$190,038 in Land Grants to Farmers Markets

By Akshita Verma
Ingham County Chronicle

A total of $190,038 in federal land grants will help the Michigan Farmers Market Association and Allen Neighborhood Group expand both size of the market and access to local farmers, according to U.S. Sen Debbie Stabenow’s office.

Allen Neighborhood Farmers Market

Allen Neighborhood Farmers Market

The grants, announced Sept. 30, come from the 2014 Farm Bill signed into law by President Obama.

“The reactions have been pretty positive, and I think it is a positive thing,” said Lizy Ferguson, market manager of Allen Street Farmers Market.

Michigan Farmers Market Association will receive $99,660 and Allen Neighborhood Group will receive $90,378.

“The money will go toward promoting the indoor market,” said Ferguson.

The outdoor farmers market is open only until Oct. 22, but the indoor market will run year round, according to Ferguson.

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Ingham County Animal Shelter

By Akshita Verma
Ingham County Chronicle

Ingham County Animal Shelter has many different types of dogs up for adoption

Ingham County Animal Shelter has many different types of dogs up for adoption

The first thing one notices when walking into the Ingham County Animal Control Shelter is a room full of cats of all different colors and personalities.

Some cats are energetic while some are hostile. All are in need of a home.

Finding a home for domesticated animals is the shelter’s job, according to Volunteer and Special Events Coordinator Ashley Hayes.
“We house all domesticated animals,” said Hayes. “We have had everything from birds, lizards, snakes and guinea pigs. We even get farm animals like pigs and goats.”

The Ingham County Animal Control Shelter was established in 1971, and all of its basic needs are paid for by the county.
“The county provides food, water, and shelter for the animals. However, special events, special programs like low cost vaccinations, these things are covered by donations by the public,” said Hayes.

The public can help the shelter pay for their programs and events by attending the multiple fundraisers the shelter does throughout the year, according to Hayes.

According to Hayes, there was a fundraiser just last saturday to raise money for a new shelter. Right now, there is a fundraiser to help cover costs for New Pets for Vets.

“New Pets for Vets, on Nov. 8, is an events we do to honor Veteran’s Day,” said Hayes.

After this, there will be a fundraiser to help cover the cost for the lower adoption fees that the shelter will do for their holiday open house and their holiday all nighter.  Continue reading

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Democrats hold 11-3 margin on County Commission

By Akshita Verma and Cameron Billes
Ingham County Chronicle

Democrats maintained their 11-3 domination of the Ingham County Commission in Tuesday’s election.

Every incumbent ran for re-election except for Dianne Holman in District 11, where Democrat Teri Banas won, and Don Vickers in District 14, where Republican Robin case Naeyaert won.

District 13 Commissioner Randy Schafer, a Republican, was the only candidate who ran unopposed.

Sarah Anthony, re-elected in District 3, took her niece to the polls with her just like she does every Election Day.
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Ingham Votes ‘Yes’ for Health and Parks millages

By Alexa McCarthy
Ingham County Chronicle

Ingham County residents voted ‘yes’ for both county millages in Tuesday’s midterm elections. The Trails and Parks millage won with a margin of 54 percent to 45 percent. The Ingham Health Plan millage was renewed with a wide margin of 70 percent to 29 percent. Both results are with 100 percent of precincts reported, according to unofficial election results.

Trails and Parks Millage

The Ingham County Trails and Parks millage will be a .5-mill levy, or 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value for six years. The millage will cost an Ingham County resident who owns a $100,000 house $50 per year. The millage will raise $3.2 million in the first year for a county system of recreational trails and adjacent park trails.

The idea for the millage was originally brought to the county commissioners in 2012 by Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero to regionalize the trails and parks in the county. The proposal was put on the ballot in August 2014.
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Wolves only part of the story on ballot issues

By Alexa McCarthy
Ingham County Chronicle

Ingham County residents will be voting on statewide wolf hunting proposals that are sure to stump a few.

Two proposals on the general election ballot would either allow or prohibit the state from holding a wolf-hunting season. But what many may not know is that it also involves who makes decisions involving Michigan wildlife.

“The thing that’s confusing is that there are two ballot proposals and they seem to agree on some things and disagree on other things,” said George Tesseris, an East Lansing resident. “And for a person to read that ballot proposal on voting day, it’s confusing.”

The proposals were added because of different petitions by the Humane Society of the United States and a group called Keep Michigan Wolves Protected.
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Scary Fun at the Potter Park Zoo

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Residents will vote on renewing county health millage

By Alexa McCarthy
Ingham County Chronicle

The Ingham Health Plan is asking county residents to vote to renew their millage on the Nov. 4 election.

Guadalupe Angelina Ramirez-Ortega says that the Ingham Health Plan has helped her gain the medical care she needs that she would otherwise not receive.

Guadalupe Angelina Ramirez-Ortega says that the Ingham Health Plan has helped her gain the medical care she needs that she would otherwise not receive.

The proposal seeks to continue a .52-mill levy (52 cents per $1,000 of assessed value) until 2019. The millage would cost an owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 only $26 per year.  If levied in full, the millage will raise $3.4 million in the first year. The millage funds the Ingham Health Plan which is seeks to provide health-care for lower-income county residents.

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Ballot Buzz: Millage proposal would connect trails

By Cameron Billes
Ingham County Chronicle

The Ingham County trails and parks could soon be upgraded.

Ingham County Parks Department director Willis Bennett reviews the potential trails plan.

Willis Bennett reviews the potential trails plan.

In the Nov. 4 election, a trails and parks millage proposal will be on the ballot to create, upgrade and maintain the recreational trails and parks through 2019. If the proposal passes, approximately $3.2 million will be raised within the first year. Continue reading

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Fun Events at Potter Park Zoo

By Akshita Verma
Ingham County Chronicle

The Potter Park Zoo, on South Pennsylvania Avenue in Lansing, has many family oriented events coming up in the fall and winter.

The main events of the fall season are Boo at the Zoo and Tailgate for the Animals, and the main events for winter are Wonderland of Lights and a beer and wine tasting event.

Potter Park Zoo let's their peacocks wander aroudn outside of their cages.

Potter Park Zoo let’s their peacocks wander aroudn outside of their cages.

The Potter Park Zoo isn’t like other zoos, according to Special Event Coordinator Jen Rostar.

“We will never be the biggest zoo around,” said Rostar. “The Potter Park Zoo is focused on wildlife conservation and education programs, and we work with many endangered animals.”

Therefore, most of these events are fundraisers for the zoo.

The Potter Park Zoo focuses on children from kindergarten all the way to Michigan State University students. These education programs, according to Rostar, help bring awareness on caring for animals, especially endangered species.

The first event coming up is Tailgate for the Animals. The Potter Park Zoo website says that the event is on Oct. 4, 1 to 3 p.m. According to Rostar, Oct. 4 is also the day that the residents of Ingham County visit the zoo for free.

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Potter Park Zoo Animal Hospital Set for a Makeover

By Alexa McCarthy
Ingham County Chronicle

Architects from Design Level Architecture revealed the phase one design plan for a new animal health-care and teaching facility to the Potter Park Zoo Board On Wednesday, Oct. 9.

Plans for a new health-care facility are part of the zoo’s master plan conceived in 2010. According to the zoo’s website the plan’s goal is “to improve not just our exhibits and our grounds, but our education and conservation missions, our visitor experience, and our sustainability.”

The original designs for the zoo's Master Plan in 2010. The location of the proposed heath care facility has since moved to the west side of the park.

The original designs for the zoo’s Master Plan in 2010. The location of the proposed heath care facility has since moved to the west side of the park.

Zoo Director Sheri Graham said that the original plan was to work on the new Great Lakes collection first, but since that developed in 2012 the zoo decided to move the health-care facility higher on the to-do list. While the zoo currently has a center to treat sick animals, it’s no bigger than a classroom and contains X-ray, treatment and surgery all in one room. “We’ve had as many as 30 people in there working on a tiger!” said Graham. “And it gets crowded.”

The updated plan designs a whole new building that will be located on a hill, west of the zoo entrance. “We wanted to make sure the hospital is on the perimeter of the zoo campus and has significant space, so that we can take an infectious animal to MSU without dragging it through the whole zoo.”

While the board may want to keep sick animals a safe distance from the rest of the zoo, the design does not hide the facility. The building will also be used as  teaching. he new design emphasizes  visitor engagement, with windows to treatment and surgery rooms that create a controlled viewing environment.

The design is a collaboration between C2AE architecture, engineering and planning firm out of Lansing and Design Level Architecture from Columbus, Ohio.

Tracy Kameoka of Design Level Architecture presents the new design for the health care facility. She said working with the coexisting site was one of the important elements of creating the design.

“The main reason this team was chosen was for their experience and expertise in animal care facilities,” said Graham. Design level has worked on 11 zoo projects including projects in Cleveland, Milwaukee and Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida.

“Animal hospitals have to be safe for humans and animals,” said Douglas Barga, an architect on the project. “And those two things often challenge each other.” Compared to the zoo’s current one-room facility the new design has multiple rooms for surgery, X-ray, quarantine and animal holding rooms. The design is similar to a human hospital in the sense that it creates “straight-forward circulation” that emphasises efficiency and safety.

Something that zoo visitors may not know is that before a new animal can be released and live with other animals in an exhibit, it must be quarantined for 30 days to ensure it is virus-free.  Design Level wanted to accommodate the zoo’s need for special quarantine rooms.

Another thing the firm focused on was the existing site and the natural beauty within the park. “This zoo is unique because it is in a park, with a view and we had opportunity to take advantage of that,” said Kameoka. “It is unlike other zoos that are contained within a city.”

The building design is meant to co-exist with the natural surroundings and the firm wanted to create a continuation between the outside and inside elements as a way to invite visitors in. The firm emphasized that visitor engagement with treatment rooms was extremely important to the design and a way to encourage education.

While the back of the building will be used as a loading dock and animal entranceway, the front outdoor patio will be used as a space to rent out for parties and receptions.

Kameoka said, “Every zoo project we work on is more innovative than the last, and this will be one of the most functionally efficient plans out there.”

While the design mock-ups are not for public display yet, the zoo is anticipating moving forward with the design in spring 2015.

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