Williamston Farmers Market still running for 2016 season

By Caitlin DeLuca
The Williamston Post

McCormick Park, where the Farmers' Market is held.

McCormick Park, where the Farmers’ Market is held.

After being reinstated by the City Council two months ago, the Williamston Farmers Market is gearing up for the 2016 season.

The Farmers’ Market and its manager Marlene Epley were cut from DDA funding without warning in February.

The reason for the defunding seemed to be because the market was operating at a loss.

At the following City Council meeting, it was standing room only as many citizens came to both defend the market and demand the market’s and Epley’s reinstatement.

The City Council voted unanimously to reinstate both and create a committee to monitor and plan the market.

The City of Williamston, rather than the DDA is now partially funding the Farmers’ Market.

“The Market is now funded by four things: the City, the vendors, donation and sponsor fees and grants,” said manager Marlene Epley

The Farmers’ Market is now its own department with its own fund, so all the money goes directly to it, rather than the general fund, according to Epley.

Despite it not being a stipulation of the Market’s continuing, members of the City Council want to make sure that the market does not continue to operate at a loss.

“By the Market Manager’s figures, the market ran a deficit in 2015 of $4,000,” said Sean Bertolino, City Councilman

“The DDA’s numbers also showed the Market ran a deficit of over $20,000 during the last four years,” Bertolino said.

So, the main focus for the City council and the committee is funding.

However, citizens have stepped up to pay for the market.

Two of the City Councillors and members of the committee, Tammy Gilroy and Sandy Whelton, have personally sponsored the market as well.

There are also in-kind sponsors who help fund the market.

However, concern for the market has not been abated since its reinstatement.

“I’m concerned because [since the refunding] there hasn’t been enough progress and continued support of the market for me to be confident that the market will continue,” said Christina Miteff, who runs Creations with Color and is an in-kind sponsor.

Miteff also stressed the importance of the market.

“The market is not just a place where people sell their items on Sundays,” Miteff said.

“The market is a place of education, where children can come and learn about food, animals and agriculture,” Miteff said.

She also spoke on the importance of the market as a food source for low-income citizens.

“It’s a place where low income citizens can come and have fruits and vegetables,” she said.

The Williamston Farmer’s Market has four food assistance programs for those who qualify: SNAP/Bridge cards, Double-Up Food Bucks, WIC Project FRESH and Market FRESH (seniors).

“We have a lot of families to use these programs,” said Epley

“Last year, our Farmers’ Market did $1345 worth of nutrition assistance program business. That grew from the year before so I’m expecting it to grow again,” said Epley.

These food assistance programs help give access to fresh food that low-income qualifiers would not usually have.

Despite fears that the market will not continue if it doesn’t break even this year, Epley is confident that the market will remain a staple of Williamston.

“The market has grown exponentially since 2013… it signifies to me that the community likes this market and they look forward to it and they’re using it.”

Miteff, however, wishes more people would attend the committee meetings.

“If people care about the market, they should attend the meetings to try to help. Decisions are being made in meetings not just on Sundays,” Miteff said.

The Williamston Farmers’ Market will open for the season on Sunday, May 22 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Sun Theatre brings residents together since 1947

The Williamston Post
By Gabby Burbary 

An old film reel from the theater sits on display at The Williamston Depot Theater in front of a 1976 yearbook photo of The Sun.

An old film reel from the theater sits on display at The Williamston Depot Theater in front of a 1976 yearbook photo of The Sun.

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An old film component from the theater sits on display in The Williamston Depot Museum.

 

The Sun Theatre has been bringing the people of Williamston together since 1947, and continues to do so as they persevere on year 69 providing residents with the entire nostalgic movie experience- complete with buttery 50 cent popcorn.

Most historical theaters of this age are not in working order any longer, but due to the support of the community in 2012, The Sun Theatre was able to raise $80,000 to switch from old reels to digital projectors so that the residents could keep enjoying their beloved movie nights.

“Going to see a movie is ‘an event’ in Williamston because you bump into a lot of people you know,” said Sean Bertolino, Williamston City Council member.

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Leaks can lead to high billing

Cierra Pryor
The Williamston Post

Jason Hill first noticed his high water bill in November 2015. He figured it was a mistake, or a case of his kids having more fun than usual in the water.

Hill grew concerned once he noticed a pattern for the next two to three  months, as bills continued charging way above his family’s average.

“Once I received the bill for the next three months, it was just about the exact same as the first one that caught my attention,” said Hill. “After that I told my wife, Rebecca,  that we may need to call this in to see what’s going on.”

Hill said they have had leaks before in their plumbing and made sure they were fixed, but they may be back.

“Piping in our home has been an issue in the past,” said Jason. “We’re calling our plumber again because, sadly to say, we may have another leak.”
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The growing heroin epidemic

By Kelsey Clements
The Williamston Post

Video Interview with Greg Dagner

The first time Greg Dagner tried heroin, he said, it “was phenomenally pleasurable and a tremendous rush.” It was like nothing he had ever felt before.

“It took away the bad things and added pleasure instead,” said Dagner, who lives in Williamston. “It helped me deal with reality.”

But when the high was over, Dagner said, he felt the urge to use the drug again so he didn’t have to come to terms with his reality. It was a never-ending cycle. The days were the same; he would wake up, get high, go through withdrawal and use again.

Dagner is just one individual in a population of addicts. The heroin epidemic is a growing problem in the United States.

Since 2002, heroin overdose deaths in the U.S. have increased by 286 percent to over 10,500 deaths annually, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About 45 percent of those addicted to heroin began with addictions to opiate-based painkillers and moved to heroin because it is generally cheaper.

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Foundation hopes 34th annual golf outing will set fundraiser records

By Cierra Pryor
The Williamston Post

Amanda Frattarelli, director of the senior benefits fund began the meeting with stating that the golf outing will be a combination of having fun, getting exercise, and raising a lot of money.

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Claire Munn, 45, a volunteer for the outing, goes over new ideas to help raise money and bring in more sponsors for this year’s golf outing. Photo by Cierra Pryor.

The Williamston schools foundation is hosting the 34th annual golf outing on May 21, 2016, at Brookshire Inn & Golf Club to raise money for technology in the schools.

Frattarelli made it clear in the meeting that there is more money to be raised through this event.

“We are about halfway to our initial goal, which is around $400,000,” said Frattarelli. “A third of the devices has been bought, but yet there are other items needing to be purchased.”
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Water test finds some lead in Williamston schools

By Kelsey Clements
The Williamston Post

Officials have replaced boiler room valves in two Williamston schools where lead was found over acceptable limits and will address other fixtures where lead was present by June.

The valves at Williamston High School and Explorer Elementary did not carry drinking water, according to Superintendent Narda Murphy. But water tested by Testing Engineers & Consultants on Feb. 13 contained lead levels above the threshold of 0.015 mg/L.

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Created by Kelsey Clements using information from a letter that the superintendent, Narda Murphy, sent out to parents and community members based on the water testing results from Testing Engineers & Consultants.

Small amounts of lead were also found in a teacher’s lounge faucet in Williamston High School, a restroom drinking fountain in Explorer Elementary, a kitchen sink and 7th grade hall drinking fountain in Williamston’s Middle School, and a maintenance garage bathroom sink. Murphy said the testing company assured her that these levels are safe and that no further action is necessary.  Continue reading

Safety is top priority during Williamston High School’s prom

Williamston High School's prom will be April 30.

Williamston High School’s prom will be April 30.

By Caitlin DeLuca
The Williamston Post

Williamston High School’s junior-senior prom will be on April 30, and the school is making safety a number one priority.

The main concern in terms of safety is underage drinking, according to WHS principal Dr. Jeff Thoenes.

“We emphasize as best we can that the students be safe and make good decisions, especially encouraging them not to drink,” said Dr. Thoenes.

“When I first got here, about seven years ago, I noticed that kids were coming to public events and school functions intoxicated. So, we purchased a breathalyzer and announced it to discourage student drinking,” he said.

Dr. Thoenes said that this has worked very well, though it hasn’t erased all problems in relation to drinking.

“To say that it has ended all issues with students drinking would not be true. This year we found a girl with alcohol at lunch not once but twice,” said Dr. Thoenes.

Underage drinking on prom night does not occur just in Williamston, but is a nationwide problem.

According to a survey done by AAA which consisted of around 1500 teens between the ages of 16-19, 31% of high school teens said it would be likely that their friends will be under the influence of alcohol or drugs sometime during the prom and graduation season.

An even more frightening statistic from that study is that 87% of teens believe their peers would be more likely to drink and drive than call their parents because they are afraid of getting in trouble.

“Drunk driving is always a concern, prom or not,” said Officer Don Smith of the Williamston Police Department.

“My number one priority is getting drunk drivers off the road,” Smith said

The prom will be held at Hawk Hollow Golf Course, which is in Bath Township, not far from Williamston. However, since there will be driving involved, students should be conscientious. 

“We will be amping up patrols that evening for when they’re coming back,” said Smith.

According to Dr. Thoenes, there have been no auto accidents or traffic violations (like driving past curfew) since he has been principal.

Along with prom chaperones, there are usually police stationed at the event, just in case they are needed.

“I think [the students are] pretty safe, with chaperones they obviously have, teachers, parents…I would assume they have definite control over that nowadays,” said Brandi Avery, store manager of The Wedding Gallery, which also sells prom dresses. 

In the end, Dr. Thoenes just wants the students to have fun and be safe.

“Focus on the fun and the fond memories and make choices that if it were a headline a newspaper you would be proud to be associated with it,” he said.

City official: Expensive sewage component needs replacing

By Gabby Burbary
The Williamston Post

City Manager Alan Dolley, Treasurer Rachel Piner, and City Council member Sean Bertolino discuss the need for a new lift station.

City Manager Alan Dolley, Treasurer Rachel Piner, and City Council member Sean Bertolino discuss the need for a new lift station.

A city engineer told City Council members Wednesday that a key part of the sewage system is unsafe and needs replacing.

Officials said during the budget work session that this lift system, which brings waste water from lower to higher elevation, must be addressed and the cost to do this will be hefty.

Lift stations are typically put where waste needs to be raised against gravity.

“Right now the workers are a little bit afraid to step on top of the steel structure on top of it because it could break,” said Scott DeVries, city engineer and director of public works.

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Crosaires hosts its third annual Easter egg hunt

By Kelsey Clements
The Williamston Post

The children lined up at the start line with Easter baskets in hand. The look of excitement and the urge to begin lit up their faces.

The Crosaires Assisted Living Home hosted its third annual Easter egg hunt on Saturday, March 25. Crosaires’ owner Todd Walter said their mission statement is “Where care and community intersect.” Each year, they pick a community need to raise money for.

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Children lined up at the starting line at the third annual Crosaires Easter egg hunt. Photo by Kelsey Clements

Walter organized the event and stuffed more than 1,500 eggs with nut-free candy for the children. He said he worked with 16 local businesses who provided a variety of gift certificates, which filled special golden eggs.

“Everything that we do is about the community,” said Walter.

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Coach’s diagnosis motivates Williamston boys basketball team to reach higher

By Gabrielle Burbary
The Williamston Post

The Williamston boys varsity basketball team is preparing to play their state semifinal game Friday — not only for the title,  but for their coach, Jason Bauer, who was diagnosed with brain tumors earlier this month.

The team will face Detroit Henry Ford at The Breslin Center in East Lansing at 6 p.m. Friday.

“Our whole motto was that coach is going to have a lot of battles coming up to win his own war, so we need to win our battles on the court and win games,” said Riley Lewis, a senior on the team.

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