Trunk-or-Treat provided indoor Halloween fun


Members of Williamston First Baptist Church handing out candy

By Christine Toth
The Williamston Post

Halloween may have been filled with rain but luckily for Williamston residents there was an indoor alternative. The Williamston First Baptist Church held its annual Trunk-or-Treat inside to combat the unpredictable Michigan weather.

Pastor Dan Cavin said that this is about the eighth year that the church has held the Trunk-or-Treat.The first five years were outside and the past three have been inside because the weather has been so bad.

For members and non-members alike the church offers Halloween festivities. “We have cider and donuts. Everything is free, members of the church bring candy and pass it out. We also have face painting and other activities for the kids. In the Old Testament, Joseph has the coat of many colors so we have a guy wearing a coat of many pockets. The pockets are filled with little trinkets and the kids get to reach into his pockets and help themselves,” said Cavin.


Luana Fuller and JoAnn Frazier helping in the kitchen with cider and donuts

Luana Fuller and JoAnn Frazier have been helping at the event for seven years, passing out cider and donuts. “I have relatives that are from the Lansing and East Lansing area that come here because it’s safer for families,” said Fuller. “It’s also nice because it gets the parents more involved.”

“My favorite part is looking at all of the costumes,” said Frazier, “Plus it’s good to see people you haven’t seen in a while.”

For families with young children the Trunk-or-Treat is a way to go. “The last three years we’ve had really bad weather and the kids love dressing up, so this is perfect,” said Jamie Radbach. “The kids like this more, plus we live in the country so it’s better to come to this.”


Matt and Jamie Radbach with their three children enjoying the indoor Trunk-or-Treat

Local businessman plans to buy community center

By Jacob Allen
The Williamston Post


Timothy Baise, who has lived in Williamston for nearly 20 years, stands in front of the Williamston Community Center. Baise hopes to have a purchase agreement finalized with the city in the next few weeks.

The Williamston Community Center is in the process of being purchased by local businessman Timothy Baise, according to city officials and Baise. Baise has been a resident of Williamston for nearly 20 years. The community center, located at 201 School St., is currently owned by the city. A deal is in the works to sell the historical building within the next few weeks. If delays occur, the hope is the building will be Baise’s by June 1 at the latest.

The city of Williamston is going to sell the building, which currently holds the library, food bank and senior center, to Baise for around $200,000, according to City Manager Alan Dolley. Repairs alone, ignoring any renovation, would cost Baise around $500,000. The major repairs that must be done include replacing the leaky roof, fixing the water damaged ceilings and walls and repairing the boiler system. The boiler system is the building’s current heating system, but is nearly 60 years old. The system currently has no air handler or dryer, which has allowed moisture in the lines, causing a breakdown. Most of the thermostats and actuators are stuck open or shut causing some rooms to be either extremely hot or extremely cold with very little regulation capabilities.
$ money graphic
“We are selling it for financial reasons. The city is putting anywhere between $60,000 to $100,000 a year into just utilities and general maintenance, this doesn’t include long-term maintenance issues,” said Alan Dolley, the city manager of three years. “Long-term maintenance issues include the leaking roof. A new roof on that building could be $200,000 to $300,000. It’s those types of things that the city just doesn’t have the money for.”

Councilman James DeForest is working with the city manager, attorney and Timothy Baise on a purchase agreement.

“It (the community center) is a drain on our limited financial resources and that’s why we are looking to sell the building,” said DeForest in an email.

The potential of the building has allowed Baise to see past the issues. He already has a plan for what he wants to do with the three-story brick structure.

“It (the community center) will make for a really good focal point for the city. It is a big building and it’s going to have lots of uses. Lots of people are going to use it from the library, to senior center, to retail to charity events. I think it’s going to be pretty cool and an opportunity for the whole community to get involved and do something a little bit bigger than what it has done in the past.”

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Williamston hosts loving homes for the elderly

By Bryce Airgood
The Williamston Post

Alternative homes in Williamston infographic

Gary Wilson is a resident of Haven of Rest. He enjoys living there because he says he is a youngster and can help out the other residents. Wilson is 64.


LeeAnn Williams poses by the new fireplace that was installed in Haven of Rest.

Agnes Dexter, a resident at Crosaires, feels she fits in with the other residents there age-wise.

“We’re all getting close to the same category – 90 and beyond,” she said.

In the past couple years, Ingham County and surrounding counties have had a substantial increase in seniors. A person who is 60 and older is considered an older adult or senior according to the Tri-County Office on Aging.

“Between 2000 and 2010 there was a 20,000 number increase in the number of seniors in these counties,” said LeeAnna Olson, community relations and grants specialist for the Tri-County Office on Aging, Lansing office. “And it’s only going to increase. That’s a guarantee as the baby boomers age.”

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City treasurer goes on maternity leave

By Julie Dunmire
The Williamston Post

The City Council voted to cover the maternity leave of City Treasurer Rachel Piner.

“Basically, we have really good staff here at city hall,” said Piner. “Being able to go and be home is very important to me, because the competent staff here can take care of things when I’m gone.

Since another person left their treasury position, her absence is all the more important to fill, according to the city manager.

Mayor Noah Belanger says that the fulfillment of this position is important, so everything can continue to run smoothly.

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City sets plans for summer construction

By Jacob Allen
The Williamston Post

The process has been ongoing and the complaints have been heard for a long time, but plans have been set to fix the stretch of road from the North Putnam Street intersection to West Church Street. City Councilman of four years Kent Hall said, “It is the street we hear the most complaints about. I am glad we are getting it fixed.”

The request for approval to seek bids for the West Church Street project was pitched by Scott DeVries at the City Council meeting on April 13. DeVries has been the city engineer and director of public works for five years and persuaded the council to unanimously approve the request.

DeVries explained that the engineering company finished its surveying and design process, thus the time has come to move forward with the project. The water main in front of the Brookshire Inn, small pieces of the sanitary sewer and asphalt from the North Putnam Street intersection to the water main connection on West Church Street will be replaced.

The project has two options, according to DeVries. The first is to remove a few inches of the road, placing asphalt on top of that. The second, more complete option is to entirely reconstruct the base of the road. This would mean digging deep into the ground and would extend the surface life of the road by five to 10 years. The board choose option number two.

“It is only about 100 or so yards long that is just absolutely terrible. The city engineer says the pipes underneath are worse than the road, so that’s why we voted for the major overhaul,” said Councilman James DeForest, who has been on the council since 2011. “It is not just a break off the top and repave a couple of inches like we did on South Putnam two summers ago. We will take care of the whole darn thing.”

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Williamston Public Schools millage to be on May 5 ballot

By Meagan Beck
The Williamston Post

On May 5, Williamston voters can expect to see the the school district asking them to pass measures which would allow it to renew their 18-mill operating levies.

If the tax dollars are lost, the school district warns that a major budget crisis will occur.

The 18 mills is about 8 percent of the district annual budget – or $1.3 million.

A flier from the district says voting against the millage would result in cuts of about $712 per student.

The state already provides $6,414 per student but according to the flier, the cuts would be “devastating to our schools.”

The 18-mill levy was approved in 1994 and renewing it would continue taxing local businesses on their property and not homeowners.

If passed, the renewal will last for 20 years.

Williamston Red Cedar Garden Club looks forward to Arbor Day

By Teresa Fata
The Williamston Post


Flower bed planted by the Williamston Red Cedar Garden Club in downtown Williamston

As spring blooms in Williamston, members of the Williamston Red Cedar Garden Club are getting ready for the events that the new season will bring.

Roxanne Houghton, the garden club president, has many goals and objectives that demonstrate the passion of members.

“(We want) to stimulate the love and knowledge of nature among amateurs; aid in the protection of native trees, plants, and birds; encourage home gardening and promote civic beautification; and aid one another in garden planting,” said Houghton.
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Kids find Easter eggs for a good cause at Crosaires

By Bryce Airgood
The Williamston Post

One Friday evening at Crosaires, a group of about 20 people could be seen wandering around the lawn. In their wake they left a multitude of brightly colored Easter eggs.


Frawley places an egg. After she would find a spot with them she would try to make them look more natural by covering them with bark.

Saturday, April 4 was Crosaires second annual Easter egg hunt. Crosaires is an aging-in-community residence and provides assisted living for the elderly. Todd Walter is the owner and is the one who first came up with the idea for the hunt.

“It’s a donation based Easter egg hunt,” said Walter. “We identify a need in the community and see if we can help out.”

This year the community cause was the Defreese family, whose home burned down in March. All $828 raised from the Easter egg hunt along with donations made later went to the family.

The original advertisement said there was going to be 500 eggs at the hunt, but that wasn’t the final count. Crosaires ended up getting caught up in the excitement and decided to get a couple more.


Noah Pfeifle was one of the excited participants in the Easter egg hunt.

“What’s another 100 eggs?” Walter joked about buying them for the hunt. “Then there was 1,000.”

Among those 1,000 hidden eggs were eight golden ones. These eggs were special, as the child who found them would be given a gift certificate for a local business. Walter specially hid the golden eggs the morning of the event.

About a month went into the preparation for the hunt said Walter. The staff and residents would have stuffing parties where they would fill the eggs with candy. One resident, Lois McCorvie, even helped hide the eggs the night before.

Staff members and children of residents also helped hide the eggs. Celeste Frawley, whose father moved into Crosaires on March 15, took special care in her hiding spots.


Dexter at her observation point for the event. Although she only watched in the beginning, she eventually joined her family outside.

“I usually like to look for something that has a natural look,” she said. “Like it looks like a tulip growing.”

Although there wasn’t an official count, Walter and his wife guessed there were more than 200 people at the egg hunt. There were even some unusual guests according to Agnes Dexter, an elder at Crosaires. She spotted them in the morning around a half-hour before the event.

“I was going to tell Todd that deer came to his Easter egg hunt,” said Dexter. “But they came too early so they had to leave.”


Walter poses with the jar used in the jelly bean toss.

Along with the search for Easter eggs, there was also the attraction of a jelly bean toss. For a dollar a child could get five beans which they could try to toss in a jar. Depending on how old the child was determined how close they got to be to the jar. Every time a jelly bean landed in the jar, the child would get their name put in a drawing for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Toys “R” Us. The winner was Noah Dunckel, age 9.

Walter said that the Easter egg hunt was very successful, and all but one resident participated in the event.

City Council discusses updates to McCormick Park


Community Development Director Scott DeVries and Police Chief Bob Young had no news to report during their staff reports at the March 23 city council meeting

By Jacob Allen
The Williamston Post

The Williamston City Council discussed updating McCormick Park’s wooden play structure at its March 23 meeting. The park is at the corner of Putnam and High streets. The city plans on working with the Williamston Sunrise Rotary Club, Kiwanis Club of Williamston and the Williamston Area Beautification Fund to pay for the project.

According to Scott DeVries, community development director of five years, in order to get the best results the city and the nonprofit organizations will bring in a company that specializes in children’s playgrounds. The company is called Leathers & Associates and according to their website they concentrate on custom designed outdoor play spaces that reflect the imagination of children.

DeVries said Leathers & Associates will be coming to do an overall safety inspection of the structure, which was originally built in 1996. The company will discuss adding new apparatuses to replace broken pieces. It will also give options for new concepts that could be added to the playground.

To help offset the costs of bringing in Leathers & Associates, the Williamston Area Beautification Fund plans on holding a raffle fundraiser. According to Earl Wolf, chairman of the Williamston Parks and Recreation Commission for five years, this idea came from local parents. They needed a nonprofit organization to be a part of the raffle to get a license according to state law. This is where the Williamston Area Beautification Fund came in. During Monday’s meeting the council approved the fund as a legitimate group, moving the raffle effort forward. The next and final step will be to submit an application for the raffle to the state.

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Chamber talks hospice at networking lunch

By Bryce Airgood
The Williamston Post

When Heather Vida tells people about the organization she works for, they back away from her or look uneasy. Vida is the director of fund development at Hospice of Lansing.

Heather and Ted

Vida and her friend Ted pose for a picture. Ted was there to advertise for the Teddy Bear Tea event.

The Williamston Area Chamber of Commerce had Vida as its guest speaker on March 26 at the Brookshire Inn & Golf Club. She describes her everyday job as being a “professional beggar.”

“Fundraising is fundraising, but you’ve got to know the jargon,” she said. “I bridge the gap for what we get reimbursed versus the actual price of what we do.”

Her role at the lunch was that of informant and fundraiser. She gave her presentation at the request of Barbara Burke, executive director of the Williamston Area Chamber of Commerce. Vida had told Burke that if there was ever an opening for a speaker at the monthly lunch to let her know.

“Hospice is very misunderstood,” said Vida. “I always embrace opportunities to share information with people.”


Vida giving part of her hospice presentation.

Among the information Vida shared was her experience with Hospice, as both her aunt and grandparents used its services. She described one particular incident where Hospice intervened in a family dispute. Vida’s mother and aunt had been fighting about the fact that Vida’s aunt wasn’t eating. So the Hospice worker sat Vida and her mother down for a “frank conversation.”

“A Pop-Tart isn’t going to make a difference,” Vida recalled the worker saying. “She’s not dying because she’s not eating. She’s not eating because she’s dying.”

The presentation was serious in nature, but Vida did try to lighten it up at the end with the statistic that the world death rate is still a steady 100 percent.

The presentation seemed well received by the audience, and attracted some people to attend the lunch. Bonnie Krauss, owner of Williamston Inn, said that the Hospice presentation is what made her come.

“My father-in-law might need it down the road,” she said. “Who knows?”

While some were there to learn more, others just had their beliefs concreted.

Beary Friendly

Burke snapping a picture of Vida, Ted and Chief Ambassador Casey Brockway.

“(I) admired hospice, thought it was a great program,” said Burke. “She (Heather) reinforced what I already thought.”

There was also an unusual character spotted at the lunch. He was large, fluffy and named Ted. He was also a teddy bear.

“He’s our photo opportunity guy,” said Vida, who brought the bear.

Ted, and his brother Bill, are two teddy bears hospice is using to advertise for their upcoming event Teddy Bear Tea. Hospice is partnering with Impression 5 Science Center to hold the event to benefit Hospice of Lansing. The event is $7 to attend and will be held at Impression 5 Science Center April 26 from noon to 5 p.m.