Minimum wage could be on Michigan’s ballot this year, MT community weighs in

The Raise the Wage Michigan Ballot Committee’s proposal would increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2027, which could impact Meridian Township workers and business owners alike.

Michigan’s current minimum wage is $9.87 an hour. This would increase in one dollar increments over five years. After reaching $15 an hour in 2027, the initiative requires automatic adjustments for inflation each year.

The initiative also seeks to end the sub-minimum wage for tipped workers, for people with disabilities and people younger than 20-years old. The sub-minimum wage would be phased out by January 2028.

Detroit-based Buddy’s Pizza adds second location in Mid-Michigan 

With its grand opening on April 4, the new Buddy’s Pizza at 2010 W. Grand River Ave. in Okemos is looking for more employees. “Hiring is ongoing, and we are still looking for plenty of help,” said General Manager Mike Wensel, who is looking for 30-35 to be  servers, bartenders, bussers, hosts and kitchen staff. Training will begin March 21, but applicants are welcome to apply and join late. Previous restaurant experience is helpful but not required.

Okemos High is a potential litigant in vape lawsuit

Okemos High Schools is considering joining a nationwide litigation against JUUL and other vaping product manufacturers. Over 100 schools in Michigan have joined, claiming these products were marketed to children and therefore, caused damages to schools. 

Lawyers Piotr M. Matusiak, from Thrun Law Firm, and William Shinoff, from Frantz Law Group presented the existing litigation to the Okemos Board of Education on February 28. 

“It’s a litigation against vaping companies that says that they have fraudulently marketed their products to children and in turn has resulted in damages to schools, and so the litigation tries to obtain money for schools in terms of cost they have incurred related to vaping as well as costs for dealing with vaping issues in the future,” said Matusiak. Not only is this problem systemic, but the CDC also refers to it as an “epidemic.” According to the FDA’s 2021 data survey, 11.3% of high school students in the United States use e-cigarettes equating to 2 million youth across the country who are using these highly addictive products. That same survey found that many teenagers who use them have a strong dependence on nicotine.In Michigan, 20.8% of high school students use vaping products. It is even estimated that 213,000 kids who are currently 18 and younger in Michigan will die prematurely from smoking.

MT officials give tips on managing flooded roads

Many roads such as parts of Okemos Road, Ottawa Drive, Hillcrest Avenue and Nakoma Drive were closed in Meridian Township last week due to flooding caused by a mix of snow and rain that hit the area. Because of the hazardous conditions, some drivers needed emergency services. “Over the weekend approximately five cars were towed out of areas as they tried to drive through ice and water over the road,” said Meridian Township Fire Chief Michael Hamel. “One vehicle drove approximately 200 feet into an icy roadway and got stuck.”

With more wild weather expected to cause flooding, law enforcement officials said drivers must take precautions. The best thing people can do while the roads are flooded is to obey the signage, said Captain Rick Grillo of the MT Police Department.

Year 3 of 10-year MT construction plan set to begin

In May, the third year of the 10-year local road bond program approved by Meridian Township voters in 2019 will start, said Dan Opsommer, the assistant township manager and director of public works and engineering. “We really need to take advantage of every decent month that we have,” said Opsommer. “We’ve canceled projects in the past in the fall because it’s not good to put down asphalt when the temperature drops and so we want to make sure the work that we’re doing is lasting and impactful.”

The goal of the 10-year-project is to obtain a Pavement Surface Elevation and Rating score of 8 out of 10, which would be an improvement from the score of 4.48 when voters approved the millage a few years ago. 

“Today, after two years of the program we are at a 5.68, and we also have a forecast scheduled, so we’re looking at each year in the 10-year-program,” said Opsommer. “What do we want our average PASER rating to be and right now we’re eclipsing those goals by about 5.5 PASER rating. MT already issued the first bond three years ago and will secure bonds at the end of this year for the second set, said Miriam Mattison, the finance director of MT.  As they collect that, it pays off that bond debt, so they will collect the millage from the residents and then it will pay down the bond.