Solar panels on Michigan Energy Options.

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.

IMG_1505

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.

Doppsee cooling off in the mud on a particularly warm day. Photo taken by Zach Sgro

Potter Park Zoo rhino about to get a new boyfriend

The South African black rhino has faced large-scale poaching since 1970 making them a critically endangered species. Recently only 458 rhinos were poached in 2016 dropping the rate to 7.9 percent, according to the South African Department of Environmental Affairs. The current population is up to just over 5,000, between captivity and conservation parks, and the black rhino is making a comeback but, it still has a long way to go before they can make it off of the endangered species list. Lansing’s Potter Park Zoo is hoping to make a difference in the rhino’s comeback, with plans to unite one of the zoo’s resident rhinos, Doppsee, with a suitor from Texas named Phineas, according to the Lansing State Journal. “We’re really excited because we love the rhino we have over here,” Pat Fountain, head keeper at Potter Park Zoo, told Spartan Newsroom.