Will Michigan schools be ready for online testing next spring?

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A readiness report shows 78 percent of Michigan schools can deliver online testing, but that number could fall to 35 percent when outmoded software is phased out.

According to the state’s top school testing official, the readiness report questions if the schools will be prepared by next spring when such testing is mandated.

The state is devoted to using the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium; a group of 23 states producing new mathematics and language arts tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards for the next three years.

Michigan Department of Education deputy superintendent Joseph Martineau said that about 78 percent of the state’s school buildings are equipped for online testing.

Lansing’s north precinct relocating to south side

By Amanda Chaperon
Lansing Township News Staff Writer

The City of Lansing announced it is moving its north precinct to the south side’s Hill Center.

For the next three years, it will be on the city’s south side near the Lansing School District.

Mayor Virg Bernero said in a press conference he feels confident this is what is best for the school district, police department and city of Lansing.

LSD Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul said that she feels this partnership is the best way to allow her school district to be the best it can.

Prior to the agreement with the north precinct, the Hill Center housed 86,000 square feet of empty space that LSD had the pay utilities on.

Under the agreement, the city won’t have to pay rent on the space, but will split things such as utilities, plowing and grass cutting.

In a WLNS article, police Chief Mike Yankowski said he believes this new location will allow them to continue in their mission as police officers to serve and protect the city of Lansing and its residents.

The LPD’s current lease expires at the end of August. Long-term, the city is keeping its options open.

Capital Area Transit Authority proposes bus rapid transit system

by Amanda Chaperon
Lansing Township News Staff Writer

The Capital Area Transit Authority (CATA) is proposing a bus rapid transit system that will run from downtown Lansing to the Meridian Mall in Okemos.

The route will run along Grand River and Michigan avenues, with buses that run in designated lanes on these streets, using doors on both sides for passengers.

According to a Lansing State Journal article, the project would cost around $195 million. CATA is hoping to gain state and federal funding.

Public input is being sought in a five-day planning process, commonly known as a charrette. They are hoping the public will voice concerns on things such as pedestrian safety, turning lanes for cars, and station locations.

“As a current resident of the area, and one who just survived a very long a cold winter of needing to take the 1 bus from Okemos to campus, I fully support this proposal,” area resident Gretchen Seidel said. “It would be much more efficient and timely than the buses that I had been accustomed to waiting 25-30 minutes for at a stop. With a system like this, there would never be a real issue with the bus system. I could always be sure of bus schedule and be able to get places on time.”

The planning event kicks off tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at East Lansing High School. Presentations of feedback gathered throughout the remainder of the week will be held in room 115 of the International Center on Michigan State’s campus on Sunday from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

 

Major storm destroys spring-like weather

The weather in Michigan, the Midwest and much of New England continues to taunt residents, ranging from 50 and sunny one day to inches of snow the next.

With the official first day of spring roughly a week away, the Midwest and New England is being hit hard with snow.

Tuesday marked one of the warmest days Lansing has seen all year, with temperatures reaching into the low 50s. It felt like the beginning of spring.

Anyone who felt that way jumped that gun. The city of Lansing and its outlying areas woke up to find Mother Nature had dumped over five inches of snow on them.

“I was mad that I got so excited yesterday about it actually being spring in March,” Lansing township resident Ella Caudill said. “Then today I woke up and felt like I was back in the Upper Peninsula where this kind of weather in March is normal.”

Ingham county officials issued emergency warnings urging drivers to stay off the roads. Multiple slideoffs have had emergency crews working all day to pull cars out of ditches on the major highways.

Ingham County Road Commission managing director Bill Conklin, in a Lansing State Journal article said all 37 trucks have been out working to clear the roads since 5 this morning.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) has issued a flood advisory for the area that will remain in effect until Friday at 2 p.m.

– Amanda Chaperon

Waverly Board of Education meets, praises top students

The Waverly Community Schools Board of Education met and honored the following:

  • The Warriors’ Varsity boys’ basketball team is on a hot streak, winning their last nine straight games.

  • On Tuesday morning, the school held a breakfast honoring the high school’s top 10 students for their academic achievements.

  • Three of Waverly’s brightest were named as finalists of the National Merit Scholarship competition.

  • Student Chantel Rusher won the Martin Luther King essay scholarship contest. The essay theme was “Our Lives Begin to End the Day We Become Silent About Things That Matter.”

The next meeting of the Waverly Community Schools Board of Education will be on March 10.

– Amanda Chaperon

Nonprofit encourages active, healthy lifestyles in Lansing area

By Brooke Kansier

If you live in the area, you have likely driven past the sports retail shop, Playmakers, plenty of times. Located in Okemos, the storefront does much more than sell soccer balls and running shoes- their nonprofit Fitness Foundation is making a big difference in the surrounding communities.

“The Playmakers Fitness Foundation was created because the storefront wanted to become more involved in its community,” said PFF volunteer Kasey Mathews. “The employees at Playmakers really care about the people who live here, and they wanted to make a difference for them.”

The PFF was founded in 2011 with the goal of empowering the community to adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle by providing opportunities for people to move.

“The foundation’s mission is to get people moving more, and moving better,” said Michelle Phillipich, an event organizer for the foundation. “Our goal is to get people more active, but to also do that in a way that is healthy and safe.”

The foundation hosts events such as fitness classes, fun runs and women’s events. Their most recent event, held over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, brought in 130 women runners. Proceeds went to funding foundation programs and classes.

“Fitness builds a healthier community, and it builds camaraderie within the community,” said Phillipich. “Our events bring people together.”

In previous events, PFF has supported causes such as Special Olympics Michigan Area 8 and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Another race benefitting the Susan G. Komen Foundation will be held later this April.

“We support what is important to us,” said Mathews. “It’s great to be able to give money to these causes because they really make a difference.”

Education to move better

“The most important thing we do isn’t make people more active,” said Mathews. “It’s showing them how to do it with good form so they don’t hurt themselves and are able to work the right muscle groups.”

Team Playmakers are training teams sponsored by the Fitness Foundation, ranging from women’s groups to a triathalon team. People can sign up online, in-store or at any of the teams’ kickoff events.

“The teams have coach-supported runs and we support members through their training goals,” said Phillipich. “We have any distance, any pace meetings.”

Good Form: Running and Intro to Good Form: Walking classes are also held at the Playmakers storefront, taught by one of the foundation’s 10 coach staff.

Registration for classes and a class schedule can be found on the Playmakers website. Registration for Team Playmakers can also be found online: cost ranges from $65 to $110.

“Our main focus is to teach people how to properly run or walk in order to prevent injury,” said Phillipich.

Opportunities to move more

PFF kicked off its most recent race series over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, with plentiful events leading into the next couple of months. A schedule of upcoming events can be found online.

“The next in the series is Run for the House, in April,” said Phillipich. “We are also kicking off Good Form Month in May, and the schedule will be packed full of events.”

Other upcoming runs feature causes such as Autism Awareness, a Run for Reading and an event supporting Hannah’s House, an organization that helps homeless pregnant women and their babies.

“Making a difference. That’s what it’s all about,” said Mathews.

Registration for these and other events can be found on the Playmakers website, and range in entry price. Those interested in volunteer opportunities can also apply online, or stop by the Okemos storefront.

Homeless Angels make a difference

by Zachery Fanko
Lansing Township News Staff Writer

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Jessup Magoon at the Homeless Angels office in Lansing, MI

Although Mike Karl and Jessep Magoon started Homeless Angels a mere five months ago, they have already made a difference and helped the homeless in the Lansing area.