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What’s your place?

It’s a new year, and 2018 so far has me thinking a lot about “place;” what it means to have a place, what defines a place, how to create a place. I made a few New Years resolutions; drink less coffee, read more books, play more...

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What’s your place?

It’s a new year, and 2018 so far has me thinking a lot about “place;” what it means to have a place, what defines a place, how to create a place. I made a few New Years resolutions; drink less coffee, read more books, play more...

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Charlotte

Charlotte

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Oriole backcourt leads Charlotte to first win of the season

Charlotte senior Cam Ramos attacked the hoop with consistency, and his backcourt running mate, Justin Bates got it going from deep early on Tuesday, Jan. 16. The two combined for 38 points in leading the Orioles to their first win of the season. Charlotte dropped cross-town rival Eaton Rapids 59-46 in a non-conference match up in front of the home crowd.

With the win, the Orioles improve to 1-7 on the season, while Eaton Rapids falls to 5-5 on the season.

The two teams battled back and forth early in the game, neither able to seize control. The Orioles were finally able to break the game open in the third quarter, going on a 9-0 run after coming out of the halftime locker room tied at 26.

The Orioles were scheduled to resume CAAC Red play Friday, Jan. 19 at DeWitt, followed by a trip to Portland High School on Tuesday, Jan. 23. The Orioles return home Friday, Jan. 26 to face Haslett.

Girls fall to Eaton Rapids

The Charlotte High School girls varsity basketball team fell to 5-5 on the season with a 58-45 loss to the Eaton Rapids Greyhounds on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Charlotte started out strong, but the Greyhounds low-post presence began to dominate midway through the second quarter.

The Orioles fell behind by as many is 20 points before fighting their way back in the fourth quarter. The girls were scheduled to travel to DeWitt on Friday, Jan. 19 before heading home to face Portland on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

Flight Club hopes third time a charm

The Charlotte High School student section, the Flight Club, was named a semi-finalist in the MHSAA Battle of the Fans for the third consecutive year. The Flight Club will look to capture the top billing in the state by completing a number of challenges and impressing judges in an upcoming site visit.

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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Whitcomb passes 1,000 point threshold in high school basketball

Technically speaking, Bailey Whitcomb scored the 1,002nd point of her high school basketball career in the 2017 Bellevue High School girls varsity basketball season opener. But 1,000 points is 1,000 points, and Whitcomb achieved a record that not many high school athletes can brag about.

According to Whitcomb, she had scored 999 points by the end of her junior basketball season. It didn’t take long for Whitcomb to pass the 1,000 point threshold in her first game of her senior season. It only took a few seconds. The home game against Calhoun Christian started, she scored a three-point shot quickly, and Bellevue called a brief timeout to recognize Whitcomb for her new record. Cheers rose up from the crowd, her team and her coach gave Whitcomb the congratulations she deserved, and the game went on.

Now in her third year as the girls varsity basketball team captain at Bellevue High School, Whitcomb has achieved more than just score 1,000 points. She’s become a leader, a well-rounded player, and a humble example of what it means to create goals and accomplish them. She’s received All-State honor recognition for basketball, she’s a member of the National Honor Society, and has been the student council president.

Leadership is about the positivity you bring to it, according to Whitcomb. She’s learned to be a leader on and off the court, and in the end she just wants to be an example to others for how to be leaders in their own lives.

“If you go into every game giving 110 percent, you can achieve anything,” said Whitcomb.

Whitcomb attributes most of her young leadership mentality to her coach, Kayla Whitmyer.

Whitmyer told the County Journal in a previous article, “The most important thing she’s done is she’s been a heck of a captain. It’s a big deal for a player to make the growth and achievements she has as an individual player along with the team achievements. She’s been one of the best leaders I’ve had the privilege to work with.”

Whitcomb has created a legacy that her fellow players and players to come can grasp and build on. She has the rest of the season and senior year to look forward to, and then she plans to attend college for nursing. Although she’s not sure she will play college basketball, Bellevue High School won’t soon forget the impact she’s had on the Bronco court.

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Eaton County

Eaton County

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Eaton County

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‘Spirits of The Past’ chronicles Eaton County’s history of alcohol

Just before Christmas, the Eaton County Historical Commission released its second book chronicling an interesting facet of county history. The commission’s first book was about the one-room schoolhouses of Eaton County. The second book, “Sprits of The Past,” offers, “An intoxicating look at the history of Alcohol, Temperance, Prohibition, and Brewing in Eaton County, Michigan.”

The roughly 108-page book is seven chapters of county history, old and new alcohol establishments, and different uses for libations through the generations.

The Historical Commission started work on the project in early 2017. The lengthy research process involved reading through old newspapers, visiting various sites around the county, and viewing sources from outside Eaton County. All of the research led the contributing writers through a fascinating history of prohibition, skirting around the law, and the attempts to keep Eaton County dry.

During the mid-1800s, Eaton Rapids was the center of both debauchery and hardline temperance movement. In Woodbury was a train engine turn around station, where men would ride in from outside the county to fill their buckets full of beer. In 1871 Charlotte was home to one of Eaton County’s first breweries. In Eaton Rapids, Abie’s is the former home of Eaton County’s first bar.

The research for the book was not easy for the Historical Commission, however. While the contributors found many fascinating stories and accounts of alcohol production, they were surprised at what they didn’t find. Although chapter five of the book includes a few snippets of stories from the prohibition era, there are no grand stories of rum running, white lightning distilleries, or raids from law enforcement. Still, the book doesn’t spare what details there are of the locals who dodged the law.

Eaton County itself went back and forth on the topic of alcohol production and consumption many times throughout its history. Long before prohibition Eaton County was wet, then dry, then wet again. Bar owners struggled for a long time in an environment that was hostile to their business, and their customers.

But after surviving the temperance movement, various bouts of outlawing alcohol, prohibition, and the hangover of towns that wanted to remain dry as late as the 1960s, Eaton County now has its own culture of craft breweries. Charlotte Brewing Company, EagleMonk Pub and Brewery, BrickHaven Brewing Company, Sanctuary Spirits, and Dimes Brewhouse are recent additions to the ongoing history of alcohol and restaurants in Eaton County. The book looks briefly at these establishments, and their role in the county, as well as their place in the larger trend of craft breweries in the United States.

“Spirits of The Past” costs $15 and can be found at the historic Eaton County Courthouse, and other select locations. Upcoming author events for the book include 2 p.m. on Feb. 4 at BrickHaven Brewing Company in Grand Ledge, 7 p.m. on Feb. 6 at Sanctuary Spirits in Grand Ledge, and 6 p.m. on Feb. 13 at Delta Township Library in Lansing. To learn more about the book, or about the Eaton County Historical Commission, readers can email eatoncountyhistory@gmail.com.

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Vermontville

Vermontville

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Knapp new principal at Maple Valley High School

Beginning after the start of the New Year, Maple Valley High School has a new principal. Michael Knapp has stepped into the position after leaving a 15-year legacy as teacher, assistant principal, and coach at Ionia Public Schools. Knapp has been an educator for the last 20 years, and he is enthusiastically joining a smaller district that he believes has the potential and credentials to match any other district in the area.

Knapp started his career in education at Portland Public Schools, and later moved to Ionia. In the last 20 years he’s taught business and science classes, and coached several sports including baseball and softball. But the idea of being an educator and a coach only came to him after a profound experience with his own teacher, coach, and mentor, Rich Tompkins. The coaching legend from Fremont Michigan left a positive impact on Knapp, and he then knew what his life calling was.

Since he began his career Knapp knew that he wanted to climb his way up the educational ladder to become a principal. For him, the opportunity to join a school district like Maple Valley was one not to pass up. He appreciates the close-knit community in Nashville, the good test scores in the district, and the facilities that have been updated in the last few years. When it came down to the decision to apply for and accept the position, for Knapp it wasn’t about what he could bring to the Maple Valley Schools, but the great educational atmosphere and community that already exists in the district.

“It’s a school the community can have a lot of pride in,” said Knapp. “It’s a great district.”

Coming into the position during the middle of the school year does present certain challenges for Knapp, but he looks forward to spending the first few months as principal simply getting to know his staff and students. He already senses the deep pride and school spirit in the student body, as well as the dedication and hard work of the teachers and staff.

Knapp isn’t concerned about coming into the position of principal and trying to make a lot of sudden and uneducated changes. He wants to learn more about the Maple Valley environment and see what has been going well in the district.

Knapp identified the current landscape of education as a promising one. He sees educators all over the country doing the work of collecting data and best practices for classrooms, and he believes Maple Valley is doing the same. Instead of simply teaching students to spew out test answers, or training them only for college, Knapp believes in providing well rounded in-school preparation for post high school life.

“I want kids to be college, or career ready,” said Knapp. “I’ll be working with the counseling and staff, and over all working with students to make sure know about all the options.”

Overall Knapp hopes to set a vision that focuses on providing a tier one education, cultivating a district where students want to be in school getting an education, and building on a safe and trustworthy environment.

“The students have a lot of pride in their school, they want to be here. We can make this a great place. We can build on that.”

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Potterville

Potterville

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Potterville

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City of Potterville appeals Benton Township case to State Supreme Court

The dispute over which fire department responds first to Potterville Public Schools continues after the outgoing Potterville City Council approved a decision to make an appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court. This move from the City of Potterville comes after the State Court of Appeals stood mute on a first appeal, essentially siding with the county’s decision to allow Benton Township Fire Department to respond first.

Potterville City Manager, Wanda Darrow said she believes appealing the case to the Michigan Supreme Court is a necessary and justified move based on information from the city’s legal counsel.

“It was a decision made amongst the council members based on information from our legal counsel,” said Darrow.

The council decision was made in closed session in one of the last council meetings of the year, and the last of the outgoing council.

“This is to allow us to be able to serve our community,” said Darrow.

Darrow comes down on one simple side of the issue, that it doesn’t seem reasonable to allow another department to “enter into our jurisdiction and take over calls.”

“I was disappointed to say the least,” said Roger Wickerham, Benton Township supervisor. “We’re hoping the new council will bring it up and dismiss it. We’re trying to get along and be good neighbors.”

City officials reportedly sat down with the fire chiefs of Benton Township Fire Department at the end of 2017 to begin a process of writing up a contracted mutual aid agreement. According to Wickerham the process has been at a standstill since the initial meeting.

Wickerham indicated that he understands the city’s point of view, but he’s not convinced it’s ultimately best for Potterville Schools to have the city fire department as first call and responders.

“They have to be prepared to have the necessary equipment and trained firefighters, and I’m not sure that they are,” said Wickerham.

Wickerham was also concerned about the costs with a continued legal battle. The township already spent about $12,000 on the last appeal, and simply filing in the recent appeal will easily cost another $2,000, according to Wickerham.

“We knew it was an option, asking the Supreme Court to look at it,” said Eaton County Central Dispatch Director Michael Armitage. “They choose their cases, but it doesn’t mean the court will do so.”

Armitage maintains that it was within the bounds of the county to approve the schools’ request to have Benton Township Fire Department as first responders in the case of an accident.

“…911 Enabling Act does address dispatch centers as dispatching closest, most appropriate units. That’s why the county chose the position it did, as far as court proceedings go,” said Armitage. “It comes down to we have to dispatch somebody based on the closest unit. It puts this in a unique situation that the township fire department is located within the city. We’re trying to balance local jurisdiction and authority with the interest of getting EMS on scene as quick as possible.”

According to Wickerham it could be as many seven months before the state Supreme Court announces whether or not it will hear the case.

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Eaton Rapids

Eaton Rapids

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Eaton Rapids

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Aron Dubois, new director for Eaton Rapids Teen Center

When the Eaton Rapids Community Alliance decided it was time for a Eaton Rapids to have its own teen center, they knew they needed to set goals. The goals included gathering teen interest, surveying the needs and desires of local teens, finding a location, and hiring a director for a future center. At the end of 2017, after accomplishing several other goals, it finally came time to hire a director. As of the first week of 2018, the final goal of hiring a teen center director was achieved with the hiring of Aron Dubois.

A 2011 graduate of Eaton Rapids High School, Dubois is an Eaton Rapids native. After graduating high school, he’s studied at LCC, Grand Valley State University, and taught English in Japan. Dubois currently resides in Ann Arbor with his wife Hilari.

“I find the journey always leads back to home,” Dubois said about returning to Eaton Rapids.

Dubois recalled his own teen years growing up in Eaton Rapids. He remembers teachers, activities, and the opportunities he found in the Island City. There was, however, an absence for teens. A place where they could be away from home, and school, and social groups to engage in their own creative projects and self-education. In stepping into the new role at the Teen Center, he hopes to provide Eaton Rapids teens a place he would have sought out as a teenager.

“This is giving a place for teens to be comfortable and productive,” said Dubois. “It’s such a great thing to be a part of.”

Along with the great potential that’s been built up for the teen center, Dubois brings his own set of skills and talents to Eaton Rapids teens. He has training and education in computer programming, something that will go a long way for teens who want to work on the donated laptops. Dubois has some education and experience in the social sciences, something that he hopes will translate well as he interacts with teens on a day to day basis. Dubois also enjoys activities like anime conventions and comicon, which is an easy connecting point for many teens.

Like the Teen Center board and the Eaton Rapids Area Teen Initiative, Dubois is leaving open the door of possibilities for the Teen Center. With his own skills and experiences, he doesn’t want to ascribe anything to what the teen center will or will not be.

“Most ideas I want to come from the teens. I want to hear what they want to see.”

Dubois has already visited the junior high and high school in Eaton Rapids to get in touch with students and hear directly from them some of their ideas. So far he’s been excited by their enthusiasm, and the creativity of their ideas.

Already Dubois sees some of the potential with the teen center facility. He’s pleased there’s a stage to use at the Union Street building, as well as couches, and computers that have been donated to the center. The space provides multiple opportunities for teens to create their own programming and projects.

Likewise, Dubois is pleased with the fundraising that’s already been done on the teen center’s behalf. According to Dave Ballard, a member of the Eaton Rapids Community Alliance, there is about $70,000 committed to the teen center, with $40,000 fully donated.

The Eaton Rapids Teen Center will have a series of open houses in February, which will be part of the center’s official opening. For more information on Aron Dubois, the open houses, and the teen center, readers can visit the Eaton Rapids Area Teen Initiative Facebook Page.

Sunfield

Sunfield

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Mulliken

Mulliken

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Dimondale

Dimondale

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