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Dogs, social media, and forgotten resolutions

Two mornings in a row last week I let my dog out before I started my workday. He’d start whining around 7:30 a.m., I’d let him outside through the sliding door for about a half hour, I’d get dressed and start making breakfast,...

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Charlotte

Charlotte

Featured Story

Generosity Celebration a catalyst for community collaboration

There will always be a need for the generosity of others. There are many worthy organizations within our communities that rely on the generosity of others, every day, just to keep their doors open. The fundraising for so many organizations can seem endless.

That’s what makes the Charlotte Generosity Fund, and its main contributor — the annual Generosity Celebration — so important. The fund’s sole purpose is to provide funds for non-profit organizations that work collaboratively with other organizations in an effort to positively affect one of the Seven Elements of a Healthy Community — Arts & Culture; Basic Needs; Health & Wellness; Education; Economy; Neighborhoods & Communities; and Environment.

Grant money is awarded annually — up to three per year — from interest generated by the Charlotte Generosity Fund, an endowed fund within the Eaton County Community Foundation. Funds raised through the Generosity Celebration and various private donations has reached $67,000 in six years.

The seventh annual event, scheduled for Thursday, March 8, at the Eaton Area Senior Center will add to that dollar amount, increasing the amount of interest generated and, in turn, increase the pot of money that can be granted in 2018.

“Our community has always had a uniquely generous nature, it’s so easy and natural for us to say who else can work with us,” said Barbara Fulton, one of the event organizers. “I feel like the whole idea behind this is, No. 1, the absolute belief our community is generous and collaborative. We needed a mechanism that worked financially. The establishment of this fund was such a huge stake in the ground, we’re going to pool our money and all of us are going to help get us there.”

Collaboration and generosity are a common theme of the event itself. Tom McNeil, owner of Country House Catering, has donated the food each year. Several local businesses and organizations also donate to the event, meaning nearly 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the generosity fund.

In addition to heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, live entertainment will be provided by Windwalker Underground Gallery artists, Kendall Cassella, and The Dangling Particples. Local non-profits will have the opportunity to participate in a game in an effort to win a gift basket.

The 3rd annual Living a Generous Life award will be presented at the event as well.

The seventh annual Generosity Celebration will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Eaton Area Senior Center, located at 804 S. Cochran Avenue in Charlotte. Tickets are available at Fay’s Evelyn Bay, The County Journal, the Eaton Area Senior Center and Windwalker Underground Gallery.

For more information, call (517) 588-1244.

Olivet

Olivet

Featured Story

Win secures at least a share of Olivet’s first MIAA title in 45 years

Steve Ernst made his intentions known before the start of the season — his Comet basketball team was on a mission to make school history. On Wednesday, Feb. 14 the team made its mark on Olivet College, capturing at least a share of its first MIAA conference title in 45 years.

The Comets, led by their second-year head coach, defeated Hope College 70-49 in a battle for first place. The Comets can win the title outright with a win at Calvin College on Saturday, Feb. 17. Regardless of Saturday’s outcome, Olivet will host the MIAA tournament Friday, Feb. 23 and Saturday, Feb. 24, which was also a goal of Ernst’s before the season began.

“The most important thing for us right now is to head into the tournament fresh,” Ernst said. “We have to win the tournament to get into the NCAA’s. So we’re looking at what is the best way to get us ready for the tournament.”

Ernst said he is proud of the transformation his team has made throughout the season. The team started the year with 11 transfers getting used to playing together.

“We really emphasized playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back,” Ernst said. “These guys really care about Olivet, which is what really matters.”

Ernst said they learned to play together in a “trial by fire,” playing an extremely tough non-conference schedule.

“Some of the road trips we made really made all the difference in the world,” he said.

The Comets have been led this season by potential All-American Jalen Adams, who is currently fourth in the nation in scoring and in the top 25 in rebounding.

At the end of the season, the support of the college community and the “tri-cities” (Charlotte, Olivet, and Bellevue) as Ernst calls them, made them a tremendous difference as well.

“You have to start with the support of the Charlotte people, they have been coming on over and have been great,” he said.

In fact, Charlotte High School’s student section, The Flight Club, made a road trip to Olivet Feb. 7 to help cheer the Comets to victory over Alma. More than 60 members of the Flight Club attended the game.

“The west side of Eaton County loves good basketball,” Ernst, who graduated from Charlotte High School in the mid-80s said.

As the No. 1 seed, the Comets will play the 7:30 p.m. game Friday, Feb. 23 at the Cutler Student Events Center in Olivet. If they win, they will advance to the MIAA championship game Saturday, Feb. 24.

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Bellevue

Bellevue

Featured Story

Broncos move to 2nd in the state in Class D

After a winning game against Athens, the Bellevue boy’s varsity basketball team jumped from 7th in the state for class D ball, to 2nd in the state. With a 14-0 record, the Broncos have been a tough challenge for the competition this season, and plan to continue that toughness for the next six games. Head coach, Joe Costello, attributes their streak to some of the best defense he’s seen in his years coaching in Bellevue.

“We’re very good defensively. We put pressure on these teams. If you don’t have a couple of guards who can handle the ball you’ll get a lot of turnovers and steals,” said Costello.

Strong defense is part of Costello’s coaching philosophy. With nearly the exact lineup he had in the last season, his boys are well used to his heavy defensive strategy. He only had one graduating senior from the previous year, and at the end of the 2018 school year he’ll have to four boys graduating. Last year the team went 23-2, and this year he thinks the strong defense will bring them out on top.

“I try to tell the kids all the time, offense comes and goes, but hustle in defense can always be there. It’s the one constant,” said Costello.

Athens was 11-2 coming into the game against the Broncos, and Costello’s boys finished the game 69-49. Of the 14 games the team has played so far, 12 of those games the Broncos held their opposition under 40 points. The team currently averages 65 points per game, with an average 31-point victory.

While the defense is undeniably a factor in the Bronco’s winning streak, the team has a few key scorers this season. Junior Wyatt Waterbury is the lead scorer with an average of 16 points per game, while close behind are Carson Betz with an average of 11 per game and Gino Costello with an average of 10 per game. All three students received honorable mentions at either the state or league levels.

The Broncos are set to play next against Hillsdale Academy, which Costello noted will be a significant challenge.

“Hillsdale will be a strong test on Friday. Friday will be a big deal.”

Consistency is what Costello really requires of his boys. They’ve had consistent defense this season, and the consistency is as important as any strategy or any play.

“Just be consistent in what you do. Take the shots you know you can make,” says Costello to his players. “If we do that, we’ll do pretty great.”

Advertisement: Readers: since many ads are from outside the local area, please know what you are buying before sending money.

Eaton County

Eaton County

Featured Story

Generosity Celebration a catalyst for community collaboration

There will always be a need for the generosity of others. There are many worthy organizations within our communities that rely on the generosity of others, every day, just to keep their doors open. The fundraising for so many organizations can seem endless.

That’s what makes the Charlotte Generosity Fund, and its main contributor — the annual Generosity Celebration — so important. The fund’s sole purpose is to provide funds for non-profit organizations that work collaboratively with other organizations in an effort to positively affect one of the Seven Elements of a Healthy Community — Arts & Culture; Basic Needs; Health & Wellness; Education; Economy; Neighborhoods & Communities; and Environment.

Grant money is awarded annually — up to three per year — from interest generated by the Charlotte Generosity Fund, an endowed fund within the Eaton County Community Foundation. Funds raised through the Generosity Celebration and various private donations has reached $67,000 in six years.

The seventh annual event, scheduled for Thursday, March 8, at the Eaton Area Senior Center will add to that dollar amount, increasing the amount of interest generated and, in turn, increase the pot of money that can be granted in 2018.

“Our community has always had a uniquely generous nature, it’s so easy and natural for us to say who else can work with us,” said Barbara Fulton, one of the event organizers. “I feel like the whole idea behind this is, No. 1, the absolute belief our community is generous and collaborative. We needed a mechanism that worked financially. The establishment of this fund was such a huge stake in the ground, we’re going to pool our money and all of us are going to help get us there.”

Collaboration and generosity are a common theme of the event itself. Tom McNeil, owner of Country House Catering, has donated the food each year. Several local businesses and organizations also donate to the event, meaning nearly 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the generosity fund.

In addition to heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, live entertainment will be provided by Windwalker Underground Gallery artists, Kendall Cassella, and The Dangling Particples. Local non-profits will have the opportunity to participate in a game in an effort to win a gift basket.

The 3rd annual Living a Generous Life award will be presented at the event as well.

The seventh annual Generosity Celebration will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Eaton Area Senior Center, located at 804 S. Cochran Avenue in Charlotte. Tickets are available at Fay’s Evelyn Bay, The County Journal, the Eaton Area Senior Center and Windwalker Underground Gallery.

For more information, call (517) 588-1244.

Advertisement: Readers: since many ads are from outside the local area, please know what you are buying before sending money.

Vermontville

Vermontville

Featured Story

Bellevue, Maple Valley set to square off at Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit

There may not be a more anticipated regular season match-up between non-conference foes than the Feb. 14 showdown between Bellevue and Maple Valley girls varsity basketball teams. Oddly enough, it has little to do with the match-up on the court.

This game has everything to do with where it’s taking place — Little Caesars Arena in downtown Detroit.

Taking part in the Detroit Pistons’ Court of Dreams program, Bellevue and Maple Valley will tip off in the brand-new, state-of-the-art facility at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14.

“It’s an experience of a lifetime,” said Maple Valley athletic director Landon Wilkes. “I think it means a lot to any kid to have that experience.”

Wilkes said he was contacted by Bellevue coach Kayla Whitmyer about the possibility of taking part in the game, and knew it was a chance he couldn’t pass up. Likewise, Whitmyer is excited about facing a team so close to home in such an exciting venue.

“It is great playing our neighbors, Maple Valley,” Whitmyer said. “It really brings a sense of community with us to Detroit. I think given the grandeur of the event, it would be overwhelming to see the outpouring of support. Although, we feel the unwavering support from our Bronco Family no matter the location or attendance.”

That sense of community stretches to the court as well, as all ticketholders for the high school game will have a chance to step on the court to shoot one free throw, Wilkes said. Tickets to the high school game are also good for the Pistons game that evening.

“This is an incredible opportunity for our student-athletes, school and community,” Whitmyer said. “One I’d imagine we would cherish for years to come.  We are thrilled to play in a billion-dollar state of the art facility with our Bronco family.”

Tickets can be purchased by contacting the Bellevue High School athletic office at (269) 763-9435, or the Maple Valley High School athletic department at (517) 852-9275.

Advertisement: Readers: since many ads are from outside the local area, please know what you are buying before sending money.

Potterville

Potterville

Latest

Potterville

Featured Story

Oneida Twp. votes in favor of solar panel ordinance, Benton Twp. residents push for similar ordinance

After months of research, debate, and rewrites, the Oneida Township board voted in favor of a new solar panel ordinance on Tuesday, Feb. 13. The ordinance created in response to the ongoing Geronimo project and debate restricts solar panel developments to allotted commercial and industrial areas within the township. With the new ordinance, Geronimo will not be able to develop some 500 acres of farmland in Oneida Township, which was the largest portion of land the company targeted for the solar project.

Geronimo is a word residents of Oneida and Benton Township have heard a lot in the last year. Geronimo Energy is the wind and solar energy company that has planned to develop more than 600 acres of farmland on the border of Oneida and Benton Townships with a solar panel installation. The solar panel amassment would essentially be a forest of solar panel units all connecting to the Oneida substation. The goals and benefits of such a project are simple — create clean energy, for which the county can increase its tax revenue, and local land owners can profit.

The Geronimo project, however well intentioned, has received significant negative attention from residents of both Oneida and Benton Townships. The list of grievances is extensive, but rests mainly a few basic points. The primary arguments against the development of a solar complex on the aforementioned farmland include the project’s divergence from the Eaton County Master Plan adopted in 2011, the project’s intent to develop on prime farmland protected by PA 116, and public consensus against such a complex in rural parts of the county.

The 193-page county master plan designates specific areas for industrial, light industrial, commercial, and farmland. The Geronimo project developing on county designated farmland is in direct contradiction to the county master plan, and would be a special accommodation the likes of which some residents feel would not be granted to local businesses. In Oneida Township there is also prime farmland protected by Michigan’s PA 116 legislation, which the Geronimo project would undeniably be violating. The public consensus over protecting the farmland in question has been building for the last year, beginning with twin petitions that were passed through Oneida and Benton.

With the passing of Oneida’s new ordinance, many residents of Benton Township are attempting to lay pressure on the county to approve a similar ordinance for Benton. Oneida had the authority as a charter township to implement and enforce their own ordinance, whereas an ordinance for Benton would have to be approved by the county board of commissioners. Benton Township residents like Sue Deer Hall, who started Benton Township’s petition, are strongly encouraging other residents to attend a planning and zoning public meeting Tuesday March 6 to voice their thoughts on the Geronimo project.

“We’re trying to get the point across that we’re not against solar, but we’re against putting a complex on good farmland,” said Deer Hall. “We value farmland. Some people don’t know how much comes off an acre of farmland, but farmers are intimately aware of that.”

Hall echoes a sentiment that many residents have voiced. Solar may be clean energy that saves on carbon emissions, but active farmland, especially land with corn, can consume thousands of tons of carbon from the air. Using up such farmland with solar panels that could be multi-purposed in industrial and light industrial areas is counterintuitive for many. Similarly, residents are concerned about the precedent of other similar projects that have gone on active farmland. Such a development has the potential to decimate farmland’s productivity, especially after such a time when the solar panels are no longer operational, or relevant technology.

The aforementioned concerns, and many others, were brought before Benton Township’s planning and zoning committee at a meeting on Thursday February 8. Not a single voice from nearly 50 residents in attendance made a favorable comment for the Geronimo project. The attendees openly invited each other to attend the March 6 meeting to further voice their opposition to the Geronimo project and in favor of an ordinance limiting the installation of solar complexes to industrial spaces in the county.

“They (the county commissioners) should be representing residents, and not big business,” Hall said. “This is the reason we have zoning ordinances.”

Advertisement: Readers: since many ads are from outside the local area, please know what you are buying before sending money.

Eaton Rapids

Eaton Rapids

Featured Story

Getting to know Angel Colizzi-McCrumb, new owner of Turtle Tom’s

Some of the most moving small town stories are the ones that involve family legacy, small business, and sweet treats. What better story could there be, then, but of a third generation local family owning a beloved downtown ice cream shop?

Angel and Rich McCrumb recently bought Turtle Tom’s Ice Cream Shoppe in downtown Eaton Rapids from Tom and Pam Bratz. For many, the new ownership is a pleasant surprise, a sigh of relief, and a dose of nostalgia.

Angel, daughter of Don and Elaine Colizzi, is a Charlotte native who’s lived in Eaton Rapids for the last 17 years. She graduated from Charlotte High School, and then earned her bachelors degree from Davenport University. She and her husband, Rich have two children who attend Island City Academy.

Angel’s grandparents, Pete and Kate Colizzi, were Italian immigrants who owned the homemade candy and ice cream shop in Charlotte, Liberty of Sweets, for more than 40 years. The Colizzis closed Liberty of Sweets the year Angel was born, but she always relished the stories of her parents and aunts and uncles about the beloved ice cream shop. When the opportunity to buy Turtle Tom’s presented itself, she knew she had to move.

“Maybe my kids will have those kinds of stories,” said Angel.

For Angel, the nostalgia of buying Turtle Tom’s is less about her, and more about her children. She wants them to have memories like those of her parents’ generation, to have hands on experience in a family business, and to know the joy and hard work of being a centrally located business. Tom and Pam already laid the groundwork for Angel and Rich, and now they want to build on that legacy.

“It’s important to us to take over something they (Tom and Pam) worked so hard on the last 10 years. We feel blessed to be in that kind of situation, to take over the reigns of their business,” said Angel. “We’re very fortunate to have them as part of our life. They’re very good friends of ours, and they’re still helping us.”

One of the great things about buying Turtle Tom’s is its central location in downtown Eaton Rapids. For the last 17 years Angel has marveled at the excitement and engagement of the Island City’s downtown, and even more so with Turtle Tom’s role on Main Street.

“I love the community,” said Angel. “I want to contribute to that and keep the energy and excitement alive downtown. And who doesn’t love an ice cream cone?”

Angel and Rich don’t plan to change much at Turtle Tom’s. They’re keeping much of the same staff from the last season, and their aim in the first year is simply to learn more about the business and its place within the community.

“We’re just going to make sure it’s a warm and welcoming place for the community to get ice cream with their families.”

Sunfield

Sunfield

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Mulliken

Mulliken

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Dimondale

Dimondale

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