An individual stride for equality

Have we entered a new, fourth wave of feminism? A look at how social media is shifting feminist dialogue and redefining the movement.

Michigan Republican representatives gather to watch results come in

Michigan Republicans met at Kelley Cawthorne tonight in Lansing to watch the results of the state elections with State Rep. Phil Potvin and State Rep. Dan Lauwers. See our gallery and videos for the full coverage. State Rep. Phil Potvin of District 102 and State Rep. Dan Lauwers of District 81 discuss the importance of togetherness and supporting new talent in the Republican Party.

Proposal 1: Improvements to Michigan roads and transportation come at high cost

Dodging potholes and avoiding crumbling roads have become common burdens for Michigan residents. “I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone that drives on our roads that they have gone from bad, to worse, to dangerous,” Roger Martin, a spokesman for the Safe Roads Yes campaign said. The future of the state’s roadways will be determined by the results of the May 5 ballot proposal, which will ask voters to support an increase in both the state gas tax and the state sales tax in order to raise revenue for Michigan’s roads, bridges and transportation. Proposal 1 would eliminate both the sales tax and state tax on fuel and replace it with a new wholesale fuel tax. As the first gas tax increase since 1997, Martin said every penny of the wholesale tax would be spent on road repairs and transportation.

Michigan faces new FOIA request regulations beginning July 1

New legislation under Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) will require government bodies to enforce a comprehensive policy and modify specific procedures for responding to FOIA requests beginning July 1. Government entities will be expected to provide the public with detailed guidelines for submitting FOIA requests, including information on estimated charges and opportunities to appeal the public body’s response. Aside from encouraging more accountability within Michigan government, East Lansing FOIA Coordinator Marie Wicks said the amendments focus on reducing the costs for the public requestors. “Some cities see it as a revenue stream, but it cannot be this because that defeats the whole purpose of being accountable and transparent,” Wicks said. The legislation prevents public bodies from surpassing copying fees of 10 cents per page.

City Hall prepares to implement new security measures

For East Lansing citizens, a simple visit to City Hall may soon include metal detectors and security guards. After years of ongoing concern, council members will discuss a proposal to implement new security procedures in City Hall during the April 14 work session. “One of the big points is that City Hall shares a building with our 54B District Court,” said City Manager George Lahanas. “Being that we are in the same building, I think the security needs have to be looked at in a larger context.”

While most court systems have secure access points, Lahanas said the building’s design and a lack of funds have prevented City Hall from applying such practices. “This building was not made with security in mind,” he said.

Schools receive additional funding for 2014-2015

The East Lansing Public School District secured approximately $175,000 in additional funding following the board of education’s adoption of the Best Practices Incentive Resolution at its March 22 meeting. The resolution, enacted by Gov. Rick Snyder in June of 2014, provides $50 per student to districts that have implemented seven of the nine best practices presented. Some of the practices include accepting enrollment applications from students living outside of East Lansing, offering non-English language courses, and considering teacher and administrator job performance in compensation decisions. According to Director of Finance Richard Pugh, the money will be added to the 2014-2015 budget for future projects and resources. “We have a $36 million budget, so it’s not a significant portion to our budget, but every dollar counts,” he said.

Student incubator encourages community entrepreneurship

East Lansing’s student business incubator, The Hatch, exists with one goal: to encourage innovation, collaboration and entrepreneurship within the community. Located on the third floor of 325 E. Grand River Ave. under the management of Spartan Innovations, The Hatch supports student entrepreneurs by providing essential resources and a creative working space. With support from the both the professional staff and the interns at Spartan Innovations, the incubator assists in launching these new businesses by offering assistance in different facets of the startup process. In addition to providing funds for materials and connecting students to business competitions throughout the U.S., the staff can provide guidance in conducting market or product research, building prototypes, implementing marketing and design strategies, creating websites and establishing business models.

Wastewater Treatment Plant preparing for major improvements

A $13.5 million construction project to improve East Lansing’s Wastewater Treatment Plant is now underway. On Feb. 17, City Council members approved an ordinance authorizing the city to sell revenue bonds to fund the sewer system improvements. While the State Revolving Fund is set up to encourage infrastructure improvements in city collection systems, East Lansing Finance Director Mary Haskell said the plant’s renovations require a different method of funding when compared to prior bond sale approvals made by council. “The bonds are sold to the state and then as construction takes place, we can get withdrawals to reimburse ourselves,” she said.