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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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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.

Mason

Mason

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Mason

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Mason DDA hosts Chocolate Walk through downtown

Thursday, May 11, from 2 to 5 p.m. residents and visitors are invited to Mason for a Chocolate Walk through downtown. The Mason Downtown Development Authority is putting on the event to bring attention to the unique businesses and opportunities that exist all within a short walking distance in the downtown area.

Walkers will start at Mason City Hall, receive a map and a chocolate-collecting bag, and start the trek through downtown. With 37 stops along the way, walkers will consume and take home a variety of chocolate treats, as well as special gifts and offers from the participating businesses.

“(This may) give them a reason to come back to Mason,” said Jamie Robinson, chair of the Mason DDA.

As owner of a couple Mason favorites, Bestsellers Books and Coffee Co. and the Vault Delicatessen, Robinson knows the great potential the downtown has for attracting newcomers. A chocolate walk through some of Mason’s finest businesses combined with a special gift or discount for products is a sure to bring visiting walkers back to the historic town, according to Robinson.

The idea of the chocolate walk came from one such event held in Old Town Lansing. Robinson and others saw the kind of crowds and enthusiasm the Old Town chocolate walk brought to one historic district, and brought the idea back to Mason.

“Chocolate is appealing to a vast majority of people,” said Robinson.

Walkers will be fortunate to have a variety of finely made chocolates from Hanover’s Michigan Mints, Fabiano’s Candies, and more. Although chocolate will be the primary treat for the event, walkers can look forward to a number of other delicious delights as well.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to view new spaces in the Mason downtown. One stop along the chocolate trail will be the new Dart Bank building, in which walkers will get a tour of the lobby area. Another highly anticipated stop will be the Michigan Barn Salvage, where walkers will get a sneak peak at the new business.

Tickets to the Mason Chocolate Walk are $25 with advance order and $30 on the day of the event. Readers can buy tickets online at the Mason DDA website, or buy tickets at Bestsellers Books and Coffee Co, or purchase tickets at Mason City Hall the day of the event.

For more event information readers can visit masondda.com.

DIMONDALE

Dimondale

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Dimondale

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Dimes Brewhouse set to open December 21

After attending college in Grand Rapids, I became something of a beer snob. Grand Rapids has dozens of craft breweries, so the coming of legal drinking age was marked by outings to the finest breweries Michigan has to offer. But, being a beer snob doesn’t make one a connoisseur, it just makes that person annoying to drink with.

Moving back home, however, opened my eyes to the creativity of more local craft breweries. The Eaton Pub has its own brews with Charlotte Brewing Company. Along with some friends, I became a mug club member at Eagle Monk, a small brewery in west Lansing. Mason is the home of Bad Brewing Company, and Marshall is the home of Dark Horse Brewing Company. As it turns out, west Michigan isn’t the only place in the state to find artisan beer.

On Dec. 21, a new local craft brewery is opening. Chad and Michelle Rogers own Dimes Brewhouse in Dimondale, just across the street from the village offices. For the last two years they’ve been working on the small downtown building while working their own full time jobs as chemical engineers. Chad formerly worked for Dart Container, and Michelle still works for the Department of Environmental Quality. The couple is known around smaller communities of friends and beer drinkers to have finely made home brews, and soon Eaton County residents will get to have a taste.

“Once we got into home brewing our equipment got more and more complicated and advanced, and we just decided it’d be a good thing for this community, so we set out to bring it to Dimondale,” said Michelle.

According to Michelle, she and Chad have made several recipes in the last few years, or what she believes could fill their 12 taps. When Dimes opens Dec. 21, however, there will be four beers on tap to start; an amber, an IPA, a hoppy blonde, and a dry Irish stout. The four beers won’t be named by the time Dimes open, and Michelle noted it’s likely the recipes will adjust over time. She and Chad want to leave room for adjusting to what customers will enjoy, and leaving creative room for regulars to help name the beers. Soon Dimes will also have cider and wine options for customers.

In the last year Chad and Michelle have done work to the interior of the building, making updates and adding their own touches to the design. In Dimes customers will drink at tables and a bar made from a tree cut down in the Rogers’ back yard.

“We’ve had paper over our windows for three years, so everyone wants to see what it looks like in here,” said Michelle.

Dimes will be a unique bar experience for some. There isn’t a kitchen, or food menu at Dimes, but visitors are welcome to bring their own food from home or even local restaurants. Someday Chad and Michelle hope food trucks will be welcome to downtown Dimondale so Dimes customers can enjoy a nice taco with a craft beer.

Dimondale customers are also welcome to join the Dimes Mad Chemist Club. Club members pay a $50 lifetime fee to join, and they’ll receive a beaker that leaves room for a larger pour, as well as 50 cents off each beer.

Dimes will be open Thursday through Sunday. Thursdays 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturdays noon to 11 p.m., and Sundays noon to 9 p.m. To learn more about Dimes Brewhouse, readers can visit dimesbrewhouse.com.

“We hope people stop in over the holidays, and keep stopping in over the next few months as we bring in more beers and really develop our recipes,” said Michelle.

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.

Onondaga

Onondaga

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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.

Potterville

Potterville

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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...

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