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      Special Education advocate retires

      An 89-year-old Gladstone woman who has served 28 years on the Delta-Schoolcraft Intermediate School District Board is retiring.

      On Thursday a special celebration of thanks was held for her at the ISD.

      Lou Maniaci's inspiration was her youngest son, Mark, who was born with Down Syndrome in 1954. He inspired her to become greatly involved in raising awareness and support for people with Down Syndrome.

      She helped start Lakestate Industries, which provides employment opportunities to people with barriers to employment. Maniaci and her husband also helped start the community's first school for kids with special needs.

      "It's very, very rewarding to see that they didn't just push it under the table," said Maniaci. "That they're helping a lot of kids like our Mark."

      Maniaci was surrounded by friends and family, who congratulated her and thanked her for her years of service.

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