Dr. Peter Chiaravalli volunteers his time at the Volunteers of America Michigan Dental Clinic.

How do people descend into poverty and how does that affect Lansing?

Eviction blindsides many people at the bottom of the income scale. Citizens in poverty – those people making equal to or less than $12,000 annually in a single-person family according to the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation – are in a tough situation because they have no resource net besides their paychecks.

Lansing’s Annual 2nd Amendment Rally

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.

Safe spaces on American college campuses challenge the freedom of speech

Joshua Laske, a graduate student studying veterinary medicine at Michigan State University, said that having a safe space growing up would have helped him feel comfortable with his sexuality earlier in his life. There is a debate on American college campuses about the necessity and constitutionality of safe spaces for students. A safe space is a place where people can go where they will not be harassed by others.

Photo taken by Zachary Sgro

Lansing aiming to be “vibrant, walkable”

Lansing is best known for being the capital of Michigan, but, it’s also the location for numerous businesses and companies. But for many it seems as though the city is not their home, opting for longer commutes to work as opposed to living in the city. A majority of the restaurants and bars in the area close before dinner time only offering regular hours for late night food and drink during the weekend. Smaller niche businesses pepper the city and keep consistent crowds and regular customers at night while the Lansing Lugnuts provide mid to late day entertainment, but neither has been enough to revitalize the city. “We need a vibrant, walkable urban area that is cool and attractive to all walks of life,” said Scott Gillespie, president of Gillespie Company.

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.

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.