National Pancake Day at IHOP

National Pancake Day, Feb. 25, 2020, brought a lot of hungry people into IHop on 2771 E. Grand River Ave in East Lansing. Whether it was because of the free pancakes, because it was Fat-Tuesday or comfort food was a necessity after midterms, the reason IHOP celebrates National Pancake Day is to raise money for Sparrow Children’s Center.

COVID-19 is causing chaos in grocery stores

It’s like the holiday rush, shoppers in a frenzy. 

COVID-19 has created chaos all over the world, including a place you might not expect: grocery stores. Shoppers have been scrambling to buy whatever is left, but there isn’t much. “I’m here ‘til like 10 and I don’t see it slowing down that much,” Meijer employee Dylan S. said. But the hot commodity isn’t a run on turkeys, it’s toilet paper. “Every store you go to, it seems like everyone’s bought toilet paper,” Jean Schlicklin said.  “They’re trying to restock them, but they can’t get them restocked quick enough.”

Toilet paper isn’t the only thing people have stocked up on.

8th Congressional District ups its civic involvement

Gordon Trowbridge, spokesman for Slotkin’s re-election campaign, said from a campaign standpoint, he has noticed a difference this year in public participation. Trowbridge said it seems like voters are aware this is a big moment for Michigan because a lot of national issues addressed can also have a significant impact on a local level.  For example, concerns about medical costs and water quality is at the top of that list. 

“What was successful for Slotkin in 2018 and so far this year, was to be pragmatic toward these issues,” he said. “Slotkin has said participating in the choice-making is one of the most important symbols to show love for the country.”

Slotkin decided before voting took place to publicly endorse Democrat Joe Biden in the year’s primary. 

Infographic listing some of the candidates and topics voters may have seen on their ballot. Credit: Lauren Buchko

Trowbridge said he has definitely noticed a higher turnout during campaign events. “Slotkin realizes there’s a lot of attention on Michigan during the primaries,” he said.  “It’s kind of like a ‘ground zero’ when it comes to a campaign.”

Representing the district

Trowbridge said it’s quite a bit of work for Slotkin to represent Michigan while in Washington D.C. because of the complicated schedule, but she works to represent as best as she can.

Meridian Township wants a president to be a change agent

With the 2020 presidential election top of mind, some Meridian Township residents said they want a leader with a strong moral compass and who will improve the health care system. 

Sarah Howard, a Meridian Township resident, said even though she doesn’t keep up with the candidates’ positions, she wants to see a huge change. “I don’t think our healthcare system makes any sense,” said Howard. “I appreciate that we are trying to move toward a socialized health care system, but I do not think the current system makes financial sense.” 

Howard is also concerned that social media may become a greater issue with the next leader elected in office. She wishes media would report on more real issues instead of hot topics. Howard said: “I think most of the other changes I want to see are more social than something that has to do directly with the presidency.

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 . .

Meridian Township residents prep for annual Blue Cross Winter Warm up 5K run/walk

 Blue Cross Warm-Up Members practicing outside Meridian Mall. Credit: Lexie Soro

Meridian team coach Louis Hopkins [pictured on the left] gives the team updates before the Tuesday morning  practice began. Credit: Lexie Soro

Check out the beginning of a Blue Cross Winter Warm Up 5k preparation practice at Meridian Mall: (Credit: Lexie Soro)

Information about Blue Cross Winter Warm Up 2020

What is it? Dozens of Meridian Township residents have officially kept their New Year’s resolutions as they prepare for the Blue Cross Winter Warm Up 5K walk/run on March 21. 

The Blue Cross Winter Warm Up practice team meets twice a week inside Meridian Mall and nine other local locations across mid-Michigan. Members can choose to do the hour-long practice walking or running around the perimeter inside the mall or go outside. While at practice, partiipants receive walking and nutrition tips.

Local residents rec research before trying CBD

Brianna Garrett of Haslett said it’s important for people to research their CBD products. 

“These products have become a lot more accessible, but people need to be careful,” she said.  “You should get your products from a reputable company, not a gas station.”

She said she doesn’t think CBD has a negative connotation surrounding it and knows plenty of users. “I utilize CBD products, and I know a lot of people, ranging from children to the elderly that use it for a multitude of reasons,” she said. 

Garrett said she thinks many people are not getting the proper information or education about CBD products. 

1 ounce of hemp-derived CBD oil. Credit: Lauren Buchko

“I think it’s important for people to know that CBD can be derived from hemp, which is what most companies are doing,” she said.  “It can actually contain up to .03% THC and be classified as CBD.”

THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical that triggers most psychological effects of marijuana. 

Peggy Hargrove Keep, a Haslett resident, said using cannabidiol or CBD cut down her dependence on prescription drugs. “CBD oil has impacted me personally by helping me with neuropathy pain, diabetes and anxiety,” she said.  “About a year and a half ago, I was able to stop using a prescription drug that I’ve used for 20 years, cut down on insulin and have an overall sense of well-being I didn’t have without it.”

Hargrove Keep said she initially hesitated trying CBD products because she had never used anything but prescription drugs. “I think there’s a lot of negativity surrounding it,” she said.

Township officials upset about mailing absentee ballots out late

Meridian Township Board members blasted the township’s clerk at its most recent meeting for mailing absentee ballots out late. The rest of the agenda included updates on the new marihuana dispensaries and Michigan State University’s solar panel project.

Nonprofit dance program “Happendance” set to perform at the Wharton Center

Happendance, a nonprofit dance
studio in Okemos, Michigan, will perform at the Wharton Center in East Lansing
on March 19 and March 21, part of a two-year collaboration with the FRIB. 

Happendance logo via happendance.org

The organization’s staff said it
has provided a safe space for many students and families.  Colleen Erpelding, Director of Education
Services, said the staff is specialized to achieve this safe space. “We have staff who are training to
work with those with special needs as well as those who are dedicated to help
create a culture of inclusivity and equity,” she said.  “Those who train with us are families for
life and we have several who bring their children to us after they have left
our doors as students.”

The organization hosts events and
performances each month.  These events
are a way the program allows families to get together, ask questions and
showcase the purpose of the program.  The
organization does a number of community outreach events and it uses grant
funding to provide services to schools and families, said Erpelding. 

They will have a mini-performance
by Impulse, one of their student companies on March 28, during one of their
Social Saturday events. Their annual spring concert will be held at Eastern High School in Lansing from May 15 to Mat 17, and it will be a performance by students from Happendance School. Upcoming spring Happendance events. Infographic by Lauren Buchko

Happendance was founded in 1976 by
Diane Newman, originally as a program focused on small and private instruction.

Meridian Township Police Department accomplishing what 95% of police departments in Michigan haven’t

By: Lexie Soro and Lexi Ayala

Meridian Township Police Department located on 5151 Marsh Rd, Okemos, MI. Credit: Lexie Soro

On behalf of the Meridian Township Police Department, three officers accept an award from the Michigan Law Enforcement at the Meridian Township Board meeting on Feb. 18, 2020. Credit: Lexi Ayala 

Ken Plaga spoke to what the accreditation certificate means for the Meridian Township community: 

The Meridian Township Police Department accepted a nationally recognized certificate of accreditation award from the Michigan Law Enforcement Accreditation Program. The award added Meridian Township’s police department to a list of 24 police departments throughout Michigan that have already been recognized.