Meridian Township sustains its climate pledge

Communities, including Meridian Township, are contributing to the overall reduction of climate change. 

In addition to the solar panels on top of the fire station, Meridian Township has also finished a project in summer 2021, the installation of 355 solar panels on top of the Meridian Service Center, which is the largest installation of solar panels on Meridian Township facilities. Since joining thousands of communities in signing the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement in 2007, Meridian Township adopted in 2017 a Climate Sustainability Plan to meet the climate action and green community goals of the township. Some of the biggest strides that that township has made in honoring the Sustainability Plan has been implementing renewable energy sources including solar panels and green transportation, as well as holding citizens of Meridian Township accountable for their energy consumption. 

In Meridian Township, specifically, the township board discussed in the April board meeting that their plan is to “primarily use renewable energy in the future, encouraging residents to consider electric alternatives before they need to replace household equipment fueled by natural gas or gasoline.”

The township board’s goals for energy usage are by 2035, 40% of Meridian’s energy usage will be from renewable sources, followed by 80-90% by 2040-2050. Meridian Township Environmental Programs Coordinator LeRoy Harvey said that “the board has budgeted money for more renewable energy in 2022,” Harvey said, “and our Energy Team is currently exploring cost effective options at the Municipal Building, Public Safety Building, Okemos Library, and Solar Carports.”

As far as physically implementing renewable energy sources throughout the Township, Meridian has spent the past couple years building numerous solar panel systems on top of city buildings. In November 2020, Meridian concluded a project of installing solar panels on top of the South Fire Station on Okemos Road.

Photo of Okemos High School

Okemos High School students voice learning challenges

Annie Heeder

Annie Heeder reports from Okemos High School

On-line learning challenges

Imagine completing almost half of your high school experience on Zoom, and then being sent full force back to in-person for your senior year. It is the reality for Senior, Sarah Hamel. 

After making the transition to online classes a year ago, students struggled with losing the social connection that came daily with being in school in person. When asked about her experience online, Hamel said it took a toll. “I’m a pretty social person so being online was really hard for me in that sense,” Hamel said. Jennifer Nguyen, a junior at Okemos High School, agreed with Hamel that the year online was anything but easy.

What Daniel’s Drain Project means for Meridian Township

The Meridian Township board met on Sept. 21; On the agenda was Daniel’s Drain Project: the result of a 2016 petition by Meridian Township residents to improve stormwater infrastructure and restore Walden Pond. The Project broke ground in mid-August, with site preparation across Meridian Township. However, with the approval of Daniel’s Drain SAD #21 Resolution #1, adjustments to the project have already begun passed at the in an effort to lower costs for residents.

This is a photo of the front of the Meridian Mall

Meridian Mall Fights Back After Devastating Pandemic

Imagine walking into the mall as a child and smelling the food court, there seems to be excitement in the air because of the shopping that is going to take place. Then COVID-19 hit and some people were feeling the urge to connect back to the mall setting that they once knew. Now, the Meridian Mall is open and ready to welcome back customers again, with a few changes.

Pinecrest elementary school to be renamed in tribute to civil rights activist Dr. Robert L. Green

The East Lansing School Board unanimously voted to re-name Pinecrest Elementary School to honor Dr. Robert L. Green, the first Black homeowner in East Lansing and civil rights activist. Emotions ran high as the board room began to clap following the final approval of the name change. 

Gabrielle MortonFormerly known Pinecrest Elementary School is in the same neighborhood that Robert L. Green raised his own kids. The Robert L. Green Commission, which was formed earlier this year, was created in an effort to commemorate Green and his efforts to improve the East Lansing community for people of color in the 1960s. Ron Bacon, a member of the commission as well as a city councilman, said that this change brings light to a missing part of East Lansing’s history. 

“There is a long history of Dr. Green that I wanted to know,” said Bacon. “His story being told makes all of our communities’ history make a lot more sense.”   

In 1962, President Kennedy signed Executive Order 11063.

Lansing Moves forward in one-way to two-way street transformation

The city of Lansing developed a traffic model that would convert one-way streets into two-way streets. After receiving a $3.3 million grant to pay for the needed changes, the city of Lansing started the beginning phases of the project. Andrew Kilpatrick, public service director for the city of Lansing, said he believes that the change will be positive. 

“It will definitely make things less confusing for those not familiar with downtown,” said Kilpatrick. “Generally, there is a positive correlation between two-way traffic and retail businesses and the economics of the area.”

Lansing City HallAbove is a map of the roads that are being effected by the conversion. The conversion will take place over the next few years.

Okemos Public Schools changes mascot

When the nation looked in on itself, evaluating its systemic racism and fighting for social justice, the Okemos Public Schools decided it was time to reconsider its mascot. 

“Last summer with this renewed focus on racism and social justice, we got feedback from many alumni, current students, and community members asking us to evaluate this,” said Dean Bolton, the president of the Okemos School Board. “It was time to make sure that everything was aligned with our efforts.”

On May 24, the board held a meeting and voted unanimously to change the mascot from the Chiefs or Chieftains into something else. When voting on this, they had to make sure that it aligned with their equity plan and strategic plans – plans that they have had since before the pandemic. Bolton has said that both of these plans heavily address diversity and equity inclusion issues. This has been a topic of discussion for more than 30 years, Bolton said.

Prayer walks, worship nights, racial healing and more with House of Prayer

What all started as college students praying and worshipping in a dorm room turned into the House of Prayer in East Lansing.More than a decade ago, Jessie Still, founder of House of Prayer, empowered college students to go beyond their dorm rooms into a more permanent space, which is how it all came about.“The mission and vision at the House of Prayer is to be a family of friends and followers of Jesus who stand with Him in the place of prayer who go with Him into the great harvest who make disciples of all nations.” said Rachel Nanzer. Nanzer says a lot of what the House of Prayer does is centered around its mission and vision statement. Members of the House of Prayer, do prayer at noon every weekday, host Bible study, worship nights, and they do evangelism and discipleship. Every second and fourth Saturday of every month are when the worship nights are held. “For me, the biggest draw was family.