Select Page

More

Latest

Read The County Journal Online

Click to open a full digital copy of the newspaper that you can “flip” through online. Works on mobile devices! Read Digital Edition

Charlotte

Charlotte

Latest

Charlotte

Featured Story

Council tables decision on water and sewer rate increase

Charlotte City Council was not ready to finalize any increase to the city’s water and sewer rates Monday, July 8, instead choosing to table the decision until its July 22 meeting. Until then, council directed City Manager Gregg Guetschow and DPW Director Amy Gilson to study the impact of an increase smaller than the 11 percent discussed at the July 8 meeting.

Councilman Branden Dyer, who made the motion to table the decision, said the city examines its rate structure each year and he would like to see what impact a smaller rate increase would have on the water and sewer fund.

“I wanted to get more information from Amy [Gilson] before going forward,” Dyer said. “I don’t feel we necessarily need to see a high increase this year. I have no desire to delay this decision indefinitely, but would like to see what a lower rate would look like.”

Dyer said smaller increases could be made annually. The city has not raised rates since 2015.

Guetschow’s initial proposal to council was a 22 percent increase in water and sewer rates that would take effect all this year. Council rejected the 22 percent increase, preferring instead to study and discuss an 11 percent increase over the course of the next two fiscal years. 

“I would be terribly uncomfortable with anything under 11 percent,” said Mayor Tim Lewis. “We’re talking about the integrity of our water and sewer system. This is about the wellness and safety of our community.”

Guetschow discussed in June the city’s need to address capital improvements, specifically infrastructure improvements within the city’s water and sewer system in the 2019-20 budget.

“The biggest investments we are going to be making, besides streets, are in the utilities area,” Guetschow said in June. “We need to spend about $1 million per year on infrastructure. That goes along with reconstructing our streets. For example, reconstructing Lovett Street, there’s 1885 water main under there that has to be replaced. There are asset management plans, to make sure we keep our facilities up.”

Guetschow said the city has done a good job in managing its assets, but is being forced to be more formal in its planning efforts for water and sewer asset management by state regulations. Mandates from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality make up nearly 20 percent of the utilities budget.

“We’ve been warning that it’s time to look at an adjustment to the utility rates,” he said. 

Councilmembers will likely finalize a rate increase at its July 22 meeting. Any increased rates will not be reflected on water bills until October at the earliest, Guetschow said. 

“We want to provide the best solution that is both fiscally responsible and politically palatable,” Guetschow said.

Olivet

Olivet

Featured Story

Gardener’s grave blankets bring comfort during cold winter months

The December chill doesn’t quite have the same sting as it once did for Monica Lee, a resident of Battle Creek. Kathy Gardener, an Olivet resident, has made sure of that.

It’s been 12 years since Kathy reached out to Monica unexpectedly with a special gift — one that brings Monica tremendous comfort every December.

Kathy, who started making grave blankets more than 30 years for her daughters who passed as small children, donated a grave blanket to Monica in 2006 after hearing how she had tragically lost her only daughter.

“To think she was thinking about someone else at that time,” Monica recalls. “Kathy is a beautiful woman. My baby is warm every year. It gives me a warm feeling.”

Monica has ordered a grave blanket for her daughter ever since, and has added a grave blanket for her mother as well. Monica said it brings her great comfort to know her daughter, who died on Dec. 2, is warmed by the blanket throughout the cold months.

Kathy said she identified with Monica’s story after hearing about it on the news and knew she needed to reach out to her. 

“I’ve been there, losing someone close to you,” Kathy said. 

She started making grave blankets after losing two daughter 35 years ago. Her daughters passed in October and she said she recalls thinking about how they were going to be cold all winter. That’s when she first learned about grave blankets, and the concept brought a feeling of comfort for her daughters. It’s a feeling she said people often convey to her about her creations.

“I hear a lot that blankets are a comfort,” Kathy said. “Our loved ones aren’t with us physically, but they are always in our hearts. The blankets provide a comfort to us and color to the cemetery.”

Kathy donates at least one grave blanket each year, often to a family like Monica’s. 

“It changed my life losing my girls,” Kathy said. “This is a legacy I can carry on through my daughters.”

The blankets are made from fresh pine branches and weigh 25-30 pounds. They are anchored in the ground before it freezes. Kathy said she is very particular about the colors she adds through flowers and bows. Each takes about an hour to create. She said she cuts down about 11 big trees from a local tree farm each year.

To order a grave blanket for your loved one, call Kathy at (269) 274-3266.

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

Bellevue

Bellevue

Featured Story

Bronco basketball teams look to cap off perfect regular seasons

The road to perfect regular seasons for both the Bellevue boys and girls varsity basketball teams could go through Athens. 

The Bronco boys were 18-0 heading into its toughest remaining regular season test, a Friday, Feb. 22 showdown at Athens High School. Bellevue defeated Athens, which was undefeated at the time, earlier this season, 68-62 in Bellevue. The game could be much more difficult in a hostile environment.

The Lady Broncos, meanwhile, host Athens on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Bellevue defeated Athens on the road in their tightest contest of the season, 37-36. The girls were 16-0 heading into their game at Climax on Thursday, Feb. 21. Bellevue defeated Climax 49-15 at home earlier this season.

In their most recent action, Bellevue guards Wyatt Waterbury and Gino Costello led the Broncos to a 60-73 win over Climax, securing a third-straight SCAA West Division title. Waterbury paced the Broncos with 20 points, 6 steals and 4 assists. Costello added 14 points, and 4 assists. Carson Betz recorded a double-double, finishing with 10 points, 14 rebounds and 5 steals.

The team travels to Jackson Christian High School on Monday, Feb. 25 to open District play against Tekonsha.

In the girls most recent victory, Morgan Messenger led the way with 13 points as Bellevue defeated Waldron, 33-30. Mikayla Crawley finished with 10 points, 3 steals and 2 assists. 

The Lady Broncos host Colon on Saturday, Feb. 23, and finish off the regular season with home games against Athens on Tuesday, Feb. 26 and Tekonsha on Thursday, Feb. 28.

The team opens District play at Athens High School on Monday, March 4 against Battle Creek St. Philip.

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

Longtime Fair Board member renews vows on Merry Go Round

Theo Savage is one of those familiar faces you always see at the Eaton County Fair. To some it may seem like he’s been around forever, and for all intents and purposes, he has. Savage participated this past week in his 34th Eaton County Fair as a member of the Fair Board.

Someone who’s been around so long, it’s rare to see something new. That is, unless you are the one creating the new experience. Theo was the mastermind behind the plan for several longtime Fair Board members to renew their vows at this year’s event. Planned to take place on the Merry Go Round, the board members and their brides would ride around the circle a couple times before taking part in the ceremony.

In typical Fair Board fashion, however, most board members were too busy with events to bring the plan to life. All, that is, except for Theo and his wife of 21 years, Laurie.

“Just two times around,” Theo said emphatically Tuesday, July 9 to the Merry Go Round operator. “Any more than that and I’ll get sick.

“Make it five,” Laurie said laughing. 

The exchange was just a glimpse of the playfulness of their 21-year marriage. Being on the Fair Board can be a demanding job at times, especially when summer rolls around. Laurie said, though, she enjoys the fair almost as much as Theo, and typically operates a stand during fair week. 

As the fair has been such a big part of their lives together, Theo said he thought the idea of renewing vows on the Merry Go Round would be a unique experience for him and his fellow board members.

“I’ve seen people do it on the Ferris Wheel, but never on the Merry Go Round,” Theo said. “The carnival operator said he’s never seen anything like it in all his years.”

Pastor Chuck Jenson, who officiated the brief ceremony, said it was a fun and unique experience for him as well. 

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

Vermontville

Vermontville

Featured Story

JoLei’s Diner opens in downtown Vermontville

Crissta Ames

Contributing Writer

When looking for a delicious place to eat, check out Vermontville’s newest restaurant, JoLei’s Diner. The farm-themed diner, which had its grand opening on Saturday, June 8, serves breakfast and dinner foods like skillets, omelettes, country fried steak, a variety of sandwiches, pizza, and more. If you’re in the mood for chicken and waffles, they’ve got that too! 

The owner, Denna Matonis, managed the Maple Leaf for five years and has been in the Vermontville area for about 10 years. 

“I like this community. I try to help out with the community as much as I can, with the schools, volunteer coaching, doing Vermontville days,” Matonis said. “The community needed a restaurant.” 

Matonis has been asked many times if she is JoLei, but she is not. However, the name of her restaurant has a very personal meaning. 

“When we decided to purchase the restaurant, we obviously had to come up with a name.  I wanted a name that differentiated the restaurant from anything it was in the past. I wanted a name that was personal and had meaning,” Matonis said. “I have two wonderful children. Joseph is 9 and Leigha is 7.  These two are my world. Therefore, I decided to name my new labor of love, after my forever loves. ‘Jo’ for Joseph, and ‘Lei’ for Leigha.” 

She also chose the word “Diner” to give the restaurant a cozy, small-town feel and absolutely succeeds in doing so, with warm red walls, fresh flowers, and cute animal decor all around. 

“I get a lot of compliments on my decor, and I have the barn door to stand out,” said Matonis. The front barn door follows right along with the farmhouse theme so visitors can spot it from the road and know that’s where JoLei’s Diner is.

While brainstorming for the diner’s menu, Matonis wanted to create foods that were unique and not easy to find in the area, like cheese curds, chicken and waffles, and tater tot tumblers. Tater tot tumblers are a mixture of mashed potatoes, hash browns, bacon, cheese and onion, all deep-fried together. 

“We tested a lot of things.” Matonis said. The diner opened shortly before Syrup Festival and that served as a little trial run for the business, and it’s done well in the meantime. “I’m happy with it. It’s been a fun venture.” 

JoLei’s Diner is located at 174 S. Main Street in Vermontville, and hours can be found on their Facebook page.

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

Potterville

Potterville

Featured Story

New Potterville High School boys varsity basketball coach sets first camp

Newly hired Potterville High School boys varsity basketball coach, Jacob Briney, and his entire coaching staff, is offering a four-day basketball camp for area youth in second through 12th grade. The camp will be held four consecutive Sundays beginning July 21 in the Potterville High School gymnasium.

Students entering ninth through 12th grade will attend from 2 to 4 p.m. July 21, July 28, Aug. 4 and Aug. 11. Students entering sixth through eighth grade will attend from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and students entering second through fifth grade will attend from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

The cost of the camp is $50 per participant, which includes access to all four Sundays, and a custom Moneyball practice jersey. Checks should be made payable to Potterville Public Schools, attention Boys Basketball.

Registration forms must be completed before the start of camp and are available in the Potterville High School athletic office. There will also be an opportunity to register your child on Sunday, July 21 prior to the start of camp.

For more information, contact coach Briney via email at coachbriney@yahoo.com.

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

‘Taco Truck’ to settle down on Main Street

Las Flores, more commonly known as “The Taco Truck” to area Mexican food fans, is moving into a permanent, brick and mortar building on the main corner in downtown Eaton Rapids. The restaurant will go into the space formerly occupied by Madres and the Evelyn Bay coffee shop on the corner of Hamlin and Main Street.

Ady Pintor, who owns and operates the food truck along with her husband Miguel, said they expect to move into the new spot by the end of the month.

“We wanted to move for our customers,” Pintor said. “We wanted them to have a place to sit while they waited (for carry outs) and a place to sit down while they eat. We didn’t want them to have to wait in the rain and snow.”

Having a permanent building, rather than a truck, will also allow them to stay open year-round.

Pintor said both she and Miguel are very fond of their customers.

“Most of them feel like family,” she said. “We know a lot about each other – they care about us and we care about them.

“We really love this community and our customers. It’s what keeps us going. We are grateful for everyone’s support over the years.”

The Las Flores food truck has been serving up delicious Mexican food in Eaton Rapids for the past three years. For the first two years, they were on Main Street. Then they moved to their current spot in the parking lot next to the canoe livery, behind the old fire station.

The Pintors excel at traditional Mexican staples – including tacos, burritos and tamales. Ady Pintor said customer favorites include the tamales and their “taco special.” The special includes three tacos, rice and beans.

The new location will offer both carry out and sit-down dining.

“We are planning on adding some dishes and having a little bigger menu,” she said. “But we are going to continue to keep things simple.”

Las Flores, which means “the flowers” in Spanish, will continue to be open Monday through Saturday. They are always closed on Sunday. Once they move into the new location at 203 S. Main Street, winter business hours are tentatively set for 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The phone number is (517) 803-1799.

Sunfield

Sunfield

Latest

Mulliken

Mulliken

Latest
Sorry, No Posts Found

Dimondale

Dimondale

Latest

Beloved Dimondale restaurant to reopen

With a sigh of relief and a round of applause, residents of Dimondale, and the surrounding areas, celebrated at Mike’s Village Restaurant Wednesday, June 27 as Lori Conarton announced she’d be reopening the Dimondale favorite....

Pin It on Pinterest