Following the midterm election, Okemos residents will welcome two new faces to its Board of Education. Voters elected newcomers Mary Gebara and Katie Cavanaugh, while also re-electing Dean Bolton and Vincent Lyon-Gallo. Both newcomers said they are excited to join the board and serve their respective terms. Gebara beat out candidates Adam Candeub and Michael Kieliszewski for one of the three, four-year term positions. According to WILX, the NBC affiliate in Lansing, Gebara received the most votes in the race with 4,419 or 30 percent of all votes. “I’m very excited (to join the board), I worked hard, so I’m really happy that I won and I’m anxious to get started,” said Gebara.
Megan Villasurda, 26, had a longtime dream of opening up her own dance store but realized the community already had Bottoms Up as their go-to dance supply store. “I really wanted to do this for like five years,” Villasurda said. “but I did not want to compete with them because they had all the contacts and over 40 years of business.”
When Bottoms Up closed in May, she was encouraged by her friend and boss to make her dream a reality so in August, Villasurda opened her store at 2395 Jolly Road. “I gave her a call when I heard Bottoms Up was closing and said, ‘this is your sign,’” said Kick It Out Dance Studio owner, Denise Krumm. Villasurda had been teaching at Kick It Out Dance Studio for six years.
Local representatives have been working together on an initiative called “Shaping the Avenue” to spark economic development across four mid-Michigan cities. This is a multi-jurisdictional partnership between the City of East Lansing, City of Lansing, Lansing Township, Meridian Township and the Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA).
Saddleback Barbeque is now open for business at its second location in Okemos (1754 Central Park Drive). Soft opening events for invited guests were held last Monday and Tuesday night, followed by the grand opening on Nov. 8 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Mitten Raised (4661 Okemos Road) opened on May 19. Since then, Katie Anne Lambert and Leah Fabian have been baking to bring “world class, handcrafted, baked goods to the Mitten State,” as promoted in their website. Born out of Lambert’s love for baking and Fabian’s contributing work, Mitten Raised is said to have baked goods and an experience customers won’t forget. A world traveler, Lambert gained experience working in Vail, Colorado, with top pastry chefs. She also spent time in Maui working at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, located inside the Four Seasons resort in Wailea but something about Michigan brought her back.
Over the past few years, the Okemos Public Schools’ Board of Education has made policy changes regarding discipline and as a result of the change asked that the administration periodically update the board.
OKEMOS- On Monday, Feb. 27, the Meridian planning commission meeting received one of the largest turnouts that they’ve had in months. The reason why: The Walnut Hill Golf Club property is being rezoned. The golf club was privatized by a company that is planning on building commercial and luxury apartments. Residents of Walnut Hills and the neighboring property, Carriage felt strongly about the rezoning of the country club and showed up in high numbers of about 30 people at the meeting to express those feelings to the city’s elected officials.
Small and locally owned businesses are rare and often hard to find, but in the heart of Okemos stands Dusty’s Cellar: a wine bar, tap room, bakery, and cellar all in one. For over 37 years Dusty Cellar has been providing delicious baked goods, fine wine, and fresh hand carved meat for the Meridian and Okemos area. “In 1980 my dad, Dusty, founded this establishment which started off as a bakery in Meridian Mall and then in 1981 we moved from the all into this current location and we’ve been here since”. said Matt Rhodes, the current owner. The establishment started off with a bakery, specialty food, gourmet wine and cookware, which eventually got phased out and got turned into the first restaurant and 12 years later a second restaurant was added to the same location.