DeWitt High School has started a program of classes with township fire department and police department staff to help prepare students and teachers in the case of an active shooter situation, Fire Chief Dave DeKorte announced during the DeWitt Township Board of Trustees meeting on March 12. DeKorte, who leads the instruction in the classes, said the planning process had been going on for the last couple months, but the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, helped expedite the process. “With everything going on, it just kind of made the ball roll a little faster,” said DeKorte. The program is a daily occurrence, running between 45 minutes to an hour long, where the fire and police personnel visit three different classrooms to give formal instruction on what options they have when an active shooter is present. “Basically, teaching them: if you can, you run; if you can’t, then it’s lockdown in the room, you barricade the door; you get ready to counter, where you’re going to basically throw whatever you can at them; and swarm the person if they come in the room, and then hold them down until we get there,” DeKorte said.
Due to a lack of funds, the Friends of the DeWitt Dog Park will no longer have a formal role in running the dog park, but the city and township will run it business as usual. The group proposed the idea for the park, which is located off West Herbison Road, adjacent to Padgett Park. It recently ran out of funds and dissolved, said DeWitt City Administrator Dan Coss, who played a central role in the formation of the dog park on the city’s end. The original agreement to run and fund the park was a joint-partnership between the city, township and Friends group. “As of right now, we’re just going to operate and maintain the dog park status quo,” said Coss.
As Diane Mosier heads into her 29th year as DeWitt Charter Township clerk, she says it’s the people that keep her coming back. “I love the community, I’ve lived here my whole life, I was born here, I never left,” said Mosier. “I love serving the people here, it’s a great community, the staff is fabulous, and it’s never dull, there’s always someway you can help someone.”
She is currently the longest serving elected official in the township. Mosier got started in civil service at the township in 1990 when she was appointed as clerk and then was elected to the position during the same year. She’s held the role ever since.
It’s only February, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 43 states have reported widespread flu activity and influenza-like illness. During the 2016-2017 flu season, only 44.2 percent of Michigan residents were vaccinated against the flu. That puts Michigan in 33rd place in the country according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In DeWitt, The Hometown Pharmacy along with the Sparrow Medical Center are trying to educate the community on the flu and the importance of getting vaccinated.
Kaitlyn Smith, the head pharmacist at Hometown Pharmacy, has seen more people come in for flu shots than have actual cases of the flu. She believes the process, which is free of cost and only takes a few minutes, to be a game changer in fighting the flu and keeping you healthy.
John Coscarelli says living in DeWitt is like living amongst a big family. Coscarelli, who owns Relli’s Italian Restaurant, has been a part of the DeWitt community for 22 years. “Once you live here, you’re part of a family,” he said. “It’s a whole different culture. It’s different than East Lansing or Lansing, everybody knows everybody.”
Coscarelli said the people are always there for each other.
John Coscarelli always knew he wanted to go into the restaurant business. His parents, Norma and Mike, both moved to the U.S. in search for a better life. With them they brought recipes of pasta, pizza and other Italian specials, to bring a little bit of home with them. John believed the recipes were to good not to share with the community. So they decided to open a restaurant.
Spurred in part by fears about contact sports and concussions, state and national youth sports programs are pushing new strategies to protect student-athletes from injury. Those strategies include encourage athletes to participate in more than one sport and putting new rules in place to reduce contact between students and better respond to athletes who suffer concussions. Officials from the Michigan High School Athletic Association are among those advocating for students to play multiple sports. Advocates say that can reduce the chance of repetitive injuries. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 45 percent of all athletes specialize in just one sport.
Drug abuse in Michigan is an immense problem surrounding the entire state. In 2015, Michigan had the seventh-most drug overdoses in the nation, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even small areas such as Bath and DeWitt Townships have seen drug use within its borders. While these townships are small, they have managed to make statewide news with their drug issues over the last few years, including an August meth lab raid in a DeWitt motel that sent two people into custody. Clinton County, which the townships of Bath and DeWitt fall under, suffered one death from a heroin overdose and three others died from opiate-related causes in 2013, according to Stopping Addiction with Family Education (SAFE).
DeWitt wants future citizens to move into its community, and its developing multi-use housing to make it happen.
“The whole objective is to have the community that is here enjoy what’s here, talk to their neighbors, and feel good about their community so that they will stay,” said Loretta Spinrad, from the DeWitt Chamber of Commerce. “That translates to more people wanting to live here.”
According to Daniel Coss, DeWitt city administrator, and township manager, Rod Taylor, a huge part of growing the township and city is providing housing for all demographics of people. So, this means that creating all types of housing developments is crucial to success heading forward. The City of DeWitt and DeWitt Township are planning for growth in the future and planning on accommodating more citizens.