City Council confirms new representative for airport authority

By Connor Hansen
The Lansing Star

LANSING — The Lansing City Council voted unanimously to confirm the appointment of John Shaski to be Lansing’s representative to the Capital Region Airport Authority at their meeting Monday, Oct 14. Shaski, currently a government relations officer at Sparrow Health System,will become a member of a board with representatives from both Lansing and Ingham County. This will be a term lasting until Sept. 30, 2018.

Shaski said the airport is a major asset to the community with state government, Michigan State University and major national companies close by.

Shaski knows the importance of the airport first hand, frequently traveling for business and racking up about 80,000 miles per year.

“I’m a frequent traveler and recognize that it’s a valued community asset in the region. By nature and by profession, I’m an advocate for the airport,” Shaski said.

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Lansing City Council after voting to confirm.

He has always been interested in public service. “I’ve always been interested in getting more involved in local and city issues, and I worked closely with the Mayor’s office in my profession,” Shaski said.

“The board oversees the operations of the airport, and it’s a joint board made up of members appointed by the city of Lansing, who are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the city council,” said Chris Swope, Lansing city clerk. Continue reading

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Schuette considered favorite for reelection

By Connor Hansen
The Lansing Star

LANSING — In the upcoming election for Michigan’s attorney general, incumbent Bill Schuette appears to some to be the heavy favorite. Schuette, a Republican, was elected in 2010 and is now running for reelection.

Former political science professor and political consultant Paul Conn has lived in the Lansing area for 67 years and said “I can’t think of one attorney general, who was an incumbent, who got defeated. When there are open seats it’s different, they have a chance, but when there’s an incumbent running it’s kind of tough.”

The Director of Public Affairs of the Attorney General, Rusty Hills said “Bill has a strong record and he is running on his record.” Schuette has done some high profile work in the last four years giving him good publicity, according to Hills. He said that he is known for forming a commission on human trafficking, school safety programs and pushing to have more police officers on the streets.

“We will make a difference right here in Lansing,” Hills said. “If we could get more cops on the street here in Lansing, we can get more jobs, if people feel safer in downtown Lansing, there will be more people moving in and more businesses opening up.”

Hills said that Schuette would like to get 1,000 more police officers on the street in Michigan and that “We will never have a full economic recovery in Michigan until everyone is safe in their neighborhoods, homes and schools.” Continue reading

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Decision on LeRoy’s parking lot tabled until Nov. 5

By Ryan Squanda
The Lansing Star

The decision on whether to allow LeRoy Cardwell, owner of LeRoy’s Classic Bar and Grill, to expand his restaurant’s parking lot onto the property at 1521 Herbert Street, has been tabled for the next Lansing Committee on Development and Planning meeting on Nov. 5.

Cardwell, who after recent renovations to his restaurant has found himself tight on parking, is looking to alleviate these issues with the recently purchased property behind his bar. However, Kevin Henry, who lives adjacent to the 1521 property at 1517 Herbert Street, feels this would infringe upon his property and lesser the value of his home.

The current day view from Henry's driveway after the previous buffer zone has been taken out, replaced with parking. The grass is where LeRoy hopes to further expand his parking lot.

The current day view from Henry’s driveway after the previous buffer zone has been taken out, replaced with parking. The grass is where LeRoy hopes to further expand his parking lot.

After pleading their respective cases to the Lansing City Council on Monday Oct. 13, both Cardwell and Henry met two days later to present their arguments once again to the Lansing Committee of Development and Planning. Continue reading

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Cameron Tool looks for tax break for expansion

By Josh Thall
The Lansing Star

Lansing- Cameron Tool Corporation’s application for a tax break was referred to the City of Lansing’s Development and Planning Committee, after public comments about the project were heard during the Lansing City Council meeting on Monday.

City council president A'Lynne Boles and City Clerk Chris Swopes listen to public comments during the city council meeting on Monday. Photo Credit Josh Thall.

City council president A’Lynne Boles and City Clerk Chris Swopes listen to public comments during the city council meeting on Monday. Photo Credit Josh Thall.

Cameron Tool builds and repairs dies that cold form steel for the automotive industry and has been part of the Lansing community since 1966. The company is seeking a tax abatement  to expand its facilities.

Cameron Tool, President Tracy Selden said the company has chosen to expand now because of its backlog of sales.

“We need to stay ahead of the capacity curve,” Selden said. “Rather than get caught behind it.” Continue reading

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A bar walks into a guy

By Ryan Squanda
The Lansing Star

Take a walk outside Kevin Henry’s home at 1517 Herbert Street in Lansing and you will see the abandoned property which has worried Henry for the last two months.

Specifically what worries Henry when he steps outside his home is the abandoned property that has just been purchased by the owner of LeRoy’s Classic Bar and Grill, LeRoy Cardwell.

Cardwell, whose restaurant sits directly behind both Henry’s and the adjacent property, bought the land in May in hopes expanding his parking lot, which he says isn’t big enough to serve his growing number of patrons. Continue reading

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Lansing gallery showcases Michigan artists

Chloe Huard
The Lansing Star

LANSING – Nestled between two large buildings in downtown Lansing, the Lansing Art Gallery can be spotted by its distinctive entrance made entirely of colored tiles. The gallery boasts an equally interesting feature: All of the pieces are created by Michigan artists.

Established in 1965, the Lansing Art Gallery is approaching its 50th anniversary. Executive Director Barb Whitney said the three main goals of the gallery are awareness, education and enjoyment of art.

“The Lansing Art Gallery is a non-profit organization with a mission to showcase works of Michigan artists,” Whitney said.

The exhibition at the gallery this month is titled “Of Consequences: Industry & Surrounds”. Created by Sarah Lindley and Norwood Viviano, the pieces include sculptures and prints that represent the influence of industry on communities.

“It’s a little bit different for us. It’s quite contemporary,” said Sara Pulver, the gallery coordinator. “The entire exhibit is topographical.”

The exhibit depicts several aerial views of the land surrounding factories. The sculptures vary in their construction. Some have been created with recycled Kohler products, like sinks. Others have been cut from aluminum with the landscape of Detroit on top.

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Thomas Morgan hopes to bring accountability to everyone involved in the school district

By Josh Thall
The Lansing Star

Lansing School Board candidate Thomas Morgan puts a sign in a supporters yard.

Lansing School Board candidate Thomas Morgan puts a sign in a supporters yard.

Editors note: This November, voters in Lansing will elect three School Board members from a ballot of seven candidates; including two members who are looking to be reelected. Among the main issues in this election are enrollment, school district perception and student achievement.

Incumbents Shirley M. Rodgers and Guillermo Z. Lopez are seeking reelection while the third member whose term is up, Charles Ford, will not be running for another term.

The challengers are: Bryan Beverly, S. Joy Gleason, Thomas Patrick Morgan, Julee Rodocker and Randy Watkins.

Each school board member that gets elected will serve a six year term.

Lansing– Lansing School Board candidate Thomas Patrick Morgan took to the streets

“This is grassroots campaigning, right here,” Morgan said. “This is what I know how to do, the school district and all levels of government need to do a better job of listening to the ideas of regular people.”

Morgan, 34, who now lives on the southwest side of Lansing, was born and schooled in Grand Rapids, Mich. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University.

Morgan is now a communications consultant for MESSA, which is the Michigan Education Special Services Association. As a communications consultant he helps communicate important information about health, wellness and health plan usage to MESSA members, through communication channels such as member newsletters and social media.

Morgan said that he has been working in education policy for about seven years, advocating for the value of public schools. When his first son was born nine months ago he decided he wanted to get more involved. He wants to make sure his son and other children in Lansing get the best possible education so they can be prepared for college and the workplace.

Morgan said one of the things that sets him apart from some of the other candidates is he has an education policy background.
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New teacher evaluation system to take root in Lansing School District

By Ryan Squanda
The Lansing Star

Lansing — Focused on properly serving the district’s 12,000+ students, as well as protecting and rewarding good teachers, a new teacher evaluation system for the Lansing School District is on the horizon this year.

For Dr. James Bell, a teacher in the Lansing School District as well as board member for the Lansing Schools Education Association (LSEA), a revised evaluation system was needed.

Members of the Lansing School Board discussed the new teacher evaluation plan for upwards of two hours on Thursday, Oct. 2.

Members of the Lansing School Board discussed the new teacher evaluation plan for upwards of two hours on Thursday, Oct. 2.

According to Bell, who spoke out on the issue at Lansing’s School Board meeting on Oct. 2, schools need an evaluation system like the new one in Lansing that is focused on building support for teachers, rather than inadvertently penalizing them through flawed procedures.

And according to numerous people involved in the district, what makes this teacher evaluation different and what will allow them to do the things Bell believes every evaluation system should, is the revised rubric the teachers are set to be scored upon this year.

“I think the idea of revisiting our evaluation process had to do with wanting to make sure we had a tool in place that was giving us good data about the quality of the teaching that was taking place in our classrooms across the district,” District Transformation Coordinator Ben Botwinski said at the meeting. “And in order to do that, it led us to this idea of needing to go back and revisit the rubric itself.”

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Lansing residents shouldn’t worry about Ebola, Ingham health official says

By Derek Nesbitt
The Lansing Star

LANSING Although the Ebola virus has reached the United States with a case in Texas, an Ingham County Health Department health officer says Lansing-area people shouldn’t be too concerned.

Ingham County Health Department Health Officer Linda Vail pose in office in the city of Lansing

Ingham County Health Department Health Officer Linda Vail poses in her office in the city of Lansing.

“It’s not like the whole city needs to get upset and worried. If you’re not in contact with that person and in close contact with that person then everybody is fine,” Health Officer Linda  Vail said. “The exposure to Ebola is something that requires fairly intense contact to even be a risk factor.”

Ebola is a fatal disease marked by fever and internal bleeding that’s transmitted through blood or body fluids by open or infected wounds. More than 3,400 people have died from Ebola in West Africa, leaving over 3,700 children without at least one parent.

Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with Ebola on U.S. soil died Oct. 8 in a Texas hospital after contracting the virus in West Africa by assisting a woman exposed to the virus to the hospital via cab.

Vail stated that Ebola is not as easily contracted from person to person as people think.

“I couldn’t cough from here to there and you would get Ebola. Ebola is transmitted by direct contact with blood or other body fluids to an open wound or to your mucus membranes,” Vail said.

Vail said if a Lansing resident got infected and exposed to Ebola, they would be isolated, and everyone who had been in contact with the victim would be quarantined, because they have potentially been exposed to the virus.

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Bryan Beverly looks to bring his expertise to the Lansing School Board

By Josh Thall
The Lansing Star

Editors note: This November, voters in Lansing will elect three School Board members from a ballot of seven candidates; including two members who are looking to be reelected. Among the main issues in this election are enrollment, school district perception and student achievement.

Incumbents Shirley M. Rodgers and Guillermo Z. Lopez are seeking reelection while the third member whose term is up, Charles Ford, will not be running for another term.

The challengers are: Bryan Beverly, S. Joy Gleason, Thomas Patrick Morgan, Julee Rodocker and Randy Watkins.

Each school board member that gets elected will serve a six year term.

 

Bryan

Lansing School Board candidate Bryan Beverly poses for a picture in Erickson hall at Michigan State. Photo Credit Josh Thall.

Lansing – Bryan Beverly was born and raised in Lansing and attended school in the Lansing School District his whole life, culminated by his graduation from Lansing Sexton high school in 1996.

“My classmates and I were afforded fantastic educational opportunities,” Beverly said. “The diverse student body, of both my high school and the district as a whole were a benefit, because when you go to a larger college campus, or the community at large, that is what the world looks like.”

Beverly, 35, lives on Ridgefield Road and is a doctoral student at Michigan State University, in the field of educational policy, and is currently a professor at Olivet College.

Beverly teaches a class at Olivet called self and community, which he said is all about getting first year students out of their bubble, and expand their outreach.

Beverly said that the reasons for his candidacy included his strong connections within the district, having a 4-year-old daughter now enrolled in pre-k at Cumberland and studying educational policy at MSU.

Beverly said that his area of expertise, experience with the school district and the fact that he is a product of the Lansing School District are among the top reasons that he is a better candidate than some of the people running against him.

“Being a doctoral student, studying educational policy here at MSU, has kind of expanded my knowledge of educational policies, and school improvement issues,” Beverly said.

“He’s local, and he’s a product of the system, he continues to live in the district which is very important,” said Daniel Schultz the senior programming and policy advisor in the K-12 program in the College of Education at Michigan State University and someone who has known Beverly for a few years.

Schultz said Beverly has an understanding of what policy issues are impacting the school district as well as schools all over Michigan.

Beverly said that having gone through the Lansing School District allows him to have a different perspective that he could bring to the board.

“He, I think, has a very strong background in this whole area of education reform,” Schultz said. “Whether that’s at the classroom level, the building level or the district level. These are complicated systems, and increasingly it is not just a challenge of the student and the teacher, but these are systemic issues that are sometimes failing kids.”

Brian Boggs, an outreach specialist in the K-12 program and a professor at UM-Flint who works closely with Beverly, said Beverly possesses all of the characteristics a School Board member needs, including understanding policy and the political environment.

Beverly has also served on the Fellowship of Instructional Leaders which is a program in the K-12 department of the School of Education at Michigan State University, Barbara Markle, who is the assistant dean for K-12 outreach in the College of Education said.

Markle said that as a member of the program, Beverly is a member of a team that goes to school districts that are struggling and helps them find ways to improve.

The four main goals that Beverly hopes to help accomplish if elected include student achievement, fixing declining enrollment and negative perception of the district, community collaboration and maintaining fiscal responsibility.

One way in which Beverly feels that the perception of the school district could be improved is by telling success stories to show there can be and have been great individuals to graduate from Lansing schools.

“Telling the success stories of alumni, not just the Magic Johnsons of the world, but also doctors, lawyers, state department workers and business owners,” Beverly said. “We need to tell those stories.”

 This story has been updated with new information.

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