Is this the end of the Grand Ledge Community Facebook group?

By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

When Grand Ledge Mayor Kalmin Smith created a community Facebook group, he expected it would be an efficient way for members of the community to discuss Grand Ledge issues and to transport the town’s strong sense of community online.

However, he did not expect the group to become a place for useless information, vulgarity and personal attacks.

According to Smith, the Grand Ledge Community Facebook group has lost its original purpose and is now filled with information that does not pertain to the community. He also dedicates time to deleting disrespectful members and comments that do not encourage a positive community environment.

Smith said he still thinks the bad outweighs the good and is thinking about giving up on the Facebook group all together.

“I have been consulting with a few folks about how to improve the site. Just getting rid of it is one of the alternatives, said Smith. “It once was a helpful resource, but now it is not.”

Smith said has been trying to steer the group back to its original track, but he does not see a solution.

“One of the disappointing things about the use of the page is that the serious community-oriented people who have contributed to the community in the past and continue to do so have dropped out, because serious and important posts are immediately lost in all the junk,” Smith said.

Continue reading

Comments Off on Is this the end of the Grand Ledge Community Facebook group?

Filed under Government, News Stories

L.A. composer makes big move to Michigan to help musicians in the community.

By Madison Morse
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter 

Twenty-two-year music veteran Brian Roth has made his work known around the world by composing music for over 10,000 commercials and having his work appear on FOX, ABC, MTV, plus many more outlets. However, this composer is making a big change.

Composer / Audio Editor/ Sound Designer, Brian Roth. Photo by: Madison Morse

Composer / Audio Editor/ Sound Designer, Brian Roth. Photo by Madison Morse

In late 2014 Roth moved back to his roots in Michigan to settle down with his family, but this did not slow down Roth’s career. He decided to opened up The Roth Academy of Music in Grand Ledge which features nine teachers, 40 students and lessons for 14 different instruments.

“We realized that as our kids are getting older we wanted them to be around family. So we decided together that we were going to move back to Michigan so the kids could be with their grandparents, but in doing so it was important to me to keep doing what I am doing,” Roth said.

Roth was able to make the transition without a hiccup due to the increases in technology. Professor in film composition and Michigan State University doctoral composition student Samuel Joshua said Roth is making a smart move by using technology to his advantage.

“He has the ability now to not be in the feature market while still having an audience and composers who want to use him. Technology and the internet allows you to be anywhere in the world and writing music for someone who is thousands of miles away. It’s a global village,” said Joshua. “If you can still work in Michigan as well as be with family and teach the community without folding your career I would do that.”

Continue reading

Comments Off on L.A. composer makes big move to Michigan to help musicians in the community.

Filed under Business, Events, News Stories

Small town + big hearts = social capital in Grand Ledge

By Kaitlin Petrillo
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

“I’ve worked in Grand Ledge for almost 30 years,” said Lynne Vermillion, a hairstylist at Talk of Town Hair Care. “Everyone is really close, and very supportive.”

That’s not an unusual assessment of Grand Ledge, primarily known for its long-time, small-town feel. Whether it is hosting several different parades each year, organizing community events for all ages, rooting on the Grand Ledge Comets, or just grabbing a bite with a neighbor; Grand Ledge is all about its community relationships.

And that matters more than you’d think.

300 Story 5 Graphic

“When people know each other they have a greater sense of what is called collectivism,” said Joel Stillerman, Professor of Sociology at Grand Valley State University.

“Collectivism means that there is a sense of trust in other people. You know you can communicate with others so that when there is a problem or a challenge, you have people you can turn to for help.”

Stillerman referenced the American sociologist James Coleman and The Social Capital Theory. Social capital is the connections people have with others. It is the trust and expectations they develop when they’re connected to people.

“We’re one of the rare communities that has the city as a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the school super intendant as a member, and  different community groups that are members,” said Larry Austin, an active member in the community. “We bring organizations together and really try to pool resources as much as we can.”

The Austins have been involved in the Grand Ledge community for several generations.

“I’ve grown up here and growing up, my parents were involved,” said 51-year-old Larry Austin. “I started helping out at 8 years old.”

Continue reading

Comments Off on Small town + big hearts = social capital in Grand Ledge

Filed under Events, Government, News Stories, Volunteers

Who still rents movie videos? We do, apparently

By Rachael Daniel
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

There is arguably nothing better after a long week than melting into the couch and wasting a few hours binge watching Netflix. There are thousands of titles available as fast as the video can buffer. This convenience has surely made it tough for video stores to say open, though there are survivors.

According to the Entertainment Merchant Association, Family Video still operates 775 stores in 19 states, including one in Grand Ledge at 615 S. Clinton St.

Grand Ledge Family Video employee Andrea Parks said Grand Ledge’s small-town feel allows for a movie rental business to succeed even with the existence of video streaming companies.

“There isn’t always a lot to do here, so it’s something to do,” said Parks, “When our power had to be disconnected a few weeks ago with the addition of the AT&T store next door, it was the talk of the town.”

Parks said another reason Family Video is still relevant in Grand Ledge is that physical video renting offers customers a fuller experience than streaming can offer.

“People like to physically come in, pick out a movie, have a movie night and talk about it,” Parks said, “They like the whole feel of it.”

Continue reading

Comments Off on Who still rents movie videos? We do, apparently

Filed under Business, News Stories

YES Center, keeping kids out of trouble since ’04

By Kaitlin Petrillo
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

Grand Ledge’s YES Center has been welcoming kids to hangout after school since 2004. The YES Center was first established when the community and Rotary Club wanted to do something to not only occupy the dangerous free-time students have after school, but also to bring the younger generation of Grand Ledge together.

CLICK FOR FULL VIDEO STORY

The YES Center is located on the corner of Harrison and Scott, at 327 Harrison St.

The YES Center is located on the corner of Harrison and Scott, at 327 Harrison St.

Comments Off on YES Center, keeping kids out of trouble since ’04

Filed under News Stories, Volunteers

Grand Ledge looks to keep roads and sidewalks clear through winter

By Madison Morse
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

Michigan took another beating this winter, Grand Ledge being no exception. The city has received 23 inches of snow already this calendar year, according to wunderground.com.

The snow plows and salt trucks were put to great use this season with back-to-back snowstorms in February. To ensure residents of how soon they can expect their roads to be cleared The City of Grand Ledge has developed a snowfall plan.

“We summarized it into the public service announcement flyer for the general public to have a better understanding of our preplanned snow event response,” said Grand Ledge City Administrator, Adam Smith. “Grand Ledge Ordinance #554 requires removal of snow/ice within 24 hours when it reaches three inches of accumulation.”

Total Snow Fall Comparison (in inches) Last Winter - This Winter To Date. Graph by: Madison Morse

Total Snow Fall (inches) Last Winter – This Winter To Date. Graph by: Madison Morse

The priorities for snow plowing include: State Trunk Line (M43, M100), major street routes (i.e. Bridge, Jefferson, Jenne), primary school routes and all other secondary and neighborhood streets. CEO of Snowmen Snow and Ice Management Services, Jeremy Swenson, agrees that Grand Ledge is taking the right steps.

Continue reading

Comments Off on Grand Ledge looks to keep roads and sidewalks clear through winter

Filed under Government, News Stories, Public safety

In the shadow of Kalamazoo, police hope to keep Grand Ledge safe

By Madison Morse
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

An act of violence can occur at any moment, place or time. This became all too real on Feb. 20 when a mass shooting in Kalamazoo left six people dead and two injured. This tragedy has the community of Grand Ledge
buckling down to stay one of the safest cities in Michigan.

“We can take a lot of information from the shootings,” said Lt. Chris Blievernicht of the Grand Ledge Police Department. “First, we always make sure we have a plan in place. Next we go through a risk assessment. We go talk to people that were involved in the incident and see if they had the means or abilities. Do they have a plan or weapons?”

This is Grand Ledge’s chance to take advantage of a learning opportunity said Capt. Penny Fischer of the Michigan State University Police Department.

“This is a wake-up call,” said Fischer. “It is a wake-up call to review practice plans. This is the chance to make sure the community has done a good job of educating their plan.”

Screen Shot 2016-03-03 at 8.37.14 AM

Crimes by type: 2013. Source: city-data.com. Created by: Madison Morse.

In 2015, the violent crimes per 1,000 people was just at 0.77 in Grand Ledge while the property crimes per 1,000 people resulted in 13.38. Both of which are below the U.S. average according to safewise.com.

“There are three basic principles everyone needs to know if there is an act of violence occurring,” said Lt. Cameron Wassman of the Central Michigan University Police Department. “One: The best choice is to get away. Two: Protect yourself. Lock doors, barricade them, get secure. Three: If you can’t do either and it comes down to it, do whatever it takes to get out alive.”

Continue reading

Comments Off on In the shadow of Kalamazoo, police hope to keep Grand Ledge safe

Filed under Government, News Stories, Public safety