Children’s Water Festival cancelled

children walking around festival

Photo courtesy of Erin Campbell

By Kelsey Feldpausch

Lansing Township News staff reporter

LANSING- Scheduling and logistical problems caused the Children’s Water Festival to be cancelled for the first time since its launch in 1995.

The festival, organized by the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission Groundwater Management Board, was a free water education field trip for fourth through sixth grade students in the Lansing Area, according to Erin Campbell, the festival coordinator.

Campbell said the logistics of the event have become more difficult over time and have made the event difficult to pull together.

“The festival involves a lot of staff time and planning,” said Campbell. “If we can’t do it really well, we would rather use our resources to do something better.”

Community impact

Campbell notified the Lansing Township Board of Trustees of the cancelation in a letter presented at the board meeting Feb. 25.

Board members said they were disappointed by the cancelation.

“It’s a disappointment that after almost 20 years, it’s not going to happen,” said Kathleen Rodgers, the board supervisor. “It’s a lot of fun, and the kids are great. It was always very well run, and the kids loved it and so did the staff and teachers that accompanied them.”

Diane Allen, a fourth grade teacher at Attwood Elementary School who has participated in the event for several years, said she loved taking her students to the festival because they could experience multiple education experiences in once place.

“The lessons melded quite well with our curriculum and attending the Water Festival became a school-wide learning experience,” said Allen. “We were quite disappointed to learn it was not going to be held this year.”

Future plans

Though Campbell said she was also disappointed, she said the management board has tentative plans for a partnership with the MSU Science Festival in April 2016.

According to Campbell, the management board would bring a larger focus on water education to the science festival.

“We will lend our water education expertise in support of this already amazing five day event,” said Campbell in her letter.

Campbell said she continues to look at the positive side of the unfortunate situation.

“I look forward to partnering with the science festival and continuing to educate youth on the importance of protecting our water resources,” said Campbell.

Lansing School Board considers joining MBK Challenge

Cameo King present MY Lansing to the Lansing School Board Feb. 5, 2015.

Cameo King present MY Lansing to the Lansing School Board Feb. 5, 2015.

By Kelsey Feldpausch

Lansing Township News staff reporter

LANSING- “Change isn’t change until it hits the pocket.”

“There is a huge difference between equality and equity.

These were the words of Angela Waters Austin, the founder, president and chief executive officer of One Love Global, Inc. as she tried to convince the Lansing School Board to accept the Lansing region’s My Brother’s Keeper Challenge, MY Lansing, during the Feb. 5 school district board meeting.

My Brother’s Keeper is an initiative President Obama announced in February 2014 for smaller communities to work towards improving the lives and opportunities for young men of color.

Board President Peter Spadafore said the board will consider joining MY Lansing among other partnerships.

Economic equity

Austin and Cameo King, the Project Director of One Love Global, Inc., detailed the challenge to the board, emphasizing the importance of creating economic equity.

Austin said MY Lansing focuses on six milestones on the path to equity, beginning with ensuring children are ready to start school and ending with helping students enter the workforce and avoid jail.

Austin said what MY Lansing wants to do is “take a look at some of the practices, policies and relationships that could keep kids in school.”

According to King, there is a decline in engagement among males students of color after ninth grade.

“The opportunity we see based on the numbers really comes in that ninth grade year,” said King “We see a slight drop-off of and the drop-off continues.”

Data in the presentation citing the Center for Educational Performance and Information said black males made up 26 percent of the freshman male population but only 18 percent of the senior male population in Lansing Schools in the 2013-2014 school year.

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King and Austin said making efforts to fix these problems now are essential due Lansing’s rapidly growing black population.

According to the presentation, the number of people of color grew from 10.3 percent to 21.7 percent of the population in the Lansing and East Lansing Metro Area from 1980 to 2010.

Benefits the district

According to King, the school district would benefit from the partnership because of the practices, strategies and communication network MY Lansing can provide.

King said with a strong communication network, “children and families are getting the same message and getting the support that is needed.”

Despite the benefits, members of the board said the challenge would need modification if the district did decide to accept the partnership. Treasurer Shirley Rodgers said with the funding and resources available, the challenge would have to fit within the districts already established strategic plan.

“I think there are aspects in this that can help move our plan forward,” said Rodgers.

Trustee Bryan Beverly said the plan needed more concrete measurements and structure.

“I would question deliverables and how we are going to measure success both from your side and from our side,” said Beverly.

King said the school district’s partnership is essential for success in the challenge because it serves MY Lansing’s target population and has the assets required to close achievement gaps.

“We cannot do anything apart; we have to work together,” said King.

Neglecting to Plow Snow Can Lead to Major Fines

LANSING – Neglecting to plow snow leads residents to being fined up to $200.

With recent snowstorms resulting in almost a foot of snow, Lansing Township residents are not happy with having to have it all cleared in a certain period of time. City of Lansing Operation and Maintenance rules and regulations state, within 24 hours after the snow has fallen, residents must have their sidewalks cleared or will suffer the repercussions of being fined.

Lansing property owners are responsible for clearing the sidewalks adjacent to their property in order to keep the community safe and walkable for residents following major snowfalls. Property owners include not only homeowners but business owners, landlords, renters and any other owners of property as well.

Ordinance 1326 gives a time frame for property and homeowners to clear snow and ice on sidewalks adjacent to their property after a major snow event. The Ordinance states, “Snow that accumulates before noon on a sidewalk must be cleared by midnight the same day and snow that accumulates after noon on a sidewalk must be cleared by midnight of the following day.”

Each day a home or business owner fails to maintain their sidewalk in accordance to Ordinance 1326 constitutes as a separate offense.

Julie Mathis was outraged to see an envelope posted on her door with a $200 fine inside of it.

“It’s very preposterous they only give us one day to clear all of that snow.” Mathis, who lives alone, says it hard to find time to shovel her snow. “I work every single day, after I get off I’m usually too tired to actually go and shovel snow. I usually come home cook dinner and I’m off to bed to start the day again.”

James Dustin, Lansing Township resident, is another victim of being fined for not plowing his snow in a timely manner.

Dustin has been a resident in Lansing Township for over 20 years. “ In all my time of living here, in this same house, I have never been fined for not plowing my snow in enough time.” Dustin lives on the corner house, meaning he has more sidewalks to tend to then most people. “You would think the city of Lansing would be more lenient being that there was such a huge snow storm but they weren’t. Its very unnecessary and petty.”

Dustin received an $86 fine for not having all the sidewalks surrounding his home plowed. “I plan on going to the District Court to fight the ticket,” said Dustin.

Many Lansing Township residents are often unaware of all of the rules and regulations that come along with snow plowing.

There are over 20 regulations stated in Ordinance 1326. That vary from “Vacations or other planned absences do not absolve residents of snow/ice removal responsibility, so alternate arrangements should be made,” to “Snow placed in driveways or on sidewalks by City plows is the resident’s/owner’s responsibility to remove.”

“When we know a snow storm is coming we either shovel the snow ourselves or call a company to take care of for us,” said Josh Hull, manager at Kalamazoo Vapor. “ We make sure snow is plowed to avoid being fined and to be sure customers can walk safely.”

It is controversial whether the regulations stated in Ordinance 1326 are simple to abide by or not.

Five cuisines to try at Eastwood Towne Center


McAlister’s Deli

2901 Preyde Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48912

Monday through Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Thursday through Saturday: 10:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Price per person: under $10

The deli’s Facebook page McAlister’s Deli Tea Freaks encourages you to head on in for a free large tea for “free tea day” hosted each summer.


Panchero’s Mexican Grill

2725 Preyde Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48912

Sunday through Wednesday: 10:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Thursday though Saturday: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m.

Price per person: under $10

Burritos. Quesadillas. Tacos. Customers said they’re all good and served in freshly made and pressed tortillas.


Claddagh Irish Pub

2900 Towne Center Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48912

Monday through Thursday: 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Friday through Sunday: 11 a.m. – 2 a.m.

Price per person: $10-$25

Craig Larsen, the pub’s shift manager and bartender, said the pubs serves authentic Irish cuisine and 19 beers on tap, including Guinness, Ireland’s most successful beer export.


Bravo! Cucina Italiana

2970 Towne Centre Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48912

Monday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Price per person: $10-$20

General Manager James Erevia said Bravo! is exceptionally busy on holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day so diners should make reservations early. He said the restaurant takes reservations up to 18 months in advance.


Mitchell’s Fish Market

2975 Preyde Blvd.
Lansing, MI 48912

Monday through Thursday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11:30 a.m. -12 a.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Price per person: $20-$30

Operations Manager Stephan Mellios said all of the market’s fish is stored and prepared in a temperature-controlled room and is freshly cooked for each customer. Mellios said the restaurant buys from sustainable fisheries and never hurts the ecosystem.

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.