Homeless Angels make a difference

by Zachery Fanko
Lansing Township News Staff Writer

Although Mike Karl and Jessep Magoon started Homeless Angels a mere five months ago, they have already made a difference and helped the homeless in the Lansing area. Both Karl and Magoon point to the Internet and social media as the tools that have helped them the most in reaching out not only to people who need help but also citizens who have a desire to help but are not sure where to start. “People want to see that they’re actually making a difference,” said Karl. “With social media, we can show everyone how their donations are helping.”

The non-profit organization helps those in need with a variety of services including assistance with enrolling for benefits, resource assistance and temporary shelter. The organization partners with other volunteer groups to assist in providing food benefits and clothing and contacting people to job opportunities.

Training tips from Capital Area Humane Society

Humane Society staff work hard to get their dogs adopted, but what happens once they find their new home? These tips from Capital Area Humane Society employees will help your new pet transition smoothly into the home, and outline why training at home is so important. “If you don’t do anything with your dog, they’re going to get destructive, they’re going to get anxious, they can develop some anxiety issues,” said CAHS Behavior Manager Samantha Miller. “You have to work with them so they can stay happy.” Miller says setting rules for your new dog before you adopt and ensuring that everyone in the household knows and agrees with them does a lot to ease a dog’s transition.

Buyers beware when purchasing dogs

Purchasing a dog online is easy, but the risks are great. Part of the problem is puppy mills. A puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog-breeding operation that places profit over the well-being of its dogs. Dogs from puppy mills are often severely neglected and undernourished, or they may have genetic defects because of irresponsible breeding practices, according to the ASPCA. Shopping for a dog on Craigslist or other online sources could mean you are unknowingly buying a dog from a puppy mill or unethical breeders.

Michigan’s same-sex marriage celebration cut short

Gov. Rick Snyder announced that 323 same-sex marriages that were performed last weekend will no longer be recognized by the state of Michigan. This announcement came after a stay was put on the judicial decision that ruled Michigan’s ban on same sex marriages as unconstitutional. “Because of the stay, we won’t recognize the benefits of the marriage until there’s a removal of the stay,” Snyder said. Snyder said the marriages were legal at the time they were performed Saturday, but the stay means the ban is now back in effect. “With respect to the marriages, we believe those are legal and valid marriages,” Snyder said.

Will Michigan schools be ready for online testing next spring?

A readiness report shows 78 percent of Michigan schools can deliver online testing, but that number could fall to 35 percent when outmoded software is phased out. According to the state’s top school testing official, the readiness report questions if the schools will be prepared by next spring when such testing is mandated. The state is devoted to using the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium; a group of 23 states producing new mathematics and language arts tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards for the next three years. Michigan Department of Education deputy superintendent Joseph Martineau said that about 78 percent of the state’s school buildings are equipped for online testing. Although 78 percent of the state’s school buildings are ready, only about half of their school districts are considered prepared.

Local runs raise spirits, money for a cause

While many spent St. Patrick’s Day weekend celebrating with friends or taking advantage of drink specials, other Lansing Township residents laced up their running shoes and braved the morning chill for two charity runs. “It feels good to get out and do something active, and it’s even better when it’s for a cause,” said Lansing Township resident Amanda Jamelson. Jamelson and her fiancé donned their running gear for the Blarney Stone 5k this past Sunday. The Blarney Stone, which consisted of a 5k run/walk, a 10k run, and a half-marathon, kicked off its first event in the nearby city of Potterville.

Roads, salt budget ravaged by winter weather

In the grips of one of the roughest winters in decades, Ingham County is facing a new problem- its dwindling winter road maintenance budget. 10,000 tons of salt have been used so far this winter, compared to about 1,500 in 2013. With only 20 percent of the budget remaining, the road department is facing a problem: if more funds are needed, where will they come from? “If we exceed our allocated salt budget, then we have to divert funds allocated for other uses, such as road repair,” said Rahman Shareef, public relations coordinator for the department. The department has employed methods to reduce salt use, such as using less salt in low traffic areas and mixing the salt with sand to conserve the supply.

Community still feeling effects of massive outage

In the wake of December’s infamous power outage, many Lansing Board of Water and Light customers are still voicing concerns about their local utility company. “They made all these promises and released all these plans [after the outage],” said Lansing Township resident Jonathan Knolle. “But I don’t think it will be any better during the next crisis.”

With a Feb 16 outage in the East Lansing area, followed by additional blackouts in various parts of Lansing on Feb 20, others seem to be sharing this doubt. “People I talk to feel concerned that we might have to go through the same thing all over again if BWL doesn’t radically shape up its management and technology,” said Alice Dreger, a professor at Northwestern University who has recently become a leader of East Lansing’s activists on the issue. “I know BWL took a really long time to restore power during the last outage [in December], so I was kind of worried that it would take them overnight or maybe even longer,” said Michigan State University student Chelsea Little, who’s street lost power for more than two hours on Feb 16.

A solution for future strays

By Brooke Kansier

The world is watching Sochi, Russia, the venue of the 2014 Winter Olympics. And it does not like what it sees. The mass culling of street dogs in Sochi has both Russian rescuers and Lansing animal activists in protest. “It’s awful,” said Melayna Wilkes, a Capital Area Humane Society volunteer, “I don’t understand how a person can do that to animals, let alone a whole country.”

“Clearly they decided in a last minute capacity that they didn’t want these dogs around, so they chose some inhumane ways to do this to deal with it quickly,” said Julia Palmer, CEO of the Capital Area Humane Society. Pest control company Basya Services was contracted to dispose of the dogs.

School struggles with winter weather

By Brooke Kansier

A lot goes into calling a snow day. At Waverly Schools, the district usually closes if there are six or more inches of snowfall, and automatically closes if wind chill is beneath 25 degrees below zero. The decision, however, is not normally so black and white. “At 4:30 a.m., I consult with my Transportation Supervisor, she fills me in on the roads and the bus fleet,” said Waverly Superintendent Terry Urquhart, “I drive and check the roads myself and consult with the area superintendents to see what they are going to do.”

Waverly’s Transportation Department also plays a big part in checking the roads and sidewalks. “We don’t sleep in wintertime.