Debating on amending the Zoning District Map

By Jiabin Liu

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

The City Council Meeting at Grand Ledge City Hall by Jiabin Liu

The City Council Meeting at Grand Ledge City Hall
by Jiabin Liu

GRAND LEDGE – the Grand Ledge City Council held a public hearing about an ordinance amending the Zoning District Map on March 24.

The Planning Commission did not approve the rezoning because they were concerned about traffic entering M-100 along the driveway and M-43 (Saginaw Highway) through the parking lot of the existing Doty Professional Building that faces Saginaw Highway.

The majority people in the Planning Commission voted in opposition to the rezoning plan on building 30 apartments in three building.

May 3 Victorian Days event preparations are almost complete

By Mayara Sanches

Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

GRAND LEDGE — The preparation for the Victorian Days, a cultural event in Grand Ledge, is underway, and many performers, venues — all around the city’s downtown street — and activities are reserved and set for the festival’s May 3 date.

Shatzie Lee (left) and Sylvania Dye dress in Victorian dresses at one of the committee's fundraising events.

Shatzie Lee (left) and Sylvania Dye dress in Victorian dresses at one of the committee’s fundraising events. Photo by Mayara Sanches

Since the committee who puts on the event uses it to show residents the city’s historical background, many of the activities are the same as the previous years, but they always find something different that could bring more audience into the all-day event, like the Victorian Ball — a 2013s creation.

“It’s a historical festival, so when you come, you learned who lived in the era and their tradition,” said Shatzie Lee, a planning committee member.

Grand Ledge Area District Library loses funds as city adopts Michigan motor vehicle code on super drunk driving

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By Hannah Watts

Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

Grand Ledge Area District Library loses funds as city adopts Michigan motor vehicle code on super drunk driving

 

Pictured: Grand Ledge City Hall  Photo Credit: Hannah Watts

Pictured: Grand Ledge City Hall
Photo Credit: Hannah Watts

An individual caught driving with a blood alcohol content of .17% or higher is subject to severe penalty according to Michigan’s Super Drunk Driving law. The recently updated law increases penalties for individuals caught driving ‘super drunk’.

“There are a dozen or fewer ‘super drunk’ driving arrests per year in Grand Ledge,” said Kalmin Smith, mayor of Grand Ledge.

Cases are handled at either the state level or at the city level. Come April, Grand Ledge is adopting the Michigan motor vehicle code, allowing incidents that occur within the city to be handled locally.

“The state code changes routinely and so every five years or so the city adopts the updated code,” Smith explained.

Gregory Newman, Grand Ledge city clerk, stated that the city profits directly from this update.

“The city receives funding from the penal fines related to the offense,” Newman said.

photo 2

e Pictured: Grand Ledge City Counsel members discussing super drunk driving ordinance Monday.
Photo credit: Hannah Watts

Under the Michigan State Constitution, any penal fines handled at the state level become a source of funding for public libraries. At the Grand Ledge council meeting Monday evening, the council announced plans to adopt the state code

“When the city takes over, the library loses,” said Alan Miller, reporter at the Lansing State Journal. “Penal fines make up a good portion of library funding.”

According to Lise Mitchell, director at the Grand Ledge Area District Library, funding from penal fines make up 10 percent of the library’s total budget.

“Our funding is slowly chipping away and being diverted to other city entities,” Mitchell said.

The Grand Ledge Area District Library’s main source of funding comes from property taxes and then from penal fines.

“When we go up for renewal the library will most likely have to substitute that lost funding with property taxes,” Mitchell said. “This is nothing dire and won’t cause us to close our doors, but public libraries have already taken a big hit.”

Contact reporter Hannah Watts at wattsha2@msu.edu.

Possible grant puts Grand Ledge family’s home in question

by Ariel Rogers

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

GRAND LEDGE – The Grand Ledge City Council held a public hearing on Monday about the city’s application for a Natural Resources Trust Fund Grant. The city is submitting the grant application for more boat launch improvements and for the purchase of lot 49.

Lot 49 includes the home and land belonging to Sara and Ralph Rounds. The house has been in Ralph’s family since the 1950s when his father and Louis Dible built the home.

Council member Thomas Sowle said in 2013, the city was awarded a grant of $150,000 along with a $50,000 match from the city for redesigning the boat launch. City administrator John Bayless said it is now necessary for additional parking to accomodate the boat launch.

The parking lot for the Jaycee Park boat launch. Photo by Ariel Rogers.

The parking lot for the Jaycee Park boat launch. Photo by Ariel Rogers.

City council seeks new city administrator

By: Halie Woody

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

Lead executive recruiter from the Michigan Municipal League, Kathie Grinzinger pitches what the MML will do as a recruiter.

Lead executive recruiter from the Michigan Municipal League, Kathie Grinzinger pitches what the MML will do as a recruiter.

GRAND LEDGE- The city council met Monday night with the Michigan Municipal League to discuss recruitment options for a new city administrator.

 

After serving as city administrator for 15 years, Jon Bayless has announced his retirement. With Bayless, leaving the search for his replacement has begun.

 

The lead executive recruiter, Kathie Grinzinger, gave an in depth presentation as to how the recruiting process will go if the council chooses to hire the MML to find a replacement.

 

“Choosing an administrator is one of the most important things you can do during your time on city council,” said Grinzinger.

 

The recruitment process generally takes up to 90 days and the most basic package costs $8,000. The council will work with Grinzinger to create a profile in which they would like to see the next administrator fit that incudes, skills, knowledge and attributes.

 

Challenges of choosing a new administrator

 

While the recruiting process has proven to be beneficial for local governments there are some challenges in keeping the customer satisfied.

 

“Sometimes folks think it should happen so quickly,” Grinzinger said. “People make a list of all these things they want in a candidate and expect to get all of them.”

 

Grinzinger says, “Keeping expectations realistic,” is the most difficult part to the process.

 

The council has not confirmed whether they will be going through with the MML for the recruitment, but all council members seem to be in favor of doing so.

 

MML beneficial to council’s organization

City council members met at city hall to discuss how they will choose the new city administrator

City council members met at city hall to discuss how they will choose the new city administrator

Council member, Sue Roberts, went through a recruiting process about 20 years ago in Mason to choose a new super intendant. During this time, a recruiting agency wasn’t hired and the outcome was very messy.

 

“The screening process wasn’t there and there wasn’t enough background check,” Roberts said. “It was gruesome.”

 

The council has used the MML 15 years ago when they hired Bayless, which proved to be successful.

 

“15 years ago we went through the MML and it came down to Jon and some other guy,” Mayor Kalmin Smith said. “We were so close to picking the other guy but went for Jon and it’s been a great decision.”

 

Furthermore, Bayless agrees that the best option for finding his replacement is through the MML. He says that it’s more organized and will take less time.

 

“It kind of takes the politics out of it,” Bayless said.

 

The council’s final decision is looking to be pursuing recruitment through the MML.

 

 

 

You can contact the reporter for more information at woodyhal@msu.edu

 

Missing Malaysian aircraft impacts opinions in local community

by Melissa Delekta- Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

GRAND LEDGE – When Malaysian airlines flight 370 went missing on March 8 eyes around the world were opened to the gaps that still exist in regards to air travel safety. The Boeing 777, which disappeared in the middle of its flight from Malaysia to Beijing, has yet to be found.

Local Opinions

The case, which has international officials at a loss for an explanation, also raised concern among Grand Ledge residents.

“I was very surprised to learn from television reports that the transponders on passenger aircraft can be easily turned off by pilots or others on a plane,” Kalmin Smith said, Grand Ledge Mayor. “Something needs to be done about that, for sure.”

Ashley Melnick, junior at near by Michigan State University, is from New York, and so she flies home several times a year.

“Before the disappearance it never occurred to me that an entire plane could go missing,” Melnick said. “It was really a shock to me that in this day and age a 250, passenger flight could just fall of the face of the earth.”

Photo by Melissa Delekta

Photo by Melissa Delekta

Obamacare is struggling to win people over

By: Halie Woody

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

GRAND LEDGE- An array of difficulties have emerged for those who are in the process of, or have already signed up for Obamacare.

Insurance card that many people in Michigan are working on getting

Insurance card that many people in Michigan are working on getting

From technical difficulties to the decrease in coverage, Obamacares success could be in jeopardy. Those who have not signed up for coverage will face a penalty fine of $95 per adult or 1 percent of household income whichever one is greater, according to The Los Angeles Times.

“It’s an absolute disaster,” said Darren Musolff, an independent health insurance salesman. “People don’t have the time to figure out how to work through the website.”

In addition to the technical problems on the website the plan itself is proving to be a recipe for disaster according to Musolff.

“The rates are decreased because the amount of coverage is being decreased,” Musolff said. “People are getting plans they don’t need or end up uninsured without knowing.”

City of Grand Ledge is just one of the many cities facing issues with Obamacare

City of Grand Ledge is just one of the many cities facing issues with Obamacare

 

Health plan is poorly reaching younger demographic

Furthermore, the plan has failed to reach out to younger people who will face the penalty fine if they aren’t insured by the March 31 deadline.

 

“They cannot get young people to sign up,” Musolff said. “If you’re under 26 why would you want to get off your mommy and daddy’s coverage it’s easier to just pay the fine for them.”

 

Also, employers who provide coverage to employees are experiencing hikes in rates.

 

“We got a notice at work said due to ACA our rates went up for now 3 percent,” said Jamie Hillman, Grand Ledge resident.”We renew in June I have not seen the new rate sheet yet.”

 

Hope remains for some who are enrolled

 

In contrast Obamacare has been deemed beneficial for those who were previously covered by county health plans because they are now elligble to receive form of Medicaid.

 

Pam Leger, Grand Ledge resident, says her son has been out of work due to a knee injury. His knee needed surgery but it was not covered by the county health plan.

 

“ He hasn’t been able to work for the last year because of a knee injury that needs surgery,” Leger said. “The county plan doesn’t cover surgeries but now he will get medicaid that will cover his surgery so he can work again.”

 

In short the plan does not affect those on Social Security. There is no word on whether the deadline will be pushed back again.

 

You can contact the reporter Halie Woody at woodyhal@msu.edu

St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Opera House

By Jiabin Liu

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

Grand Ledge St. Patrick Day Association

Grand Ledge St. Patrick Day Parade Association’s Facebook Page

GRAND LEDGE – The community’s 11th St. Patrick’s Day celebration started at Opera House on March 14.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade Association held a celebration event before the parade at Opera House from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Around 240 people attended this event.

During the celebration, they presented various cultural and traditional activities. Children from 6 to 18 years old danced traditional Irish dancing, the Glen Erin Bagpipe Band performed Irish music and the Pub Runners played Irish folk songs.

Introducing the new and improved SAT

By Hannah Watts – Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

Introducing: the new and improved SAT

GLhighschool

 Pictured: Grand Ledge High School  Photo Credit: Hannah Watts

The ACT  makes up the majority of the market for standardized testing in the United States. Starting in 2016, high school students around the country will face a newly refurbished version of the SAT.

College Board officials announced that the new SAT would be a “more accurate” assessment of college readiness for high school students.

“They also say it will be more evidence-based and less subjective, putting emphasis on the types of knowledge that students will actually need in college and in the workplace,” explained Linda Wacyk, director of communications at Michigan Association of School Administrators and trustee on the Grand Ledge High School Board of Education.

A market scramble  

Whether students take the ACT or the SAT is contingent on the requirements of the college or university they wish to attend.

The ACT  dominates the market for college-preparatory testing, especially in Michigan, but this has not always reigned true. In fact, SAT test-takers historically outnumbered ACT test-takers until 2012.

 

satVSactPictured: The number of ACT test-takers versus SAT test-takers.
[Graph Courtesy of Huffington Post]

“This is Coke versus Pepsi trying to hold onto, or in this case trying to regain, market share,” Bob Schaeffer, director of public education at FairTest told the Huffington Post.

Transition period

College freshmen often experience difficulty in adjusting to college level expectations. Linda Forward, director of the Office of Education Improvement and Innovation at the Michigan Department of Education, explained that a main reason for the changes is to help students transition between high school and college expectations.

“We want kids to go somewhere and do something after high school without experiencing a lot of remediation,” Forward said. “The first year is often taken up trying to catch up on expectations between high school and college.”

Student and community impact 

Though standardized test scores are an increasingly important benchmark for institutions to admit students, they are not the single determining factor.

“If I were a college administrator, test scores would be just one thing I would look at when admitting potential students,” said Brody Boucher, president of the Board of Education at Grand Ledge High School. “That [the test] is one day– three hours. They [the scores] are our indicator, as education officials, that we are making the right choices in educating our children.”

In addition to test scores, institutions admit students based on factors like cumulative GPA, the rigor of the high school curriculum, quality extracurricular involvement, community service and solid admissions essays.

“Education testing is a big business,” Wacyk said. “The College Board has every right to try to improve its product and gain a bigger market share but I hope that by having access to a better test, students will be the ones to win in the end.”

Contact reporter Hannah Watts at wattsha2@msu.edu. 

“Rocky Horror” draws business from all over state to Grand Ledge

by Ariel Rogers

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

GRAND LEDGE- The small town of Grand Ledge is relatively conservative during the day, but on some Saturdays at midnight, fans of all ages come out to the Sun Theatre for a night of fun.

The Grand Ledge Sun Theatre draws people from all over the state to see the cult classic movie, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Photo by Ariel Rogers.

Dylan Sowle organizes the showings of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at the theater with the help of his friends.