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Author: Travis Silvas

Charlotte Generosity Fund accepting grant applications through May 19

In 2013 the Charlotte Generosity Fund awarded two $1,000 grants to local non-profit organizations that demonstrated the ability to collaborate in order to make a difference in the lives of Eaton County residents. This spring, Charlotte Generosity Fund committee members are looking to continue to make a positive impact in the area. Grant applications are now available at Fulton Lumber Co. in Charlotte. You can also request an application by sending an email to or posting to the Charlotte Generosity Fund Facebook page. Grant applications are available to any local non-profit, regardless of size, that demonstrates a program or cause that utilizes collaboration. Applicants must also show how their program meets one of seven elements of a healthy community: • Meets the basic needs of residents • Promotes health and wellness • Creates quality education and learning opportunities for all ages • Ensures a vibrant and diversified economy • Provides broad access to arts and culture • Fosters strong and connected neighborhoods and communities • Protects and stewards the natural environment “By sharing resources and focusing on mutual goals, our community has the capacity to enhance existing programs as well as recognizing and addressing emerging needs,” stated Christi Dutcher, Charlotte Generosity Fund advisory committee chair. “To that end, organizations applying for grants must demonstrate collaboration with other organizations in the region.” The Charlotte Generosity Fund, a fund within...

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The County Journal enters ninth year of serving Eaton County

Anniversaries are often a time of celebration and in many cases a time of reflection. At The County Journal, we like to do both. Our celebrations, however, are a little different. Sure we enjoy the fact that we’re entering our ninth year in business, serving the advertisers and readers of Bellevue, Charlotte, Maple Valley, Olivet, Potterville, Eaton Rapids, Sunfield, Mulliken and Dimondale. But, we do so with the understanding that we are here solely because of the support we’ve received from each community. We choose to celebrate the successes within the communities we cover. Your stories make The County Journal your community newspaper. The support of our local businesses allows those stories to be read by thousands each week. The past eight years have presented more than a fair share of challenges for small businesses, community members, our schools and local governments. However, in Eaton County, we are blessed with a blue collar mentality and a unique ability to work together. Through it all, you’ve allowed The County Journal to remain a part of your lives and allowed us to work side-by-side to grow and strengthen our communities. That’s always been at the core of what we do, a value instilled by our founder, John Gaedert. As John always said, we can’t be successful if our communities aren’t successful. We look forward to another year of success, of growth...

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Chickens finally come home to roost within City of Charlotte

It’s taken her nearly two years, but City of Charlotte resident, Amanda Lipsey is finally getting her chickens. “It was kind of a lengthy process,” Lipsey said. “I was so excited when I finally got the permit that I ran out of city hall like a little kid.” Lipsey led an effort in 2012 to amend the city charter to allow residents to raise chickens within the city limits. The ordinance was adopted in May of 2012 and requires residents to obtain a permit from the City. Part of the permit process requires residents to obtain written approval from any applicant’s abutting landowners, something Lipsey could not fully obtain at the time. “When I saw all of the stipulations in the ordinance I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it,” Lipsey said. She has since moved and was able to turn in her application this past week, complete with written approval from each of her neighbors. “The second we moved in I realized we could have chickens here,” Lipsey said. “My neighbors were all very open to it.” According to City Clerk, Ginger Terpstra, Lipsey is the first resident to obtain a permit. An application was taken out last year, however, the applicant could not obtain written permission from all abutting neighbors, Terpstra said. Permits are good for one year and must be renewed annually. The...

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Community rallies around family that lost home to fire

Erin Wagner couldn’t help but be heartbroken for her six children as they celebrated the arrival of new pillows as if they were gifts on Christmas morning. The pillows were a comfort most in the family had gone without since a fire nearly burned down their home in mid-March. Since then Erin and her husband, Paul have been grasping for any sort of stability for their family. “I hope my kids will learn from this not to take anything for granted and to be that person to come through for others,” Erin said. Many in the Charlotte and Potterville communities have come through for the Wagner family since the fire. Their neighbor, Jim Droscha offered a mobile home on his property as a place for the family to stay while their home is restored. Local churches have raised money, Helping Hands Pantry supplied the family with food, and countless community members, including a group of parents from Potterville Middle School, have donated clothing for her children. “It feels very good to be in the community you grew up in and to see everyone come together in support,” Erin said. “We are very much sewn into the people here and to see it come back to us … I never expected to be on the receiving end.” The family still comes across items for which they need to run to...

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Lion Pride Festival brings Maple Valley Schools, community together

As important as it is to make the connection between a community and its school district, it can sometimes be difficult task. Maple Valley Schools is trying a new idea next week to accomplish that very thing — Lion Pride Festival. The event, scheduled from Saturday, March 29 from noon to 7 p.m. at Maple Valley Jr./Sr. High School, the event will feature local businesses, crafters, home-based businesses and student exhibits. “This event was created to highlight our students’ passions and their work,” said organizer Jenna Burns, a local parent. “It’s something new we started this year as a way to bring the community together.” Lion Pride Festival was scheduled around the high school’s production of the musical, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, which will run twice on March 29, at 3 and 7 p.m. Students will also have artwork on display in addition to other local artists who will showcase their work. The event is free to exhibitors and to guests, though donations for classroom supplies will be accepted. Burns said there will also be a 50/50 raffle and auction held to raise money for classroom supplies. Burns said she is already planning the next Lion Pride Festival event for the fall and a back to school theme. For more information about the March 29 event, find Lion Pride Fesitval on Facebook or email Burns at...

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