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Charlotte

Charlotte

Featured Story

Remember When: Charlotte Carnegie Library

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

“A library is not a luxury, but one of the necessities of life,” said Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887), speaker, abolitionist, and brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe. The early residents of Charlotte agreed with Beecher and were determined to have a library in their city.
The Charlotte Library Association, organized in 1870, started with a private library. There was a semi-annual fee of $1 to be a member of the Charlotte Library Association. That dollar entitled you to one book and one magazine each week, and a voice in the management of the library. If not a member, you could pay ten cents to take a book out.
The first official public library was established in 1894. The Charlotte Common Council levied a tax to provide a free public library and reading room for the residents. But it had no set “home.”
In 1898, the library occupied a room in the courthouse-until the board of supervisors decided that they needed that room for the drain commissioner’s office. For a while, it was housed in a room over a downtown business and opened two afternoons each week. Everyone felt that it needed a permanent home.
In 1903 a discovery was made that the city charter required that all appointive offices be filled by qualified voters. At that time, women did not have the right to vote, so officially they were not allowed to be on the Charlotte Library Board. This was very frustrating for the women involved as they had stood by the library and taken care of it.  The city charter was eventually altered to allow the library board to be exempt from this rule. The women still had to wait until 1918 to be allowed to vote, however.
After nine years of jumping from various rooms and rental spaces, they decided to contact Andrew Carnegie to see if he would help them build a permanent library.
A Carnegie Library is one built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie built 2,509 libraries between 1883 and 1929 in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and more. 61 were built in Michigan, and as of 2012, 50 are still standing with 26 that are still functioning as a library.
Carnegie believed that a free public library gave people the chance to educate and lift themselves up in terms of wealth and status.
On December 3, 1903, the Charlotte Carnegie Library opened at 200 North Cochran, with 9,000 books on its shelves.
With $12,000 coming from the Carnegie Foundation, the City of Charlotte also needed to appropriate $3,000 to the project for maintenance, and provide a proper site for the new library. The 1845 courthouse on the corner of Cochran and Harris was moved to create a prime location for the new building.
There was no requirement to have Carnegie’s name on the building, and the style of the library was to be chosen by the community.
Battle Creek architect E.W. Arnold designed the library. His plan was a two-story T-shaped building, the lower walls made from rough-cut fieldstone and the upper portion red brick. There was a round fieldstone tower, a hipped roof, and fluted columns on each side of the door.
“It’s slightly asymmetrical, but balanced,” it was described, and that it was “picturesque eclecticism that was a characteristic form of design at the time.”
The building included a large front room, a well-lit stack room, a general reading room, a second-story room mainly used by the library board, and a large room in the basement that was used for a children’s room.
An ad in the Dimondale News in 1939, reminded people to return their library books, warning of a three-cent fine on books kept over two weeks without renewal.
“These books are for everyone’s use and the good book must be kept in circulation. Check your shelves and see if you are a guilty possessor,” the article admonished.
Eventually, the Carnegie Library was unable to meet the needs of a more modern society. Lacking parking and handicap access, plus limited space inside led a group to fund a new library for Charlotte. After much fundraising, the current location for a new library was purchased in 1994 at 226 South Bostwick, a former grocery store. The Carnegie Library was sold for $75,000 to become a law office.

Olivet

Olivet

Featured Story

Cam Webb Signs to Play Football and Attend Albion College

Olivet High School senior Cam Webb is thankful to announce his commitment to play football at Albion College. He appreciates all the coaching support as well as family and friends who have supported him in his football career. He is excited to start this new chapter in his life.

Bellevue

Bellevue

Featured Story

BCS boys varsity basketball opens season with big win

The Bellevue Boys Varsity Basketball Team opened the season with a resounding 57-24 win over the Waldron Spartans who entered the game having already played two games and owned a 2-0 record.  The Broncos were led by senior guard Kenny Bartha who scored a team high 15 points, captured six rebounds, and handed out four assists.  His running mate at the other guard, Braylon Robbins chipped in with 13 points and three assists. Senior forward Nick Hayward led the team in rebounds with ten, while David Payne and Dawson Wing each collected seven rebounds.  All 11 players on the Broncos roster played and scored.
It was a nice win for the Broncos who had their season cut short last year the day before they were to have played in the district final championship game.  If the Broncos had won the district game it would have been the ninth consecutive district championship for the Broncos.  The Broncos finished last season with a 20-2 record, which was their fourth consecutive 20 win season.
The Broncos next play on Friday evening at 7:30pm, when they entertain Battle Creek St Phillip in an SCAA league game.
Submitted by Coach Joe  Costello

Eaton County

Eaton County

Featured Story

COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics are Powered by Volunteers

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

When the going gets tough, they say, the tough get going. A lot of tough people have stepped up to help fight COVID-19 by volunteering for the Barry-Eaton District Health Department (BEDHD). They are part of the team that is helping to end the pandemic, one shot at a time.
Lauren Metcalf is the volunteer coordinator for the BEDHD. Currently, she has 114 active volunteers for Barry and Eaton counties, with more coming on board each day.
“Every single one of our volunteers have been absolute rock stars!” Metcalf said. “Their commitment to helping us protect our communities and their willingness to step up and go above and beyond during this time of need is astounding.”
“I tell them this all the time,” she added, “but we truly could not have these clinics function as well as they have without each and every one of them.”
Non-medical volunteers provide a wide range of duties. They provide traffic control at clinics, assist people with filling out the necessary forms, assemble information packets, ask bout symptoms, check temperatures, clean items with alcohol, and act as runners (emptying trash cans, filling in for breaks).
“They said they needed help and I said I’d love to do it,” said Rick Jones, of Grand Ledge and former Eaton County sheriff and state senator. Jones volunteers three or four days a week at the vaccine clinics and has done just about everything there is to do other, than actually administer the shots. That is done by volunteer medical personnel.
The Lansing Mall clinic sees 300 to 500 people per day, Jones said, starting at 10 a.m. and going until 4 p.m.
“Is there a cot back there with your name on it?” someone asked Jones as he distributed paperwork to each person. “You were here the last time I was here.”
“My philosophy is that if you are healthy you should give back,” said Jones. “Everyone should try to give back to some organization. There are so many Eaton County organizations that need help.”
“Right now, we are pretty set with volunteers,” Metcalf said, “however, as weeks and months pass, we will certainly be looking to bring on more from the pool of folks who have taken our volunteer surveys.”
Over 1,000 people filled out volunteer surveys to become a volunteer for the Barry Eaton District Health Department. The list is being prioritized, to determine those that have the most availability during times volunteers are needed the most.
Metcalf urges those interested in volunteering to visit the BEDHD website at barryeatonhealth.org/covid-19-vaccine-information and, under the “How Can I Volunteer to Help?” section, fill out either the medical or non-medical surveys. Those applying to volunteer to vaccinate individuals are required to have a current and valid medical license, and to be either a nurse, doctor, physician’s assistant, or paramedic.
“We keep receiving so much positive feedback from those who visit our clinics and it’s very much because of how fantastic our volunteers are,” Metcalf said. “So thankful for them all!”

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

DuroTech Automotive-Keeping You on the Road

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

It’s no fun to be stuck on the side of the road with a broken-down vehicle in a snowstorm. Keeping your car on the road and running well is important all year, but especially in the middle of winter in our snowy state of Michigan.  DuroTech Automotive in Potterville can help you make sure that doesn’t happen to you–but if it does, they are there to quickly get you back on the road.
DuroTech Automotive serves all of Eaton County and is conveniently located at 627 Lansing Road in Potterville. It replaced Northside Towing when it closed in 2015.
Jon McNett is the owner and manages the day-to-day operations of DuroTech Automotive. McNett lives in Potterville and has been in the area since 1986. His many years of experience in the automotive business and his friendly demeanor allow him to quickly answer many of your questions over the phone to determine what needs to be done to your vehicle or, if needed, to send out a tow truck.
DuroTech Automotive has three highly qualified mechanics on staff; Damon Krupa, Josh Prather, and the newest, Rachel Fulco, who studied mechanics at the Universal Technical Institute. Krupa is an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Certified Master Mechanic and has been a mechanic for over 30 years.
DuroTech provides full-service repair for cars and light trucks, as well as around-the-clock towing. They will also service your vehicle with a lube, oil change and filter, mufflers and exhaust, tune-ups, brakes, air conditioning and heating. They can check your steering and suspension, your vehicle’s transmission and battery, and can provide an electronic diagnosis to determine what the issue is.  They can assist in restarting and unlocking your vehicle, and also provide flatbed towing service, which is one of the safest ways to transport your car.
Another service DuroTech Automotive is able to provide is storage. Your boat, recreational vehicle, car or truck can be stored inside or outside in a securely fenced in storage area.
If you’re mechanically inclined and prefer to do your own repair, DuroTech Automotive is your source for any parts that you need. They also offer a wide variety of automotive and truck accessories, including a complete line of WeatherTech products, such as mudflaps, cargo and trunk liners, and cup phone holders.
Despite the impact of COVID-19 on the world, McNett found that 2020 was actually their best year in business since they opened in 2015.
“We treat everyone as fair as we can, and as straight forward and honest as you can be,” explained McNett. “We want your return business, and for you to refer us to a friend.”
DuroTech Automotive’s attention to quality service has earned them an almost 5-star total rating on Google Reviews.
“Exceptional service. They quickly diagnosed a safety concern. It was fixed in 48 hours. I felt like family with every encounter we had with the staff,” wrote one reviewer.
Another wrote, “All in all, even if it takes some time, this mechanic is trustworthy, and will make the impossible happen when you need it the most.” Both reviews awarded DuroTech Automotive with five stars.
A large HO train track is set up in the DuroTech Automotive lobby. A winter hobby that his wife encouraged, McNett said, until it grew large enough to take over the dining room in their home. Now it takes up a good chunk of space in the lobby, but helps provide a nice distraction from fender-bender worries and car problems.
You’ll also find memorabilia from McNett’s car racing on the walls. McNett has won many championships in circle track racing since 1992 with his DuroTech Automotive car and has already scheduled races for 2021.
DuroTech Automotive is open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Towing is available 24 hours every day. Call them at 517-645-4200.

Eaton Rapids

Eaton Rapids

Featured Story

G.A.R. Island Park Begins Major Improvements Project

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

The City of Eaton Rapids has received a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of $2,678,190 from the Michigan Strategic Fund to improve the G.A.R. Island Park. Construction began on the project on February 22 and will continue until September 2022. The City will be contributing $760,310 to the project for a project total of $3,438,500.
The CDBG program provides grants to help develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low- and moderate-income persons.
A public hearing was held in July 2020 for citizens to examine and submit comments on the proposal application.
Island improvements include removing and replacing the bridge which goes from the Island to River Street. The replacement structure will not have steps but will have an ADA-compliant ramp to provide universal access to the park. Structural improvements will be made to flood protection walls. New walkways will be added, benches, and trail lights. A new walking path will be constructed to connect G.A.R. Island Park to Mill Pointe Park at the kayak livery. Outdated playground equipment on the island will be replaced.
The project is expected to increase vibrancy, walkability, and activity in the downtown area, which will then lead to more economic activity for Eaton Rapids.
“This is an exciting project for Eaton Rapids!” said Mayor Pro Tem Pam Colestock. “Not just for the city, but for the entire community, as so many people utilize this park daily. These improvements will add modern upgrades that will help to preserve the rich history of G.A.R. Island Park.”
The two-acre park has been a gathering place for the community for many years. In 1872, J.D. McAuliffe owned the park and created a small “resort” there, complete with a zoo. According to W. Scott Munn in his book “The Only Eaton Rapids on Earth,” the island was also bigger back then. The island extended to the north nearly to the Knight Street Bridge, and 40 to 50 feet to the south. Around the border of the island was a three-quarter mile path for carriage rides and walking.
The city purchased the Island in 1897. It was used for annual encampments by the Eaton County Battalion of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) from 1909 to 1929 and was named G.A.R. Island Park in 1909. It was a popular place for concerts in the 1940s and 1950s with Scott Munn’s Band.
One of the more unique items to be addressed in the island upgrade is a return of a historical feature of the island, a metal arch over the entrance to the island at Hamline Square. Early photos found by the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall and Museum indicate this arch existed and requested that it be included in the plan.
Access to the GAR Island Park will be closed while it is under construction, along with the lower parking lot #6 at the river’s edge, behind PNC Bank.

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