JRN@MSU

Heroin epidemic continues to worsen in mid-Michigan

Heroin continues to destruct our nation’s cities across the map. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 2014 to 2015, heroin overdose death rates have increased by 21 percent. Nearly 13,000 people died in 2015. Greater Lansing shows similar trends. Ingham County Health Department gathers information from a variety of sources to report its annual Opioid Surveillance.

Journalism at Michigan State University

Marijuana advertising restrictions under consideration in Michigan

If you’re traveling through Lansing, you’re probably going to cross paths with one of Lansing’s many “High Lansing” billboards. Some Lansing residents assigned Lansing a new nickname: Lansterdam. Weedmaps advertisements can be found scattered throughout Lansing. Weedmaps’ website allows patients with medical marijuana cards to find dispensaries based on their location. It also rates dispensaries, offers deals, and allows users to write reviews.

Student gets business started while still in college

It is 9:30 a.m. at Michigan State University, MSU junior entrepreneurship and innovation student Alexander Marx begins another unpredictable day of production for his co-founded company Land Grant Goods. The student-run company began as a club in 2014 until Marx took it under his wing in January 2017 as a student company affiliated in partnership with MSU. As Marx begins his day which includes the inventory of the day’s products — tea bags ready for sale — he journeys to the student organic farm where he finds his small team already hard at work, blending lemon grass, packaging products and finishing off tea products with the Land Grant stamp of approval. Marx’s company’s goal is to create quality products for East Lansing consumers in hopes of one day earning enough funds to invest profits for the company back into environmental initiatives at MSU, which includes partnerships with the Bailey Greenhouse and Urban Farm, Residential Initiative on the Study of the Environment and MSU Culinary Services. But for now, the small company makes enough to cover labor and general business cost.

REO Town community finds its post-industrial place in the world

 

REO Town, a Lansing district located south of downtown, is considered the United States birthplace of the commercial automobile. The district is named after Ransom Eli Olds, an entrepreneur who founded the REO Motor Car Company in 1905. From 1905 to 1975, a major manufacturing plant for the REO Motor Car Company was located in REO Town. The plant gave a significant financial boost to the district, supplying both jobs and outside interest. Since production ceased in 1975, the automotive industry has remained the major employer in REO Town, with more than 2,000 workers employed by the Lansing Grand River Assembly plant.

Starting your own business can be a ‘very scary proposition’

Driving down Willow Street in Lansing, Mich. on a sunny afternoon, a passer-by notices there were 10 mannequins standing in front of a what it seems to be a clothing store. The mannequins were all dressed up from men’s to women’s clothing that were easily catching to the eye. Walking in, the visitor notices a woman sitting in a chair and a man in another. The store was called Unique Fashions; it was very small but it had so many clothes and items it was overwhelming.

Lansing locals share tourism suggestions for non-residents

The City of Lansing is home to more than 50 tourist attractions including small businesses, recreational activities and political education. How do visitors determine where to start? Lansing residents have several ideas of their own. Madison Stapels, a student strategist at Piper & Gold Public Relations, has lived in the area for several years. Stapels is a Michigan State University student and enjoys kayaking by the Lansing City Market in her free time.

Lansing’s struggle for better roads

 

The poor road conditions have made commuting in Lansing difficult for many residents and employees who drive in the city. City Chief Operating Officer and Director of Public Service Chad Gamble is very aware of the road conditions affecting these residents and employees. “Certainly commuting affects their vehicle, the quality of the vehicle, the life of the vehicle, the safety of their trip, the time it takes them to get there; it’s something we’ve been working on for decades,” Gamble said. The slow maintenance of roads in the area is due to the lack of funding and high cost of maintaining roads, particularly in the state of Michigan. The annual street funding for the City of Lansing dropped significantly between 2009 and 2010 and has yet to make a comeback 7 years later.

Big threat to first responders: traffic accidents

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. — According to the Federal Highway Administration, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for emergency responders and law enforcement personnel in the U.S. Just a few weeks ago, on Wednesday June 14, Fire Chief Edward Switalski with the Comstock Township Fire and Rescue team was responding to a roadside emergency when he was struck and killed on I-94 by a distracted driver. Tragedies like this are happening across the country and beg the question why are first responders so vulnerable on roadsides? Commander Scott Grewe has been with the Birmingham Police Department for the past 18 years. During this time, he has had a chance to notice the evolution of safety procedures for first responders and make amends to some of the problems he thought existed.

How many is too many? Lansing’s abundance of medical marijuana dispensaries worries some residents

Dispensary owners and Lansing residents have been disputing a recent medical marijuana ordinance during biweekly City Council meetings. Some people in Lansing believe the flooded medical marijuana market results from poor marijuana dispensary regulations. “The purpose of the ordinance is to have realistic dispensaries available to people that really have a medical marijuana need,” said Marylin Ebaugh, resident of South Lansing. “What we have now is an over abundance of businesses.” A study conducted by Melissa Huber, Ph.D, estimates the number of patients spiked from 937 in 2011, to 2,866 in 2015. Some believe the process to obtain a medical marijuana card can be easily abused.

Greater Lansing animal shelters help homeless animals find homes

In 2016, there were around 12,000 animals licensed in and around Lansing. During the same period, 7,381 animals were taken into the two biggest animal shelters in the Greater Lansing Area: 3,139 of the animals went to Ingham County Animal Shelter, and 4,242 of them went to the Capital Area Humane Society. Some of the animals were abandoned by their owners, who could not care for their pets anymore for different reasons, some of them were rescued from unsafe places, and some of them were stray and became an animal shelter’s property. “They are usually just being dropped off at the door like sometimes the leash is tied to the door knob or they’re roaming around,” said Kelsee Horrom, a former volunteer at the animal shelter. “If they’re older the dogs won’t get adopted as quickly as younger ones, sadly.