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Reviving History

More than 50 years after their original circulation, a series of publications is being reprinted as an athletic fundraiser for Cedarville (Mich.) High School.  

With a rich history of summer cottages dotted throughout the region, the upper peninsula of Michigan evokes fond memories for several families--whether they've maintained their northern roots, or spread throughout the country. With this regional niche and a unique local publication in hand, the Cedarville (Mich.) High School athletic department is reviving some of those memories through its latest fundraiser.

"The Les Cheneaux Breezes was a newsletter that was written once every year, starting in 1933," says Cedarville Athletic Director Dave Duncan. "It was for the Les Cheneaux Island area on Lake Huron, in the eastern upper peninsula of Michigan, where there are about 36 islands in front of our town.

"A realtor based in Cedarville wrote the Les Cheneaux Breezes, since he was quite familiar with all of the islands, due to selling a lot of property on and around them," he continues.  "So for the summer residents, he started writing this annual newsletter with stories about hunting and fishing, local politics, news from the school, and a little bit of local history."

The Breezes were circulated throughout the Les Cheneaux Island region, and they were mainly kept in the summer cottages--something to look forward to perusing during the summer vacation. Over the years, some residents had held onto the issues, but few had a complete set.

"My dad was the principal and athletic director here at Cedarville for about 30 years," Duncan says. "He was good friends with the publisher's son--and found out that his wife, the publisher's daughter-in-law, had kept a complete set of the Breezes.

"In the 1990s, they had come up with the idea of reprinting the Breezes as a fundraiser for the school," he continues. "But back then, technology wasn't as advanced and widespread, so the cost was too high and it was put on the back-burner. Since we're in a hard time economically, and trying to avoid pay-to-play fees, we decided to revisit the idea this past year."

The process started by contacting the local newspaper, to find out if it would be interested in scanning, printing, and binding the materials to help with the fundraiser. "We're very lucky because one of the people there did all of the legwork with scanning and everything," Duncan says. "And the high school art teacher designed the cover for the first volume--which contains the issues from 1933 through 1939. So we've been lucky to have people helping us, which has kept our costs down."

Each volume costs about $8 to produce, and with its selling price set at $30, allows a $22 profit. "We tossed around some ideas for the price," Duncan says. "After consulting with the newspaper, we thought $30 was reasonable with the number of pages people were getting. It's bound in a really nice way--kind of like a heavy magazine, with cardstock--and it has some color in places."

With the first volume released in time for last year's Christmas shopping, sales have been strong. "People have really enjoyed it--and they're already looking forward to purchasing the second volume, which contains all of the issues from the '40s, later this spring," Duncan says. "By releasing each decade in a separate volume, we're able to keep the fundraiser going on its first wave for a longer period of time. But some of our local stores are selling them for us, so we'll be able to continue sales even after all of the volumes are available."


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