In 2015, Andrew Gauthier and Monica Lucas tossed around the idea of opening a coffee shop. Then Lucas asked, “How are you going to be different.” That’s when Gauthier thought of donuts, and Groovy Donuts was born. Gauthier and Lucas both got their degrees at Michigan State University. Gauthier graduated in business, while Lucas got a management degree for fisheries and managed a few fish labs on campus. Then the idea of a coffee and donut shop came to fruition. So, they practiced making donuts at home, while also keeping their day jobs.
The Williamston Food Bank has been a staple in the town for 65 years, providing families with food, drinks, personal hygiene items, and much more. Located across from the Larkin and Nortman Memorial Field in the first floor of a dry old building, they have been able to do their work, but soon everything will be changing. A new larger building is being constructed right next to the food bank, which will be their new home. With a larger building and better equipment like grocery store freezers, the food bank will become client choice. This allows people to come in and choose food that they like and know they will eat.
Tucked away in a corner, in an otherwise small crevice of Red Cedar Antiques, a room labeled “comics” sits idly — scores of memories and nostalgia packing the cramped quarters. In another corner, sports memorabilia flashes the legacies of legends from Michigan State to nearby Detroit. Those particular items are owner Todd Goodrich’s brainchild, his fingerprints firmly planted on a number of goods within the store. Though it isn’t just him; he estimates he has around 26 dealers who stock his shelves with items from the past. “I really like comics, I like sports memorabilia,” Goodrich said.
When a customer walks into Joey’s Pet Outfitters in Williamston, they won’t be approached by a pushy salesman trying to sell them the most expensive dog food. Instead, they might see the owner or one of his employees sitting on the floor playing with a customer’s dog. “The atmosphere is different than a big box store,” said owner Mark Marquardt. “It’s a warm, welcoming atmosphere of listening to what the customer is saying or requesting, and then trying to provide some answers and direction to reach the customer’s goals for their animals.”
Marquardt worked at Joey’s for two years before becoming the new owner on Jan. 1.
In the wake of previous mass shootings that have occurred around the U.S, a Michigan senate committee have approved bills that would allow concealed weapons in gun-free zones, such as a public school or church. The legislation would allow schools to prohibit students from carrying concealed weapons, along with employees, which may or may not help a life-threatening situation. The Williamston community is one of many who have not faced the challenge of a mass shooting, but they still stand strong against the proposed statewide bill. Superintendent of Williamston Schools Adam Spina completely disagrees with the proposed legislation and he said the Ingham County stands firmly in opposition. “If you are asking the people who do this for a living every day and are here in schools, there is no one of my knowledge who is an advocate,” Spina said.
WILLIAMSTON- Williamston public school parent Sandy Dufrin walked up to the microphone. Nearly 200 people crowded in the Williamston Middle School cafeteria. All eyes are on Dufrin as her hands shake beneath the paper that declares her opposition to the 8011 policy, a topic that has catalyzed conflict in the school district. Tension fills the room as she asks, “If this policy is approved are you seriously going to look at an elementary student who can barely tie their shoes and affirm that he has the capacity to choose what gender he wants to be?”
Through months of deliberation, emotional unrest and controversial debates between opposing sides, the Williamston Board of Education has approved the 8011 Equal Protection of Transgender and Non-Conforming Students Policy at their meeting on Nov. 6.
On Nov. 2, the seven members of the Williamston Community Schools Board of Education approved two policies related to gender identity and access to gender-segregated facilities
After several months of current and former students, as well as Williamston community members meeting at the local middle school, the school board reached a decision as to how they will assess their transgender students and gender identity concerns. The decision came after months of meetings and public comment after the school board took on the issue of gender identity in its schools. “Over the summer, the seven board members decided to draft some proposals for how the district should handle or deal with the needs of a number of gender-identity type issues,” Williamston High School Principal Jeffrey Thoenes said. “The school board went through their normal process of discussing and then voting on what is placed on their board agenda.”
Thoenes said the transgender issues were handled the same way that any other school board issue is.
Finding the thin line between expanding a community while holding on to it’s hometown environment is something Williamston has found. Through the expansion of its downtown with new apartment buildings and restaurants, the community has still managed to keep its label as a small-town neighborhood.
As the warmer seasons come to a close, the Red Cedar Garden Club is just getting started. With monthly educational meetings, and guest speakers, the group of 48 landscaping-loving individuals work towards one goal: taking their gardening abilities and bringing the art of landscaping to the town of Williamston and its residents. “The purpose of the garden club is two-fold, one is to beautify Williamston, so we maintain civic gardens,” Red Cedar Garden Club president, Catherine Ware said. “But the other one is to educate our members and the Williamston public on various topics that would be relevant to gardening.”
Ware said that while most people would believe the main purpose of the gardening club included things such as monthly meetings, that is the minority of events planned. Instead, Ware said that the main purpose of the club was the educate the members, and invite others who are interested in the specific art to come join and learn more about.
The recurring theme for the city of Williamston is its tight-knit community and the town’s eager willingness to come together and help out with anything in anyway that they can. Take the Kiwanis organization, for example, something that embodies all of what Williamston’s values and stands for as a community. Kiwanis is a global organization, entirely comprised of volunteers who are devoted to changing the world for the better, one community, and one child at a time. “Kiwanis is all about the kids. Whatever the kids need, we do for them,” Williamston Kiwanis president Teri Nelson said.