Category Archives: Uncategorized

Functional illiteracy rises in Lansing area

By Whitney Bunn
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Read to Succeed volunteer Allison Kramer works with student, Debora, on her reading skills.

Read to Succeed volunteer Allison Kramer works with Lansing area student Debora on her reading skills.

Can you read a pay stub? Understand the directions on a bottle of medicine? Read a menu?

Many adults in the Greater Lansing area can’t.

Adults who are functionally illiterate cannot read above a third-grade level and struggle with everyday tasks.

Between 2000 and 2012, the number of adults in Lansing with a high school diploma has dropped by one percentage point, while those with college degrees have increased by two percentage point. The smart are getting smarter, as the amount of those who lack higher education continue to fall.

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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.
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Ingham County in search for new director of animal control

By Chris Gray
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Donations, monetary and otherwise, make up a large portion of the shelter’s budget. An increased focus on fundraising was one of several ways former director Jamie McAloon-Lampman improved the shelter.

Donations, monetary and otherwise, make up a large portion of the shelter’s budget. An increased focus on fundraising was one of several ways former director Jamie McAloon-Lampman improved the shelter.

The Ingham County Animal Shelter is seeking a new director after Jamie McAloon-Lampman, the leader of the department for nine years, resigned Feb. 5 to take a new position out of state.

McAloon-Lampman implemented several changes to the department, which now features an on-site surgical suite, a new position to investigate animal cruelty and adoption events throughout the year. McAloon-Lampman also increased fundraising dollars and volunteer hours to levels the department has never experienced, leaving big shoes to fill for the next director.

The board of commissioners established a committee to search for a new director. Commissioner Rebecca Bahar-Cook is the chairperson of the eight-person committee. Bahar-Cook said the county will look for qualified candidates to ensure the department retains its level of success.

“We are looking for a candidate that will maintain the quality of the stay for the animals and save as many as possible by trying to find a good home.” Bahar-Cook said.

Before working for the county, McAloon-Lampman worked for the humane society. As a result, the department fosters the qualities of a shelter instead of a typical “catch and kill” animal control.

“It is hard to go from a humane society background to animal control,” Bahar-Cook said. “We were very fortunate.”  Continue reading

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Commissioners pass resolution calling for equality in Michigan

By Chris Gray
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

A resolution calling for recognition of same-sex marriages in Ingham County was met with praise and opposition from commissioners.

A resolution calling for recognition of same-sex marriages in Ingham County was met with praise and opposition from commissioners.

The Ingham County board of commissioners had a 40-item agenda for their March 25 meeting that included a resolution calling on the state of Michigan and its attorney general to recognize the same-sex marriages performed in the county over the weekend.

 On March 21, U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman ruled that Michigan’s voter-approved 2004 constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. At the time, Bernard’s ruling briefly allowed same-sex weddings. County Clerk Barb Byrum opened her office to wed same-sex couples on Saturday but was unable to continue during the week because a stay was issued a short time later – meaning the ban was back in effect.

Byrum took advantage of the public comment period during the meeting to discuss how Saturday’s opening of the County Courthouse became possible. Byrum said all but one employee was able to work on Saturday, which allowed her to issue marriage licenses before Monday, the next official business day.

“I couldn’t sleep that Friday night knowing that I would be making so many couples who have waited decades to marry their partner wait two more days,” Byrum said.  Continue reading

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County Parks Department eyes millage in November election

By Chris Gray
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Since 2009, the Ingham County Parks department has had less money appropriated toward its general fund every year. Funding for the 2012 fiscal year was $1.22 million which is 62% of the amount appropriated in 2009.

Since 2009, the Ingham County Parks department has had less money appropriated toward its general fund every year. Funding for the 2012 fiscal year was $1.22 million which is 62% of the amount appropriated in 2009.

The Ingham County Parks Department is eyeing a potential millage to help increase its budget to make up for shortfalls in past years and improve park services across the county. The millage is still in the early stages of planning but could be on the ballot for Nov 4.

For the millage proposal to make it to the ballot, it must first be approved by the County Services Committee. The proposal has been a topic of discussion at recent meetings and will continue to be. Once the County Services Committee has decided on language for the millage, it will move on to the county commissioners. The 14 commissioners have the final say on whether the millage should proceed to voters.

Because the millage is still in planning, there is no definite amount or timeframe yet. According to Willis Bennett, director of the Ingham County Parks Department, the amount could be equal or less than a previous millage proposal of 0.5 mills.

If passed at 0.5 mills, the millage would cost $50 for a homeowner of a house with a market value of $200,000, raising millions of dollars for the parks department. The length of the millage has not been decided.  Continue reading

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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 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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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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