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So………the flannel shirts and coats are making their appearance. Fewer and fewer t-shirt and shorts combinations are visible except in our hardiest residents. The window scrapers have been moved from under the seat and the trunk to the passenger side floor. Snow shovels are being stocked at the local hardware stores and the sounds of rumbling motorcycles has given way to the sounds of tuning up the snow blower.  Yep, fall and winter have found us again.

Soon, the “snow birds” will be departing for their winter haunts, not to return until the last vestiges of snow have melted away and the buds have appeared on the trees.  The Grand River will take on a whole new perspective as flowing water is replaced by ice flows.

It’s okay because the spring will be upon us in no time. The time for renewal and the time for new beginnings.

I would like to congratulate Councilwoman Colestock on her re-election to the City Council. I would also like to welcome Susan Politza and Jeremy Milam to their new positions on the council.  We have many tasks ahead to keep Eaton Rapids moving in a positive direction. 

To retiring Council members Harri and Burke. Thank you gentlemen. You have been an integral part in moving Eaton Rapids forward. Always having a steady hand on the tiller that has provided direction. You have both been allies and confidants and have truly served your community well.

To the voters of Eaton Rapids I wish to say thank you for exercising your opportunity to vote. While voter turnout was lower than in years past it is always important to have your voice heard and what better place to do it than at the ballot box.  

I did hear from several residents who let me know that they didn’t think it was important to vote because the seats were uncontested so why did it matter. It does matter. It is your government and the 5 of us base decisions on what you want us to do. We care and take our direction from all of you. Be involved-please.

I also heard from several people that they didn’t know that Eaton Rapids had anything to vote on. To them, I apologize.  We need to do a better job at informing our public on the “Who, What, Where, When, Why and How” of the election process. We can’t ask you to do your duty if we aren’t performing ours.

We have turned the music back on in the downtown and are interested in what you would like us to play. Please send your suggestions to our Michigan Main Street Director at Jsmith@cityofeatonrapids.com. While we will be as diverse as possible we need to maintain a certain community standard. Let’s keep the musical message positive.  I’m a proponent of Motown, having grown up during the 60’s in east Dearborn, but it all works. My IPOD contains everything from Green Day to Diana Ross and the Supremes to the X Ambassadors and Eminem with a smattering of Garth and Toby added in for good measure.

To date the “Eaton Village project” otherwise known as the “Tiny Home project” has generated well over $25,000.00 to the local economy. This has been in the form of fuel, meals and expenditures at the local retailers. To bring you up to date, the parking lot is paved (or was scheduled to be done on the 8th of November) and the below ground infrastructure has been installed.

Take note of the improvements being made to the building on the corner of Hamlin and S. Main St. New windows have been added on both the first and second floor. Lime stone sills are being incorporated and a new stairwell will be taking shape. The electrical lines in the alley have been placed below ground. The interior work is progressing beyond expectations.  Many times this type of project draws criticism because the changes aren’t obvious but, in the end, the results are spectacular.

The City of Eaton Rapids, working with our residents, provided $16,415.65 in matching curb side appeals grants during the last 6 months. This amount, coupled with the homeowner investment of $27,526.26, adds up to $43,671.91 in tangible home improvements.  Drive around a little and you can see the improvements that people are making.  The Quality of Life Director processed 23 applications and 20 of the grants were awarded to homeowners.  This bodes well to our efforts that will be forthcoming in the next year.  Only you can make the difference.

The Hometown Family Christmas celebration is scheduled for Saturday, December 7th. Watch the City of Eaton Rapids website, Facebook page and the Eaton Rapids Chamber of Commerce Facebook page for details.  A number of fun events are being planned. The Hometown Family Christmas celebration is a joint effort between the Eaton Rapids Chamber of Commerce and the City of Eaton Rapids and truly involves every possible component. This year will bring some new things such as movies and cookie decorating.

As Thanksgiving approaches and the “rush” begins remember to breathe and to say thank you. Those two words mean so much. Think about the wait person that you snap at.  They are doing their best to provide you with a service. Recognize that you have to be willing to gracefully accept it in return. The clerk at the store that has no idea why the store doesn’t have your size. The attendant at the gas station that isn’t really responsible for the price hike.

Remember that it takes the same amount of effort to be encouraging and considerate as it takes to be demeaning and derogatory.  Think about the receiver.

As always, continue to make Eaton Rapids a great place to live, work and raise your family.