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Help me demonstrate the power of hope

There is tremendous power in hope. It can lift you up in moments of despair, carry you through life’s struggles and give you strength to move forward. Hope is the central theme surrounding the American Cancer Society’s...

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Charlotte

Charlotte

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CharlotteRising recognized by Arts Council of Greater Lansing with an Applause Award

The Lansing region has taken note — Charlotte is rising.

CharlotteRising was honored Tuesday, Dec. 6 as a recipient of the Arts Council of Greater Lansing’s Applause Awards — specifically the Creative Community Award. The local non-profit organization was joined by Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, who received the Civic Leadership Award, as well as Friedland Industries, Tom Ferris, Brian Whitfield, Wharton Center for Performing Arts, and Jeff Croley.

“We have so many wonderful and deserving award recipients again this year,” stated Arts Council executive director, Deborah E. Mikula in a release sent out to local media outlets. “Holiday Glitter is our annual celebration event and the perfect forum for honoring our awardees. Patrons and guests from all across the community are in attendance, ensuring our honorees receive the widespread recognition they deserve.”

CharlotteRising executive director Dillon Rush said the receiving the award is both humbling and inspiring.

“Make no mistake, though the award will find itself in CharlotteRising’s office, the recent accomplishments were achieved through unstoppable creativity in our thinking and in our collaboration between numerous organizations, businesses, and leaders,” Rush said “It is through this sense of community by which we are inspired to aspire for more, and for that, everyone deserves a great deal of praise.”

Rush said CharlotteRising has been steadfast in enlivening the arts and creativity in downtown. Recognition for the hard work is greatly appreciated, said CharlotteRising board president Joe E. Pray.

“We appreciate that the efforts of CharlotteRising and the many individuals who are working to improve Charlotte are being recognized beyond our borders,” Pray said.

This year marks the 33rd year of the Applause Awards. Each recipient was presented with a handcrafted glass award created by Craig Mitchell Smith Glass.

“Honoring these individuals and businesses who are making a difference in their communities through the arts is so important,” Mikula stated. “Our awardees are dedicated to putting art and creativity at the forefront to strengthen and grow our cities and communities, and we are so fortunate to have them in our region.”

Olivet

Olivet

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Evelyn Calogero welcomes new attorneys

Evelyn Calogero has practiced law since 1991. A graduate of Temple University and Cooley Law School, Calogero has extensive experience in family counseling and welfare, child protection, and more. She’s been Olivet’s hometown...

Olivet

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Evelyn Calogero welcomes new attorneys

Evelyn Calogero has practiced law since 1991. A graduate of Temple University and Cooley Law School, Calogero has extensive experience in family counseling and welfare, child protection, and more. She’s been Olivet’s hometown lawyer for many years, using her background with family law to help families from all around the surrounding area. Her practice goes well beyond family law, however, and with her new attorneys fresh out of law school the expertise of her office has strengthened dramatically.

Melanie Smith is a newly admitted attorney who attended Michigan State University Law School. Smith came to work for Calogero in 2016 as a third year law student.

“I knew Mel would be a good fit over here because of her work in childcare,” said Calogero.

Although Smith desires to focus almost exclusively on working with families and children, the extent of her knowledge and experience has grown while working for Calogero.

Jaclyn Kaminski is another of Calogero’s newly admitted attorneys, and she is also a graduate of MSU’s law school. Kaminski is a diverse asset for the Olivet law office. She has focused on such areas such as intellectual property law and estate planning. Newly settled in Charlotte, Kaminski chose to work for Calogero because of her wealth of knowledge, communication style, and the diversity of cases that come to her general law practice.

“Evelyn is really smart and straightforward,” said Kaminski. “Most firms have a focused practice, but here we have anything walk through the door. Those different cases bring the intellectual stimulation I need.”

Also new to Calogero’s office is Matt Thran. Although Thran is in his third year of law school and is not an admitted attorney, he has his own set of skills and a mind for research and fine detail that has been helpful to Calogero’s office.

“It’s great for clients that we all have our own niche,” said Smith. “The case will go to the person best ready to handle it.”

The three fresh faces to Olivet’s lawyer environment have already grown to enjoy the small town atmosphere. They’re seeing the same benefits to serving and working in a small town that Calogero did when she opened her office in Olivet.

“We’ve lived here for ten years. When I started the practice I really got to know people in the community,” said Calogero. “I feel like it truly is my community.”

Smith, Kaminski, and Thran echoed Calogero’s sentiment, and they hope to integrate into Olivet in the same ways. Calogero and her team encourage locals to come in for a free consultation. To learn more about Evelyn Calogero’s Attorney and Counseling services readers can visit olivetlawyer.com, or call (269) 749-9600.

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Bellevue

Bellevue

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First Baptist Church of Bellevue to open North End outreach center

First Baptist Church of Bellevue will soon have a new outreach building to offer the Bellevue community. The North End, a former church and daycare center located directly across Main Street from Washington Park, will open its doors in January. FBC has been working on the building for the last couple of years. With a nearly finished project and an outlined vision for one demographic of Bellevue, The North End is something the church highly anticipates presenting to the village.

Luke Julian is the new youth pastor at FBC. After taking the position about six months ago, he joined the plans and vision for the outreach center with enthusiasm. Julian noted that the use of the building is still not set in stone. Its space could be utilized for a variety of purposes, but the church has done most of the planning and work with youth in mind.

“We know we want to use it to reach out to the junior and senior high kids,” said Julian. “Our hope is that this building will be used to offer kids something different, where they have a safe place to hangout, and they’re not going to be running around getting into trouble. They’ll have an alternative to go to.”

Members of the church who helped with the project commented to Julian that in their younger years it was always difficult to find things to do to stay out of trouble, and things haven’t changed much for teens now days. A place like The North End is a great opportunity for teens to have an after school outlet for being social and being safe.

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from roughly 3 to 6 p.m., seventh through 12th grade students will be able to come and hang out, play games, study, practice music, and socialize in a safe environment. On Wednesdays from 6 to 8 p.m., the FBC youth group will also meet at the North End following the after school program. FBC also hopes to use the building for different seminars and events that will be helpful to the congregation and the community.

Funding for the building came from donations from the church, and the work was done an almost entirely volunteer basis from members of the church. With the exception of some jobs that had to be hired out, a member of the church who works in construction headed up most of the construction and remodeling. The building was completely stripped out, according Julian. Even the roof was redone. The whole process has been going on for about two years or more, and the building is finally getting its finishing touches.

Most of the heavy work is finished, according to Julian. There’s still some paint, and trim work to complete before The North End will open its doors, but the end is in sight. The FBC youth group will have its Christmas party in the building before its officially open in January.

“It’s a good opportunity to pour into the lives of kids and mentor them, and be there for them if they need it,” said Julian.

For more information on The North End, or how to get involved, readers are encouraged to call First Baptist Church of Bellevue at (269) 763-9247 and ask for Youth Pastor Luke Julian.

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Eaton County

Eaton County

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Local youth recognized for efforts to turn life around

Dr. Kathleen Jager had no idea the kind of impact she’d have on Darin Pearce’s life when she first met him. At the time, she was working with Darin’s older brother, Brendon through the Eaton County Youth Facility’s residential treatment program.

Tragedy struck the Pearce family shortly after that introduction when Brendon was killed in a car accident in March of 2015. It was around this time when life got a lot more complicated for Darin, and his choices landed him in the same place as Brendon, the Eaton County Youth Facility.

“It was hard to see him withdrawing and having a hard time,” Jager said.

What Jager, a counselor at the facility, learned about Darin early on, though, was that he was a good kid, capable of turning his life around. Her intuition was right, and on Wednesday, Dec. 6, Jager and Bill Kennedy of the Eaton County Youth Facility presented Darin with the Youth Achievement Award during the 72nd Annual Children’s Christmas Luncheon.

“It means a lot to me to be able to present this award to him,” Jager said. “He’s been in community based treatment, detention, Link, juvenile drug treatment court, and he’s done great. Everybody who meets him loves him. He’s been through a lot of tough times and has really come out the other side. It’s been really inspiring to see.”

Jager said Darin taught her that no matter how far you fall, you just get back up.

“One of the amazing things about doing what we all do, is to see success stories,” Judge Thomas Byerly said. “Every once in a while we get a great story, in fact, we get great stories all of the time. Darin is one of our great success stories and I know that he’s doing very well.”

Kennedy said the staff working with at risk youth in Eaton County work together as a team to make positive impacts on lives. He said Darin deserves all of the credit for turning his life around.

“While we recognize the team effort and the many individuals involved in the rehabilitation of court youth, and in this case we specifically credit Lynn Pearce, Darin’s mother, Dr. Jager, Darin’s therapist of several years, but in the end we give credit to the juvenile, and rightfully so. In this case it was Darin’s maturation, his decision making, his efforts at home and school, at work and in the community that led to the successful resolution of his case. And, just as he was held responsible for the behavior that led to and extended his court involvement, so does he deserve the credit for addressing and resolving those issues.”

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Vermontville

Vermontville

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Broncos, Lions advance to MHSAA district finals

Bellevue and Maple Valley high school football teams advance to the District finals in their respective divisions with home wins Friday, Oct. 27.

The Broncos handled Webberville for the second time this season, winning their 8-Player Div. 1 pre-district contest, 48-8. Bellevue advanced to host Lawrence High School on Friday, Nov. 3. Lawrence is 5-5 on the season. They defeated Camden Frontier 24-20 to advance to the District final showdown against Bellevue. Camden Frontier handed Bellevue its only loss on the season.

Maple Valley defeated Hartford 26-7 to set up a Div. 7 showdown at Saugatuck High School on Friday, Nov. 3. Saugatuck defeated Springport High School 47-21 to move to 7-3 on the season.

Olivet High School suffered just its second loss of the season Friday, Oct. 27, falling to Lansing Catholic Central 42-20 in a Div. 5 pre-district showdown in Olivet. The Eagles finished the season with an 8-2 record and a Greater Lansing Athletic Conference championship.

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Potterville

Potterville

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Potterville student council hosts annual chamber luncheon

Several members of the Potterville Area Chamber of Businesses met at Potterville High School on Wednesday, Dec. 6 for a luncheon with the Potterville student council. Directed by Jaimee Dorian, the students entertained the chamber members with conversation, food, and a mixed meeting of student council and chamber businesses.

The luncheon has become a favorite event for both the chamber and the student council. The Potterville Area Chamber of Businesses is a regular supporter of the student council, for which Dorian and her student government body are very thankful. Student leaders stood up at the beginning of the lunch to present their thanks and recognition for all the chamber has helped them accomplish.

Ron Kline, chamber president, expressed his own sincere thanks to the student council for being leaders in their community.

“You help bridge the whole community,” said Kline.

After the exchange of gratitude, the chamber conducted a regular meeting, going over budgets, opportunities for giving during the Christmas season, and answering questions from the students. Kline made sure to provide the student council with fun facts about Potterville area businesses and functions that the chamber serves. He talked about how 21st Century Plastics has made stadium seating for some of the country’s largest arenas, how the Potterville McDonald’s is one of the top selling McDonald’s in the state, and how the Potterville Chamber once hosted Gizzard Fest. The student council was able to see how the chamber handles its budget, and how it delegates what organizations it will donate to.

Although the students represented a governing body, and the chamber a club for local businesses, the luncheon was an opportunity for students to see how towns and communities function and work together as adults. The Potterville Area Chamber of Businesses is a model of what living and working in a small town could be like someday, and how serving a community is a choice.

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Eaton Rapids

Eaton Rapids

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Eaton Rapids

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Hometown Family Christmas set for December 2nd

It’s hard to believe the holiday season is upon us again. Halloween is over and many poor devils started listening to “All I want for Christmas is You” as soon as the clock struck midnight November 1. (This is one reporter who refuses to play Christmas music until Thanksgiving has passed, but that’s just me.) By the time this edition of the paper is out, however, Thanksgiving will have passed, and that means Hometown Family Christmas is coming next.

The Island City will celebrate community Christmas with Santa visits, a chili cook-off, a bazaar, Fill a Cop Car, a parade, and more. The festivities start at 9 a.m. with a pancake breakfast with Santa and silent auction at the Jean Bradford Kline Senior Center, and Santa will also be available at the Eaton Rapids Wesleyan Church and Hastay’s Greenhouse and Flower Shop throughout the day.

This year the newest addition to the Hometown Christmas festivities is the chili cook-off at Riverside Café and Catering. Registration for the cook-off will be open until December 1 and those wishing to participate can register at Riverside. So far there are about 10 people registered, but the Chamber would like to see greater turnout for the event.

Those interested in participating in the Christmas parade are encouraged, though not required, to register on the Eaton Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce website. Those registered online will receive updates on the parade in case there’s inclement weather and the parade is cancelled. Otherwise, the parade is first come, first served. Santa will be in the parade, as well as a surprise Grand Marshal.

Hometown Family Christmas has in many ways become a pride and joy of the Eaton Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. It’s a time of celebration, sentimentality, and Christmas spirit that all small towns want to have.

“It’s a good way to put everyone in the holiday mood,” said Teresa Pienta, the executive director of ERACC. “It’s neighbors giving back to neighbors, a time to reflect on the year, and to be thankful and grateful for the things we have.”

Hometown Family Christmas is one week following Small Business Saturday. Eaton Rapids residents, and hopefully some out-of-towners, will be reminded of the immense potential of the Island City on Small Business Saturday and will file out to Main Street the next weekend to see how that potential plays out in our holiday celebrations.

It is the most wonderful time of the year. Christmas finds all of the warmest, most meaningful parts of romance, memories, family, and community. Hometown Family Christmas is a time where families, local business owners, and community organizers can come together to watch a parade and Christmas tree lighting with the same warmhearted hope of the season. It’s a time where childlike delight is okay and welcome for people of all ages. Come out, bring kids and grandkids to see Santa, enjoy some chili and hot chocolate, and sing carols around the tree after the parade.

Readers can find the list of events for Hometown Family Christmas on the front page along with times and locations of each event.

Sunfield

Sunfield

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Mulliken

Mulliken

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Dimondale

Dimondale

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