Appointments bring variety of expertise to DeWitt City Council

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.

Las Vegas shooting continues debate of safety and security

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.

Cat in the Tub: How a cougar invaded Bath Township

Bath Township made quite a splash in June when it became the site of a landmark occurrence. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, or DNR, confirmed a cougar sighting as legitimate, the first confirmed appearance of the big cat species in the Lower Peninsula in over a century. “Cougars were native to Michigan, but they were totally eliminated from Michigan just because of fear and livestock depredations long ago,” DNR wildlife biologist Kevin Swanson said. “We have no evidence of a breeding population, but we get these transients that come through mostly the Upper Peninsula from time to time.” A Michigan press release with Swanson listed as a contact states the last time a wild cougar was taken in the state was in 1906.

DeWitt cafe becomes home away from home

What makes a small town restaurant so appealing? Is it the closeness of the town, the “home-like” feel to it, or simply the fact that the entire staff know and care for their customers? At Family Tree Cafe in downtown DeWitt, it’s a little bit of all three. “It is a great, family-owned local restaurant,” said Lisa Bartlett, a citizen of DeWitt and Family Tree Cafe customer. “We’ve been customers there for about a year and a half.

Drivers: Start your (Thorsen’s) Engines

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 a Brewtiful day in the city of DeWitt

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.

Sweetie-licious is a small-town bakery with big-time charm

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.

Over 90 years since explosion, ‘Bath School Disaster’ still affecting community

Andrew Kehoe was upset about tax increases, potential foreclosure on his farm and a recent defeat for township clerk. This would be May 18, 1927. The day that changed Bath Township forever. Kehoe killed his wife, blew up his farm and detonated explosives at the Bath Consolidated School before claiming his own life in a separate explosion in the school’s parking lot. That day, 44 innocent lives were lost, mostly children.

Heroin epidemic impacts all walks of life

When Clinton County Sheriff Larry Jerue began his career in law enforcement in the late 1970’s heroin had purity between 1.5 to 5 percent. Now it hovers around 35. “Back then heroin was an inner-city drug. Now it knows no socio background. It is hitting the suburbs and the small communities like a tidal wave,” said Jerue.