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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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Strong Start. Healthy Start. works to decrease infant mortality rate in Ingham

Infant Mortality Rate Graph

All data is from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

By Jamie Brewer
Ingham County Chronicle

Ingham County Maternal Child Health Division is working to make the lives of expectant mothers and their newborn babies healthier through workshops and home visits.

Infant mortality rate is often an indicator of poverty and lack of health care in urban areas, but also a lack of education. The Ingham County Health Department is working to make resources available to mothers and expectant mothers who want to be educated.

Ingham County had an infant mortality rate of 7.2 per 1,000 live births. In the 2011-2013 three-year average. This average has gone up in the last year and is exceeding the statewide rate.

It is common for the infant mortality rate to be higher in an urban area than in  a suburban, primarily white city, according to Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail.

Vail calculates the infant mortality rate in Ingham County by doing a five-year average rather than comparing year to year to help ensure accuracy.
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Koenigsknecht named new Ingham ISD superintendent

Kogut said Koenigsknecht is the perfect man to replace him as superintendent.

Kogut said Koenigsknecht is the perfect man to replace him as superintendent.

By Blake Froling
Ingham County Chronicle

The Ingham Intermediate School District has selected Dr. Scott Koenigsknecht to be the new superintendent. He will begin work July 1 after the retirement of current superintendent Stanley Kogut Jr. 

“I’m very excited and eager and honored to be selected as the next superintendent of Ingham ISD,” said Koenigsknecht. “They have an excellent reputation throughout the state for the services they provide to the 12 local school districts and public school academies that they serve. I am honored to be chosen and excited to get started.”

Koenigsknecht was the superintendent for Montcalm County ISD for the past eight years. He also served as a local superintendent for six years prior to holding that position.

“I do believe the board picked the right person,” said Kogut. “He’s been ISD superintendent, he’s been a local superintendent and he’s had other experiences, so the process was very well thought out and went very well for us.”

Koenigsknecht signed a three-year contract that officially begins July 1, but he said he wants to get started two days earlier on Monday, June 29. Retiring Superintendent Kogut held the position since July 2005.

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Frequent riders of CATA’s route one look forward to its new look

By Kellie Van Maele
The Ingham County Chronicle

INGHAM COUNTY—Bus Rapid Transit, a $145 million project by CATA, has riders and employees very interested in the future of route one along Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue. The project would benefit residents in Lansing, East Lansing, Meridian and surrounding communities with the hopes to improve and expand public transportation in the area.
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Currently, the corridor has a higher population and employment density than the region as a whole and, according to Robison, is expected to continue to increase.

“Route one, which currently operates on the corridor, is frequently at or above capacity,” Robison said. “Each week, 10 to 14 trips are over capacity and unable to accommodate passengers waiting to board, but the BRT project will allow more people to move quickly through the constrained corridor.”

The Bus Rapid Transit would differ from CATA’s current buses.

“Initially, it is proposed that buses along the BRT would operate every six minutes using 60-foot articulated BRT buses, compared to the current buses which run every nine minutes using 40-foot buses,” Robison said. “This accomplishes the region’s goal to maximize the number of people who are capable of moving along the corridor.”

Michael Buck, 45, of Lansing says he looks forward to the changes because of his daily dependence on route one.

“I ride the route one seven days a week to get around, but lately it has been really important,” Buck said. “Being sober for four months has really taken a toll, but I can count on the CATA to get me to AA meetings every week. I honestly depend on the bus system more than anything else these days. It has allowed me to stay focused on making my life better.”

Michael Buck on one of his daily trips on route one.

Michael Buck on one of his daily trips on route one.

Buck was very pleased.

“I really think it would be awesome because it gets pretty packed on the buses,” Buck said. “Especially the route one because rather than just students it’s also a lot of older people that need more space and accommodations.”
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Design For America works with North School to teach 5th grade class about alternative energy, apart from standardized tests

 The organization is attending Sarah Laurens’ fifth grade class at North School in Lansing in May to teach them how to use alternative energy.


The organization is attending Sarah Laurens’ fifth grade class at North School in Lansing in May to teach them how to use alternative energy.

By Jamie Brewer
Ingham County Chronicle

The East Lansing Design For America division is working to find a way to help elementary students at low-income schools in Lansing learn about alternative energy in an interactive and fun way.

DFA is a national organization that uses design to create social impact, according to East Lansing DFA President Evan Fried.

The question the group came up with was, “How can we assist teachers in low-income schools in teaching alternative energy in an attractive way?” DFA member Hannah Hunter said.

Low-income schools’ main focus is raising standardized tests scores, according to Sarah Laurens, a fifth grade teacher at Lansing’s North School. Therefore the teachers at North School were excited to have DFA step in and help encourage alternative ways of learning to the students.

“In particular, I enjoyed their open-mindedness and flexibility towards working with my students who are predominantly non-native English speakers,” Laurens said.

North School is a kindergarten through sixth grade elementary school with over 600 students. A majority of these students are English learners. Many of the students have come from war-torn countries with interruptions in their education or from refugee camps in Lansing. North School also has an autism program, a deaf and hard-of-hearing program and a cognitively impaired program, according to Laurens.

Laurens said there is a lot of stress for teachers to focus on raising standardized test scores which may be hurting teachers and students.

“I feel a haunting sense of sadness, as my gut tells me that we are sliding backwards into an atlas-style teaching model of the 1950s while paying lip service to cutting-edge, research-based teaching models,” Laurens said.
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Lower Michigan Horse Association Horse Show meets Ingham County

By Darien Velasquez
Ingham County Chronicle

horse

INGHAM COUNTY – The Lower Michigan Horse Association Horse Show will make its return April 17-19. The association will be hosting the show at the Ingham County Fairgrounds and Exposition Center. In the week before, the association will be onsite to prep the fairgrounds as well as further horse and horse exhibitor recruitment. According to the association, it can assist to prepare the necessary stall equipment if you do not know the necessary preparations.

The focus for this year’s show is to promote interest in all breeds of horses. According to organizer Karol Holzhei, this covers a wide rage of horses such as american quarter horse, arabians, and even draft breeds. Someone can expect to show or see horses like thoroughbreds, ponies, warmbloods, appaloosa, the morgan horse, grade horses, gaited breeds and many more. “Our mission is to support family based activities in the equine field.” said Holzhei. There will be a series of performances, also known as classes, for prizes in different categories.

According to Secretary Leroy Aune, you can still be involved in the event by still entering your horse or by sponsoring. This show provides opportunities to view and show horses as well as meet and socialize with others in the community. Aune said “We’re promoting more horse shows, plus we introduce awesome competition to the other horse show members in the greater lansing area.”

The show is open for all to attend. There is a membership offered to participants who choose, they also receive the perks of using the blanket fee as well as other benefits.

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Opportunities in insurance come to the Capital Area Career Center

By Ashley Jayne
Ingham County Chronicle

Ingham Intermediate Board members listen as the Insurance Leadership Academy program is announced.

Ingham Intermediate Board members listen as the Insurance Leadership Academy program is announced.

The new Insurance Leadership Academy program was announced at the March 17 Ingham County Intermediate Board of Education meeting. The program, run through the Capital Area Career Center, will provide high school juniors and seniors with opportunities to get experience in the insurance field. Earning college credit is also possible with this program as the Career Center has partnered with Olivet College and Ferris State University. Students will gain hands-on experience by working at Accident Fund Insurance three days a week.

Students in the Insurance Leadership academy will spend approximately half of each school day in the program classes. Three days a week will be devoted to learning about insurance in a class room environment and the other two days will be spent at Accident Fund to gain field experience. There will be morning and afternoon sections. Students in the morning session will go to Lansing Eastern High School for their class days. Those in the afternoon session will go to the Capital Area Career Center.

The Insurance Leadership Academy in Ingham County is modeled after a program in Eaton County. Olivet College student Leah Lupu attended the Eaton County program in its second year. Lupu said she felt far more prepared than her peers as a college freshman because of her participation in the program. She also said that, because she had a basic knowledge of the field before attending college, she was able to obtain two licenses to sell insurance.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Cindy Anderson said the insurance program is one of four being brought to the Capital Area Career Center for next year because insurance will soon be a career with very high demand. According to Communications Director of the Insurance Institute of Michigan Lori Conarton, 40 percent of the insurance industry’s workforce is age 55 or older and will be retiring soon.

While students are able to earn nine college credits in the program, Lansing School District Superintendent for Instruction Mark Coscarella said the aim of the program is to give students enough experience to get an entry level job in insurance immediately after high school graduation. It will also prepare those who are college bound to excel in college programs that are relative to insurance.

Students who wish to enroll in the program for the 2015 to 2016 school year must send in an application. The program is open only to high school juniors and seniors, and there is room for 22 students in each section. Transportation will be provided to students to and from the program. Informational meetings will be held on April 22 and May 20 from 6-7 p.m. at the Capital Area Career Center. In addition, more information about the program and insurance careers can be found at insuringmifuture.org.

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CATA’s $145 million Bus Rapid Transit looks to transform bus system on Grand River and Michigan Avenue

By Kellie Van Maele
The Ingham County Chronicle

Every morning, Michigan State University freshman Krista Dunger gathers her belongings and heads to the CATA route one station outside of her apartment complex. Being a frequent rider, Dunger is aware of an upcoming change that would transform Michigan Avenue and Grand River Avenue before she graduates.

The revitalization promises faster, easier and more efficient rides to its 1.8 million riders per year, which is very pleasing to Dunger because, compared to other students, she has some extra baggage to carry.

A new BRT bus courtesy of CATA's website.

A new BRT bus courtesy of CATA’s website.

“Having a baby and trying to juggle school is definitely not easy, but route one has been so reliable,” Dunger said, “Hearing of the upcoming changes to route one is exciting because it will make my commutes to campus and work so much easier.”

Laurie Robison, director of marketing at CATA, said that the new bus system will be more accommodating to riders.

“Right now at peak times, CATA is unable to accommodate all customers who want to ride because the busses are too crowded,” Robison said. “It is proposed that new buses along the new route would operate every six minutes using 60-foot buses, compared to the current 40-foot busses operating every 10 minutes, which adds capacity and improves the frequency without negatively impacting automobile traffic.”
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County commissioners amend a 2014 resolution

By Ashley Jayne
Ingham County Chronicle

Ingham County commissioners talk before the start of the meeting.

Ingham County commissioners talk before the start of the meeting.

The Ingham County Board of Commissioners has voted to authorize a subcontract with the South Lansing Community Development Association for $25,952. The resolution for the subcontract passed unanimously and was discussed at the March 10 meeting. It amends a resolution that was passed in October 2014 to subcontract with several other nonprofit organizations in Ingham County. The contracts were authorized for the period of Oct. 1, 2014, through Sept. 30, 2015.

According to Commissioner Brian McGrain, the subcontract with the South Lansing Community Development Association was accidentally omitted from the original resolution.

“Contracts can essentially only be authorized by board action, and it was discovered after the fact that we hadn’t officially authorized their inclusion,” said McGrain. “I believe it was discovered when contracts were being written.”

McGrain also said the Association was included in original resolution, and that there will be no additional costs.
According to Commissioner Todd Tennis, the association has been subcontracting since 2008, as well as several other nonprofit organizations.

“Agencies provide quarterly reports, including programmatic and financial data, on their activities and services,” said Tennis. “Currently, we only use the information to ensure that sites are holding up to their contractual agreements.”

According to McGrain, the organizations included in the resolution act as liaisons between the board and the communities in Ingham County.

Kathie Dunbar is the executive director of the South Lansing Community Development Association. She said one of the biggest functions of the association is to provide neighborhoods access to community gardens and healthy food.
According to the Association’s website, southlansing.org, other goals include advocating for policies that benefit the community, connecting residents to community resources and encouraging local commerce.

Some of the other organizations under contract with the Board of Commissioners include the Allen Neighborhood Center, North West Initiative and the South Side Community Coalition.

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Lake Lansing South summer concert series promises free family fun

By Kellie Van Maele
The Ingham County Chronicle

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INGHAM COUNTY— The Lake Lansing South Band Shell committee recently announced the concert lineup for the 2015 summer concert series. Starting on June 5, there will be a free concert every Friday for 13 weeks. All performances start at 7 p.m. and will last approximately two hours. The bandshell is located at 1621 Pike Street in Haslett.

The committee’s goals are to keep the concerts free, as well as bring in a variety of bands.

“Most importantly we want our community members to be able to enjoy a free night of entertainment,” said Pat Witte, park manager. “It’s a great way to spend a Friday night, especially because it is so family-oriented.”

The goal of the concert series is to bring the community together, but also allow give local bands and businesses exposure.

“Monthly meetings begin in October of each year to start planning,” said Angus McIntosh, committee chairman. “We begin listening to demos of groups in November and December, and narrow down the near 40 entries to 13.”

Committee members bring in a wide variety of bands, from oldies to soul this series.
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