After 36 years as a golf professional on the west side of Lansing, Chris Mann found himself in unfamiliar waters. He took a management position with Macy’s department store in Grand Rapids. His years of experience included plenty of retail sales, so that wasn’t a big difference. Golf, however, was certainly missing from the equation.
He began to think about the next five to 10 years and what that might look like for him, when a much more familiar opportunity appeared.
Mann was approached by the owners of Maple Brook Golf Course about redeveloping their pro shop, and offering a more complete experience for golfers at the public course in Charlotte.
“Everything really fell into place,” Mann said. “First you have the great history of the Club. You have the connection to the turf management department at MSU. You have the pro shop, and you have the addition of some great food (Grand Grillin).”
The incentives were enough to entice Mann back into the world serving golfers’ needs on nearly every level. Mann’s expertise lies within club fitting, and club repair — two aspects of the game not offered in the area.
Mann said properly fitting clubs to a player’s body type and swing can drastically improve a golfer’s scoring ability.
“The advantage for an average golfer can actually be greater than most think,” Mann said. “So many people are set up with clubs that are the wrong length or have the wrong lie angle. Even grip size can make a big difference.”
Club fitting can be as simple as testing a couple clubs while playing a round of golf to as involved as allowing Mann to schedule a fitting session on the range where he will look at everything from the length and weight of a club to the flex of the shaft, head design and lie angle.
Mann hopes to delve deeper into the club fitting process in the fall as Maple Brook Golf Course plans to install golf simulators in the clubhouse, which will allow for greater swing analysis. Simulators would also open the possibility of indoor golf leagues during the off-season months.
“All of these aspects of the course really work together, from the pro shop to the food,” Mann said. “Each piece feeds off the other, giving folks a real nice experience.”
Maple Brook Golf Course, located at 681 Lansing Street in Charlotte, is open for public play seven days a week. There are several leagues that are held Monday through Thursday, which can limit open play to certain hours, however, Friday through Sundays are completely open.
To set up a tee time, lesson or a club fitting, contact Maple Brook Golf Course at maplebrookgolfclub.com or call (517) 543-1570.
Olivet is a town that cultivates commitment. Many kids who grow up in Olivet stay or return to become devoted firefighters, teachers, coaches, and respected community members.
For Delbert Redfield there was no great rush get away, especially with a local college so close and accessible. After a few rewarding years as an Olivet Eagle, Redfield is moving on to become an Olivet College Comet for the men’s basketball team.
As team captain, Redfield led the team through fairly successful 17-5 season. With a rough start followed by a promising turnaround, the boys took away their first class B district title since 2013. Redfield was a consistent leader in scoring, which was a valuable asset for the team in crucial games, like the district game against Leslie where Redfield scored two three point shots, securing the Eagles’ lead.
While Redfield has grown significantly as a player, he’s also grown as a leader. He was team captain during his junior year as well, but he came into full bloom as a leader during his senior year.
“I was hard on them,” said Redfield in regard to working with his peers. “But the more you win, the easier it gets.”
Redfield is eager to play under coach Steve Ernst with Olivet Men’s team. Coach Ernst is in his first year of coaching at Olivet College. Ernst’s tough as nails method of coaching appeals to Redfield, who considers himself a serious, focused player.
“I’m excited about it. I talked to Ernst, he’s real competitive,” said Redfield. “It was ultimately Ernst that drew me in.”
The community aspect of Olivet College also influenced Redfield’s decision. Living, growing up, playing, attending church, and going to school in Olivet has created a devotion to the small town.
“I think it’s a big deal going from school to school in Olivet. Staying here wouldn’t be so bad. I prayed about it a lot, talked to family about it a lot. It’d be great for me,” said Redfield.
Over the next months and years Redfield looks forward to honing his skills and abilities, focusing on areas of improvement like handling the ball with his right hand and moving down the court without the ball. While growing his basketball skills, Redfield will be working toward a business degree at Olivet College. His game is valuable, but so is his continuing growth of character and faith.Redfield attends City on a Hill Church in downtown Olivet and has close ties to family and friends and community. Ultimately, what is college really for if not equipping students to be more devoted community members and citizens?
This list of accomplishments seems endless for the Bellevue boys varsity basketball team. Along with a 23-2 season, a new school record, the Bellevue boys took their fifth consecutive district championship tournament, and won the second regional game in the program’s history.
As co-captain of the varsity team, Wyatt Waterbury also passed a number of personal goals during the season, which earned him Associate Press All-State honorable mention, as well as first team All-Area recognition and Bellevue’s offensive player of the year.
“Offensively he’s a very skilled player, but he’s also one of the best two-way players I’ve seen in my seven years coaching at Bellevue,” said varsity head coach Joe Costello. “He takes pride in playing defense.”
After the 2015-2016 season Waterbury won Bellevue’s defensive player of the year. Waterbury is a sophomore, a two-year starter, and team captain. He proved himself right from the start, as did many of the underclassman players. Waterbury averaged 15 points per game during the 2016-2017 season, scored 386 points overall, led the team in steals with 95, led the team in assists with 85, and also reportedly led with deflections on defense. Costello noted how impressive it is that Waterbury achieved such stats when he plays only 20 minutes a game.
“I’m not a huge individual player. Working on breaking more records for school is the big deal to me. The team should focus on buying in. Once that happens the possibilities are endless for us,” said Waterbury.
Along with his remarkable skills and abilities, Waterbury has proven himself a worthy leader, according to Costello.
“He’s a natural leader. People follow him. All the younger guys are leaders,” said Costello. “You have to teach them at a young age it’s not about yourself, it’s about other people.”
Waterbury is a 3.9 student. He, along with his fellow players, brings progress reports to coach Costello from their teachers. Focused practice is only one piece of the success puzzle for Waterbury and the rest of the team. Academic rigor, community service, and off-season practice are all important components as well.
In the near future Waterbury plans to continue honing his skill. Costello encourages him and his fellow players to weight lift and keep getting beefed up for the larger teams they play. Waterbury hopes to eventually move on and play college ball. Before that, however, he has two promising years left in Bellevue. In Waterbury’s own words, “the possibilities are endless for us.”
Eaton CountyFeatured Story
For any historian, there’s nothing quite as devastating as losing written history. Knowing there was once a record of events and happenings that’s now lost by fire, flood, or decay is gut wrenching. The tragedy of losing written history has driven members of the Courthouse Square Association of Charlotte to start the Eaton County History Newspaper project.
The project essentially involves finding the master prints, microfilm, and, if need be the, original newspaper prints themselves and creating digital copies that can be used online. So far the project has digitized over 113 reels of newspaper. Everything from the Bellevue Gazette, Charlotte Tribune, Eaton County Republican, and more has been digitized already, and the group spearheading the project is still collecting more historic newspapers from around Eaton County.
Project members have run into some close calls. Recently they feared that all of a Mulliken newspaper had been lost in the burning of a library, only to find that one Mulliken local still had the masters in her residence. The masters were donated, and digital prints were made right away.
The task of digitizing the newspapers has been handed over to a New Yorker named Tom Tynisky. It’s the life passion of Trynisky to take historic newspapers and digitize them. He’s worked on newspapers from all over the country, and he works quickly and efficiently so that the digital copies are readily available to the communities of origin.
For the project members from CSA in Charlotte, the need to digitize historic newspapers goes beyond a simple history hobby. Having digital copies that are word search sensitive saves journalists, researchers, and curious locals hours and days of scrolling through microfilm, and months of flipping through decaying newspapers. Decaying microfilm is a real problem for many historic newspapers. Things like vinegar rot set in to the film and breaks it down, ruining the once state-of-the-art technology.
For months now members of the Eaton County History Newspaper Project have been frantically searching and collecting as many historical newspapers as possible. They’ve also been collecting generous donations from dozens of local organizations. Historical societies from Livingston, Bellevue, and Eaton Rapids GAR museum are just a few contributors. The biggest single contribution, however, came from Capital Region Community Foundation, which donated $6,000 to the project.
This outstanding donation covered much of the project’s operating costs for several months. However, the Eaton County History Newspaper Project still welcomes donations. There are a number of other newspapers that still need to be collected and digitized, and sending the newspapers to Trynisky in New York is costly. Those wishing to donate can make checks out to CSA-ECHNP and mail them to PO Box 411 Charlotte MI 48813. For more general information on the project readers can visit www.echnp.org. To access the already digitized historic newspapers, readers can click on the newspaper tab, then click the Fulton Historic Newspapers Website tab. (Some internet browsers do not work well with the Fulton Historic Newspapers website.) For more information on the project’s umbrella organization, Courthouse Square Association, readers can visit csamuseum.net.
Maple Valley Schools superintendent, Michelle Falcon, has been eagerly awaiting news regarding a grant for which she applied through the Michigan Department of Education. The Year-Round School Grant program designates money for facility modifications for schools moving toward balanced calendar (school year calendar that spreads dates for classes and vacation more evenly throughout the year) instructional programs. Since Maple Valley School district has one facility that entertains year-round programs, and has been researching the possibility of a balanced calendar school year model, the district was a prime candidate for the grant.
Falcon heard about the Year-Round School Grant in February of 2017. From what she heard she believed that Maple Valley would have a good chance, but when she read the grant requirements it became clear the district would be all but assured to receive the funding. Maple Valley met all of the requirements of the grant to the tee, according to Falcon. From being a rural school, to exceeding the minimum percentage requirement of students qualified for free or reduced lunch, to having one school with year-round operations, Falcon knew the grant was practically designed for Maple Valley’s needs.
Money from the bond had already run dry, and Falcon was struggling with the knowledge that the elementary schools did not have appropriate climate control. Temperatures in the elementary classrooms can be sweltering during the months of May and August especially. She, along with teachers in the district, knew that students struggled to focus in classrooms that have little to no climate control. Sweat, noisy fans, and indeed, smell, is a vicious combination in a classroom full of young kids.
When it came to applying for the grant Falcon had hoops to jump through, despite the obvious eligibility of the district. To apply, the district had to provide three calendar school years for one facility in the district that would adopt a year-round program. The approval of the year-round calendars and programs required approval from the district’s school board.
Falcon recalled that some of the language in the grant application was very nearly missed during the application process. Maple Valley initially was not approved for the grant, to Falcon’s great surprise. Upon further investigation and some subtle clues from the state, Falcon identified quick ways to improve the application and resubmitted it for an appeals process. Monday May 22, she received official word that the full requested amount of $300,000 was awarded to Maple Valley.
The superintendent could hardly contain her excitement. The opportunity to update the elementary school facilities is invaluable, according to Falcon, especially as the district continues to entertain and research the possibility of a balanced calendar school year for all of the schools. Much of the money from the grant will go directly to installing air conditioning at elementary schools.
Superintendent Falcon would like readers to know that she and other teachers in the district are continuing to research the balanced calendar model school year. She believes the move will likely be made in the next couple of years, but not without the thorough analysis of the benefits and drawbacks. The opportunity to prevent students from losing the momentum they’ve gained in various subjects over the year is the biggest draw to the balanced calendar model. Studies continue to show that a longer summer break causes students to forget much of what they’ve learned the previous school year.
Although many decisions still have to be made to that end, Falcon believes that updates to the school infrastructure are the first step to achieving goals like balanced calendar, and simply having bearable classroom environments for students and staff.
The disappointment of losing Gizzard Fest was closely followed by exciting rumors of a possible music festival. The idea brought about by Dave Dickerson and a few other friends to have a gospel festival in Potterville came just a few weeks after the Potterville Chamber of Business unanimously voted to hold off on the beloved Gizzard Fest for summer 2017. Dickerson and friends are pleased to announce the coming of the Potterville Gospel Festival June 9 and 10.
The Potterville Gospel Festival will feature a number of artists known locally, across the state, and nationwide. Artists DC Johnson, and Randy and Sue Leiter, who are recognized in the Michigan Country Music Hall of Fame, will be headlining the festival. Other well-known Christian artists like Savior’s Army, Chosen, and Faith 4 will be playing at the festival as well.
Also gracing the stage will be several very local groups. West Windsor Praise from West Windsor United Brethren Church, Real Life Worship from Real Life Church in Charlotte, and Whoa Nelly are just few of the most local groups to play at the gospel festival. Other performers will include Throne Together, The New Melodaires, Lansing Teen Challenge, Family Street Dance, 4G Music Ministry, Stephen Hammes, a Veterans Tribute Show, Chris Young, and Strength for Battle.
Local pastors and church personalities will also have a few minutes of stage time while bands and artists tear down and set up equipment. These local pastors will reinforce the gospel festival esthetic by bringing a few minutes of the spoken and revealed word of God alongside what is preached through song.
Even with the gospel theme and church presence, the event is open to everyone, with plenty of family-friendly activities. There will be a flea market, covered wagon rides, hot air balloon rides, bounce house and inflatables, a pie-eating contest, a car show, a small parade, and more. With all the events the music will not stop. Both days the gospel music will continue from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
-For organizer Dave Dickerson, the gospel festival is about unity within the community.
“Something that’s lacking today is community celebration,” said Dickerson. “It seems like the community is coming together.”
Right now Dickerson isn’t sure whether the Potterville Gospel Festival will turn into an annual event. For now, he wants to get the word out and have a successful trial run. He hopes the community will enjoy it enough to want it back in the future.
“Help us come out and make our first gospel fest a success,” Dickerson tells readers.
The Potterville Gospel Festival is a completely free event, as are any of the smaller subsequent events. Bands will be playing under the pavilion.
Organizers are still looking for volunteers for things like grounds maintenance. There are also still open spots for vendors. For more volunteer information readers can call (517) 285-2640, or call (517) 604-0390 for more vendor information. For updates on the event readers can visit the Potterville Gospel Festival Facebook page. For more general information readers can call Clint Dickerson (517) 285-2640, or email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eaton RapidsFeatured Story
Since 2002 the Clark men have provided Leslie and its surrounding area with diverse farm equipment repair. For the rural areas of mid-Michigan, there’s never a time to slow down. Matt Clark, the youngest son who took over the business from his father Dan, understands the importance of getting a farmer’s tractor back to the field, and the truck back to the road. Among the services and opportunities promised to customers of Clark’s Sales and Service, Matt shared his pride and plans for the future for the family business.
“I’m working with two sons of two men my dad worked with. We really are a second-generation business. Guys trained by their dads,” said Matt.
Matt’s father and brother started Clark’s originally. When Matt’s brother passed away tragically in 2006, Dan invited Matt to join the family business. At the time Matt was working elsewhere, but was pleased to join and help his father. Matt took over the business five years ago, and now looks forward to his own son of 7 learning the same mechanical skills.
With the passing of the business to the next generations, Clark’s experienced growth and expansion. Matt recently purchased the buildings, which formerly were leased to the business. In the next few years Matt hopes to expand operations to more buildings on the property, and hopefully establish another location in the Howell area. For now, Clark’s happily serves within a roughly 50-mile radius of its Leslie location.
“We work on all makes and models, John Deere, Case tractors, and Ford tractors,” said Matt. “Any tractor, big or small, we fix them all.”
At any given time Clark’s will have five to six repair projects going on at once. There are four full time technicians, and the turnover time will generally be within seven to 10 days. While Matt commented on the difficulties of staying competitive with the larger dealerships and repair services, he still takes pride in Clark’s lower prices, as well as pickup and delivery services. It’s the urgency, going the extra mile, and diversity that sets Clark’s apart from other services.
“They (customers) all say that they don’t feel that the bigger companies care about them,” said Matt. “We feel we do just as a good a job, if not better. If they’re not happy with their bigger dealership or other service, they won’t be disappointed.”
Matt doesn’t believe that the diversity of equipment they service diminishes their ability to provide quality repair. One of the most important differences with Clark’s technicians is that they were trained with hands-on experience. Head knowledge only goes so far with farm equipment repair. It’s the hands-on training that not only reinforces the education, but also creates experience-based knowledge.
“We have the ability to fix anything,” said Matt. “Our bread and butter is tractor models from the 1950s through the 90s.”
While Clark’s places a lot of emphasis on farm equipment repair, auto repair is also available. One of the expansions Matt looks forward to is a shop solely for auto repair.
During the month of January Clark’s is providing 50 percent off for pickup and delivery. It’s not too late for customers old and new to jump on the opportunity for reasonably priced repair and greatly discounted delivery. To learn more about Clark’s, or to receive service, readers can find Clark’s Sales and Service LLC online, or call (517) 589-8000, or visit the business located at 2511 W. Bellevue Road in Leslie.