June 3 is the official start of the Summer Concert Series on the Square. Every Thursday for twelve weeks you will find great bands playing great music on the old Eaton County Courthouse lawn, downtown Charlotte. Concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. Just bring a lawn chair or a blanket to sit on to enjoy a nostalgic evening of fun.
What will make this year’s concerts even better are the other activities that are happening on Thursdays. The Charlotte Artisans and Farmers Market takes place from 2 until 6 p.m. in the newly renovated Beach Market on Thursdays. The Charlotte Cruise Night happens on Thursdays from 6 until 8 p.m., also, so you’ll see lots of vintage and classic cars cruising downtown.
“We like to say it’s the best outside summer concert series in the area,” Courtney Mead, executive director of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, said with a smile. “And this year we have booked the longest series ever—we have 12 bands booked that play a wide variety of music.” In the past, there have been only six to eight weeks of concerts. All bands booked are Michigan based and are family-friendly, Mead added.
“After having to cancel some of last year’s concerts due to COVID, I was excited to have every Thursday booked for this summer by February,” said Mead. Concerts at the Courthouse have taken place for ten years, but this is only the second year for the Chamber to be coordinating the event. In the past the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) was in charge.
The event is sponsored by many local businesses and non-profits and is free to the public. One concert is being sponsored by concertgoers who passed the bucket last year and collected enough to sponsor a band themselves.
Those attending can expect to hear rock and roll, country, gospel, bluegrass, oldies, and more. The Sea Cruisers will kick off the season on June 3.
“The Sea Cruisers are a local favorite,” Mead said, “and they really bring a crowd.” The Sea Cruisers are a professional four-piece band and play 50s, 60s, and 70s music.
The concerts in the past have been well attended. This summer’s concerts will still use proper COVID procedures, such as social distancing for listeners.
“They are just fun,” Sherry Copenhaver, who has attended the concerts in the past, said. “I just love how you can see old friends and family, and watch people dance. It’s a great mood booster!”
Copenhaver also commented on the concerts last summer held with COVID-19 precautions. “It shows how successful and popular the concerts are when people
are willing to sit outside with masks on! They just seemed so happy.”
Contact the Chamber at 517-543-0400 for more information or visit their website at micharlotte.org.
If you’re looking for a healthy alternative for breakfast, lunch or even dinner, Main Street Mixers in downtown Olivet offers those alternatives, says owner Amanda Whitson. Stop by to pick up a tasty and nutritious drink at her shop which is located at 205 North Main Street in Olivet, right next door to the Humane Society.
Main Street Mixers offers a variety of nutritional items, like healthy shakes, energy drinks, Iced Protein coffee, Tea Bombs, kid items, and more.
Whitson said she is thrilled to be part of downtown Olivet.
“I’m beyond excited to serve the community of Olivet where I was born and raised and have lived my whole life,” Whitson said.
Whitson and her team of Herbalife Distributors are keeping busy with their nutrition clubs. They have Sip City in Lansing, Kickstart Nutrition in Michigan Center, Wright Nutrition in Dewitt, and now Main Street Mixers in Olivet. They are in the process of opening additional shops in Bellevue, in the Frandor Shopping Center in Lansing, and in Napoleon.
“I got started with Herbalife when I was 17 years old as a customer,” Whitson explained. “I lost 30 pounds in six weeks and went from a size 12 to a size 6. Because of that, everyone wanted what I was using and I started my business.”
“The products are the star of the show,” she continued. “I’ve maintained my health, weight, and energy now for 24 years and it’s been one of my greatest accomplishments in life, to help others better their lives through great nutrition and personal development.
The Main Street Mixer store is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m., on Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., and on Sunday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m.
You can find Main Street Mixers on Facebook and Instagram via @Main Street Mixers. Text orders to 269-832-9858.
Bill and Carole Jean Stockhausen were ahead of their time back in 1977 when they were scouring the state to find an old mill to buy. They were young and had three young children. They wanted to find a mill to live in that had the potential to create electric power so their home could be energy self-sufficient. This would be a second home for the family, with their main home being in Northville. They found the perfect mill in Bellevue, which at the time was known as the Bellevue Gothic Mill. It is located on Mill Street.
Bill, an engineer for Ford Motor Company, was inspired by Henry Ford’s plans to create small factories in southeast Michigan that were powered by old mills, rivers, and dams. He saw the potential in this source of renewable, sustainable, nonpolluting, and non-toxic energy.
Carole Jean had a few stipulations to the plan. They needed a mill that was worth restoring, she said. It needed to be “plumb”-many mills they visited leaned. It needed to be sound, as they didn’t want to have to completely rebuild. Enough water to run the mill was needed, along with a low price, as they weren’t wealthy.
Built in 1854 by Horatio Hall for Manlius Mann, the Bellevue Gothic Mill is a five-story building, towering 80 feet, and is situated next to the Battle Creek River just a few blocks from downtown Bellevue. Gothic refers to the style of architecture of the mill, which was sometimes known as “carpenter gothic,” and was typified by pointed arches, steep gables, towers, and was relatively unadorned. Another prime example of this style of architecture is the house behind the couple in Grant Woods’ famous painting, “American Gothic”.
“One of the most substantial frame structures to be found in the state,” was how it was described in an early Eaton County history book.
The mill was a symbol of the industry that helped Bellevue grow. It provided a much-needed service to the village and to the farmers in the area. In 1888 the millstones were replaced with a “Smith Roller Process,” a steel roller mill, and the waterwheel replaced with two 43-horsepower turbines.
The three-ton waterwheel in the basement turned three sets of millstones originally. Flour was produced from 1854 until 1958. By 1949 it was the only mill left in a 50-mile radius. “Bellevue Bluebird Flour” was produced there in the late 1920s.
In 1958 all mill operations ceased. The mill sat, abandoned, and fell into disrepair. It was targeted by vandals. Valuable cherry and oak wood was taken from the structure, leaving gaping holes in the floors and much destruction.
In 1975, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places by the Village of Bellevue, who owned it until the Stockhausens made an offer of $3000 for it. The Village agreed to the sale but gave them a five-year deadline to enclose the building and make it safe for the public.
The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) gave the Stockhausens an idea. This law required that utilities had to buy electricity from small producers. They decided it was time to produce some power that could help pay for the restoration of their house and for their children’s educations. Bill and Carole Jean installed two hydroelectric generators themselves, as they couldn’t afford to hire anyone else.
The mill now powers itself plus provides electricity to numerous homes in the community and provides the Stockhausens a nice check each month from Consumers Energy.
Despite buying the mill for only $3000, Stockhausen estimates they have put hundreds of thousands of dollars into the mill to restore it. They saved considerably, though, by doing about 90% of the work themselves with the help of their five children, and after all, it was actually a “labor of love.”
Did they expect it to take this long? “No!” Stockhausen said. They thought it would probably take about five years, as the village of Bellevue had ordered. They are still working on the mill, forty-five years later.
There was a hiatus from mill restoration in the late 1990s, however, when they decided to focus on their children and let the mill wait.
“It was a lot of fun, but to do something like this you need a wife like St. Carole Jean,” as his wife is affectionately known. “I tell her that all the time.”
“The Mill is like a sanctuary to us, a place to get away,” Stockhausen said. They plan on having an open house for the public in October. To contact Stockhausen, visit their Facebook page @BellevueMill.
The Sentinel Knights Riders Against Child Abuse are a group of area bikers who have become involved in helping the victims of bullying and abuse in the area, and are attempting to show children that adults can be trustworthy and care about the welfare of children. They wear black leather with their club “colors,” or patches, proudly, so there is no question as to what group they are with. Behind the leather and motorcycle gear, though, is a group of people with big hearts for “the littles,” as they refer to the children that need their help, whether it be a school bullying issue or an abuse situation at their home.
“We’re a bunch of good people trying to help people,” Scott Needham, president of the club, explained. “We want to change the image that every patch (biker) is mean. You can’t assume,” he added.
“We’re just normal people,” said Valerie Needham, Prospect Officer of the Club. “But we want to play our part to help as many kids as possible,” added Scott Needham.
The 501(c)3 non-profit club has about 25 members and was formed about 15 years ago by “Ponch,” “Oscar,” and “John,” Needham said. Every new member is required to get a background check and fill out an application. The average age of members is about 40, and the male/female ratio is about 50/50. Owning a motorcycle is not required. Members meet monthly and pay monthly dues which are used to help fund necessities for their work. “It all goes back to the kids,” Needham said.
“It’s about having fun, being a family, but we also need to take care of business,” said Needham.
Most of their members have had their own personal experiences with bullying or abuse in their background. “We’ve all gone through it, and it sticks with you the rest of your life,” explained Jeremy Rheynard, Vice President of the Sentinel Riders. “Kids, especially, hold it in and don’t talk about it, even though they did nothing wrong.”
The Sentinel Knights provide a variety of functions with the goal of helping kids. Fundraising is one way to do that—they organize rides, poker runs, and silent auctions with the funds going towards a person or family in need. They have provided food, clothing, school supplies, or a place to stay for those they are helping. They accompany kids to their court dates, understanding just how intimidating the experience can be for someone in their situation.
They have acted as protection for someone who is in fear; recruiting a group of their members to surround the person. They have helped in searches for someone who has escaped from the police; wearing their club “colors” makes them look like just another biker, Needham explained, and they can get in positions that a police officer in uniform can’t.
Most of their contact with victims is after the fact. After the police have been there, charges filed, and left. “We want to wrap a circle around the family, to let them know we care,” Needham said.
“It’s therapy for me,” explained Rheynard. “I held it in for years but I’m comfortable speaking about it now and I can bond with the kids who are going through the same thing.”
“We give them love and support,” Needham said. “I’m tired of hearing about 12-year-old suicides.”
They discovered that those they help often want to get involved with the group and give back. They have the “Junior Knights,” for their younger members, and they also wear a black leather vest with the club center patch logo. “You helped me, so I want to do something,” they hear from many. It becomes a ripple effect, Rheynard said, and they gain new members from helping.
If you would like to help or to get more information, contact them through their Facebook page, Sentinel Knights Riders Against Child Abuse. They can also be found on Twitter at @KnightsSentinel.
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.
Prominent on the Potterville city flag is the motto “City of Helping Hands.” That is definitely the case when it comes to organizing a big event in a small town like Potterville. The 2021 Gizzard Fest is just around the corner, on June 11 and 12, and Brandy Hatt, Potterville Zoning Administrator and a member of the festival planning committee, says it’s been entirely a team effort, involving the City, citizens, and the Potterville Chamber of Business.
“It wouldn’t have happened otherwise,” Hatt said. Many years ago, the event started out as Potterville Days. In 1994, it became the Gizzard Fest. The last Gizzard Fest was held in 2016 and ended because there were no funds and no volunteers, she explained. The event was missed by many, and last year a committee was formed to bring it back. The event was all ready to go, but due to COVID-19, it had to be canceled.
It’s back on the calendar for 2021, though. This year features festivities all day on Friday and Saturday,” Hatt said, and thousands are expected to attend. The festival, and the Potterville restaurant Joe’s Gizzard City, made national news when it was featured on the second season of the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.
“It has been a real team effort,” Hatt said. “The event has brought the citizens of Potterville together to make sure that it happens. Everything is being sponsored by someone in town.”
The fun starts Friday morning with vendors on Main Street at 9 a.m. and goes all day, culminating with a chicken-themed parade at 6 p.m., followed by Another Clucking 5K run at 7:30 p.m., and a Block Party on Main Street at 8 p.m. The Block party features Be Kind Rewind band, a Boston-based ‘90s Alternative Tribute band. This is a family-friendly event and will have food trucks and vendors.
The parade committee selected Maureen Storie as the Grand Marshall for the parade. Storie has been active in the community and created Potterville Gives Back, a non-profit that sponsors food drives, toy drives, backpack drives, and Earth Day cleanup. The group will be doing a cleanup event after Gizzard Fest.
This year’s event also features a Gizzard Fest Queen. Selected for the honor is Georgia Fry, a real “sassy pants,” according to Hatt. Fry has been very involved in Potterville for years along with her late husband Ken Fry. “She just loves Potterville!” Hatt said.
There will be gizzards to eat, of course, including a gizzard eating contest where the first person to devour two pounds of deep-fried gizzards is the winner. For those with a sweeter tooth, the pancake breakfast on Saturday morning will be something you will enjoy. Along with the breakfast, there will be a silent auction with lots of special treasures to purchase.
Gizzard Fest won’t disappoint those who are into music. Saturday will feature three different bands, and headlines Global Village, “premier party band of the Lansing area” that plays 70s, 80s, and 90s music. Smooth Street Variety Band and Stone Street Revival Band are also performing.
A carnival, a beverage tent, vendors, fair rides and carnival food, a classic car show, a corn hole tournament, line dancing, and a softball tournament are all on the schedule.
For more information, or to volunteer or donate, call 517-281-5659. For a complete schedule of events and information visit the festival website at gizzardfest.org.
The summer heat is here, and Kane Heating and Ventilation in Charlotte wants to make sure you have the perfect temperatures inside your home all year long. Their factory-trained employees will do oil and gas furnace installations, install air conditioning, heat pumps, and water heaters, with 24-hour emergency service available.
Chad Lewis is the owner and has 34 years of experience in heating and cooling; for 24 years he has been a partner in Kane Heating and Ventilation. For the last two years he has been the sole owner of the business.
“We’ll be there for you when you need us,” Lewis said. “Our reputation is great, and we are very service-oriented,” he added.
If you haven’t done it already, it’s that time of year when an inspection and tune-up of your air conditioning should be done. Having it serviced before there are problems helps limit the possibility that it will break down at the worst possible time. They will clean the coils, change filters, check the pressure and temperature to make sure that your air conditioning is running efficiently.
They will so the same inspection kind of inspection of your furnace. Sensors and burners are cleaned, condensation lines are cleaned, and temperatures are monitored.
Kane Heating and Ventilation carries Armstrong products for year-round comfort.
The COVID-19 quarantine put more of a focus on indoor air quality, Lewis said, and one of the best ways to help achieve that is with duct cleaning. A powerful vacuum is used to eliminate pet hair and dander, human hair and dander, dirt, debris, and any airborne allergens that are in your home.
“I strongly believe in shopping local,” Lewis said. “We all need to support each other.” Lewis is part of Locals in Business in Charlotte.
An additional service Lewis is now offering is custom sheet metal fabrication. If you need something custom-made, contact Kane Heating.
Kane’s has a 5-star rating on Facebook reviews. A recent reviewer wrote: “I would never go anywhere else. I had unbelievable quotes from other places and some that wouldn’t even go under my crawl space to fix my heat duct runs. Kane’s heating did a 5-star job at a minimal price compared to others. Joey was my tech guy he went above and beyond to make sure everything was working to our satisfaction…JOB WELL DONE.”
Visit Kane Heating online at kaneheat.com, visit their Facebook page @KaneHeatVent, or call them at 517-543-1040. They are open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon.