Williamston High School fights the vaping epidemic

Michigan made history as the first state to move toward a flavored nicotine vaping ban on Sept. 4, with other states like New York, Massachusetts and Oregon following shortly after. 

With an increase in vape-related deaths being reported across the nation, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) with the help of her Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun concluded that underage vaping constitutes as a public health emergency. 

Under Whitmer’s orders, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued rules detailing the ban, including the prohibition of flavored nicotine products in stores and online and misleading marketing strategies claiming the products are “safe.” Whitmer also ordered the Michigan Department of Transportation to outlaw vape advertisements on state billboards. 

Timeline of the 2019 Michigan vape ban. Graphic by Claire Heise. “As a governor, my No. 1 priority is keeping our kids safe,” said Whitmer in a statement on Sept.

Fireworks Glass Studio brings the heat with glassblowing workshops

Upon arriving to the seemingly small store on 119 S. Putnam St. in Williamston, regulars and newcomers are greeted with a blast of hot air to the face. Past all sorts of decorative items like vases, plates, Christmas ornaments and bowls is the cause of all that heat; four furnaces, some of them with a core temperature of 950 to 2,000 degrees.  

This was the image that owner Dave Porter imagined when he opened Fireworks Glass Studio on Sept. 21, 2007 in what used to be an old candy store. Growing up, Porter’s father was a chemist, and a trip to his work one day some 50 years ago is what got him hooked on his lifelong passion.

141 Design Company welcomes Christmas fun at Ho Ho Ho Workshop

Beginning Nov. 7 and going through the month of December, 141 Design Company in Williamston is spreading the Christmas cheer with crafty customers from all over Michigan with the Ho Ho Ho Christmas Workshop. 

The decorative piece, made of wood crafted at the in-building woodshop by co-owner Brian Deimling, interchanges seasonal colors on Santa’s greeting. With the O’s customized to look like his jolly outfit, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and a snowman resembling Frosty. Though this workshop is the first Christmas-themed one of the season, 141 Design Company has been holding other workshops all year, with customers painting designs like clocks, welcome signs and magnetic boards; all made by Deimling in his woodshop. 

141 Design Company’s Ho Ho Ho Christmas Workshop features this wood design crafted by owner and woodworker, Brian Deimling. Photo by Claire Heise.

BestMaze finishes Halloween season strong

Michigan offers an abundance of activities during the spooky month of October. Hayrides, pumpkin patches, apple orchards and haunted houses all come to mind when the leaves begin to change. But for those seeking the best corn maze in the state during this brisk Halloween season, look no further than Williamston’s own BestMaze Corn Maze. BestMaze, a family-owned, family-friendly business coming up on its 20-year anniversary of fun and spooks serves as a staple within both the maze-fanatic community and the Williamston community. “There are people that tell us they’ve been coming for 18 years,” said Mark Benjamin, farmer and co-owner of BestMaze.

Williamston City Council hears update on microplastic reduction

Williamston City Council held its bi-monthly meeting on Oct. 14 to discuss management of microplastic pollution in local water, absentee ballots being on the rise in Williamston, and its search to fill the vacant spot on the board. 

When reached the audience participation portion of the agenda, executive director of the Ingham Conservation District, Michelle Beloskur, approached the podium. In the effort to reduce microplastics in the water, Beloskur is working with Smart Management of Microplastic Pollution in the Great Lakes to provide mesh laundry bags to Williamston residents and inform community officials on the effects of microplastic pollution. 

The community is a year into the three-year project and a new prototype of a sensor has just been created. The sensor will exist in the pipes and can detect how much microplastic and what kind is in the water. The goal is to have four sensors stationed in the city by next year, making Williamston one of the main hubs of the study.

Williamston’s Sun Theatre offers vintage feel, family fun

It was 1979 and Russ Robitaille was visiting his usual barbershop and started a conversation with the owner of the rock concert venue in disarray just around the corner. The owner revealed to Robitaille he would soon sell the venue. Robitaille, about three weeks before Christmas, decided to buy the venue himself and renovate it into a one-screen movie theatre, now known and loved as the Sun Theatre. The Sun Theatre. Photo by Claire Heise.

Circle 6 alpaca farm hopes to increase its presence in Williamston

Take a right off Germany Road, down a ways on Barton Road and you’ll see what looks like a normal house, but tucked away between an abundance of trees and behind a charming midwestern home is a 10 acre stretch of land with 40 alpacas grazing, lounging under a tree, and chasing Khan the dog. 

Kate Campbell has been living at 5108 Barton Road in Williamston since 1994 and operating Circle 6, her alpaca farm, since 2004. A Wayne State University graduate, full-time nurse and mother, Campbell also tends to the Suri alpacas and maintains the land. 

Circle 6 Alpacas check out the new visitors. Photo by Claire Heise. “I was really close to getting my masters degree in nursing and instead I started the farm,” said Campbell. Campbell grew up in the country and said she always wanted to raise her children on a farm; but that, and her love for animals, it isn’t the only reason why she started Circle 6.