Williamston High to be national model

By Katie Krall
Williamston Post

Williamston High School will be a nationwide model for Project Lead the Way. A broadcast team visited staff and students on Oct. 8 to produce a video that will be used to show other school districts how the curriculum works.

Project Lead the Way is a Dart-funded curriculum that focuses on engineering. Courses address the growing need for highly skilled technology workers.

Chain of a pulley machine

Pulley machine built by Williamston High students in Principles of Engineering

“It’s a hands-on, practical approach. Not theoretical, not lecture based,” Williamston High School Principal Jeffrey Thoenes said. “Kids are learning by doing.”

Members of the Dart Foundation wanted to create a video to demonstrate Project Lead the Way to other schools and districts. The video team interviewed faculty and students and documented what was happening in these classes.

Two courses are offered at the high school level: Engineering Design with Computers and
Principles of Engineering. Each is year-long elective. Thoenes said Williamston High has a computer lab specifically for Engineering Design with Computers and students create 3D designs of parts and materials.

“It’s really quite fascinating,” he said. Continue reading

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Williamston Theater receives grant

By Tiago Zielske
The Williamston Post

The Williamston Theatre has won the National Theatre Company Grant honor from the American Theatre Wing.

Best known for being the creator of The Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards, the American Theatre Wing awarded 12 theaters this year with its National Theatre Company Grant.

Williamston Theatre has been awarded $12,000 to help with general operations.

The Williamston Theater will be premiering The Grave Digger, A Frankenstein Story from Sept. 25 to Nov. 2.

The Williamston Theater will be premiering The Grave Digger, A Frankenstein Story from Sept. 25 to Nov. 2.

According to the American Theatre Wing website, companies chosen to receive the grants have “articulated a distinctive mission, cultivated an audience and nurtured a community of artists in ways that strengthen the quality, diversity, and dynamism of American Theatre.”

“It’s great to get this validation of our work. We’re in terrific company, as the other theaters recognized are doing some really groundbreaking work and having a great impact on their respective communities,” said Development Director Emily Sutton-Smith.

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Trick-or-treat with your dog downtown

By Kirsten Rintelmann
The Williamston Post

Sheri Munce asking her dog, Cami, to shake.

Sheri Munce asking her dog Cami to shake.

The fifth annual Trick-or-Treat with Your Dog will take place in downtown Williamston on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 2-4 p.m.

It is a fundraiser for the non-profit organization For Better Independence Assistance Dogs, which trains facility and assistance dogs. According to Gary Spanski of FBI Dogs, dogs and their owners will have the opportunity to go store-to-store and get a treat— just like children go house-to-house on Halloween. A map locating all participating stores will be handed out. Some stores will have their own employees’ hand out goodies and others will have bowls of treats set out.

Spanski said additional events will take place at McCormick Park from 2-5 p.m. Some
include raffles, games, bobbing for hot dogs/tennis balls and an agility course. There will also be contests such as best costume, dog/owner who drove the farthest, best trick and largest dog. Judging will begin at 4:30 p.m and prizes will be donated by Joey’s Pet Outfitters and Caraway Kennels.
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Count day at williamston high school shows increase in student numbers

Williamston High School students catching the bus.

Williamston High School students catching the bus.

By Kirsten Rintelmann
The Williamston Post

On Wednesday, Oct. 1, the Williamston School District held its first of two count days for the 2014-2015 school year.

Count Day establishes how much funding a public school will receive and each student that attends class determines how much total money it will get. For public schools, including Williamston High School, Count Day is really important.

The money goes into the general fund and split into spending areas. According to Jeffrey Thoenes, principal, 80 percent pays staff salaries. The remaining 20 percent is used for district spending that includes but is not limited to lighting, utilities, maintenance, plowing and technology.

Exact pupil count for this year has not been determined, but according to Thoenes, the number of students attending WHS is approximately 575. This is more than last year’s count where the number was roughly 560. If WHS increased it’s student count more than 20 students, this would also mean more money into the general fund.
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Police station construction is in progress

By Katie Krall
Williamston Post

Construction for the new police station in downtown Williamston is on schedule, said City Manager Alan Dolley.

Fresh concrete at the work site of the soon-to-be police station.

Concrete has been poured at the new station in Williamston.

It will be located next to City Hall, on the corner of Grand River Avenue and Cedar Street.

Official groundbreaking was on Sept. 8 and the construction crew began moving dirt the same day. Almost a month later, Laux Construction has set the foundation for the building. If weather allows, the crew will begin framing as early as Oct. 4, according to Dolley.

The city gets daily reports from the construction company on the progress of the new station. Dolley said there have been no major problems so far.

The biggest challenge for construction of the new location was selling the former police building, which was located at 1500 W. Grand River Ave.
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Downtown Barber makes strides to grow

Stylist Dana gives a young man a haircut at Downtown Barber in Williamston.

By Mary Hathaway
The Williamston Post

Small businesses are said to be the backbone of the American economy and a perfect example of a small business is the Downtown Barber in Williamston. With just a handful of continuous clients and only 2 employees, this new business is optimistic about its future in the Williamston community. Click here to listen to the full story.

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Dusty’s Cellar showcases chic dining, fine wines, specialty taste in Okemos

By Abbie Newton
The Williamston Post

Thirty years ago, there was a small bakery nestled in the Meridian Mall in Okemos called Dusty’s. Today, that same bakery has expanded to include a restaurant, a tap room and a retail store for specialty foods. <Listen to the story.>

 

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Williamston schools suffer from enrollment slump

By Kelsey Parkinson
Williamston Post staff writer

While Michigan is recovering from the economic downturn over the past few years, the state’s schools are still suffering – but not from funding. From declining enrollment.

Williamston Community Schools’ student enrollment has gone from 1,884 students during the 2009-10 school year, to 1,799 students this school year, according to the Michigan Department of Education.

chartThis trend is being seen statewide, according to Brian Ciloski, analyst at the MDE.

“Statewide, we went from 1,623,000 in 2009-2010, to 1,523,000 this year,” Ciloski said. “There’s been about 20,000 students a year that the state has been losing.”

What has been causing this downward trend? Williamston School Board Trustee Rhonda Coon thinks that it might have something to do with a kind of “baby boom.”

“The largest graduating class was in 2010, with 191 students graduating,” Coon said. “There was a small baby boom, I guess you could say, in 1991 and 1992. Those kids graduated in 2010.”

Coon herself moved to Williamston at about the time her own son was starting kindergarten. He graduated in 2010.

“There was a lot of growth at the time I moved to Williamston,” Coon said. “We’re now seeing that boom affecting us.”
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Williamstown Twp. trustees meeting voted on budget, police special assessment

By Kelsey Parkinson
Williamston Post staff writer

While most members of the board voted to approve the budget at the Williamstown Township Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, March 12, two members did not: trustees Rod Imhoff and Rick Williams.

The 2014-15 proposed budget totaled $1,229,559, as of Feb. 28. This is down from $1,357,475 from the 2013-14 budget.

At the meeting, Imhoff said he had an issue with the number of fudge factors in the budget.

“Every year we do not have a deficit, yet we show a deficit in our budget,” Imhoff said.

“We try to budget close to what we think we need,” township Supervisor Mickey Martin said. “It looked to Rod that we had too much of a buffer in – but the fact of the matter is he didn’t specify. He felt our buffer was too large. The point of the budget is that whatever we don’t use goes right back into the general fund. It doesn’t roll over.”
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