Board votes to keep collecting all taxes in summer

By Jamie DeRosa
Entirely East Lansing

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The board of education in East Lansing has approved to collect all 100 percent of the school property taxes in the summer tax levy for the 2015 – 2016 school year. This change keeps with the tradition that East Lansing has carried for years.

The idea of collecting all the taxes at once is different from the way things are done in some other districts where school property taxes are spread out throughout the year. Taxes, if not paid all at once, are generally cut in half and paid in two intervals, one for the winter, which has a deadline in February, and one for summer, which ends in September.

“The 100 percent summer tax levy benefits the district’s cash flow and thus lessens the need to borrow early in the school year,” said director of finance for the East Lansing school district Richard Pugh. “In addition, when interest rates are favorable the district can invest funds and earn greater amounts of interest than a 50 percent winter and 50 percent summer levy. Interest rates are horrible currently but the district still benefits from a cash-flow perspective.” Continue reading

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Voters reject parking lot proposal

By Chris Hauler
Entirely East Lansing

A boarded up bank and vacant parking lots sit on the west corner of downtown.

A boarded up bank and vacant parking lots sit on the west corner of downtown.

For years, citizens have urged the city to clean up the blighted section on the west side of downtown. Voters had the chance to approve a proposal which would allow the city to negotiate to sell three acres of vacant or unused property.

The proposal needed 60 percent approval to pass, and while the results were close, it ultimately failed to reach the needed outcome by 57% to 43%.

Approval would not have led to the direct sale of the property, it would have been an important step in redeveloping that corner.

DTN Management Co. and Park District Investment group proposed to build two projects on the property. The first would have included a first-floor bank branch, 120-room Hotel Indigo, and five floors of apartments. The second project would have been a five-story mixed-use building with commercial space and an apartment complex.

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Community members and Michigan State students march to the East Lansing Police Department

By Jessica Steeley
Entirely East Lansing

On Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2014, there was a protest march to the East Lansing Police Department in recognition of the National Day of Resistance.

The march was held to protest police brutality, criminalization and repression, said Rashad Timmons, one of the organizers.

Crystal Gause, a community member who helped to organize the march, said that there were over 70 protests across the country.

“It was a small part of a big thing,” said Gause.

Nathan Wikman, a philosophy and linguistics junior at MSU, walked in the march and wrote in an e-mail, “The protest was about trying to prevent the militarization of the police, particularly as it effects the black community who are overwhelmingly targeted by police and other law enforcement officers.”

Gause said that the protest march was organized by many of the alliances on MSU’s campus, including MSU Students United, the Black Student Alliance and the North American Indigenous Student Organization.

“The protest wasn’t limited to a student movement,” said Gause, “a lot of community people joined as well.”

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City’s No. 2 issue a hot topic among residents

Dr. Campa explaining his presentation.

Dr. Campa explaining his presentation.

By Chris Hauler
Entirely East Lansing

When City Manager George Lahanas took office three years ago, he was surprised to learn how important deer management is to residents.

“One big conversation has been about vacant buildings downtown,” said, Lahanas. “The No. 2 conversation, no matter where I am, people want to talk about deer. So, this is obviously an important issue.”

More than two dozen citizens attended the city sponsored deer management meeting at the Bailey community center. The event gave residents a forum to voice their feelings and concerns over what many consider an overpopulation of deer.

“We talk about citizen engagement, I want to tell you, this is it,” said Lahanas. “This is people coming together to give the city good feedback.”
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City sought more voting in town, on campus

By Jamie DeRosa
Entirely East Lansing

While this year’s Election Day turnout is expected to be smaller for East Lansing than it was for the presidential election two years ago, the number of ballots coming in showed an improvement from the off-term election four years ago.

“It’s definitely higher than in 2010, which was the last general election. In terms of absentee voter ballots, for example, we issued about 1,800 in 2010 and we’ve now issued close to 2,100. I expect we’ll be receiving more,” said City Clerk Marie Wicks. “The voter turnout has already been heavy and I even ordered 3,700 extra ballots just to make sure we’re covered, and sent out extra booths to the voting locations. I’m anticipating a really good turnout.”

East Lansing has 17 precincts covering the city Michigan State University campus. Voting sites include houses of worship around the city, the Bailey and Hannah community center and locations around campus such as all IM locations and Brody hall.
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Hot–button issues, popular candidates draw voters

By Jessica Steeley
Entirely East Lansing

East Lansing residents joined citizens across the country Tuesday to vote for candidates and policies.

Diane Tubbs, who voted at the Hannah Community Center in East Lansing, said she votes in every major election.

She said the main thing that brought her to the polls was the gubernatorial election. “I just want to keep the state going the way I think it should be going,” Tubbs said.

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Joe Ross, another voter at the community center, East Lansing’s 3rd Precinct, said, “I definitely wanted to make sure Snyder got re-elected.”
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Will this off-year election ignite campus?

By Nathan Kujacznski
Entirely East Lansing

While cries of “trick or treat” filled the air, the citizens of East Lansing face a far more serious choice on Election Day.

Headlined by the gubernatorial race of Mark Schauer against incumbent Rick Snyder, East Lansing and the greater Ingham County area is one of the larger voter blocs outside of the Detroit area. In the center of that area is Michigan State University.

This year, MSU has a full four polling locations on campus. Brody Hall, the Michigan State University Union, and both the IM Sports East and West buildings will all be available to take student votes from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday.

However, polling availability doesn’t always lead to higher turnout, especially in non-presidential elections. A look back at the elections in 2010 and 2012 confirms this. In 2010, Ingham County accounted for 88,069 votes nearly evenly split between Republican Rick Snyder and his Democrat opponent, Virgil Bernero. Despite Bernero being mayor of Lansing at the time, Snyder edged out a majority in Ingham County.
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Lambert challenges Singh for Michigan’s 69th District

By Jessica Steeley
Entirely East Lansing

Two candidates are running to represent East Lansing as House Representative from Michigan 69th District.

Sam Singh, the Democratic incumbent, is being challenged by Republican Frank Lambert.

Singh former mayor of East Lansing, said he was “very honored to be elected” to the 69th District back in 2012. “It’s a great district to represent,” said Singh.

Singh said that when he started in the position, he focused on investment strategy and increasing funds for higher education. He said he is running for re-election because “the work isn’t done.”

Singh’s campaign treasurer, H. Lynn Jondahl, said that Singh initially set out with a clear agenda focused on the environment, education and the economic development of Michigan.
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E-poll books should speed voting

By Irum Ibrahim
Entirely East Lansing

A new polling system called the electronic poll book will welcome voters at each precinct in East Lansing on Tuesday.

Free to communities around the nation through the Help America Vote Act, e-poll books will bring many changes to election night.

According to East Lansing council members, changes will include shorter lines for voters and quicker, more convenient voting. Additionally, the e-poll book will result in less paperwork and fewer clerical errors for election clerks.

Instead of using paper poll books, voters will hand election workers their license or ID card. The identification will then be scanned for the election worker to determine if the voter is at the right precinct. Continue reading

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Voting for the sale of downtown parking lots

By Irum Ibrahim
Entirely East Lansing

With elections soon approaching, East Lansing residents have much to consider in terms of what is better for their city, community and personal well-being.

On Nov. 4, residents will vote on whether the city should sell parking lots 4, 8 and 15 to private city developers and urban planners. The decision could mean an improvement or decline in the infrastructure of the city. The parking lots will replaced with businesses and residential space.

In recent years, East Lansing has seen progress in development, with businesses such as Hop Cat and architecture such as Zaha Hadid’s Eli and Edythe Broad Museum.

Some residents say these developments may be beneficial to the economic status of East Lansing, while others argue that the amount of benefit (if any) is questionable.

“I think that it really depends on how much use those specific lots are getting in their current state. Finding parking around campus is difficult, in my opinion, so I don’t necessarily think that decreasing parking will help the infrastructure,” said photojournalism junior Jordan Jennings. “That being said, an eight story building full of businesses sounds like it would inevitably boost the economy. I realize that substitutional parking could be created somewhere else, I just don’t know if it would be worth it. Does East Lansing really need those new businesses anyways?”
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