City Council Oks Road Blockades for Dewitt Christmas Market

At it’s recent meeting on Nov 12, the Dewitt City Council allowed for 15 road blockades on Saturday, December 6 for the annual DDA Christmas Market. The event features numerous family events starting at 2 p.m., all the way until the tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m..

The event features two heated tents, many local crafters and vendors, music, and other events. The Bridge Street Hair Company we also be present for their Whoville Hair Salon, where they will give families hairdos resembling those from the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

The Christmas Market is relatively new, beginning within the last ten years. DDA Coordinator Linda Kahler is in charge of the event.

“The DDA used to be run by volunteers… since it was turned over to paid positions, we’ve seen more growth and popularity.” Kahler said.  “The events are just growing as were able to run those events more effectively.”

Kahler is also behind the Dewitt Farmers Market, which has been a huge success throughout the summer in Downtown Dewitt.

A few of the biggest events at the Christmas Market also help give back to the community. After 5 p.m., there will be two main races. One is for children, called the Reindeer Run, and the Santa Run is for adults. Both races cost $10 to join, and take place throughout the streets of downtown, where kids run dressed as Reindeer and adults run dressed as Santa. Both of these races help benefit local food banks. One of those food banks is located right inside St. Jude Catholic Church.

“Last year was the first year they had the Santa run,” Tina Simon of the St. Jude Food Pantry said.

St. Jude is one of the larger food pantries in the area, and mainly helps those within the Dewitt community during their time of need. Last years Santa Run donated about $4,500 to local food banks.

“Dewitt is a vibrant nice community.. they tend to be very giving,” Simon said.

Families are only allowed to visit the food pantry once a month. The food pantry usually helps around seven per week during the summer, but the holidays see an increase in that number.

“In colder weather, we have a tendency to help more families.. We typically give out a dozen sets of food each week,” Simon said.

After the race, there is a Light Parade open to any local business that wishes to have some sort of float. The only stipulation is it must have lights, because the parade leads directly into the annual tree lighting ceremony.

Now that the road blockades passed through City Council, the DDA is able to use the streets throughout Downtown Dewitt to host the event.

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Michigan Wolf Hunting Referendum

– By Mandi Fu

DeWitt and Bath Reporter

Michigan’s Mid-term election was held on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Two polling locations, DeWitt City Hall and DeWitt Fire Station, were set up in DeWitt Township and welcomed local voters from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

vvv vvvv

According to election information on Clinton County’s official website, one of the two state proposals is “Proposal 14-1”, also called the “Michigan Wolf Hunting Referendum”, which would allow for establishing wolf hunting seasons and designating the wolf as a game animal.

The wolf-hunting proposal raised various ideas among voters. Local resident Barlowe Muller said that he supports this proposal stating.

“I think they need to control (wolves)…a lot of farmers here have livestock and wolves do damage (toward them)…people are gonna have a license, a tag to do it,” Muller said.

Jen Rigterink, works for a local agency, also supported for wolf-hunting.

“For overpopulation and killing of livestock…they (wolves) seems to be a larger population and then there is a food supply…To me it’s natural to have them hunted…” Rigterink said.

On the other side, there was a ballot question committee called “Keep Michigan Wolves Protected”, which is composed from a wide variety of people interested in protecting wolves. With “Vote No On Proposal 1&2” signs raised at some popular polling locations, they asked for passed-by voters to consider voting “No” on both proposals.

Jill Fritz, director of the “Keep Michigan Wolves Protected” campaign, explained the reason behind: “It’s extremely important because Michigan’s wolves and wolves all over the United States are still just beginning to recover from being almost completely wiped out, there’s no justification to have a hunting season on them…”

Fritz also mentioned 2 laws (PA 290 and PA 318) that already assist farmers and dog owners: “…And there are already other measures to let farmers protect their livestock, and homeowners or dog owners protect their dogs from wolves that don’t involve having a hunting season…In addition, if a wolf kills farmer’s cow or sheep, farmers received full market compensation for the value of that animal and they can get a permit from the Department of Natural Resource (DNR) to kill any other wolves on their property, even if they are not actually attacking their animals.”

According to DNR’s wolf management information in Michigan, there were 687 wolves in Michigan in 2012 and it’s still showing a decline tendency. But comparing to endangered time of wolves in Michigan in 1989, which shows almost 0 wolves, it’s already a big increase. It also shows that laws PA 290 and PA 318 do allow farmers as well as dog owners to protect their livestock and dogs from wolves.

Until this Thursday, Nov. 6, Clinton County’s unofficial result shows that among 29,319 turnout voters, 14,306 people, which is about 48.8 percent, voted “Yes” for the Michigan Wolf Hunting Referendum.

Diane Mosier, DeWitt Township Clerk, mentioned that there were also some unregistered voters voted on Tuesday, which resulted in mistakes when calculating the results. Mosier said that they are going to balance them and obtain certifications from Clinton County as well as from the State of Michigan.

 

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Postmaster General Plans to Change the Service Standard in DeWitt

–Yuehan Liu, DeWitt and Bath reporter

At every government meeting, there is a public comment time and citizens are allowed to speak about things that they want the government to catch up. On October 28, during DeWitt’s City Council meeting, John Greathouse brought up a fact that the PMG (postmaster general) might change the service standards after January 5, 2015.

By changing the service, what PMG is proposing to do is to close over 100 mails processing facilities nationwide, eliminating overnight mail service standards.

“Each step of the mail process can take multiple days, moving mail to and from an out-of-town processing facility can now take 1-2 days each way,” The APWU (American Postal Workers Union) said.

“The law says the PMG is mandated to serve everyone with prompt, reliable, and efficient service no matter where they live (city or rural) and regardless of income (rich or poor). In other words, all households are to receive equal service,” John Greathouse said.

Amy Gordon, citizen in the city of DeWitt for over 10 years, feels very inconvenienced by PMG changing the service standard.

“We need faster postal service, I mean, I do a lot of online shopping, and I don’t want anything late because of the postal service.”

John Greathouse said that congressional members must act before December 20, 2014, or it will be too late.

After the meeting, mayor of DeWitt Jim Rundborg said that “It’s the first time I heard of it tonight, and I haven’t really register that, but first, we’d like to keep them well going if we could, I think the council will take a look at it, maybe we will do some next time, maybe not.”

Jim Rundborg also mentioned that: “We will support our poster service of course, and personally I use quite a bit, but it’s a business and government have to work on that, and sometimes all decisions get make, and even if we send a resolution, who knows what would happen with it, but we will see what happens.”

1.pic

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Jim Rundborg Wins Reelection as Mayor

While the focus throughout the State of Michigan remained on the Governor race between Republican Rick Snyder and Democrat Mark Schauer, many local municipalities such as Dewitt had their own local elections. One of the big races was for Mayor of Dewitt was between Jim Rundborg and Julie DeRose.

 

Julie DeRose decided to run against the incumbent Jim Rundborg for many reasons, one of them being she felt that he needed a fair fight. Rundborg has been in office for more than one term and has virtually been running unopposed.

 

“Somebody ran against him I think about four years ago but it wasn’t really an even race by any stretch,” said DeRose.

 

After the votes were tallied, Rundborg won resoundingly with 1197 votes to 669 votes. Despite running almost unopposed in the past, Rundborg proved that he could win the votes of the residents of Dewitt and hopes to continue the work he already has planned for the city.

 

“We are… planning for financial events that would impact future budgets.  Bridge work and retirement costs are just a few of those items,” said Rundborg.  “Keeping DeWitt a great place to raise a family in a small town is important to me.”

 

Another very important project is increasing the development of downtown Dewitt, which currently has three vacant buildings that the city is looking to fill.

 

“I would like to continue to bring businesses to our downtown, maintain and improve the services we have come to expect from our Department of Public Works and keep our financial situation stable into the future,” said Rundborg.

 

With reelection, Rundborg secures his position as mayor for at least two more years.

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Recycling Service Plan Is On the Way of Renewal

– Mandi Fu, DeWitt and Bath reporter

Clinton County Board of Commissioners had a finance personal meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at the courthouse in St. Johns, Michigan. One issue they focused on was renewing the Clinton County Recycling Services Plan, especially for rural areas. Kate Neese, Waste Management Coordinator of Clinton County, gave a presentation about their plans during the meeting.

Kate Neese

(Kate Neese, Waste Management Coordinator of Clinton County — photo taken by Mandi Fu)

According to the program proposal, the State of Michigan has enacted Act No. 138 of the Public Acts of 1989, which directs the county to approve a service plan each year. For this year, department of waste management is working on adding more waste management locations.

“It’s kind of a boiler play agreement on the county, my office and the participating municipality for 2 drop-off locations…for rural areas that haulers don’t even offer it (recycling services),” Neese said. She also mentioned benefits that will be brought to the local community, such as extending landfill’s life and creating job opportunities.

However, there is a budget problem behind this plan for local people.

“In rural recycling…first of all, (you) should have locations where people who live at rural districts can take recycles to…Some rural areas don’t have enough funds to help pay for it (drop-off stations),” said by Robert Showers, Chairman of Clinton County Commissioner.

“Our current plan at county is to do analysis of all the cost to have a person that make sure the area is clean…And what cost are related to that and come back with the plan is what that total bill would be,” he said.

The board of commissioners has had an agreement on the renewal plan and is going to meet on Oct. 28 to focus on fund problems for rural areas in Clinton County. Showers said that they are going to vote whether or not to help with the problem on next meeting.

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As November approaches, Dewitt’s Mayoral Election Heats Up

IMG_2957

On Nov. 4, residents of Dewitt will have the choice to either keep or replace their Mayor of eight years.

Julie DeRose hopes they choose a replacement, as she is stepping up to the plate against the incumbent Jim Rundborg. DeRose is a longtime resident of Dewitt, and has degrees from Ferris State and Western Michigan Universities. She is also co-owner of Smith and DeRose Insurance and serves on the Education Commission at St. Jude Catholic Church in Dewitt. Julie says she is running because in the past few elections, the mayor has run unopposed, and Julie believes she is the legitimate candidate to give him a challenge.

Julie DeRose hopes they choose a replacement, as she is stepping up to the plate against the incumbent Jim Rundborg. DeRose is a longtime resident of Dewitt, and has degrees from Ferris State and Western Michigan Universities. She is also co-owner of Smith and DeRose Insurance and serves on the Education Commission at St. Jude Catholic Church in Dewitt. Julie says she is running because in the past few elections, the mayor has run unopposed, and Julie believes she is the legitimate candidate to give him a challenge.

“For the last four years, we who pay a lot of taxes in Dewitt have been led by a city council that has been part of a very closed group for a long, long time, led by the mayor who was unopposed,” said DeRose. “That leads to complacency, it leads to a lack of accountability.”

Rundborg has also been a longtime resident of Dewitt, calling the city his home since 1987. He currently works for Central Michigan University and has over 40 years of experience in the education field. He is a member of the DeWitt Downtown Authority Board, DeWitt Memorial Board and the Ox Roast committee. Rundborg became a member of the Dewitt City Council in 2001 and was elected mayor pro-tem in 2004.

“During my tenure as Mayor we have made great strides in revitalizing our downtown, improving our City Parks, and continuing to offer services that benefit our residents,” said Rundborg. “I would like to continue to bring businesses to our downtown, maintain and improve the services we have come to expect from our Department of Public Works and keep our financial situation stable into the future.”

Among other things, Rundborg believes the key reason why he is the best candidate for the position is his experience.

“Experience, strong leadership, ability to build collaborate relationships with DeWitt Township and DeWitt Public Schools and being fiscally responsible over time makes me the best candidate,” said Rundborg.  “My opponent has never been to a City Council Meeting or participated in any area of our City Government.  We need a leader not a learner as the Mayor of DeWitt.”

DeRose is using Rundborg’s experience against him, claiming that the current leadership has been a closed group for too long, in which there is no accountability being held,

“I think questions need to be asked,” said DeRose. “The tipping point of all of it was when I discovered that they, the city, used our tax dollars to buy a church. And I have a real problem with governments getting in the real estate business and basically dictating local economies, and molding them the way they want them to be.”

Despite her lack of experience in the city government, DeRose feels she has plenty of outside experience to excel at the position of Mayor.

“I have worked for state government, I have managed very large budgets, millions of dollars in grants, I have written grants, received them, so I think that is a skill or talent that could be used well in the city.”

If re-elected, Mayor Rundborg says he has plans to continue to improve Dewitt’s bridges and roads, and feels one of the biggest issues facing Dewitt right now involves improving the downtown.

“Finding quality businesses to fill the three empty buildings in our downtown that our residents will support,” said Rundborg.  “Look for new ways to work with others to bring businesses to our area and to lower costs of things that we all do, but could do better together.”

DeRose also said she feels strongly about improving downtown. If elected, DeRose feels the most important issue and the first thing she would do is evaluate the city spending.

“That would be one of my first priorities… to review the spending, review our long term plan for the city, see where we are at with that plan, and see if that plan should be tweaked,” said DeRose.

The elected position of Mayor in the City of Dewitt is a two-year term. The mayor has many responsibilities. He/she serves as Chief Executive Officer of the City and is the official head of the City for ceremonial purposes. They are responsible for directing and supervising the administrative officers, except the City Attorney. The Mayor also presides at all Council meetings and has veto power in the instance of a tie of the City Council.

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Michigan is Fighting for LGBT Protection

By Yuehan Liu

Bath-DeWitt Reporter

As 32 states recognize gay marriage in America, people nowadays pay more attention to the LGBT rights. In Michigan, one of all the important issues shows up for the upcoming election, in both the Democratic and Republican parties, which is adding LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, was written and passed in 1976, the main goal of the act is to protect people’s human rights and to make employers treat people equally, no matter their religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, or marital status.

Currently in the State of Michigan, it’s legal to fire someone or refuse housing just because of his/her sexuality or gender identity. And for this upcoming election, both Democrats and Republicans think it is very important to add LGBT to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.

Equality Michigan estimates that at least 287,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults live in Michigan. (https://www.equalitymi.org/files/uploads/how_many_lgbt_people_live_in_michigan.pdf) For this large amount of people, giving them equal rights and protecting them from discrimination is an important issue.

“Because my friends, my family that are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, they just want to be able to raise families, they just want to be able to live happily, if you just talk to them you will see that they don’t want anything big or crazy, they just want to be treat equally”, said Josh Derke, member of Clinton County Democratic Party, who is running for State Representative of Michigan’s 93rd House District.

1.pic_hd-2For the Republican side, although they did not promote it as hard as Democrats, there are still in favor of LGBT protection.

Derke also mentioned that the fight for LGBT protection can also help Michigan’s economy.

“I think it is very important because at the state level, they are talking about laws that would affect them, and a study recently shows that if we do protect gays and lesbians and bisexual and trans people, we can bring up to 53 million dollars economy activities state”, Derke said.

“My best friend is gay, he is very kind and he works hard, I think he deserve to have protection and not to lost a job just because of the fact the he is gay”, said Anna Epkey, a citizen in the city of DeWitt.

Dr. Nettie Walker Wood, the Corresponding Secretary of the Clinton County Democratic party is also a faithful Christian and plays the piano for her church. Wood mentioned that there are conflicts about same-sex marriage because the United States has a lot of Christians, and the ideas of the country are based on the bible, but the LGBT protection is about human rights.

“This is the country that believes in helping people in this country become strong”, Wood said.

The issue about LGBT protection is about treating people equally with job opportunities.

Share
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment