Downtown barber makes strides to grow business

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

By Mary Hathaway
Staff
Writer

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
Staff
Writer

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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Library hopeful for a new building, despite odds

By Matt Miller
Williamston Post staff writer

Uncertainty hovers over the library’s future as the community lacks knowledge of how to go further, yet a new home is needed and progress is slow.

“I kind of don’t see it happening,” said Rebecca Langham, who works as a library assistant, and suggested that groups have been fundraising for almost 10 years.

Williamston library lost its home a few years ago when the it was decided that its current building was unfit. Langham described the older building as run down and inappropriate.

After the library moved out of its old building, the building was hit by a tornado. The current building at 201 School St. houses the community center and senior center as well, yet this building is too small and cannot even meet the library’s needs.
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Williamston food and beverage businesses raise prices, but maintain business

By Abbie Newton
Williamston Post Staff Writer

Kristen Pennington admires her food as she dines at Gracie's Place.

Kristen Pennington admires her food as she dines at Gracie’s Place.

The price of retail food has been on the upswing for the last four years according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics. The bureau says prices have risen in the Midwest by 6 percent over that period. <Listen to the story>


 

 

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Brewery hopes to make new home in Williamston

By Matt Miller
Willaimston Post Staff Writer

A microbrewery might be close to beginning construction in williamston
The microbrewery will open at 161 E. Grand River Ave., where the current police station is. The last major obstacle to the microbrewery involves environmental testing.

Travis Fritts is responsible for developing the new brewery. Fritts said there are two phases with inspecting an industrial building for environmental impact. The first phase is to inspect the building itself while the other is an inspection of the surrounding area.

Fritts is in the second phase, but because of some inconclusive testing, he has had to postpone buying the building. Phase two tests to see if there is any contamination into the surrounding area or the water supply.

Fritts said in a perfect world he should have the results within two weeks. If both of the inspections show little issues, Fritts will have an easier time getting funding for his brewery. If there are issues, Fritts may have difficulty getting money.
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Police await sale of current building

By Matt Miller
Williamston Post Staff Writer

Police Chief Bob Young said, “there has been a signed purchase agreement, but there has been no closing,” regarding the sale of the old police station located at 1500 W. Grand River Ave. To Young, the current police station is functional, but he would prefer to be downtown so the police station is more accessible to the public.

Young said the current police station is old and run down, but still meets the police force’s needs. However, he said that a police station should be located downtown, especially in a city the size of Williamston.

The city is ready to build the new station, but construction cannot begin until the old building has been sold. According to City Manager Alan Dolley, the greatest challenge the city is facing is construction costs, which he believes may be higher this year. Dolley said that the sale of the building, it is taking longer than hoped. He said, “the gentleman that is trying to develop that site has hoops he has to jump through to meet his financing requirements.”

According to Dolley, the new police station will be located on Cedar Street and Grand River Avenue. Dolley said that this location was chosen because the old police station was there, before a tornado damaged it.
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