The opioid crisis has impacted communities across the nation, and Lansing is no exception. Walnut Neighborhood, located between Old Town and downtown Lansing, is currently struggling with an incoming drug rehabilitation facility proposed in their community. With a lot of turn-of-the-century homes, this neighborhood was part of the original plat of designed homes for Lansing. This is also where the former Michigan School for the Blind campus is located. A house on that land, known as the Superintendent’s house, is where the proposed drug rehabilitation facility is going to be.
As the semester approaches an end, many students at MSU are preparing for final exams and beginning to put their schedules together for the next school year. About four weeks are left in the spring 2018 semester and students are starting to sift through their class notes, study and work hard to reach their desired grade. Thomas Adams, a media and information major at MSU, said he is trying to read over his notes and study in advance to get good grades. “I’m just studying my butt off, mostly reading notes, going to study sessions, stuff like that,” Adams said. Many students also have class projects at the end of the semester.
On March 19, the City of Lansing held their first Road Map Neighborhood Tour meeting at Letts Community Center. The goal of this meeting was to provide citizens information about road repair, deliver news about upcoming projects and let members of the community provide input on how road dollars should be spent. Andy Kilpatrick, Lansing’s Director of Public Service, presented an overview of Lansing’s roads. “This is the first time I’m aware that we’ve had meetings specifically around roads in this type of setting,” Kilpatrick said. According to research done by the Public Service Department, over 75 percent of Lansing’s roads are in a poor state.
On March 12, the Director of Lansing’s Parks and Recreation, Brett Kaschinske, spoke to the Lansing City Council regarding applying for grants to improve some natural spaces across the Lansing area. These requests have an April 1 deadline. These areas include Hunters Ridge Drive, Willard Avenue, Wise Road, Cambridge to Frances Park Trail, and Rudolph and Dorothy Wilson Park. The department is applying for two different types of grants: acquisition and development. Acquisition grants allows the property owner to receive 100 percent of the appraisal price.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) headlined the Repeal Trump Tax Tour at the Lansing Center hosted by the liberal group Not One Penny on Feb. 25. This is a 100-day tour, which kicked off last month. According to Not One Penny, the goal of the tour is to “hold Republicans accountable for raising taxes on 92 million middle-class families to give massive tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations.”
Sanders was accompanied by several other local activists, including Mari Copeny, known as Little Miss Flint, Melissa Mackney of the group MomsRising, Andrea Pietrowsky and her three-year-old daughter of Little Lobbyists and Michigan State University student Omar Karim. “The reason we always have ordinary people come forward to talk about what’s going on in their lives is that as a nation, we don’t do that enough,” Sanders said.
The annual Lansing School District Showcase took place at the Don Johnson Fieldhouse on Feb. 11. This event provided an opportunity for the community to experience what students are learning within the classroom and see what changes the Lansing Pathway Promise has made in the district. The Lansing Pathway Promise is a $120 million school millage that was approved by voters in May 2016, according to the Lansing State Journal. This allowed the district to be redefined into three “paths” students could take to become successful in cutting-edge skills for college and future jobs.
A State of Emergency was declared this week by Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes after several street closures and resident evacuations. Those living in Urbandale, Sycamore Park, Knollwood Willow, Baker, Cherry Hill, Riverpoint, Tecumseh River and Ravenswood neighborhoods were all encouraged to temporarily leave their home. Michael Tobin, Lansing Emergency Management Division Chief, said that volunteers were sent out Wednesday evening to go door to door and alert residents. “What we’re really gearing up for now is the floods from the Red Cedar River and the Grand River,” Tobin said. “When the water hits crest levels, it can take a few days minimum for the water to recede.”
The Mid-Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross set up a shelter at Letts Community Center for residents who have been temporarily displaced.
Lansing Mayor Andy Schor delivered his first State of the City Address on Feb. 7 at Pattengill Middle School. Preceded by a reception, Mayor Schor’s address took place in front of a packed auditorium filled with Lansing employees, school board members and residents. During the speech, the mayor discussed what he’s done in his 37 days in office, including several meetings with Lansing neighborhood leaders and unveiling Cesar Chavez Avenue in Old Town. Mayor Schor also outlined future plans for local schools, neighborhoods, infrastructure and public safety.