Williamston High to be national model

By Katie Krall
Williamston Post

Williamston High School will be a nationwide model for Project Lead the Way. A broadcast team visited staff and students on Oct. 8 to produce a video that will be used to show other school districts how the curriculum works.

Project Lead the Way is a Dart-funded curriculum that focuses on engineering. Courses address the growing need for highly skilled technology workers.

Chain of a pulley machine

Pulley machine built by Williamston High students in Principles of Engineering

“It’s a hands-on, practical approach. Not theoretical, not lecture based,” Williamston High School Principal Jeffrey Thoenes said. “Kids are learning by doing.”

Members of the Dart Foundation wanted to create a video to demonstrate Project Lead the Way to other schools and districts. The video team interviewed faculty and students and documented what was happening in these classes.

Two courses are offered at the high school level: Engineering Design with Computers and
Principles of Engineering. Each is year-long elective. Thoenes said Williamston High has a computer lab specifically for Engineering Design with Computers and students create 3D designs of parts and materials.

“It’s really quite fascinating,” he said. Continue reading

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Williamston Theater receives grant

By Tiago Zielske
The Williamston Post

The Williamston Theatre has won the National Theatre Company Grant honor from the American Theatre Wing.

Best known for being the creator of The Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards, the American Theatre Wing awarded 12 theaters this year with its National Theatre Company Grant.

Williamston Theatre has been awarded $12,000 to help with general operations.

The Williamston Theater will be premiering The Grave Digger, A Frankenstein Story from Sept. 25 to Nov. 2.

The Williamston Theater will be premiering The Grave Digger, A Frankenstein Story from Sept. 25 to Nov. 2.

According to the American Theatre Wing website, companies chosen to receive the grants have “articulated a distinctive mission, cultivated an audience and nurtured a community of artists in ways that strengthen the quality, diversity, and dynamism of American Theatre.”

“It’s great to get this validation of our work. We’re in terrific company, as the other theaters recognized are doing some really groundbreaking work and having a great impact on their respective communities,” said Development Director Emily Sutton-Smith.

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Trick-or-treat with your dog downtown

By Kirsten Rintelmann
The Williamston Post

Sheri Munce asking her dog, Cami, to shake.

Sheri Munce asking her dog Cami to shake.

The fifth annual Trick-or-Treat with Your Dog will take place in downtown Williamston on Saturday, Oct. 18, from 2-4 p.m.

It is a fundraiser for the non-profit organization For Better Independence Assistance Dogs, which trains facility and assistance dogs. According to Gary Spanski of FBI Dogs, dogs and their owners will have the opportunity to go store-to-store and get a treat— just like children go house-to-house on Halloween. A map locating all participating stores will be handed out. Some stores will have their own employees’ hand out goodies and others will have bowls of treats set out.

Spanski said additional events will take place at McCormick Park from 2-5 p.m. Some
include raffles, games, bobbing for hot dogs/tennis balls and an agility course. There will also be contests such as best costume, dog/owner who drove the farthest, best trick and largest dog. Judging will begin at 4:30 p.m and prizes will be donated by Joey’s Pet Outfitters and Caraway Kennels.
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Dusty’s Cellar showcases chic dining, fine wines, specialty taste in Okemos

By Abbie Newton
The Williamston Post

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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Williamston School Board favor new speed limit on Mitchell Road

by Miranda Bryant
staff member

Williamston School Board members agreed March 17 that they would like to see a lower speed limit on Mitchell Road. They did not vote, but will continue the discussion at their April 21 meeting.

Board members discuss speed limit issues.

Board members discuss speed limit issues.

The school zone on Mitchell Road has a 30 mph speed limit when the lights are flashing. When the lights are not flashing the speed limit is 45 mph.

“I’m curious to why the township is hesitant?” said trustee Rhonda Coon.

Superintendent Narda Murphy said that the speed limit could be changed but drivers would still travel at 45 mph unless there is daily enforcement.

“Speed limits are really determined by how people travel on the roads,” Murphy said.

Williamston School Board has approached this situation with Michigan Safe Schools, but was given only two flashing lights at each end of Mitchell Road, President Marci Scott said.

30 mph speed limit while flashing post.

30 mph speed limit while flashing post.

45 mph when not flashing post.

45 mph when not flashing post.

“One of the disappointing outcomes of safe routes was that they couldn’t get the routes of the school projects because that was the best they could get for safety on that road,” Scott said.

The board does not have the authority to establish a speed limit on Mitchell Road but can ask that the speed limit remain at 30 mph all day, and not just when flashing.

Secretary Ernie Gaffner said the township might be waiting on a resolution or statement of support from the board of education.

Even though most board members supports the idea, Vice President Larry Ward said he would rather see the experts decide.

“I believe the experts know what they are doing when it comes to traffic,” Ward said. “If it needs to be changed because of technical reasons than let the experts say it needs to be changed.”

Ward also said that slower speeds are just as dangerous as fast speed limits.

 

Williamston school board supports a reinvestigation of the safety on Mitchell Road and will discuss the issue at the April 21 meeting.

 - Miranda Bryant

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Later school start time at Williamston Schools moves toward board approval

By Abbie Newton
Staff Writer

Williamston Community Schools could start the school day 15 minutes later next year. The Williamston School Board began discussing plans for the change at their March meeting.

Listen to the story here.

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New chef at Gracie’s Place teaches first cooking class on first day of work

by Kelsey Parkinson
Williamston Post staff writer

Chef Ryan Young at Gracie’s Place did not expect to teach a cooking class on his first day of work.

“It was my first class ever, and I think the class went really well,” Young said.

Gracie’s Place, located on Putnam Street, offers cooking classes once a month, with themes ranging from Spanish to Hawaiian to American Regional. Paired with every cooking class are different wines to match each dish.

A recent installment was “The Art of Soup!” where Young taught 10 guests to make five soups: broccoli cheddar, New England clam chowder, French onion, gumbo and consommé.

“It was my first time making consommé, but I think it turned out well,” Young said.

Young made the move from Tavern 109, on Grand River Avenue, very recently. He “fell into” the opening for the new position.

“I had to cook a four-course meal for four,” Young said. “I originally applied for the sous chef position, but then was offered the head chef position.”

Young attended the Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Portland, Ore.

“I focused on pastry in culinary school because I didn’t want to spend years in a bakery,” Young said.

Young will be re-doing Gracie’s Place’s menu in a few weeks, aiming for an “American homestyle” theme, as well as continuing to teach cooking classes.

“I also want to do a barbecue class, and a dessert class, too,” Young said.

Gracie’s Place owner Dawn-Marie Joseph said she are looking forward to what Young will bring to the restaurant.

“We’re very excited to have him here,” Joseph said.

Gracie’s Place bakes its own classic sourdough bread, but Young hopes to transition into baking all the breads they offer. The restaurant buys its produce and meats from local farms, such as Heaven Sent in Mason and Bloom Farms in Webberville.

Check out Gracie’s Place’s Facebook page and website for updates on specials and upcoming cooking classes.

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