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Saturday, January 14th, 2017


100 years ago in Grass Lake

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Outbreak of Cattle Plague 

Detroit—Because of the discovery of suspected cases of foot and mouth disease in several western states, the officials of the Detroit Stock Yards late today placed an embargo on shipments of live stock of all kinds from Kansas, Nebraska or Missouri and from Sioux City, Iowa. The ban also was placed against shipments from other points that would pass through the prohibited district and be watered and fed there. No action has yet been taken toward prohibiting shipments from the Detroit stock yards.

Local and Personal

Useful and fancy articles will be o sale at the Congregational fair, Dec. 8. Home made candy at the fair.

The public schools will close on Wednesday afternoon for the Thanksgiving vacation.     

The Mt. Pleasant church will have a fair and chicken supper next Wednesday evening, Dec. 6th, at the home of Geo. Fry’s. All are invited.

The Grass Lake Farmers’ quartette, consisting of Messrs. Crafts, Cutler, Davis and Dorr will sing for the State Farmers’ Club in the senate chamber at Lansing on Tuesday afternoon, Dec. 5th. This is the second time in succession that the Grass Lake Farmers’ Club has been called upon to loan its quartette to the state organization.

Grass Lake sends 15 boys to the older boys Y.M.C.A. conference to be held in Lansing this week. The boys take a special car at Jackson. About 100 boys will go from Jackson county. Rev. W.A. Cutler, John Lemm and Asst. Scout Master Van Arnum will go with the boys. Will Shelly goes up Sunday to be with the boys on Sunday afternoon and evening. The boys will return Sunday night.

The many friends of Prof. William H. Maybee in this county will be shocked to learn that he lies on his death bed at his home in Detroit from an attack of cancer of the liver. A few years ago he was superintendent of the Grass Lake public schools, and subsequently was the commissioner of schools of Jackson county. He is now an alderman from the ward in which he lives and also one of the commissioners of the Detroit educational system. The professor is a man of profound erudition and of wide scholastic attainments. His death will be greatly regretted, and prove a distinct loss to the interests of learning in Detroit.

Chicken pie supper at the Congregational church, Friday, Dec. 8. Supper will be served from 5 o’clock until all have partaken. Adults 30 cents. Children under 12, 20 cents.

The Farmers Mutual Fire Insurance Co. of Jackson county has paid for losses by fire during the past year $17,976.43. Of this amount $4,320.75 has been paid for losses in Grass Lake. The assessment is $2.00 per $1000.

B.F. Washburn sold to J.C. Kendall 64 hogs which brought $1,085.40. Best  bunch of hogs ever brought to these yards.

Mr. Eugene Carter has resigned is position at the barber shop and has gone to work for the Citizen Press in Jackson.

Mr. Louis Watkins has a new Airdale pup. The Airdales are supposed to be the most aristocratic dogs on earth at the present time.

E.J. Foster and E.L. Croman have returned from their business trip to the southwest. While in Texas they journeyed to ElPaso and arranged to meet Lieut. Palmer, known to Grass Lake friends as Dr. Fay Palmer. The doctor as well as Mr. Mr. Foster and Mr. Croman greatly enjoyed this meeting, the doctor being especially delighted to see some one from home. The doctor being an officer in the army looks as if the service agreed with him but nevertheless he would like to come home.

Gathered by Linda Lockwood Hutchinson.

Houseplant Appreciation

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Houseplant Appreciation Day is always in January.

By this time each January, the holidays are a distant, happy memory. We have put the decorations away. Now, our houses all look kinda plain, and drab inside. As you look around the house, something catches your eye. It’s over there, in the corner of the room. It’s still green, but it sure looks dry. And, its drooping a bit. Why, it’s a houseplant! Funny, but with all of the holiday hullabaloo, you’ve all but forgotten your houseplants.

Today is THE day to get back to tending to, and loving your houseplants. It’s also a day to appreciate just how special and important houseplants are to you. As gardener’s we need to have our hands in some dirt. Caring for them, gives us that opportunity. After all, its a long way to spring, when we can get out into the garden again.

Ways to Celebrate Houseplant Appreciation There are lots of ways to celebrate and enjoy this day. Here’s just a few of them:

Start by making sure that the houseplants you already have, are well watered.

Next, give them a special treat today… a little fertilizer.

If you do not have any houseplants, or just have a couple, buy a new houseplant (or two)

Learn more about the benefits of houseplants to your health.

Stand by your houseplant and breath in the air! It’s giving off oxygen… just for you!.

Teach your kids about growing and caring for plants.

Give a houseplant to a friend, especially the elderly or shut-ins.

Talk to your plants. Yes, people believe plants respond positively, when you talk to them.

Most of all, have fun, enjoying a long winter day spending quality time with your houseplants!

Local Musician Still Performing

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Local musician Paul Schmitt recalls his first professional music gig in 1973 when he was 16 years old.  “It was a four-piece wedding band. We played almost every weekend at private parties and wedding receptions.  I met a ton of people and had lots of fun.”

Nineteen seventy-three was a great year for classic rock.  Some of popular music’s biggest names released their seminal chart toppers: “Band on the Run” by Wings, The Allman Brothers Band’s “Rambling Man”, and “Piano Man” written by Billy Joe, the Piano Man himself.  Lynyrd Skynyrd  cut “Free Bird”  as a nine-minute single in ’73 and had the Stars and Bars to Back it up.   

In his salad days Schmitt was influenced by more progressive artists like Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, and Elton John.  Schmitt associated himself with talented lyricists and composers with whom he played piano and electric keyboards on many recording sessions.  “Rock tunes, blues and jazz, and other miscellaneous musical stuff,” he says.

Today he has a standing gig at the Sand Hill Crane Vineyards in Jackson where he plays classic rock songs and bluesy chart busters.  The keys,” he says, “are my comfort zone.  I see myself as an improvisationalist along the lines of music from classical to the ridiculous.”

On Sunday he plays his baby grand piano and sings tunes from memory from two to five.  He prefers the acoustic piano to the electric models, which he likens to “a chocolate malt without the malt.”  His melodic, fluid style perfectly compliments his improvisatory approach to the classics he cut his teeth on.

Age 59 and sporting a handlebar mustache that brushes his clavicles, Schmitt says he “doesn’t do the bar scenes anymore.  I’m a little too old for that.  The late night stuff gets old when you’re getting home at three in the morning.”

Schmitt’s hands are useful in other ways besides music.  A Grass Laker for 30 years, he takes care of his one-horse horse farm and owns P.L Schmitt Carbide Tooling on Drake Street in the Village.  Twenty years active in the music scene, he says he found it necessary to take time off to raise kids, “with an occasional performance and some church stuff.”

Prior to the set Schmitt and I recognized each other though we’d never met.  He was impressed with my knowledge of classic rock, of tracks cut on vinyl when I was in diapers.  What can I say?  “Hey, hey, my, my, rock ‘n’ roll can never die,” Neil Young sung.  I’m ever bit the aficionado of the red, white, and the blues.  Even Bob Dylan, a complete musical being and a Nobel Prize winner, wrote poetry, cinema scores and toured with a full symphony.  The one who chases the muse has the ability to scale any wall.

During a break in his set Schmitt sipped cherry wine and told me that he once took piano instruction from an old blind jazz musicians.  “You learned how to play piano from Ray Charles?  No!”  Schmitt wouldn’t say.  He asked me how old I was.  “I was born in 1971.”  He hopped back onto the stage and slid behind the keys, played a birthday song for me, “Turn the Page,” Bob Seeger’s 1971 hit single, better than another year older.

I’ve always loved live music.  The first concert I attended was AC/DC at the Hartford Civic Center in Connecticut where I grew up.  I was sweet 16, too.  By the grace of the Hammer of the Gods my friends and I got great tickets, second row, center stage and watched an ugly little man in a schoolboy outfit impersonate Chuck Berry.  My ears rang for four days.  If it’s too loud you’re too old, some old star, Ozzie Osborne or Martin Scorsese, said.    

A waitress brought Paul his tip jar but he commandeered her to hold his harmonica for him while he performed “Piano Man.”  Music lovers, thrill seekers, and septuagenarians enjoy Schmitt’s routines.  He takes his music seriously but he doesn’t take himself too seriously.

“I took a lot of lessons to learn to play,” Schmitt says, “to read sheet music and learn the scales.  I’ve been taking lessons all my life.”

Paul Schmitt performs solo on the piano regularly at Sand Hill Crane Vineyards in Jackson.  His personal website is  For scheduled events at the Vineyards go to

GL Fire Department Report

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Fire Chief Greg Jones presented the Township Board with his monthly report for December 2016 at the Grass Lake Charter Township Meeting.

Medical Calls: 22

Structure Fires: 0

Vehicle Accidents: 0

Fire Alarms: 0

Vehicle Fires: 1

Gas Leaks/Fuel Spills: 1

Open Burning: 0

Total of 24 calls within Grass Lake Charter Township

The average response time was 8.89 minutes (this includes automatic aid and mutual aid response times) and the average miles from the fire station was 4.1 miles.

Calls by Shift:

1st shift: 15

2nd shift: 8

3rd shift: 4

1 Automatic Aid was provided to Napoleon Township.

3 Mutual Aid runs were given.

Sheriff’s Department Report

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The Jackson County Office of the Sheriff presented their monthly report to the Village of Grass Lake and the Grass Lake Charter Township at their respective meetings. Deputy DeLand reported patrolling 1,655 miles during the month of December. That brings the yearly total to 21,090 miles. These numbers only include miles and incidents by Deputy DeLand. The Village and the Township share a contract with the Sheriff’s Department for a full-time deputy in Grass Lake.

Month/Year to Date (2016)

Complaints Dispatched: 10/239

Incident Reports: 6/99

Arrests: 0/6

Appearance Citations: 0/0

Ordinance Complaints: 2/8

Traffic Citations: 1/41

Verbal Warnings: 10/141

Liquor Inspections: 2/4

Motorist Assists: 1/11

Vehicles Investigated: 10/154

Persons Investigated: 20/445

Assists Other Departments: 2/30

Property Inspections: 30/365

Process Service: 0/2

GLCT Building Permits

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The Grass Lake Charter Township Building Department reported that they issued 2 new home permits during the month of December. That makes for a total of 25 new home building permits for 2016.

The total number of permits in 2015 was 16. Previous years were 11 in 2014, 11 in 2013, 5 in 2012 and 9 in 2011.

Teacher Feature- Ms. (Joanna) Botte

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This school year we welcome Joanna Botte to Grass Lake Schools. Ms. Botte comes to us from Whiteford Agricultural School in Ottawa Lake, Michigan.

Currently, she is teaching Study Skills, and co-teaching Math 7 and 8 and ELA 7 at the Middle School in the morning and travels to the High School to teach Study Skills in the afternoon. In addition, she is the Whiteford Middle School assistant track coach.

She is at home in this area as she attended Columbia Central High School. Her studies earned her a Bachelor’s Degree from Central Michigan University and a Master’s Degree from Siena Heights University.

In her spare time, Ms. Botte enjoys reading, spending time with her family and friends and going on vacations. In the summers she spends at least a month each year visiting friends and spending time in the mountains and on the ocean.

During the summer she also participates in an 8 week long Horticultural Therapy program for youth with special needs which is sponsored by Lenawee County 4-H called Project Bloom.

This year Ms. Botte’s goals include getting to know the staff, students, and community. She has a vision to start a book club at the middle school so if you have an interest, please let her know!

When asked what the most interesting thing is she gets to teach she responded with:

“I think the most interesting thing I get to teach is study skills.  My background is in science and history so I am able to use my knowledge to help students understand the concepts being taught in those classes.  Also in study skills, I get to work with a small group of students so I really get to know them.”

Ms. Botte has a very small immediate family, she is an only child and both of her parents are only children. She does have a lot of distant cousins most of whom live in the greater Metro-Detroit area, however, she has several who live here in Grass Lake.

Please share with me in welcoming Joanna Botte to our school community!

Today’s Teacher Feature is the third in a new series of columns featuring the local teachers at Grass Lake Community Schools. We hope to help the community to become more familiar with the teachers and administrators of the Grass Lake Community Schools.