It’s not just you: Grand Ledge residents are madly in love with their city

By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

When it came time to relocate his mother, Bob Haddad Jr. wanted to choose a city she could fall in love with, a place small enough to feel like home, and large enough to keep her active and secure. After working for over 30 years in Grand Ledge at his own insurance agency, Haddad’s Agency, he knew the small, welcoming community was the perfect match, even without actually living in town. “When I had the opportunity to choose the community, I chose Grand Ledge. It has that small town feel, but it is still big enough to get the services that you need,” said Haddad. “You almost feel like you are living in your own little world, but at the same time you are only 15 minutes from a larger city.”

Haddad is nowhere near alone in his appreciation for the town of Grand Ledge.

Grand Ledge teachers still without a contract; frustrations mounting for parents of students

By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

Six years ago when deciding where to raise a family, Bri Dennis had no doubts when choosing Grand Ledge. Her father and her husband’s parents all graduated from Grand Ledge High School and she believed her four children would receive the same quality education that they had, however in the last few years she has become frustrated with how Grand Ledge Public Schools has been treating its teachers. Since the last contract expired in June 2015, the teachers union and administration have been negotiating a new contract for Grand Ledge Public School teachers. Dennis was the first of several parents who stood in front of the Grand Ledge School Board at the school board meeting on March 28 to voice her specific concerns about one of the teachers’ main points of negotiation: planning periods. “It pains me to see the direction our district has taken.

Grand Ledge residents support local businesses

By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

When Grand Ledge resident Jordan Stevens needs to go shopping, she has a decision to make. She is faced with the choice of spending her money at the local Walmart or one of the local shops downtown. Because she sees an importance in supporting small businesses, she usually chooses the latter. Whether residents need a haircut or cup of coffee, Grand Ledge has them covered. Grand Ledge has a greater percentage of local, mom and pop businesses than most communities in Michigan, said Bob Haddad Jr., owner of Haddad’s Agency and member of the Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce.

Is this the end of the Grand Ledge Community Facebook group?

By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

When Grand Ledge Mayor Kalmin Smith created a community Facebook group, he expected it would be an efficient way for members of the community to discuss Grand Ledge issues and to transport the town’s strong sense of community online. However, he did not expect the group to become a place for useless information, vulgarity and personal attacks. According to Smith, the Grand Ledge Community Facebook group has lost its original purpose and is now filled with information that does not pertain to the community. He also dedicates time to deleting disrespectful members and comments that do not encourage a positive community environment. Smith said he still thinks the bad outweighs the good and is thinking about giving up on the Facebook group all together.

Who still rents movie videos? We do, apparently

By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

There is arguably nothing better after a long week than melting into the couch and wasting a few hours binge watching Netflix. There are thousands of titles available as fast as the video can buffer. This convenience has surely made it tough for video stores to say open, though there are survivors. According to the Entertainment Merchant Association, Family Video still operates 775 stores in 19 states, including one in Grand Ledge at 615 S. Clinton St. Grand Ledge Family Video employee Andrea Parks said Grand Ledge’s small-town feel allows for a movie rental business to succeed even with the existence of video streaming companies.

Grand Ledge officials pushing for revising 53-year-old city charter

By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

The Grand Ledge City Charter is stuck in the sixties. It has not been updated since 1963, but the mayor and other city officials have a plan to bring it up to speed with the times. On Aug. 2 Grand Ledge voters will have the opportunity to vote on whether they want to see the charter revised, which will authorize registered voters to run for nine seats on the Charter Commission, the board that will ultimately make the changes to the charter. “The way the charter is written now, it gives the council a very strong say in the day-to-day running of the city instead of the council being a policy and directing board,” said Gregory Newman, the city clerk.

Electronic cigarette trend reaches Grand Ledge High School

By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

Alternative forms of tobacco such as electronic cigarettes or “e-cigs” and also herbal vaporizer pens have become increasingly popular among smokers as a way to step away from the traditional cigarette, but according to senior Taylor McCrackin, the revolution has made its way to Grand Ledge High School. According to McCrackin from MigVapor, students are not just using them outside and around the school, but e-cigarettes are making appearances inside the classroom as well. “I’ve definitely seen people in class smoking. It’s not frequent, but I’ve seen it,” McCrackin said. Senior Deb VanDeVusse has first-hand experience with the issue.

Grand Ledge High School students call for improvement

By Rachael Daniel
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

High school student Megan Koren loves her teachers at Grand Ledge Public Schools. She always feels supported in her academic journey and applauds their unyielding hard work, but more than anything, she believes they deserve to be treated better by the district. In her opinion, the well-being of her teachers should be a priority in the district’s new strategic plan that focuses on school improvement. The new version of the plan is updated every three years and the 2016 version will be released in June. Assistant Superintendent Andrew George said the strategic plan gives the district the opportunity to ensure its focus is always in the right direction.

Grand Ledge Police Department’s most valuable four-legged member.

By Peter Nuttall
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

He walks on four legs and is covered in fur and doesn’t look like a normal member of the Grand Ledge Police Department, but it has been confirmed that he can do things that no other officer in Grand Ledge can do. Grand Ledge’s current canine that is tasked with helping keep Grand Ledge safe is D’Ash, a Belgian Malinois, that works with his partner, police officer Justin Barber. Barber is going on 10 years at the Grand Ledge Police Department and has been working with D’Ash since 2011. “Every cop wants to do it,” said Barber when asked how he got involved with the canine unit. “I love dogs, working with dogs.

In an era of fading downtowns, the numbers prove Grand Ledge’s downtown is growing

By Peter Nuttall
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

Over the past few years Grand Ledge has seen a disappearance of shops, specifically in their downtown area. With buildings open for rent, Grand Ledge City Administrator Adam Smith said that they are always open to the idea of new businesses coming in. “The city is always looking for businesses to come into our town looking to make a good positive investment and impact in the community,” he said. Grand Ledge Mayor Kalmin Smith said the building of the Eastwood Towne Center and the Frandor Shopping Center in nearby Lansing hurt some stores and businesses that used to be downtown. “Before the growth of Lansing, Grand Ledge was a separate little city and it had a vibrant downtown providing just about everything,” he said.