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Volunteers bring Special Olympics to DeWitt

The non-profit organization Area 28 offers a free year round program for athletes with disabilities in DeWitt. A branch of the Special Olympics, Area 28 also provides skills programs for children under the age of 8 with intellectual and physical disabilities, and is designed to train the athletes in an organized course so they can possibly play in the competitive games one day. “When people think of the Special Olympics they think of the summer games, but it’s not just that. It’s a year round program. We have sports every season,” Area 28 Assistant Director Kathy Logan explains.

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Bath Township residents react to Board Members’ feud

Two members of Bath Township’s Board of Trustees had a heated argument during the board meeting on Oct. 17, 2016. A board member attempted to make a motion when suddenly a discussion broke with board member Cindy Cronk and Ryan Fewins-Bliss. Clearly upset, Cronk proceeded to make a comment to Fewins-Bliss, saying he is “such a girl”. To see what happened, visit https://bathtownship.viebit.com/#tlX0SCV2D1Lx .

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National police brutality talks impact DeWitt residents

The national conversations on police brutality have had an impact on the way DeWitt residents interact with the police, according to police chief Brian Russell. “People have treated us differently in some situations. When the bad guys and girls are being arrested for driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor, domestic violence or other arrests they often tell us not to shoot them,” Russell said. “Truth is we have had two officer involved shooting in 11 years.”

DeWitt is currently 94.5 percent white and local minorities said they sometimes feel targeted when passing the city. “As far as the diversity in Dewitt Township and the city of Dewitt, the officers there really target you when you get into that city limit,” said long-term township worker Barbara Davis, an African-American woman.

Sport shooting ranges coming to DeWitt Township

DeWitt residents will soon have a safe and legal indoor-only space to use firearms after the township board approved ordinance 42.9 on Sept. 26 by a 5-4 vote. The ordinance, which will allow residents to practice archery and archery only outside as well as have an indoor space for shooting firearms, will be adopted during the next township meeting on Oct. 24. The board opted to limit outdoor shooting to archery only, and have the indoor ranges encompass firearms that are within federal regulations when it comes to safety and noise levels.

Coming soon: a new and improved DeWitt

By Shane Jones
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — Buildings in downtown DeWitt have been standing for many years, but the businesses have changed greatly. One building for example was once an old car dealership, now it is a restaurant. What was once a church, will now be a brewery. As time goes on, the city of DeWitt is trying to change from the small city that it is known for into more of a modern city. Each year, the city and township management are constantly trying to help the city grow.

“Weapon-free School Zone” exists around DeWitt Public Schools

by Laina Stebbins
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — At a time in American society when gun violence has become familiar news and mass shootings dominate the media circuit, many communities across the United States have changed their gun safety policies to better respond to a possible threat. In DeWitt, it’s mean no guns in schools. In the Administrative Guidelines for DeWitt Public Schools, it is stated that “The Board of Education prohibits professional staff members from possessing, storing, making, or using a weapon in any setting that is under the control and supervision of the District for the purpose of school activities approved and authorized by the District.”

Adopted by the Board in February, this policy provides just a few exceptions for this ban, including weapons under the control of law enforcement. Bruce Ferguson, police chief for the City of DeWitt, sees a need for these gun-free zones. Even more so, Ferguson sees a need for preventative measures and education to stop violence before it starts.

DeWitt has been improving its community thanks to the Master Plan

By Holly Osmer
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — 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, and their economy is expected to continue growing, despite Michigan’s overall slowed pace. According to the “City of DeWitt Master Plan The Big Picture DeWitt 2010 to 2020,” this growth pressure is expected to continue to impact DeWitt, the DeWitt School District and other public services during the life of this Master Plan and beyond. “The Master Plan is a document that depicts how the city would like the land to be used and developed over the course of time covered,” said DeWitt City Administrator Dan Coss. “The Planning Commission and City Council worked on the Master Plan for approximately 12 months and then by State Statute it is reviewed every five years,” said Coss. “The time it takes [to finish a Master Plan] really depends on if there are any amendments to the plan, typically 6-12 months.”

Since its creation, there are several aspects of DeWitt that have been either added or improved.

DeWitt is still not very diverse, but working on it

By Zachary Manning
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — The City of DeWitt has a clear lack of diversity and residents, city officials, school officials, and police have mixed reviews on why. According to the 2010 census, about 95 percent of DeWitt’s population is white, 1.4 percent is black, 0.9 percent is Asian, and 0.4 percent is American Indian. DeWitt’s white population is above the national average of 72.4 percent. DeWitt’s black population is below the national average of 12.6 percent. The Asian population in DeWitt is below the national average of 4.8 percent.

In the city of DeWitt, crime is on vacation, but not the cops

By Brendan Wilner
The Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — In the city of DeWitt, everyone is working together to continue their low crime rates. The small population of DeWitt has allowed both city officials and the police department to not have to worry about the crime rate. The city had 80 total arrests for both 2014 and 2015, according to City Administrator Dan Coss. “We have a very proactive police department and our officers are very visible in the community. We have a 24/7 department,” said Coss.

Potholes aplenty at DeWitt Public Schools’ parking lots and access roads

By Holly Osmer
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — DeWitt has a growing community, and part of that is due to their quality schools. When it comes to public schools, quality does not just entail the standard of education. The status of school facilities is just as important. DeWitt Public Schools’ Schavey Road Elementary School, Herbison Woods School, Dewitt  Junior High, and DeWitt High School all share parking lots as well as roadways for access. While everything is generally well-maintained, some of DeWitt Public Schools’ parking lots have developed a few areas of cracks and pot holes.