Controversy in Meridian Township due to CATA's proposed BRT system

By Riley James
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

CATA plans on adding two designated bus lanes right down the center of the Grand River Avenue corridor for the Route 1 bus. The bus rapid transit (BRT) system is expected to improve certain aspects of Grand River Avenue including traffic congestion, safety, and attractiveness. “CATA is not changing the entire system to a BRT system. CATA is proposing to change Route 1 to a Bus Rapid Transit line to improve travel for all modes along the corridor,” said Debbie Alexander, the assistant executive director of CATA. “When buses operate in their own lanes and use stations for boarding, the speed of travel for the bus rider is improved by up to 13 minutes, and the flow of auto traffic is improved because buses are not stopping frequently to drop off and pick up passengers along the 8.5-mile corridor,” said Alexander..

Schools of choice option gains popularity in Michigan, benefits Meridian

By Katie Dudlets
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

In Michigan, the number of students in schools of choice increased from 66,560 in 2005-06 to 115,209 in 2012-13, an upsurge of 73 percent. Schools of choice enrollment also made up a larger percentage of the state’s overall student population, rising from 3.7 percent of 1.8 million students in 2005-06, to 7.1 percent of 1.6 million students in 2012-13. Administrators in Meridian Township are seeing a similar trend. “We do have many students that are interested and go ahead and make applications for schools of choice for Haslett [High School], and not only Haslett, but for Haslett Public Schools,” said Haslett High School Principal Bart Wegenke. “I think we’re probably about 18 to 20 percent schools of choice [students] for this district.”

According to Joshua Cowen, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University, this increase in the program’s popularity is not only a trend in Michigan, but in the nation as well.

Low crime rates contribute to Meridian's quality of life

By Chris Hung
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

Despite having slightly above average violent crime rates compared to townships of similar population, Meridian Township residents report above average living conditions and quality of life. In the 2015 National Citizen Survey on Meridian Township, in which 331 residents were polled, 98 percent of respondents reported feeling safe in the neighborhoods. In downtown or commercial areas, 96 percent of residents felt safe. 92 percent of residents responded that their overall security was rated positively. An integral part to the township’s safety and security are the 39 sworn officers that make up both Meridian’s police force.

Drain improvements throughout Meridian raise concerns in more than one aspect

By Lauren Captain
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

By observing the trends in Meridian Township it should come to no surprise that when it comes to projects the processing time for development takes awhile, and typically lots of money. Daniels Drain Improvement Project is something to not be surprised about either, regarding the price and times for construction and the consequences without it. Many may be unfamiliar with the project, which will soon be totally approved, but it is important for the residents to take notice on what is going on, especially with concerns for the prices and construction time, or the repercussion of not fixing the drain. Daniels Drain Improvement Project is to rebuild a drain system and the part of which is breaking down near an Okemos condominium complex. There have been many special meetings and general township board meetings as well to discuss the project, such as points of what they will do and who will be paying for it. 

This repair of the drain is due to an issue that is affecting the water servicing parts of the community.

Okemos High is cracking down on athletic concussions

By Tamar Davis
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

OKEMOS — With girls’ soccer season getting ready to start and football just months away, Okemos High School is trying to prevent and control concussions like never before. Okemos High School Football Head Coach Jack Wallace tries his hardest to make sure his players don’t get concussions during the game and also during practice. “The level of concern is very high for concussions in todays society,” Said Wallace. “My personal level of concern is very high for concussions because they happen so much in contact sports. There are times when players get concussions and were never aware of it before the symptoms let them know they had a concussion.

Nominees and winners increase for Meridian Township's 2016 Environmental Stewardship Awards

By Erica Marra
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

Though Meridian Township resides less than two miles away from Michigan State University, a look at the recent increase in nominations for the township’s annual Environmental Stewardship Awards is evidence that some community members view the phrase “go green” a bit differently than their neighbors down the road. “For the 2016 awards, we have had a larger pool of nominees than in years past, which is exciting,” said Meridian Township Associate Planner and staff liaison to the township’s Environmental Commission, Harmony Gmazel. “In years past, we usually just have two or three nominations per year. This is the most we’ve had in quite a while.” Meridian Charter Township’s Environmental Stewardship awards are held to honor residents who advocate for the environment through “local habitat stewardship, recycling, or anything in between”.

Want to recycle a mattress or clean up a park? April 23 is your day

By Katie Dudlets
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

April 23 is a big day for the environment in Meridian Township. Upcoming Spring Clean and Go Green! and Love-A-Park Day events are giving volunteers a chance to participate in a community-wide effort to recycle items they have at home and to beautify the natural areas all over the township. Chippewa Middle School’s parking lot will be filled with volunteers accepting recyclable items at the annual recycling event, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. that Saturday. “This recycling event is a convenient way to recycle or reuse items that you may not be able to recycle curbside or even at your local recycling center,” said Recycling and Energy Coordinator LeRoy Harvey.

New apartments to be built on Grand River Avenue

By Riley James
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

No later than this spring, Campus Village developers plan to build a new apartment complex on Grand River Avenue in Meridian Township. The actual address where the new complex will be built is 2655 Grand River Ave. According to Greg Schaefer, vice president of operations, the apartments should be available in August of 2017. “We decided to propose this development because we felt there was a need in the market for more housing along the Grand River corridor. With the proposed BRT system along Grand River [Avenue] we feel this is an excellent time to increase density along the corridor by incorporating a mixed-use design with some of the existing retail.

Streamlined Meridian Township burn policies work to keep blazes under control

By Erica Marra
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

The summer before heading off to college is typically considered to be the perfect time for recent high school graduates to create long-lasting memories with their
friends. While 2012 Okemos High School graduate Colin Jackson said that he expected to create some moments he would never forget before leaving his hometown, he never expected them to be so incendiary. “The summer I graduated, there was a rumor going around that a girl I knew accidentally set fire to a field called ‘The Shire’ that we used to have bonfires at,” Jackson said. “Apparently she didn’t put a fire out all the way and ended up burning down a good chunk of [the field].”

Jackson said his curiosity led him to revisit the alleged burn site to see if the rumors were true. “I went back this year and all of the grass is like, seriously lower and you can still see where stuff is charred, so I guess it actually happened,” Jackson said.