Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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Ingham County weighs in on gay marriage trial

By Whitney Bunn
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

It was a lawsuit that could change the definition of marriage in the State of Michigan.

In 2004, an amendment to Michigan’s constitution recognized marriage only between a man and a woman.

April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse, two nurses from Hazel Park, challenged the ban on gay marriage during a nine-day trial that concluded on Friday, March 7.

The partners sued the state in 2012 seeking the right to marry and adopt children together.

U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman, who presided over the Detroit trial, is deliberating with a decision expected within the next week.

If the amendment is overturned, same-sex marriages will be legal in Michigan.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum says she looks forward to the day that she can perform legal marriage ceremonies for the gay citizens in Ingham County.

“Love is equal. It’s all the same love,” Byrum said. “I look forward to the opportunity to joining same-sex couples in marriage.” Continue reading

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Potter Park Zoo Board discusses new marketing plan

By Kyle Koehler
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Amy Morris, public relations representative from Martin Waymire

Amy Morris, public relations representative from Martin Waymire


On Wednesday, March 12, Amy Morris, public relations representative from the Martin Waymire firm, presented a new marketing plan for 2014 to the Potter Park Zoo Board.

Morris has been working with the zoo since August, when the zoo contracted Martin Waymire. She told the board that the demographic that the zoo needs to reach out to is women between the ages of 25 and 35 that have children, which she calls the “Calling All Moms Campaign.”

“Only two out of three people come to the zoo without children,” Morris said.

Morris plans to reach this demographic by updating the advertising media the zoo is currently using as well as potentially using new forms of media.

Morris has already been using a monthly electronic newsletter to advertise to current members, and said she would continue to do so because it encourages the members to keep coming back.

For events the zoo has planned ahead of time, Morris has prepared material for those newsletters, saying it keeps them “ahead of the curve.”

Morris added that copies of the newsletter could be placed in buildings where the target demographic frequents: doctors’ offices, dentists’ offices and similar places.
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Polar vortex doesn’t deter 30 state officials from taking the Polar Plunge

By Whitney Bunn
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum takes the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics on Feb. 27.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum takes the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics on Feb. 27. Photo by Riley Thyfault.

Fifteen degrees. Six thousand gallons of ice-cold water. One jump.

On Thursday, Feb. 27, several Michigan officials, including Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum , dove into frigid waters participating in the Third Annual Legislative Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Michigan.

Raising more than $30,000, the 30 plungees sported costumes as they jumped into a pool of freezing water in front of the Michigan State Capital.

Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum wore a hot pink bikini – over a black body suit – for her third Polar Plunge.

Her signature jump?

The “Belly Smacker.”

“That’s what I always do,” Byrum said. “That’s about the only jump I know.”

In the wake of this winter’s Polar Vortex, Byrum admitted that this was the coldest day she’s ever jumped.

Despite the arctic temperatures, she adamantly supported the cause. “I think we all have ties to the Special Olympics, whether we know it or not … This allows all people to compete and enjoy sports.” Continue reading

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Sheriff K-9 resolution approved; Circuit Court Family Division gives quarterly report

By Kyle Koehler
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

The Ingham County Law and Courts Committee unanimously approved a replacement of a Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit dog after one’s recent death and heard the Circuit Court Family Division give its quarterly report during its meeting on Feb. 27.

The K-9 resolution requested the purchase of a new dog after Luger, a 5-year-old dog that worked with the department for years, suffered a tragic accident in the recent storm.

Maj. Joel Maatman

Maj. Joel Maatman

Maj. Joel Maatman said that after a particularly bad storm, the dog was in the handler’s house before being taken back to its kennel. The storm flared up again, causing a branch to fall on the kennel and frighten the dog.

“Any time there’s a sound like thunder, dogs get scared,” Maatman said. “The dog ran out and got hit by a car.”

The new dog, which will be purchased through a contract with Mid Michigan Kennels, is quoted to cost $7,500, which includes the purchase of the dog, its transfer from overseas, and the training necessary to bring it up to standards.

Luger’s handler has since been promoted, with the Sheriff’s Department holding interviews later this month.

Maatman hopes to have the new dog by April and fully trained by June 1.

Court Family Division Report

Deputy Court Administrator Maureen Winslow gave the Ingham County Law and Courts Committee a quarterly report on the division’s operations. Continue reading

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Ingham County marries 11 couples on Valentine’s Day

Video by Riley Thyfault
Article by Whitney Bunn
Ingham County Chronicle staff writers

Love was in the air at the Ingham County Courthouse in Mason as County Clerk Barb Byrum married 11 couples on Valentine’s Day.

One couple was Harold and Sue Johnson.

Harold and Sue met online seven years ago, and after two years of dating, they decided to tie the knot.

It was Harold’s idea to make Valentine’s Day the date of their wedding anniversary. “The celebration of love is a good thing… (and) we were ready to make that commitment,” he said.

Clerk Byrum marries Harold and Sue Johnson at the Ingham County Courthouse on Valentine's Day 2014.

Clerk Byrum marries Harold and Sue Johnson at the Ingham County Courthouse on Valentine’s Day 2014.

“(Valentine’s Day) gives you an opportunity to set a landmark in the landscape of your life and build some memories – to celebrate and reflect, and hopefully bond and grow closer,” said Sue Johnson.

Byrum said Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the year for marriage ceremonies. “I think it might have to do with (it being) easier to remember that anniversary date,” she said. “… But I think it is the lovey-dovey stuff.”

Byrum said she has performed more than 300 marriage ceremonies since becoming Ingham County clerk just over a year ago. Continue reading

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Dart Bank plans Mason expansion

By Whitney Bunn
Ingham County Chronicle staff writer

Dart Bank's current branch at 368 S. Park St. in Mason

Dart Bank’s current branch at 368 S. Park St. in Mason

With only one major item on the agenda, the Ingham County Board of Commissioners meeting concluded after a mere 15 minutes on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

A hearing for the expansion of Dart Bank was the main event.

Dart Bank, at 368 S. Park St. in Mason, along with the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, plans to invest $6.5 million in expanding their headquarters within Mason.

The Board of Commissioners heard public comment from four citizens involved in the project.

Sandy Gower, economic development coordinator for the expansion, explained the project in detail. Adjacent to its current Mason branch, the proposed construction site at 222 W. Ash St. would allow the bank’s headquarters to match the needs of its growing customer base. The combined properties equal 3.7 acres. Continue reading

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