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Veterans are a shrinking part of county’s homeless population

By Xin Wen
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

Around 6.5 percent of people living in Ingham County — 14,808 residents — have veteran status in Ingham County, according to the Census Reporter web site.

And the number of those who are homeless is quickly dropping. The total count of homeless veterans in the city of Lansing decreased from 485 to 241 during the year 2015, according to the 2015 homeless data from City of Lansing Human Relations and Community Service Department.

U.S Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to ending homelessness among veterans. There were 2,490 veterans who received VA Disability Compensation or Pension benefits during 2015 in Ingham County, according to a report.

Thompson said she was glad to see the result.

“Lansing and the state Michigan Veterans Agency have been working very hard to move the vets from the homeless shelters to their places, most likely with HUDVSH assistance,” said Brook Thompson, a veteran, the board chairperson of the Michigan Women’s Commission and the representative on the veteran subcommittee. “In the last three years there has been a statewide effort to coordinate better support activities for vets, so it is more of a ‘one stop shop’ kind of activity. I am glad to see that it appears to be working.”

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Schools are not immune from discrimination

By Xin Wen
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

Discrimination is a wide problem in modern society, and schools are not immune.

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Since 2010, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights received 1,305 education contacts. The department has started 445 educational complaint investigations.

“Individuals can first file a complaint with us and then we will start our investigation process,” said Mark C. Bishop, who is the strategic partnership coordinator at the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. “If you file the complaint, we will first do the investigation and find out what’s going on for the complaint. Then we can make a decision that is this the discrimination.”

Bishop said even though it’s an individual experience, the issue can be much bigger once the issue is determined. The department will have a long and efficient complaint investigation process to protect everyone’s rights.

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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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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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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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County to seek grant for park and landing renovations, construction

By Xin Wen
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

At the Feb. 29 Ingham County Parks and Recreation Commission meeting, there was a recommendation to the Ingham County Parks Department to apply for grants to renovate the overlook shelter and picnic area at Burchfield Park.

Ingham county parks-burchfield park project budget sheet

Ingham County Parks-Burchfield Park project budget sheet

The department would apply to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for a Recreation Passport grant to fund those renovations and also the construction of a canoe/kayak launch at McNamara Landing for the purpose of providing a universally-accessible landing site.

Jeff Dehl, the manager of Burchfield Park, said the grant money would improve public accessibility and enhance recreational experience, promote recreational activity and healthy lifestyles, promote local tourism, and create economic benefits, among other benefits.

Laura Granger, from the Washtanong, a non-profit river conservancy, said she totally agrees with theidea and the commission can try to gather voluntary contributions of money or other resources through fundraisers.

“I consider this a wonderful addition to the trails for the county,” Granger said. “I wanted to suggest perhaps that we ask people to buy into this with a fundraiser. It will give us a second thing and that is once you have people buy in and donate their money then they kick a little ownership and it also supplies a little more funding and makes people aware of what’s going on.”

These projects will be included as an amendment to the current five year Master Plan.

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Credit card fraud an ongoing problem locally, nationally

By Xin Wen
Ingham County Chronicle Staff Reporter

Ten percent of Americans have been victims of credit card fraud, according to the Statistic Brain Web. Some of those victims are from Ingham County.

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“I have twice” been a victim, Ted Johnson, a bus driver, said.

Johnson said he got the verification from his bank first, but he did not report it to the police.

Thomas Holt, an assistant professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University, said fraud can manifest itself in different ways.

“Card data is obtained in various ways. For instance, information can be acquired through phishing emails or malware that captures keystrokes entered in web browsers which are then sent to the criminal,” Holt said. “Info can also be obtained through mass data breaches where someone hacks a database of information or point of sale terminal inside a store enabling access to customer data as it is entered.”

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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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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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New opportunities coming for Capital Area students

By Ashley Jayne
Ingham County Chronicle

 

Four programs are being added at the Capital Area Career Center for the 2015-2016 school year. These are cyber security and digital forensics, aviation, bioscience, and the Insurance Leadership Academy.  The programs offer students the opportunity to earn college and high school credit, as well as specific career certifications over the course of a year.

Students in the entertainment technology program work together to fix the wireless microphone system, among other pieces of equipment in the Haslett High School auditorium.

Students in the entertainment technology program work together to fix the wireless microphone system, among other pieces of equipment in the Haslett High School auditorium.

According to Ingham Intermediate School District Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Cindy Anderson, programs at the Career Center are under constant review and change in order to align with labor market demands.

 

Micki O’Neil, director of public relations and communication for the Career Center, said “These programs were chosen because these are growing fields with high skill, high wage and high demand positions.”

 

Aviation Academy

In the aviation program, students will have the opportunity to obtain a private pilot’s license and gain exposure to other careers in aviation. For flight lessons, the Capital Area Career Center has partnered with Crosswinds Aviation in Howell. According to Crosswinds owner Andrea Dahline, students that complete their private pilot license in this program will have an advantage in college aviation programs.

 

“It would save them between $4,000 and $7,000 for the private license, and get them about one semester to one year ahead in earning their flight ratings,” said Dahline.

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers in aviation could increase by 8 to 14 percent in demand between 2012 and 2022.

 

Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics

In the cyber security and digital forensics program, students will learn basic computer security and security awareness, as well as implementing countermeasures and methods of deception. This program is made possible by partnerships with Davenport University, Baker College, and Ferris State University. Morris Fulcher, associate dean of computer information systems at Baker College in Owosso said that in the Career Center program students will learn about the computer equipment involved in cyber defense.

 

“Before you can get into cyber defense, you must know the equipment and its faults or vulnerabilities,” said Fulcher. “Cyber defense employees must know strengths and weaknesses of a system in order to close the weaknesses or gaps in defense.”

 

Demand in cyber security careers is expected to increase by 37 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Bioscience Careers

The bioscience program will allow students to explore a variety of careers including zoology, microbiology, agronomy, and veterinary science. Students will gain hands-on experience in class as well as a wide range of options in career certifications. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted an increase in demand for the field overall, but numbers differ for each career area within it.

Career demand is expected to grow in various bioscience career fields.

Career demand is expected to grow in various bioscience career fields.

 

Insurance Leadership Academy

Students in the Insurance Leadership academy will gain experience with professionals by spending two days a week at Accident Fund Insurance, as well as learn about the insurance field by spending three days a week in class. Students can earn nine college credits through Olivet College and Ferris State University. In addition, students will have the opportunity to obtain an A.I.N.S. designation.

 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40 percent of insurance professionals are age 55 or older, which means that demand will soon be very high.

 

While these programs are beginning at the Career Center, other programs will be cut. According to Anderson, this is mainly due to low enrollment.

 

One program that will be closed at the end of the school year is Students in Entertainment Technology. The program takes place in the Haslett High School auditorium and was established in 2005. Students in the program learn how to work with sound and light equipment as well as projection equipment, stage set building and curtain running. According to the program instructor Patrick Hepfer, students gain a wide variety of experience in his class.

 

“The students won’t master anything from their time in here, but they will gain valuable experience with everything,” said Hepfer.

 

Anderson said that, in addition to low enrollment, concerns with the program, include the lack of transportation for students, and it is a two-year program that has only one year of curriculum written.

 

As the program will no longer be available, juniors will have to enroll in a different program for the 2015 to 2016 school year if they wish to continue their education with the Career Center. Junior Julian Reddick said he would have returned to the entertainment technology program, but now plans to enroll in the construction program.
“I had a lot of experience with construction this year, so I feel like I have enough experience to go to that program next year,” said Reddick.

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