Discover Bath highlights Bath Township

The event

Bath Township is hosting their first ever “Discover Bath” Thursday, April 26 from 1-4 p.m. at Bath Middle School. The intent of the event is to make citizens from Bath Township and surrounding communities aware of what defines Bath and why it is a great community, said event coordinator Deborah Mercer.

Discover Bath will be hosting approximately 50 different businesses, schools, artists, churches, organizations and clubs that are all based in Bath Township.

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Discover Bath will show everything the township has to offer.
Source: Facebook.

Some Lansing-based businesses interested in participating in the event, however Mercer felt this year should only include Bath-based organizations. “Bath has seen such growth the past several years that many people may not be aware of all the terrific things available in the community,” said Mercer.

What’s happening

Discover Bath will have activities for the entire family including a petting zoo, musical performances, a potter wheel demonstration, food vendors, drawings, a fire truck for children to walk through and motorhomes on display from Gillette’s Interstate RV.

“It’s not just a little arts and crafts fair,” said Mercer. “(It’s) definitely going to be for the whole family.”

Local artists including Pamela Timmons, Jonathon Washington and other artists from The Greater Lansing Potters Guild will be displaying their works, ranging from woodworking, water coloring, and couture. Continue reading

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Community forum hosted by Supervisor Clark

By Mike Moffat

Bath-DeWitt Reporter

Overview

A community conversation was held last Saturday at Jo’s Diner on Main Street in Bath. to discuss issues and ideas with Bath Township Supervisor Paula Clark.

Jo's Diner is where the forum took place Photo taken by Mike Moffat

Jo’s Diner is where the forum took place.
Photo taken by Mike Moffat.

Attendance

This wasn’t the first time that Clark hosted this get-together. These conversations have been going on since 2009 and her attendance had ranged from 18 people, to just one person, but this time there were seven residents.

“I do this because it really gives the citizens a chance to know what is going on in our community,” said Clark. “It lets them know that we care and nothing is more important than what is on their mind.”

New Superintendent

One issue brought up between the people was the new superintendent, Daniel Wietecha. Questions that got brought up were how do they know he was the right choice? How long does he plan on holding this position? What are some of his plans for the future?

“I have no idea why people are worried about that,” said Brenda Butler-Challender, Deputy Clerk. “He just got voted in, I feel like the residents need to give him some time before having concerns.”

Other Issues

On the other hand, another popular topic was the programs parks and recreation department.

All departments are located here Photo taken by Mike Moffat

All departments are located at the township offices.
Photo taken by Mike Moffat.

“Another issue that has been on the citizens mind was the situation with that,” said Kathleen Mcqueen, Bath Township clerk. “We wanted to let the residents know our plans for the department and the success that will come with it.”

“One of the biggest events coming up is our Easter event,” said Karen Hildebrant, Bath Township Administrative Services Coordinator. “Since the event is free and open to the public, we expect a great turnout and for everyone involved to have a great time.”

Along with those, they also have plans for Zumba classes, a bake sale, and a soccer league starting up. Overall, the residents of Bath Township got answers on their issues and ideas and expect this to keep occurring in Bath.

For questions or comments, contact Mike Moffat at moffatm2@msu.edu

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Bath Supervisor Clark wears many hats

By Brendan Smoker
Bath-DeWitt Reporter

Bath growth

Clark became a Bath trustee in 2008 and witnessed growth in Bath ever since. She said big progress that has been made has been a growing library and farmers’ market; all the needed property for the Park Lake project has been purchased; and workers have begun raising Park Lake’s water level by two feet.

Supporting the township’s growth, Treasurer Jeff Garrity said Bath “grew 54 percent” last decade, the second fastest growing town in Michigan during that period.

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Trustee Leon Puttler, Treasurer Jeff Garrity and Supervisor Paula Clark prepare for their board meeting. Photo by Brendan Smoker

New Role 

Following the death of Supervisor Tom Schneider in November 2011, Clark was appointed to fill the position. The following year, Clark was elected to supervisor. Then in September 2013, Superintendent Troy Feltman left his position due to differences in his contract renewal.

“I did not know, nor do I think any of us did, that by law (when the superintendent seat opens up) the supervisor becomes responsible for that position until it is filled,” explained Clark. Clark began filling Feltman’s shoes shortly after his vacancy.

Clark was happy to reveal that the board did approve a recommendation that would allow Planning Consultant Jim Foulds to deal with economic development and the sewer system. “This is very important because I didn’t have the technical skills that I felt the township needed,” Clark explained.

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Planning Commissioner Jim Foulds discusses future plans for Bath’s sewer system. Photo by Brendan Smoker

The Bath Board is interviewing candidates for superintendent. “We had three great candidates,” said trustee Cindy Crook about the finalists. The new superintendent will begin within the next six weeks.

“I’m looking forward to working with the new superintendent,” said board member Leon Puttler. “Hopefully the board and community will reach out to him.”

Many different hats

Clark’s role as superintendent and supervisor do not sum up all the different hats that she wears. She also is an active member of the Lansing Area Economic Partnership board, a regional economic development group trying to enhance the development of Ingham and Clinton County areas. Clark’s steering position on this board was recently renewed for another year this March.

Clark also is a part of MSU Downtown Coaches Club , the Clinton/Shiawassee County Family Independence Agency and State Employee Retiree Association for over 28 years. Clark also has served over 30 years as a faculty member at Lansing Community College, over 28 years working with Michigan’s Department of Human Services and more than 40 years in social work.

In addition to all this, Clark also is a very active member in her community, volunteering at Michigan State University and her hometown church. When asked how she manages everything she does Clark responds, “What I’ve done is all just a part of the role.”

For questions please contact Brendan Smoker at smokerbr@msu.edu.

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DeWitt District Library in trouble

By Mike Moffat

Bath-DeWitt reporter

Breakdown

Things aren’t looking good for the DeWitt library, as they are in panic mode and on the verge of being closed. They have tried many things such as cutting the staff and hours, but those measures haven’t solved their current state.

“We are underfunded and undersized,” said Jenifer Balcom, the DeWitt Library director. “The average budget for a library is $1.6 million, and ours is at only half of a million.”

More Problems

The size of the library is also a problem. The average size of a library is 26,000 square feet, while the DeWitt library is only 6,400 square feet.

As you can see, the size is much smaller than the average library Photo taken by Mike Moffat

As you can see, the size is much smaller than the average library
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

“A lot of people are worried about economic times,” said Helen Davis, the reference manager for the DeWitt Library. “It also doesn’t help when there aren’t a lot of young children in the area.”

Last Chance

The only hope left for this library is a millage proposal later in 2014. This is the third one they have asked for since 2008, with this the second time asking for an increase in mils toward operation.

“We plan on proposing another millage asking for $500,000 this August,” said Paul Perpich, DeWitt Library Board president. “But, if that doesn’t pass, it looks like we’ll be closing by the end of 2014.”

Citizens Contribute

Even though the library is gets funds from taxes, these have decreased, which doesn’t help the library’s case to get more money. But, before this millage proposal happens, the library wants to get input from residents.

Citizens can also visit their website Photo Taken by Mike Moffat

Citizens can also visit their website
Photo Taken by Mike Moffat

“The only way the citizens could help us is help answer the survey we gave them so we can figure out what they want out of us,” said Youth Services Librarian Mindy Schafer. “Hopefully they can see this library as more than just a place to go for books.”

 

For questions or comments, contact Mike Moffat at moffatm2@msu.edu

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RESA Program helps students prep for college

By: Mike Moffat

Bath-DeWitt Reporter

Program Overview

Imagine being able to get hands on experience as a junior in high school and gain credits toward college. Clinton County’s Regional Education Service Agency program has 11 different courses for credit at Lansing Community College.

This program is available to all the schools in Clinton County, and runs during the whole school year. Students from DeWitt High School, Bath High School, Fowler High School, and others job shadow potential courses.

DeWitt High School is one of many that takes part in the program Photo taken by Mike Moffat

DeWitt High School is one of many that takes part in the program
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

Health Popularity

“Our most popular course being taken in this program has got to be allied health,” said Margo Hazelman, Clear Education coordinator. “It allows a wide variety of different options from students to choose from in the health field, from working with children, to working with the elders.”

The more popular topic in allied health is child development. The students travel to the Fuerstenau Early Childhood Center and host special events such as reading hours, or giving them the experience of teaching a child.

Early Childhood Center Photo taken by Mike Moffat

Early Childhood Center
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

“I really like seeing the students’ reactions when they get a first hand experience like this,” said Kathi Senita, principal at Fuerstenau Early Childhood Center. “It really helps them determine whether they are right going into this age group, or if they want to move up to higher education.”

“My favorite part about teaching this course is seeing the students make the connections with the real world,” said Karen Stutzman, allied health professor at Lansing Community College. “Their actions now can help reflect their future, and they really get a sense of why this program helps them prepare.”

Real Hands-On Experience

On the other hand, another popular course in this program is the construction trades class. This course gives the students an overall of the career building structure.

“We go to sites that are currently in progress and see what their layout is going to look like in the end,” said Ross Pope, construction professor at Lansing Community College. “The students can get a really good look at what goes into building the project such as the materials needed, the floor blueprints, the number of hours needed for the project, etc.”

Overall, these students get credit for participating in this program toward Lansing Community College and it gives them a nice head start going into college. Whether it is criminal justice, sports medicine, or emergency services, the RESA program has a spot for these students’ future.

 

For questions or comments, please contact Mike Moffat at moffatm2@msu.edu

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Bath schools move toward “blended learning”

By Brendan Smoker
Bath-DeWitt Reporter

Education proposal

 In President Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address he mentioned the goal to connect 99 percent of all schools to broadband Internet. In this year’s address, Obama states, “With the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we have got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit. “ The government plans on completing this task within the next four years.

Michigan State student Madeline Verklan studies elementary education and believes all schools should have Internet access. “School is meant to equip children and give them the tools needed to function in the adult world,” said Madeline. “(They) will have to use the Internet almost every day.”

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Bath Elementary computer lab.
Photo by Brendan Smoker

With such an incentive to get schools Internet access, it seems possible that there may be a transition from hard textbooks to Internet-based e-textbooks on tablets like the iPad.  This transition has the possibility to greatly affect Bath schools and most other schools throughout Michigan.

Benefits

 A major component that textbooks cannot match is the stimulating visuals and audio that comes with tablets. Third-grade teacher at Willow Elementary School, Paul Munson said that tablets “use a platform that is engaging and are more fun to use than textbooks.” The apps Munson uses for his classroom are “easier to navigate for students and keeps (their) interest longer,” he explains.

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Bath Elementary has mini-laptops in theirlibrary for students to listen to audio books.
Photo by Brendan smoker

Finding pros in using tablets, Bath technology directory, Doug Murphy explains that “most schools are using technology for what we call blended learning.” Blended learning uses both digital content and instructional content in the classroom, similar to how lots of college courses have both weekly on-campus classes and online material. “(Blended learning) is similar to what kids are going to do when they move on,” said Murphy, advocating for engaging students early on with tablets and the Internet. Continue reading

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“The Hothouse” performance at DeWitt High School

By Mike Moffat

Bath-DeWitt reporter

The Overall Play

DeWitt High School students performed for the first time “The Hothouse.” Written in the 1950′s by Harold Pinter, which is a black comedy about a group of people trying to solve a murder that it ends up in mayhem as they try to figure out who did it.

Cover of the play's program

Cover of the play’s program
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

“We chose this play because it primarily is very challenging,” said Jeff Croley, the head of the theater department at DeWitt High School. “It also is a timeless piece, and it really creates a sense of absurd theater.”

Feedback

Challenging was the common response when asked about the play.

The crew, consisted of only seven people, and they only had three weeks to work on this play when an average play usually takes a few months to complete.

But, that didn’t stop from them performing well each and every time out.

“At the end of every night, we would talk back with the audience to get their opinion on it,” said Geoffrey Croley, who plays the main role of Roote and is also Croley’s son. “They gave us positive reviews every night, and it felt good to hear that.”

Listing of cast members

Listing of cast members
Photo taken by Mike Moffat

Crew’s Ability to Mesh

Not only was the time factor a huge key, but also it really helped them develop the ability to handle tough situations quickly and to build the chemistry between the cast members. Students performed this play four times in a span of four days, twice at 7 p.m., once at 2 p.m., and once at 9 p.m.

“My favorite part of working on this play is how tight this crew is,” said Cameron Cleminson, who plays the part of Lush in the play “We really became a family over this three week period; it came to the point where we trusted each other no matter what.”

 

For questions, please contact Mike Moffat at moffatm2@msu.edu

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