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.
DeWitt Charter Township hasn’t raised taxes is over 40 years. That could change soon. At the Feb. 26 township council meeting, a resolution was proposed. This would allow special voting for the police and fire millage on the next ballot.
While active shooter classes are ongoing at DeWitt High School, the idea of a full-scale active shooter drill has been met with mixed reviews from parents, law enforcement and school officials. According to DeWitt Township Chief of Police Brian Russell, law enforcement and the school have been having ongoing conversations about school safety, but the idea of an active shooter drill has yet to come up. “I think they should train for the real world,” said Russell. “You learn things by repetition, I think it would be a good thing for them, but if something really happened, I think they’d at least be more prepared for it. I just think it’s a good thing for life, period, it’s good training.
DeWitt High School has started a program of classes with township fire department and police department staff to help prepare students and teachers in the case of an active shooter situation, Fire Chief Dave DeKorte announced during the DeWitt Township Board of Trustees meeting on March 12. DeKorte, who leads the instruction in the classes, said the planning process had been going on for the last couple months, but the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, helped expedite the process. “With everything going on, it just kind of made the ball roll a little faster,” said DeKorte. The program is a daily occurrence, running between 45 minutes to an hour long, where the fire and police personnel visit three different classrooms to give formal instruction on what options they have when an active shooter is present. “Basically, teaching them: if you can, you run; if you can’t, then it’s lockdown in the room, you barricade the door; you get ready to counter, where you’re going to basically throw whatever you can at them; and swarm the person if they come in the room, and then hold them down until we get there,” DeKorte said.
Due to a lack of funds, the Friends of the DeWitt Dog Park will no longer have a formal role in running the dog park, but the city and township will run it business as usual. The group proposed the idea for the park, which is located off West Herbison Road, adjacent to Padgett Park. It recently ran out of funds and dissolved, said DeWitt City Administrator Dan Coss, who played a central role in the formation of the dog park on the city’s end. The original agreement to run and fund the park was a joint-partnership between the city, township and Friends group. “As of right now, we’re just going to operate and maintain the dog park status quo,” said Coss.
As Diane Mosier heads into her 29th year as DeWitt Charter Township clerk, she says it’s the people that keep her coming back. “I love the community, I’ve lived here my whole life, I was born here, I never left,” said Mosier. “I love serving the people here, it’s a great community, the staff is fabulous, and it’s never dull, there’s always someway you can help someone.”
She is currently the longest serving elected official in the township. Mosier got started in civil service at the township in 1990 when she was appointed as clerk and then was elected to the position during the same year. She’s held the role ever since.
It’s only February, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 states have reported widespread flu activity and influenza-like illness. During the 2016-2017 flu season, only 44.2 percent of Michigan residents were vaccinated against the flu. That puts Michigan in 33rd place in the country according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In DeWitt, The Hometown Pharmacy along with the Sparrow Medical Center are trying to educate the community on the flu and the importance of getting vaccinated.
Kaitlyn Smith, the head pharmacist at Hometown Pharmacy, has seen more people come in for flu shots than have actual cases of the flu. She believes the process, which is free of cost and only takes a few minutes, to be a game changer in fighting the flu and keeping you healthy.
John Coscarelli says living in DeWitt is like living amongst a big family. Coscarelli, who owns Relli’s Italian Restaurant, has been a part of the DeWitt community for 22 years. “Once you live here, you’re part of a family,” he said. “It’s a whole different culture. It’s different than East Lansing or Lansing, everybody knows everybody.”
Coscarelli said the people are always there for each other.
John Coscarelli always knew he wanted to go into the restaurant business. His parents, Norma and Mike, both moved to the U.S. in search for a better life. With them they brought recipes of pasta, pizza and other Italian specials, to bring a little bit of home with them. John believed the recipes were to good not to share with the community. So they decided to open a restaurant.