Looking Glass Brewing Company is looking to be the next big thing in downtown DeWitt. Co-owners Joel Dillingham and Lee Streeter, who are big fans of the craft beer industry, expects the brewery to open in December of this year. Looking Glass Brewing is taking over the historic Mount Hope Church that has been vacant for several years. Along with being the co-owner, Streeter is also the head brewer for the company.
Dillingham and Streeter came up with the name of their brewery by looking at his surroundings in DeWitt. “At first, my employees and I liked the name of the river going through DeWitt Looking Glass River but after we walked through the vacant church with the incredible stained glass it confirmed the name of our brewery,” said Dillingham.
At the city council meeting on Oct. 25, council members stated that this is the first time since 1987 that the planning services contract was bid out. Planning firm Beckett & Raeder, Inc. has been contracted by the city of DeWitt to aid its growth. They offer a range of services for clients for developing and managing community growth. Some of the services are: Community master plans, strategic planning, and small town design.
When brothers Andrew and Billy McElfresh made the decision to live in DeWitt, proximity to work was a primary motivator. Politics were not. “It’s like a hit-or-miss, depends on the subject,” Billy McElfresh said. “Healthcare, stuff that affects me. I know, sounds very arrogant or ignorant, but I don’t pay attention to the big stuff, just stuff that directly affects me.”
Neither brother voted in the 2016 presidential election, and though they had strong opinions on healthcare, gun laws and education funding, time hasn’t convinced them to lean one way or another.
The DeWitt Dog Park is a new attraction for dog owners in the DeWitt Township area who are looking to remove the leash and let the dog run freely. The dog park is a new gated park that is located at 3577 West Herbison Road, directly next to Padgett Park.
“The project took about 12 months to put together, with the construction taking place this previous summer,” said DeWitt City administrator Daniel Coss. “The fences were installed in May of 2017 and we started planning it in May of 2016. It was a group effort by the city and the township.”
Coss said the City of DeWitt and DeWitt Township worked together to select a location.
If there is a vacancy in an elected position, the DeWitt City Charter requires it to be filled within 30 days. DeWitt City Council has needed to fill a vacancy more than a few times since the early 2000s. Six out of the seven current members of DeWitt City Council originally got there via appointment, including Mayor Sue Leeming and Mayor Pro Tem Dave Hunsaker. However, this is not a hindrance or a sign of turnover issues, but instead an opportunity to ensure council has a variety of experience and get lower-level city employees to take the next step, Leeming said. “Since I was appointed to council 14 years ago, there seems to have been a pattern for about the last 14-16 years of vacancies on council being filled with appointments and then the people who were appointed to fill those vacancies running for office and being elected,” Hunsaker said.
Amidst the recent tragedies that have cost the lives of several Americans in 2017, safety is at the forefront of all schools, child care centers and businesses. Most recently, Stephen Paddock, 64, gunned down innocent concertgoers on the Las Vegas strip, killing 68 and injuring hundreds more. This disaster further surfaces issues of safety, gun control and mental health. “We always have to have safety as the number one concern,” DeWitt Public Schools superintendent John Deiter said. “We’ve tried to do our best to secure our buildings, and we’re in the process of a bond project to add further security to our buildings.
Nestled off the corner of E Main and S Franklin in downtown DeWitt, Michigan, there is a small machine shop that many may over look. Thorsen’s Racing Engines has been a focal point of the downtown DeWitt landscape for years, but many may not know what it is all about. “We’re a full-service machine shop right here in DeWitt in a nice location right off the highway,” said shop owner Steve Thorsen, “We do a lot of work for other dealerships and shops in the area. If they need engines or something worked on, they can bring it in and we’ll ship it back out.”
According to Thorsen’s website, they work on everything from full engine restores, to pistons, crank shafts and everything in between, which helps put Thorsen’s on the map for many engine aficionados. When you first see the store downtown, it may not look like much.
It’s 8 a.m. You’re grumpy and want a cup of coffee. Well, you’re in luck. In downtown Dewitt, Justin Hartig opened a gourmet coffee shop and it’s just for you. The Crafted Bean Coffee Co. is the new go-to coffee shop in the area.
A small-town bakery with big-time charm is what you will find as you enter downtown Dewitt. From the retro décor to the award-winning pies, the feeling of love and inclusion is a common theme when entering through the front door of Sweetie-licious. “It optimizes that small town feel of being very welcoming. You get that delicious food, but you get the feeling of comfort so when you come you feel automatically welcomed,” said Melanie Phelps, a frequent customer. “You feel like you are walking back in time. “It’s an experience rather than just a place. You walk in and it is the atmosphere of somewhere between nostalgic and cute,” said local customer Janee Penfield. This was the vision that restaurant owner, Linda Hundt, had envisioned when she decided to make her dream a reality and open her own bakery. She had the vision of creating an environment where she could showcase her baking skills, yet spread kindness and love to anyone who walked through the front door. “I found out my gifts were loving people and baking,” Hundt said.
The seventh annual event showcasing the students of DeWitt Public Schools was April 13 in the DeWitt High School gymnasium. The showcase provided an opportunity for residents and families of DeWitt to gather in one place and learn more about what DeWitt Public Schools and the surrounding community have to offer. Nicci Lenneman, a parent with three children in the district as well as an alumna of DeWitt Public Schools, planned to attend for the fifth time. “This gets families familiar with the high school at an early age. Each school and grade has projects or live performances on display for everyone to enjoy,” said Lenneman.
DeWitt recently welcomed a new business to the Schavey Road Plaza. West Orthodontics, owned by Dr. Kristine West, occupied a spot in the plaza and officially opened in January. “My husband and I did a bunch of market research and demographics studies and it really supported the area of DeWitt,” said West. “I was fortunate enough there was space available.”
Practicing orthodontics in Lansing since 1999, West claims that opening this practice was “starting from scratch.”
“I’ve never started anything from scratch. It was kind of that uncharted territory in my final frontier that I’ve always wanted to do,” said West.