Paintings bring local restaurant alive

By Jacob Allen
The Williamston Post


Mike Shaw of Williamston, 68, stands in front of some of his paintings inside Ellie’s Country Kitchen.

In the dusty attic of his grandparents’ house Mike Shaw, 68, found inspiration that would stick for a lifetime. The attic is where the Williamston resident and employee of 28 years at Ellie’s Country Kitchen discovered his passion for art, specifically painting.

“My great grandfather was an artist and so was my great grandmother. I think I got it from the family,” Shaw said. “I remember going to the old attic at my grandparents’ house and being intrigued by the oil paintings my great grandparents did.”

Shaw is originally from Lansing and has been painting since he was a kid. He is a dishwasher at Ellie’s Country kitchen in downtown Williamston. He compared the work to a farm on which everyone works together to get what needs to get done, done. Shaw has taken a few art classes at Lansing Community College and now finds many of his paintings hanging up at his place of work.

“I always wanted to paint. I always had that urge to paint. It’s like the urge some people get to play a musical instrument, same type of feeling,” said Shaw. “I would paint when I found something I wanted to preserve on canvas. It has become one of those things you keep dabbling in. I’m a dabbler. I don’t think of myself as a great artist or anything.”

According to the owner of Ellie’s Country Kitchen of 28 years, Brian Stiffler, Shaw’s paintings are catching attention. Many customers have asked Shaw if they could purchase the paintings. He has always refused. Shaw has also refused any form of payment for the paintings from his boss. It all got started when the restaurant was repainted and the walls looked bare.

“His first paintings were of an apple pie and flowers. He did those two first and we hung them up,” Stiffler said. “Then I said the walls look bare and we need more paintings. All of a sudden he started bringing in like a painting a week.”



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Frosting spread and sprinkles dropped at Williamston Library

By Bryce Airgood
The Williamston Post


Mary Frattarelli proudly displaying her work.

There was one more reason for kids to get excited to go to the Williamston Library Friday, Feb. 13. Instead of being able to enjoy just books, kids ages 6-14 could also decorate Valentine’s Day cards and cookies.

Dubbed Sweets for your Sweetie, this was the first time this event was held at the library. Jean Lewis, a library assistant, created and ran the event.

“I thought (the event) was a good way for younger kids to get a valentine without spending a lot of money or having to go very far,” said Lewis.

Six children registered to attend Sweets for your Sweetie, but only four showed up during the hour-long event.
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Farm-fresh eggs in Williamston

IMG_2790By Julie Dunmire
The Williamston Post

The age-old question, what came first, the chicken or the egg, is not as important to Williamston residents as how the chickens were raised.

Marlene Eppley, owner of Blue Barn Farms, raises her chickens organically. What makes her chickens so special is that they’re given room to roam.

“There are eggs that say that they’re free-range, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they go outside,” said Eppley.

Eppley said chickens that claim to be free-range may just be crammed in a barn.

Eppley’s hens are given hay to scratch at and lots of fresh air. The chicken coops have areas for the chickens to lay their eggs as well as feeders, which dispense organic feed.

“My chickens are pastured, which means they literally are in the pasture, ” said Eppley.

Eppley gets about two and a half dozen eggs each morning, and she then weighs them all, and sizes them for sale.
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City Council doesn’t want to go up in smoke


Dolley poses by an American flag.

By Bryce Airgood
The Williamston Post

Citizens listened as council members discussed the Woodstove Ordinance and a possible flag program Monday evening.

Alan Dolley, city manager, said, “The outdoor wood boiler issue relates to how the continual smoke would possibly affect the comfort and quality of life for other citizens in the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Councilwoman Sandy Whelton said, “I would like to see some more research, because I don’t even know what it is and I’m getting calls. I don’t understand it.”

Some questions that people might ask, according to Dolley, would be how smoke would affect neighbors in a congested area and whether populated places would be the best home for the devices.
Action has been postponed until Dolley has time to do more research for the Council.
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New businesses to debut in downtown Williamston

By Teresa Fata
The Williamston Post

Downtown Williamston is preparing to welcome three new small businesses to the area, two of which are extensions of established small businesses in the area.

Marcie Kay Photography, a photography studio in downtown Williamston, is undergoing construction but is open by appointment.

Studio 47, a painting studio, is gearing up for a March opening.

Blue Button Bakery, owned by the family behind Gracie’s Place, is also getting ready for a March opening.

Blue Button Bakery is an idea that began years ago, when Michigan State University students came to Williamston and conducted a survey about Williamston’s downtown area. The results were clear: citizens wanted a bakery. Dawn-Marie Joseph, both a citizen and owner of many businesses in Williamston, took it upon herself to make that happen.
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Williamston teacher in child pornography case to stand trial

By Meagan Beck
The Williamston Post

On Feb. 5, Williamston biology teacher James Preston, 45, who is facing child pornography charges, waived his preliminary hearing and will stand trial.

The preliminary hearing would have determined there was enough evidence was present for a trial.

Williamston police are currently unsure if any Williamston students are involved.

Preston is being charged with two counts of possessing child pornography and one count of using a computer to commit a crime.

If he is convicted, Preston will face four years in prison for each of the child pornography charges and up to 10 years for using a computer to commit a crime.

Judge Donald Allen ruled the continuation of Preston’s bond of $10,000 on Thursday at the hearing in the 55th District Court.

Preston can’t be have unsupervised contact with minors or come within 500 feet of Williamston Public Schools.

A court official said the trial will occur in the next four to six weeks.


Williamston City Police move into new home

By Jacob Allen
The Williamston Post


The new Police Department is located on 175 E. Grand River Ave., right next to City Hall.

On Jan. 26 the Williamston City Police Department officially moved into its new location on 175 E. Grand River Ave., right next to City Hall. The Police Department spent 13 years in its old location on 1500 W. Grand River Ave. Then, the building was sold to Old Nation Brewing Co. This sale funded the construction of the new Police Station. In the meantime, the Police Department temporarily shared 781 Progress Court with the city’s department of Public Works. The ribbon cutting on the new, permanent location occurred on Feb. 12.

“The community wanted their Police Department back downtown. From my perspective this is monumental because the city of Williamston has never built a Police Department,” Said Bob Young, Williamston Police Chief of five years. “They have always just put the Police Department here or there or wherever is left over.”


Chief Bob Young sits at his new desk in the new Police Department on 175 E. Grand River Ave.

The new building came with plenty of improved features including a professional conference room and a generator. The generator will allow the station to have electricity and continue operating when there are power outages in the city.

“I was pretty happy when I found out what they were going to do,” Said Don Bixler, owner of Limner Press in downtown Williamston and 10-year city resident. “A new building allowed them to put in the modern technology we need today and it’s a lot easier to do it from scratch than trying to install that stuff in an old structure.”


The new station has improved features, such as the professional conference room.


The construction and design processes were unique in that they were hands-on for the community. Many city officials were involved in the development of the new building.

“We assigned the police chief, the city treasurer and the city architect as the city’s representatives to work with the developers,” said Alan Dolley, Williamston City Manager of three years. “This allowed us to design a building we wanted.

“It’s a beautiful building. The police chief is excited, the assistant chief is excited and they say you couldn’t ask for anything better. I think our people have really kept the developer on task to produce what they said they could and it turned out great.”

Both the building and the location have received positive feedback. Nancy Williams, director of the Williamston Senior Center for 15 years, is pleased with the move.

“It will give a sense of presence in the town. When it was down by the water tower or out where the new brewery is you didn’t know it was there,” said Williams. “Right besides city hall will be more of a “we do have a Police Department and here it is, so watch it.”


The Police Station is located in downtown Williamston, right next to City Hall.


-Jacob Allen


Michigan residents are fed up with road conditions

By Katie Krall
The Williamston Post

John Mcauliffe lives on Middle Street in Williamston and he had one thing to say about road conditions: “They’re bad. And then some are worse.”

Candice Christie drives her Chevy HHR from her home in Williamston to her workplace in East Lansing five days a week and she said the roads were terrible.

Mcauliffe and Christie are two Williamston residents who said they are frustrated with the condition of the roads in their city. And many residents are unsure how to address the problem now that a local millage proposal — which would have raised property taxes by 1.5 mills to create revenue for road construction and maintenance — was rejected during the elections in November. The vote ended with 54.2 percent against the millage and 45.8 percent in favor.

“I didn’t think it would pass because of the environment we’re living in, but it’s gotta be done. It has to be done and the money has to come from somewhere,” Mcauliffe said. Continue reading


The Williamston Theatre’s 50th show

By Tiago Zielske
The Williamston Post

When Ruth learns a revealing secret about the family’s ancestors from her grandmother on her deathbed, she is compelled to tell this story to the rest of the family.  It is revealed to the Nowaks that their ancestors were not Catholic, but actually Jewish, the family is immediately shaken. The family matriarch, Clara, is brought to tears. The family doesn’t know how to react to the sudden change in faith. The family fights with one another about what to do, but by the end of the play the family embraces their newly discovered change in faith and embrace one another.

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