Gun crimes dipping in Michigan

By Andrew Merkle
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

Guns have a negative connotation for many Americans these days. Most news reports Americans see about guns describe the most recent mass shooting on United States soil or terror attack overseas. These stories can create the perception that gun crimes are on the rise, and sometimes the media is blamed for stirring the pot. In Michigan, however, gun crime is not on the rise. In fact, gun crimes have dipped in the past decade.

Okemos schools looking to enhance foreign language learning opportunities

By Andrew Merkle
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

OKEMOS — At a recent Okemos Public Schools board meeting, Deputy Superintendent Patricia Telstad presented to the rest of the board recommendations for introducing foreign language learning opportunities. Telstad even recommended a partnership with Michigan State University’s Center for Language Teaching and Advancement in order to provide foreign language learning at the elementary school level. “We want to increase world language options, especially at the elementary level,” Telstad said. The Center for Language Teaching and Advancement is the internal support unit for language learning and teaching at Michigan State University according to the school’s College of Arts and Letters. One of the options Telstad outlined was an exploratory program for students in kindergarten up to the fourth grade that could take place either before or after school, and as an activity on early release days.

Opioid-related deaths on the rise in Ingham County

By Andrew Merkle
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

The Ingham County Health Department reported that opioid-related deaths have increased by nearly 66 percent over the last five years after a relatively constant rate from 2003-2010. Heroin is the most common narcotic among the 50 opioid-related deaths in Ingham County last year, according to the Ingham County Health Department. Ingham County is not an anomaly, either. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heroin-related overdose deaths had nearly quadrupled nationwide between 2002 and 2013, with more than 8,200 such deaths occurring in 2013. As the county and nation are seeing an increase in opioid-related overdose deaths, it should surprise no one that the state of Michigan has seen an increased rate in opioid-related hospitalizations as well.

Ingham County tech officials say the county's website lacks security

By Andrew Merkle
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

According to the Ingham County Innovation and Technology Department (IT), applications that the county website (ingham.org) uses lack security. Vince Foess, interim IT director, recently presented this information to the County Services Committee. When asked by Chairperson Deb Nolan about the urgency of the issue, Foess told the committee that the issue is extremely urgent, adding that there are a dangerous amount of security risks facing the county’s website. “There is zero security on the back end,” Foess said. “Personal information and Social Security numbers are exposed to anyone in the world.

Survey of Ingham County residents suggests that the county may once again vote for the left side of the aisle

By Andrew Merkle
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

In the first installment of the Ingham County Chronicle’s series on election coverage, we examined Ingham County’s voting history and learned through POLITICO that the county has historically voted for the candidate representing the Democratic Party. Dating back to the 2004 presidential election, the county has voted for the candidate from the Democratic Party in each and every biannual election (six times). After an unscientific polling of 50 Ingham County residents, a majority of them said they are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Thirty-one of the 50 residents surveyed consider themselves to be Democrats compared to just 11 Republicans. Eight residents claim to be independents. The survey consisted of 32 women and 18 men spread across all ages, educational backgrounds and employment statuses.

Ingham County roads have seen better days

By Andrew Merkle
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

They say there are two things guaranteed in life: death and taxes. In Michigan it might be safe to add a third: deteriorating roads. The condition of roads continues to worsen across the state and the nation, and lawmakers have pondered ways to fix the problem. The Michigan Department of Transportation published a reality check about the condition of Michigan’s roads. The report produced by MDOT showed that from 2004-2012 the amount of roads in good and fair condition has decreased.

Ingham County's general election voting history has been a shade of blue for a while now

By Andrew Merkle
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

A lot can be learned during an election year. After looking at Ingham County’s voting history ahead of the March 8 Michigan primary, one would learn that the county overwhelmingly supports candidates of the Democratic Party. Democratic candidates have won the county in each general election dating back to 2004, according to POLITICO. That’s right. The Republican Party is 0-for-7 in Ingham County going back to President George W. Bush’s reelection in 2004.

Ingham County: A Changing Community

By Alexa McCarthy
Ingham County Chronicle

Stephanie Vanis, born and raised in East Lansing and a junior at East Lansing High School, is starting her college search and hesitant to got to Michigan State University. “I don’t want to go to MSU because I think it’s a bad school or because I don’t like it, but rather because I’ve been here my whole life. I want to leave.” For Vanis, getting away from the family and what’s familiar is a draw just like for so many other people her age. While Vanis may just be starting to explore what her post-high school life will be like, she represents a similar mentality for area high school and college students

For many years, young professionals, college students and recent college grads have not seen the Ingham County area as anything more than a place to go to college for four years. This is something that the Ingham County area is trying to change perceptions about.

Andy Schor elected 68th District state representative

By Samantha Watson
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Andy Schor democratic state representative candidate for the 68th district monitored results at the UAW652 hall in Lansing Tuesday evening. According to the Ingham County website’s election results Andy Schor was at 76.18% and his opponent republican Timothy Moede at 23.26%

Andy shared his plans for Ingham County and the 68th district if elected. Schor said that his focus is to create places here in Michigan where students that went to school in Michigan want to be in Michigan after college. “I want to provide the resources to be able to work hard and play hard,” said Schor on creating “Great parks and arts” in Michigan. One of the biggest hardships Schor said he had throughout his campaign was time.