Less religion, more astrology – part II: The stars say you’re a loser

For young people struggling to embrace their identity, online astrology forums can be a safe space. The use of social media has taken astrology to new heights. Quizzes, guides and other articles written around the Zodiac signs tend to be a running theme on young media sites like Buzzfeed, babe and Refinery29, which are widely circulated on social media platforms.

Facebook groups are popular for users interested in a particular topic, and some of the more dedicated groups can foster a sense of community. Enter “the stars say you’re a loser,” one of the largest and most active astrology communities on Facebook. With 7,000+ members and thousands more added each month, it’s hard to believe that it has only been around for a year.

“Weapon-free School Zone” exists around DeWitt Public Schools

by Laina Stebbins
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — At a time in American society when gun violence has become familiar news and mass shootings dominate the media circuit, many communities across the United States have changed their gun safety policies to better respond to a possible threat. In DeWitt, it’s mean no guns in schools. In the Administrative Guidelines for DeWitt Public Schools, it is stated that “The Board of Education prohibits professional staff members from possessing, storing, making, or using a weapon in any setting that is under the control and supervision of the District for the purpose of school activities approved and authorized by the District.”

Adopted by the Board in February, this policy provides just a few exceptions for this ban, including weapons under the control of law enforcement. Bruce Ferguson, police chief for the City of DeWitt, sees a need for these gun-free zones. Even more so, Ferguson sees a need for preventative measures and education to stop violence before it starts.

Improvements to Bath Township Senior Center intended to keep up with growth of senior population and needs

By Laina Stebbins
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

BATH — The growing number of seniors in Bath and surrounding areas benefiting from the Bath Township Senior Center can now enjoy an improved facility, as well as look forward to future expansions. Thanks to a number of recent upgrades and with plenty more to come, the center will be able to make it even easier for area seniors to come together and meet, take part in a healthy, low-cost meal, and even have a little fun. The proposed improvements and expansions are crucial in order for the senior center to properly meet the needs of a rising senior population. “We’re rather busting at the seams here,” said Program Coordinator Nancy Hoyland.”We’ve expanded our kitchen so we can do much more here, but we need to expand our facility.” January 2016 marked the completion of the senior center’s facility remodel, along with a major expansion of the kitchen facility.

Positive news: negative test results from water quality testing at Bath schools

By Laina Stebbins
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

BATH — As the Flint water crisis continues to harm and inconvenience the lives of residents by the thousands, Michigan residents outside of Flint are expressing concern for the quality of their own community’s water supply. The results of recent testing done at Bath Community Schools, however, can reassure Bath parents that their children have access to safe drinking water at school. “The DEQ stated that our water is in great shape,” said Superintendent Jake Huffman. “Testing the water in any venue is important. People need to be sure and feel confident that the water they’re using is safe,” said Terry Gibb, Senior MSU Extension Educator in Natural Resources and Government & Public Policy.

‘Day to day business’ continues at Ingham County prosecutor’s office in wake of chief’s arrest

By Laina Stebbins, Holly Osmer and Brendan Wilner
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporters

Charges against Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III were announced at a March 14 press conference, and aftershocks continue to resonate throughout the community. Still, the official word at the prosecutor’s office is that it’s business as usual. “Our office does not have any comment on the charges against Mr. Dunnings,” said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Lisa McCormick in an email. “The day to day business of the Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office continues to be performed by the attorneys and staff.” McCormick has assumed Dunnings’ duties in his absence.

DeWitt District Library, after years of financial troubles, now on a stable path of continued improvement

By Laina Stebbins
Bath-DeWitt Connection Reporter

DEWITT — Keeping the DeWitt District Library afloat has long been a topic of debate for the DeWitt Charter Board of Trustees, the DeWitt District Library Board, and several more township boards involved. For far too long, many argued, the library was forced to run on an insufficient allotment of 0.5 mill. The township’s shrinking budget further aggravated this problem; because of increased cuts in funding by the state, DeWitt Township had little to work with as it was. A proposed millage increase in this situation, along with a proposal for a new library building large enough to sufficiently serve the needs of its community, would likely prove challenging to gain public support for. This was indeed the case.

Annual Wild Game Dinner in Bath benefits wildlife, economy

By Laina Stebbins
Bath-DeWitt Connection Reporter

BATH — Bath may be a relatively small community compared to others in the state, but what it lacks in population size it makes up for in natural bounty. The third annual Wild Game Dinner, hosted by the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy this month, will once again highlight Bath’s plentiful natural resources by showcasing local hunters’ contributions to their township while benefiting wildlife conservation efforts. Taking place March 19 at the Bengel Wildlife Center from 6-10 p.m., Bath’s 2016 Wild Game Dinner will feature a silent auction, music and door prizes, a cash bar, and an all-you-can-eat strolling dinner of wild game and other food. Food will be replenished until 9 p.m.

The provisions at these dinners can vary greatly, ranging from relatively standard wild game choices to more exotic ones for adventurous eaters. For this particular event, participants can expect “some bear, venison, some duck, some geese, some lake trout, and a whole list of other different game,” said Kim McKenzie, Office Administrator at the Michigan Wildlife Conservancy.

Farmer’s markets taking off in DeWitt, nationwide

By Laina Stebbins
Bath-DeWitt Connection Reporter

DEWITT — The Downtown DeWitt Farmers Market is a one-stop shop for fresh produce, locally-sourced meat and eggs, an assortment of home goods, and a hefty dose of community engagement. The farmers market, which is run by the DeWitt Downtown Development Authority, brought in an average of 1,000 attendees in 2015. “Last year, we had a pretty tremendous showing with both vendors and attendance,” said Linda Kahler, Market Manager and DDA Coordinator. As for this year, Kahler said attendees “can expect higher foot traffic and more of a variety of vendors … which will allow our shoppers to have a more diverse shopping experience.”

The growing attendance rates of Downtown DeWitt’s Farmers Market are not unique to DeWitt, as farmers markets nationwide are experiencing a rise in popularity among consumers. Official surveys from the U.S. Department of Agriculture confirm this trend.

Conserving the Looking Glass River, a treasured resource for DeWitt

By Laina Stebbins
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — The Looking Glass River has long been a boon to the city of DeWitt with its scenic views and abundant wildlife, not to mention the added opportunities it offers for activities such as kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. Its beauty and bounty does not come effortlessly, however. Resident Bob Bishop served as the communications director of one such local organization, Friends of the Looking Glass Watershed Council, Inc., until his retirement last fall. Friends of the Looking Glass (FLG for short) is a non-profit environmental action group that has been taking initiative to improve the river’s ecological health and water quality since 1990. “The Looking Glass is a really unique, picturesque stream,” said Bishop.