County fights to keep youth from leaving
Abi Wood Copy Editor Hillsdale high school students face a decision when they graduate: stay in Hillsdale or leave. Some local leaders think too many are choosing the latter. As a result, Hillsdale County is being drained of its young people and the benefits they offer to the community, said Susan Smith, executive director of the Hillsdale Economic Development Partnership. Smith said the stream of youth leaving Hillsdale is largely due to lack of awareness of what Hillsdale has to offer them. To counter this, the EDP is publishing a booklet titled “Made in Hillsdale,” which will be available online within the next three months. “We want to bridge the knowledge disconnect between the student population and the world of work,” Smith said. “We would like them to know what their opportunities are locally.” The booklet will include references to various companies in Hillsdale County that offer job opportunities, with pages allotted to members of the agriculture community. Smith hopes it will act as a sort of billboard for local companies to advertise themselves. “I’d also like to have a nonprofit section,” Smith said. “People in the community don’t know where to go in the city if they need assistance.” Ward 1 Councilman Brian Watkins said there is little incentive for youth to stay in Hillsdale. “There’s not a lot of opportunity for someone coming out of high school,” he said. “If you are looking to do pretty much of anything other than service industry jobs, there are not a lot of options here.” The EDP also plans to use “Made in Hillsdale” to encourage investment in the county. All this effort is an attempt to halt the exodus of youth from Hillsdale county. The county pays, on average, $7000 per child per year of their primary education, Smith said. “The community has invested a lot of money in each child, and for them to leave, well, that’s a big chunk of money that walks out of the county,” Smith said. The booklet will be distributed among junior high and high school students, aimed primarily at sixth and seventh graders. “We are looking at the younger population because they haven’t made their plan for high school yet,” Smith said. “Many times if you don’t know what is available you just go with whatever. You don’t focus on picking your curriculum in high school because you don’t know what you are interested in.” Hillsdale College sophomore Ethan Gehrke, who has lived in Hillsdale for more than four years, said that he could not see himself having a career in Hillsdale unless he was working for the college.
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“Hillsdale has a dual nature,” he said. “First there is Hillsdale College –– like Andy Griffith’s Mayberry, its own thing –– but the second the college students leave for break it’s an entirely different place. It’s dead, there are not a lot of jobs, and not a lot of things to do.” Despite the lack of excitement, Gehrke said Hillsdale is a good place to come back to. “This is the kind of place for the content,” he said. “You’d better really love the relaxing lifestyle or you are going to go crazy.”
City begins annual month-long deer culling
Casey Harper Collegian Freelancer For 10 local hunters, deer hunting season is different this year. The City of Hillsdale has recruited these hunters in its third annual deer cull, an effort to cut down on the local deer population. The hunters have the whole month of February to shoot deer in designated areas on the outskirts of town. The meat –– thousands of pounds of venison –– will then be donated to local food pantries, said Chris Gutowski, Hillsdale’s director of public safety. Citizens have been complaining about Hillsdale’s deer problem for years, especially because of property damage and the danger of car accidents. For the second consecutive year, the city received a grant for up to $5000 from the Hillsdale County Community Foundation to process the deer. The cull provided 3300 pounds of venison to local food banks last year. “The venison has been a huge blessing,” said Amanda Shroats, director of the food pantry at
Health funding fuels conflict
Betsy Woodruff City News Editor A question of $7,000 has created a tense situation for three counties and drawn Hillsdale College students into the drama. One commissioner said the conflict threatens the future of the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency. The three counties agreed in 1997 to pool money to fund their Community Health Agency, which provides a variety of services, including restaurant inspections, hearing and sight screenings for school children, and immunizations. Each county is supposed to pay the same amount of money, based on its population, said Hillsdale commissioner Brad Densmore. The problem started when Branch County chose not to pay the designated per-capita amount for the people in its Coldwater prison, said Al Ringenberg, one of Hillsdale’s representatives on the Board of Health. The county is facing economic challenges, and excluding the prison population saves it more than $7,000, Ringenberg said. He added that they defend the decision by arguing that the state of Michigan should pay for the costs created by the prisoners. He said he disagrees with their rationale. “I think that they should be paying,” he said. “That’s my opinion. Or that we should revisit the agreement that was created in ‘97 and maybe make some changes to it. And that’s fair.” Ringenberg said that since Hillsdale includes college students in its per-capita calculation, Branch County should include the prisoners. “I don’t see really a difference between college students and the prisoners,” he said. “We count you in our census if you were there on April 1.” Densmore said that Branch County benefits in some way from high census numbers, and should take the advantages and disadvantages of its population. He said the conflict has damaged the relationships of board members and could even jeopardize the future of the board. “Philosophical differences you can always iron out with a little bit of negotiation and patience,” he said, “but when you start getting personal issues, it becomes a lot more difficult to resolve those.” Ringenberg, though, is confident that the counties will find a solution. “It’s not going to be resolved very quickly, but it’ll get resolved,” he said.
Hillsdale Assembly of God. “It’s been harder to feed everyone coming in because food prices are going up so it takes more donations to feed the same amount of people. In addition, we’re seeing more and more families coming in so there’s less available for them.” Councilman Brian Watkins said Hillsdale’s deer culling is exceptionally cheap and efficient. “To me, the Hillsdale standard of deer culling is one that many communities could emulate with great result,” he said.
Naturopathic doctor helps Hillsdale
Patrick Timmis News Editor Homegrown naturopathic doctor Beth Flowers-Mapes is available for health advice and questions once a month at the Hillsdale Natural Grocery on Broad Street. This month, her hours are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 11th. “People ask me anything from the common cold to what to do for cancer,” she said. Pauline Salyer, the store’s manager, said few students take advantage of Mapes’ free expertise. “I think it’s just mostly from this area,” Salyer said. “I don’t notice too many college students coming to talk to her.”
Mapes is not completely can on the spot. unknown on campus, however. “I always give somebody a “A couple times last year couple suggestions,” she said. students were sick and called her,” Salyer said. “And she walked them through it.” Mapes works at the Coldwater Chiropractic and Wellness Center. “They really subscribe to trying to do everything naturally,” Mapes’ friend Kathleen Ruddy, director of associates and special projects for the college’s institutional advancement department, said of the Coldwater center. Mapes said she encourages people with more serious health problems to schedule a sit-down appointment, but she is completely willing to do what she (Courtesy of Cornerstone Chiropractic) With traditional medicine, all the drugs are either inhibitors or blockers –– they tend to mask the problem, where herbs actually heal it. Herbs have been around for thousands of years. Half of all drugs are taken off the market in 10 years because they are deemed unsafe. Have you seen a lot of people turning to natural medicine locally? When I was working for Dolores Spence, 75 percent of our clientele was from out of town, and only 25 percent were from Hillsdale. [But] when I started working for Dolores in ’92, most of the people that we saw were on their last hope. They had exhausted all their medical resources and then turned to natural health. So by the time we got people they were in pretty bad shape. Where now things have totally turned. About 2000 or so, people started coming there first, and using natural health as a preventative. Do you see people treating really serious diseases naturally? I have helped people get rid of tumors the size of softballs without any drugs. [But] people have to be very dedicated. They have to completely change their diet, and they are taking [herbal] pills every two or three hours. They have to pretty much go on a raw food diet. It is not for the faint of heart.
Council approves tax exemption, contract with domestic violence shelter
Caleb Whitmer Copy Editor Hillsdale City Council met in their regularly scheduled meeting on Feb. 6. By the end of the meeting, council had given a tax break to a local automotive plant, re-allocated money to the city’s ondemand bussing service, and re-contracted with a domestic violence shelter. T.I. Automotive, located at 200 Arch St., recently requested for an Industrial Facilities Tax exemption to help offset some of the cost of recent improvements to their plant. T.I. produces fuel lines and brake lines for Chrysler. In addition, the Hillsdale factory is the single source of push rods in Chrysler and General Motor vehicles. Over the past few years, T.I. has added 29 employees from Hillsdale County, an increase of about 55 percent. Because of this, Paula Miller, Hillsdale plant manager, requested the council approve the tax exemption of about $6,000 over 12 years. After the economic downturn of 2008, in which, Miller said, the automotive industry was especially hard hit, T.I. had sent much of its business to Mexico. Since then, the Hillsdale plant has steadily been growing. “It’s a great story for Hillsdale County,” Miller said. “We’re moving jobs back to the United States.” Questions were raised by councilman after City Manager Linda Brown revealed T.I. was currently engaged in litigation with the IRS over the assessment of their property. Miller had failed to tell council about the litigation, but professed ignorance of the litigation herself. “I didn’t know [about the suit] and when I find out I will give you a call,” Miller said. Despite initial concerns, City Attorney Lew Loren told council the litigation would in no way come back to hurt the city and such assessment disputes are quite common, especially considering how volatile the real estate market has been of late. In the end council approved the tax exemption, 9-0. Other news in City Council this week: -Council approved the mayor’s signature on allotting $55,000 for the city’s DialA-Ride service, the normal amount given for the on-demand bussing program. Fares, which although subsidized by the city, have risen in recent years to about $3 for adults and $1.50 for seniors and children. Council commissioned the public services committee to look at Dial-A-Ride to see if the services can be in some way altered to lower the cost for riders. In the fiscal year, 28,091 calls have been made to the city bussing service. -Council approved a contract worth $5,500 with Domestic Harmony, a local domestic violence shelter. Councilwoman Ruth Brown and councilman Scott Sessions originally proposed an amendment to contract $5,250 with the shelter despite $5,500 having already been planned in the yearly budget specifically for Domestic Harmony. Councilmen Brian Watkins and Casey Sullivan proposed to amend the resolution and raise the contract to $5,500. Council first voted on the amendment and it passed, 5-4. They then voted on the contract itself and that passed as well, 9-0. -Council created the Communications Committee in hopes of creating a communications policy for the city.
Flowers-Mapes gives free health advice to Hillsdalians at the Natural Grocery every month. She works at the Coldwater Chiropractic and Wellness Center. Do a lot of people come in for health advice? Quite a few. They tell people when I’m going to be there and people come in and ask me. If it’s too complicated, I tell people to make an appointment, but most of the time I give them a couple things to try. How did you get involved in natural medicine? I had a health issue myself that I had exhausted all my natural resources [for] when I was 18 years old, and somebody referred me to a naturopathic doctor — who I actually worked for [for] 17 years — and she had me straightened around in six months. So I decided to go to school for natural medicine and started working for her. What have you found to be the benefits of natural medicine over mainstream practices? Natural medicine actually balances your body out and heals your problems on a slow basis.
The following is a list of calls compiled and reported by the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Department. Hillsdale City Police Feb. 7 A 66-year-old man was arrested on the 2900 block of S. Bird Lake Road in Osseo on suspicion of Assault and Battery. A $1,000 bond was posted. A 42-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of parole detainer on the 2400 block of E. Bear Lake Road in Hillsdale. No bond was allowed. Feb. 6 A 48-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct on N. Broad Street in Hillsdale. A $500 bond was posted. Feb. 3 A 43-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of license documents and plates forgery and driving with a suspended license on the 1800 block of E. Michigan Avenue in Albion. No bond was allowed. Michigan State Police Feb. 7 A 37-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of driving with suspended license on the 400 block of Evans Street in Jonesville. A $2,000 bond was posted. Feb. 5 A 22-year-old man was arrested on a fugitive warrant out of Portage County, Ohio. No bond was allowed. Feb. 1 A 21-year-old man was arrested in the 4100 block of S. Pleasant Drive
in Hillsdale on suspicion of assault. A $1,000 bond was posted. Jonesville Police Department Feb. 4 A 51-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended license on the 1200 block of Collard Road in Jonesville. A $2,000 bond was posted. Feb. 3 A 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended license on the 200 block of Water Street in Jonesville. A $2,000 bond was posted. A 46-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of violating child support on the 9600 block of Hanover Road in Hanover. A $1,055 bond was not posted. Feb. 1 A 37-year-old woman was arrested on a Felony warrant for non-sufficient fund checks on the 19500 T Drive South in Tekonsha. A $5,000 bond was not posted. Litchfield Police Department Feb. 7 A 22-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended license. A $2,000 bond was posted. Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Department Feb. 7 A 28-year-old woman was arrested in the 200 block of W. Cherry Street in Reading on suspicion of driving with a suspended license. A $2,000 bond was posted. A 38-year-old man was arrested at Garden Grove in Hillsdale for suspicion of conspiracy to commit retail fraud. A $500 bond was posted.
A 24-year-old woman was arrested in the 100 block of Wesley Street in Reading for driving with a restricted license. A $2,000 bond was posted. A 37-year-old woman was arrested on the 1500 block of Holcomb Road in Hillsdale for domestic violence. A $1,000 bond was posted. Feb. 3 A 56-year-old man was arrested in Hillsdale on suspicion of driving with a suspended license. A $2,000 bond was posted. A 21-year-old was arrested on suspicion of breaking and entering at the 8000 block of Steamburg Road in Hillsdale. A $200,000 bond was not posted. A 48-year-old man was arrested for perjury-court proceedings at the 100 block of West Street in Hudson. A $100,000 bond was not posted. Feb. 1 A 20-year-old woman was arrested in the 400 block of N. Main Steet in Reading on suspicion of domestic assault. A $1,000 bond was posted. -Compiled by Marieke van der Vaart