVSU has 8,030 students taking classes this fall, a drop of 2.8% from last year’s total enrollment of 8,265. The university saw encouraging improvement in student retention and an increase in the number of graduate students.
SVSU’s retention rate improved to 77.4%, an increase from 74.1% last year and 70 percent in 2014. Earlier this year, the university made a concerted effort to contact current students, many of whom left campus abruptly when the pandemic hit in March.
“I would like to thank the many faculty and staff who reached out to students over the summer months to encourage them to stay on course to finish their degrees. Our region and our state need our students’ work ethic and their talents to contribute to Michigan’s recovery, and I’m pleased to see so many of them remain on track to complete their degrees and begin their careers,” said Don Bachand, SVSU president.
SVSU also recorded a 6.3% increase in graduate students, compared to last year, as the total number of students pursuing advanced degrees rose from 775 to 824. The Master of Public Health program introduced in 2018 continues to show growth, as does the postgraduate program for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners begun in 2019. SVSU also saw more students pursuing MBA and Education Specialist degrees.
“After careful study and consultation with regional employers, we have added high-demand graduate programs in recent years, and we’re pleased to see strong interest for them, particularly in careers that are critical to the health of individuals and communities,” Bachand said.
SVSU froze tuition for the current academic year and continues to have the lowest tuition among Michigan’s state universities.
The number of incoming freshmen fell from 1,470 to 1,382, a decline of 6%.
Fall classes at SVSU began Monday, Aug. 31 with a mix of in-person, hybrid and online courses offered.
October 13, 2020
With Saginaw native's help, group aims to continue SVSU student voter registration trend in time for November election
With a passion for empowering often-underrepresented communities, Saginaw Valley State University student Angelo Martinez has focused his efforts on providing his peers the power to vote.
The Saginaw native this year joined SVSU’s Cardinals Vote
, a non-partisan campus organization that relays resources and information regarding elections to students at the university.
“We need more people to vote,” said Martinez, a professional accountancy major. “Voter turnout is so important. Making sure others take advantage of their right to vote is something I have always been interested in.”
Boosting college student participation in elections can prove a challenging task in a typical year. Voter engagement increases with age, with U.S. Census figures
consistently showing citizens between the ages of 18 to 29 represent the smallest turnout percentage among eligible voters. One of the contributors to that low turnout: higher education students living on campuses – and away from the hometowns where many are registered to vote – often are unsure where and how they can vote in their college communities.
SVSU’s Cardinals Vote was created to tackle such challenges at SVSU. The organization demonstrated its effectiveness during the last major national election, the 2018 mid-terms. A report by The Institute for Democracy & Higher Education showed the percentage of SVSU students voting doubled during the 2018 election
compared to the 2014 mid-terms, from 18.4% to 36.8%.
Martinez joined Cardinals Vote this fall in part to help the organization continue that positive trend. He understood, though, that the 2020 elections would present additional obstacles that his predecessors did not face when they advocated voting among their peers.
“The virus makes all of this more difficult,” Martinez said of COVID-19. “Because of social distancing, you can’t get people into a group to tell them how they can vote this year. You have to find other ways.”
With dedication and hard work, Martinez committed himself to finding those “other ways.”
Before the pandemic, one of Cardinals Vote’s most effective programs involved inviting Secretary of State voter registration mobile units on campus. And, on election days, the organization coordinated mass transportation for students to voting precincts. Because of social distancing guidelines, neither tactic was an option the group pursued this year.
Instead, Martinez and his Cardinals Vote peers in the fall began engaging in a much more tedious approach, spending hours walking the hallways, seeking students in need of help to participate in the election.
Practicing social distancing and wearing a protective face mask while conversing 1-on-1 with students about the sometimes-complicated matter of voter registration made the task exceptionally challenging, Martinez said. But his determination to help others kept him focused on the task.
“It’s not easy, but it’s important work,” he said.
Martinez’s passion for American democracy stretches back to his childhood. His grandfather, Daniel Soza, once served as an elected member of the Saginaw City Council. As a child, Martinez often talked with his grandfather about his work leading the community.
“I was always asking him about what he was doing on the council, and about different processes,” Martinez said.
Along with Martinez’s work on Cardinals Vote, he also signed up this year to help Power the Polls, a nonprofit organization that recruits election poll volunteers.
With a determined spirit and passion for helping others, he found time for those efforts despite a busy schedule that includes a full lineup of college courses and responsibilities elsewhere.
Martinez was elected president of the SVSU chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, a business honors society. He also volunteers at Emmaus House of Saginaw, Inc., a home for women released from prisons and rehabilitation programs. There, he provides women with information technology support as well as help creating résumés. On top of all those duties, he serves as a delivery driver for Jimmy John's to help pay the bills.
“There are a lot of things going on right now,” Martinez said of his schedule. “I just want to help.”
October 8, 2020
'I had a great support system': Student reflects on quarantine experience in SVSU apartment
When she got the call with orders to quarantine at her on-campus apartment at Saginaw Valley State University, Paige Dejohn initially felt frustrated by the prospect of spending so much time by herself.
Looking back now — only days after her required quarantine period expired — the sophomore from Kimball, Michigan said she never felt alone. In fact, she was delighted that she made a few new friends because of her circumstances.
“It was a good experience, even though the reasons I had the experience weren’t so good,” she said.
One of Dejohn’s roommates tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, all four women in the four-bedroom residential housing unit were required to quarantine for two weeks until Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Dejohn spent the duration of that quarantine period in the two-story apartment. The roommate who tested positive was moved to a different on-campus apartment, where she was separated from others. The other two women left campus to live with family during their quarantine period.
Dejohn spent her two weeks alone attending classes via her laptop, playing video games with her family remotely, cooking meals, streaming shows on Netflix, tending to a plant, and enjoying the company of SVSU staff members who checked on her regularly over the phone.
She said she likely enjoyed the quarantine more than her peers at other colleges, where some students have reported a lack of assistance from staff coupled with intense feelings of isolation.
“I had a great support system of people here at SVSU,” Dejohn said. “I missed being able to see people, but I also met people I wouldn’t have otherwise met.”
Dejohn never felt completely alone without her human roommates. She spoke regularly with SVSU Residential Life staff members, and she also was kept company by the contact tracing staff member assigned to the case, Moregan LaMarr, a two-time SVSU alumna. LaMarr is one of SVSU’s contact tracers
; her duties involve mapping human exposure to the COVID-19 virus within the university community while offering mental health support to people who need it.
“She was super sweet and relatable,” Dejohn said of LaMarr. “When she checked in with me, I thought we would only be on the phone for a short time, but then 25 minutes would go by. She brightened up my days.”
LaMarr and SVSU staff monitored Dejohn from afar. She was instructed how to recognize potential symptoms. Daily, she took her own body temperature.
“I was always at 98.3, which is normal,” said Dejohn, who never experienced symptoms during the quarantine period and was not tested for the virus.
Dejohn never stepped beyond the front and back entrances outside her apartment, which is part of SVSU’s nationally-renowned student housing facilities
. The rare times she opened her doors happened either when she picked up the food and supplies SVSU staff left on her welcome mat or when she placed the celosia plant outside the apartment’s back entrance to collect sunlight and air.
While isolating, Dejohn ordered fresh food from SVSU’s Dining Services delivered to her front door. Her go-to food item was a plate featuring delivered fried rice and broccoli mixed with jasmine rice she kept stored in a kitchen cabinet.
Other SVSU offices provided her arts and craft supplies that kept her busy. For instance, she built a stuffed bear during the quarantine using materials provided to her.
Dejohn also spoke regularly with family members over the phone. A few members of that family played video games with her from afar. A Nintendo Switch owner, Dejohn teamed up with an uncle in Germany and an aunt in Illinois as they together navigated the survival thriller, “Dead By Daylight.” Her boyfriend in the region also occasionally joined the games remotely.
Dejohn watched plenty of Netflix and YouTube during her time alone, including many episodes of “The Walking Dead.”
After the quarantine period ended late Tuesday, her three roommates returned.
“It felt good for the quarantine to be over,” Dejohn said. “I said to myself, ‘I want to go get myself some Panda Express and do all the laundry that’s been building up in here.’”
And she did. Dejohn woke up early Wednesday and filled three washing machines with clothes and blankets that piled up over the 2-week span.
“When I was there, a few of my neighbors walked in to do their laundry,” Dejohn said. “It was nice to see people. I missed being able to say, ‘Hi.’”
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