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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Jonathan Andrews
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.”
By Kelsie Patrick
Lansing Township News
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.
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.
By Jonathan Andrews
Lansing Township News
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.
By Kelsie Patrick and Liv Larsen
Lansing Township News
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.
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.
“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.”