A State of Emergency was declared this week by Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes after several street closures and resident evacuations. Those living in Urbandale, Sycamore Park, Knollwood Willow, Baker, Cherry Hill, Riverpoint, Tecumseh River and Ravenswood neighborhoods were all encouraged to temporarily leave their home. Michael Tobin, Lansing Emergency Management Division Chief, said that volunteers were sent out Wednesday evening to go door to door and alert residents. “What we’re really gearing up for now is the floods from the Red Cedar River and the Grand River,” Tobin said. “When the water hits crest levels, it can take a few days minimum for the water to recede.”
The Mid-Michigan Chapter of the American Red Cross set up a shelter at Letts Community Center for residents who have been temporarily displaced.
Lansing Township voting booths saw a lower voter turnout this election than in previous elections due to the lack of proposals on the ballot. The Lansing Township ballot had only one item up for vote, and it was related to an Ingham County millage which would allow the Township to raise taxes on residents. This ballot was short in relation to that of the City of Lansing, which was electing a new mayor. The Lansing Township Clerk Susan Aten said she was not surprised by the low voter turnout. “It’s hard to compare previous elections in general, you have to look at the type of election it is,” said Aten.
For those who may disagree about ‘open carry’ should read the second amendment of the constitution: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed” (“The Constitution of the United States,” Amendment 2). And “The right of the people to keep and bare arms,” is exercised annually in Lansing, at the city’s Capitol building. Wednesday, April 26 , nearly 400 activists stood strong behind the 2nd amendment by commemorating together in a peaceful protest amongst citizens and supporters. “It’s an open carry rally to educate the public on what your rights really are when it comes to fire arms,” said Sheriff Dar Leaf of Barry County. Leaf attends the rally each year because it’s important to him as a sheriff and citizen in the state of Michigan.
With summer just around the corner, Lansing Charter Township is wasting no time in planning activities to bring residents and the community together. Leading the main event, which is a series of summer movies being shown in two parks is Lansing Township Supervisor Dion’trae Hayes. “So two movies shown for two different Fridays, and they are consecutive Fridays,” Hayes said. “The idea is to make it a family, friendly and affordable event for all the residents in our community.”
According to Hayes, she has secured donations for a concession stand that will consist of water, popcorn and other amenities. In order to make the movie affordable, all residents will need to do is show up with a blanket or chair, there is no admission fee.
When you are standing on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol located in Lansing, you might also be standing on a piece of land that used to belong to Lansing Charter Township 170 years ago, according to the Michigan State Capitol Directory. “What is traditionally known as Lansing now was Lansing Township,” Lansing Township Supervisor Dion’trae Hayes said. “If you go back and you look at your history where the capital building was located, Lansing Township had a huge mass of land that over the years has been annexed by the City of Lansing and has been annexed by the City of East Lansing.”
What remains of the township after years of annexation is five contiguous locations, according to the township’s website. The largest section of the township being on the west side of the Greater Lansing area, one section on the southeast side of the region and three on the east side, according to the Charter Township of Lansing’s zoning maps. In order to avoid future annexation, the township has taken the necessary precautions.
It’s a classic springtime rhyme, “April showers bring May flowers.” But, believe it or not, the rainy month of April can also do more harm than good when it comes to impacting the water quality of Mid-Michigan rivers and watersheds, specifically the Grand River and Red Cedar River which both border Lansing Charter Township. In order to keep water quality safe, Lansing Township is one of 20 jurisdictions that are a member of the Greater Lansing Regional Committee (GLRC) for Stormwater Management which is composed of also the City of Lansing, East Lansing, Meridian and MSU, according to the GRLC’s website. Ruth Kline-Robach a specialist for Michigan State University’s Institute for Water Research explains the impact flooding can have on rivers. “Any time you get a flooding event you have the potential for washing anything, any type of contaminant or pollutant that is sitting on the land into the water, which does absolutely raise water quality concerns,” Kline-Robach said. “So, anything if you think about leaks and drips from our cars, if you think about animal waste on the land’s surface, improperly operating septic systems. When those waters rise including the water level meaning the ground levels rise, you could have potential water quality impact.”
The western portion of the township borders a section of the Grand River watershed which includes the Grand River, according to the Grand River Learning Network.
With the further advancement of technology, drivers behind the wheel are now more distracted than ever and even in the small community of Lansing Charter Township, accidents happen. According to the Lansing Township’s Citizens Guide and Performance Dashboard, in 2014, there was a total of 469 non-injury crashes, 128 injury crashes and zero fatal crashes. However, Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes said township roads for the most part don’t see a lot of hazardous driving. “In the Lansing area I haven’t seen much of that,” Hayes said in regards to crazy driving. “We do have accidents like every other place but I can’t say with certainty that consistently on x amount of roads here, there are people speeding or driving reckless.
For the first time in 12 years, the Capital City will be hosting the Michigan Township Association Conference & Expo. This year’s theme is “come together” which will allow the unique talent brought forth by over 1,000 other township officials to collaborate and create success in each of their communities.
Lansing Township will provide its guests with the “experience Lansing Township” tour through Eastwood Towne Center, said Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes. The conference will bring networking opportunities for unity amongst officials all working towards a common goal. According to Julie Pingston, who is the senior vice president and chief operating officer for the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau, the host hotels will be including a shuttle service from the conference to the hotels.
Homeowners on the township’s west side have one less problem to worry about. The Lansing Township Board of Trustees decided on March 7 that a rental property at 507 Stoner St. had to be demolished. According to the Ingham County Treasurer’s Office, the 956-square-foot home was built in the 1930s and had been in delinquency since the summer of 2015. “Buildings in our township are usually torn down because they pose as a safety hazard,” Lansing Township supervisor Diontrae Hayes said.