Dan Kostecke keeps busy with his business, Guiding Light Garlic Farm, but felt like he wanted to do more to help local farmers. Over a year ago, he decided to open his first indoor farmers market, LFA Farmers Market, in Mason. Then in December, LFA Farmers Market & Micro Cafe came to Keller’s Plaza in Williamston. The LFA sells only locally sourced goods and products in this store in Williamston as well as its original location in Mason. Photo by Gia Mariano
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.
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.
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.
Williamston City Council discuss agenda items at meeting on Oct. 28. Photo by Eli Atzenhoffer
The Williamston City Council voted Oct 28, unanimously to add Williamston resident Jeffrey Roland as it’s seventh council member on. The new councilman will hold his seat at the table until his term expires on Nov. 30, 2020.
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.
It’s been five weeks since Michigan votes decided to legalize recreational marijuana, but Williamston City Manager Corey Schmidt said he does not expect a huge change for community residents. “To the extent that is, if it’s occurring in public, there could be some ramifications there,” said Schmidt. “But as of right now, when I talked to our police chiefs and whatnot, we just don’t expect a huge change.”
With the passing of Proposal 1, all communities who are against it still have the opportunity to opt-out of dispensaries within their city limits. Communities had this ability to opt-out when medical marijuana was legalized in Michigan. The Williamston City Council has been debating this issue for months.
Holly Thompson is the Williamston city clerk and has been busy working on preparing Williamston for one day – the 2018 midterm election. A couple of large tasks that she does for elections which help ensure a fair and easy process for her community are ordering ballots and updating computers. For residents who order ballots overseas, they ship out the absentee ballots 45 days in advance. Thompson’s office also has bipartisan flyers for people looking to learn more about the candidates. “We’ve been extra busy with the absentee ballots because those have been really high and just emails and phone calls and everything,” Thompson said.
In the center of downtown Williamston, is a small printing business owned and operated by Wendy Shaft and Don Bixler named Limner Press. Shaft and Bixler both come from printing families – one in Missouri and one in Michigan. For Bixler, it started with his grandfather who started his own publishing house in 1892 and even printed a newspaper called The Center Colorado Dispatch. His father followed in his footsteps and then with Bixler in tow. The two met while working different jobs in Anchorage, Alaska, and Bixler ran into Shaft at her work.
At the Oct. 8 Williamston City Council meeting, the cost of keeping the city running safely and efficiently was the focus of the evening. The theme of the night was the costs of replacements. The first item on the agenda for approval was a new 2018 Factor 2100i Frontliner chassis for a street-cleaning Vactor truck with the price of $390,981.86. Vactor trucks are used for sewage and excavation but also helps clear out clogs in sewers which can damage homes and back up into basements.