A boy speaks with Santa Clause.

Potter Park Zoo hosts 30th annual Wonderland of Lights

The Potter Park Zoo is hosting its 30th Annual Wonderland of Lights 5-8 p.m. through Dec. 23.

“It’s definitely geared toward families to come to the zoo during the winter months of the year to walk around the zoo, see the animals and check out all the zoo lights that we hang up,” said Fund Development Specialist Erin O’Rourke.

Most of the more than 100,000 lights are hung by two of the primary staff one month prior to the start of Wonderland of Lights. Volunteer Coordinator Kelly Gibson organizes high school and city volunteers to help replace bulbs, wrap trees and other maintenance needs.

Monica Schafer sits at Noah’s Nook with her campaign materials.

Monica Schafer wins new Ingham district by 18 votes

Republican candidate Monica Schafer is the newly elected Ingham County District 15 commissioner with 5,078 votes, just 18 votes over Democratic candidate Brooke Locke.

“Especially in such a close race, I feel very honored that I was chosen to represent District 15,” Schafer said. “It is big shoes to fill, … but I will work hard to fulfill those shoes to make sure that the district is taken care of in the same care, the same compassion and the same timeliness.”

Monica Schafer sits at Noah’s Nook with her campaign materials.

Monica Schafer: Republican running for Ingham County District 15

“So many times as a woman we’re home raising the kids,” Schafer said. “Sometimes we put our education just on the back burner because it’s very important to be there with the kids, but now I have the opportunity to step up and use the degree and give back to the community.”

Schafer and her husband own Schafer Raspberries, a U-pick raspberry farm, which is a “labor of love.” Schafer said.

Locke stands in front of a Okemos Biggby Coffee shop.

Brooke Locke: Democrat running for Ingham County District 15

Democratic candidate for Ingham County Board of Commission District 15 Brooke Locke has  close ties to Ingham County but specifically, Williamstown.

“The town’s always meant a great deal to me,” Locke said. 

Although transitioning into policymaking, Locke is currently a full-time real estate agent at Keller Williams Lansing. He also keeps busy working on a separate LLC for reinvestment and a part-time server at Tavern 109.

Ingham County transitions to new 911 translation service

Ingham County is adopting a new translation service to help non-English speakers make emergency 911 calls. A 911 police dispatcher speaks with a colleague. The 911 call center is divided into sections of emergency types: police, ambulance, fire station and more. “Nowhere is it probably more important than a 911 center where you really have to have someone immediately,” said District 5 Ingham County Commissioner Todd Tennis. Ingham County 911 Central Dispatch Administration staff attended a conference to gather information on three interpretation services and speak with other 911 centers using TeleLanguage.

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Stacy Bailey speaks at the Okemos Board of Education Meeting on Oct. 17.

Okemos Public Schools seek to improve students’ mental health

Okemos schools are setting the bar higher for student achievement in literacy, math and social mental health. https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/11653095/
Okemos Public Schools does not have American Indian or Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander students. The nudge comes from a 20-question computer assessment called mySAEBRS (my Social, Academic, and Emotional Behavior Risk Screener). The assessment is taken three times an academic year and questions keep consistent every year. 

Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Stacy Bailey presented the 2022-2023 benchmark assessments at the Okemos Public Schools Board of Education meeting on Oct. 17. 

“The mental well-being of a student is going to have a direct impact on if they’re ready to learn or not,” Bailey said.