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Local News Summary - October 5, 2022 Edition

Lewiston Fall Fest held this past weekend
Fall Fest in Lewiston continues to grow in popularity. The free event on Oct. 2 was sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority. Children received goodie bags, pumpkins and tulip bulbs. They could visit the Mystic Maze or petting zoo, ride a pony, make crafts, go bowling or take a hayride. There were free books and food, including apples, caramel apples, hot cocoa, kettle corn, hot dogs, donuts, chips and cider. Bounce houses, prizes for guessing the weight of a giant pumpkin and music from the Country Poorboys added to the fall fun.

Recreational marijuana again in front of the Briley Township Board
Board members and planning commissioners for Briley Township are still ironing out the details involved in allowing a recreational marijuana business in Atlanta. At the township board meeting on Sept. 28, planning commissioners indicated the building permit issued for the business is illegal.

“It’s not a real permit, because it’s not allowed in the zoning,” Gordon Green, planning commissioner, said. “Technically, it never happened.”

The township has an ordinance allowing recreational marijuana but does not have zoning for it in place. Zoning presented by the township board was voted down by both the planning commission and the township board. The zoning amendment would have prohibited recreational marijuana businesses in areas zoned C-1, which includes the “old town” district.

Getting the zoning amendment through the planning commission will take more discussion between planning commissioners as at least one wants recreational marijuana businesses to be allowed in the downtown district to help the town grow. The matter has been handed back to the planning commission.

The zoning amendment that was voted down had been drafted by the township board, and the planning commission will now draft a zoning amendment regarding recreational marijuana. Phil LaMore, township clerk, recommended the planning commission take immediate action, and a special meeting will likely be scheduled for the PC to determine amendment language. Once language is developed, a date will be set for a public hearing.

Hillman High School Sports Hall of Fame
The ninth induction ceremony for the Hillman High School Sports Hall of Fame took place on Oct. 1 in Hillman. Inducted were Andrew Smith, Dave Checkley and the 1997 state champion baseball team.

Smith graduated in 2010 after earning honors in baseball, football and basketball as well as accumulating 12 varsity letters. He was an all-state basketball player, scoring 1,168 high school career points. Three-point shots were not permitted when Smith was in junior high, but they became his signature shot in high school with a total of 210 of them, scoring nine triples in a single game. He has the second highest number of three-pointers for the school and is ranked 14th in the history of the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

Eric Muszynski was in his second year of coaching varsity boys’ basketball in Hillman when Smith joined his team. Muszynski explained a foundation was being built, and Smith was the first block, adding he inspired those who followed to dream big.

“You really turned this thing around,” he told Smith. “I owe you a great debt. You know that.”

Checkley was inducted for his run of state championships as a baseball coach. In his eight seasons of coaching, he won 82 percent of his games and chalked up three state championships. He also held the titles of district, regional and state Coach of the Year. He lived in Hillman for 10 years, and Checkley said baseball is not the only thing he remembers about his stay.

“The biggest thing I learned was what a great community the Hillman people are,” he told those attending the ceremony. “They made this place a home for me.”

His 1997 state champion baseball team was honored as inductees. The team consisted of Lucas Shepherd, Todd Dodge, Matt Oswald, Cory Davis, Chris Kennard, Dustin Goossens, Mike Kennard, Mike Oswald, Jeff Kenyon, James Vanderveer, Jeff Timm, Kyle Rider, Jason Barrie, Jamie Weiland, Jerry Schaefer and Geoff Selesky. Dan Kennard was assistant coach.

Checkley said the team practiced hard every day, and he tried to coach his players on the mental aspects of the game as well as the physical. He was known for being willing to take risks, but he credited the team’s success to the players, themselves.

“The biggest thing about this team and the guys standing here is they knew what it was all about and put out the effort to put those banners on the wall,” the coach recalled. “In one way or another, they all came through at the same time.”

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