Community supports Lansing restaurants via fundraisers

Kelsea Ellis, Lansing resident and former employee of Good Slice Pizza Co. in the city, is one of the thousands of restaurant and bar workers in Michigan left without a job and income. As of March 22, over 108,710 residents have filed unemployment claims, according to a press release. “I have personally not received any money from the community and do not expect to,” she said in an email. “I’ve filed for unemployment and filed my taxes, so I’m hoping for some additional funds.”

Community support through GoFundMe

Ellis though has noticed people pitching in on crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe (that also has a small relief fund to help businesses) to help employees at local restaurants that closed due to COVID-19.

Jupiter Inlet Colony residents express concerns over closing of public beach

Margaret Topper, a long-time Jupiter Inlet Colony, Florida resident, texted about not being able to get daily exercise and fresh air because of the closure of the town’s public beach. “I understand they are regulated by the state government to follow procedures but maybe there could be a walking/no congregating clause,” she wrote. “It’s important that people get outdoors and exercise for physical and mental health reasons. I think the 6 feet and no congregating idea should be in use everywhere.”

Signs were put along the Inlet explaining the closings due to COVID-19. Photo by Gia Mariano

Chris Ayerle, who has a background in behavioral health, texted that she thought it was a bad idea to close the beaches because it would impact mental health.

Using social media to bridge social distancing

As COVID-19 sweeps the globe, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and governments, have recommended that everyone practice social distancing if they are able. Through FaceTime and other social media, people have been able to stay in touch with friends and family while quarantined.

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.

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.

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 . .

Senior center asks the city to be on Nov. ballot

Julie Rudd, a volunteer at the Williamston Area Senior Center, gives a presentation to the City Council about the center. Photo: Sophia Lada

Williamston Area Senior Center

Julie Rudd, a volunteer at the Williamston Area Senior Center, asked the Williamston City Council to add its organization to the November ballot to ask voters to support operational costs. The center’s budget is $26,000 each year. If voters vote down the millage, said Rudd, then the center will have to shut down within the next five years. If voters approve the millage, then it would receive $125,000, which would cover operational costs, increase staff and improve the volunteer program.