Ingham County Animal Shelter seeks a new home

By Blake Froling
Ingham County Chronicle

The Ingham County Animal Shelter, like many of the animals inside it, is looking for a new home.

“The building has basically exceeded its capacity and its useful life,” said Andrew Seltz, director of the animal shelter. “As we’ve gone and progressed as an organization. The building unfortunately hasn’t.”

The animals suffer the most from the old, dilapidated building. Lack of airflow often leads to illnesses circulating among the animals. Volunteer Roxann Wilkinson described it as a vicious cycle. As soon as some animals recover, they get sick all over again. Puppies and kittens are not kept for very long for fear that they could get sick.

Overcrowding is constantly a problem with the shelter. Fortunately, no animal has been euthanized due to lack of space in nearly two years, but shelter officials are worried that they are pushing the limits of the building every year.

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Same-sex marriage laws in Michigan among 14 states with bans

By Darien Velasquez
Ingham County Chronicle

Ingham County – Michigan is one of four states that will be before the United States Supreme Court this summer when the controversial topic of same-sex marriage will be decided. On March 21, 2014, a U.S. District Court ruled the state’s denial of marriage rights to same-sex couples unconstitutional. More than 300 same-sex couples married in Michigan the next day before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals stayed enforcement of the district court decision. On Nov. 6, 2014, the Sixth Circuit reversed the
lower court’s ruling and upheld Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Same-sex marriage poll

Same-sex marriage poll

Same-sex marriage couples acknowledge the tough task in trying to persuade the Supreme Court to allow states to limit marriage to only a man and a woman. Same-sex couples are able to marry in 36 states as well as the District of Columbia. The concern for children is one of several major issues.

According to Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, “It’s not equal. People who are gay are being treated as second-class citizens and are not afforded the same right as heterosexual couples.” A primary concern for same-sex couples is that they do not receive the same benefits as straight couples do. Some of these benefits might include hospital visitation, filing a joint tax return to reduce tax burden, access to family health coverage and many other benefits that are available only to opposite-sex marriages.
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Strong Start. Healthy Start. works to decrease infant mortality rate in Ingham

Infant Mortality Rate Graph

All data is from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

By Jamie Brewer
Ingham County Chronicle

Ingham County Maternal Child Health Division is working to make the lives of expectant mothers and their newborn babies healthier through workshops and home visits.

Infant mortality rate is often an indicator of poverty and lack of health care in urban areas, but also a lack of education. The Ingham County Health Department is working to make resources available to mothers and expectant mothers who want to be educated.

Ingham County had an infant mortality rate of 7.2 per 1,000 live births. In the 2011-2013 three-year average. This average has gone up in the last year and is exceeding the statewide rate.

It is common for the infant mortality rate to be higher in an urban area than in  a suburban, primarily white city, according to Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail.

Vail calculates the infant mortality rate in Ingham County by doing a five-year average rather than comparing year to year to help ensure accuracy.
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National Technical Honor Society to host business clothing drive

By Darien Velasquez
Ingham County Chronicle

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INGHAM COUNTY – The students of the National Technical Honor Society at the Capital Area Career Center will be hosting a professional clothing drive on Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon May 2. The professional clothing drive will take place at the Capital Area Career Center off Hagadorn Road in Mason. Starting this week, guests are able to bring in their gently used donations to the center. According to the society, it can assist in answering questions regarding professional clothing donations if you are unsure of what those items may be.

The focus is on professional attire. The goal is to create and organize a professional dress closet that is free to any career center student in need of professional attire. According to advisor Chris Eaton, this covers a wide range of clothing articles such as suits, dress shirts and even scrubs. Someone can expect to donate or see most blouses, slacks, jackets, belts, dress shoes, ties, khakis, dresses and many more. “It’s a shame to be overlooked for a promotion simply because you aren’t dressed the part, but it happens all the time.” said Eaton.

The drive is open to anyone to donate. The career center is operated by Ingham Intermediate School District which also offer on- and off-site programs for high school juniors and seniors who reside in Ingham County.

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Koenigsknecht named new Ingham ISD superintendent

Kogut said Koenigsknecht is the perfect man to replace him as superintendent.

Kogut said Koenigsknecht is the perfect man to replace him as superintendent.

By Blake Froling
Ingham County Chronicle

The Ingham Intermediate School District has selected Dr. Scott Koenigsknecht to be the new superintendent. He will begin work July 1 after the retirement of current superintendent Stanley Kogut Jr. 

“I’m very excited and eager and honored to be selected as the next superintendent of Ingham ISD,” said Koenigsknecht. “They have an excellent reputation throughout the state for the services they provide to the 12 local school districts and public school academies that they serve. I am honored to be chosen and excited to get started.”

Koenigsknecht was the superintendent for Montcalm County ISD for the past eight years. He also served as a local superintendent for six years prior to holding that position.

“I do believe the board picked the right person,” said Kogut. “He’s been ISD superintendent, he’s been a local superintendent and he’s had other experiences, so the process was very well thought out and went very well for us.”

Koenigsknecht signed a three-year contract that officially begins July 1, but he said he wants to get started two days earlier on Monday, June 29. Retiring Superintendent Kogut held the position since July 2005.

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Frequent riders of CATA’s route one look forward to its new look

By Kellie Van Maele
The Ingham County Chronicle

INGHAM COUNTY—Bus Rapid Transit, a $145 million project by CATA, has riders and employees very interested in the future of route one along Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue. The project would benefit residents in Lansing, East Lansing, Meridian and surrounding communities with the hopes to improve and expand public transportation in the area.
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Currently, the corridor has a higher population and employment density than the region as a whole and, according to Robison, is expected to continue to increase.

“Route one, which currently operates on the corridor, is frequently at or above capacity,” Robison said. “Each week, 10 to 14 trips are over capacity and unable to accommodate passengers waiting to board, but the BRT project will allow more people to move quickly through the constrained corridor.”

The Bus Rapid Transit would differ from CATA’s current buses.

“Initially, it is proposed that buses along the BRT would operate every six minutes using 60-foot articulated BRT buses, compared to the current buses which run every nine minutes using 40-foot buses,” Robison said. “This accomplishes the region’s goal to maximize the number of people who are capable of moving along the corridor.”

Michael Buck, 45, of Lansing says he looks forward to the changes because of his daily dependence on route one.

“I ride the route one seven days a week to get around, but lately it has been really important,” Buck said. “Being sober for four months has really taken a toll, but I can count on the CATA to get me to AA meetings every week. I honestly depend on the bus system more than anything else these days. It has allowed me to stay focused on making my life better.”

Michael Buck on one of his daily trips on route one.

Michael Buck on one of his daily trips on route one.

Buck was very pleased.

“I really think it would be awesome because it gets pretty packed on the buses,” Buck said. “Especially the route one because rather than just students it’s also a lot of older people that need more space and accommodations.”
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Ingham County Animal Shelter’s mobile adoption events successful

By Blake Froling
Ingham County Chronicle

Kay Jones has been fostering Shorty for two months after seeing him living in her neighborhood for years.

Kay Jones has been fostering Shorty for two months after seeing him living in her neighborhood for years.

Imagine walking into a Lowe’s looking for supplies and coming out with a furry friend. It happens quite often at mobile adoption events put on by the Ingham County Animal Shelter.

“I have a saying when it comes to those kind of events,” said Larry Hagedorn, a volunteer with the animal shelter, “Yeah, I need a bunch of nails and I’ll take a puppy too.”

The animal shelter puts on mobile adoption events all over the greater Lansing area, mostly at pet stores but occasionally at other businesses. The shelter brings about four or five foster dogs and about eight or 10 foster cats and have trained volunteers ready to answer any questions. This provides an alternative for people who feel uneasy about going to the actual shelter.

“A lot of people don’t like the shelter because it can be too much of a reality of how bad things are for some of the animals,” said Hagedorn. “So they can come here and see them and it’s much more comfortable.”

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Design For America works with North School to teach 5th grade class about alternative energy, apart from standardized tests

 The organization is attending Sarah Laurens’ fifth grade class at North School in Lansing in May to teach them how to use alternative energy.


The organization is attending Sarah Laurens’ fifth grade class at North School in Lansing in May to teach them how to use alternative energy.

By Jamie Brewer
Ingham County Chronicle

The East Lansing Design For America division is working to find a way to help elementary students at low-income schools in Lansing learn about alternative energy in an interactive and fun way.

DFA is a national organization that uses design to create social impact, according to East Lansing DFA President Evan Fried.

The question the group came up with was, “How can we assist teachers in low-income schools in teaching alternative energy in an attractive way?” DFA member Hannah Hunter said.

Low-income schools’ main focus is raising standardized tests scores, according to Sarah Laurens, a fifth grade teacher at Lansing’s North School. Therefore the teachers at North School were excited to have DFA step in and help encourage alternative ways of learning to the students.

“In particular, I enjoyed their open-mindedness and flexibility towards working with my students who are predominantly non-native English speakers,” Laurens said.

North School is a kindergarten through sixth grade elementary school with over 600 students. A majority of these students are English learners. Many of the students have come from war-torn countries with interruptions in their education or from refugee camps in Lansing. North School also has an autism program, a deaf and hard-of-hearing program and a cognitively impaired program, according to Laurens.

Laurens said there is a lot of stress for teachers to focus on raising standardized test scores which may be hurting teachers and students.

“I feel a haunting sense of sadness, as my gut tells me that we are sliding backwards into an atlas-style teaching model of the 1950s while paying lip service to cutting-edge, research-based teaching models,” Laurens said.
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By: Austin H. Goodman

Ingham County ChronicleIMG_1960

LANSING, MICH. – The Capital City Film Festival started off their 2015 competition with 400 submissions from over 20 countries. The festival was held on April 9 through April 12. lHalf a decade ago in April 2010, the festival hosted their first four-day film festival.

According to the Co-founder of the Capital City Film Festival Dominic Cochran, Capital City Film Festival judges watch hundreds of films including short and feature length films. After the judges select the winners, they are featured at the festival.

In 2015, 80 films were selected and shown at venues around the area. The festival directors worked to put together concerts for each evening post festival, after the festival events are over for the day. Cochran listed a few venues, which included The Loft, Mac’s Bar and Knapp’s Theatre Centre.

Chase Frarey, bartender at Mac’s Bar, said that the concerts “drew a local crowd that had good participation through all of the performances.”

The festival was the largest yet because of new attractions and competitions, according to Cochran.

“This year we decided to try a video game design contest where we had teams from all over the state enter to compete. The competition gives the competitors a five-month production timeline, where they have to brainstorm, create and finish a new video game,” Cochran said.

Traction, a creative studio for multimedia communication, is a featured sponsor of the Capital City Film Festival. Camron Gnass is the owner & creative director at Traction. Gnass explained one of the large goals of the festival from year to year.

“The fifth year of the festival just concluded, and it was another successful festival. Our goal each year is to make sure that we are helping Lansing become a more desired place for friends and family of our employees to come visit and work at,” Gnass said.

This year, directors started to include pre-festival events for community members to become more involved. Cochran explained the recently established Brew & View.

“Just recently, we started the ‘Brew and View’, where in the last Thursday of the months leading up to the festival, the festival has started to put up cultural classic movies, movies that are more on the fun side. We had it this year at the Lansing Public Media Center,” Cochran said.

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Lower Michigan Horse Association Horse Show meets Ingham County

By Darien Velasquez
Ingham County Chronicle

horse

INGHAM COUNTY – The Lower Michigan Horse Association Horse Show will make its return April 17-19. The association will be hosting the show at the Ingham County Fairgrounds and Exposition Center. In the week before, the association will be onsite to prep the fairgrounds as well as further horse and horse exhibitor recruitment. According to the association, it can assist to prepare the necessary stall equipment if you do not know the necessary preparations.

The focus for this year’s show is to promote interest in all breeds of horses. According to organizer Karol Holzhei, this covers a wide rage of horses such as american quarter horse, arabians, and even draft breeds. Someone can expect to show or see horses like thoroughbreds, ponies, warmbloods, appaloosa, the morgan horse, grade horses, gaited breeds and many more. “Our mission is to support family based activities in the equine field.” said Holzhei. There will be a series of performances, also known as classes, for prizes in different categories.

According to Secretary Leroy Aune, you can still be involved in the event by still entering your horse or by sponsoring. This show provides opportunities to view and show horses as well as meet and socialize with others in the community. Aune said “We’re promoting more horse shows, plus we introduce awesome competition to the other horse show members in the greater lansing area.”

The show is open for all to attend. There is a membership offered to participants who choose, they also receive the perks of using the blanket fee as well as other benefits.

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