Shop Local


Communities

Latest

More

Latest

Read The County Journal Online

Click to open a full digital copy of the newspaper that you can “flip” through online. Works on mobile devices!

Read Digital Edition

Charlotte

Charlotte

Featured Story

Igloos help to weather the cold

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

The cold of winter has joined us, in addition to the COVID-19 virus. The combination of the two, along with a ban on indoor dining, has put many bars and restaurants in cold water and worried for the future of their business. In November 2020, the Small Business Association of Michigan offered help in the form of Restaurant Winterization Grants to create temporary structures to cover outdoor seating, such as canopies, igloos, and tents, plus heaters for bars and restaurants. Nearly 3,000 requests were received, totaling $24 million, with only $3 million in available funds.
Charlotte businesses received $8,000 of those funds to help winterize six restaurant and bar businesses, said Charlotte Rising Executive Director Lisa Barna. Those businesses include Thirsty Bird Bar and Kitchen, The Eaton Pub and Grille, Mike’s Sports Page, J&J Eaton Place, Acapulco Mexican Grill Charlotte, and Evelyn Bay Coffee Shop.
“It’s been incredible to work with our local business owners through this hard time,” said Barna. “They’re always innovating and willing to adapt to continue serving Charlotte residents.”
“We’ve been inspired by their action and it motivates us to work every day to continue to help bring state and national funds into downtown to support our small businesses,” she added.
The public has enjoyed the dining alfresco, it appears, based on comments posted on Facebook.
“So fun! We ate (here) on Monday in an igloo,” said one comment.
The businesses differ in what they offer to the cold-weather diners. Many do require a reservation due to limited seating.
Acapulco, one of Charlotte’s newest restaurants, started placing individually heated igloos on their outdoor patio area in mid-December. To use one, reservations must be called in. There is a reservation fee, and Igloo seating is reserved for two hours. They also offer to-go orders and curbside pickup.
“The igloos are so warm that I took my jacket hat and gloves off and sat around in a t-shirt,” said an Acapulco diner on their Facebook page.
Thirsty Bird advertises that “The heaters are hot. So are the tacos.” In early November they started offering dining availability outside under a lattice-covered patio with heaters to warm the experience. The wind is blocked on four sides to shield diners from inclement weather, but the roof is open to comply with COVID-19 rules.
When dining in the Thirsty Bird “Ice Shanty,” as they are calling it, they suggest that you “bring mittens and a blanket to sit on. Tableside heaters will do the rest.”
A Facebook poster commented that she had dinner in the Ice Shanty, and that “The snow was coming down and it was pretty fun. We really enjoyed ourselves.”
At the Eaton Pub and Grill, “The igloos are up and warm” featuring clear-sided igloos placed over each table, plus colorful lights inside.  They have no-fee reservations with a two-hour time slot. They also offer growlers, howlers, six-packs of beer, cocktails, and wine to go.
A new Michigan law, House Bill 5811, allows bars to operate in a limited capacity for cocktails to-go in order to reduce contact with customers. This wasn’t possible previously unless the business had a kitchen and carry-out food menu. Another law, Senate Bill No. 939, went into effect that allows local municipalities to establish “social districts” where people could dine and drink from open containers outdoors. This is in effect through December 31, 2025.
When faced with unique challenges, we see our businesses spring into action, coming up with unique solutions. The ability to creatively adapt and make some necessary changes quickly will contribute to the survival of these family owned, local businesses. Coupled with the continued support of diners, both with alfresco and take out dining, Charlotte is destined to come through the pandemic with the survival of its local restaurants intact.

Olivet

Olivet

Featured Story

Thomas Humphreys earns Gamma Iota Sigma Faculty Member of the Year Award

The Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) Grand Chapter recently hosted its virtual awards ceremony as part of the 49th Annual GIS Conference. The event celebrated the achievements and impact of the 90-plus chapters located at colleges and universities across the country. GIS is an international professional fraternity organized to promote, encourage and sustain student interest in insurance, risk management and actuarial science as professions. Olivet College is home to the Alpha Alpha Chapter.
Thomas Humphreys, CPCU, CLU, ChFC, CIC, Olivet College director of the Risk management and Insurance Center and assistant professor, earned the Faculty of the Year Award during the virtual awards ceremony. In addition, Eric Dawdy ’15 was named Alumnus of the Year and OC’s Alpha Alpha Chapter earned the Superior Chapter recognition. Only seven of the 90 chapters nationwide earned Superior status.
“It is such an honor to receive this recognition. I truly enjoy working with students to improve their skills, teach them about the wonderful world of insurance, get to know them personally and watch them achieve successes. Having my passion acknowledged makes my work even more meaningful,” said Professor Humphreys.
The Faculty Member of the Year Award is presented to a faculty member who has been instrumental in the development of their members, the growth of their chapter and the support of the Gamma Iota Sigma mission.
“This individual received multiple student nominations who shared that their adviser was much more than a faculty adviser — he is a role model, he is a mentor and a motivator,” said Wesley Griffiths, GIS co-president, of Professor Humphreys. “He has inspired students for years, sharing the benefits of Gamma Iota Sigma and the importance of making a difference in the community. With an insurance industry background, he also brings insurance expertise to the classroom. He has been passionate about ensuring diversity and inclusion throughout the chapter while leading with kindness and selflessness every single day.”
Prior to joining the Olivet College faculty, Professor Humphreys led a successful career in the insurance industry and served in other teaching capacities. In 1989, Professor Humphreys created a scratch insurance agency with Farmers Insurance Group, advising clients on appropriate policies and coverage to protect their families. In 1997, he took his experience as a successful business owner to guide and mentor other individuals as a district manager for Farmers Insurance Group in west Michigan. In 2006, in addition to his position with Farmers, Professor Humphreys became an instructor for Kaplan University, teaching property and casualty, life, accident and health, and continuing education courses. In 2010, he opted to get back into sales as an independent insurance agent while continuing to teach at Kaplan, and in 2015, Professor Humphreys joined OC.
In addition, Professor Humphreys is a member of the Michigan Association of Insurance Agents, and he serves on its Education Committee. Professor Humphreys was also appointed to the Michigan Auto Insurance Placement Facility’s Board of Governors by the State of Michigan’s Director of Insurance in July 2017.
To demonstrate his dedication to continued education and professionalism, Professor Humphreys has earned professional designations from the American College, The National Alliance and the Insurance Institute of America. He has earned the Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) and Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designations.
Professor Humphreys holds a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications from Michigan State University and a Master of Business Administration from Kaplan University.
Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu. Established in 1844, Olivet College is a private, liberal arts institution located in south-central Michigan. The College remains dedicated to its academic vision of Education for Individual and Social Responsibility by providing a quality higher education to all, regardless of gender, race or financial means. From enrollment to graduation, Olivet College is committed to each student’s personal, academic and career success. For more information, visit olivetcollege.edu .

Submitted by Olivet College

Bellevue

Eaton County

Eaton County

Latest

Eaton County

Featured Story

Shopping with Khai

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

With the COVID-19 pandemic around us, more people are hesitant to spend too much time in the grocery stores, but still need groceries. Or maybe they’re just too busy or have a new baby at home, or simply dislike shopping, period. This is where Khai Pond, of Shopping with Khai, steps in. She selects, purchases, and delivers groceries to Charlotte, Eaton Rapids, Bellevue, and Potterville for a flat delivery fee plus tip.
She is able to shop beyond her local area, but there may be a slightly higher delivery charge for greater distances.
Pond started personal shopping through Shipt early in 2019. By the end of 2019, she mustered up the courage to start her own personal shopping business, having developed relationships with a few of her customers who began to text her directly to shop for them, and “Shopping with Khai” was born.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, to start my own business, but never knew what to do or where to start,” Pond commented. “I definitely didn’t think it would be grocery shopping, but I’m good at it, and I’m fast. I oddly really enjoy it.”
The start of the COVID-19 pandemic really boosted her business, as people sought a solution to avoid going into stores. “During the first few months it was insane; some weeks I did 100 orders and worked seven days a week,” she said.
“I wear my mask faithfully. I sanitize like crazy, and I shop quickly,” she added.
Now she is doing five to eight orders each day and is often completely booked on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Eight-hour shopping days are now the usual. She takes Sundays off to have time with her family.
This business is how Pond supports her family of eight, she explained.
“It actually works out great for my large family,” Pond said.  “I can run home in between orders and can work less if they need me; I get to build my schedule around my family needs.”
“As a professional shopper, I strive for excellence on every order, no matter what the size of it is,” Pond said. “I don’t require a membership fee, there are no price markups, and there is no time commitment for my service.”
She figures she is saving her clients money in the long run, due to the upcharges and fees that other services require.
Building relationships with her clients is a top priority to Pond. “I get to know you,” she explained, “and when I’m out shopping, I remember the things you needed and if I find them, I grab them. You have direct contact with me, no customer service or waiting on hold. And if I mess up on something, I fix it right away.”
The easiest way to place an order, Pond explained, is to go online to a merchant and select the needed items, and then screenshot the list for her. She is flexible with customers who are not computer-savvy or don’t text.
“I love the cute handwritten lists I get from some of my elderly clients,” Pond said. “They have beautiful cursive writing, but sometimes it’s a little hard to read.”
“I take each customer with pride, and they become friends not just customers,” Pond explained. “I keep their order information private. I want repeat customers, so they get my best every time! I want them to be able to enjoy the luxury of home delivery without paying extra for it.”
Wanting to give back to her community, Pond estimates she has delivered about 100 orders for free to families in need.
To contact Shopping with Khai, call or text her at 517-588-8098. You can also find her on Facebook at shoppingwithkhai.

Vermontville

Vermontville

Featured Story

Eaton County Sheriff’s Office has a new K9

Welcome your K9 Roscoe. We can’t thank you enough for the overwhelming response. It was wonderful. Roscoe was submitted by multiple people and was liked by Deputy Studley as well. “Roscoe” is also a name of an Anderson Co. (SC) Sheriff K9 recently killed in the line of duty. So we felt it was fitting to honor their dog. Studley and Roscoe will start training in October and be on the road as a team soon. The dog and training are being paid for by grant funds. The team will be trained in explosives and tracking.

Potterville

Potterville

Featured Story

Potterville to Beautify Park

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

2021 will herald in even more beauty to the scenic Lake Alliance Park in Potterville, thanks to a generous grant received from Canadian National Railroad’s From the Ground Up program in collaboration with America in Bloom, an organization with programs that are focused on improving the overall quality of life in communities.
“Communities are more welcoming and vibrant with colorful plants and trees in clean environments” is the vision of America in Bloom.
The $25,000 grant will be used to improve the landscaping and to beautify an area that is in heavy use by the community at Lake Alliance. It is home to one of the best softball/baseball complexes in the area, plus a playground, picnic area, fishing, trails, a disc golf course, and the 24-acre lake.
“Grants like this are very competitive, so to be awarded this grant is really a great accomplishment,” said Tiffani Schaner, Potterville Parks and Recreation Director who wrote the grant.
The project will take place along the shared boundary of the Lake Alliance Park and the Canadian National Railroad, stretching from the Vermontville Highway corridor to Lake Alliance Park.
“It’s a stretch of land that is overgrown and less appealing to the eye,” explained Schaner.
“The funds offered by the Canadian National Railroad and America in Bloom will help tremendously towards installing new professional landscaping to enhance the look and feel of our public parks,” Potterville City Manager Aaron Sheridan said.
This project will coincide with the Natural Shoreline Project on the southwest corner of Lake Alliance which was installed last year. That project established a boulder “pier” and placed plants native to the area at the shoreline to prevent erosion, and to keep the water clean.
The grant does require a $2,000 monetary grant from the Potterville Tax Increment Financing Authority (TIFA). TIFA is a public financing method that can be used for redevelopment and community improvement by providing funds needed for public projects that might otherwise be unaffordable for the community. Both the Potterville City Council and TIFA need to review and approve the grant before it is officially accepted.
The grant also requires in-kind contributions from the City Parks and the Department of Public Works, totaling $10,500 in labor and equipment. The grant will award $12,500 in cash reimbursements for professional landscapers to renovate and develop the project area once the land is cleared by city resources.
The trees to be planted, most of which are colorful flowering varieties, will follow the walking trail which leads into Lake Alliance Park, providing a welcoming and beautiful nature path for the public. Magnolia, Redbud, and crabapple are some of the trees that will be planted. Various varieties of flowers will be planted, also.
The grant met the criteria to be successful, which includes providing community impact and engagement, sustainability goals, technical assurances, and for the project to be in alignment with the program objectives.
“We hope to see the project start in the spring, and it will be completed by the end of the year,” Schaner said. “We also hope to get various groups, like the schools, local businesses, and the Chamber to join in and help us make it all happen.”
“It accomplishes one of the goals in the City’s strategic plans by obtaining this type of funding with minimal matching funds required,” Sheridan said.
“This project will provide the Potterville Community with an educational opportunity and will encourage a healthy lifestyle. It will boost pride in the community and will promote economic vitality,” said Schaner. “It will also contribute to the ecosystem with air and water quality improvements.”
When the project is complete, there will be a celebratory event which will be attended by Canadian National Railroad and America in Bloom representatives.
For more information about this project, contact Tiffani Schaner, Potterville Parks and Recreation Director at 517-645-7641.

Eaton Rapids

Eaton Rapids

Latest

Eaton Rapids

Featured Story

Civil War Soldiers Slowly Identified

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

Being such a small town in the north, it’s surprising to discover how much Eaton Rapids and Eaton County contributed to the American Civil War. The Michigan Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) Memorial Hall and Museum has started a collection of photos of those men who served during the war and who were members of the James Brainerd Post #111 in Eaton Rapids. Some have names that are still very familiar in the community.
Approximately 400 men, all honorably discharged Union veterans of the Civil War, formed the James B. Brainerd Post #111 of the Grand Army of the Republic in Eaton Rapids. In 1886 the group built a meeting hall downtown at 224 South Main, which is now the home of the GAR Museum. The wives and daughters of these men formed the Woman’s Relief Corps (WRC) and shared the building space.
“We have about 40 photos of the Brainerd Post men,” Museum President Keith Harrison said. “I only wish we had more photos of the women who were part of Corps #38, Woman’s Relief Corp; we only have six.”
A listing of all the members of the Brainerd post was made in the post Memorial Book. Some listings included additional information about each veteran and his experiences in the war. Most towns, large and small, had a similar organization of veteran soldiers.
Some of these photos were donated by the soldiers’ descendants, others were donated by collectors of historical items, some were passed on from other museums, some were found online, and some were found in the newspaper, usually as part of the soldiers’ obituary.
Also in the museum is a long panoramic photo taken of the members of the post on Main Street near the Red Ribbon Hall. Some of the members have been identified in the photo, but not all.
“For me, one of the coolest things about the photo collection is that so many of the past members of the post and their names are very familiar to me,” said Chris Allen, Vice President of the museum. “They are the ancestors of families that have lived here for decades. They’re a tangible piece of our local and state history.”
The most recent photo acquisition is a large, ornately framed photo of David S. Milbourn (1834-1916). This portrait had been in storage at the Courthouse Square Museum in Charlotte and they passed it on to the more appropriate repository. Written on the back in faded pencil was “ER, D.S. Milborn [sic}.” Research shows that Milbourn was 29 when he enlisted in Eaton Rapids in Company H, Michigan 6th Infantry. He is buried in Rosehill Cemetery.
Eli Cook (1842-1917) is another identified veteran. Cook was part of the Berdan Sharpshooters during the war, and later served as commander of the Brainerd GAR Post. Locating this photo was easier, as his great-great grandson, Harold Holcomb from Freeport, Michigan, has taken an interest in his family genealogy and has several photos and lots of information on his Civil War ancestor. Cook is buried at Rosehill Cemetery near his wife Elizabeth, who was involved with the WRC. Holcomb also provided a photo of Elizabeth Cook. He is a frequent volunteer at the museum.
Of special local interest, as he is survived by current residents of Eaton Rapids, is Albert Albathia Doxtader (1838-1928). He is the great-great-great grandfather of George Doxtader of Eaton Rapids. Albert Doxtader had quite a tumultuous time in the war. He enlisted in Company K, 36th Indiana Infantry. He was wounded in the Battle of Shiloh in Tennessee on April 7, 1862, and left to die. It took 24 hours for him to be found and taken to the hospital. Doxtader came to Michigan to live in 1872 with his wife and sons. Doxtader is buried at Rosehill Cemetery.
Another interesting photo in the collection is that of Nathan “Nat” Davis (1846-1927). Davis started life as a slave in Louisiana. He served in the Civil War with the 102nd United States Colored Troops and after the war came to Eaton Rapids with Colonel Joshua Slayton. He opened a barbershop here and was an active member of the GAR post. Davis is buried in Rosehill next to his wife, Eurith, and their sons.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. the first two Wednesdays of each month, special holidays, and by appointment. Visit their website at garmuseum.com, or their Facebook page GARBrainerdPost111MemorialHallAndMuseum, or call 517-922-6427.

Pin It on Pinterest