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Eaton Rapids

Eaton Rapids


Eaton Rapids

Featured Story

Finally, a graduation

By Bill DeFrance

ERPS Superintendent

— For those of us who have been at graduations in recent memory in Eaton Rapids, they have always been at the end of the week of Memorial Day.  This year, we changed it up a little as things were changed up for us due to the health pandemic we faced.

Lots of school districts held graduations “on time” with virtual zoom graduations, a car convoy in  drive thru graduations, television shows, and even videos. Some districts held out that the environment would change. For close to three months, inside and outside school facilities were closed to the public.

We thought we got a window where we could hold outdoor events of up 100 people with social distancing. On June 26th, we had our Greyhound Central Performance Academy graduation in the concourse of the stadium. While some of 22 graduates chose the drive by route, half of the young men and women chose to have a personal graduation in front of their families.

On that Friday night and Saturday morning and afternoon (over 8 hours of graduation) skirting some thunderstorms, we held 16 small ceremonies for groups of graduates. Graduates were on the football field with groups of family and friends in the bleachers. Senior class advisor, Stacy Surato, had it well organized with a ceremony every 30 minutes.

Senior class President, Grace Lehto, was amazing in her enthusiasm and personal stamina.  Over two days, she introduced each graduate, named family members, recounted his or her memories, and talked about their future plans.  It was quite personal given that she had over 160 stories to tell.

Students and staff had constructed an arch of balloons near the school for some great pictures.  It was quite a production. I close this article with the welcome that I gave to groups of graduates on June 27th at the stadium:

On behalf of the Board of Education and Eaton Rapids Public Schools, we want to welcome you to one of the most unique and intimate graduation ceremonies in our history. We are mindful that the world and the everyday look different for all of us as we have dealt with the COVID-19 impact.

What matters most to us is the health and safety of you, our graduates, your families, and the broader community where you grew up. We have seen many of you step up during this crisis. Thank you for your hard work, especially during the last three months.  We wish you continued success on the next leg of your journey which will occur in some rather remarkable and unprecedented times.

Congratulations to our 2020 Eaton Rapids High School graduates!





Featured Story

Local artist reads, sketches clients’ auras

By Deb Malewski
– Contributing Writer

“An aura is a distinctive atmosphere or quality that seems to surround and be generated by a person, thing or place,” according to a Google search. Dawn Baumer, an artist from Mason, explains that an aura to her is “the color of the energy that we radiate off our bodies.” Baumer said she can see those auras and uses her artistic ability to sketch her client with the colorful aura that she sees around him or her. She has started a business called “Aura Art and Readings,” where she looks at those auras and explains what she sees.

Baumer discovered her ability to see auras as a child when she learned to meditate in her karate class in Leslie. Instead of keeping her eyes closed, she confessed, she peeked. She saw brilliant colors radiating around everyone, she said. She didn’t tell anyone what she saw for a long time.

Everyone radiates energy from their body, Baumer explained.

“We can feel that energy when someone is too close to us, like when we are in line at the grocery store and someone is in our personal space,” she said. “The only difference with me is that I see it in color, and the colors tell me different things about a person and their personality.”
Because of her strong faith, her clients receive only positive connections with spirit and aura colors.

“I don’t do anything negative,” Baumer said. “I want to give people comfort, that the person they are missing is still there, watching over them.

“It’s the only reason I do it.”

Baumer does aura readings at a shop and spa known as Beyond a Dream, with locations in Brighton and Okemos, or by appointment. In addition to the reading, she creates a sketch of their aura.

“I use art to draw what I see, hear and feel. My goal is to bring healing and to show you the best of your spirit, how I see you.”

Sometimes a deceased family member will appear during these sessions, Baumer said.
Art has been a part of her whole life, Baumer said. She has done murals, cartoons, has illustrated several children’s books and has created logos for businesses. She also teaches painting and cartoon drawing.

“Anyone can draw, if taught in a positive way.”
Baumer is a featured artist at Comic Con, which is held annually at the Breslin Center at Michigan State University, teaching classes every 15 minutes.
Baumer wrote and illustrated her own book, “Dune Daze,” in 2005, and has illustrated another 17 books for others. Her illustrations were part of Mary E. Morgan’s “National Park Mysteries” series from Buttonwood Press, a series of eight books about American history and national parks.
Baumer can be contacted through Facebook.



Featured Story

Farmers markets are back in swing

By Amanda Popp

Contributing writer

Local farmers markets are getting a late start this year. Many postponed opening but they are now excited to assist customers with all their fresh produce and body care needs.


The Charlotte Artisans & Farmers Market hosted by the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce started its season the first week of June and will continue until October. The market is held on Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at 100 W Lawrence Ave.

Courtney Anderson, market manager of the Charlotte Artisans & Farmers Market says the market hosts a variety of different vendors including fresh produce and crafting vendors, and added a new addition of takeout from two local restaurants.

“We have many vendors with fresh produce and some crafting vendors,” she said. “We also have new this year grab and go meals from The Thirsty Bird and Evelyn Bay Coffee Company.”

Anderson says the market is taking needed precautions including sanitization practices to keep customers safe.

“Each table has hand sanitizer,” she said. “We are properly staged outside where people can feel more comfortable. Each vendor was provided with standard guidelines for customers and vendors themselves on how to keep everyone safe.”

This is the first year the Chamber of Commerce has hosted the market and Anderson says there are still spots available for new vendors this year.

“Last week we had 15 vendors,” she said. “We have definitely doubled in size this year. For the rest of the year, we will have anywhere between 15-20 vendors.”

The Chamber of Commerce is also hosting free live concerts on Thursday evenings from 6:30 to 7:30 on the Courthouse Square, beginning July 2 and ending on August 13.

“Come down and check it out,” she said. “There is something for everybody and it’s definitely a great time to see and support our local farmers.”

Eaton Rapids

The Eaton Rapids Community Market started its season on June 24 and will run until the end of September. The community market operates on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. – 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 116 Hall Street in downtown Eaton Rapids.

Jason Smith, market manager of the Eaton Rapids Community Market says the pandemic caused the market to begin later than usual.

“We have space for 24 vendors every market,” he said. “We got up to a little bit of a late start because of COVID 19, but we haven’t had to cancel any yet.”

Smith says the market will continue to take precautions to ensure customers’  safety and well-being.

“Our booths are 6 feet apart now and the lengths are a little bit wider,” he said. “People have more space to move now. We are outdoors so we’re encouraging masks, but they’re not required. We are also working on bringing in trash cans and hand sanitizing stations.”

Smith says the market now offers certain programs for customers including the EBT program.

“We are approved as a snap assistance, so we do accept snap and EBT, the Food Bucks program,” he said. “Customers can come in and swipe their card for whatever amount they want. They will get the coins in return and they can use those coins at each of the appropriate vendors that they can purchase goods with their EBT card.”


The Dimondale Farmers Market reopened the first Thursday in June and will now run through the last Thursday in October every Thursday from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. at 136 N. Bridge Street.

Denise Parisian, market manager of the Dimondale Farmers Market says the market vendors only sell Michigan made products, including food, plant and body care items.

“This week we have 13 vendors,” she said. “We normally run around 15 every week. Some of our vendors are on every other week schedules.”

Parisian says the market is not having any special events this year as a safety precaution as well as putting up cones and signs to make sure people adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“We are asking everyone to wear masks and we are providing masks if they don’t have them,” she said. “We are providing hand sanitizer at the gate and we have a hand washing station on site.”

Parisian says that the main difference this year is the time people are spending browsing.

“We normally encourage people to linger and visit and talk, and we are really just more transactional now,” she said. “People are now coming in, doing their shopping and then leaving.”

Parisian says the market also allows customers to take advantage of programs such as the bridge program.

“We offer the Bridge Card, Double Up, and Project Fresh programs,” she said. “This season, we have sold more tokens on our bridge card than we have ever sold before in our first month.”

Contact Info

The Charlotte Artisans & Farmer’s Market, the Eaton Rapids Community Market and the Dimondale Farmers Market can be found on Facebook. More information for the Dimondale Farmers Market can also be found on their website at

Eaton County

Eaton County

Featured Story

Eaton County tax foreclosures suspended

— Eaton County Treasurer Bob Robinson has suspended tax foreclosures of occupied properties and businesses and has extended the redemption period for property owners facing tax foreclosure in Eaton County until 2021.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Robinson. “The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented financial catastrophe for many homeowners, renters and business owners.

“Halting foreclosures on occupied properties is the best way to balance my responsibilities to state foreclosure law and to the citizens of Eaton County. We need to assist our households and businesses to get through this difficult time.”

Foreclosure for 2020 will continue for properties that pose a threat to public health, safety and welfare. Interest will continue to accrue on delinquent taxes.

Tax foreclosures in Eaton County have declined by 50 percent since 2013 — from a historical high of 60 to less than 30 in 2019.

Although the county treasurer’s office is closed to the public, all staff are working 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday with added safety precautions to help taxpayers work through their tax debts.

“Anyone having difficulties paying their delinquent property taxes should call us at 517-543-4262,” said Robinson.

Delinquent property taxes can also be paid by mail and online by credit card, debit card or e-check by going to the website at and following the “pay delinquent property taxes” link at the bottom of the page.

Article submitted by Eaton County Treasurer’s Office.



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Featured Story

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Featured Story

‘Quality’ more than just a motto at PAE Plumbing

Tim Comer, the owner of PAE Plumbing, knows exactly what he is doing and does it well. He has been a licensed plumber for almost 20 years and is proud of the business he has built here in Charlotte.

The company recently celebrated its seventh year in business, and Comer brought his family with him when he spoke on Fox47 News’ “Morning Blend” show last month. He explained he brought his three children with him because “they are PAE.”

PAE is named after the kids — Patrick, Anna and Ella.

The company motto is “quality at its best” and Comer says that idea is much more than just a motto.

“PAE Plumbing fixes any plumbing problem and trust me when I say that I’ve seen them all,” he said.

“Our goal is to earn your long-term business by completing your plumbing projects and repairs on time, to your satisfaction, and at the price we quote before work begins. We guarantee our plumbing services will meet or exceed your expectations.”

Comer said the business started with “just me and a van.”

It has since grown to eight service technicians in the field and two office staff.

“Things have definitely grown nicely,” he said.

PAE offers a wide variety of plumbing services, including sewer and drain work, repairs and installations and remodeling services.

PAE recently welcomed Sarah Kopulos to the team. Kopulos, the office manager, is a long-time area resident. She has demonstrated a strong commitment to supporting local businesses, both in her current position as president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce and through her previous job as a sales representative at The County Journal.

PAE Plumbing is a full service business that handles residential and commercial property. In addition to handling regular service calls, PAE is available 24 hours a day for emergency service work. PAE is located at 119 S. Cochran in downtown Charlotte. Regular office hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information or to schedule service, call PAE Plumbing at (517) 331-7442. More information can be found at the company website at

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