State Roundup

Grand Rapids
Veterans get diplomas years after school

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Two veterans have received their high school diplomas in the Grand Rapids area long after leaving school.

The Grand Rapids Press reports 77-year-old Richard Dengate and 84-year-old Albert Steenwyk both got their diplomas in the past week.

Dengate, a retired teacher, dropped out of school in 1954 to enlist in the military and served in Korea. The Rochester Hills resident wrote to the principal at West Catholic High School in Grand Rapids about getting his diploma, and he was among 117 graduates May 20.

Steenwyk, who served in the Korean War, says he finished eighth grade in Hudsonville and got his GED diploma in 1951. Hudsonville Superintendent Nicholas Ceglarek says Steenwyk had the credits necessary at the time to graduate, and he was given his diploma May 21.

Steenwyk now lives in Huntsville, Alabama.

Ann Arbor
Cancer diagnosis leads to plans for brewery, theater

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - A cancer diagnosis has prompted a couple to move ahead on plans to open a brewery and improvisational theater in Ann Arbor, drawing the name for the planned establishment from a tough day when everything felt pointless.

Tori Tomalia was diagnosed in 2013 with lung cancer that had spread to other parts of her body. A nonsmoker, she soon underwent chemotherapy. Drug treatment continues and her condition has improved, but there's always the prospect of a change.

She and her husband Jason had hoped to open a theater after they had established careers and after their children were grown, The Ann Arbor News and the Detroit Free Press reported. But now they've rented a former sushi restaurant and are in the process of renovating it with the intention of opening the 60-70 seat Pointless Brewery & Theatre in the summer.

"I don't think very far into the future," said Tori, 39. "When I focus on what's happening now, mentally, I can cope with it a lot better. But if I try to imagine what the family will look like in 10 years, I just don't know, and that's devastating."

They raised money for the project online, exceeding a $50,000 goal in April. They plan to use the money for brew kettles, fermenters and other equipment.

"It's all moving forward; there are just a lot of hurdles to jump over," said Jason, 38. "Struggles are part of life. The tough stuff is so much easier to deal with when you're doing something you're passionate about than it is when you're not.

Published: Wed, May 27, 2015

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