Grand Ledge warns drivers to prepare for winter traffic conditions

By DeVinnia Moore
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

Quiet streets of Downtown Grand Ledge Photo Credit : DeVinnia Moore

Quiet streets of Downtown Grand Ledge
Photo Credit : DeVinnia Moore

With winter approaching, bringing icy roads, gloomy skies and crazy winds, traffic experts are reminding Grand ledge commuters to drive safely.

“The average traffic issue will vary with the time of year,” said Chris Blievernicht, a Grand Ledge police lieutenant.

Experts say drivers need to calibrate their habits for the changing conditions.

“In the beginning of winter, drivers mindsets have to adjust to conditions,” said David Kack, the mobility and public transportation program manager at the Western Transportation Institute.

“In the winter time people tend drive too fast for the weather conditions and this causes them to run lights or slide through stop signs,” said Kack.

Goodbye, print: How Grand Ledge receives news is changing

The city of Grand Ledge is moving away from print and towards web-based news. Photo credit: Peter Nuttall

The city of Grand Ledge is moving away from print and towards web based news. Photo credit: Peter Nuttall

By Peter Nuttall
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

Along with other cities and towns over the past few years, the city of Grand Ledge has seen its’ way of receiving information start to change. Picking up a paper and reading its’ contents has changed to searching “Grand Ledge news,” in the search bar on a computer and then reading an article on an illuminated computer screen.

“I’m old, I don’t know if a lot of people read newspapers or not anymore,” Grand Ledge Mayor Kalmin Smith joked. “I do know that there are now other forms of media that they’re now using though.”

News about the city of Grand Ledge can be found in the Lansing State Journal, either in the printed daily newspaper or online on their website. The Lansing State Journal is owned Gannett Company, Inc.. Instead of having their own printed newspaper, Grand Ledge has a section in the community section of the Lansing State Journal. MSU journalism professor Stephen Lacy said this is called a zoned edition.

“A zoned edition is when a large newspaper will put in sections about geographic areas,” he said. “They’re independent, they’re not stuck in to the Lansing State Journal but they’re owned by Gannett, and they have people who will run the Lansing news and the Lansing news will run stories from the suburbs.”

Smith said that he’s never even met the reporter who is assigned to cover Grand Ledge for the LSJ. The only journalists that he’s met are the ones from Michigan State University who come down to Grand Ledge (including those for this news site, which is operated by MSU’s journalism school).

“We used to have someone who would cover Grand Ledge,” Smith said. “The work was only part-time, but the only place he would cover was solely Grand Ledge.”

Lacy said Gannett’s decision to move to a zoned edition was a business decision. He said it’s not an uncommon one either that happens across the country. For example the St. Cloud Times in Minnesota, also owned by Gannett, has a local section as well.

“It’s a business strategy and this business strategy is used to cut cost to maintain profit,” he said.

Grand Ledge city officials are friends as well as colleagues

By Paige Wester
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

On Oct. 26, the city of Grand Ledge was having its last city council meeting with current elected officials, ahead of elections that were occurring within the next week.

Everyone sat in their typical spots and went about their business and normal conversations, while the chairs in the audience for Grand Ledge residents were all empty.

According to The City of Grand Ledge, the agenda for the meetings are posted every week for the public to go over topic of conversation if they want to join.

Conversations such as downtown development, tree board and planning commission were all topics of conversations, but nonetheless, behind those suits was a typical everyday guy who loved what they do.

Adam Smith, city administrator for the city of Grand Ledge said, “I enjoy what I do and the people I work with.”

Is anyone here? Low citizen turnout at City Council meetings common

Members of Grand Ledge's city council during Nov. 9 City Council meeting. Photo Credit: Peter Nuttall

Members of Grand Ledge’s city council during the Nov. 9 city council meeting. Photo Credit: Peter Nuttall

By Peter Nuttall
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

On Nov. 9, the city of Grand Ledge held their first city council meeting, since the recent Election Day, at the Grand Ledge City Hall. The newly-elected city council members were sworn in and then they got right to work.

Business ran as usual as the mayor, ward representatives, department heads, city clerk, and city administrator all sat down.

Other than them, no one else from the city of Grand Ledge attended the meeting. That fact that didn’t seem to shock anybody on the city council.

“We actually see more students from Michigan State and the local community colleges come down to these meetings than we do our citizens,” Representative of Ward 1, Keith Mulder, joked.

Small business survive, thrive in Grand Ledge

DeVinnia Moore
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

Big Purple Bloomers located at 304 S Bridge Street 48837 Photo Credit: DeVinnia Moore

Big Purple Bloomers located at 304 S. Bridge St.
Photo Credit: DeVinnia Moore

As Michigan continues its economic recovery, small businesses still struggle to survive. Grand Ledge offers many businesses that have managed to survive some of the toughest economic times.

Some of the local businesses in Grand Ledge such as MacDowell’s, About the Home, Sophia’s House of Pancakes and more have managed to stay in business even after Michigan’s big economic issues back in 2008 and 2009.

This upcoming June will be five years in business for the women’s clothing store Big Purple Bloomers. The shop in downtown Grand Ledge is owned by Marilyn Sample. Sample’s granddaughter, Cassey Stornat, said Sample loves being in Grand Ledge.

“My grandmother would not relocate because she loves the small-town feeling,” said Stornat.

Diane Smith said it is important for businesses in a small town to follow certain patterns. Smith is a Michigan State University Extension educator who has expert roles in sustainable community, business development and economic development. Smith said local businesses should be relatable to the community.

“Staying in touch with the community is important for businesses in small towns,” said Smith. “Showing their support for the community.”

Grand Ledge households are doing well financially, on average

By Paige Wester
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

According to Grand Ledge, MI Profile, Grand Ledge is above the Michigan and the U.S. annual median household income average.

The website reports that the annual household income of Grand Ledge in the year 2015 was at $69,192 and has been rising each year.


Median household income. Photo by Paige Wester

Karen Tabor, a Grand Ledge resident, said that most families live very comfortably in this town.

“I know a lot of the people in this town and many of my friends and family live a very good life being able to take vacations when they want and take time off work when they feel like they should,” Tabor said. “It is nice living in city where a majority of the people and families are financially stable.”

Tabor, who has been a stay-at-home mom for almost 10 years, has had the privilege to raise her children while her husband brings home the bacon. She said most of her friends are also stay at home like her and she feels as if it is something not most mothers get to do as often nowadays.

“Living in a smaller town instead of a big city really helps financially for my family and many others,” Tabor said. “We aren’t struggling to spend time with our children or living pay check to pay check.”

No competition means not many voters in this year’s civic election

A "Vote Here" stand outside of the precinct hall. Photo by Peter Nuttall

A “Vote Here” stands outside of a precinct location. Photo by Peter Nuttall

By Peter Nuttall
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

This past Election Day in Grand Ledge resulted in a poor turnout of voters. According to Grand Ledge City Clerk Gregory Newman, only 10 percent of the registered voters in the city of Grand Ledge came out to the polls to vote on Nov. 3.

“Ten percent is a very disappointing number,” Grand Ledge Mayor Kalmin Smith said.

This year was a non-presidential election year where only city council spots were up for election. Newman said that in the past, whenever the city council is the only one on the ballot, it’s usually a low turnout.

Also, according to Smith all four candidates on the local ballot were running unopposed, something that he believes may have aided in the low voter turnout this year.

“When none of the candidates have any competition, there’s no incentive for citizens to come out and vote,” Smith said.

Grand Ledge’s ballot included the position of mayor and also three Grand Ledge City Council representatives, which each individually represents one of Grand Ledge’s three wards.

New contract approved for Grand Ledge school employees

By DeVinnia Moore
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

Grand Ledge High School Photo Credit: DeVinnia Moore

Grand Ledge High School
Photo Credit: DeVinnia Moore

On Oct. 26 the employee contract of the Michigan Education Association /National Education Association Unit IV, was approved.

This contract is an agreement between the Grand Ledge Board of Education and MEA/NEA Unit Assistants. This includes Teacher Assistants, Health Care Assistants, Bus Assistants, Adventure Club Head Caregivers, and Adventure Club Caregivers.

Superintendent of Grand Ledge schools, Brian Metcalf, said this new contract includes an increase of $150,000 more in funds. Metcalf did not go into much detail has to what the funds will pay for.

However, Michigan State University Professor Michelle Kaminski, an expert on unions, said increase in funds could mean increases in employee wages, better health care benefits or benefits involving paid vacations, sick leave etc.

Graduation rates are sky-high at Grand Ledge High School

By Paige Wester
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

According to Public School Review, Grand Ledge can’t get any better at graduating its high school students.

The Web site reports that the graduation rate at Grand Ledge High School is a perfect 100 percent.

Steve Stoll, a Grand Ledge resident, said that the schools here are such a huge focal point of this town.

“With Grand Ledge being such a small town, we as parents really get involved with our kids schooling and athletics,” Stoll said. “I always know what is happening with most of the kids because all of the parents are friends as well.”

Stoll, who has had two kids graduate from Grand Ledge High School recently, has seen the success and the few failures the school has had in the last decade. He said parents are constantly pushing their kids to be the best and trying to hold them to a higher standard than the surrounding schools in the area.

“With a smaller community, it is easier to keep an eye on the kids and watch who is going down the right or wrong path,” Stoll said. “When we see certain kids choosing a bad path we know immediately and are able to try and fix the problem compared to a larger school where some kids can just fly under the radar.”

As America grows colorful, Grand Ledge has catching up to do

Break down of Grand Ledge Race Diversity Chart created by DeVinnia Moore Data from

Break down of Grand Ledge Race Diversity
Chart created by DeVinnia Moore
Data from

By DeVinnia Moore
Living in the Ledge reporter

As the nation is becoming more diverse, Grand Ledge is still waiting for it to happen.

As of July 1, 2015, Grand Ledge’s population is 7,856. According to 91.4 percent of that population is white.

“In terms of Grand Ledge city government, nothing has been done to increase diversity in the city and nothing has been done to discourage it,” said Mayor Kalmin Smith.

Ekow King, a director of the University at Albany said this makes Grand Ledge’s level of ethnic diversity extremely disproportionate to the state and national population. King has expertise in many things one being diversity.

“Having a town where 91 percent of the population is white in a country that is increasingly diverse sets Grand Ledge up for failure,” said King.

According to the United States Census, 62 percent of the U.S. population and approximately 76 percent of the Michigan population identifies as European-American (white).

“There are many factors, some historical and others more contemporary, that would have an impact on the levels of ethnic diversity in a community,” said King.

Said Mike Hill, professor University at Albany, and the author of the book After Whiteness: “Sometimes small towns are resistant to change.”

“The real question is how can a town expect to grow with out seeking diversity?” said Hill.

Smith said the town does plan to grow, As the Lansing urban area expands to the west and as the population of Grand Ledge grows, the city will undoubtedly become more diverse.

“Grand Ledge has a very small minority population that I expect will increase as the Lansing metro area expands west,” said Smith. “How soon that happens depends on the economy and the availability of housing.”