Ingham County 4-H, a springtime tradition

By Whitney Bunn
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Spring is in the air. The birds are chirping, and the cows are … moo-ing?

4-H clubs around the county are gearing up for the 160th Annual Ingham County Fair this August.

Ranging from livestock sales to dog agility to sewing, 4-H participants around the country make final decisions in early spring about the projects they will pursue at the fair.

The 4-H organization emphasizes hands-on learning, promoting teamwork, responsibility and cooperation, said Carol Fanson, leader of the Aurelius 4-H Club in Ingham County.

Fanson, an active member of Ingham County’s 4-H community for more than 50 years, manages a club of more than 75 members.

“At this point in the spring, it’s time for the kids to decide what they’re doing,” said Fanson. Continue reading

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Illiteracy in Ingham County is a ‘huge problem’

By Whitney Bunn
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

How does literacy in Ingham County stack up?

According to Andrew Falk, not very well.

Falk is an intern for the Capital Area Literacy Coalition (CALC), a nonprofit organization that specializes in promoting literacy growth in the Lansing area.

Falk said that around 35 percent of Lansing citizens are functionally illiterate, meaning they have trouble with basic reading, writing, speaking and computational skills – things like reading a menu or understanding a paycheck.

The Downtown Lansing branch of the Capital Area District Libraries boasts a large children's section to foster literacy learning.

The Downtown Lansing branch of the Capital Area District Libraries boasts a large children’s section to foster literacy learning.

Most literate adults are unaware of the major problem of illiteracy in the United States, said Falk.

“We have a variety of programs. We encompass all age groups into the literacy bracket because everybody in Lansing basically needs help,” Falk said.

Rebecca Klegon, a senior student in the College of Education at Michigan State University, is completing her pre-internship at Attwood Elementary School in the Lansing School District.

“I think there is a huge literacy problem,” she said.

Working with a sixth-grade class for the 2013-2014 school year, Klegon notes that nearly three-quarters of her students read below the standard reading level for sixth-graders.

Klegon said most of her students come from low-income families. “I don’t feel like they have enough opportunities to read at home,” she said. Continue reading

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Winter leaves roads in tough shape

By Whitney Bunn
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

With this season’s whale of a winter, county commissioners have had to deal with the county’s roads on top of their regular responsibilities.

This past winter season wreaked havoc on Ingham County roads.

This past winter season wreaked havoc on Ingham County roads.

Last year, Ingham County eliminated its independent road commission, opting to absorb the county’s road duties into its own agenda.

In February of 2012, Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation allowing a county’s government to absorb their county road commissions with the hope that this plan would bring efficiency and accountability to local governments.

At the time the bill was signed, Michigan had 81 county road commissions – nearly half were not accountable to the county government.

Ingham County became one of the first counties in the state to absorb its previously independent road commission.

A very mild winter greeted the bill in its first year of adoption. Now in its second year, the severity of winter has struck without relent, and the Ingham County Board of Commissioners is facing the reality of winter and its side effects on county roads. Continue reading

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Ingham School District lessens special needs staffing

By Kyle Koehler
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Ingham School District board members: Michael Flowers and Superintendent Stanley Kogut

Ingham School District board members: Michael Flowers and Superintendent Stanley Kogut

The Ingham Intermediate School District approved a resolution that reduced autism professional staffing, among other educational teams, in order to increase other teams’ FTE (full-time equivalent). Andrew Rable, director of student support services, said this change would happen as the ISD chose to close the Autism Spectrum Disorder staffing.

Susan Tinney, member of the ISD board, presented a plan to “align resources with the changing work of the organization.” This included reducing a few positions and eliminating the administrative assistant position for the Capital Area Career Center.
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Ingham County terminates Hawk Island Park contract, applies for zoo park grant

By Kyle Koehler
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Willis Bennett goes over the report regarding Superparks and Hawk Island Park

Willis Bennett goes over the report regarding Superparks and Hawk Island Park


The Ingham parks commission voted to terminate its contract with Superparks, the company currently running the daily operations of Hawk Island Snow Park.

Willis Bennett, director of the parks office, said that the termination came after a “culmination of unacceptable behavior from the contractor.”

Bennett said he sent a list of issues to Superparks, but received no answer. Issues included park maintenance and visitation rates, which have been declining, reducing revenue.

After two years of operation with Superparks, Bennett advised that “now is the time to end this relationship.”

Bennett said that the contract with Superparks will be terminated 90 days after the county makes its decision official. After which, Ingham County “doesn’t have the skills to groom (the park) properly,” Bennett said, adding that the county would have to buy all the railing and equipment used at the park, since Superparks is renting all of it.

County Commissioner Penelope Tsernoglou recommended looking at other contractors to keep the park in operation rather than shutting it down.

Ralph Monsma agreed, saying “Sounds like we really do need someone else to run the park.”
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Lansing Boat Show ‘H20-14′

By Riley Thyfault
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Forty percent of all Michigan residents are boaters and the Lansing Boat Show is at the Lansing Center for its 18th year.

There are over 300 boats on display at the Lansing Center Thursday through Saturday, March 27-29.

“The Lansing Boat Show is more than just boats. We have scuba diving and kayaking displays, a trout pond where kids can fish, and lifts and docks,” said, Lansing Boat Show event coordinator Ernie Hedberg.  Continue reading

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Capital Polar Plunge 2014

By Riley Thyfault
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Four teams, 35 jumpers, one jump. This 2014 Legislative Polar Plunge raised $15,406 for over 19,000 athletes participating in ‘Special Olympics Michigan.’

The 35 jumpers were asked to set up a fundraising page in order to raise money for the cause; 385 donations were received. State Representative Jim Stamas and his 20 supporters raised $2,400, more than any other ‘Plunger.’

For the complete list of donators, fundraisers and teams, visit the Legislative Polar Plunge 2014 fundraising page.

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Ingham County gives students head start in college

By Riley Thyfault
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

The Early College Student Services has been successfully preparing high school students for college.

This year’s graduating class will be the first to complete this 3-year program.

Ingham County Resident listening in the Ingham Intermediate School Board of Education Meeting.

Ingham County Resident listening in the Ingham County School Board Meeting.

Steve Rosales, Director of the Early College at Lansing Community College, spoke with the Ingham Intermediate School District’s Board of Education about the success of the program’s third year.

Students in this program are taught the ‘S.T.A.R.’ motto (Students Take All Responsibility) and are continuously evaluated, said Rosales.

High school students are able to be introduced to a college workload and begin creating better study habits. Twenty-three students are fully taking LCC courses, 13 students have Continue reading

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Ingham County claims Michigan’s first gay marriage

Michigan's first lesbian couple talking to a reporter with a notebook.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum sent this picture with the tweet, “Marsha & Glenna have been together for 26 years and are getting married RIGHT NOW!!” at 7:58 a.m. March 22. Glenna DeJong is at left and Marsha Caspar is in the center.


UPDATE: The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday ordered a stay until Wednesday of Friday’s ruling that upended Michigan’s ban on gay marriage


Ingham County Chronicle staff

Ingham Clerk Barb Byrum wasted no time this morning and neither did Lansing newlyweds Glenna DeJong and Marsha Caspar.

At 7:58 a.m., Byrum tweeted, “Marsha & Glenna have been together for 26 years and are getting married RIGHT NOW!!”

A Friday afternoon decision by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman struck down Michigan’s 2004 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage, opening the door for gays and lesbians to marry in Michigan.

Byrum was tweeting through the night and up early in what became a race to perform Michigan’s first gay marriage.
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Ingham County weighs in on gay marriage trial

By Whitney Bunn
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

It was a lawsuit that could change the definition of marriage in the State of Michigan.

In 2004, an amendment to Michigan’s constitution recognized marriage only between a man and a woman.

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two nurses from Hazel Park, challenged the ban on gay marriage during a nine-day trial that concluded on Friday, March 7.

The partners sued the state in 2012 seeking the right to marry and adopt children together.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, who presided over the Detroit trial, is deliberating with a decision expected within the next week.

If the amendment is overturned, same-sex marriages will be legal in Michigan.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum says she looks forward to the day that she can perform legal marriage ceremonies for the gay citizens in Ingham County.

“Love is equal. It’s all the same love,” Byrum said. “I look forward to the opportunity to joining same-sex couples in marriage.” Continue reading

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