The Meridian Township Parks and Recreation Department have wrapped up the renovations at Wonch Park this month. Residents now enjoy a new set of outdoor fitness equipment, a new perimeter loop pathway, a repaved parking lot and a large mural displayed at the entrance of the park. “Wonch Park was really one that we needed to get at,” said LuAnn Maisner, director of Parks and Recreation. “It needed some love, it was tired. It’s one of the oldest parks in our community and was important for us to get that taken care of.”
The outdoor fitness equipment has created a great buzz in the community.
Bicycles get refurbished. Medicine gets incinerated. Latex paint gets remade and electronics get broken down. But the volunteers at the Meridian Recycling event? They always stay the same: strong, helpful, and happy to give back to their community.
The Nokomis Learning Center, located at 5153 Marsh Road in Okemos, is a non-profit Native American learning center whose mission is to preserve the history, arts and culture of the “people of the Three Fires”– the Odawa, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe and present it to the community. The building contains an art gallery, exhibit classroom and gift shop. Founded in 1988, the Nokomis Learning Center is doing the best it can to preserve the culture from generation to generation. “Nokomis means ‘grandmother’ and grandmother was the primary teacher in the clans and the villages,” Victoria Voges, the Educational Director at Nokomis Learning Center, said. “One of our goals is to teach the culture and the history and hold it up so that’s why they named it Nokomis.”
The center provides tours to over 200 groups per year, and most of them come from local middle schools.
OKEMOS — A couple of years ago, Okemos High School changed their logo and focused on moving on from the Native American symbol that they have had as a mascot for many years. Okemos had changed the logo from a chieftain’s head to their letter “O” that represents Okemos. Some may say the Native American logo might have impacted people in a positive way, and some may say it might have impacted people in a negative way. It all depends on who you are talking to. Superintendent Catherine Ash said logos can be positive it just depends on how schools and the public are portraying that figure and that schools should be very cautious about using logos that can be offensive to people.
OKEMOS — March in Okemos can be a month full of gifts. Traffic is heavy, bars can be crowded, floors are sticky from beer being wasted, all because of March Madness. March Madness is the month students, alums and townspeople alike represent their school with pride. This is the time for fans travel to their favorite bar, buy a cold beverage, alongside a nice light meal and cheer for their favorite college basketball team to win as many games possible. Owner of Buddies Pub and Grill Terry Lynn explained why March Madness is so important for the people of the community and her business.
By Kelly Sheridan
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter
OKEMOS — Every year, thousands of students apply to colleges with the assistance of numerous people. Okemos High School has instituted an assistance program that allows students to have all the tools necessary for applying to their colleges, as well as finding the colleges that fit for them. Hedlun Walton, the director of guidance services at Okemos High School, said the process begins in the spring of a student’s junior year. The school hosts an evening presentation, where they invite an admissions representative from Michigan State University or the University of Michigan to come and give general advice on completing applications and writing essays. “Our assistance begins with helping students position themselves to have a competitive application and to do the appropriate amount of college exploration to make sure they are selecting schools that would be a good fit for them,” Walton said.
OKEMOS — Finding a historical village in Michigan is pretty uncommon, but not for Meridian Township. The Meridian Historical Village in Okemos “was established as a private non-profit organization in 1974,” according to their website. Because this village has been around for so many years, it has had a positive impact on the community from education to attraction of tourists through their events. “[The Meridian Historical Village] protects and preserves the local history. We have an archive, and we have all sorts of resources here that can help not just students but community members also,” said Jane Rose, the executive director of the historical village.
It can be quite alarming to hear the statistics with obesity in the United States, but Michigan is one state to be especially worried about. From the year 1990 to 2014, the obesity rate in Michigan jumped from 13 percent of overweight people to an alarming 32.6 percent. What is most concerning about this last number is that the age group of 10 to 17 years old occupies almost half of this number. This number is 14.8 percent, which happens to almost the same number of obese people of all ages in Hawaii. This is something to notice and not ignore.
The Michigan Tax Tribunal has had many discussions about passing a law that will lower the taxes of big-box stores like Kohl’s, Meijer, and Walmart. These discussions and proposed bills have been referred to as “dark stores.”
“What is being discussed is the proper evaluation and taxation of large, retail stores,” said Tricia Kinley, the senior director of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. “‘Dark stores’ is really just lingo. It’s a topic. It’s been coined as ‘dark stores.’ It’s really more of a debate, and it’s a topic that is going on.”
The dark stores discussion is to assess and tax the big-box stores fairly because many corporations and representative groups, including the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, feel that the stores are being over-taxed.
Michigan is no stranger when it comes to water crises. The poisonous water throughout Flint has been one of the top stories across the country as of late. There are have been many fundraisers and donations across the country, especially in Michigan, in order to help Flint with their tragedy. However, Meridian Township realizes that they must not only help Flint, but also take action to prevent something like this happening to them in the near future. It can happen to any community.