Journalism at Michigan State University

Summer movies will help build stronger family units in Lansing Township

With summer just around the corner, Lansing Charter Township is wasting no time in planning activities to bring residents and the community together. Leading the main event, which is a series of summer movies being shown in two parks is Lansing Township Supervisor Dion’trae Hayes. “So two movies shown for two different Fridays, and they are consecutive Fridays,” Hayes said. “The idea is to make it a family, friendly and affordable event for all the residents in our community.”

According to Hayes, she has secured donations for a concession stand that will consist of water, popcorn and other amenities. In order to make the movie affordable, all residents will need to do is show up with a blanket or chair, there is no admission fee.

Lansing Township avoiding further annexation of its land

When you are standing on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol located in Lansing, you might also be standing on a piece of land that used to belong to Lansing Charter Township 170 years ago, according to the Michigan State Capitol Directory. “What is traditionally known as Lansing now was Lansing Township,” Lansing Township Supervisor Dion’trae Hayes said. “If you go back and you look at your history where the capital building was located, Lansing Township had a huge mass of land that over the years has been annexed by the City of Lansing and has been annexed by the City of East Lansing.”

What remains of the township after years of annexation is five contiguous locations, according to the township’s website. The largest section of the township being on the west side of the Greater Lansing area, one section on the southeast side of the region and three on the east side, according to the Charter Township of Lansing’s zoning maps. In order to avoid future annexation, the township has taken the necessary precautions.

Lansing Township looks to protect watersheds in rainy season

It’s a classic springtime rhyme, “April showers bring May flowers.” But, believe it or not, the rainy month of April can also do more harm than good when it comes to impacting the water quality of Mid-Michigan rivers and watersheds, specifically the Grand River and Red Cedar River which both border Lansing Charter Township. In order to keep water quality safe, Lansing Township is one of 20 jurisdictions that are a member of the Greater Lansing Regional Committee (GLRC) for Stormwater Management which is composed of also the City of Lansing, East Lansing, Meridian and MSU, according to the GRLC’s website. Ruth Kline-Robach a specialist for Michigan State University’s Institute for Water Research explains the impact flooding can have on rivers. “Any time you get a flooding event you have the potential for washing anything, any type of contaminant or pollutant that is sitting on the land into the water, which does absolutely raise water quality concerns,” Kline-Robach said. “So, anything if you think about leaks and drips from our cars, if you think about animal waste on the land’s surface, improperly operating septic systems. When those waters rise including the water level meaning the ground levels rise, you could have potential water quality impact.”

The western portion of the township borders a section of the Grand River watershed which includes the Grand River, according to the Grand River Learning Network.

Accidents happen. Even in Lansing Township

With the further advancement of technology, drivers behind the wheel are now more distracted than ever and even in the small community of Lansing Charter Township, accidents happen. According to the Lansing Township’s Citizens Guide and Performance Dashboard, in 2014, there was a total of 469 non-injury crashes, 128 injury crashes and zero fatal crashes. However, Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes said township roads for the most part don’t see a lot of hazardous driving. “In the Lansing area I haven’t seen much of that,” Hayes said in regards to crazy driving. “We do have accidents like every other place but I can’t say with certainty that consistently on x amount of roads here, there are people speeding or driving reckless.

Lansing Township’s youth warily watch for changes in health care coverage

Antonio Baker stands behind the counter of Biggby Coffee located on 1701 S. Waverly Road, and prepares an iced coffee drink for a customer. He has few worries while he’s focused on his job. One of them definitely isn’t health care, at least not today. Biggby Coffee is one company that does not offer part time health benefits to its employees, which isn’t uncommon for part-time employees, according to healthcare.gov, “Employers aren’t required to provide health insurance for part-time employees, even if they provide coverage for full-time employees. ”

Therefore, Baker remains a dependent with his health care being covered under his parent’s insurance.

Working women in Lansing Township drive civilian labor force

Three years ago, Abby Ciesalk was entering her sophomore year at Michigan State University. She was on the job hunt like many students always are and went looking around for applications to fill out. “I’d never worked in retail before but I just needed like a simple part time job to do during school,” Ciesalk said. “So I just applied to places around my area, [Eastwood Towne Center] is like 10 minutes from my apartment, so I kind of applied out of convenience at first.”

She found the perfect job at a Bath & Body Works located within Eastwood Towne Center, a shopping mall in Lansing Township. Flash forward, Ciesalk will be graduating this spring and has continued working in the township for so long because of the people.

Despite vacant buildings, some Lansing Township residents say “this is a good area to move to”

For 58-year-old Lansing Township resident Sherry Ellis, abandoned buildings impact the township’s look but not the resident’s attitudes about where they live. The green and white bricked building located on the corner of Clare Street and West Michigan Avenue isn’t a symbol of the Michigan State Spartans. The windows are boarded up, the paint is peeling, overgrown weeds are starting to take over and the bricked walls hold nothing more than the words “Jokr,” sprawled out in purple spray paint. “I do think that the abandoned buildings affect how the township physically looks,” Ellis said. “But I don’t notice business [vacancies] as being a serious situation for someone not to live here.

Where am I? Not everyone is sure in geographically-fractured Lansing Township

Haslett resident Kate Daniels frequently makes a 15-minute trip roughly three times a month to The Eastwood Towne Center for upscale shopping and the outdoor mall atmosphere. But, not even an endless amount of hours spent at the shopping center could prepare Daniels for this geography question. When asked where the shopping mall was located, Daniels replied with, “I guess maybe it is considered to be in Lansing.”

Unbeknownst to some visitors, store employees and even residents from neighboring townships, Daniels is not alone with being confused about where Eastwood is located. Technically, the lifestyle center is located within the boundaries of Lansing Township, according to the Charter Township of Lansing’s website, and not the City of Lansing. “I have never thought about it actually,” Daniels said.

CMU students travel to Eastwood Towne Center to get what they can’t find in Mount Pleasant

Located less than five miles away from Michigan State University, Eastwood Towne Center attracts more shoppers than just Spartans and Lansing natives. Haley Garr, a sophomore at Central Michigan University, said that Eastwood is one of two large-scale shopping centers including Midland Mall that CMU students routinely travel to on the weekends. “The shopping scene in Mount Pleasant is very minimal, we don’t really have any stores and the ones that we do have are all pretty similar,” Garr said. “Mount Pleasant has large scale stores like Meijer, Walmart and Target, but its a lot of the same things everywhere.” According to Garr, CMU students are willing to travel about 60 miles to shop at Eastwood’s trendier clothing stores like Forever 21, American Eagle and Victoria’s Secret.