Meridian Township’s Parks and Recreation department expanded this winter its schedule of Family Winter Sports Weekends. What once was a program held in one weekend spans multiple weekends. “When we first started out 18 years ago, we try to do just one big weekend,” said Mike Devlin, one of Meridian Township Parks and Recreation team specialists, “Now, every weekend we have something going on.”
Families—free of charge—can take advantage of Michigan’s snow storms with programs like sledding in the dark during the Moonlight Sledding event and the Harris Nature Center’s Winter Wonderland. Indoors, residents enjoyed a free skate session as part of the Meridian Skates event at the Suburban Ice rink at 2810 Hannah Blvd. in East Lansing. Normally, it costs $10 or less to skate.
When Deborah Guthrie and Brandie Yates started the communications department in Meridian Township in 2012, they predicted that cable companies were going to switch their model from cable to satellite. This model would mean stations like theirs, HOMTV (Haslett, Okemos and Meridian television) were going to lose money. Now it looks like their prediction is coming true. The dark future they saw is coming true due to the legislation that has been passed and is on its way to being passed that will have a large effect on their funding. The FCC is working to push through rule changes that will affect the relationship between local access stations and cable companies.
Change is in the air for Meridian Township as Julie Brixie steps down from her role as township treasurer to become a state representative. “I’m really humbled and honored to have been elected the next state representative for the 69th state district,” said Brixie. Those who applied to fill the remainder of Brixie’s term included Dante R. Ianni, Linda P. Burghardt, Phil Deschaine, Thomas E. Klunzinger and two others who chose to remain confidential. After a final interview session took place, the Meridian Township Board voted 3-2 in appointing trustee Phil Deschaine as the next township treasurer. On Dec.
The sound of leaves crunching under your feet, the Red Cedar River flowing right beside you and birds chirping: The sounds and sights of nature are an experience, the Harris Nature Center staff is hoping all visitors can have. “Basically the biggest thing is, that we like people to understand that a nature center is not just the building it’s like the entire park is the nature center that’s where you’re going to have your experience,” said Kit Rich, coordinator of the nature center. “We want you to come into the building say hello and see what we have in here, but then get outside, kind of create your own experiences.”
The center is tucked away in the woods lining Van Atta Road and is just off the bank of the Red Cedar. First opening its doors in 1997, the center has proclaimed itself as a place for recreation and education. “The nature center means a lot to us,” said Liza Potts, an associate professor at Michigan State who frequents the park.
Following the midterm election, Okemos residents will welcome two new faces to its Board of Education. Voters elected newcomers Mary Gebara and Katie Cavanaugh, while also re-electing Dean Bolton and Vincent Lyon-Gallo. Both newcomers said they are excited to join the board and serve their respective terms. Gebara beat out candidates Adam Candeub and Michael Kieliszewski for one of the three, four-year term positions. According to WILX, the NBC affiliate in Lansing, Gebara received the most votes in the race with 4,419 or 30 percent of all votes. “I’m very excited (to join the board), I worked hard, so I’m really happy that I won and I’m anxious to get started,” said Gebara.
Due to recent fire statistics, Fire Inspector Tom Millerov is concerned about the safety of the community. He said: “The numbers currently are above average for the number of fire fatalities per year in Michigan. So there is a really big push right now to remind people to make sure that they have a working smoke alarm in their home and to make sure that they are practicing fire safety and know how to get out of their home in case of an emergency.”
On Oct. 13, the Meridian Township Fire Department had its fire prevention open house where community members had the opportunity to visit the fire station and learn about fire prevention techniques. Millerov said that this event is important because it allows kids to interact with the fire department in a nonemergency setting so that they can know what to do when an emergency does arise.
When Meridian Township voters opened their absentee ballot marking instructions, they were presented with directions on how to vote straight party even though straight ticket voting is banned for the Nov. 6 general election in Michigan. “I was contacted by a voter last week who was confused because the instructions that are included with the absentee ballot that was mailed to them included instructions on how to mark a straight party ballot,” said Ingham County Clerk, Barb Byrum. Although the instructions were incorrect, voters do not need to worry because the ballot is accurate. Meridian Township Clerk Brett Dreyfus said that there is no need for voter confusion because there is no straight party option on the ballot.
As government access television, HOMTV since its inception has provided content to the community. Through the broadcasts of government meetings and coverage of community events the station has provided information to the public. However, HOMTV now needs help from the community as it launched its sponsorship program. “We are launching, a soft launch if you will program sponsorship opportunities, so organizations, community members, businesses they can sponsor a HOMTV program to continue programming…” said Brandie Yates, HOMTV executive producer. Haslett, Meridian and Okemos television or as its better known by, HOMTV launched the program due to a loss of cable funding.
On Oct. 2, the Meridian Township Board voted 6-1 denying Jim Giguere’s request to rezone approximately 7.36 acres of residential property. Their decision means that no more than seven homes can be built off Hulett Road, near the Sanctuary Neighborhood.
Township Treasurer Julie Brixie said that her vote against the rezoning request was not a difficult decision to make. “The current zoning on the land is consistent with our future land use map,” said Brixie. “The requested zoning would not serve the best interests of the community.”
Alina Gorlick, a 10-year Meridian Township resident, said she felt extremely happy about the board’s decision.
On a day where there were no public remarks, no new business to attend to, and no old business to come back and discuss, the Meridian Township Planning Commission used the time during its monthly meeting on Sept. 24 to review each of their goals for this year. “I think it’s very important, it’s something we should have tackled earlier and it’s easy to get away from that mission because throughout the rest of the year we had projects, we have somebody coming in for a special use permit or a planning unit development or what rezoning or whatever,” said Peter Menser, the principal planner at Meridian Township. “So, you get caught up in all your official business and sometimes you don’t get a chance, or you know it’s hard to hold a volunteer group here until now, its 10 p.m, just to talk about policy stuff, but on a day like this when the agenda is pretty empty it’s a perfect opportunity to start tackling stuff.”
The commission went through each of the goals it adopted on Jan. 8, 2018, spending time discussing the steps it might need to take, to accomplish its goals.