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Author: Adam Droscha

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 music, and a few similar goals. One of the more abstract resolutions, however, is to define my place. Some community projects got me thinking this way. Toward the end of 2017 community organizers from Eaton Rapids started meeting with representatives from Arts Council of Greater Lansing for Create Place events. These small meetings were intended to get people thinking and talking about what defines Eaton Rapids. Similarly, Charlotte’s Rising Tide and Michigan Main Street programs have pushed community organizers to define some of Charlotte’s citizen driven goals; “What businesses do we want here?” “What kind of art should define us?” “What will attract outsiders to our town?” Looking across the state we’ve seen in the last several years how many state goals were driven by Pure Michigan, seeing what is special about our place and elevating those for outsiders to see. Right now Detroit is trying to redefine its place and its role in the state by investing, adding new attractions, and making a place for new people to flourish. Creating place is an interesting concept. In many ways it’s perception driven, both...

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City intervenes on behalf of residents at Edgewater Apartments

2018 brought a rough start to the New Year for some of the residents of Edgewater Apartments in Eaton Rapids. The complex that sits on the river started experiencing loss of hot water and reasonable living temperatures in December. Some 30 or so of the roughly 60 rented apartments experienced a loss of hot water, or heat. After several attempts to reach the company that owns the building, a formal complaint was filed to the city January 2. Harvest Properties, a company with headquarters in Connecticut, owns Edgewater Apartments, along with other properties in different states. According to Mayor Paul Malewski, the last several weeks have been a series of failed communication and action on the part of Harvest Properties. The company’s onsite leasing agent attempted to contact the company with little to no success. LeRoy Hummel, the City of Eaton Rapids’ building official, intervened and an inspector was brought on site. According to Malewski, Jan. 5 to 7 was spent trying to restore heat for residents. A significant amount of time was spent inspecting boilers, ordering parts, and making adjustments that would get residents back to appropriate comfort. By Jan. 11 and 12 it seemed as though the issues were resolved. Then, over the weekend, the problems were back to square one. “Over the weekend everything crashed,” said Malewski. Apparently it’s the same 30 or so residents who...

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I like many breakfast places, but Robin’s Nest is the place for cinnamon rolls

I can’t lie, one of my favorite perks of my job is visiting restaurants. Working remotely, conducting interviews, and experiencing the different tastes of Eaton County makes the occasional extended drive worthwhile. Each of these establishments has its own stories and highlights. Of course there are crossovers in menus, though every place makes eggs, pancakes, and burgers slightly different. But there’s only one place to go to for the best cinnamon roles. Robin’s Nest is a small diner off the main beaten path of Eaton Rapids. Robin Wood opened the restaurant 20 years ago after many years in food...

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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...

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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...

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