Turnout at Lansing Township polls as expected

By Jonathan Andrews

Lansing Township

The entrance for the 1st precinct polls at First Christian Church.

The entrance for the 1st precinct polls at First Christian Church.

 

LANSING TOWNSHIP – Typically a mid-term election doesn’t gather as many voters as a presidential election would. For voters at the First Christian Church in Lansing Township this wasn’t a problem.

“I vote when it’s available,” said Joe Marines, a biochemistry student at Michigan State. “This year’s ballot had important issues about wolf hunting and a new parks millage.”

The view that these ballot questions and millages needed to be taken seriously echoed through other voters at the first precinct polls for Lansing Township as well as the important gubernatorial race. Advertisements about the candidates in the weeks before the election have historically been attacking, and this year was no different.

“The advertisements these past couple weeks were sticky,” said Kristen Mills, a Lansing Township resident. “It’s usual to see (these ads) but it makes you think.”

Michigan State Professor of Educational Policy Amy Jamison hadn’t seen these ads however, so they didn’t have a chance to sway her opinion. “I didn’t see any of the ads, but I also made my mind up (on who to vote for) long ago; probably over a year ago.”

The people who came in and out of the First Christian Church came from all walks of life. Even a family with their dog showed up to vote on the windy Tuesday evening.

Not all of the voters were as confident with their decisions as Jamison was, however.

“I tend to split (between conservative and liberal) the way I vote at every level,” said Marines. “I’ll split at the state and national level.”

Although the voters who showed up at the First Christian Church were enthusiastic to vote in this year’s election, not all of their fellow residents felt quite the same. Of the 1,024 registered voters in the 1st Precinct of Lansing Township only 413 people voted in the gubernatorial election, which is about 40 percent of the people in the precinct.

This was second lowest percentage in Lansing Township with the lowest being about 33 percent in the 3rd Precinct and the highest being about 54 percent in the 2nd Precinct.

These less than average voter turnout percentages don’t dissuade some people from voting though; for people like Mills it inspires them to continue showing up at the annual elections.

“I vote every year,” said Mills. “It’s our right to do so.”

Community works to honor local veterans

By Kelsie Patrick
Lansing Township News

 

Applebee’s employees and manager by a banner signed by all veterans who visited on Veteran’s Day

LANSING TOWNSHIP– Many local restaurants and retailers honored those who have served in the military on Tuesday by offering free food and other deals for Veterans Day.

Veterans Day is a public holiday held on the anniversary of the end of World War I to honor US veterans and victims of all wars.

Some local restaurant specials included Burger King’s statewide offer of a free breakfast combo. This combo included any breakfast sandwich, a hash brown and a drink.

“I had about 15-25 veterans come in today,” said Saginaw St. Burger King employee Michelle Jarrell. “We had a lot better of a turnout this year compared to last, I think it was because we advertised more.”

Texas Roadhouse located on Edgewood Blvd. had a special where veterans were able to choose from 10 free entrees at lunch, including six-ounce sirloin steaks.

Red Lobster offered a free appetizer from a selected list to any customer who showed proof of military service or their ID.

Massage Envy locations offered free one-hour massages to veterans, active military members and their spouses.

Applebee’s also offered free meals across Michigan to military veterans and active-duty service members.

“I think we’ve had a great turnout,” Hilary Hillarifortino, a cook at the Coolidge Road Applebee’s, said at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. “We’re still very steady and the special runs all day.”

Other veteran specials that were offered can be found on the 2014 Veterans Day Free Meals and Discounts page.

MSU honors veterans through special halftime show at Saturday night’s football game.

Also in honor of Veterans Day, the Veterans Commission of Lansing held a ceremony at Pattengill Academy on Marshall Street on Nov. 8.

The event included a benefit breakfast for the VFW National Children’s Home, a ceremony dedicated to all of those who served with keynote speaker Brig. Gen. (ret.) Michael McDaniel, recognition of soldiers who are currently serving us at home and concluded with musical performances by the Eastern High School band, Glen Erin Pipe band and a vocal performance by Capitol Choir.

“It’s great to see how the community appreciates us, even if it’s just one day a year,” said World War II veteran Bill Schrimsher while enjoying a free meal with his family at Applebee’s.

Waverly High School hosts debate for the 71st Michigan House Seat

By Jonathan Andrews

Lansing Township News

Pictured: Tom Barrett-R and Representative Theresa Abed-D at the Waverly High School “Quad”

Pictured: Tom Barrett-R and Representative Theresa Abed-D at the Waverly High School “Quad”

LANSING TOWNSHIP – The Common Core plan for Michigan schools is a touchy subject with politicians in the state so at a debate for the 71st Michigan House seat on October 23 it was the main focus. Tom Barrett-R and Representative Theresa Abed-D debated how to properly address the Common Core plan at a place where it was most appropriate: Waverly High School.

“It’s important that the kids are involved in the process,” said Calvin Jones, a trustee of the Waverly School Board and the man whose idea it was to make the happen in the first place. “These kids need to understand that their education is no longer free.”

As soon as the lunch bell rang the students came flooding into the conference room, where Barrett and Abed went around introducing themselves to the students. When introductions ended the questions began, with topics ranging from personal life experiences to energy issues in Michigan.

Barrett won the coin toss and started to explain his rough experiences in the U.S. Army where he told tales of hardship in Iraq where he “lost some friends in the war.” To lighten this he added that the food was a little better than the school lunches.

Abed followed up with her own hardships of being laid off from her job and having to raise her daughter during this time in her life. She added that we all have obstacles but it’s about how we deal with them to help the students deal with their own hardships.

A recurring theme during this debate was the Common Core Standards Initiative which is a highly debated education plan that is supposed to “prepare America’s students for success” according to it’s website. Both candidates said the problem with the Common Core is that it ends up cutting things that students need in order to learn other trades and skills that are being passed over. By this they mean the classes that teach students real world skills such as woodshop, home economy, and other elective courses.

Common Core was a heated topic especially since Abed has been accused of voting in favor of the initiative. She cleared this up by explaining what happened with the vote on the Common Core; that the rest of the Michigan House of Representatives stripped the amendments she had wanted and that there was no roll call vote meaning no names attached to the votes.

Going one-step further she added that they also shut off her microphone when she went to speak against it at the vote. To add to this Abed said “I am against the Common Core.”

While the Common Core took up most of the focus of the debate, students were told they could email the candidates.
As the students filed out to their next class as both candidates initiated a round of applause to the students for the amazing questions.

Lansing Township maintains consistent voter turnout

By Kelsie Patrick and Liv Larsen
Lansing Township News

election

Lansing Township citizen preparing to vote at Plymouth Congregational Church

Lansing Township– Township-wide voter turnout has remained consistent since the 2010 midterm election.

“It looks like we actually are running very close to what we did in 2010 as far as numbers,” Lansing Township Clerk Susan Aten said after an interview the morning after election day.

The actual number of voters who turned out was actually less that what it had been in 2010, but only by a small margin. This year showed a 43 percent turnout of voters.

“As far as numbers, we’re a little bit under,” said Aten. “It’s pretty predictable actually. It’s very very very close to what we had four years ago.”

There was an approximate 5 percent increase in absentee ballots since the last midterm election.

 According to officials at precinct 1, the First Christian Church, many Lansing Township residents lined up early to cast their votes. Approximately 10 people were in line before the polls even opened at the church precinct early Tuesday morning.

Precinct 2, which was moved from Fire Station #2 to Plymouth Congregational Church in 2008 had the highest percentage of voters with a 54 percent voter turnout.

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Vee Bjohnson, Virginia Hoyt and Debby Hoyt sold baked goods and gave out free coffee for the voters

 

“We had a really great turnout today,” Debby Hoyt of precinct 2 at Plymouth Congregational Church said.

Since Lansing Township is so spread out there were five separate precincts for the Township’s election. Each voter was assigned a specific precinct based upon their area of residence within the Township.

Precinct 1 was located at the First Christian Church, precinct 2 at Plymouth Congregational Church and precinct 3, 4 and 6 were all located at Waverly East Intermediate School in Lansing Township.

Although current Gov. Rick Snyder defeated challenger Mark Schauer in the statewide race for Michigan governor, he did not win in Ingham County. Snyder ended the night with 35,445 votes, while Schauer ended with 50,131.

Other statewide election results include Bill Schuette as attorney general, Ruth Johnson as secretary of state and Gary Peters as U.S. senator.

One citizen in particular was very passionate about her duty as a citizen to vote.

“As a citizen of the United States, it is my civic duty to vote,” said Lansing Township voter Paige Holeton, 21-year-old nursing home employee, “It is a right that we should all be thankful to have.”

Lansing Township roads, sidewalks set for overhaul

Lansing Township sidewalks

The areas circled in red are neighborhoods with sidewalks that are scheduled to be repaired.

By Nick Barnowski
Lansing Township News

LANSING TWP. – Repairs to Lansing Township’s roads and sidewalks could come as soon as next spring.

Voters in August approved half of a millage to be used to repair township roads and sidewalks that have not been evaluated since 2000.

“We decided that by doing half of a mill for sidewalks and roads, all the sidewalks that are cracked up can be redone,” Lansing Township supervisor Kathleen Rodgers said.

The millage period is 10 years, while half a mill in Lansing Township raises approximately $135,000, according to Rodgers.

Lansing Township’s Public Works Committee, composed of Trustees Diontrae Hayes and Tracie Harris and Treasurer Leo Rodgers, created comprehensive sidewalk and road plans following the election.

Groesbeck neighborhood residents know little of Tollgate Wetlands

Laura de la Rambelje and her toddler Myles enjoy walking around the wetlands.

 

By Jordan Jennings
Lansing Township News

LANSING TOWNSHIP — Nestled between the Groesbeck neighborhood and Fairview Park in Lansing Township, the Tollgate Wetlands poses a striking contrast to its populated surroundings, and one that not many locals understand.

Sean Douglass of Fairview Avenue has only lived across the road from the wetlands for two months and said he knows very little about its purpose.

“All I know is it appears to be wetlands and my little guy loves going and seeing the ducks,” Douglass said.

Created in the 1990s by Ingham Country Drain Commissioner Pat Lindemann and staff, the Tollgate Wetlands are a man-made ecosystem designed to capture non-point source pollution from the neighborhood, according to a City Pulse article by environmental reporter Brian McKenna.

Likewise, neighbor Shelli White calls her knowledge of the wetlands “limited.” Having lived a few doors down on Fairview Avenue for eleven months now, White says she likes to “just walk around it and look at the water” as well as walk her dog.

Spouses Todd and Erika Hendy serve Lansing Township as firefighters for 20 years

Spouses Capt. Todd Hendy and Lt. Erika Hendy have served as firefighters in Lansing Township for nearly 20 years

Lansing Township
By Jordan Jennings

LANSING TOWNSHIP – Capt. Todd Hendy and Lt. Erika Hendy have served as firefighters and paramedics at Lansing Township Fire Station 52 for nearly 20 years—which is also as long as they’ve been married.

After the couple met in high school, Todd began pursuing his lifelong goal to be a firefighter. Erika originally planned to go to nursing school, but began doing medical work with the fire station. When the station later required fire certification, it led her to eventually try fire academy. Involvement became “infectious,” said Erika.

Married in December 1994, the couple has worked the same shift at different stations (Station 51 and Station 52) in Lansing Township in the past. Now, their six- and eight-year-old daughters take precedence.

Todd and Erika alternate 24-hour shifts at Station 52 so that one of the two parents is always home. While not an official rule, Erika said their fire chief follows the same principle the military does: “Don’t send brothers to the same war.”