East Lansing and Okemos schools look to ease N95 mask shortage

Courtesy of Dean BuggiaOkemos Public Schools use 3D printers to make masks and filters that will be donated to Sparrow Health System to help ease the medical supply shortages during the COVID-19 crisis. East Lansing and Okemos school districts located in Ingham County are looking to help ease the spread of the COVID-19 virus by 3D printing N95 masks for healthcare workers on the front lines. They join Michigan State University and other local schools in replicating N95 masks. 

As of 2 p.m. April 9, Michigan had over 20,000 coronavirus cases, making it one of the top five states with COVID-19 cases. The United States has over 363,000 cases and over 15,700 deaths. 

Initial inspiration

The growing number of cases in the area forced several health care providers to run on depleted supplies of necessary PPE for doctors and nurses on the front lines, in the local battle against the virus. 

Sparrow Hospital created a donation list, filled with supplies the community can provide to help medical professionals in their open locations, including Sparrow Hospital in Lansing. 

Courtesy of Dean Buggia Dean Buggia, the Okemos High school technology teacher, estimates each mask and filter cost about $1.20 to produce. One of the items on the donation list, 3D printed N95 masks, caught the eye of both East Lansing Public School’s Technical Director Chrisitan Palasty and TinkrLAB founder and owner Melissa Rabideau. 

“So, I actually had a customer email me this project that she had seen, and I looked into it,” said Rabideau about coming across the project.

Fate of senior season rests on day-to-day decisions

High school seniors around the state have most likely played their last games in their high school careers including Okemos seniors Mitchell Sambaer and Rio Tomlinson; Sambaer waits to close another noteworthy basketball season while Tomlinson’s final season had yet to start.

Township clerk tests voting equipment; says coronavirus may have increased absentee voting

Meridian Township began preparing 60 days ago for the March 10 Michigan Primary. The clerk and a team made up of about 150 people have been working to ensure a smooth voting process for the township’s voters. 

The ballot for the Primary will include seven proposals for Meridian Township as well the opportunity to nominate the Democratic Presidential Nominee. Maisy Nielsen Voting booths at the Meridian Township Municipal Building on March 9. Any registered voter could participate in Early Voting until 4 p.m. on  March 9, due to the passing of Proposal 3 in 2018. 

Equipment accuracy test

Township Clerk Brett Dreyfus said he and his staff conducted an accuracy test on March 8 to conclude this election cycle’s preparation. 

The equipment for all 19 precincts in Meridian Township have been thoroughly tested within the past weeks, but this specific test allowed residents to see how the township tested the equipment. 

A specific tabulator was selected and random tests were applied to simulate possible outcomes for the ballot. 

Maisy Nielsen The voting equipment in the Town Hall room at the Municipal Building that will be used in the March 10 Primary by those living in Precinct 6. 

“The test is meant to show how we test all of our equipment . .

Board realizes Form-Based Code needs work

Photo: Maisy Nielsen The Planning Commission during the Feb. 24 meeting recommended two special-use-permits for commercial marijuana provision centers in Meridian Township, moving it front of the board. After the initial presentation on Form-Based Code (FBC) to the Board of Trustees at the Feb. 18 meeting, the Planning Commission decided to pursue the project’s proposal in a more direct way. 

During the commission’s Feb. 24 meeting, members were forced to confront how they felt about using the code in the township after receiving ‘lukewarm’ reactions from the Board, Planning Commissioner Ken Lane said. 

According to formbasedcodes.org, the definition of FBC is to “restore time-tested forms of  urbanization .

Walsh donates 2% raise to local organizations including the CRC

Maisy Nielsen The Community Resources Commission meeting on Feb. 12. Members listen as Georgia Styka (pictured far left) provides her input on fundraising ideas. 

Meridian Township Manager Frank Walsh’s contract was renewed through 2022 at the Jan. 21 township board meeting. He received a 2% raise, which he donated to two local organizations, the Community Resources Commission and the Meridian Garden Club. 

According to the press release, both the CRC and the Meridian Garden Club will receive $700 each this year.

Meridian Mall stores close, opens others, instilling optimism

Maisy Nielsen Members of the Economic Development Corporation met on Feb. 6. Several issues were discussed including how to fill the vacancies in the mall. The Economic Development Corporation at its Feb. 6 meeting learned about four new vacancies in the Meridian Mall mall from Shawn Dunham, the mall spokesperson, who turned seemingly negative news into positive as she works proactively to find new businesses 

“Gosh, Express closed, the Hallmark store closed, what happened to Old Navy?