Category Archives: Community

Ingham County population much more mobile than state, national averages

By Xin Wen
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

The percentage of people who are geographically mobile in Ingham County is nearly double the rate in Michigan and even the national percentage.

In Ingham County, 27.4 percent of people have moved since the previous year, according to the censusreporter.org.The national rate of geographically mobility people is 14.9 percent, while the percentage in the state of Michigan is also at 14.9 percent>.

Data from censusreporter.org showing that the percentage of population moving within Ingham County is 14 percent, which is about 1.5 times the rate in Michigan.

Data from censusreporter.org showing that the percentage of Ingham’s population moving from different counties is 10 percent, which more than double the rate in Michigan.

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Eighty more miles of bicycle paths coming to Ingham County

By Griffin Wasik
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

The Meridian Township Board of Commissioners recently unanimously passed a revision to the Pedestrian-Bicycle Master Plan will add nearly 80 more miles of bicycle paths on shoulders of roads, cross-country paths, and unpaved roads to Ingham County.

Meridian Township Municipal Building. Photo by Griffin Wasik

Meridian Township Municipal Building. Photo by Griffin Wasik

There are currently about 110 miles of such paths, according to meeting officials.

The plan will improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists who are trying to access parks, businesses, or people out exercising, according to meeting officials.

The master plan deals with much bigger things, Ron Styka, a trustee member on the Meridian Township Board of Commissioners, said.

“Our goal is to have people be able to travel anywhere in this township by biking or hiking all the way to Lansing,” Styka said. “We are going to have to find other funding sources for that, probably both federal and state money. Our budget will not allow us to do that by ourselves.”

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Filed under Community, Environment, Events, Government, Ingham County, Michigan, Parks, Schools, Uncategorized

Big changes may be coming to Mason Public Schools, if voters are willing to foot the bill

By Griffin Wasik
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

The Mason Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of the Facilities Improvement Steering Committee to place a $79,845,000 bond on the May 3, ballot, according to a school board meeting.

Mason High School. Photo by Griffin Wasik

Mason High School.
Photo by Griffin Wasik

If approved, the bond would fund facility improvements, security upgrades, and new technology at all school buildings in the district, according to discussions at meeting.

Money from the bond would buy new computers and tablets for students to use for educational purposes, according to meeting officials.

“This has a $4.5 million investment in technology over nine years,” Mason Public Schools District Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki said. “It will allow us to provide more 21st century environments technology driven. This will allow us to provide more devices at the hands of our students and teachers. We will also improve our infrastructure and wireless internet capacity.”

If approved, the millage rate would increase to 6.85 mills, which is still one of the lowest rates in Ingham County, according to officials at the meeting.

Homeowners would approximately have to pay $13 more per month for every $100,000 in market value of their home, according to officials at the meeting.

The bond will address the overcrowding issue in the district by building a new fourth/fifth grade building. Today, the district’s elementary schools average 484 students, but were designed for an average of 405 students, according to officials at the meeting.

“The new four/five grade building will immediately release the overcrowding in the elementary schools,” Drzewicki said. “It will take the fourth- and fifth-graders of the current kindergarten through fifth grade buildings and allow those buildings to breathe. There will be more space for classrooms and less traffic because the fourth- and fifth-graders will be going to the four/five building.”

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Filed under Arts, Business, Community, Environment, Events, Ingham County, Intermeidate school district, Michigan, Schools

Opioid-related deaths on the rise in Ingham County

By Andrew Merkle
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

The Ingham County Health Department reported that opioid-related deaths have increased by nearly 66 percent over the last five years after a relatively constant rate from 2003-2010.

Opioid-related deaths have been increasing at an alarming rate in Ingham County in recent years. Source: Ingham County Health Department.

Opioid-related deaths have been increasing at an alarming rate in Ingham County in recent years. Source: Ingham County Health Department.

Heroin is the most common narcotic among the 50 opioid-related deaths in Ingham County last year, according to the Ingham County Health Department.

Ingham County is not an anomaly, either. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heroin-related overdose deaths had nearly quadrupled nationwide between 2002 and 2013, with more than 8,200 such deaths occurring in 2013.

As the county and nation are seeing an increase in opioid-related overdose deaths, it should surprise no one that the state of Michigan has seen an increased rate in opioid-related hospitalizations as well.

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Ingham County residents stunned, disappointed by prosecutor’s arrest

By Griffin Wasik, Andy Merkle, and Xin Wen
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporters

Ingham County residents were stunned, shocked, and disappointed upon learning that Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III was arrested due to a human trafficking investigation.

Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office in Lansing. Photo by Griffin Wasik

Ingham County Prosecutor’s Office in Lansing. Photo by Griffin Wasik

Tina Timm, a professor at the School of Social Work at Michigan State University, said she was stunned with Dunnings’ arrest.

“He was such a strong advocate to eliminate those issues,” Timm said. “It’s fascinating to me, the louder they protest something, and the more of a psychological need there is to actually do these things behind the scenes.

“Dunnings’ wife also filed for divorce. This is very common in a situation like this. She felt betrayed and it is good that she doesn’t feel like she has to side with him.”

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth announced 15 criminal charges in Ingham, Clinton, and Ionia counties, according to a press release.

The mug shot of Stuart Dunnings III, taken shortly after his recent arrest for prostitution-related charges. Photo courtesy the Michigan Attorney General's Office.

The mug shot of Stuart Dunnings III, taken shortly after his recent arrest for prostitution-related charges. Photo courtesy the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.

“A personal comment. I have worked with Stuart Dunnings while I have served as attorney general,” Schuette said at an announcement in Lansing on March 14. “I am saddened that an elected official who holds a special trust from voters and is the chief prosecutor in our capital city would allegedly engage in conduct causing felony and misdemeanor charges to be filed.”

Dunnings was charged with one count of prostitution, 10 counts of engaging in the services of prostitution and four counts of willful neglect of duty, according to the release.

Ingham County Field and Staff Services Major Joel Maatman commented on Dunnings’ arrest.

“I, like many that have known him for over 25 years, am very stunned by it,” Maatman said.

Doug Rutherford, a Lansing resident, said Dunnings misrepresented the public and broke his trust.

“I thought he did not have the character to be able to maintain office,” Rutherford said. “I am not shocked because that kind of stuff goes on today, but I’m disappointed. I think he will bargain to get a reduced sentence.”

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Filed under CATA, Community, Events, Government, Ingham County, Law enforcement, Michigan, Uncategorized

First reported case of Zika Virus in Ingham County

By Griffin Wasik
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

The first reported case of the Zika Virus in Michigan occurred in Ingham County on Feb. 23, health officials said in a press release.

The patient, a female resident of Ingham County, caught the virus when traveling in a country where Zika can be passed on, according to the release.

The patient, who was not pregnant, had Zika symptoms shortly after returning to Michigan, according to the release.

“This person who has/had Zika, picked it up elsewhere,” Dr. Edward D. (“Ned”) Walker, professor in the Department of Entomology and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Michigan State University, said. “Almost any Zika case you get in the United States is going to be travel-related.”

While traveling to countries Zika is found, you should wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Also, be sure to stay in places with air conditioning or that use window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out, according to the release.

“This is the time of year when many Michigan residents are traveling to warmer climates. If you have plans to travel to areas where Zika Virus is present, take precautions to prevent mosquito bites. If you are pregnant, or may become pregnant, consider postponing your trip,” Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement.

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Filed under Community, Environment, Health, Ingham County, Michigan, Travel

Democrats dominate Ingham County Board of Commissioners. Why?

By Griffin Wasik
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

Eleven out of 14 members on the Ingham County Board of Commissioners belong to the Democratic Party.

Who represents each district and how many people they represent. Photo from Ingham.org. Republican and Democratic colors by Griffin Wasik

Who represents each district and how many people they represent. Photo from Ingham.org. Republican and Democratic colors by Griffin Wasik

And Democrats control all countywide elected offices as well, Democrat Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum of Onondaga said. “There are six countywide elected officials for Ingham County and they are all Democrats. Then there are the 14 commissioners that represent portions of the county,” only three of which are Republicans.

That’s no surprise, given the county’s demographics. Lansing, East Lansing and Meridian Township all tend to consist of Democrats, Democrat Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing of East Lansing said.

“Generally speaking, university towns and the area around them consist of more Democrats all across the country,” Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Michigan State University Sarah Reckhow said.

“Party identification is related to race and income,” Reckhow said. “For instance, non-white voters are more likely to support Democrats and income is also related to what party people support. So the poorer you are, the more likely you are to vote Democratic.”

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Filed under Community, Elections, Government, Ingham County, Local Elections, Michigan, Schools

Downtown Lansing working on being “a place where people want to be”

By Griffin Wasik
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

Pavillon on Grand River. In the summer, this area is used for summer concerts. Photo by Griffin Wasik

Pavilion on Grand River. In the summer, this area is used for summer concerts. Photo by Griffin Wasik

LANSING — Downtown Lansing is busy. The city attracts tens of thousands of people from all over the state to work and attend festivities every day, Layna Anderson, communications and marketing manager of Downtown Lansing Inc., said.

According to the U.S. Census, Ingham County contains 22,700 firms. Lansing is responsible for roughly 37 percent of the total number of firms in Ingham County with 8,363.

The capital city contains many businesses, Anderson said.

“Downtown Lansing Inc. wants to make Lansing a place where people want to be,” Anderson said. “I help organize annual events in the city. One event I’m in charge of is Silver Bells in the City which attracts about 80,000 people.”

Around 34,000 people work in downtown Lansing, Anderson said.

“Downtown Lansing is really the hub of the region and its daytime population due to state workers and other venues make it very busy,” Wayne Beyea, an urban and regional planning professor at Michigan State University, said.

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Filed under Business, Community, Events, Ingham County, Jobs, Michigan, Uncategorized

Phone scam warning from Ingham County Sheriff’s Office

Ingham County street sign at intersection of W. Columbia and S. Waverly Road. Photo by Griffin Wasik

Ingham County street sign at intersection of West Columbia and South Waverly Road. Photo by Griffin Wasik

By Griffin Wasik
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

MASON — Ingham County Sheriff Gene L. Wriggelsworth is warning residents of a phone scam where two victims have lost a total of $800.

Even though the number on your caller ID may be the same number as the sheriff’s office, do not be fooled. The suspect uses a phone application where it disguises, or uses another phone number and identity, Wriggelsworth said.

“It’s typically a male subject who has a foreign accent and he identifies himself from the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office,” Lt. Dennis Hull, of the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office, said. “He’s using a spoof app. It looks like he’s calling from the sheriff’s office.”

Ingham County Sheriff's Office is just off U.S. Highway 127. Photo by Griffin Wasik

Ingham County Sheriff’s Office is just off U.S. Highway 127. Photo by Griffin Wasik

“Fraudsters are more likely to be male than female, but that’s not ironclad,”
Dr. David L. Carter, professor in the School of Criminal Justice and Director of the Intelligence Program at Michigan State University, said.

“Phone spoofing is pretty low-tech,” Carter said. “They randomly call numbers within the area code. Fraudsters know that they are playing a game of probability, that most people will not fall for the scam. However, all they need is a handful of people to fall for it and they will make money.”

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by | February 17, 2016 · 1:32 pm

Influx of Asian students at MSU is diversifying Ingham County as a whole

The Greater Lansing Chinese New Year Celebration Gala

The Greater Lansing Chinese New Year Celebration Gala

By Xin Wen
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

EAST LANSING — There were 7,568 international students enrolled in fall 2015 at Michigan State University. International student enrollment has grown 28.3 percent over the last five years, according to the 2015 Statistical Report of Michigan State University.

Those students have also been broadening Ingham County’s diversity, and its bottom line.

International students and their families contributed a net $308.0 million and supported 4,721 jobs in the Lansing economy in the 2014-2015 school year, according to NAFSA.org.

In Ingham County, 9,691 residents were born in Asia, according to Mooseroots. A Chinese New Year celebration was held by Greater Lansing Chinese Association in the Meridian Mall on Feb 9.

Christin O’Brien is living in the Lansing area. She said what she loves about the community is the diversity and richer culture international students bring.

“I work down here, but I lived in the East Lansing area,” O’Brien said. “What I loved about having more diversity and a richer culture, mixed people. You get more restaurants; you have more events. For me, it’s more diversity in the community.”

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