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A last insight into the Potterville conflict

Being that I am in my last couple of weeks of employment with the County Journal, I wanted to give some final thoughts on the most ongoing chain of stories I’ve followed in my two years with the newspaper: the City of...

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Charlotte

Charlotte

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CPS hires new Community Recreation Coordinator

Charlotte Public Schools is pleased to announce the hire of Mike Sparks as the new Youth Recreation Coordinator.  Mike, a graduate of Hope College, has vast experience in community services, coaching and recreation as he has previously worked in those capacities for the Bellevue and Maple Valley school districts. Mike has also served as the head varsity football coach for Napoleon High School, football special teams coordinator at Olivet College, and athletic director for Maple Valley Junior & Senior High School. He looks forward to putting that experience to work in the Charlotte community to provide recreational opportunities for area youth.   “I’m excited for the opportunity to serve the district in this capacity and have great hope that we can improve the infrastructure and offerings of youth recreation locally.”   Mike looks forward to fulfilling the recreational needs in the community, and helping supplement sport and recreation offerings currently offered by other local organizations.  “I am looking forward to building positive relationships with all organizations and individuals who currently assist in the development of our youth; especially within recreational programming,” explains Sparks.  “Through a comprehensive collaboration, we will serve Charlotte’s youth and help them to bridge any gaps in their physical, academic and social development.”   Article submitted by  Charlotte Public Schools.

Olivet

Olivet

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Take a walk ‘Into the Woods’ with Olivet High School Theatre

Olivet High School will be presenting Into the Woods for their fall musical this year, directed by Malia Koger and vocal instructor, Alexis Stark. This story, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine, and orchestrated by Jonathan Tunick follows the dark twists of the classic fairytales Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and many other favorite childhood fairytale characters.

Into The Woods covers a variety of realistic topics that speak to many people. It starts off with the main characters, Cinderella (Morgan Miklusicak), Jack (Elena Stolberg), the Baker (Marcus Pennington), the Baker’s Wife (Marlee Masters) and Little Red Riding Hood (Hannah Barnard) wishing for things that they desire. The story describes that these characters can acquire their wishes, but not without many consequences.  The show follows them on their journey into the woods to obtain the items needed to break the curse that the witch (Sydney Marshall) placed on them. The journey to acquire these articles causes giants in the sky to become angry and revengeful against the townspeople. In order to survive, they must come together to save the kingdom, but not before tragedy occurs.

This musical is extraordinarily difficult and after talking to the cast, many agreed that memorization and tempo are greatest challenges they’ve faced so far. Taking this in stride, the cast has rehearsed hours on end to bring this production to the stage. Zach Salyers has never been onstage before this production but was first introduced to the theatre world working backstage. 

He expressed, “I am enjoying having to exercise my brain to memorize and being around everyone.” 

This goes to show how this cast has really come together to bring this amazing story to life. 

As said by senior Rebecca Peck, “This show is unique because it pulls together people with varying schedules and a large variety of interests.”

Come support the hardworking and talented Olivet High School theatre students in this one weekend only production. Performances will take place in the Olivet High School Auditorium on Nov. 16 and 17 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. Non-reserved seating ticket purchases only and can be purchased at the door before the show.

Article submitted by Olivet Community Schools.

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Bellevue

Bellevue

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Bellevue family champions of draft horse competition

Thursday, Sept. 13 through Saturday, Sept. 15, was a horse competition few Michiganders were probably aware was taking place. At the Oklahoma State Fair Grounds, however, was a family from Bellevue, Mich. with their six horses for the Six-Horse Hitch Classic Series World Finals. Doyle and Rene had been to the competition before, and even won the previous year, but they were back for the three-day competition determined for another title. Rene is certain her horses were too.

The Dingmans have owned horses since the 80s, and shown their horses since the 90s. Both Rene and Doyle grew up around horses, and took an interest in draft horses shortly after they moved to Bellevue in 1981. Over 30 years later, the Dingmans, their two daughters, and grandchildren are still showing their horses, but they’re not the only family with claim over the six horses that went to Oklahoma.

Doyle and Rene have shared ownership with two families from Ohio. Nick and Cherie Wagner, and Mike and Tara Supers make up the ownership of the All Star Farms six-horse hitch team. The team took the title of champion at the 2018 competition, a second in a row for the team.

The All Star Farms team, like every other team at the competition, went through a series of other qualifying competitions. The points accumulated from the qualifying competitions determined who went on, but every team started out with equal footing in Oklahoma. All Star Farms points from Oklahoma truly were outstanding. The team with the least amount of points comes out on top, and after the first two days All Star Farms was the only team still in the single digits from a three-judge panel. Their total after the three-day competition was 13, and their closest runner up had 29.

The horse teams are judged on several factors, not the least of which is the uniformity among the horses, as well as decorative flare and animation. Rene was proud to share that her horses display confidence and prestige, and even enjoy the competition and showmanship.

“They all have real heart and drive,” said Rene. “The six we have really like their job. They’re evenly matched and drive well together.”

Ross and Nicole Honsberger, and Kelsey and Andy Gilbert, the Dingmans’ two daughters and sons-in-law, continue to help with the horses as well. Rene expects that competitions like the SHHCL will continue to be a family affair for the next generation.

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Eaton County

Eaton County

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Clifford the Horse of Drummond Island to return to Pancakes with Santa

On Friday, Dec. 7, Clifford the Horse of Drummond Island will return to the Eaton Area Senior Center during the annual Pancakes with Santa event. 

Clifford, a 27-year-old Morgan horse, will be entertaining onlookers with his artistic endeavors. Using watercolors and a sponge, Clifford paints pictures and also uses the same technique to sign his biography, “Clifford of Drummond Island.”

“He’s the only horse in the world who signs his own biography,” says his owner and trainer, author Nancy J. Bailey. “I think it’s going to his head. His work is all abstract, and since I’m an artist too, we argue about color and composition all the time. He’s really becoming quite opinionated.”

Bailey, who is originally from DeTour in the Eastern Upper Peninsula, began taking Clifford to Drummond Island every summer when he was just a 2 year old. 

“Dad built a corral for him in the woods,” she says.  “We didn’t know what we were doing.  We just let him run around camp and get into things.  I taught him tricks. I still walk him down the dirt roads. He stops traffic and sticks his head in through the car windows, hoping the driver will give him hard candy, or that maybe he can make friends with their dog.”

Bailey began keeping a journal about Clifford’s antics, which eventually led to the book.  

“Then it sort of took off,” she says.  “I wrote a second book, Return to Manitou, and then a third, Clifford’s Bay.   Then Clifford went on tour to promote his trilogy. He has been to pet expos as far away as Long Island, New York, and Davie, Florida.  He has toured libraries all around the state of Michigan, promoting literacy.”

Bailey noticed that Clifford had a propensity for reaching kids and people with disabilities, so she took it a step further.  

“We began visiting schools and assisted living centers to promote empathy and making the world a better place.  There is no question that he reaches people, and sometimes remarkable things happen.  Animals can have a way of communicating that is more effective than anything we have to offer.  This is becoming more and more apparent in the world of people with disabilities like autism.  We want to promote role of animals as mentors and healers.  We’re working on a film about Clifford and the human/animal connection.” 

In 2016 she started a nonprofit, the Foundation for Animals in Therapy and Education. Called FATE, the organization will continue Clifford’s work, and has begun other projects such as training therapy dogs for schools and other facilities. When it comes to making the world a better place, it looks like Clifford is leading the way.

On Friday, Dec. 7, from 5 to 7 p.m., join Santa, Dr. Bill Barnes as the Polar Express Train Conductor, and Clifford for a magical evening filled with food and fun. Santa will be giving away goodies from local businesses as well. There will be a repeat event on Friday, Dec. 14, from 5 to 7 p.m. featuring Santa and Dr. Bill Barnes as the Polar Express Train Conductor. 

Tickets are on sale now in the EASC office as well as online through Eventbrite and Facebook. Advanced ticket sales are required for Friday, Dec. 7 due to Clifford’s overwhelming popularity. Tickets are non-transferrable between the different nights. Make sure to bring a camera for photo opportunities.

Article submitted by the Eaton Area Senior Center.  

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Vermontville

Vermontville

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Community steps forward to ensure a successful Maple Valley Community Buck Pole

Crissta Ames

Contributing write

The eighth annual Maple Valley Community Buck Pole took place on Nov. 15, 2018, which created a fun, competitive event for the opening day of this year’s hunting season. There were warm drinks served by Spartan Motors, raffle drawings, and more than $2,000 worth of prizes from a list of sponsors, including a .450 Bushmaster deer rifle, which was taken home by first place winner, Tom Cummings who had an 11-point buck. Duane Eldred, owner of Duey’s Corner in Vermontville and organizer of the buck pole, says this year’s event had the biggest turnout to date. 

“The crowd was the biggest crowd we ever had,” said Eldred. “We ended up with over 30 deer checked in. Once the pole gets filled, it only fits maybe 10. Then we just let them lay around in the back of the pickups.” 

The organization that helped Eldred put the buck pole together for seven years decided to step away this year just a few weeks before the season started. 

“I’ve never been involved with something where people were so eager to help, to make sure it was going to happen.” 

Not only did people step up to help this year through monetary and physical means, but there were people who said to contact them next year for help. 

“There was no way we were not going to have it,” Eldred said. “In Eaton County, ours is the most well attended year-after-year. We appreciate the local community that they felt the need to keep this going. It was just overwhelming.”

The event will happen again in 2019 on opening day. Eldred said he hopes that the buck pole will grow even more in the next few years and would like to thank all of the contributors and sponsors for their help in making the event happen. 

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Potterville

Potterville

Featured Story

Cross Country success a tradition at Potterville High School

Crissta Ames

Contributing writer

Potterville High School boys’ cross-country team placed first at this year’s MHSAA Regionals on Oct. 27 in Jackson. The team narrowly defeated Saranac High School by 11 points, with 64 points altogether. The win marks the second consecutive year that Potterville has placed first at regionals. 

Sophomore Zach Wright ran the quickest time at 16:44.3. Wright also ran last year’s quickest time for Potterville as a freshman.

Potterville High School girls’ cross-country team placed third this year at Regionals with 107 points, following behind Lansing Christian and Fowler. Junior Caleigh Winters was the team’s fastest runner, with a time of 19:56.6. 

Since both teams placed third or higher, they both qualified for the MHSAA LP Division 4 Finals out of 149 other schools in the division. 

At the event that took place on Nov. 3 at the Michigan International Speedway, the boys’ team ended up placing ninth among 27 other schools with 295 points, and the girls placed 24th. 

“For next year, we would like to continue to work very hard in the off-season in order to match or beat our performances from year to year,” Potterville’s cross-country coach Dan Brunk said, discussing the future of the teams and how to improve them. “We have many key athletes returning and look forward to adding a solid group of incoming freshmen.“

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Eaton Rapids

Eaton Rapids

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‘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

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Mulliken

Mulliken

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Dimondale

Dimondale

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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....

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