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Eaton Rapids

Eaton Rapids

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Eaton Rapids

Featured Story

The Bargain Shack

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

“It’s amazing the amount of business you can do out of a granary,” said Gary Clarke, owner of the Bargain Shack on South Clinton Trail in Springport. “We’re having a record year here!”
The granary that houses the Bargain Shack, a small, barn-like building of undetermined age, contains a wide selection of gas and battery chain saws, trimmers, blowers, and all the parts needed to repair the same. In addition to sales, Clarke also services what he sells.
“We offer both quality and good service, which has created a real business boom because God has blessed us,” Clarke explained. “I get to know my customers and treat them good,” he added. “My claim to fame,” he added, “is that I don’t cheat people.”
It’s called Bargain Shack for a reason. Clarke’s prices for chain and blade sharpening are really a bargain just $2 for a chain and $3 for a blade, and it’s done while you wait. Customers, including commercial tree services, sometimes come from sixty or seventy miles away for chain saw sharpening, Clarke said, and they bring a bucket of chains, not just one.
Clarke carries a full line of parts for what he sells and will repair your machine or can provide the proper parts that the DIYer needs. “You can walk in and walk out with what you need, whether parts or a new product.”
The Bargain Shack also carries a full line of batteries for the tools you use. Or if your lawnmower needs a new blade, you will find the right one at this well stocked supply store.
“I’m never going to retire,” 78-year-old Clarke said. “When you read my obituary–then I retired!” However, he has an apprentice in training, 18-year-old Lydia. Lydia has been learning small engine repair with Clarke for about two years, and does a great job, he said. She often rebuilds and sharpens saws.
A local Google reviewer wrote: “Possibly the best place to purchase your weed whip, blower, or chainsaw. Honest, good prices he (Clarke) and stands behind the equipment he sells. You do not find that in many places anymore.” The Bargain Shack has a near-perfect (4.9) Google rating.
The Bargain Shack is located two miles east of the M99-M50 Junction, just ten miles south of Eaton Rapids, at 16652 South Clinton Road in Springport. They are open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. six days a week. Call 517-857-4015 for more information.

Mason

Mason

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Mason

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Shop Local – Culligan Water Conditioning

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

Almost 60 years ago Philip and Phyllis Carey started a Culligan Water franchise in south Lansing. They’ve both passed now, but the business is still in family hands. Matt Carey, their son, has been part of the business since 1980 and now is the official “Culligan Man.”
“We’re a family-owned, local business,” Carey explained, “but with national backing from Culligan.”
The business serves all of Ingham county, most of Eaton County, parts of Livingston county, and the southern half of Clinton county.
Culligan of Lansing offers reverse osmosis water filtration, water softeners, whole-home systems, bottle-free coolers, bottled water coolers and drinking water filters.
Culligan will service all water treatment equipment, Carey said, any make or model. They will also test your water for free. These tests can determine what is in your water, including arsenic, chlorine, chromium-6, coliform bacteria, lead, magnesium, nitrates, radon, and hydrogen sulfide.
Soft water is water that contains few or no dissolved minerals, Carey explained. Water softening involves a process called “ion exchange.” Calcium and magnesium, which are “hard” ions, exchange with sodium or potassium (salt) ions, to eliminate impurities in the water.
In this time of social isolation, there still are situations in which someone needs to come into your home for service and repairs. Culligan service technicians perform all the standard safety measures, including washing their hands, not touching their face, and wear a mask and gloves while working in your home, Carey said.
“About 98% of what we do involves us going to the customer’s home or place of business, not so much them coming to us.”
Culligan Lansing has been rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on Angie’s List, and 4.6 out of 5 stars on Facebook reviews.  Leah Taylor, a customer, commented: “We have used Culligan for our water softener and drinking water for over 40 years!  Culligan is the most reliable company we deal with.  We give them 5 stars for each of those 40 years.”
For more information about Culligan Water Conditioning of Lansing, you can call 1-800-551-6005 or email matt@culliganlansing.com. Visit them on the web at www.culliganlansing.com or on Facebook at culliganLansingMi. They are located at 3460 Dunckel Road in Lansing.

DIMONDALE

Dimondale

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Dimondale

Featured Story

Dimondale’s Farmers Market

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

After a long COVID-19 winter, many are excited to get outside to enjoy the sunshine, to plant their gardens, and to have fresh and flavorful local produce with their meals. In general, people are looking forward to discovering whatever the “new normal” is when they venture out of their homes after the long winter.
A trip to the Dimondale Farmers Market is probably “just what the doctor ordered.” It offers a great way to enjoy nature, do a little retail therapy, and enjoy the vibrant Dimondale community once again. All COVID-19 protocols are in place at the event, of course. There will not be live musical entertainment or educational programs at the market until things calm down with the pandemic.
As a fun peek into what the summer will hold, a spring market will take place on Thursday, May 6. It will be open from 3 until 6 p.m. in downtown Dimondale.
Some of the vendors who will be at the spring market include Wesenberg Produce, Murray Farms, Great Harvest Bread Company, James’ Dust-ee Acres, Willow Blossom Farms, How I Met Your Bakery, Emily’s Essential Wellness, and more.
A popular theme in this market will be MOM, with Mother’s Day just around the corner on May 9. Lots of hanging baskets, perennials, and potted plants will be available, along with scented soaps and a variety of wellness items.
“There will be a few surprises, too,” market manager Denise Parisian teases.
The regular Dimondale Farmers’ Market will be back in business every Thursday starting June 3 and runs through October. Fifteen vendors have already committed to the Market. Mark your calendar for opening day on June 3 when the market is open from 3 to 7 p.m. In October, the hours drop to 3 until 6 p.m.
“Honestly, we are feeling very confident about the 2021 Dimondale Farmers’ Market because last year’s market was so very successful,” Parisian said. “We’re really excited because our new vendors are a great fit and most of last year’s vendors are coming back.”
There are still a few openings for new vendors, Parisian stated. Of particular interest are new vendors who serve prepared food; things that are not immediately available in Dimondale, so as not to compete with the local businesses.
Parisian reminds us that buying produce from a farmers market means you are getting produce at the peak of freshness and nutrition. Food items in this country often travel, on an average, 1,500 miles from farm to table, which reduces the freshness and nutritional value of the food.  Another advantage of buying at a farmers’ market is that it’s more environmentally friendly, with much less packaging used in product sales.
The market is also a good reminder that when you stop and shop at a farmers’ market, you are helping to support local growers and their families. The vendors at the market are all from Michigan and most from the immediate area.
“We’re just trying to be great!” said Parisian.
The Dimondale Farmers Market happens on Thursdays, June through September 3 to 7 p.m., and 3 until 6 p.m. in October. It’s located at 136 Bridge Street, in downtown Dimondale. For more information email dimondalefarmersmarket@gmail.com  or call 517- 646-0230. Visit their Facebook page at #dimondalefarmersmarket.

Eaton County

Eaton County

Featured Story

Charlotte Fire Department Chief Kevin Fullerton Retires After 48 Years of Service

Cindy Miller
Editor

Not often are careers already in the making before a baby is even born. But one could say that is exactly the ‘career by design’ experienced by Charlotte Fire Department Chief Kevin Fullerton. Following in his father, Cal Fullerton’s footsteps, Kevin Fullerton joined the CFD as a volunteer fireman in June of 1973. By December of that same year, he was named Department Captain, promoting to Assistant Fire Chief in 1984, followed by CFD Chief in 1988.
With a long, and very impressive list of education, training, and certifications under his utility belt, Chief Fullerton has responded to over 1,000 structure fires, over 200 major commercial industrial fires, and, after the Snorkel (Aerial Bucket Truck) was purchased in 1977, he has responded and operated the snorkel in all surrounding communities on over 40 structure fires. Chief Fullerton has had four life-threatening incidences during his career, all of which he was able to perform a self-extraction. These included being caught in an attic, falling through a ceiling, bailing out of a second story window and, in one horrendous situation actually falling to the basement of the burning structure.
In the 1980’s, when Charlotte did not own a hurst tool, they were unable to extract someone trapped in a car following a fatal accident. Since then, the CFD and the city administration secured the hurst tool, which Chief Fullerton credits for saving the lives of hundreds of people – which is exactly why he chose the same profession as his father. Cal Fullerton was the Charlotte Fire Chief from 1955 until Kevin took over in April of 1988.
As a child, Kevin knew he wanted to be a Fireman. Chief Kevin Fullerton said, “Growing up I always knew I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps. I knew I wanted to help people, save lives and make a difference.” Kevin valued every moment he spent with his dad, and everything he taught him.
Chief Kevin Fullerton is equally admired by his children. “My dad is my hero. He is truly the hardest working man. He has always been there for my brother and I, he is the best role model and the best father. I am so proud and thankful to be his daughter. His three little grandchildren worship the ground he walks on. We are all so blessed,” exclaimed daughter Sonny Grendel.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of my life is that I have been able to work closely for many years with my father on a daily basis,” said son Tyger Fullerton. “In my experience, it is not common to hear of these situations, this opportunity has provided me with knowledge and memories that words cannot describe. Let’s also mention that when your father is the boss, you will most likely be the person who gets yelled at to set the example for everyone else, but regardless, you most likely will never forget again.”
After 40-plus years serving The Charlotte Fire and Rural Fire Association, being trapped in house fires several times, making life changing decisions for people, not losing a fire fighter’s life under his command or even major injury, building the Charlotte Fire Department into what it is today, passing knowledge onto many, and always morally doing the right thing, are just a few of the thoughts that pass through Tyger’s mind regarding his father. “It’s unfortunate that after such a remarkable career, many people will not know of the accomplishments Chief Fullerton has created for this department. My hope is, no matter what happens in the future of this department, he shall know that the current and past members are forever grateful for the decisions and service that he has given the Charlotte Fire Department,” continued Tyger Fullerton.
Kevin’s father, Chief Cal Fullerton, always thought that Charlotte needed a West Side Fire Station so that there was immediate fire protection coverage on both sides of the busy tracks. The West Side Adhoc Committee was created and completed extensive studies. In 2008, the city voted to build and man the West Side Station to provide fire protection on both sides of the tracks.
In addition to managing both fire stations, putting out fires and saving lives, Kevin attended multiple fire conventions, seminars and trainings all over the state of Michigan. Between 1975 and 1994 he attended U of M Fire School, has trained and certified as a fire inspector, is EMT certified, an arson expert and investigator, a building inspector and official, a plan reviewer, a certified fire inspector, a driving instructor, a hazardous materials operations tech, trained as an incident command and a hazardous material inspector. He has also participated in the CFD water-ball tournaments all over the state.
Through the years, Chief’s wife, Nancy Fullerton held vigilance at home, or school functions, or wherever she might be when he was called away to put out yet another fire. “He knows what type of fire it is, and what is needed to fight it, just by the color of the smoke in the sky. He immediately starts sending in everything and everyone needed. The other fire departments are always relieved when he shows up. His knock-down time is amazing,” said wife Nancy Fullerton.
When joining the Department in 1995 as a young man, Chris Burt remembers being very intimidated by Chief Fullerton with the big moustache. “I quickly determined that I would never be able to obtain as much knowledge as Chief Fullerton about firefighting.  One of the things I have respected about Chief is that he never lost sight of the fact that the fire department would be nothing without the volunteers.  He respected the fact that we had families and jobs and needed to get back to them when the time was right. He has always been more than a chief and would do anything he could to help you. The city and rural fire departments owe Chief Fullerton loads of gratitude for all he has done.  When equipment has failed, he has fixed it on his own time at no cost to the municipalities.  He has used his own skills, equipment and sometimes money to remedy a situation with little to no fanfare. I am confident that with his retirement we will still see him around, helping train new firefighters and passing on his knowledge to all the volunteers.”
Chris Sloan wanted to express his feelings on his history with Chief Kevin Fullerton by sending in this statement: “Twenty years ago I was a twelve-year-old kid who started coming around hanging out with Tyger, you helped teach me all about the farm. When my father passed away two years later, you helped fill the void, so I thank you for that.  For the last 15 years I have been a member of Charlotte Fire Department, and you have shown me what a leader is. I know I wouldn’t be where I am without your knowledge. You have always been willing to help, give advice, or roll up your sleeves and show how something works.  Thank you for everything you have done for me personally and as a fireman. Congratulations on everything, you have earned it!” And Ron Smith sent in this sentiment: “Thank you Kevin, for your dedication to the fire department. You are the person that showed us how to be firefighters, you led by example. Your wisdom and experience shaped this group and made us into the strong team that is able to serve the community today.
Fred Wieting stated “Kevin was my mentor when I started on the fire department. I was in his back pocket, so to speak, for my first year. I owe my fire-fighting career to him. He started the first formal training in our area, and was instrumental in designing and building the first training center, which was totally built by the members of the department, and friends. When he helped to get the first hurst tool, the jaws of life, we spent every day for two weeks pulling cars apart at the local junk yard. We became good friends over the years. Although he was my boss for eleven years, I felt that I worked with him rather than for him. I don’t think the community knows what they had as a public servant, and the dedication he made to the community. Kevin Fullerton will be sorely missed as our fire chief.”
Chief Kevin Fullerton first retired in 2012. He was asked to come back as the interim fire chief, which he accepted and has served as the part-time fire chief, albeit working full time hours, for the last nine years. He has also held additional roles for his beloved City of Charlotte, including three times as interim city manager, and once filled in as city treasurer. After this retirement, Chief Fullerton plans to stay on as a volunteer to train new fire fighters.
Editor’s observation: After these interviews and the honor of writing this article, I must conclude that if the aerial ladder reaches 100 feet in the air, then Chief Kevin Fullerton must stand taller than one hundred feet. Congratulations, Chief Fullerton, and thank you for nearly five decades of service to our community.

Onondaga

Onondaga

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Onondaga

Featured Story

Shop Local – Culligan Water Conditioning

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

Almost 60 years ago Philip and Phyllis Carey started a Culligan Water franchise in south Lansing. They’ve both passed now, but the business is still in family hands. Matt Carey, their son, has been part of the business since 1980 and now is the official “Culligan Man.”
“We’re a family-owned, local business,” Carey explained, “but with national backing from Culligan.”
The business serves all of Ingham county, most of Eaton County, parts of Livingston county, and the southern half of Clinton county.
Culligan of Lansing offers reverse osmosis water filtration, water softeners, whole-home systems, bottle-free coolers, bottled water coolers and drinking water filters.
Culligan will service all water treatment equipment, Carey said, any make or model. They will also test your water for free. These tests can determine what is in your water, including arsenic, chlorine, chromium-6, coliform bacteria, lead, magnesium, nitrates, radon, and hydrogen sulfide.
Soft water is water that contains few or no dissolved minerals, Carey explained. Water softening involves a process called “ion exchange.” Calcium and magnesium, which are “hard” ions, exchange with sodium or potassium (salt) ions, to eliminate impurities in the water.
In this time of social isolation, there still are situations in which someone needs to come into your home for service and repairs. Culligan service technicians perform all the standard safety measures, including washing their hands, not touching their face, and wear a mask and gloves while working in your home, Carey said.
“About 98% of what we do involves us going to the customer’s home or place of business, not so much them coming to us.”
Culligan Lansing has been rated 4.8 out of 5 stars on Angie’s List, and 4.6 out of 5 stars on Facebook reviews.  Leah Taylor, a customer, commented: “We have used Culligan for our water softener and drinking water for over 40 years!  Culligan is the most reliable company we deal with.  We give them 5 stars for each of those 40 years.”
For more information about Culligan Water Conditioning of Lansing, you can call 1-800-551-6005 or email matt@culliganlansing.com. Visit them on the web at www.culliganlansing.com or on Facebook at culliganLansingMi. They are located at 3460 Dunckel Road in Lansing.

Charlotte

Charlotte

Featured Story

Swampers Celebrates 20 Years In Charlotte

Deb Malewski
Contributing Writer

“We’re just a convenience store with a deli business,” Dave Crippen, owner of Swampers Party Stop in Charlotte said. But it’s the pizza at Swampers that seems to be a big favorite with the locals. Whether it’s a breakfast pizza with sausage gravy, eggs, diced potatoes, meat, and cheese, or a more traditional pizza like the Supreme or the Gator Special, they all are delicious and extremely popular.
Swampers also sells subs, tacos, breakfast sandwiches, and burgers, along with beer, wine, pop, cigarettes, and more.
“We’ve really grown the pizza and deli part of the business over the last twenty years,” Crippen said, “Thanks to the support of a great community.”
Crippen started out in the convenience store business because he wanted to be self-employed, he said. The name “Swampers,” was chosen because the former owner, who also happened to be named Dave and called his business “Dave’s” didn’t want to confuse people. Crippen chose an alligator as a business logo, and even put a cement gator in front of the building.
The building originally was a house, many years ago. Crippen has heard stories that it served at one time as a penny candy store and also as a meat market. He knows it was both the North End Grocery Store and the Beer Barrel Party Store, based on the signs that were found in the upstairs of the building. The upstairs was transformed into an apartment in 2003.
The business just recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary on May 1 with much celebration. “We are really blessed to have found such a loyal and dependable community to be located in. They have taken care of us for the last two decades. We are very, very blessed,” Crippen said about being in Charlotte.
“We’re a tight-knit team,” Crippen said of his employees. “We have over 100 years in this building between them and me,” he said. Plus, there are several former employees who come back to help out when needed. “We’ve had generational employees who have grown up, had children and their kids have come back to work at Swampers,” Crippen said.
Crippen also owns the Swampers in Eagle, which is located at 14360 South Grange Road. It was opened in 2004 and is very similar to the store in Charlotte.
Facebook posts have contests and specials listed, and have really boosted their customer following. They were awarded a People’s Choice Award for their pizza from the Lansing City Pulse in 2020.
Contact Swampers by calling 517-543-8299. Visit them on Facebook at #swampers.charlotte.
Swampers is open seven days a week, Monday through Thursday from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Fridays from 6 a.m. until 11 p.m., on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on Sunday they are open from 8 a.m. until 9 p.m.

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