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October 1st

[2012] Fire Destroys Historic Byron Buildings
An early morning fire in Byron destroyed several businesses and the apartments located above them. Nine fire departments battled the blaze that called for school to be canceled in Byron on Monday. 

Authorities believe the fire began in a vacant apartment above Janelle's, a popular restaurant. The fire spread to adjoining buildings, including Tower Hardware, a third generation business in downtown Byron, and a salon. 

It took well into the daytime hours for crews to get the fire under 
control, as it re-ignited on several occasions during the battle. No word yet on the cause. 

All the businesses, part of Byron's historic district, are more than 100 years old. Just last year, the 75+ year old Street Funeral Home burned down, and 20 years ago, a fire destroyed a business near to the businesses that burned today that had never been repaired. One firefighter suggested it would not be a surprise to see the entire structure razed.

[2013]: Founder of at Rotary
The Durand Rotary welcomed the creator of 'Durand 
Now' ( to their meeting last week.

Josh Strickland explained to members of the ser
vice organization that the news and entertainment website, which has now been online for more than a year, is a labor of love. Strickland, a 1998 Durand graduate, said his hope is that the site fills the hole that the longtime newspaper, The Durand Express, left after it closed in 2003. 
He called 'a hyper-local news outlet,' but said that it's much more than just news.   
The site, Strickland explained, has everything that the area newspapers offer and more, since the site isn't limited by printing costs and space on pages.  He also said two big positive points are that the site is updated 'constantly,' and is completely free, unlike some local papers' online resources. launched on September 1st, 2012 and, after just one year online, boasts thousands of visitors each week.

Strickland said is one of several 'investments' he and his family are making in the community since returning to the area last year. Strickland's wife, Sarah, serves as the Vice-President of Bertha Neal's PTAC and owns Oops Photography.

LIKE Durand Now on Facebook at and FOLLOW Durand Now on Twitter at

Strickland with Rotary President, Jeanette Gomos/
Photo Credit: Dawn Caldwell


October 3rd

[2012] Byron Fire Ruled Arson
Authorities have confirmed that the fire that destroyed two Byron businesses and damaged others was intentionally set. The fire started in a recently-vacated apartment above Janelle's, a popular restaurant, around 2am on Monday, and quickly spread down into the business and into a neighboring third-generation hardware store. A salon was also damaged. Eleven fire departments were called to help fight the fire but containing the blaze proved to be a challenge; the multiple layers of roofing on the historic building caught fire quickly, and the flames reignited on multiple occasions. Firefighters say that, though the fire was able to spread more quickly because of the design and age of the building, the old brick walls were sturdy and kept the frame standing. 

The affected businesses make up a good portion of the total businesses in the village, and what happens next stands to change the face of a community that has been in tact for more than 100 years.

[2015] Optimist Park Softball Field to be Named for Former Local Civic Leaders
Last year, Durand Police battled Durand Fire in a game of soccer during AYSO Soccerfest and won, but how will they fare on the softball field?

The City of Durand Parks and Recreation Board invite the Durand community to attend the dedication ceremony for the softball fields at Optimist Park at a community celebration on Sunday, October 4th as they officially name the park’s two softball fields in memory of Fred Summerhays and Lloyd Fredrick, two Durand residents who were instrumental in the development of Optimist Park. 

Fred Summerhays served on the City Council for many years during the 1950s and 60s, serving as Mayor from 1958 to 1961. He was an active member of the former Durand Optimist Club and was instrumental in acquiring the land that is now Optimist Park. Summerhays was a longtime citizen of Durand, residing with his family on Mercer Street. His son Jerry is traveling from Tennessee and daughter Mona, who lives in Saginaw will be attending the dedication ceremony, as well as grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Lloyd Fredrick served the city of Durand on the Fire Department from 1959, ascending to the position of Fire Chief from 1976 until his retirement in 1983. He also served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, during which time he was named Softball Director overseeing the men’s and coed softball leagues and maintaining the softball fields. Lloyd and his wife Pat raised their family in Durand, as well. Pat and their children plan to attend the event, along with several grandchildren, who may also be participating in the softball game.

The event begins at 2pm at Optimist Park, at which time the new signage will be unveiled designating the two fields in honor of Summerhays and Fredrick. After the ceremony concludes, the Police and Fire Departments, along with family and friends, will take to the field for a friendly game of softball. Parks and Rec Director Josh Roddy will announce the game and Parks and Recreation members will serve complimentary hotdogs, chips, popcorn and beverages for the crowd. The public is welcome!

[2016] Creepy Clowns In Durand
Numerous residents have reached out to Durand Now this afternoon about an alleged creepy clown invasion. Sightings of creepy clowns have been growing in frequency across the country in recent weeks. reports 28 states having documented creepy clown incidents, including several already in Michigan.

In some cases, creepy clowns are connected to threats against schools and children, leading some districts to close or issue statements about safety, USA Today reports. Meanwhile, the internet has responded with the hashtag #IfISeeAClown, offering suggestions on what to do if a creepy clown is spotted.

Two clowns were reportedly spotted in Durand on Monday, with the State Police responding to the middle school and an alleged arrest made.  

We've reached out to Durand Police Chief Jason Hartz, Lt. David Kaiser with the Michigan State Police and Durand schools Superintendent Craig McCrumb for more information.

October 4th

[2012] A Message to the Team
A message to the team:
You are NOT the Durand Railroaders of YESTERDAY, you are the Durand Railroaders of RIGHT NOW.

Don't get distracted by trends, but rather, FOCUS on that one post-Homecoming VICTORY moment to draw inspiration, encouragement and drive.
Because, even MORE IMPORTANT than counting on a win, your fiercely-proud DURAND alumni are counting on your  unwavering RAILROADER PRIDE.

[2016] Open Letter to Craig McCrumb Regarding the Story About Creepy Clowns
Craig -- an open letter.

I'm actually shocked that you suggested publicly that I lied in the story about being contacted when not only did I provide proof to you that I had received emails prior to the story being posted, but two of them are actually publicly visible on the Durand Now Facebook page.

Many parents have since expressed, and anyone that does their own due diligence will see, that people -- children -- were concerned before the story was posted to Durand Now, which, by the way, though time stamped at 4:35, was not actually live until around 5:20pm. (The Facebook time stamp is 5:21pm, and the story hits Facebook immediately after it's actually published.)

I'm really saddened to see how all of this played out.

In no way did I point a finger at the school or administration -- in fact, I didn't even consider this to be a school issue at first, which is why you were the last person I contacted (which, as noted above, was technically 8-9 minutes prior to the story actually going live.)

With that being said, I have received confirmation from a senior law enforcement officer that, in fact, central dispatch did page an officer to investigate a "clown on a curb." However, the officer that I spoke with is not connected to the situation, and I don't ever expect a response from Durand Police -- unfortunately, that is just how it is with Chief Hartz. Given the way this has turned into mud-slinging I'd really prefer not to post confirmation "on the condition of anonymity" so I am waiting, hopeful that I'll hear from MSP. They are usually good about providing information.

As a local business owner, a parent of three students in the district and simply knowing how pathetic this must look for the Durand community in general, it is now my turn to be very disappointed.

I wish that you would have handled this differently.

As a sidebar, Jason Hartz has, on multiple occasions, told me to my face to contact him with any questions -- he has even told me how to do it. The letter issued by the department today is equally as disappointing as yours, but fortunately, it makes quite transparent the reasons that residents of Durand that expect their department to provide important information through the media sources that they choose to utilize, which obviously includes Durand Now, fail to ever receive information that should be provided by the Durand Police Department.

To suggest that the reason the department will not provide accurate information to Durand Now is the result of Durand Now failing to post accurate information is just about as nonsensical as it gets.


Josh Strickland
Durand Now / Corunna Now / Perry Pulse / Uplift Shiawassee

October 6th

[2016] No Creepy Clowns In Durand
Following several separate Monday messages to Durand Now from residents of Durand about clowns allegedly being spotted in Durand on Monday afternoon -- possibly at a daycare or the middle school, Durand Now reached out to Durand Police, Michigan State Police and the Superintendent of Durand schools for more information.

Shortly after a story was posted on Durand Now late Monday afternoon, Durand schools Superintendent Craig McCrumb responded, saying there was no clown and no arrest and that anything clown-related was only rumor.

Neither Durand Police Chief Jason Hartz or Lt. Kaiser with MSP responded to the request for information, however, The Argus-Press reported on Wednesday that Kaiser indicated he was unaware of patrols being sent to the school.

In an emailed letter to McCrumb on Tuesday, Durand Now Publisher, Josh Strickland, indicated that a senior law enforcement officer not directly connected with Durand had confirmed that a dispatch was issued for a "clown on a curb," but the officer could not confirm any details surrounding the situation. Based on Lt. Kaiser's statement, MSP was unable to verify that claim, however, in a letter sent to parents and posted to the district website, McCrumb did confirm that a State Police officer did stop by "only to use the porta-john." In the letter, he also indicated that questions were raised by some parents about why kids were not let out for recess, indicating that it was a decision that was "strictly weather related."

Both McCrumb's letter as well as a separate notice issued to district parents by Chief Hartz affirmed that there are no clowns in Durand.

On Wednesday, stories about clowns spotted in nearby Flushing, East Lansing and the Detroit area hit news stands. In Brownstown, WXYZ-TV says a person wearing a clown mask robbed a Walgreens.

McCrumb told The Argus-Press "We know it's happening around the country. The phenomenon is real, but not in Durand."

October 7th

[2012] Durand Now Viral; Over One Million Views
As Homecoming neared and we played into the excitement, posting stories about the court, the team, the hog roast and all the things that we do to celebrate having spent at least some point in our life in this small town, something very interesting, coincidental and, well, awesome was happening behind the scenes.

On October 2nd we shared the "meme," shown  at right, on our Facebook page. The graphic  encourages Facebook users to "like" the image if they prefer living in a more country setting as opposed to a big city setting. It wasn't exactly planned to coincide with Durand's Homecoming week, but was certainly appropriate.   

At the time, just shy of 300 people had liked Durand Now on Facebook and statistically only a small portion of those that have liked a page will interact with any given post on any given day. But, thanks to the virality of Facebook, more than just the users that have liked a particular page have the opportunity to see the posts made by that page. 

Still, imagine our surprise when we discovered that, to date, more than ONE MILLION PEOPLE have viewed this meme on Durand Now's Facebook, and more than 150,000 people have actually interacted with the post by sharing, commenting or hitting "like." Upon seeing how viral this post had gone, we sprang into action, adding the caption "Visit Durand, Michigan! Railroad City, U.S.A.," hoping to peak some travel and tourism interest.

At present, those viewing Durand Now on Facebook will notice the page indicates approximately 29,000 "People Talking About," which is the metric that indicates interaction with the page over a 7-day period. This number reflects the 7-day period ending October 4th. Once the numbers for October 5th and 6th are included, that number should climb to over 150,000.

Certainly, Facebook is an excellent marketing tool, helping to drive traffic to, and as we are set to release our "State of the Site" progress report of's first month online, these are encouraging metrics, but are far greater than's actual traffic.

[2012] State of the Site: September 2012 went live online at  11:33pm on September 1st, 2012.

In the month of September 2012, there were 2,601 visits to by 2,108 different people, accounting for a total of 8,658 page views.

That's an average of 87 visits per day by 70 different people per day for an average of 289 page views per day.

In the first 10 days of September there were 742 visits by 623 different people for 2,761 page views.
In the next 10 days there were 682 visits by 530 different people for 2,145 page views.

In the final 10 days there were 1,177 visits by 955 different people for 3,752 page views.

After a 23% dip in page views in week #2, the site increased 43% from week 2 to week 3, or 27% overall.

The site saw the most new visitors in a single day on September 21st, when 129 people who had never previously been to the site visited.

The next four single days with the highest number of new visitors were September 2nd (116), September 4th (109), September 30th (74) and September 19th (69).

In September 2012, the hours that tracked the most traffic on average, were 8am (7.3%) and 5pm (7.0%). The next three hours with the highest traffic on average were 9am (6.3%), 10am (5.8%) and 4pm (5.8%).

In September, visits to came from 37 different US states. 67.5% of all visits came from Michigan. The next four states that produced the most visits were New York (8.1%), Illinois (4.4%), New Jersey (3.9%), and Ohio (3.3%).

Of 2,601 visits in September 2012, 1,480 (56%) were single page visits. Of those 1,480 single page visits, 274 (18.5%) were of the index page, or "main" page, located at 133 (9%) were of the story "Ongoing Puppy Sale Draws Questions." 122 (8.2%) were of the story "Hatley Wants Change In Durand." 93 (6.3%) were of the story "New Ending Times For The School Day." 65 (4.4%) were of the story "Zombies In Durand: Get Ready To Run."

Of 2,601 visits in September 2012, 1,619 (62.2%) lasted less than 30 seconds. 124 (4.8%) lasted between 30 and 60 seconds. 313 (12%) lasted between 1 and 4 minutes. 354 (13.7%) lasted between 4 and 30 minutes. 191 (3.1%) lasted more than 30 minutes.

Of 2,601 visits in September 2012, the top 5 static pages that served as point of entry were the index page with 744 (28.6%), the Marching Railroaders page with 84 (3.2%), the News page with 49 (1.9%), the Sports page with 42 (1.6%) and the Church Events page with 38 (1.5%).

Of 8,658 page views in September 2012, the top 5 most visited were the index page with 1,828 (21.7%), the News page with 883 (10.5%), the Community page with 539 (6.4%), the story "Hatley Wants Change In Durand" with 395 (4.7%) and the Sports page with 286 (3.4%).

Galleries accounted for more than 533 page views or at least 6.4%.

       Facebook serves as a good sample of specific demographic information.

Those that "like" Durand Now on Facebook, are considered "users." By the end of September 2012 there were 256 users.

Of 256 users, 82.1% were between the ages of 25 and 54. 52.8% of those people were female. 29.3% were male. Of the total number of users, 66.8% were female, 32.8% were male. The top 5 cities of residence for users were Durand (110), Owosso (14), Lennon (13), Flint (12) and Swartz Creek (10).

By virtue of the virality of Facebook, another metric available is the number of persons that are actively engaged with the site, or "engaged persons." This number includes persons who are not "users" of the site, but have still interacted with it in some way.

In September, Durand Now's peak 7-day period for "engaged persons" was September 17th-23rd, where 1,129 people interacted with the site in some fashion.

The top 5 engaged cities in a random 7-day sample during the month of September were Durand, Flint, Lennon, Fenton and Lansing. The top 5 engaged cities outside Michigan were Florence AL, Lawrenceberg IN, New Brighton PA, Prescott AZ, and Troy OH.

Again, by virtue of the virality of Facebook, another metric available is how many people have viewed a post made on the Durand Now Facebook as a result of one of their friends' interaction with that post.

In September, Durand Now's peak 7-day period for "viral persons" was September 16th-22nd, where 16,266 people viewed a Durand Now post.

The top 5 viral cities in a random 7-day sample during the month of September were Durand, Lansing, Flint, Owosso and East Lansing. There were only 2 viral cities outside of Michigan with enough of a sample to make the report, and they were Florence AL and Emporium PA.

Posts on Durand Now were viewed in 20 countries in September 2012. The top 5 were United States of America, Ethiopia, France, Canada and United Kingdom.

In the first 7 days of October there were 1,011 visits to by 855 different people, accounting for a total of 2,616 page views.

That's an average of 145 visits per day by 122 different people per day for an average of 374 page views per day.

In the first 7 days of October more than 100 new users were added, more than 150,000 engaged persons interacted with, and more than 1,000,000 viral persons viewed posts from Durand Now on Facebook.

That... is growth.

Note: It is not our intention to issue these reports on a monthly basis.

October 8th

[2016] Smile FM Spotlights Durand During Fall "Fundrive" Broadcast
Smile FM, a network of 25 Christian radio stations throughout the state of Michigan, held their "Fall Fundrive" recently, aiming to raise money to fund the network's continued operations, including signing on a new station that will serve Oakland and Macomb counties.

During the broadcast, Smile FM morning hosts, Jenn & Brian, recalled their October 2015 live morning show broadcast at Stomping Grounds Coffee Shop in Durand, telling the story of a woman named Rochelle and her daughter that made the drive from Owosso to Durand that morning. Rochelle's daughter was excited to connect "real" people to the voices that play the positive hits she hears on her radio every day.

The Smile FM Fall Fundrive was scheduled to end September 30th after a three-day live broadcast at ABeanToGo in Lake Orion, similar to the broadcast in Durand last October. Unexpected technical issues on Thursday September 29th adversely impacted the fundraiser. As of Saturday October 8th, the network had raised nearly 96% of its goal. Fortunately, despite the Fall Fundrive being officially over, you can donate to Smile FM now or anytime, via the Smile FM website.

Smile FM began as a single radio station in Lansing twenty years ago known as 88.1 The Light. In 2004, the growing network rebranded as Smile FM. In Lansing, Smile FM can still be heard on 88.1. In Flint, the network broadcasts on 89.7. Get a complete listing of where you can hear Smile FM across the state by clicking here, or listen live online at

October 9th

[2012] Creator of Durand Little Leagues Dies
Howard Kessell, the man who created Durand's Little League baseball and football teams, died in Fayetteville WV on Thursday, October 4th, at the age of 80. After serving with the US Army in the Korean War, Kessell moved to Durand, where he would spend more than 40 years before returning to his birth state.

[2016] The Durand Now Story
My family came to Durand in the early 1900s. My great-great-grandfather was a preacher and a farmer. My great-grandfather worked for the railroad. My grandfather worked at Simplicity. My father worked for Durand schools. My mother worked for DVA. I graduated a proud Railroader in 1998. Durand is in my DNA.

As an adult, I've spent the past nearly 10 years advocating for Durand as I speak daily to literally thousands of people on my morning radio show in Lansing. A regular feature on my program since 2008, "Trombone Tuesday," has frequently served as a platform to talk about Durand's legendary Marching Railroaders, an organization of which I am proud and fortunate to have been a member, as was my father, who also played trombone.

Living in North Carolina at the time, when my oldest child was nearing school-age, my wife and I laid out our criteria for the place we would call home and where our children would spend their academic careers; small school -- the opportunity to grow with their friends throughout their life, stability -- family, and a fantastic, small community in which we could serve and be proud to be part of. We chose Durand.

Having grown up with The Durand Express and feeling the loss of Durand's "sense of identity," as then-City Manager, Amy Roddy, put it to me early on, I decided, even before we had moved back to Durand, that would be born. I thought it might only ever be a hobby -- an investment, a free service I would provide to the community, sharing tidbits about our little world and hopefully encouraging more people to get involved in the community, but I did feel that the hole left by The Durand Express was great enough that the possibility for to become something bigger was fair.

In July 2012, construction of the site began. Finally, with prompting from my youngest brother to wait no longer, went live in the 11pm hour on September 1st 2012.

Within two months the site had paid advertisers, and it was clear that the hole that I had believed existed, did.

By January 2013, just four months after launching, I felt compelled to clarify what was intended to be, with a Statement of Purpose. That statement has remained on the front page of the site since January 1st 2013.

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

For more than three years I have pointed to this statement if ever a question would arise about what the mission of Durand Now is. I've also maintained that Durand Now is not hard news or investigative reporting -- as I wrote then, it is "girl scout cookies, yard sales and fender benders."

But as more and more people continue to utilize Durand Now for community news and information, and as the face and function of media everywhere evolves, Durand Now has become something else as well; an echo, or a voice for residents.

When, on average, almost 12,000 individuals visit each month, that's basically every single resident of the city along with three of their friends, looking for information, or, sharing information.

When Durand Now is asked a question, Durand Now will ask the question.

As residents and community members and as advocates for our city, it is our hope -- you and I -- that when we ask a question, we'll receive an answer. Or, at least, that we'll be told that an answer is not available.

We hope that our investments of time and money into our schools, churches and civic groups, and the investments that those organizations make into our community, will be seen, felt, recognized and appreciated, even if they are never acknowledged.

Making a difference. Having a positive impact. This is why we, as volunteers, athletic and band boosters, coaches, mentors, teachers and even local business people do...

Since 2012, my wife has regularly volunteered in Durand's elementary schools. She'll be helping facilitate the upcoming picture day at Bertha Neal. She has served on the Bertha Neal PTAC board and attended meetings at both Bertha Neal and Robert Kerr. She has served as a coach and also on the board of American Youth Soccer Organization Region 814, an organization with which our three children (all Durand students) as well as hundreds others from Durand and neighboring communities are involved and represent Durand.

I wanted to run for Durand City Council in 2014, but the City Charter requires council members to have been city residents for two consecutive years immediately prior to running. I missed it by months.

In 2015, I was happy to be connected by Amy Roddy to Kathy Olund, the new Director of the Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce. Today, I'm happy to work in service to the local business community as a board member of the chamber, to help facilitate events that bring new consumers and revenue to our city, and to help develop new ideas that contribute to the chamber's mission.  

That same year my aunt purchased and reopened one of Durand's most beloved restaurants after it closed, ending three decades of doing business in Durand. Next month, Rancho Grande Mexican Restaurant will celebrate one year since reopening.

I do what I do for the same reasons so many volunteers and others in service of our schools, churches, businesses and communities do what they do -- because it's my home and I love it.

Supporting these people and their initiatives is what I set out to do with this little website back in 2012, and though it has grown into a small (very small) business and a large learning experience, it remains a labor of love.

I will always do my best in service to you, in whatever capacity I serve, perhaps hindered only by those that don't share the same vision of supporting and building up our community and improving the perceptions of others about our community.

Thank you for 100 years of friendship to my family and thank you for four great years of Durand Now.  

Here's to another half million views in 2017!

October 10th

[2013] 'Flint's Best Rock' Documentary Now Part of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
What started as a class project for student James Baade at Mott Community College, has turned into a permanent fixture inside Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 

"Flint's Best Rock" is a documentary Baade produced that highlights WWCK 105FM's heyday. 

WWCK 105FM was once considered one of the greatest rock radio stations in the country; from the late 70s until the late 80s, when the station was sold and the new owner made the decision to change the station's format. 

Baade was contacted by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame after the institution learned of the 30+ minute movie that features many of the stations' former staff members and milestones during the decade the station was on the air.

Now visitors to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame can find the documentary in the Hall of Fame library and archives.


Flint's Best Rock 2011 Trailer:

October 11th

[2013] Local Businessman, Chamber President Passes
Al Libby, owner of IMN Antiques and the President of the Greater Durand Area Chamber of Commerce passed away on Thursday at his home in Swartz Creek. He was 68. 

Funeral services will be held at Sharp Funeral Home in  Swartz Creek on Sunday, October 13th, at 3pm. Visitation will be held 1-3 and 5-8pm on Saturday and 1-3pm on Sunday.

October 17th

[2015] Popular Radio Morning Show to Broadcast Live from Stomping Grounds in Durand
Jenn Czelada and Brian Dumont, "Jenn & Brian," the popular morning duo on the statewide Smile FM radio network will bring their Morning Espresso Hometown Tour to downtown Durand on Friday October 30th, broadcasting live from Stomping Grounds Cafe from 7am to 10am.

The first visitors who stop by can pick up an exclusive Hometown Tour Coffee Mug. Jenn & Brian invite everyone to stop by to hear the Clean Joke of the Day, or bring your own Clean Jokes for Brian, and of course, grab a beverage or sandwich.

Stomping Grounds Cafe & Ice Cream is located at 200 N Saginaw Street.

Smile FM plays Michigan's Positive Hits, in the Flint area on 89.7 FM and in the Lansing area on 88.1 FM. Get a complete listing of where you can hear Smile FM across the state by clicking here, or listen live online at

October 19th

[2013] Professional Dog Grooming Coming to Durand; Doggie Depot Salon Opens Monday
A new business is coming to Monroe Plaza (Durand Plaza) on Monroe Road. Doggie Depot Salon, Professional Dog Grooming, will open its doors on Monday at 9am. Owner Kristy Daniels says she hopes the business will attract furry friends from Durand and surrounding communities as it's the  only business of its kind in the area. Daniels, along with a small team that includes her daughter, Jordan, who will work in the shop, is working long hours this weekend to make sure everything is ready for Monday. 

Doggie Depot Salon will open at 9am and will operate with a standard 9 to 5 schedule initially, until she gets a grasp on what the business' busier days will be.

Doggie Depot Salon is located at 8767 Monroe Road. The  phone number is (989) 288-2222 and they'll begin booking appointments on Monday.

Click here to LIKE DOGGIE DEPOT SALON on Facebook!

October 21st

[2013] Durand Fire Department: Fire Truck, Car For Sale
The City of Durand is accepting bids on two vehicles previously used by the Durand Fire Department; a 1986 Ford (FMC) Fire Pumper and a 2004 Ford Crown Victoria. Vehicles are available for inspection by appointment by contacting Fire Chief Richard Rinker at (989) 288-3113 ext 116. Bids are due by 2pm on Thursday, October 30th, in a sealed envelope, clearly marked "Sealed Bid-Fire Pumper" or "Sealed Bid-Crown Victoria" and addressed to: Amy J. Roddy, Clerk City of Durand, 215 W. Clinton St. Durand, Michigan 48429.

[2014] State of the Site 2014
Durand Now is "on track" to top 300,000 page views in 2014! We're currently at 284,793 and averaging more than 28,400 per month. The growth since 9/1/12 at 11:33pm, when the site officially launched, has been astounding and we want to say "THANK YOU!"

To put these (and all the other) numbers in perspective...
348,556 page views for 2014 (projected)
2,691 Facebook likes
278 Twitter followers
50 Instagram followers
20 YouTube subscribers
760,000 page views in 2013
4,540 Facebook likes
635 Twitter followers
1,484 Twitter followers (Sports)
7,549 households in Durand distribution
Unknown number of page views
828 Facebook likes representing all six Independent Newsgroup newspapers

By its own account, the Argus-Press had "more than 760,000 views" in 2013.

Web stats posted by The Independent Newsgroup as part of its 2014 Media Kit indicates receives more than 100,000 "hits" per month. The term "hits" is an outdated term and its use clouds potential advertisers' perception of the reality of the site's traffic. The term "hits" is directly relative to the number of items that appear on a page. The more items that appear on a page, the more "hits" a website receives. This is why most web professionals no longer use hits as a metric.

By its own account, The Independent Newsgroup measures 42,000 page views per month.

Again, to put these numbers in perspective...

An independent web traffic measurement company, Quantcast, provides traffic estimates for non-subscribers and accurate, directly-measured data for subscribers.

Durand Now is a Quantcast subscriber. Quantcast measures traffic on entirely separate of our own measurements. Quantcast reports an average of 8,800 unique visitors per month at and an average of 29,822 page views per month. (Very close to our measurement of 28,400.)

The Argus-Press is not a subscriber. Quantcast estimates an average of 10,567 unique visitors per month at The Argus reported 760,000 page views last year, which would equate to an average of roughly 63,000 page views per month. The ratio of estimated unique visitors to the estimated page views per month is pretty wide (1:6) compared to Durand Now (1:3), so let's say Quantcast is low-balling, and the Argus is getting more like 20,000 unique visitors per month.

The Independent Newsgroup is also not a subscriber. Quantcast estimates an average of 467 unique visitors per month at Based on the same guess work applied to the Argus numbers, the Independent's unique visitors metric would increase to around 900 per month, and if the ratio is roughly the same to that of the Argus and Durand Now, the number of page views per month at would be around 2,700, not 42,000.

Clearly, there is a discrepency with the numbers The Independent Newsgroup has provided and the numbers Quantcast is estimating.

But, if The Independent Newsgroup's data is accurate and is receiving 42,000 page views per month, the notion that Durand Now, in only two years, is trafficking more than 70% of that site's traffic is still pretty impressive, especially as The Independent Newsgroup charges $315 for a 300x250 ad and Durand Now charges only $75. The Independent Newsgroup charges $225 for what they call a leaderboard (470x60). Durand Now charges $150 for a leaderboard that is the standard, larger leaderboard size of 728x90.

WHO? 68% Female, 32% Male, with a concentration on persons ages 35 to 44

WHERE? Top 5 counties: Bay (26.2%), Genesee (22.3%), Wayne (14.2%), Shiawassee (5.1%), Ottawa (4.5%)

That's right, more than 50% of the traffic on Durand Now is from outside Shiawassee county.

HOW? Smartphone (61%), Desktop Computer (28.7%), Tablet (10.4%)

Mobile is the future! More than 60% of traffic on Durand Now comes from phones.

WHY? Emergent situations, Crime, Weather, Community Interest/Events, Jobs

While topics of community interest and events make up the largest component of Durand Now, thus driving the most overall traffic, specific stories dealing with emergent situations and crime generally produce the largest number of page views. Weather-related information and job/career-related information is also highly sought after content on Durand Now.

Again, THANK YOU for your support since 2012! We look forward to topping 500,000 page views in 2015!

October 23rd

[2015] Durand Church Changes Name to Reflect Community, Heritage, Belief in Christ
Free Methodist Church in Durand has modified its name, Pastor Lisa Lahring told this week, "to reflect more of our community and its heritage, as well as our belief in Christ." The church is now The Crossing - Durand Free Methodist Church, located at 708 S. Oak Street. Sunday School is at 9:30 and Morning Worship begins at 10:30.

On Saturday October 24th, The Crossing - Durand Free Methodist Church will host a doll exhibit from 9am to 5pm. Admission is free and refreshments will be provided.

October 26th

[2015] Car Driven By Former Durand Mayor Ends Up On Roof After Freeway Crash
Cam Canute, a former Mayor of Durand, suffered a medical incident while traveling eastbound on I-69 through Woodhull Township on Monday afternoon. A witness says Canute's maroon Ford Mustang began "irrationally driving" for a couple miles before completely leaving the roadway, going into the ditch, then swerving back across both eastbound lanes of I-69 toward the median, then swerving back toward the shoulder, crossing the ditch and M-78 and finally coming to rest on the roof of a home.

Canute was taken to Sparrow Hospital in Lansing and is said to be doing well, having suffered only minor injuries.

October 27th

[2015] Canute on Landing on Roof: "Maybe That's Where I Was Supposed to Go"
Cam Canute is resting at home after what could have been a much more tragic accident. Speaking with on Tuesday afternoon about the landscape along M-78 where the crash occurred and musing over how things might have been different if his car had continued over the peak of the roof it had come to rest on, he said "Maybe that's where I was supposed to go."

If his car had traveled in the direction of any of the other nearby houses, all of which stand above ground level, it could have meant serious injury for himself or others, or worse. Instead, the elderly woman that lives in the home his car landed on only wondered what that loud sound was that she heard, Canute said.

Canute, 57, has suffered from juvenile diabetes since age 4, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary after leaving Lansing Barber College where he had just gotten his hair cut, as he's done many times in the past. He had spoken with his son-in-law, lit his cigar and headed back toward Durand. Then, nothing.

Canute blacked out when his sugar level bottomed out, as he'd come to find out from emergency personnel after being rescued. He said he doesn't remember much of anything about the Monday afternoon crash, including the good Samaritans that came to his aid immediately after his car left I-69 in Woodhull Township, drove through a fence, crossed M-78, and finally stopped on the rooftop.

But he did say that he's officially become friends with one of them -- on Facebook.

October 28th

[2015] New Book By Elizabeth Wehman Set In Durand
"Promise at Daybreak" is the second novel for former Durand and Perry Independent newspaper editor and Owosso Argus Press contributing writer, Elizabeth Wehman.

The contemporary women's fiction highlights the life of two elderly sisters, showing the bonds of family through the relationship of sisters.  

Durand, Wehman's hometown, is the setting for the book, and the book highlights many of the city's focal points, including Durand Union Station and Changes Beauty Salon.  

On Thursday October 29th, Wehman will appear at the Durand Memorial Branch of the Shiawassee District Library for a Book Talk and Signing. The event will begin at 7pm. Future events also include a stop at Shiawassee Arts Council for their Holiday Celebration on November 8th and 9th.

Wehman has extensive writing experience which includes just over ten years of newspaper writing coverage in Shiawassee County in Michigan. She has been published in many periodicals including Today's Christian, The Lookout and The Christian Commmunicator. Her article, "Stacey's Legacy," was published in the Today's Christian periodical and also on the web in 2004. Countless magazines articles and numerous Sunday School curriculum writings round out Elizabeth's writing experience.

Elizabeth Wehman's love for books began in a Durand first grade classroom, where she read one hundred books as part of a contest. Book after book brought her to the realization that reading was not only fun, but fueled her desire to visit places even beyond her own imagination.

Soon she entered a weekly competition sponsored by The Flint Journal entitled, "The Wide Awake Club." Little did she know that first publication, in fourth grade, would lead to a newspaper and writing career.
In college, Elizabeth was asked what she wanted to do upon graduation. Her first response was always, "I want to write books."

After more than twenty years of writing for periodicals and covering local news stories, she came to the realization that she wasn't pursuing that one dream she desired back in first grade.

So, in February of 2014, Elizabeth took her first 'leap of faith' step to complete "Under the Windowsill" by resigning her job as a newspaper editor to finish up the final changes of her first book.

Rave reviews and good sales of that book led Elizabeth to publish "Promise at Daybreak" in September of 2015.

Both Wehman's books are available for purchase at Amazon, on her website, and at her upcoming appearances. The e-book of "Under the Windowsill" is available online at

October 29th

[2015] When Elderly Vernon Couple Was Faced With Losing Their Home, Neighbors Stepped In
When an elderly couple in Vernon was allegedly told by village officials that they would need to paint parts of their home or lose it, neighbors say the couple asked for an extension on the deadline of October 2nd, and that it was denied. They also say that the wife had been in the hospital.

A neighbor of the couple went to her Facebook friends for help. When employees of TVC Cable caught wind, the company stepped in, donating a technician and bucket truck, to help with painting the peaks of the house.

Neighbors and TVC Cable staff spent several days in late September and early October in an effort to complete the work.

We reached out to village officials on Wednesday evening hoping to gain a better understanding of the background of the situation and whether the improvements made satisfied the village's requirements, in order to publish in a Thursday story. Vernon village clerk, Ellen Glass, responded on Thursday, saying "Unfortunately with such short notice I will be unable to prepare the information requested. With more notice I would be happy to sit down with you and discuss the issue of the Fairchild property.

I will advise you that the information [provided by neighbors] is incorrect."

We've requested more information on the situation at the village's convenience.

October 30th

[2015] Overnight Train Derailment Will Have Crossing Closed Throughout the Day
An overnight train derailment in downtown Durand had numerous crossings throughout the city closed early Friday morning. Several "autoracks," train cars carrying automobiles, left the tracks around 1am, according to reports, one of which completely overturned. No hazardous materials are involved in the derailment, officials say, and there are no injuries to report. We're told the train was heading west bound and the first wheels left the tracks between Byron and New Lothrop Road, but also affected cars down the line, including one car that overturned immediately in front of Durand Union Station and Michigan Railroad History Museum.

As of 8am, two of the three affected crossings are said to have re-opened.

Crossings affected are as follows:

Oak Street south of Main Street
Main Street (Newburg Road) at Fitch Street
New Lothrop Road north of Newburg Road

The Oak Street and New Lothrop Road crossings have re-opened, tipsters say.