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Charlotte

Charlotte

Featured Story

Charlotte boys bowling team celebrates first regional championship

Ben Murphy
Contributing Writer

(Photo Provided)

The Charlotte boys bowling team is no stranger to qualifying for the state finals tournament. But winning a regional championship? That was unchartered territory; that is until the Orioles won their Division 2 regional on Friday, at Continental Lanes in Kalamazoo.

“It feels amazing,” head coach Scott Mather said. “To watch all the hard work the boys put in and being rewarded with regional champions is amazing.”

After eight baker games and two regular games, Charlotte had a combined pinfall of 3364. In second place was Pennfield with a 3234.

“Great teamwork (was key),” Mather said. “This team has an amazing work ethic.”

On Saturday, in the singles portion of the tournament, the Orioles were able to get two to qualify for the individual finals; Matthew Shoemaker and Tyler Mulvany. Shoemaker finished in second place, with a six-game score of 1200, only 16 pins behind the regional champion Lane Malone of Sturgis. Mulvany was able to place fifth with an 1143.

Others competing for the team in singles was Ethan Richardson, who was 14th with a 1083. Brenden Slanker was 16th on a total pinfall of 1083, Conner MacKenzie had a 39th place finish on a roll of 984 and Landon Jackson had a 40th place finish with a 980.

On the girls’ side, they took fifth place in the team portion. They also had Lori Jackson come in sixth to punch her ticket to the state finals; with a total score of 997. Also, for the Lady Orioles, Jasmine Jens was able to score a 904 to come in 19th, Christine Robertson had a 34th place finish by tallying a 759, Ava Criscuolo managed a 36th place finish on a 716, Genevieve Rudy was also 46th at 613.

The Division 2 state finals are Friday and Saturday at Waterford’s Century Bowl.

“Our hopes were to make it to states, now that we’ve qualified all we have to do is what we do best and we will be fine,” Mather said.

Olivet

Olivet

Featured Story

Remember Pawsibilities as the months grow cold

Christine Terpening
Contributing Writer

(Photo provided)

 

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, we can expect a cold winter with plenty of snowstorms, sleet and ice rain for the Great Lakes region, or as we call it: typical Michigan. This is a time when costs to house and feed animals increase astronomically. As you enter the giving season, consider giving to an organization that cares for our four-legged friends who need a home.

Pawsibilities Rescue, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, in Olivet knows all too well about displaced animals. The 16-acre farm rescues animals from Michigan and other states that have been surrendered by the owner and accommodates many animal controls. Pawsibilities rehomes dogs, cats, livestock, exotics, birds and reptiles. President Connie Friedly, who has been rescuing animals for over 50 years, is known for saying, “Don’t shop, always adopt. Rescue pets are the most grateful.”

While every animal that finds themselves at Pawsibilities Rescue gets placed in a loving home, the harsh facts are that there are more displaced pets than there is space. With temperatures becoming increasingly colder, consider fostering or adopting a grateful hearted companion from this loving rescue. Every animal that is rehomed makes room for others that need the rescue’s help, as Freidly states, “We only house what we can accommodate and care for properly.”

In addition to cold temperatures, the holidays often are a time that increases home displacement for pets. In order to prevent a pet needing rescue, Friedly says that it’s very important that prospective pet owners research the kind of pet that they are considering adopting. This includes their breed, their feeding and cleaning needs and the amount of space and equipment needed to house the animal. Also, being realistic about the time one has available to take care of such a pet.

Pawsibilities Rescue is 100% funded by public donation. “We are strictly a donation based non-profit. If people don’t donate, we don’t exist,” she said. Pawsiblilities is in need of financial help for spay and neutering, gas cards and a multitude of other expenses that the rescue incurs on a daily basis.

Pawsibilities Rescue provides to surrounding communities to help pet owners with the needs of their pet. They donate food to churches, food banks, other animal shelters and local families in need. “We do so much, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without the local community,” she said gratefully, “This little rescue does a lot for a lot of communities.”

Pawsibilities Rescue can be contacted at (517)652-9353, calling or texting first for an appointment is requested. Consider a loving pet that needs a home or volunteer to help an animal in need.This organization only accepts animals that are safe to rehome. Volunteers and community service help is needed. If it is in your heart to financially donate, checks may be mailed to Pawsibilities Rescue, 2200 W. Bellevue Hwy, Olivet, MI 49076.

Bellevue

Bellevue

Featured Story

Bellevue Community Schools announces Eric McCalla as the next superintendent

Submitted by Bellevue Public Schools

The Bellevue Community Schools Board is delighted to announce the unanimous decision to extend a contract to Mr. Eric McCalla, who is poised to become the district’s next superintendent pending contract negotiations. The decision was made after a thorough evaluation of an impressive candidate pool, with Mr. McCalla emerging as the standout choice due to his exceptional qualifications, vision for student success, and alignment with the community’s values.

Currently serving as the high school principal at John Glenn High School in Westland, Mr. McCalla brings a wealth of experience to the role. His extensive background as an educator and administrator in Manchester and Grass Lake, along with his dedication to education, has positioned him as an ideal candidate for the Bellevue Community Schools.

In addition to his educational leadership, Mr. McCalla holds the position of Chelsea Community Fair Board President, showcasing his commitment to community involvement and collaboration. Furthermore, his roots run deep, with his children being the fourth generation on his family farm, emphasizing his connection to the local community.

During the interview process, Mr. McCalla expressed his enthusiasm for joining Bellevue Community Schools, stating, “This feels like home and a place I can retire from.” The Board was particularly impressed with his vision for student success and his comprehensive roadmap to address the challenges facing the district.

President Seth Madry expressed his confidence in the Board’s decision, saying, “Mr. McCalla has a great vision for student success and provided us with a road map on how to meet the challenges as a district. He wants to make sure that we promote the district and all the successes of our students and staff. Mr. McCalla noted he has similar values to our community and will highlight the rich traditions and build a culture of excellence.”

After taking board action, Mr. McCalla was called to ask if he wanted to become a Bronco. He replied enthusiastically, “I am excited to join the team at Bellevue. I believe that as a team we can make strides for our students and greater community.”

Pending successful contract negotiations, Mr. Eric McCalla is expected to assume the role of superintendent and lead Bellevue Community Schools into a future marked by educational excellence, community engagement, and student success.

Welcome to Bellevue Community Schools. We are driven by a passion to ensure each student is successful. Knowing that a strong education will provide more options for a quality life beyond high school, we are committed to doing whatever it takes to lead Bellevue Community Schools, both academically and non-academically, by providing clear, consistent communication, strengthening relationships, and developing a cohesive and rigorous K-12 core curriculum.

We are proud to be Broncos! Because of the depth of our Bronco pride, our district continues to flourish. We have welcomed dozens of new families into our classrooms – many of which have lived in our community but chose other educational options for their children. At a time when others struggled to meet the demanding needs of their community in the midst of a global pandemic, we opened our arms and shined our Bronco pride to all. We believe this is one of the main reasons so many families are now Bellevue Broncos.

Our Bronco pride is also evident in the investment that our district is making in our Jr/Sr High School. For the first time is over 30 years, we are offering Agri Science courses to 7th-12th grade students. By adding these courses, our district has revived our FFA Chapter, allowing our students to be a part of opportunities that have been afforded to the students in our neighboring districts.

In addition, we continue to expand opportunities for each student throughout the district by focusing on strengthening the social, emotional, health, and nutritional supports by adding amazing new staff members.

We would love to share more about our district with you. If you are interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

 

Eaton County

Eaton County

Featured Story

Charlotte boys bowling team celebrates first regional championship

Ben Murphy
Contributing Writer

(Photo Provided)

The Charlotte boys bowling team is no stranger to qualifying for the state finals tournament. But winning a regional championship? That was unchartered territory; that is until the Orioles won their Division 2 regional on Friday, at Continental Lanes in Kalamazoo.

“It feels amazing,” head coach Scott Mather said. “To watch all the hard work the boys put in and being rewarded with regional champions is amazing.”

After eight baker games and two regular games, Charlotte had a combined pinfall of 3364. In second place was Pennfield with a 3234.

“Great teamwork (was key),” Mather said. “This team has an amazing work ethic.”

On Saturday, in the singles portion of the tournament, the Orioles were able to get two to qualify for the individual finals; Matthew Shoemaker and Tyler Mulvany. Shoemaker finished in second place, with a six-game score of 1200, only 16 pins behind the regional champion Lane Malone of Sturgis. Mulvany was able to place fifth with an 1143.

Others competing for the team in singles was Ethan Richardson, who was 14th with a 1083. Brenden Slanker was 16th on a total pinfall of 1083, Conner MacKenzie had a 39th place finish on a roll of 984 and Landon Jackson had a 40th place finish with a 980.

On the girls’ side, they took fifth place in the team portion. They also had Lori Jackson come in sixth to punch her ticket to the state finals; with a total score of 997. Also, for the Lady Orioles, Jasmine Jens was able to score a 904 to come in 19th, Christine Robertson had a 34th place finish by tallying a 759, Ava Criscuolo managed a 36th place finish on a 716, Genevieve Rudy was also 46th at 613.

The Division 2 state finals are Friday and Saturday at Waterford’s Century Bowl.

“Our hopes were to make it to states, now that we’ve qualified all we have to do is what we do best and we will be fine,” Mather said.

Vermontville

Vermontville

Featured Story

The Voice of Maple Valley lays down the mic

Christine Terpening
Contributing Writer

(Photo by Christine Terpening: Long time announcer, Jeff Weiler, has served MVS for over 25 years.)

Imagine. It’s Friday night in The Valley…Maple Valley. There’s a crisp chill in the air. A bright harvest moon shines a spotlight on a team of boys, and the occasional gritty girl, that are amped up to live their football dreams. They are living in the moment and the electricity is felt in every fan on both sides of the field. To round out the thrill of the ambiance, a voice with a football drawl like no other rings through the air. A voice that adds a momentous kick to Maple Valley Football.

Jeff Weiler, otherwise known as The Voice of Maple Valley, has laid down the mic after more than a quarter century of announcing. The small, consolidated school has been proud of their big talent that has showcased athletes as though they were D1 college athletes, because in Weiler’s eyes, they were just as important. “Retiring from announcing is a bittersweet thing and I will miss the kids,” said Weiler. He relays in words and emotion that the outpouring of love from the community has been ‘heartfelt.’ “It’s never been about me.It’s always been my love of the kids,” he humbly expressed.

A 1981 graduate of Maple Valley, Weiler was quite the baseball player. “I had the privilege to play baseball for the great coach, Larry Lenz,” he said proudly. Weiler’s senior year earned him first team all-conference and first team all-county for his third base prowess.

Weiler’s announcing career came about by pure chance. It was 1998 as he settled into the bleachers to cheer on his stepson, Chris Loveall, as he played youth football. “He’s where it all began,” as Weiler fondly recalls. Rob Goris, the head of youth football at the time, approached him and said ‘Jeff, I don’t have an announcer today. Do you think you could help us out?’ Not having the heart to say no, Weiler announced his first football game. He stayed the entire day and announced every game after. In fact, Weiler announced the rest of the season. “The next couple years that followed I was announcing everything out here at the high school and it’s been that way ever since,” he said proudly.

Weiler’s voice has graced more than just Maple Valley Football. He has traveled with the MV band to competitions, called baseball, basketball, competitive cheer, band, and soccer a time or two when they were in a pinch and emcees the Vermontville Maple Syrup Festival.

Weiler’s most memorable moments were from lending his talents during his own children’s extracurriculars. His daughters Jenna was drum major in her band years and Iva a four-year competitive cheer athlete. “Cheer was just getting started when Iva was in high school. I’ve announced a whole bunch of competitive cheer…and that’s with not knowing a thing about it. I did just fine,” he recalls with a laugh.

Weiler recalls a poignant moment while announcing his son Brock’s varsity football game. In 2015, Brock Weiler rushed for 1,000 yards becoming only the 5th running back in Maple Valley history to do so. Holding back a tear, Weiler said “It happened here at home. We kind of knew it was going to. Had it been anybody’s kid but mine I would have made a far bigger deal out of it than I did. I owe Brock for that. But that was a big thrill. One of the great thrills of my life.”

When asked if he ever considered being a professional announcer, he emphatically says no. He did announce a college baseball game at Cornerstone and some basketball games at Olivet College. Weiler said, “I had a few big thrills. A couple years ago I got to announce at C.O. Brown Stadium in Battle Creek for the big boys of Class A High School Semifinals and Championship games right in a row. I was over there in that fancy stadium, I’ll be damned, got ready for the national anthem on the first game and it wouldn’t come on and there were a thousand people there and I sang it. And then later the lady that runs the stadium said ‘I don’t know how you just did that but just to warn you, you have to do it two more times today’ and I did,” Weiler laughed. Though he is not known for his singing ability and does not profess so, he says, “I can fake my way through it.” The fact remains, Jeff Weiler is good in a pinch.

Maple Valley Athletic Director Landon Wilkes said it best of Weiler’s tenure, “The impact Jeff has had on Maple Valley is truly amazing. He brings the game to life in a sense. Many people including myself have appreciated all that Jeff has brought to the table. As an AD to get compliments on Jeff The Voice is something I will always cherish. I want to say every team he has announced for, at some point, mentions to me that they appreciate the job he does.”

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Weiler is that he calls an honest game. He treats every athlete, both home and visitors, with the same respect and attention. “I would like to stress that I take pride that nowhere in America does the visiting team get a fair shake from the announcer other than at Maple Valley. I take a lot of pride in that,” said Weiler.
Wilkes adds, “I cannot say enough for how grateful we all are for the announcing we have been fortunate to have had for over 26 years. As Jeff, himself, said he has attempted to use the mic to instill in these great kids that we always love and salute our veterans, our active military, our flag and our country. His pride for Maple Valley and being a Lion runs deep and I cannot thank him enough for the countless hours he has given for Maple Valley Athletics.”

Knowing his love of the kids and the game, it’s hard to believe that Weiler is retiring. “I’m an old Lion ya know,” he grimaces. Going out on top while he is still healthy allows for him to explore other aspects of a good life.

Weiler declined the idea that he will suffer from FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) “No, I’m at peace with it. I’ll miss the kids and interaction with them. When you do it as long as I have, especially in basketball, right down close to the court, I’ve made a lot of relationships with visiting players,” he said, “I’ve made relationships with several visiting players that send me a text once in a while which is why I do this. Visiting coaches, I’ve gotten real close with. It’s been a joy.”

Have Maple Valley athletics seen the last of Jeff Weiler? Absolutely not. Weiler assures,” I have never told Maple Valley no. I’ll do anything they ever ask of me. If they ever need me, I’ll be there for them if they’re in a pinch.”

Wilkes has his work cut out for him to find a replacement and says, “As for a plan that will be a work in progress. Of course, the goal is to find someone to cover all the sports that Jeff did, but the reality is that will be tough. So it will probably be several people stepping in and helping out. Again, they are big shoes to fill.”

With final thoughts, Weiler leaves this advice to students and athletes– “Always be positive.You can do anything in this life. You can be anything.”

Weiler will surely be missed and says, “I’ll miss it, but I’m at peace with it.”

Potterville

Potterville

Featured Story

New and only barbershop in town

Kelsey Klont
Contributing Writer

(Photo by Kelsey Klont/TCJ)

Potterville’s only barbershop is open and ready for business.

Cole Davis, a 2021 Potterville High School graduate, opened Cole Cutsss on Saturday, January 6, 2024. Specifically for men’s haircuts and beard upkeep, it is a true barbershop.

Growing up, Davis’s dad, Todd, would always cut his hair. When he was a freshman in high school Davis taught himself how and started to cut his own hair. He had done that for a couple years when his friends started asking him to cut their hair. Thinking that would be a nice hobby he started to realize that he had the potential when other people who he did not know from high school began to ask him to cut their hair too.

After graduating high school in the spring of 2021, he was not fully sure if there could be a steady income and career as a full-time barber, so over the course of the next year he worked as an electrician and a tree worker. During that time, he discovered that he knows what he does and does not like to do, and also that he wants to be his own boss to work for himself. Davis said, “I have been wanting to own a barbershop of my own but did not anticipate that it would happen so quickly. Throughout this whole experience my family, friends, and my parents’ friends have helped out a lot with the renovations and have also influenced me to go for it with my own barbershop.”

In May of 2022, Davis enrolled at Lansing Barber College to become a licensed barber. Davis finished the year-long program in June of 2023, and after that he rented a chair at a barbershop in Frandor Shopping Center.

In July of last year, Davis started the lease at his Potterville location. Things came together “sooner than he thought,” according to Davis, as he didn’t expect to have a business and his own building at the age of 20. Family friends Georgia and her late husband Ken Fry own the building, which was built in the late 1960’s where Ken had owned and operated K & G Barbershop years ago.
Davis already has plans for the future. He told me that he hopes to purchase the building and add another barber sooner rather than later to help with the large influx of appointments he has been getting. Cole Cutsss offers appointments as well as walk-ins and he asks everyone to please be patient as they figure out scheduling since they are newly opened. Services provided at Cole Cutsss include men’s hair cuts and beards, offering special pricing for seniors and boys. Davis specializes in fades with clippers saying, “The shorter the hair the better.”

You can find Cole Cutsss located at 121 S. Hartel in Potterville, where you can walk in or call ahead for an appointment at 517-881-4266. Hours are Monday, Thursday, and Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Wednesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday 7:30 a.m. to Noon. Cole Cutsss is closed Tuesday and Sunday.

Eaton Rapids

Eaton Rapids

Featured Story

Sugar Quills

Kelsey Klont
Contributing Writer

(Photo by Kelsey Klont/TCJ)

Eaton Rapids has their annual Winter Market started back up for 2024 and there you can find the debut for the new bakery business, Sugar Quills.

Sugar Quills is the bakery dream a long time in the making for 12-year-old Rowan of Eaton Rapids. Ever since he was the age of three, he could always be found in the kitchen wanting to help his mom, Mollie, or do his own experiments for his next recipe. From that young age he told me that his favorite things to do in the kitchen were chopping and mixing.
Sugar Quills first launched open for business on January 14, shortly before this year’s first market. There he brought cookies, pies, and cake pops.

Rowan was inspired to open his own bakery from the amazed reaction of chefs at Camp Lael in Lapeer, Michigan. There the Head Chef and Camp Director, Jim Davis, let Rowan make multiple meals for the three families who were there for that particular weekend, Rowan’s included. Rowan is the second oldest out of five siblings: Elijah, 15, the oldest; Rowan, 12; Nora, 9; Samuel, 7; and the youngest, Micah is age 4.

Rowan’s dad, Chad, can put together a recipe out of thin air; while Mollie likes to refer to a cookbook which intrigued Rowan’s interest in cooking that much more. From that he has multitudes of recipes memorized; everything from sauces, different doughs, crepes, and beyond. Rowan is still a big fan of experimenting in the kitchen, although with school and his other hobbies his time gets taken up. Rowan’s favorite hobbies include archery, musicals, and playing video games with his dad and brothers.

I asked Rowan about the bakery name, Sugar Quills, and he told me ‘sugar’ for the sweets that he bakes and ‘quills’ because he loves hedgehogs.

Mollie asked Blessed Baked Goods owner, Geneva, tips for beginning bakers who then got them in touch with the Winter Market of Eaton Rapids, where Rowan plans on attending all of them.

To order some delicious baked goods, place a custom order, and even see where he will be, follow Rowan and Sugar Quills on Facebook at Sugar Quills.

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