Front of Eastern High School

Poverty in Lansing affects city’s high schools

All across the nation there has been a 260 percent increase in the number of students in highly concentrated poverty school districts, whose poverty levels are 40 percent and above. School districts in this category are at high risks of childhood well-being and positive opportunities. High poverty school districts in Michigan have doubled from 120 in 2006 to over 240 pre-kindergarten through 12th grade schools in 2012. In Lansing, once you step out of comfort of downtown and the capitol building, many of the surrounding neighborhoods are plagued with at least some level of poverty. The poverty doesn’t stop there, as majority of the Lansing schools are located in highly-impoverished areas.

The outside of Lansing's Kids Repair Program isn't much to look at, but that doesn't matter.  It's what's inside the building that counts.

Lansing bike program teaches more than just bicycle repair

On the outside, it just looks like some small storage building. The plain red bricks and few windows don’t exactly shout out “Welcome!” to whomever passes by. Step in through the garage door, though, and you’ll find something that might surprise you – hundreds of bicycles, just waiting to be taken home. Frank Wheeler sits inside the shop of Lansing’s Kids Repair Program working on an old bike that was dropped off at the police station just a few days earlier. He’s been retired for a few years now, but that doesn’t stop him from coming in and volunteering whenever he’s got the chance.

Solar panels on Michigan Energy Options. Photo taken by Andy Chmura

Renewable energy is a part of Lansing’s future

According to Michigan State Senate Bills 437 and 438, Michigan State law will require that Michigan utilities buy or produce at least 15 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2022. There is also a nonbinding goal to reach 35 percent by 2025. What is Lansing doing to make this happen? John Krzystowczyk, an energy analyst in the energy and eco-strategies department of the Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL), works to promote renewable energy growth in the Lansing area. He believes that the 15 percent goal laid out by the government is attainable.