City Council approves Master Plan Update Proposal

By RuAnne Walworth
Williamston Post staff writer

City council members in the middle of deliberation.

City council members in the middle of deliberation.

Williamston City Council members held a heavy discussion on the Master Plan Update Proposal on Oct. 14.

According to City Contracting Planner Michael Gradis, the master plan has to be updated every five years. Williamston is a year behind this timeframe, which raised the importance of City Council’s approval on this proposal.

“We have been working with the planning commission to update this master plan and submitted a proposal back in March,” Gradis said. “We will be reviewing amendments in planning commission at a kick-off meeting.”

The commission will focus on updates with its’ concept land use map. This map, from 2007, has some discrepancies, according to Gradis, and updating the map will help with rezoning. Continue reading

Share

Rest in pennies

by Michelle Armstead
Williamston Post staff writer

The next generation of young Americans may be asking “what is a penny?” just as many ask “what is Pluto?”

On Feb. 4, 2013, the Royal Canadian Mint stopped producing and distributing pennies because it now costs more than a penny to make one; the last Canadian penny was minted in May 2012.

The United States is considering a similar move, evident in two bills proposed in the U.S. Congress that were never approved.

Continue reading

Share

School districts count on students to show

By Derek Kim
Williamston Post staff writer

Williamston High School Principal Jeffrey Thoenes paid close attention to the size of his student body on Wednesday.

Feb. 13 was Count Day for Michigan public schools. Counts determine the size of the approximately 80 percent share of funding that school districts get from the state.

“We run our curricular, co-curricular and athletic programs with that money. Without Count Day, we would be nothing,” Thoenes said.

Thoenes, who is entering his third year at Williamston High School, said the daily routine does not significantly change despite the day’s importance. The secretarial staff receives the lion’s share of the work, tracking attendance and documenting a multitude of state-required forms. Continue reading

Share

Here’s what is behind sale of police building

3photo
By Matilyn Ozment
Williamston Post staff writer

The process of selling the current Williamston Police Department building is nearing its final stages.

The Economic Development Corporation, who is leasing to the city of Williamston, owns the building and is in the process of selling it.

According to City Manager Alan Dolley, the building is selling for $500,000. The proceeds will be split between the EDC and the city. About $100,000 will be used to pay off the current mortgage, $88,000 will go to the EDC and the remaining amount will be used for the new police station. Continue reading

Share

Council sets Feb. 25 hearing for sale of police station

photoBy Stephen Brooks
Williamston Post staff writer

The City Council approved a date and time for a public hearing regarding the potential sale of the Williamston Police Department building, 1500 W. Grand River Ave, at its Jan. 28 meeting. The hearing will be held at 7:05 p.m. on Feb. 25 at City Hall.

The current police station currently is being sold, Mayor James DeForest said. The eventual plan is to build a new station next to City Hall with money from the sale of the 1500 W. Grand River Ave. location.

“After the public hearing … later that evening we’ll probably have a vote on accepting (the plan at the City Council meeting),” DeForest said.

At the hearing, DeForest said he hopes to have potential designs and concepts for the new building project for the public to see.
Continue reading

Share

Second try for school repair tax on May ballot

By Michelle Armstead
Williamston Post staff writer

The Williamston School Board plans to put a tax proposal on the May ballot to fund school repairs. Voters rejected a similar proposal Nov.6.

The state allows the district to establish a sinking fund rather than a bond to pay for school repairs; according the Steve Cook, director of finance, the district’s debt structure does not levy enough millage to cover its current bonds. The last bond issue was given in 2005.

In December, it was reported that Williamston High School had cracked floors, leaking ceilings in multiple areas of the school and a broken boiler. The district reported that there were eroding parking lots, rusted doors and damaged carpeting.

With the sinking fund the money could be used to improve or replace heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems equipment; flooring such as carpet, tile flooring and rubber flooring; and sidewalks, parking lots, doors and windows.

These improvements have been put on a “wish list” made by Cook.

Moreover, Cook stated that there is several million dollars of expenses all together.
“For the most part there’s at least over $1 million to be spent in roofs alone,” he added.

Continue reading

Share

Sports suffer minimal losses at Williamston High School

artwork on display in the Williamston High School cafeteria

By Justine McGuire
Williamston Post staff writer

WILLIAMSTON – Loss of funds has not stopped Williamston High School from providing sports programs for its students.

The high school has avoided cutting sports teams and coaching positions but has had to trade two part-time athletic directors for one part-time athletic director and assistant principal, Mike Freeman, who took on the extra role without additional pay. The school has also had to cut back on uniforms, supplies and materials.

Finance Director Steve Cook said the district has lost $270 per student, or about $500,000. The district’s total budget is just shy of $16 million.

Williamston High School Principal Jeffery Thoenes said that sports have had minimal cuts because, overtime, general funding for sports has been replaced with sports boosters.

The district has avoided cutting any sports programs because of the possibility that students might use school of choice to play their sport elsewhere.

Continue reading

Share

Budget cuts limiting Williamston schools

Williamston High School

By Justine McGuire
Williamston Post staff writer

WILLIAMSTON - Williamston Community Schools have had to cut spending for academics, faculty and administration.

Finance Director Steve Cook said that for this school year the district lost $470 per student but regained $200 per student in incentive money based on percentage growth in state test scores. In total, the district lost $270 per student or about $500,000.

The district now gets $6,888 per student, or a total budget just shy of $16 million.

Cook said that there is a potential for gaining another $90 per student through incentives for the coming school year, and that other money for the district should stay the same.

Budget cuts have made classes a little different at the high school this year.

“Prior to my arrival here, Williamston schools did everything they could to keep cuts away from the classroom,” Thoenes said. “This last year (budget cuts) impacted the classroom directly.”

Continue reading

Share

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.
Continue reading

Share

2 Williamston residents charged with felonies

By Sean Gagnier
Williamston Post staff writer

The two Williamston residents who were recently sent to Sparrow Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit after an incident involving mephedrone have been charged with felonies. The victims were sent to Sparrow Hospital on Sept. 29 after they suffered side-effects of “drone.”

Williamston Police have charged the two victims with felony possession of MDPV.

Sparrow Hospital accepted the 22-year-old male and 18-year-old female from Williamston after they ingested methylenedioxypyrovalerone, or MDPV.  MDPV is a designer drug that is frequently sold as bath salts said Williamston Police. Over the summer the Michigan legislature passed a bill outlawing “drone,” classifying it as a Schedule 1 drug, which is a drug with no medical uses that also poses a high risk of abuse.

Both victims were picked up by ambulance and escorted to Sparrow Hospital after Williamston Police were able to get them under control. Reports stated that the female was hysterical and waving her arms when police found the victims. The victims spent nine days in the hospital recovering.

Continue reading

Share