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.

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

Recycling in Lansing is bigger than you may think

According to Lansing’s official government website, recycling makes a huge difference in the community. In fact, for every 1,000 tons the city collects, 14,903 trees are saved, 6,404,606 gallons of water are saved, 408,412 gallons of gasoline are saved and 2,856 metric tons of greenhouse emissions are saved. But how exactly does Lansing recycle materials? Too often does recyclable material get thrown out with regular trash, ending up in landfills. This is why the Lansing Recycling Center on East Northrup Street and South Cedar Street takes recyclables in addition to garbage.

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C.W. Otto’s future still uncertain four years after closing

On Thomas Street in North Lansing sits a massive empty building, resembling a factory more than what it actually is: a former middle school. In 2013, the Lansing School District shuttered C.W. Otto Middle in a move district Chief of Operations Teresa Szymanski says was due in part to declining enrollment. The number of students at Otto had fallen sharply in recent years, from a peak of nearly 1200 in 1993 to less than 600 in 2012, according to Public School Review. She said the decline, which mirrors a dip of over 13,000 in Lansing’s population from 1990-2010, made closing the school the district’s best option. “I wasn’t here when that decision was made, but I’m sure it had to do with ‘right-sizing’ for building-student population,” Szymanski said.

Lansing residents stood outside of the city council meeting on Monday, Feb. 27 with a banner to show support for a sanctuary city resolution.

After months of dispute, Lansing is declared a sanctuary city

It is official; the Lansing City Council has unanimously voted and declared Lansing a sanctuary city. Prior to the meeting on April 3 where the vote took place, Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero released an executive order that clarified policies in place for city officials and law enforcement to more effectively protect immigrant and refugees in the community. In Bernero’s executive order, he stated the following:

“We are confident these new policies do not violate federal law, but we are also prepared to take legal action to protect the prerogatives and powers of local government and local law enforcement,” Bernero said. “We do not want our local police to become de facto immigration agents— especially under the divisive and draconian direction of the Trump administration.”

The council agreed. “I think is one time that the city of Lansing has got it right; we are aligned and I think this addressed all the things we are getting in our emails, within our phone calls, within our conversations,” Council Member Judi Brown Clarke said at the meeting Monday.

Lansing's Life O'Riley Mobile Home Park was torn down last week, much to the delight of those who live around the area.

Demolition of Lansing mobile home park brings hope to surrounding residents

John Croffe stands on his porch in Lansing, looking across South Washington Avenue at the army of bulldozers and workers destroying what once stood there. “This neighborhood has waited a long time for this to happen,” Croffe says with a smile. “It was a tough thing to look at.”

What once stood there was the Life O’Riley Mobile Park, and after almost three years of being condemned and vacant, it was torn down recently. The mobile park was the subject of much controversy over the past few years, even when it was being used. According to the Ingham County Health Department’s 2014 Annual Health Report, the 14-acre area was condemned during February of that year due to unsanitary conditions, forcing over 200 people off the property.