CRC’s “Strike Out for a Cause” raised more than $1,000 for emergency needs

By Madeline Carino
Meridian Times staff writer

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG8ekNI3q7Q

Human Services Specialist Darla Jackson said the goal was to raise $1,000. Three hours and 40 bowlers later, “Strike Out for a Cause” raised $1,132. The proceeds will be added to the Community Resources Commission (CRC) Emergency Needs Fund. City Limits East Bowling Center hosted the fundraiser on Saturday, March 29.

The CRC Emergency Needs Fund helps Meridian Residents in financial crisis. In 2013, the CRC served 475 households and helped prevent 40 families from becoming homeless. This is the first year the CRC has held an additional fundraiser along with the annual GolfFest. In recent years, there has been a higher demand for emergency financial assistance in Meridian Township. As a result, the Emergency Needs Fund is low and the CRC decides to hold the additional “Strike Out for a Cause” Fundraiser.

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Curbside brush and limb pick-up program to launch April 14

By Sara Konkel
Meridian Times staff writer

After a winter of severe ice storms and bitter cold, Meridian Township Board members were left to pick up the pieces.

Severe ice storms and bitter cold of the past winter left broken branches and debris  throughout Meridian Township.

Severe ice storms and bitter cold of the past winter left broken tree branches and debris throughout Meridian Township.

The township plans to launch a curbside brush and limb pick-up program April 14 to clear debris from the ice storm that struck Meridian Township from Dec. 21 to Jan. 2, township Manager Frank Walsh said. The storm left some residents out of power for 11 days.

“Instead of just leaving it up to every homeowner to fend for themselves, the township board decided that they would implement a program on this one-time basis because of the state of emergency that was declared by the township,” Walsh said.

Meridian Township is asking residents who are interested in having debris removed for free to drag the sticks and brush to the sidewalk or the edge of the street to be picked up. Each street will be visited only once.

 

Meridian Township residents dragged fallen branches from their yard to the side of the road to be picked up.

Meridian Township residents dragged fallen branches from their yard to the side of the road to be picked up.

Brush and limbs bigger than eight inches in diameter and six feet in length will not be accepted.

All brush from roads in Meridian Township north of Grand River Avenue will be collected starting April 14. All brush laid out on the south side will be collected starting May 5. The cleanup project is expected to be finished by the end of May.

Michigan Demolition and Redwood Landscaping are the wood-chipping companies the township hired to collect the debris.

Meridian Township resident Zack Fletcher said this project is a weight lifted off his chest because he feared that the piles of debris would kill his grass.

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Okemos School District approves funding for new amenities

By Sara Konkel
Meridian Times staff writer

The Okemos School District is on its way to having wireless routers in every useable room in the high school and two new school buses.

Okemos School District plans to purchase two new school buses to replace two buses they rented in the beginning of the year.

Okemos School District plans to purchase two new school buses to replace two buses they rented in the beginning of the year.

The Okemos Board of Education committee approved the amenities at its meeting March 24.

The committee approved the bid of $115,316.10 submitted by the Center for Business Innovation for 170 internet access devices.

Director of Media & Technology Errin Chapman said the addition is simple yet necessary.

“The project is simply to add more wireless coverage in the buildings to prepare for the one-to-one personal learning devices that are coming our way next year for the students and staff,” he said.

The devices are Wi-Fi boxes that will be fixed to the ceiling. Chapman said he plans to have all 170 devices installed before the students are out of school.

The access points have a lifetime warranty and are supposed to support up to 120 connected devices at a time.

Director of transportation Todd Sharp proposed the bid of $182,600 for two 77-passenger conventional buses submitted by Holland Bus Sales.

The new buses would replace two buses that were leased at the beginning of the school year, Sharp said.

The committee approved the bid in a unanimous vote.
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Whole Foods brings its seventh location to Meridian

By Whitney Burney
Meridian Times staff writer

The Whole Foods Grocery franchise plans to open its seventh Michigan location here in Meridian Township.

The store was originally expected to open by 2015 but representatives now hope to finish the project by later this year.

The store will have 35,000 square feet and will create 150 new jobs including customer service and store leadership positions.

Although the location is still under site review, it is expected to be at 2758 E. Grand River Ave. and almost directly across the street from employee-owned health food store Foods For Living.

Although still under review, demolition is expected to begin soon.

Although still under review, demolition is expected to begin soon.

Store director Kirk Marrison says that he was not surprised to hear that Whole Foods was coming to Meridian Township. He said that he actually thought it would happen somewhere around 2007, before the recession. The only thing he was surprised about was the location.

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New businesses cater to growing Asian population

By Whitney Burney
Meridian Times staff writer

The increase in Michigan State University’s international enrollment has opened economic growth opportunity for Meridian’s businesses.

Over the past year, enrollment of international students has risen by 8.5 percent, the majority from Asian countries. The increase is driving more economic profit for the surrounding areas including Meridian, causing new businesses to thrive.

“We benefit from their culture by learning about it, exposing our kids to diversity while in school and it’s a great economic opportunity for Meridian,” said Julie Brixie, Meridian Township’s treasurer. “Typically, an international student will have to buy a lot more while here than the average MSU student. Most of their electronics don’t work here in America and many need transportation.”

Sakura Market has a very large selection of Ramen available to its customers.

Sakura Market has a very large selection of Ramen available to its customers.

In addition, the students demand products that most American grocery stores don’t carry or have access to.

“We opened only three months ago,” said Ingrid Zhang, Sakura Market store manager. “We get a lot of MSU student shoppers.”

The store owner says the store gets about 50 customers per week. Sakura Market sells items exclusively from China, Japan and Korea. Customers can find a wide range of products in the store.

“We sell everything,” said Zhang. “We have protein powder, makeup, Chinese food and even soap.”

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The Wonch Park Pavilion Replacement Project is underway

By Sara Konkel
Meridian Times staff writer

A proposed $250,000 modification to Wonch Park would add a new octagonal-shaped pavilion with two new grills, three handicapped-accessible picnic tables, four shade trees, water and electricity.

The current pavilion in Wonch Park is flooded and run-down.

The current pavilion in Wonch Park is flooded and run-down.

Meridian Township officials unanimously supported the submission of a $187,500 grant application to the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Program at the Park Commission meeting March 11. Board members agreed to provide $62,500, funded by the Meridian Township general fund for the proposed Wonch Park Pavilion Replacement Project.

The deadline for applying for the grant is April 1. Trust fund grants are awarded in December.

If the grant request is successful and the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Program appropriates the funds, it will be available in 2015.

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Haslett mother-son dance bonds families and community

By Ryan Hodges
Meridian Times Staff Writer

HASLETT- Haslett resident Shasta McIntosh said she attends the mother-son dance every year for the precious bonding time that she and her son rarely get.

“He and I just get one-on-one time together,” McIntosh said. “There (are) five of them so this is kind of the one night we do something by ourselves.”

Students play one of the games set up at the mother-son dance that was put on by Haslett Community Education.

Students play one of the games set up at the mother-son dance that was put on by Haslett Community Education.

Haslett Middle School hosted the annual K-5 mother-son dance put on by Haslett Community Education, which coordinates Haslett School District’s after-school activities and special events.

Rescheduled after a snowstorm March 12, the evening included music, dancing, games and professional photography.
Angela Dove, director of enrichment and recreation for Haslett Community Education, decided after 13 years of the St. Patrick’s Day themed “Shamrock Rock,” she was going to change it up.

Dove said that the public seemed to like the new “Jersey Jam” theme, and it ensured that everyone dressed casually.

“Our enrollment is up (about) 80 people, or 40 couples, from what we typically had in the past,” Dove said. “So I think they like the concept, (but) there (are) a lot more lines than I would like to see.”

Brianna Gerard, a Haslett resident, said the new theme allowed for her and her kids to come comfortable and ready for a good time.

Student plays a golf game at the mother-son dance.

Student plays a golf game at the mother-son dance.

“I think it’s great,” Gerard said. “(It) makes your kids more comfortable, they get to wear whatever they want and it is not related to just a holiday.”

Lansing resident Kris Skorna said she is trying to get in as much bonding time as she can with her maturing fifth grade son.

“You know, he’s growing up fast,” Skorna said. “I don’t think he’s going to want mom around very long.”

Considering it to be a part of the idea of place making, Dove said events like the “Jersey Jam” bring the community and people within the school district together.

“People are drawn to the place they live not because it just is that their house is there and their school is there, (but) that they have events that bring their community together,” Dove said. “It tries to make it a place instead of a location.”

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