Possible rezoning raises concern for residents in Okemos

After a contentious zoning meeting, no decision has been made about the possible development of land near the Sanctuary in Okemos. On Feb. 12, residents of the Sanctuary, located in Okemos, gathered at the planning commission meeting, in opposition to rezoning 7.63 acres on Hulett Road. The area is currently marked as R.R., or rural residential, and is being debated about becoming a R.A.A., or single family-low density. This would mean that the untouched lot would have the chance for a small amount of structures to be built.

Many of the residents spoke during the meeting, with the main concern being keeping the nature of the lot.

“Schools of Choice” and modern segregation

Zachary Barnes explores the roots of segregation during the early part of the 20th century in Lansing area schools, and how it compares to modern-day segregation — meaning those who have the privilege to, can transfer to another school, leaving a larger number of minority and economically disadvantaged without funding for resources. Segregation — “the separation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnic group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area, by barriers to social intercourse, by separate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means.” — Merriam Webster

Although it may not be segregation in the traditional sense, policies such as “red lining,” where minority neighborhoods were outlined in red on a city’s master plan meaning “high-risk” under rules laid out by the Federal Housing Administration. Both direct and indirect racism has lead to major inequities in the classroom. According to MSU education professors and non-profits that work to better education for minority students, these inequities have lead to resource gaps and unequal opportunity. A main reason for this, “Schools of Choice,” the process where families can choose to apply to another school district within the same region. It could be time to revisit the 1994 legislation as schools become increasingly segregated.

Aquaculture is growing more common in Michigan

 

For most seafood consumers, where their fish comes from may be a mystery. Russell Allen, a small business owner in Okemos, is on a mission to end the mystery for consumers. Ideally fish would come from a supplier who catches them naturally, by fishing. But more often than not, commercially sold fish are grown on fish farms, an industry known as aquaculture. Check the internet today and you will find many people against this practice, but ask someone who knows and you may get some totally different answers.

Haslett and Okemos: Same leadership, different communities

 

From the outside looking in, an economist might look at Haslett  as a “bedroom community” compared to its neighbor and seemingly-always-growing Okemos. But to Emily Drummelsmith, who grew up in the Haslett area, the two communities are not all that different to her. And that’s just the way Meridian Township officials want residents of both communities to feel. 

“Honestly I kind of grew up in both so they’re not that different to me truly,” said Drummelsmith, who has been a resident of Haslett for 20 years. “I always spent my time shopping in Okemos and walking around in Haslett. It’s just honestly not different to me.”

Haslett and Okemos are both unincorporated communities governed by Meridian Charter Township.

Okemos Public Schools serve school of choice students, but focus locally

Alena Zachery-Ross is the Superintendent of Okemos Public Schools, hired just this year. She explains that Okemos Public Schools, while serving school of choice students, primarily focuses on serving the Okemos community. School of choice is a district optional program that allows students from one school district to chose another. This allows students and their families the option to choose what education they’re receiving, regardless of residency. “Our philosophy regarding school of choice is that there will be limited seating opportunities for non resident students,” Zachery-Ross said.