Environmental sustainability is an issue recognized and supported by many Meridian Township residents, but on April 22, recognized as Earth Day, it is celebrated with even more enthusiasm. The township provides multiple events that promote environmental experiences and education to residents of all ages throughout the entire year, not only Earth Day. Love-A-Park Day, on April 23, hosted by Meridian Township Parks and Recreation Department is a park, land, and public space public space clean-up event. Events such as Love-A-Park Day, Earth Friends Campfire, and Chipmunk Story Time are all events that push for environmental awareness and sustainability. These events each have deeper, more resonating ripples in the Meridian Township community than just simple, entertaining events would ensue, as Senior Park Naturalist and Nature Center Coordinator of the Harris Nature Center, Kit Rich said.
A Haslett resident furrows her eyebrows as the topic of the House Bill 4314, signed by Gov. Rick Snyder a few weeks prior, is brought into the conversation. The bill states that law enforcement has the authority to enforce traffic laws on private property that is open to the general public when moving violations result in death or serious injuries. The resident, who wished to remain anonymous, explains that she is a nurse who interacts with people with such serious injuries very often. “I’m a nurse, and I see people who were injured very badly on private property, and they get nothing,” she said. “They get no compensation at all.
Over one month after six people were killed and two others injured in a series of random shootings taken place in Kalamazoo County, Meridian Township residents and officials still face the question of how to prepare for potential violent events on the homefront. Meridian Township Fire Chief Fred Cowper is confident of Meridian Township’s advanced planning for violent emergency situations. “You aren’t going to find many townships with the equipment or the training that we have,” Cowper said. “We are well ahead of the curve.”
Cowper explains the Meridian Township Police Department and the Meridian Township Fire Department were awarded over $1,000,000 by the state of Michigan through a grant. Of that, $240,000 of was given to the departments to train for such emergencies, according to Cowper.
By Ally Hamzey, Erica Marra, and Katie Dudlets
The Meridian Times Staff Reporters
In the aftermath of the arrest of Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III, Ingham County residents are left acknowledging the presence of human trafficking within their community. Mason resident Denise Maurer said the Dunnings arrest put the issue of human trafficking in perspective. “I think we just want human trafficking to go away and to not think that could be really happening in the United States, that our own people are trafficking our own people,“ Maurer said. “But I know now that it’s happening here.”
A state-local-federal investigation revealed that Dunnings allegedly engaged in commercial sex hundreds of times with multiple women over the course of five years. Dunnings is facing 10 counts of engaging in the services of prostitution, one count of prostitution/pandering and four counts of willful neglect of duty in the counties of Ingham, Clinton and Ionia as a result of this investigation.
Diahann Curtis, a Shiawassee County resident, walks on trails frequently in Meridian Township when the sun is shining and the weather is cooperative. The avid trail walker says she appreciates the feeling of safety from motor vehicles when walking on a non-motorized trail. Curtis believes the upcoming trail connecting Lake Lansing in Haslett to Michigan State University in East Lansing will be beneficial, but she is not sold that the trail would be the most practical use of taxpayer dollars. “One of the downsides would be that the Lansing area already has a nice trail,” Curtis said. “The amount of the money that will go into [this trail] I think could be better spent in other areas.”
Mid-Michiganders still await their first taste of the Southern-based fast-food restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A, on their home front. The company’s plans to open a location on Grand River Avenue in front of Meijer in Okemos were confirmed in November and residents today are anticipating further information on the opening of the store. Meridian Township Director of Community Planning and Development Mark Kieselbach confirms that the special use permits necessary for the addition of the restaurant have been approved by the Planning Commission of Meridian Township. “As soon as they announced they were coming to the township, we had a lot of interest. A lot of people follow them, [have tried] Chick-fil-A in other states and like them,” Kieselbach said.
On an unusually sunny, warm day in mid-February, the Meridian Township Farmers’ Market inside the Meridian Mall could have comfortably taken place its usual outdoor location. The pleasant weather, however, did not stop many shoppers from stopping in the mall to partake in the Winter Farmers’ Market Feb. 20. The Meridian Township Farmers’ Market has been around for over 40 years and is offered throughout all four seasons annually. In the other three seasons, the market takes place at the Central Park Pavilion on Marsh Road.
Meridian Township seeks to further the progression of recycling with a grant proposal that is currently in the works. The proposal, according to Meridian Township recycling coordinator LeRoy Harvey, focuses on expanding recycling accessibility for multi-family living. “[The grant proposal] is still in the developmental phases,” Harvey said. “The state is offering support for the purchase of recycling containers.”
The costs associated with the proposal are not yet definite as it is still in the developmental phase. Harvey states that only eight apartment complexes offer recycling to residents in Meridian Township.