Tag Archives: grand ledge

Grand Ledge Police Department’s most valuable four-legged member.

Officer Barber and his partner D'Ash. Peter Nuttall/Living in the Ledge

Officer Barber and his partner D’Ash. Peter Nuttall/Living in the Ledge

By Peter Nuttall
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

He walks on four legs and is covered in fur and doesn’t look like a normal member of the Grand Ledge Police Department, but it has been confirmed that he can do things that no other officer in Grand Ledge can do.

Grand Ledge’s current canine that is tasked with helping keep Grand Ledge safe is D’Ash, a Belgian Malinois, that works with his partner, police officer Justin Barber. Barber is going on 10 years at the Grand Ledge Police Department and has been working with D’Ash since 2011.

“Every cop wants to do it,” said Barber when asked how he got involved with the canine unit. “I love dogs, working with dogs. I’m very passionate about it.”

In an era of fading downtowns, the numbers prove Grand Ledge’s downtown is growing


Downtown Grand Ledge lined with parked cars on a gloomy Wednesday afternoon. Peter Nuttall/Living in The Ledge

By Peter Nuttall
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

Over the past few years Grand Ledge has seen a disappearance of shops, specifically in their downtown area. With buildings open for rent, Grand Ledge City Administrator Adam Smith said that they are always open to the idea of new businesses coming in.

“The city is always looking for businesses to come into our town looking to make a good positive investment and impact in the community,” he said.

Grand Ledge Mayor Kalmin Smith said the building of the Eastwood Towne Center and the Frandor Shopping Center in nearby Lansing hurt some stores and businesses that used to be downtown.

“Before the growth of Lansing, Grand Ledge was a separate little city and it had a vibrant downtown providing just about everything,” he said. “They had clothing stores for both men and women, restaurants, bakeries, and things like that.”

Dickinson College economics professor William Bellinger said some of the reasons small shops don’t last in a small town is that people are willing to travel to larger shopping locations for lots of reasons and if they need to get a variety of things.

Also, larger centers often offer cheaper prices. Bellinger said that’s clearly a factor in the disappearance of retail and other businesses in a town’s downtown area. He said local stores can survive as long as they’re not competing directly with the malls.

“Most of the stores providing more durable goods and services went out of existence, and the businesses that remained were a couple of specialty stores and restaurants,” Kalmin Smith said.

Despite the loss of durable goods and services, according to Grand Ledge’s audit reports, Grand Ledge’s net position from business activity actually has increased. Since 2012, it’s increased from $11.3 million to $12.5 million.

Grand Ledge's net position at the end of each year from Business-activity

Grand Ledge’s net position at the end of each year from business-activity. Data from Grand Ledge’s annual audit reports

Kalmin Smith said despite empty buildings downtown he believes that the downtown doesn’t need saving. He believes it is still vibrant and successful and actually busier. He said in the last decade it’s been busier mainly because of the expansion of downtown restaurants.

Grand Ledge recycling struggles to get participation

By DeVinnia Moore
Living in the Ledge Staff Reporter

Recycling is essential to the environment, but for the city of Grand Ledge could it be too inconvenient and expensive?

City Street Supervisor Chad Brunton said residents want to recycle but just do not take it seriously.

“I want to recycle but I don’t because throwing things away is just way more convenient,” said Kristin Harper, a 20-year-old Grand Ledge resident.

Harper said she tried recycling her bottles and plastics to the recycling center, but now that the hours are reduced it is even more difficult to find time.

In 1993 an old city dump was turned into the Grand Ledge recycling center. The center is located at 310 Whitney St. The center was operated 24 hours a day until recently, when the hours of operation were reduced due to finances.

City Administrator Adam Smith said between 2006 and 2014 the center has lost the city over $21,000, with an expected $3,000 deficit in the upcoming year.

This October the center’s hours of operation were reduced. Now it is open Wednesday from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Map of Recycling center 310 Whitney Street

Map of Recycling center 310 Whitney Street

Teacher exodus a worry at Grand Ledge schools

By Paige Wester
Living In The Ledge Staff Reporter

As the school year started in September, concern grew throughout the city of Grand Ledge due to the loss of teachers and the lack of funding from the previous year.

Since last year, 19 teachers in Grand Ledge have left the district and 12 of those teachers retired.

Molly Markel, a Grand Ledge resident and also a parent in the school district, said that her concern for her kids’ proper education is growing more and more.

“I know that my daughter had substitute teachers to start off her sophomore year because there was a shortage of teachers,” said Markel. “It concerns me that I have to question if my children are getting the education they deserve.”

Markel, who has two kids in the Grand Ledge School District, said she and many other parents are desperate to see a change with funding throughout the schools.


Grand Ledge High School. Photo by Paige Wester

With 10 different schools and 5,100 students within the Grand Ledge School District, teachers are in high demand, but with the loss of funds within the district it has caused many teachers to retire due to a lack of pay increases after working at the district for many years.

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.

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.