Local businessman plans to buy community center

By Jacob Allen
The Williamston Post
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QaN9EPLEW4s

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Timothy Baise, who has lived in Williamston for nearly 20 years, stands in front of the Williamston Community Center. Baise hopes to have a purchase agreement finalized with the city in the next few weeks.

The Williamston Community Center is in the process of being purchased by local businessman Timothy Baise, according to city officials and Baise. Baise has been a resident of Williamston for nearly 20 years. The community center, located at 201 School St., is currently owned by the city. A deal is in the works to sell the historical building within the next few weeks. If delays occur, the hope is the building will be Baise’s by June 1 at the latest.

The city of Williamston is going to sell the building, which currently holds the library, food bank and senior center, to Baise for around $200,000, according to City Manager Alan Dolley. Repairs alone, ignoring any renovation, would cost Baise around $500,000. The major repairs that must be done include replacing the leaky roof, fixing the water damaged ceilings and walls and repairing the boiler system. The boiler system is the building’s current heating system, but is nearly 60 years old. The system currently has no air handler or dryer, which has allowed moisture in the lines, causing a breakdown. Most of the thermostats and actuators are stuck open or shut causing some rooms to be either extremely hot or extremely cold with very little regulation capabilities.
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“We are selling it for financial reasons. The city is putting anywhere between $60,000 to $100,000 a year into just utilities and general maintenance, this doesn’t include long-term maintenance issues,” said Alan Dolley, the city manager of three years. “Long-term maintenance issues include the leaking roof. A new roof on that building could be $200,000 to $300,000. It’s those types of things that the city just doesn’t have the money for.”

Councilman James DeForest is working with the city manager, attorney and Timothy Baise on a purchase agreement.

“It (the community center) is a drain on our limited financial resources and that’s why we are looking to sell the building,” said DeForest in an email.

The potential of the building has allowed Baise to see past the issues. He already has a plan for what he wants to do with the three-story brick structure.

“It (the community center) will make for a really good focal point for the city. It is a big building and it’s going to have lots of uses. Lots of people are going to use it from the library, to senior center, to retail to charity events. I think it’s going to be pretty cool and an opportunity for the whole community to get involved and do something a little bit bigger than what it has done in the past.”

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Old Nation Brewing Co. expected to be on tap in Williamston this May

By Meagan Beck
The Williamston Post

 Old Nation Brewing Co. barrels which will eventually hold beer  brewed in house. The brewery will sell five to six of their own beers  in stores.
Old Nation Brewing Co. barrels which will eventually hold beer
brewed in house. The brewery will sell five to six of their own beers
in stores.

Watch a video including a tour of Old Nation Brewing Co. pre-opening!

Webberville resident Travis Fritts didn’t set out to become a brewer, but that is how he has ended up.

In mid-May, Fritts expects to open Old Nation Brewing Co. on 1500 W. Grand River Ave. in Williamston. The brewery and restaurant will be the first of its kind in the community.

Fritts said he was in college studying education in 2001 and still figuring out what he wanted to do.

“It was suggested to me to look oversees and go overseas to finish school,” Fritts said.

He decided to go to a technical university in Berlin and studied food science with a specialization in brewing. While in Berlin he also complete an apprenticeship with a brewmaster.

When back in Michigan, Fritts worked for Webberville’s Michigan Brewing Company. He eventually relocated to Detroit where he worked with a business partner at the Detroit Brewing Company.

Fritts said he and his business partner wanted to expand production and decided to seek out a good location.

And they chose Williamston.

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Schools update with cyber-bullying policies

By Teresa Fata
The Williamston Post

The April 20 school board meeting for Williamston Community Schools began with a public hearing about cyber-bullying amendments to the district’s Bullying Policy and Rules.

Although the bullying policy had been updated in 2012, it was updated again to include cyber-bullying.

Later during the school board meeting, the members of the school board unanimously voted to revise the policy to include cyber-bullying, which is defined as aggressive behavior toward another person that takes place via any type of electronic communication was never explicitly stated in the 2012 bullying policy.

The updated policy says that any students who feel they’re victims of cyber-bullying should report the issue to their principal or assistant principal, whereas before that was only the case for bullying and/or hazing.

After the meeting, many parents expressed joy that the update had been approved, including parents who don’t allow their kids much time on social media or the Internet, stating that regardless of how much time they spend on the Internet, the update makes them feel more comfortable allowing their children to spend time on the Internet.

Board President Marci Scott said  “(I) absolutely (think the update was necessary). The 2012 version didn’t have cyber-bullying called out specifically,” said Scott. “The revised school code has Matt’s Safe School Law, and so this is what charged us with, and charged all of the districts with adding these kind of things to it. It’s a really nice connection.”

Williamston hosts loving homes for the elderly

By Bryce Airgood
The Williamston Post

Alternative homes in Williamston infographic

Gary Wilson is a resident of Haven of Rest. He enjoys living there because he says he is a youngster and can help out the other residents. Wilson is 64.

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LeeAnn Williams poses by the new fireplace that was installed in Haven of Rest.

Agnes Dexter, a resident at Crosaires, feels she fits in with the other residents there age-wise.

“We’re all getting close to the same category – 90 and beyond,” she said.

In the past couple years, Ingham County and surrounding counties have had a substantial increase in seniors. A person who is 60 and older is considered an older adult or senior according to the Tri-County Office on Aging.

“Between 2000 and 2010 there was a 20,000 number increase in the number of seniors in these counties,” said LeeAnna Olson, community relations and grants specialist for the Tri-County Office on Aging, Lansing office. “And it’s only going to increase. That’s a guarantee as the baby boomers age.”

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The farmers, the market, and the community

By Julie Dunmire
The Williamston Post

In Williamston, the local farms work in concert with the Farmers Market to create a diverse agricultural community. This chain goes from the farmers, to the people who run the market and helps create a community surrounded by available nutritious food for all, despite economic standing.

The Farmers

Trillium Wood Farm is bringing something entirely new to an agricultural community that has always had a small-town feel.

“When we were little kids, there weren’t all these restaurants. There was Domino’s, and a few other places, and that’s about it,” said Elise Thorp, first generation farmer at Trillium Wood Farm.

Elise and her sister, Allie, grew up on a vast property, but never had a farm of their own, until recently.

“My parents always had a huge vegetable garden, so it’s something I’ve always kind of been around,” said Allie Thorp.

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Transitioning Easter Flowers into Spring

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By Julie Dunmire
The Williamston Post

Long-time Williamston resident Sandy Whelton doesn’t consider herself to be a gardening pro.

“I don’t know anything about plants, I hardly know a dandelion from a violet,” said Whelton.

With spring upon us and Easter season coming and going, demand for fresh flowers has gone up for Vivee’s Floral Garden and Cafe in Williamston. They have a floral options for people at a variety of skill levels.

If you’re one of those people like Sandy, who think that they kill all plants, bouquets are probably more your speed, according to Michelle McDevitt, manager at Vivee’s.

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City treasurer goes on maternity leave

By Julie Dunmire
The Williamston Post

The City Council voted to cover the maternity leave of City Treasurer Rachel Piner.

“Basically, we have really good staff here at city hall,” said Piner. “Being able to go and be home is very important to me, because the competent staff here can take care of things when I’m gone.

Since another person left their treasury position, her absence is all the more important to fill, according to the city manager.

Mayor Noah Belanger says that the fulfillment of this position is important, so everything can continue to run smoothly.

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Fun swims provide spring break fun

By Julie Dunmire
The Williamston Post

Spring has finally sprung, and with K-12 students counting down the days until spring break, finding ways for school-aged kids to stay active while on break can be tricky.

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Kelly Stuart lifeguards for the campers

Luckily for parents, the Williamston Community Pool and Fitness Center had a day camp to keep the youngsters busy.

The day camp is held the week of spring break and gives parents an option other than day care or another babysitter watching their kids.

Camper Lihi Ruvio said she really enjoyed her week off from school. Her favorite game at camp is “Sharks and Minnows,” and she said that a day at camp sure beats a day at school.

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Fiddler on the Roof opens this weekend

By Julie Dunmire
The Williamston Post

Fiddler on the Roof at Williamston High School has been a bit of a journey.

“We have these t shirts for the show, and a bunch of us crossed out the date to say “ish,” said Hannah Ellefson-Frank, a member of the show’s chorus.

The show has had to change dates due to an issue with obtaining the rights. This may have been due to a transition in the drama department’s instructor. The company that possessed the rights took longer than drama instructor Bethany Schmitt anticipated. Now, they are back at it, rehearsing for the show’s opening night on May 8.

“Today is about dusting off the cobwebs, and getting back into the show,” said Schmitt at a Saturday afternoon rehearsal.

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Williamston aims to be Lansing area’s wedding district

By Teresa Fata
The Williamston Post

IMG_0050_2Williamston, a town known for small, kitschy businesses, is starting to gain fame for a new niche market, weddings. The idea began with Dawn-Marie Joseph, the owner of popular wedding businesses The Wedding Gallery, Gracie’s Place, Vivee’s Floral Market, and soon, the Blue Button Bakery.

“While I put together a marketing company for the organization, it’s by no means me who is in charge,” explained Joseph. “A group of us have been meeting just to network. The thing we realized that we all had in common was the wedding industry.”

Since then, she’s expanded with multiple businesses in the wedding industry, all located in the downtown Williamston area. Others are quickly taking note.

Marcie Kay Hughes, a photographer with a studio in downtown Williamston, says that the growing number of wedding-related businesses attracted her to the area.
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