Park millage makes visible progress in parks

By Emily Nagle
The Meridian Times

Residents of Meridian Township will see the park millage finance renovations and development projects for the rest of the year.

With the .66 millage passed in the Aug. 5, 2014, general election, Meridian Township Parks and Recreation will receive approximately $1,042,000 a year for park development.

The millage will run for a total of 12 years. The owner of a home with a taxable value of $100,000 pays $66.67 a year for the millage.

Jane Greenway, parks and land management coordinator, said people recognize the value of green space for wildlife as well as property values.

“I think that people don’t want to see so much development and I think that people recognize the value of green space, you know, not only for them but for future generations,” Greenway said. “That’s something that attracts people to Meridian Township in contrast to other surrounding areas is the large number of protected parks and natural areas.”

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Chinese New Year celebration at Meridian Mall

 

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Chinese students run business in Meridian Township and Lansing area

By Bingqing Mao
The Meridian Times

Charles Liu:
Michigan State University
International Student Center Advisor

https://youtu.be/_xKLG2pm5PY

The increasing numbers of Michigan State University students coming from other countries, especially China, are not only stimulating the local economy, they are starting businesses here.

Meridian TownshipTreasurer Julie Brixie said, “MSU students starting their businesses in Meridian Township is terrific! We love having the influence of students with their youth, vitality and energy on the business scene in the township.

“Attracting young people to our community helps us remain sustainable. In today’s global economy, youth matters tremendously. We are trying to provide the quality of life that all residents, including young people, want from their community.”
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The student and teacher disconnect: Learning in Michigan Schools

By Stephanie Hernandez McGavin
The Meridian Times

While constant debates surround the finances and tested measurements that contribute to student success, the teachers and students themselves sat down to talk about what actually goes on inside school walls.

Everett High School senior Matthew Mercado said that any education, despite a lack of resources or new technology, is successful because of teachers. Mercado said success is based on student aspiration which, he said, is the result of receiving an equal education in resources and teacher efforts.

Mercado said, “I don’t think students value education because of the distribution of the resources. If we’re getting raggedy books and the teacher is not really engaging us, of course I’m going to have an attitude. I don’t feel like I’m being cared about. I don’t feel like I’m being respected.”

Mercado said that the line between passion and apathy is drawn between students on the Advanced Placement track and students taking the core classes. He said engaging teachers and better resources tend to not be used on students who show little interest in higher education and remain in basic core classes.

“In AP classes, I feel like I’m held in a very high esteem. The school is like, ‘OK, you guys are it. You guys are the good group. You guys are the golden crop and the rest of them are sewn in there as well,’” said Mercado. “In my AP class, we have more than enough books, but there almost wasn’t enough students to make the class actually exist.”

Hear what Matthew has to say:
https://youtu.be/B1e_ieGmvDo

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Michigan residents unravel education funding

By Stephanie Hernandez McGavin
The Meridian Times

In the barrage of budget proposals, school funding bills and teacher retirement benefit reforms, Michigan residents help explain the current state of Michigan education.

The Proposed Budget
Although Gov. Rick Snyder proposed a $75 per pupil increase in his budget, Okemos Public Schools director of finance Robert Clark said the fixed cost of foundation allowances does not account for natural cost increases in schools.

The foundation allowance, which combines local and state funds and allocates a per

The foundation allowance allocates a designated per pupil amount to school districts depending on need.

The foundation allowance allocates a designated per pupil amount to school districts depending on need.

pupil amount to each school district, is $8,099 per student in Okemos schools.

Clark said that if the enrollment in Okemos schools did not continue to increase, as it currently is, the schools could not remain “above water.”

Clark said that dependance on foundation allowances leads to the inability to offset natural increasing costs like inflation, insurance premiums and contractual teacher pay increases.

The Okemos school district was already facing budget cuts that forced it to freeze teachers’ salaries and pensions, search for less experienced—and cheaper—teachers and reduce health care quality and coverage.
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Adult golf clinic taught at Hawk Hollow

By Emily Nagle
The Meridian Times

Director of Golf Instruction Jason Guss at Hawk Hollow teaches adults looking to improve their fundamental golf skills every Tuesday during a clinic for Meridian Township residents.

For five weeks, those who signed up for the class go to Hawk Hollow Golf Course for an hour to learn the basic skills necessary to become better golfers.

Some of the attendees are experienced and some are not, but Guss works with all levels.

Golfers signed up for the class through Meridian Township’s website, which always includes many events residents could get involved in.

“It brings community together,” said Meridian Township resident Ellery Hess. “You have all these people from diverse backgrounds here. There’s inexperienced people, there’s experienced people, and we’re all coming together to golf.”

Meridian Township reached out to Guss and Hawk Hollow about continuing the Golf Clinic two years ago, even though it has been going on for several years longer.

“It’s kind of Eli and Hawk Hollow’s way of giving back to Meridian Township and thanking them for the golfers they send to us during the summer,” Guss said.

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Okemos Road pedestrian bridge nears installation

By Emily Nagle
The Meridian Times

Construction of the pedestrian bridge along southbound Okemos Road over the Red Cedar River is reaching completion and the bridge will soon be ready for installation.

The project, led by project engineer Nyal Nunn of Meridian Township’s public works and engineering department, was started in January and should be fully installed during the second week of April.

The steel bridge is being manufactured by Cameron Bridgeworks, LLC, of Elmira, New York, and will be delivered to the site in four sections to be installed by Toebe Construction, LLC of Wixom in mid-April.

The bridge will be separate from the existing bridge and will be for pedestrians, bicycles and non-motorized travel.

The taxpayers and property owners in Meridian Township Board voted numerous times on a pedestrian bicycle pathway millage, which would provide extra sidewalks and off-road pathways.

“It’s primarily for pedestrians and the pedestrian segment of our community is pretty vocal and pretty substantial,” Nunn said. “We have a lot of people who ride bikes and who walk recreationally, but also as a means of transport.”

The Meridian Township Board authorized a contract of about $655,000 to go from the Meridian Bike Paths fund for building the bridge.

The Board saw this bridge as a priority for public safety. On southbound Okemos Road, the only way to get across the river is on the deck of the bridge, which is only 18 inches wide, Meridian Township Treasurer Julie Brixie said.

“It’s right next to the travel lanes, so if you’re walking across it with your kids and somebody trips and falls, you could fall right into the lane of traffic,” Brixie said.

In winter, the bridge has to be shut down entirely due to the weather.

“We can’t keep snow off of it in the winter because it’s so narrow that if you were to send someone out to shovel it, once the snow plows come by, they throw snow right on top of it,” Brixie said.

The bridge is between Wonch Park and Ferguson Park.

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