Organic food markets: here to stay

OKEMOS — Two weeks ago, Meridian Township welcomed a new organic food market. On April 13, Whole Foods Market opened its doors for the first time, making it the first Lansing-area Whole Foods, and their seventh Michigan store. With the growing criticism of processed foods, organic food markets are well on their way to becoming a main-stay trend. “[Organic food shopping] definitely will become a lot more popular, it’s a lot healthier,” Barb Vuillemot, a shopper at Foods for Living in Meridian Township, said. “Right now, it’s still not mainstream, so it makes it harder for people to find.

Controversy in Meridian Township due to CATA's proposed BRT system

By Riley James
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

CATA plans on adding two designated bus lanes right down the center of the Grand River Avenue corridor for the Route 1 bus. The bus rapid transit (BRT) system is expected to improve certain aspects of Grand River Avenue including traffic congestion, safety, and attractiveness. “CATA is not changing the entire system to a BRT system. CATA is proposing to change Route 1 to a Bus Rapid Transit line to improve travel for all modes along the corridor,” said Debbie Alexander, the assistant executive director of CATA. “When buses operate in their own lanes and use stations for boarding, the speed of travel for the bus rider is improved by up to 13 minutes, and the flow of auto traffic is improved because buses are not stopping frequently to drop off and pick up passengers along the 8.5-mile corridor,” said Alexander..

Schools of choice option gains popularity in Michigan, benefits Meridian

By Katie Dudlets
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

In Michigan, the number of students in schools of choice increased from 66,560 in 2005-06 to 115,209 in 2012-13, an upsurge of 73 percent. Schools of choice enrollment also made up a larger percentage of the state’s overall student population, rising from 3.7 percent of 1.8 million students in 2005-06, to 7.1 percent of 1.6 million students in 2012-13. Administrators in Meridian Township are seeing a similar trend. “We do have many students that are interested and go ahead and make applications for schools of choice for Haslett [High School], and not only Haslett, but for Haslett Public Schools,” said Haslett High School Principal Bart Wegenke. “I think we’re probably about 18 to 20 percent schools of choice [students] for this district.”

According to Joshua Cowen, an associate professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University, this increase in the program’s popularity is not only a trend in Michigan, but in the nation as well.

Low crime rates contribute to Meridian's quality of life

By Chris Hung
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

Despite having slightly above average violent crime rates compared to townships of similar population, Meridian Township residents report above average living conditions and quality of life. In the 2015 National Citizen Survey on Meridian Township, in which 331 residents were polled, 98 percent of respondents reported feeling safe in the neighborhoods. In downtown or commercial areas, 96 percent of residents felt safe. 92 percent of residents responded that their overall security was rated positively. An integral part to the township’s safety and security are the 39 sworn officers that make up both Meridian’s police force.

Meridian Township is trying to fix failing infrastructure with limited resources

By Kelly Sheridan
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

In 2016, Meridian Township has several infrastructure projects planned, including road construction, sanitary sewer projects and drain maintenance. Working in tandem with the Ingham County Road Department, and the Ingham County Drain Commissioner, the Public Works Department is trying to improve failing infrastructure with the limited resources it has. Since Meridian Township is a township, it is not responsible for the operations and maintenance of their road and drain system. The government works with the Ingham County Road Department and the Ingham County Drain Commissioner when projects become too big for the township to handle. However, the township is often the first place residents call to get their issues fixed, Chief Engineer Younes Ishraidi said.

As Earth Day nears, Meridian Township has 'higher awareness of the environment'

By Ally Hamzey
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

Environmental sustainability is an issue recognized and supported by many Meridian Township residents, but on April 22, recognized as Earth Day, it is celebrated with even more enthusiasm. The township provides multiple events that promote environmental experiences and education to residents of all ages throughout the entire year, not only Earth Day. Love-A-Park Day, on April 23, hosted by Meridian Township Parks and Recreation Department is a park, land, and public space public space clean-up event. Events such as Love-A-Park Day, Earth Friends Campfire, and Chipmunk Story Time are all events that push for environmental awareness and sustainability. These events each have deeper, more resonating ripples in the Meridian Township community than just simple, entertaining events would ensue, as Senior Park Naturalist and Nature Center Coordinator of the Harris Nature Center, Kit Rich said.

Drain improvements throughout Meridian raise concerns in more than one aspect

By Lauren Captain
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

By observing the trends in Meridian Township it should come to no surprise that when it comes to projects the processing time for development takes awhile, and typically lots of money. Daniels Drain Improvement Project is something to not be surprised about either, regarding the price and times for construction and the consequences without it. Many may be unfamiliar with the project, which will soon be totally approved, but it is important for the residents to take notice on what is going on, especially with concerns for the prices and construction time, or the repercussion of not fixing the drain. Daniels Drain Improvement Project is to rebuild a drain system and the part of which is breaking down near an Okemos condominium complex. There have been many special meetings and general township board meetings as well to discuss the project, such as points of what they will do and who will be paying for it. 

This repair of the drain is due to an issue that is affecting the water servicing parts of the community.

Okemos High is cracking down on athletic concussions

By Tamar Davis
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

OKEMOS — With girls’ soccer season getting ready to start and football just months away, Okemos High School is trying to prevent and control concussions like never before. Okemos High School Football Head Coach Jack Wallace tries his hardest to make sure his players don’t get concussions during the game and also during practice. “The level of concern is very high for concussions in todays society,” Said Wallace. “My personal level of concern is very high for concussions because they happen so much in contact sports. There are times when players get concussions and were never aware of it before the symptoms let them know they had a concussion.

Nominees and winners increase for Meridian Township's 2016 Environmental Stewardship Awards

By Erica Marra
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

Though Meridian Township resides less than two miles away from Michigan State University, a look at the recent increase in nominations for the township’s annual Environmental Stewardship Awards is evidence that some community members view the phrase “go green” a bit differently than their neighbors down the road. “For the 2016 awards, we have had a larger pool of nominees than in years past, which is exciting,” said Meridian Township Associate Planner and staff liaison to the township’s Environmental Commission, Harmony Gmazel. “In years past, we usually just have two or three nominations per year. This is the most we’ve had in quite a while.” Meridian Charter Township’s Environmental Stewardship awards are held to honor residents who advocate for the environment through “local habitat stewardship, recycling, or anything in between”.