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.
With the further advancement of technology, drivers behind the wheel are now more distracted than ever and even in the small community of Lansing Charter Township, accidents happen. According to the Lansing Township’s Citizens Guide and Performance Dashboard, in 2014, there was a total of 469 non-injury crashes, 128 injury crashes and zero fatal crashes. However, Lansing Township Supervisor Diontrae Hayes said township roads for the most part don’t see a lot of hazardous driving. “In the Lansing area I haven’t seen much of that,” Hayes said in regards to crazy driving. “We do have accidents like every other place but I can’t say with certainty that consistently on x amount of roads here, there are people speeding or driving reckless.
Lansing’s current city spending is focused on public safety and public works, according to city budget documents. Public safety gets over $70,000,000 of funding for both the fire and police department; and public works gets a little under the same amount for roads, sewers and recycling. In the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the city of Lansing budget had a total of $199.7 million dollars to spread out throughout several different departments. Lansing resident Ciara Johnson found the funding for road work very odd. “I find it very ironic that funding to repair roads gets over $18 million, like you said.
Some people feel the Lansing River Trail is unsafe, especially after dark. However, the hours of operation are from dawn ’till dusk and during the day it is safe for walkers, joggers, bicyclists and others. The more people are on the trail, the safer it will be.
During the course of February the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office reported six drug-related incidents in Delhi Township/Holt, three of which involved heroin or opioids, twice forcing officials to administer the overdose-reversing substance Narcan in order to revive the subjects. The Narcan incidences occurred within four days of each other, underscoring what’s become a nationwide heroin and opioid epidemic that’s silently slipped into and gripped rural communities. Ingham County administered Narcan 255 times during the course of 2016 to overdose subjects — 13 more than the 2015 overall total. By Jan. 28 of this year, Narcan was used 36 times.
Like the other first responders in the greater-Lansing area, Lansing Township Police Officer Matt Birr’s daily routine is different from others in his field of work. The 10-year veteran can spend his 12-hour shift doing a number of things; from patrolling the morning traffic at Waverly East Intermediate School and other surrounding areas in the township, or handling penny thefts and other reports of mischievous behavior to intervening with calls about domestic abuse. “The days tend to go by pretty fast,” Birr said. And due to the fragmentation of Lansing Township, many of the station’s calls from the dispatch center aren’t actually cases where the Lansing Township Police Department has jurisdiction. The east and west sides of the township sandwich the city of Lansing, and the township is just blocks away from Clinton and Eaton counties.
The tumultuous windstorm that swept through Michigan on March 8 left Susan Flores feeling as if it was ‘just a normal day.” But her workplace’s neighbors may beg to differ. “The whole strip with Little Caesars, McDonald’s and all the way down to Taco Bell lost power,” said Flores, who works at the Subway located on the corner of Saginaw Highway and Waverly Road. “Our restaurant was okay and it hasn’t impacted us so far … It was just a normal day.”
At the storm’s peak, there were more than 20,000 outages in the area, according to Board of Water & Light.