Category Archives: Community

Animal Shelter hopes fun events will place more animals

By Erin Eschels
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Shelter volunteer Trisha Struck plays with an adoptable dog

Shelter volunteer Trisha Struck plays with an adoptable dog

With large numbers of shelter animals, the Ingham County Animal Shelter has been eager to find fun ways to show the community the animals it has to offer. Recently, the shelter hosted the Humanitarian Awards Banquet to honor those who dedicate a lot to the shelter. The next major event is the annual Woofer Walk 2014, where dogs and their owners participate in a 1.5-mile walk around Michigan State University’s campus to raise money for homeless animals. During June 13-14, the 30-hour Adopt-A-Fest will take place at Potter Park Zoo to bring awareness to the animals in need and increase adoption opportunities.

Besides the annual events, the shelter also has weekly events to showcase its animal residents, such as the Dog Walking Club and the mobile, on-site adoption appearances.

Humanitarian Awards Banquet

The annual awards banquet, held March 13, was a way for Ingham County to recognize members of the community that help with the animals.

“The media that helps and the volunteers are given awards, as well for certain things like the extreme foster award, or those that volunteer over 500 hours, or those in the community that help with monetary donations or advertising for free, things like that,” said Cinnamon Simpson, an awards selection committee member and adoption counselor for the shelter.

Woofer Walk 2014

“We have big things coming up, mainly the Woofer Walk on May 17,” said shelter volunteer Jackie Gates. “We walk on the MSU campus along the river, it’s really beautiful and it’s a fundraiser for the animal care fund, so it’s a great cause.”

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After perfect year, Animal Shelter close to breaking euthanization streak

By Erin Eschels
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Volunteer Jackie Gates works at a pet adoption event at Petco in Lansing Charter Township, Michigan

Volunteer Jackie Gates works at a pet adoption event at Petco in Lansing Charter Township, Michigan

The Ingham County Animal Shelter went all of 2013 without putting down a single animal because of overcrowding. This year, the shelter is struggling to find room with animals coming in every single day, said Director Jamie McAloon-Lampman.

Last year, the shelter took in a little more than 3,300 animals, which was less than normal. In 2012, with more than 3,500 animals coming through the shelter, staff was forced to put down almost 150 animals due to the lack of space. However, this year’s peak summer season of the shelter is quickly approaching. In May through August, the number of animals brought in daily is overwhelming for the shelter’s staff and volunteers.

In hopes of continuing their streak of no animals being put down, volunteers at the shelter run mobile adoption events for on-site adoptions just about every Saturday to increase awareness of the animals.

“These programs that are all funded by donations and all handled with volunteer labor, are what’s actually reducing those numbers of unwanted animals in the community,” said McAloon-Lampman. “That’s what you have to do, reduce that number and then your shelter won’t have to work as hard at finding homes.”

For these weekly events, “the shelter will send some animals that they believe might do well in the mobile area,” said adoption counselor Cinnamon Simpson. “Most of the time, if there are animals in foster, this is the only exposure they get other than the websites.”

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Potter Park Zoo Board welcomes new member, discusses military discount

By Kyle Koehler
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

The Potter Park Zoo Board met Wednesday, Feb. 12 to welcome Kyle Binkley to the board and discuss a military discount.

Binkley is a Lansing native who graduated from Lansing Everett High School. “I’ve always enjoyed (the zoo),” Binkley said.

Binkley works for the state of Michigan and found the position when he was looking for volunteer opportunities in his community.

“This and the city position came up,” Binkley said. “I applied to both.”

The board also discussed the possibility of offering military discounts.

“From time to time, we get asked if we do military discounts,” said Sherrie Graham, the zoo director at Potter Park Zoo. “We don’t.”

Graham said she recently received a message from the National Guard, asking if the zoo would consider having April as Military Discount Month.
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Tri-County Regional Planning Commission look to residents and professionals for brainstorming sessions

By Missy Sebring
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission asked members of nearby communities and professionals from across the country to put their heads together on ways to improve the Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue corridor with a charrette. A charrette is a planning and design session for problem solving.

While these changes won’t happen overnight, they will give the planning commission direction on what the community wants for the future. Open houses and design sessions were held in Lansing and Okemos from Oct. 22-30.

Rick Brown, a member of Tri-County Bike Association, went to the final work-in-progress presentation on Oct. 30 in East Lansing. He said that a major discussion item was the CATA bus rapid transit system and where the endpoint should be.

“They discussed what spaces would be for that terminus end station,” said Brown. “The Best Buy site, the mall site or the Meijer site.”

The planning commission has not made any final decisions, it is just hoping for feedback from the community. It also discussed ways to increase density in areas so that there would be businesses on the main floor and housing above, especially in the Frandor area. The recycling and energy coordinator for Meridian Township, LeRoy Harvey, said that energy use is tied to global change.

“How do we develop and include things like the environment, economy and social well-being as we grow and evolve as a community and as a region?” said Harvey. “If we can save energy, we can address economic and environmental issues.”

Harvey also said it is important that places are created where people want to be.
“Places that are interesting, attractive, fun, full of cultural amenities, and places where you want to hang out,” said Harvey. “Places that are accessible and convenient and rich in the arts.”

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Onondaga Township hopes to purchase Baldwin Park from Ingham County

By Missy Sebring
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Onondaga Township approached Ingham County this year hoping to purchase Baldwin Park from the county and assume responsibility of upkeep and management. The director of parks for Ingham County said it seems to be in favor of this plan because the park is not a lot of work, but is 12 miles from the park center.

“It will just continue to get better because the county doesn’t have the time and resources to manicure it on a daily basis,” said the director of parks for Ingham county, Willis Bennett.

The township felt like this was the right time to take over the park for a combination of reasons.

“It is not a lot of upkeep for the park and we got a new board last year,” said Onondaga Trustee, Russell Bodell. “We are already paying money to the county and the park seems to get less attention every year, so why not take care of it ourselves.”

Bodell said that a master plan is in the works for the park that should take effect once the park is officially owned by the township. The Ingham County Planning Commission will discuss this item during their meeting on November 5 and Bodell is hoping for approval by mid-December.

The master plan includes a hiking trail, a BMX trail, and a canoe and kayak boat launch. They are also hoping to renovate the bathroom, pavilion and fence by the road. Bodell said the township has received minimal oppositions with about one percent or less thinking it is a waste of the township budget.
Bodell said it will rely a lot on volunteers to donate time and hopefully form a group to brainstorm ideas to make the park better every year.

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Ingham County offers Halloween alternatives to Trick-or-Treating

By Missy Sebring
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Ingham County has many Halloween activities planned. Lansing, East Lansing and Meridian Township have alternatives to regular trick-or-treating.
The Potter Park Zoo will be having Boo at the Zoo the weekend of the 24th. According to the special events coordinator at the zoo, Jen Rostar. Families can come in costumes and see the zoo in a different perspective.

“This is something that folks look forward to year after year after year,” said Rostar. “They raise their kids coming to Boo at the Zoo.”

Boo at the Zoo has been celebrated for more than 15 years and is hoping to have anywhere from  5,000-10,000 people. Participation is always weather dependent.
The Lansing Parks and Recreation Department will be having a Candyland Trail and haunted house at the Smith Southside Community Center on Oct. 25. This is the first year that the Candyland Trail will be at this location. The community center programmer, Marcus Wells, hopes that it will bring more options for families who would want a combination of scary and fun.

“Part of our job as a city-run organization is to use people’s tax dollars for events like this and provide them a service,” said Wells. “It’s a fun way to do that and we are able to help them with any other activities they are interested in.”

They are hoping to have anywhere from 50-100 people and the new location creates the potential to grow the event even bigger each year. Wells said it is important to bring the community together and get it involved to make Lansing even stronger.
East Lansing will have a Great Pumpkin Walk for families to visit local businesses that are handing out candy. It will also be having Safe Halloween which is put on by the Michigan State Greek Community.
Meridian Township will host free open houses for residents to attend Oct. 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Families can walk through the Police Department, Fire Department and the local government access channel.

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Ingham County Finance Committee discuss “Z” List for 2014

By Missy Sebring
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

The Ingham County Finance Committee met Sept. 25th to discuss the budget for this year and options for 2014. The committee contemplated what areas to place on the “Z” List, which is additional money for the upcoming year. Some commissioners said the money should be saved and placed in the contingency, while others saw the need to disperse it throughout the county.

“Let’s take the rest of the money, even though after taxes and things it will be a small amount, give it to staff with a thank you for the last five years since the crash of 2008,” said Ingham County Chairperson, Deb Nolan.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Nolan spoke up about dividing a portion of the list into a one-time lump-sum for the 1,200 county employees.

Commissioner Brian McGrain had a different plan for the money.

“I think that the money would be better spent in being used to fill budget holes or to keep people from being laid off,” said McGrain. “I don’t like the idea of giving out a bonus when we’re actually not bringing in enough revenue to cover our expenditures.”

While the “Z” List has $300,000 to spend, it is up to the committee to determine what areas in the county will be allotted money. $225,000 would be the remaining balance that would be divided by county employees.

The committee decided that more details were needed on who would qualify for the bonus before any decisions could be made.
Once the information is received, the committee will decide if any action will be taken in placing the one-time bonus on the “Z” List.

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Ingham County Women’s Commissions nears decision on Everyday Heroine Award recipient

By Rashad Timmons
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

The Ingham County Women’s Commission reviewed the finalists of their bi-annual Everyday Heroine Award on Oct. 9. The commission narrowed the discussion to three women. The finalists included Kristy Medes (Holt), Stephanie Butka (Lansing) and Marcy Bishop Kates (Lansing).

The Everyday Heroine Award is given to women who uplift and enhance
the community through dedication and service said, Commission Representative Dorothy Mitstifer. The award recognizes women who do tremendous work in their daily lives.

“This is award is designed to honor the unsung heroine in the neighborhoods,” said Women’s Commission Representative Deborah Lynch. “It could very well be the grandma that took care of everyone in the neighborhood.”

Lynch said that the award began in 2006, with the first award going to Gail Kleine. The honor was reshaped to commemorate and celebrate the memory of community leader Lucile Belen.

“The award was recreated in honor of Lucile Belen, a former commissioner and Lansing city councilwoman for many years,” said Mitstifer. “She passed away in 2010.”

The award is given at the Ingham County Board of Commissioners’ meeting. Previous winners include: Sara Griffon, Lady Margaret Groves, Rachel Blackledge, Judy Conley and Martha Glynn.

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Board transfers $150 million to MERS employees

By Matthew Pizzo
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

The Ingham County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution recognizing college application week and approved the transfer of $1.5 million dollars to 34 Lansing employees who transferred to the Ingham County 911 center to cover its pensions.

District 3 Commissioner Sarah Anthony said that three Lansing schools: Everett, Eastern and Sexton participated in college application week Nov. 4 to 8.

Anthony said the week is a national movement that encourages first-generation college students and low-income families to apply to at least one college.

Anthony said that during the week many of the colleges and universities will waive their application fees.

“You see a cap and gown on our county seal.” Anthony said. “We need to make sure we not only have these amazing higher education institutions but also have a higher educated work force in our country.”

The commissioners also passed a resolution to transfer 1.5 million dollars to MERS, the Municipal Employees’ Retirement System, for 34 911 employees who transferred from the city of Lansing on July 1, 2012 as part of consolidation efforts.

According to its website, MERS is a public non-profit organization of Michigan that serves municipalities and its employees all across the state.

“This resolution will basically allow the county to temporarily fund the liability as we estimate it,” District 9 Commissioner Carol Koenig said. “The impacted employees can have their retirement rightfully established and funded at MERS.” Continue reading

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New picnic structure coming to Hawk Island Park

By Maleah Egelston
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Next year, visitors to Hawk Island County Park in Lansing will have a new space for picnics and parties. Ingham County parks allocated $11,000 this fall to construct the Hawk Island Cabana picnic structure which will hold around 50 people and have picnic tables.

A large portion of this project is funded by a $5,000 donation from the Friends of Ingham County Parks. The remaining construction costs will be covered by a $6,000 allocation from the Ingham County Capital Improvement Fund.
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