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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MEAP results released. How are they and why is it now gone?

Results

According to the official Michigan school data website, both Bath Township and DeWitt schools performed average on their scores. Students were very proficient in reading and writing, but then struggled on mathematics.

“I feel like this happened because math takes a lot more years of schooling to get good at, while students’ writing improves year after year because they start that at such a young age.” said Lori Webb, the Scott Elementary school principal in DeWitt.

Origins

The MEAP test, which started in the 1970s by governor William Milliken, was created to test current elementary and middle schools students’ skills. The skills tested were mathematics, reading, science, and social studies. This test also involved high school students until 2007 when they decided to change their test to the Michigan Merit Exam.

 

Scott Elementary was one of many schools to take the MEAP this year. Photo Taken by Mike Moffat

Scott Elementary was one of many schools to take the MEAP this year.
Photo Taken by Mike Moffat

Closure

It was announced that the MEAP test will close and the school board is going to try a new type of testing for students next year. The type of testing will be on computers and they will have an adaptive system for the students.

Since the goal of these tests is to have students get more than half of them correct, the adaptive system will adjust to when the student gets a question wrong, the next question will be easier, but if they get the question correct, then the next question will be harder. They are using this new test called the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC).

“I like this new idea of testing,” said DeWitt schools Superintendent John Dieter, “It’ll really be beneficial to the students to see where they are at in certain subjects depending on the difficulty of questions.”

Others don’t think highly of this change though, because since the MEAP dates back so far, that they wonder why change now?

“I personally liked the MEAP testing,” said Sally Fizzell, fourth grade teacher at Scott Elementary, “I was around teaching when these tests were first released, and even though they weren’t popular with the students, it really gave us a sense of how we are doing as teachers too.”

Here are the results from DeWitt Junior High School in mathematics. Graph provided by Michiganschooldata.org

Here are the results from DeWitt Junior High School in mathematics.
Graph provided by Michiganschooldata.org

The Future

Now that this change is occurring, teachers and students are going to have to make the necessary adjustments to the new testing system.

Mentioned in this transitional document, the Michigan school district feels that this transition will result in faster results as well as a more simple scoring system. Also mentioned in the document were other benefits, which will include more relevant lesson plans, and featuring more measures of seeing student’s growth in topics.

“After looking at all the pros and cons of this situation, I can’t help but see more pros,” said Keith Cravotta, DeWitt Junior High School principal, “With the advances in technology over the years, why wouldn’t you want to make this process easier to get scores and make the test easier to take?”

About the SBAC

This new test is meant for children in grades third through eighth as well as juniors in high school. It questions their skills in English, math, and reading, with the purpose of meeting each state’s common core standards. According to their website, this test is the best preparation for kids getting ready for college as well as starting a career in whatever field they prosper in. Not only beneficial for the students, educators will be able to compare their students’ score and adjust accordingly with the pace and material that they teach.

“I feel that this new testing system will be tough to adjust to,” said Cammie Jones, a fourth grade teacher at Scott Elementary, “But once we all finally get used to it, it really will help us look at what we need to do to become better teachers as well as making sure the kids are getting the best education they can get.”

Overall, changes have been made and the whole school system of Michigan has to get used to it. This new test system has a four-year, $175 million grant from the United States Department of Education, so it looks like it has national support and is ready to be taken on in Michigan come spring of 2014.

 

http://www.magisto.com/video/OQRANUIXByo9XA1pYw

https://storify.com/mgmoffat13/meap-results-released-how-are-they-and-why-is-it-n

 

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

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Confusion brings resolution

Budget review

Bath Township’s board members were caught by surprise during their board meeting March 17 when Aaron Stevens, CPA for Abraham and Gaffney accounting firm, presented the 2013 unaudited budget to the board revealing the township’s budget was $720,822 “in the red.”

Stevens mentioned that certain revenue and expenditure line items would be adjusted during the actual audit, although the budget will “probably not” end in the black.

Trustee Ryan Fewins-Bliss believes final audited numbers will be “pretty darn close” to the unaudited ones.

It was evident during the board meeting that it was unclear why the budget was $700,000 over or who should be held responsible. “No one was keeping track of the checkbook,” said trustee Cindy Cronk. “No one wants to answer why this happened.”

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The revenue and expenditure report for 2013 had several pages with information yet to be entered in.
Photo by Brendan Smoker.

The confusion and passing of blame had some local citizens concerned about how the township’s budget was being handled.

Continue reading

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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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