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Author: Adam Droscha

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 Potterville, beginning with the election of four new city council members, to the firing of former city manager, Wanda Darrow. My observation of the Potterville city spectacle started late, relatively speaking, but it was by no means lacking angle, intensity, or tension. From the beginning, when I first interviewed the three newly elected council members of the 2017 election, Duston Twichell, Jennifer Lenneman, and Bruce Kring, I knew I’d touched on something that was not only sensitive, but volatile. The three council members ran as a unit, were elected via write-in ballots, and came in with an agenda to renew the tarnished image of Potterville by cleaning up city council and keeping the city manager in check. However loosely held that agenda may have been, pushing it was a tribal effort, one that would provoke a cascade of debates, arguments, grueling council meetings, legal action, accusations, and public comments and podium grandstanding that were like something out of a reality TV show. Simply put, I knew little to nothing of the backstory and years of tension and drama that had taken place in Potterville. I was curious...

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The truth of our stories, understood through the arts

The month of October is national arts and humanities month. It’s probably a little known month long celebration and recognition for many. I didn’t know about it until someone casually mentioned it in passing, but now that I know, of course I have to write a column about it. Any art teacher, play director, professional artist or musician, dance instructor, poet, you name it will ramble at length, with or without invitation, about the importance of the arts — how they enrich our lives, move our bodies and souls, awaken our minds, and show us the beauty of the world through the human experience. I’m never bored listening to the eclectic souls speak to why the arts should be the treasure of every culture and society. But more so, I never tire of listening to artists speak to the stories behind their own art. Friday, Oct. 5 and Saturday, Oct. 6, Windwalker Underground Gallery hosted a slightly different event than the usual weekend musical acts. Caleb Johnson, an illusionist from the Lansing area, came to Windwalker not only to share his tricks and hoodwinks, but also to share his story. It was a journey of family, faith, coming up in the church, and being told he couldn’t be who he always knew he was. Caleb boldly recounted to the audience his story of becoming openly gay in communities that...

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In this staff-writing gig, I’ve tried to avoid the shameless plugs and personal anecdotes unless I thought them pertinent to the larger audience of our readership. This story, however, is simply one of humor, stage fright, and brotherly love. Exposition: for those who may not know, the stage is not something that usually gives me the jitters. Indeed, I’m very used to and even comfortable with stage performances by now. From the time I was a little kid singing in church musicals to performing in musicals and plays at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center, from playing percussion in school band at Charlotte Public Schools to starting my own bands and performing music I’ve written, from singing in a touring college choir to playing in dozens of praise and worship bands, then leading my own congregations at four different churches, from singing in large European cathedrals to leading music in a basement, being on stage and making some performance happen comes pretty naturally now. My older brother, Jacob, is the opposite. While he once played the French horn in Charlotte’s bands, he’s hardly stepped on a stage or into a spotlight in the last eight years. Now the story… Last week a dear friend and I were enjoying an evening in Lansing when my older brother, Jacob, called me and asked if I wanted to join him, my sister-in-law, and...

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Vacancies and budgetary issues at City of Potterville

The news is getting around to Potterville residents and County Journal readers about the dismissal of former city manager Wanda Darrow after an investigation revealed Darrow’s son, Eddy, and former employee of the city had stolen several thousand dollars via unauthorized checks, as well as other city property. The findings of the investigation and the subsequent firing of Darrow appear, however, to be having a ripple effect for the City of Potterville. Since Darrow’s exit from her position in the city, the city clerk, Tessa Wightman, resigned from her position, leaving the city’s administrative roles quite bare. Brad Boyce, former DPW employee for the City of Potterville, has stepped into the role of acting city manager for the time being, but is operating with hours significantly less than Darrow’s, according to Potterville city councilwoman Katherine Schmidt. She is concerned the city will be unprepared to facilitate the upcoming November election due to the vacancies. The council is taking action to start the hiring process for a city manager, according to Schmidt. Schmidt’s concern for the city, however, while inclusive of the vacant administrative roles, is more focused on the city’s precarious financial situation. According to Schmidt, the city’s current budgetary predicament includes, but is not limited to, thousands of dollars in bank errors and errors in bank reconciliations, a bookkeeping lag of approximately three to six months, lost revenue...

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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...

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