website builder



January 1st

[2013] Statement of Purpose
The words "journalist" and "reporter" have been thrown around in the past day or so by some visitors to the site. For several weeks at, we've discussed producing a "Statement of Purpose," or simple outline of what the site is intended to be. It is clear that now is the right time to do it.

Before we get to that, however, let's start with some introductions. Who is "behind" has never been a secret. Most of it has been publicized on several occasions and in several places, including our Official Press Release, which is, and always has been, posted on the front page of the site. But, as continues to grow, it is appropriate for us to re-introduce ourselves.

Josh Strickland
I developed and launched the site and am responsible for nearly all that is posted.

Sarah Strickland
My wife, a photographer, who should get credit (but usually doesn't) for many of the photos that appear on the site, as well as a consultant, with whom I discuss ideas and concepts.

Steve Strickland
My brother, a consultant, among many other things, with whom I also discuss ideas and concepts.
A family affair? Yes, a bit. But, there are many, many contributers who deserve an equal amount of credit. Without content, there is no site.

An excerpt from the Official Press Release:

"'A News + Entertainment Site for Durand, Michigan' doesn't really encompass the whole heart of what the website is or what I hope it becomes, but, generally speaking, that's what you'll find here," according to Josh Strickland, creator and editor. He goes on to say, "I'm excited to make this investment in my hometown."

To deliver community news and information, to support and build up the community and to improve the perception of others about our community.

There they are. Three simple functions of is not hard news or investigative reporting, it's girl scout cookies, yard sales and fender benders. That is to say, it's the little things. Having grown up here, and understanding some outsiders' perceptions of Durand, I also hope that the site will aid in improving those perceptions, giving people the chance to see that Durand really is a great place to live and learn.

As for the words "reporter" or "journalist," those are a little too stuffy for this outfit. We're simply a group of people who have decided to make an investment -- one of several -- in our community.

January 3rd

[2016] For Sale: Wilbur Bills and Doyle Knight
The Durand Area Schools Board of Education is taking sealed bids for the sale of two former elementary schools, Wilbur Bills Elementary in Bancroft and Doyle Knight Elementary in Lennon.

Wilbur Bills is listed as an approximately 25,793 square foot building on approximately 15 acres of land, located at 251 West Prior Road in the Village of Bancroft. Doyle Knight is listed as an approximately 18,459 square foot building on approximately 2.45 acres, located at 900 Oak Street in the Village of Lennon.

An informational meeting will be held at Wilbur Bills, including a walk-through inspection, on Monday January 4th at 10am. A similar meeting will be held at Doyle Knight the same day beginning at 1pm.

Bids must be received by Superintendent Craig McCrumb by 3pm on January 11th 2016 and accompanied by a certified or cashier's check for $1,000.

Bids will be reviewed for consideration at the regular Board of Education meeting beginning at 7pm on January 11th and a vote to accept a bid for each of the properties at the January 27th Committee of the Whole meeting will take place.

Conditions of the sale include a signed purchase agreement within five days of the acceptance of a bid.

Purchase agreements and other documents related to the planned sale of both buildings has been posted to the school district website, according to a public notice issued by the district. That notice also advises any questions related to the sales be directed to the office of Superintendent McCrumb, at 310 N. Saginaw Street in Durand or by phone at 989-288-2681.

January 5th

[2014] State of Emergency in Shiawassee County
The Shiawassee County Emergency Management and Homeland Security has announced a State of Emergency for Shiawassee county due to heavy snowfall and blowing and drifting snow that is causing roadways to become hazardous and impassible.

The agency advises, to avoid accidents and to aid public safety response, all residents are asked to stay off the roads at this time. 

Road Commission crews will continue to plow primary roads throughout the night. The State of Emergency will be allowed to expire once roads are again clear and passible for safety response   and residential traffic. 
County offices will be closed on Monday, January 6th. The City of Durand previously announced its offices would be closed on Monday and the January city council meeting has been canceled.

[2014] 1980s: Local Man Writes, Performs Song About Durand Called "Waiting For A Train"
Durand resident, Bill Spence, was recorded by ABC12 (WJRT-TV) during a Railroad Days celebration in the 1980s, performing a song he wrote about our city. Video footage from Durand has been added to the original audio recording and was recently posted to YouTube.

(Bill Spence)
Well the Grand Trunk Western slows down
To change the crew in our town
And the bells ring at the crossings all the time
So if you're in a hurry, no matter who you are
You'd better go around our town, or you won't get too far

You can wait down at Southside
You can wait up on Main
In Durand you can spend a lifetime
Waiting for a train

But if you're a railroad buff like me
Drive out to Durand and you'll see
Enough to keep you satisfied for many years to come
The crashing of the coupling cars
The lights flashing at the crossing guards
The trains keep rolling in and out of the Grand Trunk Railroad yards

You can wait down at Southside
You can wait up on Main
In Durand you can spend a lifetime
Waiting for a train

Now I don't mean to run 'em down
The railroads helped to build this town
Way back when the mighty tremblin' Iron Horse was king
Just stroll through our museum
Then close your eyes and dream
You can almost feel the earth shake
When you hear that wildcat whistle scream

You can wait down at Southside
You can wait up on Main
In Durand you can spend a lifetime
Waiting for a train

January 6th

[2014] Storm Snowfall Totals Are Out: Shiawassee County Hardest Hit In Michigan
The National Weather Service has released official snowstorm Ion snowfall totals for Michigan, and if it's a contest, Shiawassee county gets the "W." Owosso recorded a whopping 18.7 inches of weekend snowfall. Flint's 17.1 inches is good enough for the most snowfall in a major Michigan city, followed by Lansing, with 15 inches. We measured 16 inches on the northside of Durand and 15.8 on Durand's southside -- unscientifically. Did you take a measurement where you are? Share it here! 

Here are some more numbers from the National Weather Service:

Owosso 18.7"
Swartz Creek 18"
Fowlerville 17.5"
Flint 17.1"
North Branch 17"
Lapeer 16.5"
Corunna 16.4"
Linden 16"
Millington 16"
Peck 16"
Howell 15.9"
Clarkston 15.3"
Flushing 14.5"

In addition to the significant snowfall, dangerously low temperatures combined with brisk winds are a formula for life-threatening conditions. The National Weather Service provides the following chart for measuring how quickly a person can receive frostbite based on the temperature and wind. Monday night's projected low temperature for the Durand area is -7. Wind speeds are varying between 20 and 25 miles per hour. Based on those figures, according to the chart, frostbite would begin to set in within 30 minutes of being outdoors.

January 7th

[2015] Memorial Service for Owner of the 206 to Be Held On Sunday At Bar
Claralyn Tompkins, a Durand High School graduate that eventually served Durand residents as a self-employed accountant and co-owner of the legendary 206 Bar in downtown Durand, passed away on December 23rd.

Tompkins' is survived by her husband, Thomas; sons, Scott and Justin, and daughter-in-laws, Melissa and Jody, and several grandchildren.

On Sunday January 11th, a special memorial service for Tompkins will be held at the bar, located at 206 W. Main Street, from 1 to 5pm.  

"It's a very casual memorial service," Jody said, "all are invited, family friendly, just come on in and tell us a memory you have of Clara!"

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations are suggested to benefit the Genesee County Humane Society.

Tompkins was 62.

Read more on our OBITUARIES page.

January 8th

[2018] Amidst Prep for Move to Saginaw Street, Water Line Break Closes Jim's Pizza
Jim's Pizza is preparing for a move to Saginaw Street, in the former RS Green Insurance Agency building. Since Greg Martin opened Jim's Pizza, it has been located on Main Street, just down the block from Rancho Grande Mexican Restaurant. Martin told Durand Now on Monday afternoon that Jim's Pizza has to close until further notice after a water line in the upstairs apartment broke. Martin hasn't confirmed the anticipated opening date of Jim's new location, but there's been talk that it's expected in the coming weeks. When it opens, the new location of Jim's Pizza will be located at 215 N. Saginaw Street, across from Ed's Standard.

January  9th

[2016] New Dealership to Make Durand Home
A new Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM dealership will break ground near the intersection of Durand and Lansing roads if all things go as anticipated. Durand City Manager, Amy Roddy, told Durand Now in an email that Wiseman Realty made an offer to purchase city owned land. She said that the offer was acceptable and the city completed the necessary requirements to sell the land. The City Council approved the sale at the January 4th city council meeting and closing will take place in the next 30-45 days.

Roddy said a deal for Randy Wise Automotive Group to purchase Durand's longtime dealership, Tucker (formerly Jim Tucker) Chrysler Jeep Dodge RAM, as well as other dealerships, is said to be in the works, but she could not confirm whether that deal had closed. We reached out to Justus Tucker, General Manager of Tucker, but have not yet heard back.

January 10th

[2018] Jim's Pizza Will Not Reopen On Main Street
While preparing for a move to a new location on Saginaw Street, Durand's favorite local pizza spot, Jim's Pizza, was forced to close unexpectedly on Tuesday due to a water line break in the upstairs apartment that impacted equipment and operations in the restaurant. Early on Wednesday morning, owner Greg Martin confirmed to Durand Now that he will, regrettably, not reopen the Main Street location. When Jim's Pizza reopens, it will be at the new location, in the former home of RS Green Insurance Agency, at 215 N. Saginaw Street.

In a Facebook post, Martin said "It is with regret that Jim’s Pizza will not be reopening at its current location of 216 W. Main Street due to circumstances beyond my control. Jim’s Pizza will be reopening at our new location of 215 N. Saginaw Street in the near future. Currently I do not have a specific date as to when the opening will be,but I will continue to post updates until we reopen. Thank you for your patience and continued support and I look forward to seeing you at our new location soon!"

January 12th

[2018] SageLink To Merge With Portland Federal Credit Union, Become PFCU
Portland Federal Credit Union and SageLink Credit Union, jointly announced their intent to merge subject to regulatory and membership approvals. As part of the merger agreement SageLink Credit Union will merge with Portland Federal Credit Union, who has applied for state charter and will be changing their name to become PFCU. The combined credit union will have total assets of $521 Million and 13 branch locations covering the following Michigan counties, Kent, Barry, Ionia, Ingham, Shiawassee and Genesee. This will make PFCU the 27th largest credit union in the state with a combined 46,000 members. 

“Helping members is what our credit unions are all about”, said Harvey Hoskins, CEO of Portland Federal Credit Union “We share similar values and goals with SageLink and through this merger we will be able to provide expanded products and services to our members, along with the same outstanding service they’ve come to expect from us over the past 70 years.”

“PFCU has a strong reputation in business lending to members that will enhance our lending platform and ability,” said SageLink CEO, Anna Willson. “Moreover, the adoption of technologies that SageLink brings in like, Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) and the combined product mix and support functions from both entities will allow the credit union to be a significant competitor in Michigan for years to come.”

The existing operating locations will retain their current name and branding, with SageLink Credit Union becoming, ‘SageLink a Division of PFCU’, for an interim time of up to 3 years from date of merger, ultimately becoming PFCU. Portland Federal Credit Union CEO, Harvey Hoskins will remain CEO and Anna Willson, president/CEO of SageLink, will join the PFCU executive team.

In addition to the increase of products and services offered, both parties have expressed their excitement about how this partnership will provide expanded convenience through a network of locations that will now incorporate parts of the I-69 and I-96 corridor. This will allow members face-to-face service opportunities that extend as far East as Flint and as far West as Caledonia, near Grand Rapids.

The intent to merge has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of both credit unions and is expected to be completed at the beginning of the 2018 third quarter, subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory and membership approvals.

About Portland Federal Credit Union
The 70 year old Portland Federal Credit Union was established within the Holly Carburetor Plant in Portland, MI. Today, the credit union is a full‐service financial institution with seven office locations throughout mid/west Michigan, over 29,500 members and $321 million in assets. Harvey Hoskins, the CEO, has served the credit union for 27 years. To find out more, visit our website at

About SageLink Credit Union
The 81 year old SageLink Credit Union was established through Shiawassee Teacher’s Credit Union in Corunna, MI. Today, the credit union is a full-service financial institution with 6 locations in Shiawassee and Genesee Counties and over 17,300 members and $200 million in assets. Anna Willson, the CEO, has served the credit union for 36 years. To find out more, visit our website at

January 13th

[2013] Durand Gets A New Chief of Police
A new Chief of Police was sworn in at the Durand City Council meeting on Monday night. Jason Hartz, a 16 year veteran of the force, will replace outgoing Chief Sampey. His first order of business was naming Officer Clayton Pletscher Durand's new Sergeant. Pletscher was given the option to accept the newly created title and he did. The decision to promote Hartz was approved unanimously by city council. 

Sampey had served in the capacity part-time, while also serving part-time as Byron's Chief of Police and holding a third full-time job. City Manager, Amy Roddy, who issued the "oath of office" to Hartz on Monday night, said that Durand needed a full-time Chief and Sampey could not provide that service alongside his other responsibilities.

Chief Hartz is working on his Master's degree in Criminal Justice and has been married to his wife, Stephanie, for 15 years.

[2016] A Dress for Every Girl, A Price for Every Budget -- New Business Opens In Lennon
Marla Brisbin was born and raised in Durand. She now lives near Lennon -- she recently told Durand Now that she loves the quaint little village type business areas. She said she was inspired to open her new shop, Diva On A Dime, after homecoming dress shopping last year with two of her granddaughters.  

She said seeing how expensive and hard it was to find a wide variety of sizes, she decided that she wanted to help as many girls that she could find the dress of their dreams at a very affordable price.  

Marla's motto is "A dress for every girl. A price for every budget." She said dresses will sell for $40. Dresses will also be available to rent for $20. An additional $20 rental deposit will be required, but will be returned provided the rented dress is comes back to the shop free of holes, rips, stains and other damage.

Diva On A Dime officially opened on Monday and will be open six days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 10am to 6pm. The formal dress resale shop is located on Main Street between Baker Insurance and Midway Bar.

January 14th

[2013] Durand's New Fire Truck Has Arrived
Replacing engine 604 that has been in service since 1985, Durand welcomed the newest truck to its' fleet last week, a 34-foot Smeal Pumper. Funds from the sale of the outgoing truck helped cover the cost of the new truck, which ran the city more than $300,000.

[2017] Durand Now LLC Posts 29% Revenue Increase, Launches Another New Site In 2016
Durand Now LLC posted its highest annual earnings in 2016, with a 29% increase in total revenue over 2015; a 29% increase in cash business and a 65% increase in trade business. The increase also reflects growth in the company's website development business, Railroad City Design, which has been building and maintaining websites for numerous local businesses and organizations since 2013.

Durand Now LLC began as a single local news website,, launched September 1st 2012. Quick revenue and website traffic growth fueled an investigation into the launch of a "sister" site. On April 19th 2014, made its official debut, marking the first of several major events that year.  

On June 4th 2014, the Limited Liability Company, Durand Now LLC, was formed, and just months later, another new website was launched; Uplift Shiawassee (, a website to serve the entire county with a focus on positive news stories and community information.

The calendar year 2015 marked Durand Now LLC's highest trafficked calendar year to date, with nearly a half million page views across the three websites, the majority of which came from That year also brought the acquisition of two more website URLs representing Shiawassee county communities; and, and a partnership with Cano's Broadcasting's WOAP radio that included a new website for the radio stations that was powered by Durand Now LLC.

Between May 11th and December 1st 2015, redirected to Between November 1st 2015 and July 14th 2016, pointed to The new WOAP website launched on October 1st 2015. served the Perry community with news and information under different ownership from June 2013 to February 2015. In February 2015 the URL was allowed to expire. When was returned to the Domain Registry in May 2015, Durand Now LLC acquired it. On December 1st 2015, the new went live. did a "soft" launch on July 14th 2016, offering only the standard community calendar and Yard Sale Directory seen on other Durand Now LLC sites and sharing Owosso-focused news stories published by WOAP. In September 2016 WOAP built and launched their own website, effectively ending the partnership with Durand Now LLC. Three months later, on December 16th 2016, posted its first proprietary story. The design of remains very different than the original Durand Now LLC sites.

Plans for increased expansion in 2017 are in the works, including a new county-focused website.

Here is a breakdown of 2016 stats for each Durand Now LLC website:


Durand Now LLC boasts the greatest total potential social media reach of any Shiawassee County media organization. In addition to the combined 9,566 fans of each brand's various social media platforms, in 2016 Durand Now LLC entered into an agreement with the Owosso News and Events Facebook page to add an additional 1,454 fans. Further, Durand Now LLC Publisher Josh Strickland's pages increase potential reach by 6,162 Facebook, 1,984 Twitter and 1,594 Instagram fans and followers, bringing the grand total social media reach for Durand Now LLC to 20,760.

Argus-Press tops out at 13,446 between its Facebook and two Twitter accounts. FriendsandCommunity Owosso reaches 12,137 on Facebook. Friends and Community Shiawassee County reaches 10,791 on Facebook. WOAP-AM/FM reaches 10,550 between its Twitter and two Facebook accounts. WRSR-FM reaches 5,030 between Facebook and Twitter. Independent Newsgroup reaches 2,087 on Facebook. WJSZ-FM reaches 669 on Facebook.

Durand Now LLC will expand its reach in 2017 via YouTube and its free direct-to-inbox news delivery service, The Email Express. Currently, Durand Now LLC currently has 85 subscribers on YouTube and 522 subscribers to The Email Express.

January 17th

[2013] Launches #DigDurand
Are you on Twitter? We're launching the #DigDurand campaign! It's a new way to show your Railroader Pride. FOLLOW US at and be sure to tag any tweet that references something you love in Durand with #DigDurand!

January 18th

[2017] Durand Business Gets Shout Out In Michigan State of the State Address
Governor Rick Snyder presented his State of the State address on Tuesday January 17th. During the approximately hour long speech he recognized a growing Shiawassee County business, calling it one of the "greatest companies in the world."

2nd Chance Wood recently acquired property in Durand's "Innovation Center" in order to expand from its location on M-71 in Vernon. The company opened in Vernon in 2010. 2nd Chance Wood will invest $2.5 million to construct a new building and add more than 50 new jobs.

Speaking of the company, Snyder said "They could have gone to Texas, Wisconsin... they're in Michigan."

2nd Chance Wood repurposes lumber from old trees, barns and demolition sites, Snyder told the audience that included Durand Mayor Pro-Tem, Dr. Brian Boggs, and former Owosso Mayor and State Representative Ben Frederick.

Watch the entire State of the State address below. The 2nd Chance Wood shout out happens at 42:30.

January 19th

[2013] Argus Calls Durand Now 'Competition'
The Argus-Press officially considers competition. ...and that makes us feel good. 

Last week we were contacted by a reporter with the century-and-a-half old newspaper that was interested in writing an article about The reporter indicated that they like what is doing and don't think that the two entities are exactly 'competition.'   

Admittedly, we thought it curious that the big Shiawassee County newspaper would want to feature, or even make mention of, 'the little website that could', that, while perhaps not an actual full-on competitor, aims to be the authority on happenings in Durand. The general rule of business competition as I know it, is the underdog pokes at the heritage. The heritage should never acknowledge the underdog.

Unlike, Durand isn't the Argus' primary focus, but it does fall within the scope of the paper's primary service area, so, naturally, we started theorizing on strategic reasons the Argus would choose to highlight One suspicion was that by bringing more attention to our site,  it would encourage readers of a certain other Durand-focused periodical to sample it and, perhaps, "make the switch."

The benefit to the Argus?

That "certain other Durand-focused periodical" is produced by an Owosso-based company that makes periodicals for several communities throughout Shiawassee County, making their enterprise as a whole, a full-on competitor of the Argus. If the Argus was able to damage one of their papers, it would certainly have an effect on the company as a whole, rendering the Argus stronger across the county. Besides, it's not going to hurt the Argus to send a few of their own readers to, right? The Argus covers the county. just covers Durand.

Thus, the relatively easy decision was made to accept the offer and allow the Argus to write a story about  

A day had passed (we were kinda busy) so we sent a late night email back to that reporter. We read the reporter's response the next morning. It said "My boss put the kibosh on my idea. He thinks Durand Now and the Argus are competitors."

This outcome may actually be better than having been "featured in the paper," aka, having been used as a pawn in -- what we thought would have been -- a really smart, strategic and sneaky move.

I guess that reporter really does like

...and, I guess and the Argus are... competitors.

For the record, we have never identified the Argus as competition. We're not trying to do what they do. As for that certain other Durand-focused periodical...

[2014] Official: Durand Superintendent To Retire
Cindy Weber, Superintendent of Durand schools,made official what has been speculated about in the past year; she'll be leaving the district. Weber announced that she would retire, effective June 30th, 2014, at the January Board of Education meeting. In May of 2013, Weber interviewed for the position of Superintendent of Midland Public Schools, amidst financial challenges and cuts to staff in Durand, causing a whirlwind of controversy and helping to fuel the growth of Facebook groups like Operation Railroader Pride. The group, which went online in April of 2013 under the name Committee to Support Durand Schools, began as a support mechanism for helping to get the Headlee renewal passed in August. The renewal passed overwhelmingly.

January 20th

[2018] GoFundMe Established As Part of Efforts to Restore Historic Village Community Hall
The Bancroft Planning Commission, with the help of local volunteers, is seeking to restore the local Community Hall. For over 70 years the hall has functioned as a central hub for many events in the Village of Bancroft including wedding and funeral dinners, community yard sales, dances, church functions and even town hall meetings.

Early in its existence, the structure served as an egg processing plant. The war-era Quonset hut was donated to the village in the 1940s by a local businessman, for use as a community hall.

Over the years of use, however, the building has deteriorated to an unusable condition which has forced the people of Bancroft to make a choice: either sell off their community center or to take action and seek to restore it. Many in the community did not want to see this facility, which has been such a beloved building in the lives of the people of Bancroft, be sold for private use. They want to see it remain a community hall that is available for the community to use.

It is for this reason that the Bancroft Village Council has granted approval for local volunteers, in conjunction with the Planning Commission, to raise the necessary funds and seek grants in order to see the Bancroft Community Hall restored and become a usable and attractive center of the Village.

After seeking initial bids and estimates, the Planning Commission has set a goal of raising $200,000 to fund this project. This cost will do more than simply make the Community Hall a useable structure. The dream, instead, is to make this building an excellent space that the people of Bancroft and the surrounding areas will seek out and desire to use for their community events.

This fundraising and restoration is a grassroots campaign and is made up entirely of local volunteers who want to see this vision become a reality. If you would like to stay in touch with regular updates about this project, please “like” the Facebook page at If you would like to donate to help restore this beloved, local community center you can give at or you can send a check to “The Village of Bancroft,” P.O. Box 97, Bancroft, MI. 48414 with a memo to “Restoration Fund.” Or, if you would like to be involved in some other way or have any further questions about how you can help, feel free to call Linda Wert at (810) 516-6929.

January 21st

[2015] Proud Papa Announces Birth of Son "To Be Raised In Durand"
New dad, CJ Lauderdale, proudly announced the birth of a son born to him and mom, Darcy Shay, on January 19th. Keegan Alexander Lauderdale was born at 6:22am, weighing it at 9 pounds and measuring 20 inches. Mom and baby are healthy and CJ says we can count Keegan among new arrivals in 2015 that will be raised in the Railroad City.

Congratulations CJ and Darcy! Welcome to the newest Railroader!

January 23rd

[2016] New Durand Chamber of Commerce Board Meets for First Time
After being closed for more than six months beginning in late 2014, The Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce re-opened in mid-2015 under new direction. The Chamber's new Director, Kathy Olund, began working with City Manager and Board President Amy Roddy to assemble a new board.  

On January 21st 2016, the new board met for the first time in the Chamber conference room.

Members of the new Durand Chamber of Commerce board are Christi Johnson - Allstate Insurance, Mike Fuja - Jon Michaels Fine Jewelers, Josh Strickland - Durand Now, Robert Tyrell - Webcor Packaging, Jeri Birchmeier - Durand Senior Care & Rehab, Yvonne Ryan - Blackmore-Rowe Insurance, Betty Fuller - Iron Horse Pub and Craig McCrumb - Superintendant of Durand Area Schools.

Elections for leadership positions and a determination of term lengths for each member are planned for the coming months.

On Wednesday January 20th, the first meeting to prepare for the 2016 End of Summer Cruisin' event was held at the chamber office, attended by numerous past cruise participants. The board and members of the public will continue to develop plans for this year's event at future meetings. The next is scheduled for March 16th.

The next board meeting is planned for February 18th.

The Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce is on Facebook! Click here to LIKE, and check out the Chamber's brand new website at

[2017] Citizens Bank Closes; First Merit To Follow
Citizens Bank, formerly Charter One and prior to that, known as First Federal of Michigan, has closed.

First Merit Bank, which has two locations in downtown Durand, has also announced it will close both locations this year.

36 other First Merit and Huntington Bank branches throughout the state will also close as part of a merger of the two institutions. The closings are expected in first quarter, according to Craine's Detroit Business.

Meanwhile, Fifth Third Bank Risk and Administration Manager, Mike Modlin, confirmed with the Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce that the branch located at 5300 Durand Road, at the intersection of W. Monroe, will not close as had been speculated by some.

The closure of Citizens and First Merit leaves just Fifth Third and SageLink Credit Union in Durand. SageLink's corporate headquarters is located at 311 N. Saginaw Street in Durand.

[2017] Jumbo Video Closes Abruptly
The "OPEN" sign is off. Durand's last video store, Jumbo Video, has closed. Cardholders say no notice was given before the store, located in Durand Plaza, formerly Monroe Plaza, ended operations earlier this month.

"On Demand" options at home and kiosk-style rentals have increasingly challenged traditional video rental stores. Video rental chain, Blockbuster Video, closed all its remaining stores in early 2014.  

Since Blockbuster's closing, Family Video is the largest video rental chain. It operates a location in Owosso.

January 24th

Three special anniversaries were celebrated at the Shiawassee District Library in 2014. The library system observed its first twenty years of service, the Durand Memorial Branch celebrated 60 years in operation, and the Owosso Branch celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Shiawassee District Library
The Shiawassee District Library was formed on July 1st, 1994 when the cities of Durand and Owosso, and Bennington, Owosso and Rush townships merged to create a new library system including the former Durand Memorial and Owosso Public Libraries. Ken Uptigrove, former Owosso Public Library Director, was hired to serve at SDL’s first director.

The library’s direct millage provided a stable source of funding, increased the books and materials purchasing for each branch, and allowed for building improvements. Technology improvements over SDL’s first few years included a new automated circulation system and website. Public access computers were added at each branch and now total 15 at Owosso and 7 at Durand. Wireless Internet access was added in 2004. Downloadable books and music are also available.

Durand Memorial Library
The Durand Memorial Branch first opened its doors in March 1954 after seven years of community effort to construct the building. Most of the early collection of books was borrowed from the state library and many of the furnishings were handcrafted and donated by the community. Iva Stevenson served as the first librarian.

Use of the library and the size of the collection increased rapidly so that a children’s room was added in 1971. Another addition was built in the summer of 1980 to house the fiction and non-fiction collections. In 1989 the library’s reading room was constructed.

The library’s collection grew through the years as well. Books continued to be borrowed from the Michigan State Library into the 1970’s to supplement the small collection. LP records were available in the 1960’s, but were later replaced with cassette tapes and eventually music CD’s in the 1980’s. A small collection of 8mm films were purchased in the 1970’s. Videocassette movies were eventually replaced with DVD films, and Blu-ray movies were added in 2012.

To stabilize and increase funding for the Durand Memorial Library, the library became a branch of the Shiawassee District Library when SDL formed in 1994.  

SDL in 2014
Both branches of the Shiawassee District Library were busy during 2014 with 190 programs attended by more than 3,800 people. Programs were held on writing family history, ghost hunting, Christmas wreath making, and more. Both branches also offered winter reading programs for adults.  

Children’s services during the year included Lego block parties, craft programs, Wii days, and more. Children and their families were invited to hands on science programs, live animal encounters, story hours, and more events during the Fizz Boom Read! summer reading program.  

Shiawassee District Library offers a collection of 97,800 items including 80,500 books, 3,600 music CD’s, 2,200 CD and cassette books, 1,880 movies on DVD and Blu-ray, and subscriptions to 15 newspapers and 163 magazines within its two locations. The Overdrive downloadable books collection contains more than 8,000 titles.  

104,000 people visited the libraries during 2014 and more than 69,200 books, movies, and more were borrowed from the Durand and Owosso branches during 2014. Patrons also borrowed more than 4,300 books and other items through MelCat, the statewide interlibrary loan service. Almost 5,200 Overdrive books and more than 900 Freegal music tracks were downloaded.

Each of Shiawassee District Library’s participating municipalities is represented on the library board. Current board officers include: President Robert Smith of City of Durand, Vice-President Tom Smith of City of Durand, Treasurer Rosemary Schultz of City of Owosso, and Secretary Denice Grace of City of Owosso. Trustees on the board include: Ed Humphrey of Bennington Township, Joan Aue of City of Owosso, and Robert Teich Jr. of City of Owosso. Long time board member Kitty Campbell of Rush Township resigned from the board in November.

“2014 was a year to celebrate our special anniversaries; SDL’s 20 years of service, Durand Branch’s 60th anniversary, and the Owosso Branch’s centennial. We are looking forward to many more years of library service in our communities as Shiawassee District Library continues to change, improve, and offer new services in the future”, says Steven Flayer, Library Director.

L to r: Mayor Norm Sparling (with shovel), VFW Past Commander Stuart Coleman, Mrs. Rex (Mae) Teeters, VFW Past Commander Bob Grice (with shovel)/Courtesy Photo


January 25th

[2015] VIDEO: See Durand Union Station, The City By Drone
There's nothing quite like a birds-eye view. Thanks to "drone" technology, we're able to see Durand Union Station and the City of Durand from a whole new perspective. Thanks to Jim Shaw (@jimshawdotnet) for capturing the captivating images!

We want your train videos! Snap a clip ANYWHERE of ANYTHING train-related, and let us share it on our YouTube channel! Email the link to!

January 26th

[2013] Anniversary: Blizzard of 1967
It was on this date in 1967 that Michigan got blasted with a fierce snowstorm that left an estimated 50,000 cars and 1,100 buses stranded in Chicago, and hundreds there were arrested for looting. Check out our "You Know You're From Durand, Michigan When..." gallery for pics taken in Durand after the storm. Click here or here to see video taken after the storm.

January 27th

[2014] "Original Capital" Historical Marker Stolen from Shiatown West Park
Shiawassee Township Supervisor, Anthony Karhoff, is once again expressing his dismay after being notified by a Shiawassee County Sheriff's deputy on Saturday that another historic marker has gone missing. The plaque, located at Shiatown West Park, was placed almost 90 years ago by the Daughters of the American Revolution Shiawassee county chapter, noting the land's original designation, "for public use," when Shiawasseetown was platted in 1837. It was the anticipation by the area's early settlers that the state capital would be located at Shiawasseetown.

In September last year, the Knaggs Bridge Historical marker was stolen from outside Burns Grange #160. The marker was found a month later in the waters of Geeck Road Park. In December, grave markers and headstones were stolen from local cemetaries.  

Karhoff is personally offering a reward, and he says some residents have contributed to the reward, all in an effort to identify those responsible and prevent future incidents.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Shiawassee County Sheriff's Department at (989) 743-3411.

January 30th

[2014] Durand Principal Wins Award
Christa Bowman, Principal at Bertha Neal Elementary, was honored recently for her devotion, energy and innovative leadership style by the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association. Bowman received the Principal of the Year Award in Region VIII which covers Shiawassee, Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties. Bowman is the first principal from Durand Area Schools to receive the award since MEMSPA began issuing it 36 years ago.

[2016] Flint Water Crisis: Girl Scouts Will Host Bottled Water Drive In Durand Today
Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan are taking the quest for clean water to the streets of Durand. Amidst the Flint Water Crisis, where more than 20,000 Flint homes are affected by high levels of lead in water, affecting more than 100,000 people, the Girl Scouts will set up at two locations in Durand today. Beginning at 11am, the girls will be at Wendy's collecting bottled water, empty pop cans and bottles and hosting a bake sale, to benefit the residents of Flint. While that event continues until 5pm, Girl Scouts will also begin a similar collection at Papa Joe's, downtown, at 1pm. That drive will also end at 5pm.

On Friday, Governor Rick Snyder signed a $28 million bill to provide supplemental aid to the residents of Flint. On Thursday, the Governor issued a proclamation extending the Flint Water Emergency until April 14th.

Also on Thursday, Lt. Governor Brian Calley announced a water bottle recycling plan for Flint residents, to keep bottles out of landfills. Governor Snyder tweeted yesterday that the state has distributed more than 200,000 bottles of water, 100,000 filters and 30,000 water testing kits in Flint.

Meanwhile, a $10 million project began last year to replace much of Durand's outdated water and sewer infrastructure. You can get complete and regular updates directly from the architects and engineers on our REBUILDING DURAND page.

January 31st

[2015] Depot Receives One-of-a-Kind Donation With Significant Local Historical Relevance
A one-of-a-kind item with major historical importance to steam railroading, national railroading history, and even Durand history, was recently donated to the Michigan Railroad History Museum. The front number plate from Grand Trunk Western Engine #6319 was given to the museum by Mr. Ken Gilson of Tennessee, and is already on display in the Museum.

Engine #6319 is historically significant, as it was the engine to pull the very last regularly-scheduled passenger train on steam power in the entire United States. The last run, conducted on March 27th 1960, began in Detroit and concluded in Durand. The passenger demand for this last trip was so high that a sister engine, GTW #6322, was brought out of retirement to pull as well. These two engines and their final run represent the end of the steam era for railroading in the nation.

The number plate joins a previous donation by Ms. Janis Bancroft of Grand Ledge, who, in May of 2014, graciously donated the brass bell from the locomotive in honor of her father, longtime machinist and Superintendent of the Grand Trunk Yard in Battle Creek, William “Harry” Calladine.

The engine itself has been dismantled, meaning the number plate and bell are two of the only surviving artifacts from this important locomotive. It is the view of the staff at the Museum that these two items belong together, and there is no better place in the country for the two items to be displayed than the site of its final trip, Durand Union Station.

Durand Union Station, Inc. and the Michigan Railroad History Museum are beyond grateful to Mr. Gilson and Ms. Bancroft for their donations and are excited to share the story of the end of the steam era with the community of Durand and the State of Michigan at large.