Tag Archives: grand ledge

Renewing contract with City of Grand Ledge

By Jiabin Liu

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

GRAND LEDGE – Olson Farm renewed their leasing contract with City of Grand Ledge to rent tillable acreage at the Grand Ledge Abrams Municipal Airport.

Olsan Farm's Location on Google Map Photo by Jiabin Liu

Olsan Farm’s Location on Google Map
Photo by Jiabin Liu


The Abrams Municipal Airport is on the edge of the City and has tillable vacant airport land.

Olson Farms has rented this tillable acreage at the Grand Ledge airport for the past three years and the Council renewed the contract for three more years on 14 April 2014.


Improvement of Internet network needed to support more technology at Grand Ledge High School

By Mayara Sanches

Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

Technology in schools video

GRAND LEDGE — Grand Ledge High School is working on their network system to be able to have the “BYT” program — bring your own technology — active for current students.

While the high school’s network is controlled by the state and therefore not able to support a system in which every student brings their own laptop or technological gadget, it offers many Apple products, like iPads and Macs, that rotate between the classes that need it.

“When the students are using the school network, we have to be careful so they don’t bring virus into our network,” said Brody Boucher, Grand Ledge School Board president. “We have the ability to block some content.”


Since new cellphones and portable technological gadgets became popular, schools believe that students should be able to find information and have it on their fingertips.

Boucher said the high school wants to partly implement the “flipped classroom” model, which the students find the information they need, and the teachers assist them in that area.

“We’re not there yet and we don’t know it we want to be like that all the time, but it’s a way for teachers to facilitate the learning,” he said.

Students at the high school are able to check out laptops, iMacs and many iPads, said John Braccio, Grand Ledge High School psychologist, which gives them access to and infinite amount of information.

“In any topic, they will have the information at their fingertips and an unlimited amount of information,” Braccio said. “They can do a lot more without driving anywhere, so from their houses or a lot of restaurants.”

High school students are now able to check out those equipments, but children entering kindegarten and first grade in the Grand Ledge elementary schools will own their own gadget.

“It’s a district-wide program, where younger grades started a program, where everyone has to buy an iPad, and there will be a lot adapting,” Braccio said.


When each student has their iPads, laptops or smartphones, they are able to find information that they would not find in an old textbook.

Besides having access to more and newer information, students will be able to work together more easily, said Christine Greenhow, social media in learning specialist.

Technology can facilitate new forms of collaboration, reading and writing, digital creation and more,” Greenhow said.

Greenhow said that while educators cannot assume that all teens are accessing social media and technological gadgets equally, the modern era facilitates the access to those.

“Technology shapes educational practices and new pedagogies suggest changes in learning theory,” she said. “Teachers can incorporate social media before, during and after their class to help students engage more readily with other students in and outside the class as well as their instructor.”

Among other ways to incorporate technology into the classroom and to have a positive outcome from it are to encourage students to keep up with course-related material and receive feedback from more than one person at a time on any assignment, which build a sense of belonging.

A teacher at GLHS helps a student set her schedule for the next school year.

A teacher at GLHS helps a student set her schedule for the next school year.


Although social media and its implementation in the classroom have benefits like incorporating a teen with his or her peers, it also might bring their attention to entertainment on the internet or apps.

Technology can interfere with learning in classrooms when educators do not or cannot facilitate students’ purposeful, critical and reflective use for learning,” Greenhow said.

The many gadgets should be used in classrooms so that teachers can better engage their students in their lectures — such as sharing slide shows, videos and photos.

With the existence of over 800,000 apps from the Apple App Store, according to the Global Mobile Statistics students can easily have access to distractions. Many teachers cannot monitor what each individual student is doing or seeing in their device.

“Kids might start wasting time playing stupid games and having meaningless conversations with a friend, and that won’t help their learning,” said Kalmin Smith, Grand Ledge mayor. “There are a bunch of anonymous people doing nasty stuff.”


Because there are so many devices and about 2,000 students that attend Grand Ledge High School, the school’s faculty and staff cannot monitor what each teenager posts on their social media websites.

The school is allowed to look at their posts if they are, for example, “friends” with the student on Facebook, or if the student and the school’s Twitter pages “follow” each other on the website.

“Because of the way that kids in school now have been brought up with and choose to use technology, they sacrifice a great deal of their own privacy,” said Martin Underhill, Grand Ledge police chief. “They have to keep in mind that when they put something out on the internet, they can’t pull it back.”

Underhill said he has been involved in situations where people become uncomfortable with the consequences of their posts, because the post was broadcast and known around the city.

Although it happens to people all ages, students at the high school have to be careful with what they post, because if it affects another student, if the post has a consequence at the school, the students who posted can be penalized.

“We don’t monitor, but we have Facebook pages,” Underhill said. “We’re part of that generation.”

Grand Ledge High School has had a School Resource Officer (SRO) since 1998 — the first year there was a school officer in the mid-Michigan area — and Underhill said they are responsible for the students and the school just like an city officer is of the city.

“(The school) is like a small village, so the SRO has community responsibilities, which means addressing ‘quality of life issues’ or issues that could lead to crime, like maybe students aren’t getting along and it looks like it’s becoming something more than just words,” he said.

Being able to intervene in situations where a student might be threatened is a power the officer has. If the SRO is exposed to something on the internet that may affect a student’s life, he will be used as a peer mediator to keep all teenagers at the school safe.

Contact Reporter Mayara Sanches (248) 464-2993 or iunessan@msu.edu



Grand Ledge residents believe in the Second Amendment

By Mayara Sanches

Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

Gun control video

GRAND LEDGE — Although no major issues have happened in the city of Grand Ledge, the city’s police department continues to enforce the state laws about gun ownership and control.

The police chief together with the police officers patrol the city to make sure every resident is abiding to the laws when they are dealing with drugs. When citizens want to buy guns, bakcground checks are conducted at the department building as well.

“The state laws are the state laws, there’s nothing special about firearms laws — they’ve been on the works for years, they’ve changed,” said Police Chief Martin Underhill.


The state laws are the local laws, Underhill said, and the police does its job to keep the citizens safe and out of harm from an object that is a lethal weapon — a gun.

“If people are abiding by the laws, then it’s not an issue for us, and if they’re breaking the laws then we’ll take action — perhaps their actions are inappropriate for arrest if the law requires,” he said.

The Second Amendment states that a person has the right to keep and bear arms. This right has been debated many times over the last few years, during President Barack Obama’s presidency, but some Grand Ledge residents want to keep that right.

“There are laws that have restricted the use of guns, and they’ve been there for years, however, it only restricts some uses of weapons,” Underhill said. “My opinion is that the community culture is that the ownership of weapons is something that people take for granted as a right.”

Restricting the ownership of guns is something the police department cannot control, but people are prohibited to be in possession of a gun in some areas, such as schools.

“I believe in the Constitution, unlike the president, and it says want to keep guns away from minors, criminals and mentally ill, and I think we should do that,” said Kalmin Smith, Grand Ledge mayor.


Unlike most states in the U.S., Michigan law requires that police departments conduct background checks on any person who wishes to buy a gun, whether it is from a licensed dealer or from a private seller.

Grand Ledge police officer Darin Larner at the Police Department's front desk.

Grand Ledge police officer Darin Larner at the Police Department’s front desk. Photo by Mayara Sanches

Although they are geographically close to Michigan, Ohio and Indiana do not require the background check, which makes it easier for those who will not be allowed to buy guns, to do so anyway — instead of Michigan, they could drive to those close states.

“Private sellers improve the source of disqualified people,” said April Zeoli, gun and domestic violence expert. “Most Americans support the background check.”

Recent scientific studies and polls studied specific topics instead of broader ones, such as whether or not people who had been drug convictions, or alcoholics should only be able to buy a gun with a background check.

“People say yes, and the public is more together on this than the legislators,” Zeoli said.

Residents’ opinions

Although many people said yes to background checks in the study, Grand Ledge resident James Bailey said it does not prevent accidents or wrong-usage from happening.

Background checks do not eliminate irresponsible gun owners or people bent on using guns in acts of violence,” Bailey said. “Overall background checks are not a preventive enough measure to prevent gun violence.”

Bailey said he owns a gun, and that he secures his weapon and ammunition separate from each other and in a safe place. He said that “an unloaded gun is harmless.”

“Guns safety classes are a must for all owners,” he said. “The Grand Ledge police have information on gun laws and provide permits to purchase. They also provide information and forms to apply for a CPL permit. They are very helpful.”

While attending Grand Ledge schools, resident Peri McLeod said police officers visited the schools several times to promote gun safety.

Other residents who do not own guns, like McLeod, still said they believe anyone should have the right to own a gun if they choose to.

“I don’t think it’s guns we have a problem with, it’s the people who are not stable enough mentally and not responsible,” McLeod said. “We need more people control rather then gun control.”

She said has never felt threatened or unsafe in Grand Ledge because of guns.

“If we add more restriction on guns because they are potentially dangerous, are we going to band spoons because they could potentially make you overweight?” she said.

Hunting culture

Because Michigan has a famous hunting culture, which includes opening day of deer season every year, residents also said that is a reason for not banning the ownership of guns.

“Grand Ledge is full of people who hunt, and they have every right to own a gun to provide meat for their families,” McLeod said.

In 2011, there were 529,000 hunters in Michigan during the hunting season, according to the United States Census Bureau study.

Detective at the Grand Ledge Police Department.

Detective at the Grand Ledge Police Department. Photo by Mayara Sanches


Bailey said that especially women should be able to own and carry guns, and that women outnumbered men in applying for permits.

I believe this is necessary in this day and age,” Bailey said. “Proper training is key, but my daughter I want safe, my wife, my mother. The law keeps no one safe. Police take several minutes. Responsible gun ownership is what is needed.”

Despite owning a gun for protection, Zeoli said that having guns at a house can drastically increases the chance of being harmed by a gun.

“No matter what the initial purpose of owning one is, guns are lethal weapons,” she said. “A gun in the house raises the chance to be killed by a gun.”

Having a gun comes with many risks, she said, but there are steps to mitigate the risk, such as safe storage — having the weapon separate from the ammunition — like Bailey does.

Contact Reporter Mayara Sanches (248) 464-2993 or iunessan@msu.edu


Green infrastructure projects improve Grand Ledge recreation and quality of life

By Hannah Watts — Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter
Green infrastructure projects improve Grand Ledge recreation and quality of life

GRAND LEDGE — Green infrastructure is increasingly relevant to Michigan, the region and the country. With five Great Lakes and two peninsulas, Michigan represents connectivity.

“Many people think green infrastructure has to do with just energy, but really green infrastructure is any infrastructure that is sensitive to the environment,” said Jon Bayless, Grand Ledge city administrator.

With green infrastructure improvements well underway in Grand Ledge, such as possible dam deconstruction, recreational trail extensions and rain gardens, community support is essential.

“The community has been very supportive of locally-initiated and state-mandated efforts to build and maintain a green infrastructure,” said Kalmin Smith, mayor of Grand Ledge. “The primary green interest of Grand Ledgers is to protect and improve the quality of water in the Grand River which flows through the city.”

Dam removal  

Pictured: Grand Ledge dam

Pictured: Grand Ledge dam in 2014.

Dave Drullinger, water quality specialist at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality explained that green infrastructure’s relevance to water is based on the need to restore natural hydrology interrupted by human activity and construction.

“We have a lot that’s necessary in Michigan to protect our water sources and right now, because of land development, there’s too much volume of water going to our streams during rain and weather events,” Drullinger said.

The dam on the Grand River that runs through Grand Ledge is an example of the impact traditional, or “grey”, infrastructure has on quality of life and the environment.

“It has been a big problem in Grand Ledge,” Bayless said. “The question was whether to repair it as it is or to take it down. Dams raise the water level, creating more erosion.”

The erosion caused by the dam compounds natural erosion, so much so that two of Grand Ledge’s seven islands have almost disappeared. One of the eroded islands used to house a hotel and a cabin, bringing commerce and attracting tourism to the city.

“This city used to be known as the city with the seven islands,” Bayless said. “The islands that we do have left are much smaller than they used to be. In 25 years I think they may all be gone.”

In hopes of slowing down and potentially halting the process of human-induced erosion, the city is making plans to deconstruct the dam and replace it with more natural, green infrastructure.

“It would be replaced with natural treatment of the river such as boulders and rain gardens,” Bayless said. “Such treatments lift oppression from wildlife, and are environmentally viable and economically feasible.

Alternatively, deconstructing the dam could have a negative impact on property values and opportunities for recreational activities to take place on the river.

“The river would turn into a creek, harboring unwanted wildlife that may be detrimental to residential properties that have the river behind them, and boating could be restricted,” Bayless explained. “The Grand Ledge Princess, our river ferry, may disappear.”

A common goal

Jason Ball, senior planner at Kuntzsch Business Services (KBS), who helped with the dam project planning, indicated that Grand Ledge community members share a similar goal in regards to the project.

“Aging dams are expensive and hard to deal with,” Ball said. “We helped Grand Ledge residents to see that they wanted to same thing, that is, people want a river that is useable and clean.”

According to the Grand Ledge Water Dialogue session report published by KBS, the city spent over $4.5 million addressing overflows and runoff into the river in 2010 alone.

Green vs. grey infrastructure


Pictured: One of the new recreational trails that runs through Grand Ledge along the Grand River.

Pictured: One of the new recreational trails that runs through Grand Ledge along the Grand River. 

In addition to being environmentally friendly, green infrastructure is often more visually appealing and is able to replace traditional infrastructure by serving multiple purposes.

“There’s a major push for this place-making idea, Drullinger said. “Place making means not places that are all concrete steel and glass. A storm pipe, made from metal and its sole purpose is to drain storm water and runoff. A rain garden is both aesthetically more interesting and actually filters the runoff before it reaches our waterways. “

Green infrastructure projects, like the expansion of recreational trails, support quality of life, wildlife habitats, and connect communities by bringing rural amenities into urban areas.

“The new trails really connect the East and West sides of Grand Ledge and they’ve offered residents the opportunity to become more physically active,” explained Harmony Gmazel, senior planner at the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. “Any trail project that happens throughout the country plays a part in fighting chronic disease and health departments get involved because green infrastructure gets people out and about and protects out environment in the same coin.”

Gmazel said the hardest part of her job is finding the perfect balance between environmental sustainability and community sustainability, but mentioned that the environment always takes a leading role.

“Any urban planner is trained to take everything into account,” Gmazel said. “You have to balance environmental protection with economic viability and community building. To not care about the environment means leaving out a third of what successful urban planning is all about.”

For more information on green infrastructure projects happening in Grand Ledge and the Lansing tri-county area, please check out this Storify and this Magisto.

Contact reporter Hannah Watts at wattsha2@msu.edu.



Grand Ledge: Not your typical small town

by Melissa Delekta

Grand Ledge Gazette Reporter

GRAND LEDGE – When Mayor Kalmin Smith and his wife moved in 1996 from Okemos to Grand Ledge, they were looking for a small town feel. They found exactly what suited their style, and so have many others.

Grand Ledge residents enjoy Lick-ity Split on a spring day. Photo by: Melissa Delekta

Grand Ledge residents enjoy Lick-ity Split on a spring day. Photo by: Melissa Delekta


Mental health in teens at Grand Ledge High School

By Ariel Rogers

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

GRAND LEDGE — Grand Ledge High School has a student population nearing 1,800 ninth through 12th graders. Students are often overwhelmed with the stress of becoming an adult and planning the future.

Kathy Coscarelli is a licensed counselor in the Grand Ledge area. She receives referrals from GLHS for further counseling options for the students.

Students at Grand Ledge High School often are not aware of the counseling options available. Photo by Ariel Rogers

Students at Grand Ledge High School are often unaware of the counseling options available. Photo by Ariel Rogers

“Kids are so stressed about the future,” Coscarelli said. “They have no hope. Mom and dad are fighting.”


Going back to work after retiring

By Jiabin Liu

Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer

Lansing State Journal logo founded online

Lansing State Journal logo founded online

GRAND LEDGE – Alan Miller works as a part-time reporter at Lansing State Journal after twice of his retirements.

Alan Miller covers Grand Ledge City government for the weekly newspaper ̶ Grand Ledge Independent and sometimes the Lansing State Journal.


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.


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.