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.
Northpointe Community Church has been up and running in DeWitt since 1840—177 years this May. “We have been blessed over the years, and I can’t thank God enough,” said lead pastor Rick Ruble. “Most churches have significant and steady growth the first 15 to 20 years, and then a plateau that lasts for a few decades occurs before decline sets in and the church eventually dies.”
The lifespan of a church is similar to that of a human, but this historical church has outlasted all of those in it’s community and in nearby areas. Last May, the church wanted to create a community service project that would help give back to the members of the DeWitt Township community. Their mission at Northpointe is to impact their neighborhoods, their workplaces, and their communities with the grace that Jesus showed.
Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the Secretary of Education after a 51-50 vote on the Senate floor. The DeVos nomination sparked controversy because of her career of fighting for charter schools, private schools and religious schools.