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September 1st

[2012] - A News + Entertainment Site for Durand, Michigan launches
Durand Now goes live at 11:33pm on Saturday September 1st 2012. There is no known archive of the first-ever front page of Durand Now, but an archive of the February 20th 2013 front page, seen above, contains the original Durand Now front page design.

[2012] End of Summer Cruisin' Rolls In Today
The first story that appeared on the front page of
The 23rd Annual "End of Summer Cruisin'" arrives in downtown Durand today, featuring classic hot rods, muscle cars, historical vehicles and more. Trophies are set to be awarded to the top 40 cars, the Best of Show and to one special vehicle recieving a distinguished Mayoral honor. 3 motorcycles are also set to be awarded. 

Today's show, sponsored by the Durand Area Chamber of Commerce, starts at 9am and runs until 3pm and will affect traffic on Saginaw Street.

September 2nd

[2017] 800 Show Up for Saturday Night Party With Veteran Local Rockers
Music and Memories -- that's what Saturday night, August 26th, at Optimist Park was all about. That, and, raising money for Durand's Veterans Memorial Park.

An estimated eight to nine hundred fans, young and old, new and "old school," danced the night away to the sounds of 60s and 70s hits performed by friends and former classmates, all who were part of the garage band hey-day.

Bob Sager and Debbie Love led the group of musicians including Alan Smith, Terry Newman, Rick Bowden, Joe Yankee, Phil Rodgers, Mike (Jonesy) Jones, Pat Carmody, Tom Root, Travis Root, Brandon Root, Rod Bradley, Warren Brady, Jeff Semple, Dave Wasielewski, Wayne Kazmer and Jim Chamberlai. The night was made up of a four-part performance that included a jazz set.

The evening began with an acknowledgement of all veterans in attendance, a color guard presentation and the singing of the National Anthem. A Blues Brothers-themed skit performed by Clark Harder and Frank Klim introduced the evening's stars. In a Facebook post following the event, Klim called the night a "defining milestone" in Durand. He went on to call the night "a phenomenal success [that] exceeded every goal by funding the project, reuniting a community and creating an evening of fun and entertainment that will be remembered for decades."


September 4th

[2014] Itchi-Bon Uptown Bakery Announces Closing
Itchi-Bon Uptown Bakery announced on Thursday evening that after more than a quarter century, the Gross family will close the doors to the popular ice cream parlor for good.

"Dear friends of Itchi-bons; it is with a sad heart that we must inform you we will be closing our doors for good sometime in early October. We have been so grateful for your patronage and friendship over the passed 25+ years. Without you there would be no us. On behalf of Burt, Barry, Christy, Harper, Carly, and our late mother and grandmother Mickey Gross, THANK YOU,THANK YOU, THANK YOU."

Fans and patrons have been filling the Itchi-Bon Facebook page with messages and memories.
A "For Sale" sign has been perched in the window of the business for months.

Itchi-Bon has long been known for ice cream and baked goods, but many are surprised to find that the longtime staple actually refers to itself as a 'hot dog joint' and "sandwich shop," with a full menu that has, at times, consisted of everything from tacos to gumbo to pancakes and eggs.
Itchi-Bon will close next month so there's still plenty of time to get in, sample the goods and thank Christy, Barry and the entire staff for their many years in the Railroad City.

What's your best Itchi-Bon memory?

[2015] New Radio Station 103.1 WOAP Is On The Air
WOAP-FM is on the air at 103.1.

Long awaited and much anticipated, WOAP Radio and parent company, Cano’s Broadcasting, have brought an FM signal back to Owosso. 103.1 is on the air 24 hours a day and simulcasts the programming of WOAP 1080 AM and the webstream at during daytime hours. At night, when WOAP-AM ends its broadcast day, the programming continues on the webstream, and WOAP-FM will simulcast that programming.

On Monday, August 31st, WOAP signed the FM translator on the air to test the signal and make any required adjustments. On Friday morning, September 4th, the official announcement was made via the station's Facebook page: Welcome, to "The O", 1080 AM and 103.1 FM.

The birth of the new Shiawassee County radio station comes as WOAP-AM prepares to celebrate 68 years on the air. 1080 WOAP-AM signed on the air on January 1st, 1948.

WOAP boasts "the widest variety format anywhere," covering multiple music genres from the 1960s to the present. Station Manager Tony Burkhead says "This format has proven to be popular amongst all age groups, all income levels, all races and both genders."

The public is invited to the studios of WOAP, located at 2301 North M-52 in Owosso to visit, see the facilities and talk to the staff.

Reach WOAP via phone at (989) 720-WOAP (9627).

September 5th

[2012] Double Loss for Soccer at Goodrich
The first-ever Durand High School sports story posted following the launch of At this time, sports stories were posted as entries in a feed, not as individual pages.
It was a tough night for the gentlemen of Durand's soccer teams. Earlier this week, the teams traveled to Goodrich where JV suffered a shut out, losing 6-0. Varsity also lost but did put the ball in the net once, leaving with a Tuesday night final of 5-1. The teams host Swartz Creek on Thursday.

September 6th

[2012] Cantu's Hearse Through Durand Today
Nelson-House Funeral Home is scheduled to transport PFC Shane Cantu from Bishop Airport to Owosso, expecting to be traveling through Shiawassee County between 12:45pm and 1:15pm, providing the plane arrives as scheduled at noon. 

Owosso Mayor, Ben Frederick, is asking for our communities to line the streets to bring Cantu home with dignity and honor. 

The hearse will travel the following route:  Miller Road to M-71 to State Road to M-21 to Washington Street to Mason Street to the funeral home.

[2016] Durand Football Operation Freedom Kickoff Set for Saturday With Jersey Auction at VFW
A football game between the Durand Railroaders and Byron Eagles set for October 7th at Roundhouse Stadium will receive national attention as part of the Great American Rivalry Series. Railroaders Coach Jason Gray said the team went through a nomination and selection process to be considered and was ultimately selected.

The honor means that in addition to Operation Freedom activities already planned, the event will feature a presentation of the Great American Rivalry Series Championship Trophy, presentation of the game's MVP trophy, awarding of the Rivalry Series Student-Athlete Scholarship to a senior from each team, a donation to the athletic fund, a special inflatable football on display in the End Zone area, a chin-up challenge between the two schools and more.

Operation Freedom isn't just a football game, it's an event for the entire family that will raise money for local men and women that have served our country, and it all begins with a jersey auction set for this Saturday at the Durand VFW Social Club. All are invited to participate and enjoy free food and beverages beginning at 6pm, and the chance to own a commemorative jersey that will feature a name decided by the winning bidder. There is no cost to enter. Bidding for the jerseys begins at $125. The jerseys will be worn by the team during the October 7th game and presented to winning bidders in a ceremony following.

Only five jerseys will be available for auction on Saturday. Winning bidders will also receive gift baskets.

In addition to the game on October 7th, Operation Freedom will feature a small carnival for the kids and fireworks after the game. Don't miss the 50/50, food and even a DJ. Operation Freedom t-shirts -- Made in the USA -- are available for $15; just another way to support the cause.
The 2-0 Durand Railroaders Varsity Football team continues their winning season at home on Friday, taking on Bendle. The Durand Marching Railroaders will also perform their show "My Many Colored Days," for the first time, at halftime of the game.

September 8th

[2014] Kathy's School of Dance to Open Former Ben Franklin Location Next Week
Owner Becki Zvonek says Kathy's School of Dance will open at its new location, the former Ben Franklin building on Saginaw Street in downtown Durand, on Monday September 15th.

"We are excited at Kathy's to be able to offer to our students a new studio and can't wait for everyone to see the finished project," Zvonek said, adding that the completely renovated building contains four dance rooms, a waiting room and two bathrooms. "We are very proud of it and can't wait for the town of Durand to see it."

Kathy's School of Dance is enrolling classes for ages 1 to adult. If interested, contact Becki at for more information or stop by the current studio located on Main Street, on Tuesday September 9th.

September 9th

[2012] Week 1: Hundreds View
Just over one week has passed since, A News + Entertainment Site for Durand, Michigan, officially went live on the web, and the site has already topped 2,500 page views, thanks to more than 600 unique visitors.
The Facebook page associated with has seen steady growth over the past week as well, with 130 "likes" in its first week and more than 200 "talking about this," a Facebook metric that measures communications with a page, such as when a person likes or shares a post, or when they comment on it. The individual post that garnered the most traffic on the Facebook page last week was this tricky math problem, resulting in 80 comments and more than 10 likes, and no real concensus on the correct answer.

Do YOU know?

[2016] Packed Smokehouse -- Durand's New Joint Makes Big BBQ Splash Opening Weekend
Approaching 9pm on Friday, Durand's long-awaited, hotly-anticipated Union Station Smokehouse was still packed. The new bbq restaurant on Main Street opened Thursday September 8th at 11am.
Late on Friday, cars lined the street and the open lot east of Hagle was being used as parking for patrons.

Daiquiri Laviolette said the twenty five minute wait was worth it. Though the restaurant sold out of ribs, she said their meal was "awesome." Her husband, Rich, was the winner of the first-ever Durand Chamber of Commerce "Taste of Durand" raffle which included a gift certificate to the restaurant. 

"I had brisket for the first time and it was great, and the baked beans were really good," Rich said. "I couldn't finish my dinner."

He didn't use his certificate on Friday because the couple plans to return with friends.
"I would have to say it is worth your time to go."

Union Station Smokehouse is located at 205 E. Main Street in the former Frank's Standard station.

September 11th

[2014] VIDEO: Meet Durand's First Girls Golf Team
On Wednesday, September 3rd, Durand introduced its first Varsity Girls Golf Team at the Railroaders' Meet the Team night. Co-coaches Cecil Cole and Dane Deisler announced that the freshmen-sophomore team would compete for the first time against Byron. They won that match 202-212.

September 12th

[2014] Heroes Helping Heroes: On This Day In 2001 Durand Firefighters Left for New York City
Durand firefighter Sgt. Nick Spaniola shared with Durand Now an article from 13 years ago, documenting the experience of five Durand firefighters that traveled to Ground Zero on September 12th 2001. The Durand Express article described a common sentiment that all five firefighters shared in separate interviews, 'We're not heroes.'

The truth -- they were and they are. 

None of the five Durand firefighters; Shane Cornelius, Nick Spaniola, Clyde Rutherford, Steve Mince and Mike Waterford, had ever been to New York City. Their accommodations would be cots provided by The Salvation Army that were set up on the bank of the Hudson River. That was the second night. On the first night the five "rolled out" on the ground.

A little taste of home, as the five Durand firefighters that sought just a few hours of sleep on cots provided by The Salvation Army, were forced to find shelter when a storm moved in; they were able to rest and dry off inside New York's Grand Central Station. 

The 2001 Durand Express article noted then-Lt. Steve Mince saying that all the way back home to Durand they tried at the gas stations to buy a U.S. flag and couldn't find one. He said that total strangers would see the men in their Durand firefighter shirts and thank them for their service and restaurants would refuse to allow them to pay for meals. 

That's how we treat our heroes in America.

"We did what we had to do and we enjoyed doing it for our fellow firefighters, police and citizens," Mince said.

Steve Mince now serves as the department's Captain. He's been with DFD since 1988. Sgt. Nick Spaniola has been with the Durand Fire Department since 1997.

September 19th

[2012] Gallery Becomes Safety PSA
Inspired by Facebook posts seen recently which depicted persons on or around railroad tracks, we invited you to share similar photos that you may have had taken, so that we could create a gallery to post on the website.
On Saturday morning we posted the gallery titled "You On  The Tracks." On Saturday evening we received an email from Mary Warner-Stone, Director of Durand Union Station, Inc., who shared some concerns about the gallery. 
While she was complimentary of our new website and the  photos that were submitted, she reminded us that it is "illegal and dangerous to walk or hang out on the tracks." 
She invited us to be a part of the upcoming quarterly  meeting for the non-profit group, Operation Lifesaver, on November 9th at Durand Union Station. Their meetings include guest speakers from different railroads and government officials that speak on topics of railroad safety. 

After some consideration upon receiving Mary's email, we decided that this would be a good opportunity to share Operation Lifesaver's message; by transforming our gallery into a public service announcement of sorts.
A recent article posted on included an advisement to media regarding the 'romanticizing' of photos taken on or near railroad tracks, and while we do love the photos that were posted in our gallery and, innocently enough, intended to highlight those in our community who share a common love of trains, railroads, Durand and our city's heritage, we must concede that the danger trains and train tracks present is very real.
In the past three months alone, there have been several train-pedestrian deaths in mid-Michigan, including one within the past 2 weeks.
September 2nd: 43-year-old Man Hit By Train; Dies

August 9th: SW Michigan Woman Killed When Train Runs Over Her

July 9th: Train Strikes, Kills Female In Fenton
Last month, two 19 year old best friends and recent high school graduates in Maryland that were simply sitting on a bridge that trains cross over were killed when a passing train derailed and it's coal load spilled, crushing them.
The Federal Railroad Administration indicates that through the first five months of this year, 178 people have been killed in accidents on or near tracks. This figure does not include incidents at railroad crossings. Marmie Edwards, spokeswoman for Operation Lifesaver, says the number of fatalities in 2012 involving people on tracks is up significantly.^
So here we are with a stack of really great photos but today we're not just building a gallery with them, we're sharing a very important message: It is illegal and dangerous to walk or hang out on the tracks. Does that mean that you can't take or submit photos with you and railroad tracks? No. In fact, we'd love to have more photos to add to our gallery. But, in the future, if you want railroad tracks in your photos, snap the pics at designated public crossings or get permission from the owner of the tracks, and most importantly, be safe, not a statistic.
^Source: CNN
Posted: 9:37pm 9/16/12

September 20th

[2015] Webcor Packaging Breaks Ground on New Warehousing Facility in Durand
Last week, Webcor Packaging, a manufacturer of corrugated boxes, hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new 30,000 square foot warehouse expansion at its production facility in Durand.

The company is investing approximately $1.2 million dollars in the building, which is needed to accommodate significant growth across a number of sectors and customers (they are currently one of the largest suppliers of United States Postal Service Priority Mail products). The business also has additional manufacturing and warehousing facilities in Burton, Flint and Owosso.

“Our company has been working hard to strengthen operations here for the past couple of years by upgrading the existing facility, adding new machinery & equipment, and now this new warehouse,” said Project Manager Bob Tyrrell. “We really think Durand is a great place to do business, and very much appreciate the support we have received from city officials, including manager Amy Roddy and her staff, the City Council, and the Planning Commission,” Tyrrell added.

“We also want to be good corporate citizens, and are committed to spending our money locally, which includes having Perrin Construction as our general contractor,” Tyrrell said. “We are also looking to hire a lot of people for a variety of positions (including production, warehousing, truck driving and more), and encourage anyone interested to apply by contacting Ashlor Staffing at 810-275-0690,” Tyrrell added.  

“The City has been working collaboratively with Bob and his team on this project, and we are excited to see it moving forward,” said City Manager Amy Roddy. “Webcor is a long-time member of our business community, and we are thankful for their commitment to investing and creating jobs here,” said Roddy.

"This announcement provides more evidence of Shiawassee County’s economic comeback, which has been driven by a rebirth in manufacturing. We are very happy to see Webcor Packaging’s success, and are grateful for their decision to make Durand a home to grow its business,” said Justin Horvath, President/CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership, which has also provided project assistance.

For more information on Webcor, you can visit their website at

September 22nd

[2013] Authorities Investigate Stolen Knaggs Bridge Marker
We've confirmed that a police report was filed Sunday morning regarding the Knaggs Bridge historical marker.

The marker was taken to be sold for scrap, some are speculating; a task that involved the cutting of four 1/2-to-3/4 inch solid steel pegs, according to Burns Grange #160 representative, Connie Johnston, who said her husband, Chris, also a member, made the call to authorities on Sunday but did not know exactly when the marker was taken. Burns Grange members say the marker was in place, just outside the Burns Grange building on Cole Road, on Friday night, but no one had been by the building again until Sunday morning. 

We've reached out to the Shiawassee County Sheriff's Department for information. 

Story developing...

September 23rd

[2013] Monday Morning Exclusive: 10 Questions With Bonnie Emmerling
Bonnie Emmerling isn't afraid of a challenge. The Durand High School senior is the only girl playing on the boys varsity soccer team, and she's holding her own. But, as she shares in our 10 Questions Monday Morning Exclusive, it isn't as easy as she thought it would be.

1. So you're the lone girl on the boys soccer team; a team that traditionally consists of only boys. Is that weird for you?
At the beginning it was a little weird but now it's like I'm one of the guys.

2. Why did you choose to play on the boys soccer team rather than the girls team?
Last year, I dual sported with track and soccer and missed quite a few track meets. Playing on the boys team allows me to have the best of both worlds.

3. Were you hesitant to join?
I was a little hesitant to join because I didn't think I would fit in. But I'm glad I didn't let my nerves get in the way.

4. Have there been any unexpected bonuses to playing on the boys team?
An unexpected bonus was how quickly the boys accepted me as part of their team and treat me like one of their own. It's hard to get away with anything when you have 20 brothers watching over you.

5. Any unexpected challenges?
One unexpected challenge for me was adapting to the pace of the game. I knew going into this that it was going to be different than girls soccer; but the pace of the game is extremely different.

6. What do you think of this year's Boys (+Girl) team?
I think the team is going to have a good season. We are learning how to work with one another and are improving everyday.

7. Do you think you're missing anything by not playing with the girls?
I think by not playing on the girls team I will be missing out in making great memories with my friends I have played with for years but at the same time I feel this was the right decision.

8. What would you say to a girl who wants to play on a team that is traditionally made up of boys, or to a boy who wants to play on a team traditionally made up of all girls?
I would tell a girl that wants to play on a boys team or a boy that wants to play on a girls team, "don't expect things to come easy". Be prepared to work hard and prove yourself. Also don't let the fact that you're the only boy or girl on the team hold you back. You never know what great memories you could be missing out on.

9. You're not the only female at Durand playing on a traditionally-male team; fo you think the concept of a one-gender sport or team is outdated?
I don't think the concept of one gender sports team is becoming out dated.

10. What's your sport of choice?
I enjoy all three sports I play and its hard to pick a favorite. I've had great teammates and coaches that support me in everything I do and am very thankful for them.

When Emmerling is in the classroom, she enjoys math, and says she hopes to go to a Division I college and play a sport, but is undecided on what sport that might be. She plans to major in business management and hopes to one day open her own cafe. Return of the Whistlestop, anyone?

The Railroaders play Tuesday at Mt. Morris and Thursday at home against Dansville.


September 25th

[2013] Longtime Owner of Ben Franklin Store In Durand, Richard Anderson, Passes
Richard Arnold Anderson Sr., longtime business owner and community leader in Durand, died Monday morning at the age of 83. 

Anderson and his wife Leatrice owned and operated the Ben Franklin store in downtown Durand for 44 years after moving to Michigan in 1969. 
Anderson was a member of the Durand Rotary for more than 40 years and also served as treasurer for the Durand Chamber of Commerce and as an officer for the Downtown Development  Authority. He was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow Rotarian and as Durand's Citizen of the Year. 

Richard was a member of the First Congregational Church of Durand.

A funeral service will be held at Watkins Brothers Funeral Homes in Durand on Thursday, September 26th, at 4pm. Visitation will be Wednesday from 2-4pm and from 3-4pm on Thursday.

Read more about the passing of Richard Anderson in OBITUARIES.


September 27th

[2015] Magical Disney-Themed Homecoming Week Begins With Logo Tweak
Plenty happens before the Homecoming game is played, however, like students gathering to design class floats, which has already begun. A little throwback -slash- shout out to the Class of 2016 on the masterpiece from last year, seen above. Definitely the winner in our book.

On Monday night, the Lady Juniors battle the Lady Seniors in this year's Powderpuff Game. That game will begin at 6:30pm and the cost is $3.

Each day of Spirit Week is inspired by a popular Disney movie. Monday is Monsters University, aka Favorite College Day. Students and staff are encouraged to wear gear representing their favorite college team.

Tuesday is Sleeping Beauty, commonly known as PJ Day. On Wednesday students and staff will wear Hawaiian or Tropical-themed attire representating the movie Lilo & Stitch. Before going all blue and white on Friday, each class will sport their color for Class Color War Day, to commemorate "Colors of the Wind," a song recorded and made popular by Vanessa Williams for the Disney film Pocahontas.  

8th graders will wear bright green, Freshmen will wear black, Sophomores - red, Juniors - light blue, Seniors - purple and staff will wear navy.

Friday is DHS Day and the high school assembly will begin at 1:25pm. At 4pm, the Homecoming Hog Roast begins in the high school cafeteria. The cost is $8 for adults and dinner will be served until 7pm.

The Homecoming Parade begins at 5pm on Friday and the Homecoming Dance will be held on Saturday from 8 to 11pm.

Advance tickets for the dance are $7 and will be available for high school students to purchase during lunch, Monday through Thursday. Tickets will be available at the door on Saturday for $10. The dance is semi-formal; no blue jeans, t-shirts, athletic shoes, hats or sweats allowed.  

A reminder to students -- if your date does not attend Durand, a Guest Pass is required. 8th grade students must have a signed permission slip to attend as well. Both forms can be found in the high school office.

Durand's Homecoming King and Queen will be crowned at Halftime during the game on Friday.  


September 30th

[2013] Ben Franklin to Close, 'Going Out of Business' Signs Posted
It's a sad day in Durand as the Ben Franklin at the corner of Saginaw and Clinton streets in downtown Durand posted signs today, indicating the business that has been a Durand staple since 1949 will soon close its doors for good. 

Longtime owner, Richard Anderson, passed away last week, and a phone call to the store has confirmed the business simply isn't bringing in enough money to sustain itself any longer, so, most items inthe store are now 5% off, and that discount will continue to climb as inventory moves. 

A post on the store's Facebook page reads "Mrs. Anderson announced the closing of the store yesterday at church. In her announcement she said, "Dick and I made this decision together 2 weeks ago."

Today, these signs went in the window. Please continue to shop and support our family during this liquidation sale."

No official closing date has been set; the decision will be primarily based on how fast items leave the shelves.

Story developing...

Everyone has a story about going to Ben Franklin or seeing Mr. Anderson. We'd love for you to share yours!