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.”

Old Waverly school might house substance abuse program

By Liv Larsen
Lansing Township News

Lansing Township  — The Waverly School District has offered an old building to house a substance abuse program for women, and the program sponsor is waiting for rezoning approval.

Holy Cross Services Program Operations Director Sharon Berkobien gave a presentation on the possible future plans for the building if the rezoning approval is granted to the Waverly School Board at its meeting on October 20.

“Windemere View closed in 2011,” said School Board Treasurer Alan Wright. “It had been a K-4 elementary building…[we] chose to reorganize the district to address lower enrollment…and [Windemere] View closed. Since then [it] has sat empty. The board voted to explore selling the property this year, and almost immediately we were contacted by Holy Cross.”

This building would serve women ages 18 and up with any sort of substance abuse issues. These women are referred to Holy Cross Services by the Community Mental Health Authority of Clinton, Eaton, and Ingham counties, or CEI.

“[We] try and treat the whole person, and what we can’t treat, we work with other organizations. We wrap ourselves around the whole person,” said Berkobien, in order “to help that person rebuild their whole life.”

Holy Cross Services was informed by the CEI of the need for the program in the Lansing area, and so began the hunt for the perfect building that met the criteria they followed for its other buildings across the state.

“We look for schools, business [and] buildings that are no longer being used,” said Berkobien. “We want them on a bus line, some place to be outside in the fresh air, something that is close and accessible to different things.”

Berkobien said she “just stumbled across the school.”

Holy Cross is still waiting on getting the rezoning approval from the Lansing Township Board of Trustees before any of the renovating can begin.

“You never know how that’s going to go. I get it,” said Berkobien. “We’re looking at plan B in case it doesn’t work. Regardless, we’d like to be able to come to Lansing.”

Berkobien isn’t the only one is hoping to be able to remodel the old school.

“I think it’ll bring something proactive to the building that doesn’t currently exist,” said School Board Trustee Calvin Jones. “Everyone feels like they’re getting something out of it…it’s a good program, and as long as we have citizens that require this service, I think it’s a matter of providing a [place] where they can go.”

Sharon Berkobein presents the Holy Cross substance abuse program for women, that will potentially be moving into the Lansing area,  to the Waverly School Board at its last meeting.

Sharon Berkobien presents the Holy Cross substance abuse program for women, that will potentially be moving into the Lansing area, to the Waverly School Board at its last meeting.

Cole Academy continues to beat odds

By Kelsie Patrick
Lansing Township News

 

UntitledLANSING TOWNSHIP– Cole Academy is not your average charter school. Through new additions to the school, increased technology in the classroom and impressive state test scores, Cole Academy is making strides toward increased success.

Cole Academy, located on Mt. Hope, between Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and Pleasant Grove Road, is a charter school, which means it is a publicly funded independent school established by teachers, parents or community groups under the terms of a charter with a local or national authority.

Cole Academy is Lansing’s longest-standing charter school and received a charter through Central Michigan University in 1995. The Academy originated as an early childhood center and over the years, gradually became a K-6 public school. Cole Academy currently holds 210 students.

Cole Academy is run by Central Michigan University’s assessment system. This system consists of a MAP– Measures of Academic Progress– test. The academy is required to have all students take this test three times a year. The test is used to see what level of learning students are at, and in turn creates a unique learning path for each student depending on their results.

Newest student school board representative gets started

Bolling

Waverly High School junior Atiyaa Bolling, middle, listens during the Waverly Community Schools Board of Education meeting on Oct. 20. Bolling is this year’s school board representative as elected by the school’s student government. (Photo: Nick Barnowski)

By Nick Barnowski
Lansing Township News

DELTA TWP. — As the seven Waverly Community Schools Board of Education members took their seats on Oct. 20, an eighth sat down right next to them.

The meeting was the beginning Atiyaa Bolling’s tenure as school board representative. Waverly High School’s student government elected the 16-year-old junior.

“I was told it’s really hard to fill the position, so I decided to step up and fill it,” Bolling said.

The Oct. 20 meeting was Bolling’s first.

“I was really nervous but the school board members are really nice so I felt pretty comfortable,” she said.

Bolling sat at the front of the room just like every other board member and was given the opportunity to comment on meeting issues. While she does not vote on reports or proposals, the position establishes a communication avenue between students and board members.

She was given a spot on the agenda to deliver her report to the board, which included an update on Waverly’s homecoming and information about an upcoming debate that will be hosted at the school Oct. 23.

Future Board of Education meetings will follow the same agenda in regards to her role.

Trustee Calvin Jones said Bolling’s position helps the board better reach the student body.

“It’s a great idea,” Jones said. “It’s good to have our students here as part of the process so they can let us know how things are going and let us know if there are some things we could do differently.”

Waverly High School Principal Chris Huff, who has known Bolling for three years, said the position allows the volleyball player and band member to be the “eyes and ears” of the student body.

“Anything students are concerned with, she brings to me first so we can discuss it,” Huff said. “She then forwards anything that’s pertinent on to the school board.

“She gets to represent 1,110 kids and bring the issues and the events and the pride of the student population and represent them in front of our highest level of administration.”

The school board representative position is not unique to this year. Jones, who has sat on the board since 2001, said the board has had a student member every year since before he was appointed.

While Bolling is not the first, the position offers a unique experience to high school students who are looking to make a difference in their community.

“It gives them the ability to speak in front of people that they don’t know and share their enthusiasm and their excitement for being a citizen of Waverly Community Schools,” Jones said.

Bolling, who is also a member of the Spanish Honor Society and student union, wants to study engineering at Stanford University following high school. Huff said the position would bode well for her as she moves on and chooses a career.

“I’m hoping to be more involved in the community and get more comfortable with public speaking when I present to people,” she said.