Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Denzel Charleston, a portrait

Denzel 1

Denzel Charleston, 8, of Leoni Township laughs as his mother Amanda Swiontek, 31, tickles him, holding his arms around him so he can not make a move at their house on Friday afternoon. Denzel, a third grader at East Jackson Memorial Elementary, was born with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome.

Since Denzel's birth, he has been tested every three months for lymphoma. His syndrome weakens his immune system, which could put Denzel in the hospital from a simple cold. It also does not allow his blood to clot, meaning Denzel could hemorrhage uncontrollably from a minor fall.

"We never put him in a bubble," said Denzel's grandmother, Mary Swiontek. "We let him be a boy."

Denzel will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant in Cincinnati, Ohio in the next three months. Without the transplant, his life expectancy is a maximum of 19 years of age.

"I hate being sick," Denzel said. "It so hard to have friends like this, and with the transplant, I can only be around so many people. I won't have any friends. It stinks."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Hot Air Jubilee: Balloon Shadow


The shadow of a balloon appears on the shore next to Brills Lake as a hot air balloon rises off the lake after dipping down into the water on Sunday morning in east Jackson during the Hot Air Jubilee.

Birds fly. So can I.

Ducks Aerial

A flock of ducks seemingly skip across the top of water early Sunday morning at Brills Lake in East Jackson.

Swan Aerial

A swan swims atop the water early Sunday morning across Brills Lake in East Jackson.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Like father, like son

07.05.10_Father and Son

Larry Hanson, center, stands behind the counter as his father Mike Browder walks by to sign in a new resident Monday morning at the Holiday RV campground office. Hanson has worked at the campground for four years; Browder has worked there for eight. "It's just a good family campground, quiet and peaceful," Browder said. "Look at us. We live here and work here. That's family."

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Choices: Hot Air Jubilee moment

Looking for some feedback on which photo everyone prefers. The first photo is what ran in print. I am torn between each, so I ask for your opinions and appreciate your thoughts and time.



Aubree Smith, 18 months old, of Grass Lake reaches up to grab the hands of Caitlin Bergeon, 13, of Mason and her sister Anna Smith, 14, while waiting for the night glow to begin after one balloon launched Friday during the Hot Air Jubilee at Jackson County Airport. "It's like she wanted us to pick her up and bring her into the basket," Bergeon said.

Hot Air Jubilee: More from Day 1


Walt Rudy of Ohio waves to the crowd as he takes off in his hot air balloon, the only balloon to take flight Friday evening at the Hot Air Jubilee at the Jackson County Airport.


Anna Smith, 14, of Grass Lake kicks her leg out while playing atop a hot air balloon basket with her friend Caitlin Bergeon, 13, of Mason while waiting for the Night Glow to begin after only one balloon launched Friday during the Hot Air Jubilee at the Jackson County Airport.


Aubree Smith, 18 months old, of Grass Lake peeks outside of a hole at the bottom of a hot air balloon basket Friday while waiting for word if winds would die down enough to allow the night glow during the Hot Air Jubilee at Jackson County Airport.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Marijuana Raid



Members of the Jackson Narcotics Enforcement Team holds a number of marijuana plants as the team traveled throughout Jackson County Thursday searching for and extricating marijuana plants. JNET found 42 plants ranging between 4 and 5 feet tall in the middle of a tree-covered field off of Smith Road in Leoni Township within their first hour of the search.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Daniel Sinko, a portrait

07.12.10_DanSinko, Neighbors

Photograph and article by Jake May (Jackson Citizen Patriot)

Daniel Sinko has been looking for work since he earned his GED three years ago.

Sinko graduated at age 17 from the Michigan Youth Challenge Academy in Battle Creek, where his parents sent him to straighten up in high school. He's even completed culinary school.

Still, the 20-year-old Grass Lake resident relies on temporary and "odds and ends" jobs to make ends meet.

"I can't find a real decent job. For me, it just seems like they aren't out there," he said. "I've straightened my act up and stopped acting stupid. That was years ago. I'm trying to do better for myself. I want a job."

That call was heard by a friend's parent, who was able to put Sinko to work tearing down vehicles and removing parts.

Scott Phelps, 39, of Jackson is saving up money to own an auto-repair shop. In the meantime, Sinko is helping keep Phelps' business alive.

"He's a good worker and just a good man," Phelps said. "It's hard today to find people who know how to work, really work. … But Daniel, he gets it."

Sinko said that in one week he's already pulled out about five radiators and worked on about one car a day. He said by the end of each day, he is covered from head to toe in oil and grease.

"I'm very appreciative of what I have," he said. "I don't get much, but I need this money. I'm still hoping to find myself a full-time job somewhere. Here's hoping."

At a glance …

Name: Daniel Sinko
Age: 20
Residence: Grass Lake
Family: Mother Diane Sinko; stepfather Dave Dowb; stepbrothers Jason Dowb, 26, and Anthony Dowb, 28; and sister Susan Dowb, 14.
Fun fact: Sinko enjoys fishing. While fishing for bass, he once caught a 26-inch northern pike.

Kiss at the Grand River Headwaters

07.11.10_Kiss at Grand River Headwaters

Art and Nancy Winter stop to embrace one another with a kiss as they walk back from the Grand River Headwaters on Sunday toward the Liberty General Store, a convenience store located they owned and ran for 27 years until they sold it in 2003. The Winters has been married for 57 years. "I am looking at the same woman today that I fell in love with when I was a young man," Art Winter said.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fish face


Zachariah Warner, 11, of Vandercook Lake, jolts back as he squeamishly pokes at a blue gill fish he caught attempting to take the hook out of it's mouth while fishing with his father Jason Warner on Sunday afternoon at Liberty Mill Pond. "It was hard to get the hook out because these fish are just plain mean. They kept moving and slippery, so very slippery," he said laughing. "They've swallowed a couple of our hooks already, but I'm smarter than the fish. I mean, I don't eat worms and I go to school. So that makes me better than the slimy fish."

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Teen Idol competition


Tony Smith of Parma performs on Friday evening at the Jackson County Fairgrounds during the American 1 Federal Credit Union Teen Idol competition. Smith performed One Republic's "Apologize" and The Fray's "You Found Me" to finish in third place. Smith was also awarded the most online votes before the competition.


T.R. Krupa of Jackson hugs his friend Stephanie Pierce Friday evening at the Jackson County Fairgrounds after winning the American 1 Federal Credit Union Teen Idol competition. "It was phenomenal," she said. "I'm so proud of him."


Brooke Way, 7, of Brooklyn celebrates with Suzy Skinner as Amanda Collins finishes her first song on Friday evening at the Jackson County Fairgrounds.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Little Major League

07.05.10 Little Major League

James Simmons, 4, of Jackson squints into the sun as he hits a ball with a plastic bat as hard as possible Monday in his front yard on W. Washington Avenue. "We'd do this in the house, but he'd hit me in the face," said his father James Simmons Sr. "There's more space out here and he's got a few good hits in him everytime we play."

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Weather Feature Frenzy


Ryan Wick, 10, of Jackson squeals, trying to squirm away from the grasp of Jackson resident Travis Perdue, 18, as he pours water over his head Monday afternoon at Ella Sharp Park.


As his cousins and sister balance on rocks, 11-year-old Ryan Rinnert of Napoleon shivers as he stands underneath a fountain Monday afternoon at Sparks Foundation County Park. "It's exhilarating," he said. "It's like negative 60-degree cold water. It's really, really cold."


Thia Tello, 3, is swung around in circles through the pool water by her father Jim, a Jackson resident, on Monday afternoon at Nixon Water Park. "We've had a long weekend, and with this day off, we decided to come to the pool to cool off on such a hot day," he said.


A man sleeps on a bench with his dog resting at his side Monday at Sparks Foundation County Park.


Eleven-year-old Sayde Hinckley of Jackson, right, hugs her mother Sarah tightly as the two wade in the pool Monday at Nixon Water Park.


Ryan Wick, 10, of Jackson puckers his lips as he turns up the music in his mother's Jeep, dancing around in his seat and bobbing his head Monday afternoon at Ella Sharp Park.


Michael Blount, 5, of Jackson swings his pole with all of his body as he fishes Monday at Sparks Foundation County Park. Two seconds later, Blount fell head first into the pond, and pulled himself loose covered in water. "Gross, gross," he said. "Now I'm all wet. This is so nasty. Yuck!"


Jackson resident LaShay Booker, right, laughs as her son Jamarion, 4, grins while water pours down upon him midday Monday at Nixon Water Park. "It was hot. We wanted to have fun and cool off. No better place than the pool," she said.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hiding in the ball pit

07.03.10_BallPit Color

07.03.10_BallPit BW

Seven-year-old Kevin Davis of Albion sinks into the ball pit to try and hide from his brother and cousin while playing at the Fourth of July celebration Saturday morning in Hanover. "They'll never find me," he giggled, but quickly stopped talking as they jumped into the ball pit to uncover him.

(I wanted to show it in both color and black and white, as it ran as a six-column black and white photo.)

A horse, of course

07.03.10_Patriotic Horse Shadow

Prophit, an 11-year-old horse, prances along the sidewalk on N. Jackson Street with owner Pam Hodges of Hanover after the "Faithfully Serving America" parade Saturday morning in Hanover. "We want our soldiers to come home safely, so we're here to pay our respect," Hodges said.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Waiting for fireworks

07.03.10 Waiting for firewoksLittle Major League

Seven-year-old Madison Roberts of Southgate, left, and her cousin Haley Monroe, 9, of Leslie wait for the firework show to start on Saturday at Sparks Foundation County Park. "It's actually pretty nice out tonight," Monroe said. "It's truly beautiful."

K2 illustration


K2, also known as Spice, Genie and Zohai, is an herb coated with a synthetic chemical, often JWH-018, that when burned gives off a relaxing aroma. The product mimics marijuana — it looks like marijuana — but comes in varied fruit scents like pineapple and strawberry. Six states have banned JWH-018, Kansas was the first, followed by Kentucky and North Dakota. On Thursday, the chemical was outlawed in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. Several other states, including Michigan, are considering bans.