Supreme Court ruling on LGBTQ+ case sparks controversy in state

When the Supreme Court ruled that Lori Smith, a website designer from Colorado, could deny her services to those of the LGBTQ+, it was unclear how the decision would affect LGBTQ+ clients nationwide. But Fenton resident Ky Orvis wasn’t too worried — yet. “Specifically in Fenton, I don’t see it foreseeing it being a problem,” said Orvis, the president of the Fenton Pride Collective. “The concern of a lot of people, not just in Fenton, not just in Michigan, but across the U.S. is like what does this set the precedent of and justify discrimination against a class of people.”

The ruling is sparking controversy as to what this means for groups, such as minorities and LGBTQ+, and raises concerns for those it affects. “Why does this exist?

Fenton Art Walk returns

From woodworking to large murals and small paintings, this year’s Fenton Art Walk returned July 29 after a three-year hiatus. “The City of Fenton…take pride in bringing back the Art Walk to downtown Fenton,” said Ed Koledo, executive director of SLPR. “Being our first year back in three, we’ve consolidated it a bit, but we are looking forward to an even larger event in the years to come and returning it to the sidewalks, spread throughout our downtown.” 

Art Walk featured an entertainment tent, artist’s exhibits, beverage and food trucks. “A lot of our artists, I would say about three-quarters of them, are local in Fenton, but including the surrounding areas in Genesee and Livingston County,” said Pat Lockwood, mayor pro tem of Fenton. “We’re really proud of the fact that we’re able to let them have an opportunity to display their art.” 

Art Walk began seven years ago but has offered lots of opportunities for artists in and around the area of Fenton.

Sculptures set community standards in Fenton

Hannah YoungSculptures are placed around Fenton for commission and simply for viewing. As you walk down South Leroy St. in downtown Fenton, the city is lined with sculptures. One is tall, made concisely of wires and bronze in the shape of a woman stepping off as she is falling and she is an angel. Further down the road the statue of the Rubix cube sits lonely alongside downtown. 

Downtown Fenton, Michigan, holds sculptures and statues alongside South Leroy Street.

Fenton’s Cause and Affect Gallery seeks to have an ‘affect in the greater community’

The gallery hallway is lined with tiny canvases, some splotches of paint and some with animals, little figures and one with a cigarette sticking out of it. 

“This is our community wall,” said Annie Anglim, Cause and Affect Gallery owner. “Everyone that comes in is able to do a painting to add to the wall.”

Cause and Affect Gallery, located in downtown Fenton, the gallery’s purpose is to “take various causes” and have an “affect in the greater community.” The gallery which has been opened for over four years and combines art and purpose within the community. 

The gallery was originally created to open to accommodate a friend who wanted to learn silversmithing from Anglim but was in a motorized wheelchair with multiple sclerosis. Anglim sought out a gallery in which she could “accommodate people with different needs.”

“It took me a while to be able to find space that would work,” said Anglim. “ Once I did, I stumbled on this location. I wasn’t prepared to do anything else…but I walked in here and I saw the possibilities.” 

Anglim’s gallery was created to have an effect on the community.

Fenton City Council discusses mobile vendor ordinance

Citizens and officials gathered on June 12 to discuss and work to approve or deny the ordinance that discusses food truck licensing and regulation in the city. Regulation is speculated for whether or not food trucks and vendors should be required to be licensed to operate in the city or for special occasions. The ordinance, which is labeled as No. 714 mobile vendor ordinance, and states it will “secure public health safety and general welfare of the residents and property owners of the City of Fenton…by regulating Mobile Vendors within the City and to repeal all ordinances or parts thereof in conflict within.” 

The process, if approved, will have the steps of verifying the relevant code pertaining to the operating mobile vendor, determining if a certification is required, if required then payment of fees and application and then adhering to vending requirements and finally verifying the zoning compliance. 

City council members have not come to a conclusion. 

Fenton city attorney Chris Patterson said in a city council meeting: “We’re going to create an application form and I think the application form will also help and then have to set a checkbox that will say, ‘are you doing this?’ If not, you don’t need to do this and ‘are you doing this?’, proceed to complete this section. They’re designed to sort of make this licensing system work easier because we are asking individuals to potentially, in a certain scenario, complete a license.” 

Patterson advised the city council on the overall process of the food truck ordinance and the process on how to achieve its licensing and approval to operate in the city of Fenton. 

“Consistent as a peddler and a solicitor’s license, they also have to coordinate with the property owner to get a special event zoning permit,” said Patterson. 

Food truck ordinances come into place because of various reasons. 

“We did have complaints about the generators and the trash,” Fenton Mayor Sue Osborn said at the meeting.

Fenton celebrates 3rd annual Pride Night

The colors of the rainbow lined the streets of Fenton and near Millpond park as the city celebrated its third annual Pride Night. City residents and those from Genesee County and surrounding areas came out to enjoy the event on June 15.  

Domonique Clemons, the Genesee County clerk and register of deeds, said it was great to see the support. “Whether they’re a member of the LGBTQ community or if they’re an ally affirming that love is love and that Genesee County is a welcoming and accepting place for everybody,” Clemons said. 

Clemons was attending the event for the first time. Clemons said: “It’s really cool to be out here in Fenton doing something for our community that some folks might historically have seen some of the discrimination in and if you just look around, there’s hundreds of folks here that are saying that’s not the case here. We’re celebrating equity, we’re celebrating love and it’s just overwhelming positive vibes here.” 

Tami Strzelecki, a nurse and owner of Sugs’ Shoppe and Sterk Style, also attended the event for the first time.

Fenton Farmers Market helps local businesses

The Fenton Farmers Market, which located in downtown Fenton in front of the Community Center, brings in many customers for new business owners, especially for those who have only been at the market for only four weeks. 

Ben Goodrich, the owner of New Leaf Farms, attends the market as his first year at being a local vendor for the market. 

Goodrich started farming in his mother’s backyard while growing his microgreens within his house as well. 

“Our business specializes in salad greens and we also have other vegetables,” said Goodrich. “Such as radishes, beets and carrots.” 

Goodrich owns New Leaf Farms, a local produce farm that specializes in microgreens and vegetables. Being a vendor at the market has helped his business in many ways from new customers to feedback. 

Goodrich said: “Because of the Farmers market, I’m able to get a lot of feedback from new customers, from people asking questions gives me a chance to educate people on the microgreens that I’m selling. That gives us information to be able to grow with the market and meet the demand of the market.” 

The feedback that Goodrich has received is “little things” like the Facebook page or business cards that are making improvements for Goodrich who wants to expand and give more interest to his customers. 

Goodrich started his business because he “fell in love with it” and then decided “Why not try it as a business? Why not go out there and make something happen?” 

Pat Allen, Fenton Farmers market manager, said that having the Fenton Farmers Market impacts local or small businesses in the area. 

“There is a lot of (foot) traffic,” said Allen.