Monthly Archives: February 2012

Local Elementary Hosts Polling Site

Local school, Fairview Elementary, is one of the many polling sites around Lansing for the Republican Primaries.

There are over 20 polling locations for the republican primaries. Fairview polling worker Mary Reynolds said that Fairview Elementary, precinct eight, had one of the larger numbers.

“From what the different people that have come in here, that work for the city for the election are saying, we have some of the most,” said Reynolds of the amount of people they are getting at Fairview Elementary.

Within the day that ran from seven a.m. to eight a.m. Fairview Elementary had nearly 200 ballots.  Reynolds stressed the fact that each type of election was different; the elections in November could mean many more voters for this precinct.

The elementary was happy to host the primaries said Reynolds. The polling site it set up in the library away from most classes.

“Every time people give us a building they bend over backwards to help us,” said Reynolds. “From a couple different principals I’ve been told they feel it is very important students see this kind of government in action.”

Reynolds has a lot of experience with the public. She has been working on elections for years, in her experience she has been able to gather some ideas of how the elections will go.

“If you want me to give you the honest to God truth, I think Ron Paul is going to be the president. I think Newt (Gingrich) is going to be the Vice President.” Said Reynolds.  “The other two men’s egos wouldn’t allow them to be.”

Fellow election poll worker Carol Doll agrees with Reynolds when it come to Ron Paul, but unlike Reynolds she does not think Ron Paul can beat Obama.

“I think it will be neck and neck,” said Reynolds. “if the Republican party really wants to beat Obama they’ll put Ron Paul in.”

Reynolds may think Ron Paul has the election in the bag but there are others that think differently. Lansing’s Denise Knechtges says we should look to other candidates for the lead Republican.

“Rick Santorum is going to win (the republican primary),” said Knechtges.  Knechtges made it clear that her opinion was that Obama would be the final winner though.

Voters may not be able to agree on who will win the primaries but they can all agree on the efficiency of the polling sites.

“It was very organized,” said Knechtges. “I was in and out.”

Mary Reynolds said they show up around six to be prepared to open polls at seven. The group of workers, a group that is usually anywhere from five to eight people, work from polls open to close.

“We usually try and get out around eight, but sometimes we’re here until nine or ten,” said Reynolds.

Today’s elections are tallied by a computer so the workers actually have no idea who the winner of this area will be.

“It’s a toss up,” said Reynolds. “It’s like throwing four coins in the air and seeing which one lands heads up.”

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Romney Wins Michigan Primary

Mitt Romney won the Michigan Republican primary on Tuesday, narrowly defeating Rick Santorum, with Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich finishing a distant 3rd and 4th place respectively.

Romney, a Michigan native, received 41% of the vote with Santorum receiving 38% across the state of Michigan, according to results provided by Fox News. Paul and Gingrich received 12% and 7% respectively.

More specifically, in Ingham County, Romney received 43% of the vote, with Santorum only getting 34%, according to results provided by Fox News.

However, in precinct 1-1, where Old Town, Lansing is located, Santorum received 68 votes to Romney’s 27, according to the Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope.

The result will come as a surprise to some since it was widely believed that Romney would have no problems winning Michigan, the state where he grew up and the state where his father was a governor.

Romney addressed his supporters at his base in Novi, MI shortly after hearing the news of his victory.

“We didn’t win by a lot but we won by enough, and that’s all that counts,” said Romney.

Despite the defeat, Santorum was pleased with his performance in Michigan, especially given the history and ties Romney has to Michigan.

“A month ago they didn’t know who we were, but they do now,” said Santorum in a post-election rally at his base in Grand Rapids, MI.

Santorum offered his praise for the Michigan people by saying, “All I have to say is, I love you back.”

Voter turnout was considered to be relatively low compared to previous Michigan primaries. There are no official statistics yet, but it was projected that voter turnout would be anywhere between 15 and 25 percent.

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Ron Paul Speaks at MSU Auditorium

Ron Paul supporters gathered yesterday afternoon at Michigan State University’s auditorium to hear the GOP candidate speak the day before the Michigan Republican Presidential Primary.

Students and people of the community gathered while chanting, “President Paul,” before giving their full attention to the republican candidate as he took the stage to give his speech.

Ethan Davis, a student and chairman for MSU’s “Youth for Paul,” introduced the congressman to a crowd that was certainly a mix of all ages.

Among the crowd was a “Youth for Paul,” Katherine Patterson, 16, of Holt High School.

“I came out to kind of see what was going on,” Patterson said.

Patterson, being under the legal voting age won’t be able to cast her vote in the republican primary, had heard about Paul speaking at MSU through her high school government class.

“My government teacher was talking about it and encouraged students to come check it out. There are actually a lot of kids from my school here,” Patterson said.

Congressman Paul, who said he was surprised and impressed with the turnout, first introduced his wife of 55 years and his gradnddaughter as they sat on stage for support.

The crowd stood and chanted, “end the fed,” as the congressman spoke of repealing the Federal Reserve Act.

Paul patiently waited to continue his speech as his supporters broke into random chants throughout, with the most popular being, “President Paul,” and “end the fed.”

Congressman Paul received numerous standing ovations from his supporters.

The crowd exploded with applause and rose to their feet after Paul said, “Only defensive wars. That’s what the constitution says.”

Among Paul supporters was Benjamin Dahl, who believes the GOP candidate will win if everything goes smoothly at the polls.

“I think he will win if there is no toying around with the votes. That could negatively effect the outcome for sure,” Dahl said.

Congressman Paul’s speech didn’t change the way Dahl feels about the candidate.

“I mean, I was already convinced of Paul’s opinion so his speech just emphasized that,” Dahl said.

As the Presidental candidate wrapped up his speech under one hour, the crowd rose to their feet and applauded.

“I’ve followed Paul in this republican primary and I am among many supporters. He can win,” Dahl said.

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Candidate Profiles

Mitt Romney

Raised in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., Mitt Romney is the son of former Michigan governor George W. Romney and was himself, the 70th governor of Massachusetts from 2003-07.

A man of Mormon beliefs, Romney leads a campaign of three important ideals: family, economy and military.

For the most part, Romney takes a traditional conservative platform. Except in the cases of rape, incest and to save the life of a mother, Romney is pro-life.

He is opposed to both same-sex marriages and civil unions but has expressed support for creating anti-discrimination policies to prevent discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered individuals in employment.

In 2005, Romney filed a bill to reinstate the death penalty for individuals who have killed multiple people or law enforcement officers, or in cases of terrorism.

A supporter of the second amendment, which guarantees citizens the right to bear firearms, Romney does not favor legalizing marijuana.

Romney also strives to be independent of foreign suppliers of oil and to increase drilling in the U.S.

Rick Santorum

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum was born in Virginia but raised in Pennsylvania, where he received his undergraduate degree from Pennsylvania State University. He also received his M.B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh and a law degree from the Dickinson School of Law, which are both in Pennsylvania as well.

In 1990, he married Karen Garver and they are the parents of seven children.

So far, Santorum has won the caucuses in Minnesota, Colorado and Iowa, and the Missouri primary.

Although his position on abortion remained pro-choice before running for congress, he now holds a pro-life position, and he strongly opposes same-sex marriage.

Santorum supports American oil drilling everywhere possible, and believes humans are stewards of the earth, rather than here to serve it.

Not in favor of legalizing marijuana, Santorum has held mixed views on gun control throughout his time in office, but overall supports the second amendment.

Santorum has often emphasized the important role his Christianity and family values play in making him a fit leader of the U.S.

Ron Paul

Born in 1935, Ron Paul served as the U.S. Representative for Texas’s 14th congressional district and has entered the presidential race three times – once as Libertarian, and twice as a Republican.

After graduating from Gettysburg College and Duke University School of Medicine, he spent time in the United States Air Force delivering babies. He served in office at the same time as his son Rand Paul, the former senator of Kentucky.

Both libertarian and conservative, Paul is pro-life, and believes legalizing marijuana is a state’s constitutional right.

A lifelong Christian, Paul personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but also that marriages should be a private issue between individuals and their church or private contract.

Opposite of Romney, he does not believe in federal regulation of the death penalty.

Paul supports drilling for oil domestically. In terms of the second amendment, he believes individuals have the right to self-defense at home.

Newt Gingrich

Born in 1943 in Pennsylvania, he received a degree from Emory University in Atlanta and earned both a Master of Arts and doctoral degree from Tulane University in New Orleans.

His first two marriages resulted in divorce, but he is still currently married to Callista Gingrich and has two children. After being raised Lutheran, in 2009 Gingrich converted to Roman Catholicism.

His experience in office includes representing Georgia’s sixth congressional district for more than 20 years and the position of the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Similar to Romney, Gingrich endorses a pro-life stance, and supports taxpayer funding of abortion services in instances of incest, rape and protecting the mother’s life.

Along with increasing attention to coal, nuclear and renewable energy resources, Gingrich has expressed interest in tapping American oil reserves.

Despite having a half-sister who is a lesbian LGBT rights advocate, Gingrich does not support same-sex marriage.

Gingrich has repeatedly expressed support for implementing the death penalty for drug smugglers and cartels.

Although he once wrote a letter in support of medical marijuana in 1982, Gingrich has since then taken an anti-legalization position.

In this year’s election there are a number of issues that stand at the forefront, aside from traditional topics such as same-sex marriage or gun control.

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Tempers Flare at East Lansing School Board Meeting

Tempers flared at the recent East Lansing Public Schools Board Meeting regarding the issue to close the Red Cedar Elementary School as part of the upcoming public bond election.

Board members Nell Kuhnmuench and Dr. Donna Rich-Kaplowitz accused Superintendent Dr. Dave Chapin, Board President Rima Addiego, and the other board members of a lack of transparency.

“On January 23rd 2012 the majority of this board attempted to alter the configuration of the district regardless of the outcome of the Feb. 28 public bond election,” said Kuhnmuench in a statement prepared by herself and Rich-Kaplowitz.

Kuhnmuench also said that the board took this action without letting the public know in advance, or giving the public a say in the decision.

The statement by Kuhnmuench and Rich-Kaplowitz sparked a debate with the other members of the board, including Superintendent Dr. Dave Chapin, who defended the board’s decision.

“I brought this forward to provide clarity to the community from the board prior to the election,” said Chapin. “We did everything in front of the public in a public meeting. I thought it was very clear what was taking place.”

Board member Jay Todd also had strong words in response to the statement.

“I am mildly-offended by the implication that there was a violation of the by-laws,” said Todd. “I think we’ve been very open to the public.”

Todd he didn’t think that you can get more open then they did and mentioned that now was not the time to be discussing this matter.

Board members Babette Krause and Kay Biddle echoed similar thoughts and both resented the implication that something was done “behind closed doors.”

Board President Rima Addiego becameemotional while defending the board’s decision.

“We are in a process of moving forward a proposal for the brain trust of our kids’ future,” said Addiego.  Addiego also questioned why Kuhnmuench and Rich-Kaplowitz did not mention anything in the previous meeting.

“They had the opportunity to express that at the previous meeting, and they chose not to,” said Addiego.  She also added that she would never attempt to mislead anyone on the board nor anyone in the community.

Kuhnmuench and Rich-Kaplowitz are hoping to have the resolution rescinded and have the public vote on the matter on during the upcoming election on February 28th.

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Pickin’ in the Park

The residents of Old Town are known to be a tight-knit community where everybody is a friend with everybody. This is especially evident in Old Town’s weekly event, Pickin’ in the Park.

Pickin’ in the Park is a weekly event where artists, musicians, and residents from around the Old Town area gather to play music together.  The event is intended for all players of instruments, no matter how skilled or experienced you are.

The event, which is held every Tuesday at the Sir Pizza Grand Café, draws a variety of crowds, according to Darlene McIntosh, who is a frequent player at the event.

“Some days we have a big crowd, some days we don’t,” said McIntosh. “Regardless of how many people are listening, we play because we enjoy it.

Ernie Mullings, another frequent player at the event, has another theory.

“I think a lot of the time our crowd depends on what’s on the television,” said Mullings.

“Sometimes it’s a little slow at first, but by seven, we usually have a good amount of people either participating, or watching,” said Mullings.

The event begins with one person picking a song with everyone then joining in, singing and playing in unison. Everyone takes turn picking songs and this continues for the duration of the time.

“It’s a real fun event and it’s a great way to meet new friends who all enjoy playing music,” said McIntosh.

The musicians at the event use a variety of instruments including guitars, drums, and even African shakers.

The most unique and oldest instrument came from Mullings, with his vintage Tenor four-string, aluminum guitar.

“It’s made of aluminum because back then, wooden guitars weren’t loud enough,” said Mullings. “The aluminum base acts as an amplifier, which is something they didn’t have back then.”

Mullings also owns an antique version of the guitar that’s from the 1920’s, but doesn’t use because, “he doesn’t want to break it and it’s cheaper,” said Mullings.

Pickin’ in the Park is held every Tuesday night at the Sir Pizza Grand Café from 6-9 p.m. in the winter months.

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