Teenagers’ Drinking and Drug Use Continues to be a Persistent Problem

– Mandi Fu, DeWitt and Bath reporter

The underage drinking and drug use has been a concern for parents in DeWitt and Bath areas. According to a Clinton County Alcohol and Drugs report  (2011-2012) on the Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth website, the average age of first alcohol use is 13.6 years old and 25.8  percentage of them have been drunk before. As for drugs use, the average age of first marijuana use is 13.9 years old while only 22 percent of the reported students never tried marijuana for their lifetime. Moreover, 67.5 percent of the students think is easy or very easy to get alcohol and 42.8 percent think it’s easy to get marijuana.

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(Steve Crowley, counselor of DeWitt High School – photo by Mandi Fu)

As for this assignable problem among the youths, Steve Crowley, counselor of DeWitt High School, said that the main factors for high school students to use alcohol or drugs are: pressures from home or from school performance. He also talked about society influences on students: “…As they leave, they are introduced to more people that do drink or that do take prescription drugs or drugs themselves. And I think…having that freedom with nobody looking over their shoulder… and then not knowing whether necessarily or not, genetically they might become addicted…”

Lieutenant Spagnuolo, City of DeWitt Police Department officer, mentioned another key point for teenager’s dinking and drugs use, which is the social media: “…It’s (social media) increasing the response. Instead of just telling a friend and telling a friend, you can post your party (photos)…then people are just starting to show off… it’s (drinking and drug information) not limit to just the local area…”

Both of them suggested using parental guardians and school programs to prevent or decrease the risk of getting addicted. Officer Spagnuolo said schools and parents should have stronger analysts and hold teenagers accountable. Crowley mentioned about Health classes in DeWitt High School are working on teaching the refusal skills toward underage drinking/drugs use. The school has series of drug information meetings for parents and students as well.

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(Aaron S. Jenkins, communication specialist of Cristo Rey Community Center – photo by Mandi Fu)

Aaron S. Jenkins, communication specialist of a drug rehab and alcohol treatment facility called “Cristo Rey Community Center”, gave advices for addicted young people and their guardians: “You wanna try to find something that they can do as positive…and it starts with having positive role models… do something that’s enlighten…running and do some sports, something that’s challenging for them”.

Also, all of them suggested that corporations with the youths and education on drinking and drugs are necessary for guardians to work on.

 

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City of Dewitt Prepares for Bridge Repairs

Two bridges, one at Schavey Road and the other at Bridge Street, are in need of some substantial repairs in the next 10 years, and the Dewitt City Council is making sure they have the financial means to make these repairs happen.  In order to insure that the funds for these projects are readily available, the City Council created the “Bridge Repair Fund”, which set aside $120,000 to be used on the bridges,

“The fund is designed to set aside money each year so we do not have to come up with the funding all at one time, issue a large amount of debt or raise taxes to pay for the repairs,” said Dewitt City Administrator Daniel Coss.

The repairs needed for the bridges are very expensive, and the fund is expected to grow over time.

“We are anticipating to be able to add 60K toward each bridge each year,” said Coss. “We have two bridges that will require approximately 1.5 million in repairs in the next 10-15 years.”

In order to help cover the costs, the city is also looking for other help.

“In addition to the bridge fund the City will look for grant opportunities as the repairs get closer to help cover the costs,” said Coss.

The repairs that the bridges require include new bridge decks and significant repairs to the super structure.  By planning ahead of time, the city council believes it will be able to avoid burdening future councils with necessary repair costs, and will avoid having to raise taxes.

“Taxes are not being raised, the money comes from street funds that the city gets from the State of Michigan and from the general fund,” said Coss.  “One of the reasons we started the fund was so the City would not have to issue debt to make the necessary repairs.”

By starting early and adding more funds yearly, along with the possible money from the state, the city is thinking in terms of the future and hoping that this fund will solve any problems that may arise with repairs in the future.

 

 

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DeWitt is Getting Ready for You to Vote

By Yuehan Liu

Bath-DeWitt Reporter

As the time passes, November is coming and the 2014 election is on the way to the stage. Election is always an important but complicated thing for both voters and the government. To the voters, understanding how to vote and who they should vote for is an important decision to be done. And for the government, the whole progress of the campaign also has a lot of details that needs to take care of. By the information from October 2nd the Clinton County Democratic party’s meeting, which holds at the DeWitt City Hall, we know that the government is getting ready for you to vote.

“The most important thing that happens for today’s meeting is we can see the progress we are making, especially making sure that our candidates are running, making sure democracy is getting support”, Dr. Nettie Walker Wood, who is the corresponding secretary in the Clinton Democratic party, said.

16.picAs the DeWitt County Clerk and Recorder’s statistic, there are 12,070 voters (http://il.dewitt.accessliberty.com), in the city of DeWitt this year for the election. How can the government make sure that they let these voters have enough information to vote and collect their votes accurately?

Member of the Clinton Democracy Party Judy Hood indicated that they are doing the pre-election work for a long time. They spread out the news by social media, email, and paper works.

“The primary concern is contact”, Hood said.

18.pic“people would be divided into small areas, and members would take charge of different areas, we have their contact information, and we also will go talk to them door by door”, Hood said.

As a candidate for the state representative, Josh Derke was busy running for the campaign for a long time. “I have thousand works to do everyday”, Derke said.

In the meeting Derke reports what he was doing for last month, by his report it shows how candidates are trying to let voters know more information before the election.

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Voter’s Ideas Before the Election

– Mandi Fu

Bath and DeWitt reporter

Time is moving closer to election on Nov. 4, some residents from DeWitt and Bath are starting to prepare for the issues and parties.

Many residents said they are going to vote for the up-coming election. According to data on Clinton County’s website, the turn out of election for DeWitt and Bath area is ranged from 10 percent to 26 percent for the passed August. Judy Hood, 78, has been a Democrats for more than 50 years: “Oh I always vote…since I was able to vote”.  Steve Willis, 69, the chairman of Clinton county Republican Party, also said that he would vote for the election. “We are actually walk for candidates, and probably make phone calls for candidates…I’m actually distribution point for yard signs”, said by Willis about his pre-election preparation.  And Cathryn Giunta, a co-funder and a managing partner, also said that she would vote on this election. But she does not have a strong tendency.

When asking people who have a strong tendency about the reason of supporting one specific party or against another one, they express different ideas. Hood said that she support Democratic Party because she thinks they really care about people while Republican Party only cares about money: “They (Democrats) just think everybody should have rights, and it seems to me that the Republicans only care about the rich and the upper classes of the country”. While Tim Fair, 52, a technological business owner and a  Republican, said that Democratic Party support bigger government: “…and they want the governments to run for individuals’ rights. That’s what they want.”

According to the data from 2010 on “Census Viewer”, rates of supporters for Republican Party in Bath area is 19.61 percent while for Democratic Party is 6.31 percent. And in DeWitt area, the difference is even bigger: 26.17 percent for Republicans and 5. 47 percent for Democrats.

Robert Showers

Robert Showers, the Clinton County Commissioner, explained reason behind the gap between supporters of Democrats and those of Republicans. He said because there are a lot of farmers who live in DeWitt and Bath area, ideas of them tend to be more conservative, which fit with the main statement of Republican Party, than liberal, which stands for Democrats.

 

 

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The New DeWitt District Library

-By Mandi Fu

Bath-DeWitt Reporter

Time after this August must be the rising days of DeWitt District Library – they have solved the budget problem in August and are able to do new things for the library.

Problem solved

During the first half of this year, DeWitt District Library only had a budget for 1.5 million, which is under the average 1.6 million for a library. This had caused a great panic for the whole library. But the request for more money in August saved the library from breakdown.

“And that gives us an extra $319,000 a year”, said the library director Jennifer Balcom.

New Things

Now, DeWitt District Library is able to extend their opening hours for another 10 hours a week and add three more story times for their waiting lists.

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One new material that the library adds recently is called “Discovery Pack”. They are basically purple backpacks that contain themed books, a DVD or CD, an education toy and a sheet of rhymes, songs, finger plays and extension activities for children and their caregivers to enjoy together. These themed backpacks are picked out by the Youth Serviced librarian Mindy Schafer, which contain “123 Count With Me”, “Digging Up Dinosaurs”, “Pretty Princesses”, “Creepy Crawlies” and so on. Schafer says that they are a great way to extend the story sharing experience with a young child.

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“This is something we’ve been wanting to do for a long time but hadn’t be able to forward to. But now because we have more money (for that) and they are popular”, said Balcom.

Caregivers can check out these backpacks for free and there is also a shorter check out period of 7 days.

Reactions

People who come to the library are satisfied by services from DeWitt District Library.

Amanda Carpenter, a mother with 2 kids, said that she likes the new hours and new programs, especially more story times. “I like that they add socialization for the kids and the parents. And then I like that there is activities in addition to the reading”, she said.

Rebecca Corr, who lived in DeWitt for 15 years, said that she benefit from the library a lot. Although Corr also mentioned that she couldn’t tell any difference than before the millage, she will put anything related to the library in her priority.

Future problems

One primary problem for DeWitt District Library right now is extending their area. Right now, it only has 6,400 square feet for library materials while the average size of a public library is much bigger than that. Balcom said that this problem would not be solved in a while because people are afraid of more tax from constructing on a new place.

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Another problem for the library is how to serve more members better from their materials and programs. Balcom mentioned that although the libraries of 3 nearby schools do have libraries, they may not have as much materials as the public library has and they closed for evenings and summers, which caused majorities come to DeWitt District Library with more needs.

 

 

 

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Dewitt Welcomes New Homeowners

Simplified Tax in Dewitt opened up its doors rather early on Friday to host a Monthly Merchant Mixer, which is run by the Dewitt Downtown Development Authority, which is better known as the DDA.  The Mixer is a way for businesses located downtown to meet each other and become acquainted.

“It’s nice to just have a chance, before we open our business doors, to get a chance to meet each other so we’re more comfortable in a general community type setting,” said Simplified Tax CPA Nikali Luke.

The mixers, along with other events, have become successful lately thanks to the rising amount of people moving into Dewitt.

“We have noticed over the last two years that the residential housing market has picked up quite a bit,” said Daniel Coss, Dewitt’s City Administrator.  “The one thing we’ve noticed is a lot of new families are moving into Dewitt.”

The new houses being built have helped to keep Dewitt out of the depression, and the new developments haven’t stopped.

“Now we have home building starting up again… I think there’s between five and 10 homes in the city that have their foundation in and their walls up,” said Mayor Jim Rundborg.  “It’s a good place to raise a family.”

This new influx of residents has helped many businesses thrive, and has enabled the DDA to host several Farmers Market’s throughout the year, which attract lots of local residents.  Many businesses are also deciding to move their offices downtown.

“Right now, we have about a 95% occupancy in the downtown,” Coss said.  “We have really three buildings that are vacant in the downtown, which for a downtown and a city our size is phenomenal.”

The new residents moving in the area have been beneficial to many of the businesses attending the mixer.  Julie Young is the CPA who runs the Dewitt office of Simplified Tax, and she has already noticed the trend of increased homes in Dewitt.

“I actually just this past tax season saw a lot of new Dewitt residents,” said Simplified Tax CPA Julie Young.  “We’re excited about that.”

The businesses only hope that they will continue to grow along with the City of Dewitt.

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The DeWitt Farmers’ Market Are Planning to Expand Next year

By Yuehan Liu

Bath-DeWitt Reporter

As the fall season started and the weather get cooler and cooler, Dewitt’s open air farmers’ market events are nearly going to an end of this year.

The DeWitt Farmers’ Market is located in Downtown DeWitt, North of theintersection
of Main and Bridge Streets, it opens Tuesdays in June through mid-October, 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. (Http://www.dewittfarmersmarket.com) As an annual community event runs by DeWitt Downtown Development Authority, DeWitt Farmers’ Market gets good comments from both vendors and shoppers.

“Yes it’s a nice market, it’s a big market, it’s a busy market, they have money in DeWitt so they don’t mind spending money in DeWitt.” Said Freddie Dancy, who sells butter in the market. He is an independent insurance agent and makes butter with his wife by the side.

Freddie Dancy (Vender in DeWitt Farmers’ Market) http://dancysfancybutter.com/about.html

Freddie Dancy (Vender in DeWitt Farmers’ Market)
http://dancysfancybutter.com/about.html

“We do this because is like it is a passion. It takes about 3 hours to make one big bag of butter, and most of the time every Tuesday we earn like I guess a hundred and fifty dollars for three hours.” Dancy said.

According to Linda Kahler, who is the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) coordinator, there are 29 vendors now in DeWitt Farmers’ Market. And it is not a hard process to be as one of them.

Linda Kahler (Downtown Development Authority Coordinator)

Linda Kahler (Downtown Development Authority Coordinator)

“They do need to apply. There is an application process online and they will fill out the application, there’s a fee ($10 a market, or $200 for the whole season, and if they attend 16 out of 20 markets, it get half their fee back).” Said Kahler.

Julie Gordon, who lives in DeWitt for 20 years, also enjoys the market very much. “Fresh, nice people, different variety of food, sauces you won’t buy in Meijer (cause it’s fresh and organic and cheap)” Gordon said.

The DDA has a survey for both vendors and shoppers, so that they can have feedback from people to help them understand about what people want and what kind of improvement they can make.

“People want to see more vendors, more variety, people want to have fresh meat, organic meat, so we are looking at like chickens, since we already have a beef vender.” Said Anna Epkey, who is a volunteer in DeWitt Farmers’ Market.

“It’s a really great market. It’s grown like double the size as last couple years so, and the weather is really helping now.” Said Epkey.

To answer about the future plans, Linda Kahler said: “we are looking to be a bigger market, with more vendors to attract more shoppers, we have to be careful to that, we don’t have too many vendors to offer the same products, because then it’s not fair, we want unique things, people that feature different products, and different goods that they made.”

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