Bath Community Schools looking into Safe Routes to School program to spur youth exercise

By Zachary Manning
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

BATH — Bath Community Schools are looking into implementing a Safe Routes to School (SR2S) program to encourage students to exercise more.

According to the SR2S website, the three purposes of the program are to enable and encourage children in grades K-8 to walk and bike to school, to make walking and biking to school safer and more appealing, and to facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety.

Three members of the Bath Board of Education at the March 28, 2016 meeting. Photo by Zachary Manning.

Three members of the Bath Board of Education at the March 28, 2016 meeting. Photo by Zachary Manning.

“Bath Community Schools supports a number of fitness programs encouraging students to exercise and participate in healthy activities. Safe Routes to School is another program that promotes student health and supports students walking and biking to school,” said Nancy Hawkins, Bath Community Schools board secretary. “It is great to see that the Bath community also supports the program. Walking and biking to school can be a safe way for children to be more active.”

Bath Community Schools are pursuing this to promote a healthier lifestyle for kids. It is not a major priority right now as they have pretty good sidewalks already, but they are open to supporting it.

“It would help promote healthy living, being active, safe routes for biking and walking, and conserving our natural resources by walking or riding bikes to school,” said Jake Huffman, superintendent of Bath Community Schools. “To this point though, it hasn’t been a district priority, as we already have a pretty good sidewalk system in town, though there is always room for improvement or expansion. We would be open to supporting the program if some external leadership was developed to promote the program.”

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DeWitt has a plan to continue to grow … A Master Plan, that is

By Holly Osmer
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — In 2005, The City of DeWitt was recognized by CNN and Money Magazine’s as the 75th place on their “Best Places to Live 2005” of 100 finalists. It was just one of four Michigan cities recognized. This was just one of many positive aspects recognized by DeWitt’s Master Plan.

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The City of DeWitt Planning Commission officially approved the “City of DeWitt Master Plan, The Big Picture: DeWitt 2010 to 2020,” on September 23, 2010. This documents includes all maps, descriptive narrative and future land use recommendations therein for DeWitt. It was signed by Chair of the Planning Commission Robert Smith, certifying the document was adopted by the Planning Commission.

According to the Master Plan’s introduction, “This Master Plan is intended to continue the City’s efforts to protect and preserve qualities on which residents place great value while allowing the City to grow and prosper in a responsible manner.”

This plan nearly went through a three-year process beginning with its development from January to November of 2008, to being adopted in September of 2010.

IMG_6678The hope for the plan was to have a fundamental impact on the character and quality of the life in DeWitt’s community, according to the plan. The city of DeWitt, with its local businesses, pleasant parks, and quality schools, has seen a large increase in the amount of residential growth in the past 10 to 15 years.

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

The Bath Township Senior Center, located at 14480 Webster Road. The center is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Picture: Facebook, Bath Charter Township)

The Bath Township Senior Center, located at 14480 Webster Road. The center is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Picture: Facebook, Bath Charter Township)

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.”

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Bath schools getting two new sets of wheels

By Shane Jones
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

BATH — The first time your child ever rode the bus to school, did you follow that bus and make every stop with it? It is quite common for some parents to do this because they are nervous about finally sending their child away to school on their own. Over the course of a school year, a bus will endure some punishment — especially here in Michigan.

Bath Community Schools has brought some improvement to the transportation of students grades K-12. For the district, there are five buses that they use on rotation, but there has been two new additions of buses.

Originally in the budget there was only going to be one bus bought for this school year and another one would be bought in next years budget. However, with the addition of the second bus this year, they will not be purchasing a new bus next year.

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Daddy-Daughter Dance is now the Cupid’s Shuffle in Bath School District

Bath Elementary School took a step in the right direction with the name change. Photo from http://bathschools.net

Bath Elementary School took a step in the right direction with the name change. Photo from http://bathschools.net

By Brendan Wilner
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

BATH — In Bath Township, there is a new dance name that was changed and it is something that the school district should be proud of. There was a Daddy-Daughter Dance that was changed to Cupid’s Shuffle. The dance was sponsored by the Bath High School Student Council and was for Elementary and Middle School students.

The superintendent of the Bath School District, Jake Huffman, said that it is a minor name change that fits the purpose of the dance. Huffman had the idea was suggested to him, the school principals, and the high school advisors.

“We had a few parents express that they felt Daddy/Daughter restricted girls from attending due to the number of single parents, kids living with other family members (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.).” Huffman said.

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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. “I think, just for peace of mind, that people are going to request and even demand that water be tested to make sure that it’s safe.”

The mid-February water testing drew results from eight samples taken from “high usage areas” in three school buildings, according Huffman. The tests were performed by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and tested for both lead and copper.

“Seven of the eight samples had no detection of copper or lead,” said Huffman. “The eighth had no detection of copper and a 0.001 (1 part per million) for lead. Federal guidelines are 0.015 or 15 times higher than that sample.”

In other words, a clean bill of health for the drinking water at Bath schools.

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Dog park conversation heating up in DeWitt

By Zachary Manning
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITTDeWitt is in the process of looking into adding a dog park to the city and the township. The project is mostly citizen-run, but local officials are reviewing comments from the public and working on leasing agreements.

“It is a community-driven project, so there is a group of citizens that have been working with the township and the city,” said Rodney Taylor, DeWitt Charter Township manager.

The dog park would be located at the front end of the Southern Clinton County Municipal Utilities Authority (SCCMUA) building on Herbison Road. The land for the park is not being utilized right now. It is about a two-acre piece of land.

Location of the proposed dog park. Map created on Google Maps by Zachary Manning.

Location of the proposed dog park. Map created on Google Maps by Zachary Manning.

“The location is the front end of SCCMUA. It’s fenced on two sides and it’s right next to Padget Park,” said Brad Gurski, SCCMUA director of operations. “SCCMUA owns the property. SCCMUA leases the property to DeWitt city and DeWitt Township and they will sublease it.”

The location would be inexpensive, because it has existing fencing and the only thing left to do would be adding amenities and a third side of fencing.

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