Kaitlyn Kelley is a reporter for the Spartan Newsroom covering Grand Ledge and is also a campus reporter for The State News. She is a sophomore studying journalism, theatre and musical theatre at Michigan State University.
A list of priorities composed by the Grand Ledge City Council will bring in members of the community through a large park project that’s being referred to as the Jaycee Park Master Plan. Jaycee Park, one of the many recreational areas in the City of Grand Ledge, will undergo several updates and construction work beginning this summer. The master plan for the park, originally set forth in 2013 with a construction start date of summer 2018, was officially adopted at the council’s Jan. 8 meeting earlier this year. According to the Grand Ledge City Council website, “Jaycee Park is 5.92 acres of pristine park land, situated along the Grand River.”
Adam Smith, the city administrator of Grand Ledge, talked about the City Council’s routine in choosing which projects to prioritize during the two-year periods.
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.
Heidi Wilson’s life was turned upside down on Valentine’s Day of 2014 when a distracted driver ran through a red light, hitting her car. She lost her mother and her daughter in the fatal accident. Since then, Wilson has remained strong, choosing to give back to other people in the community. Hannah’s Baskets
Every Easter, Wilson creates Easter baskets for children in low-income families in the Grand Ledge-Lansing area. Wilson said she wanted to create the baskets in honor of her daughter, Hannah, because Easter would have been her first holiday.
On March 14, 2018, roughly 200 Grand Ledge High School students participated in the national school walkout against gun violence. Around 200 students in Grand Ledge High School walked out of their classes on March 14 to be involved in the nationwide #ENOUGH movement, honoring the 17 victims of the Parkland, Florida school shooting and acting against gun violence. Jonathan Shiflett, president of the Grand Ledge School Board, said the student walkout went “smoothly.”
“There really wasn’t any incident. I mean, it wasn’t something that we were actively encouraging or discouraging,” he said. “We just, you know, wanted to make sure that the kids were safe and that was it.”
The student walkout occurred weeks after Grand Ledge High School received a bomb threat that resulted in multiple evacuations and other precautions within the school district.
Lisa Wegner, community health promotion specialist at the Barry-Eaton District Health Department, went up to the podium at the Grand Ledge City Council meeting on Monday, March 12 to speak about the department’s several programs.
Wegner addressed the department’s Hepatitis A vaccinations, their Pathways to Better Health program and their Michigan traffic crash report and accident prevention. Abigail Lynch, also a community health promotion specialist for Barry-Eaton District Health Department, said the Barry-Eaton District Health Department serves 21 communities in Barry County and 26 communities in Eaton County through providing helpful and affordable programs.
“The Hepatitis A outbreak in Michigan started back in the fall of 2016 and Eaton County saw its first case that was linked to the outbreak in December of 2017,” she said. “Because we’re now considered to be part of the outbreak, we have funding from the state to really ramp up our prevention efforts to keep people from getting Hepatitis A.”
In addition to providing walk-in Hepatitis A vaccinations, Lynch said the health department also works together to provide helpful resources that help prevent diseases and other factors that play into health. “We track the rates of chronic disease, we track the rates of communicable disease, all sorts of these things that can affect health,” she said. “One of those things is accident and injury prevention, so we were looking at data from 2011 to 2015 and trying to figure out the major causes of deaths through accidents was, and one of the top factors in that was traffic crashes.”
The traffic report done by the health department was shared at the Grand Ledge City Council meeting and will be shared at other meetings around the Lansing area.
The Grand Ledge Area District Library acts as a learning center for young children by holding different events and activities that promote reading and literacy. Every week, the Grand Ledge Area District Library has a different event for children, like a preschool storytime, a literacy celebration and an animation station. Each activity promotes reading and enhances literacy. Jean Fellows, the program coordinator at the library, said she created these different events for children in the Grand Ledge area through bringing and sharing different ideas in conferences and among the other library staff and volunteers. “When our new director arrived, she really wanted us to look for underserved populations,” she said.
The first Grand Ledge School Board meeting of the month attracted about 100 community members, as many were concerned with the proposal to switch from a traditional school year calendar to a proposed “balanced” calendar. The new calendar would have a shortened summer break and longer scheduled instruction breaks throughout the school year. Jonathan Shiflett, president of the Grand Ledge School Board, said that, if enacted, this calendar would be utilized by all schools in the Grand Ledge School District, which has 5,240 students. A presentation about the calendar and student achievement within Eaton County was given by the Eaton Regional Education Service Agency. Although the board members were allowed to ask questions during the presentation, the public was not.
The Grand Ledge School Board appointed Ben Cwayna to fill a vacant trustee position at an emergency school board meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 31. At 6 p.m., the Grand Ledge School Board and members of the community gathered in the Sawdon Administration Building to fill the vacancy after Linda Wacyk, a long-time trustee on the board, resigned on Jan. 8, said the School Board President Jonathan Shiflett. After Wacyk’s resignation, the Grand Ledge Public Schools’ Facebook page and website announced that they were accepting letters of interest and resumes for the vacant position on Jan.