City Council approves elevator update

By Teresa Fata
The Williamston Post

The Williamston City Council approved a $17,000 elevator update to the Williamston Community Center at the City Council meeting on March 23.

There were two options suggested by Otis Elevator Company to fix the Community Center elevator. Option one would cost $10,900 and would simply replace the malfunctioning hydraulic valve. Option two would replace the entire power unit, but would cost $17,000.

After learning that the Williamston Senior Center would donate $8,500, the council unanimously moved to approve the larger update. Councilman Jim DeForest was happy to approve the larger update rather than the less expensive option.

“I moved to approve the larger amount to fix the elevator as it looked like a better long-term option,” DeForest explained. “The other proposal was just a ‘Band-Aid’ in my opinion. It was fortunate that the Seniors’ Foundation had some funds to help us.”

Julie Chrisinske, the head librarian at the Williamston branch of the Capital Area District Library located in the Community Center, was at the meeting and was ecstatic when the approval was given. She said that there are many senior citizens who want to enjoy the library but can’t due to the constantly malfunctioning elevator.

“We absolutely need it,” said Chrisinske. “We have patrons who just can’t get up there.”

Others, like Tim Baise, a citizen trying to purchase the Community Center, were happy to see the repairs approved from a technical standpoint.

“It’s a good deal. I met with Otis and they said that the boards were outdated so all of the components had to be re-done in order to do it right,” explained Baise. “It just needs to be done.”


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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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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Senior Center and Community Library face uncertain future

By Courtney Sweeney
Williamston Post staff writer

The Williamston Area Senior Center has been a place for seniors in and around Williamston to socialize, dine, and learn with one another for the past 22 years. But with funds dwindling, the center has an unclear future.

Some seniors having lunch together at the Williamston Area Senior Center

Some seniors having lunch together at the Williamston Area Senior Center.

According to senior center volunteer and treasurer Virginia Taschner, the center was working off money from the school district when it first opened in 1992 because the building used to be the old high school. The center also had a grant from the Tri-County Office on Aging, but the state has forced both programs to cut budgets. Since then, the center has had no regular source of funding, relying only on donations from individuals and clubs such as Rotary, The American Legion and Kiwanis.

“Two years ago one of our seniors died, and he left us $25,000. And so that’s what we’re really working on now,” said Taschner. “We’ve got plenty of money to last us for the next year, but we don’t have any regular source of income – we’re looking for that.” Continue reading

Drop-in Lego Club becoming increasingly popular

By RuAnne Walworth
Williamston Post staff writer

Legos lying on the table designed for older kids at Williamston Community Library's Drop-in Lego Club.

Legos lying on the table designed for older kids at Williamston Community Library’s Drop-in Lego Club.

Williamston Community Library’s events and clubs bring together the library workers and community members through friendship and fun. Drop-in Lego Club, a fairly recent addition to the library, is one of its’ attractions for younger community members.

“I remember there was a day where we had a group of people come in and ask for the Lego club at the library, but we didn’t have one,” librarian Becky Langham said. “So then Julie, our head librarian, thought we should start a Lego club here for the Williamston community.”

Attendance with the Lego club varies throughout the year, but seems to be a bigger hit during the school year, Langham said. The average attendance can vary from two to six, but can jump to 29, as it did two weeks ago. Continue reading

Williamston Area Senior Center soon to celebrate 21st anniversary

By RuAnne Walworth
Williamston Post staff writer

Add zest to your life and pass the joy on to others. This is a saying heavily practiced by volunteers and staff members at the Williamston Area Senior Center.

Members of the Williamston Area Senior Center enjoy food and fellowship during lunch.

Members of the Williamston Area Senior Center enjoy food and fellowship during lunch.

The senior center, established on Oct. 20, 1992, has provided a place of fellowship, friendship and fun for 21 years. From Bingo, card games, coffee socials, lunch and trips to places such as Frankenmuth, the center stays active with its senior community.

Virginia Taschner, Williamston resident of 61 years and treasurer on its Board of Directors, has been a volunteer at the center since 1992.

“We started serving meals in February of 1993,” Taschner said. “We get our meals from the Tri-County Office on Aging, part of the meals on wheels program. They cook the meals and we serve it here, very nutritious.”

Meals include a Swiss steak in mushroom sauce, a chicken pasta salad or vegetable lasagna.

The senior center’s funding originally came from a grant from the Tri-County Office on Aging, which paid for the center to operate with staff and the supplies for their food and activities, according to Taschner. Since 2008 however, the center has to finance everything. They have fundraisers to raise money and have generous donations from people in the community and even from members of the senior center who have passed on.

According to Taschner, the senior center’s budget runs about $25,000 a year in order to fund their food, activities and paid staff. Continue reading

Library foundation will not have initiative on August ballot

By Justine McGuire
Williamston Post staff writer

WILLIAMSTON – Recent developments have caused the Williamston Community Library Foundation to back off the plan to have its proposal for a new library building on the ballot this August.

Wheatfield Township’s board of trustees continue to block the initiative by refusing to appoint a representative to the joint building authority.

“We’re going to move a little bit more slowly but more carefully and strategically,” said Jack Helder, the foundation’s president.

Helder said that the trustees of the township don’t think there is enough interest to make the cost worthwhile. To prove them wrong, the foundation plans to gather 200-300 signatures, which would be about a quarter of the township’s adult population.
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Foundation hits bumps on way to new library building

The Williamston Community Library is housed in one room of the Williamston Community Center

By Justine McGuire
Williamston Post staff writer

WILLIAMSTON – Wheatfield Township trustees decided not to send a representative to form a joint building authority, putting a snag in the Williamston Community Library Foundation’s plans for a new library building.

The current plans require the City of Williamston, Williamstown Township and Wheatfield Township to form a joint building authority, then agree on the details of the building before the three municipalities can apply to put this initiative on the ballot.

Williamstown has agreed to send a representative to negotiate on the joint building authority committee. Williamston recently selected Kathleen DeForest, Mayor James DeForest’s wife, to represent the city.

Jack Helder, the foundation’s president and a resident of Wheatfield, said that the main reason Wheatfield gave for declining to send a representative was a lack of support in the community.

However, Wheatfield Treasurer Holly Miller said that lack of support was one of many reasons for the board’s decision.

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Foundation works toward new library

Williamston Community Library

By Justine McGuire
Williamston Post staff writer

WILLIAMSTON – Williamston Community Library Foundation is working toward getting a new library building in Williamston and wants its millage, .67 mils for 20 years, on the ballot in August 2012.

The foundation’s president and long-time Wheatfield Township resident, Jack Helder, has presented his proposal to the Williamston City Council, the Wheatfield Township Board of Trustees and the Williamstown Township Board of Trustees.

Since the presentations, the Williamstown trustees have voted to send representatives to negotiate for a joint building authority, Wheatfield has declined, and Williamston has not yet made a decision.
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