House Republicans scale back minimum wage and paid sick leave

Michigan voters came out in numbers last week to protest the recent changes to the minimum wage and paid sick leave laws that were approved early this year. The new bills, which passed the House and Senate during the lame-duck session, significantly alter the original legislation. Coming from various cities across Michigan, women and men gathered outside the Capitol for half-an-hour before making their way to the Rotunda chanting “lame-duck has got to go.” Roquesha O’Neil, a Detroit resident, traveled to Lansing to join the protests and express her displeasure with the lawmakers who amended the minimum wage bills. “It’s a dangerous game they’re playing because they’re hurting and breaking our families,” she said.

Harris Nature Center puts focus on educating the community

The sound of leaves crunching under your feet, the Red Cedar River flowing right beside you and birds chirping: The sounds and sights of nature are an experience, the Harris Nature Center staff is hoping all visitors can have. “Basically the biggest thing is, that we like people to understand that a nature center is not just the building it’s like the entire park is the nature center that’s where you’re going to have your experience,” said Kit Rich, coordinator of the nature center.  “We want you to come into the building say hello and see what we have in here, but then get outside, kind of create your own experiences.”

The center is tucked away in the woods lining Van Atta Road and is just off the bank of the Red Cedar. First opening its doors in 1997, the center has proclaimed itself as a place for recreation and education. “The nature center means a lot to us,” said Liza Potts, an associate professor at Michigan State who frequents the park.

Okemos School Board of Education welcomes two new members

Following the midterm election, Okemos residents will welcome two new faces to its Board of Education. Voters elected newcomers Mary Gebara and Katie Cavanaugh, while also re-electing Dean Bolton and Vincent Lyon-Gallo. Both newcomers said they are excited to join the board and serve their respective terms. Gebara beat out candidates Adam Candeub and Michael Kieliszewski for one of the three, four-year term positions. According to WILX, the NBC affiliate in Lansing, Gebara received the most votes in the race with 4,419 or 30 percent of all votes. “I’m very excited (to join the board), I worked hard, so I’m really happy that I won and I’m anxious to get started,” said Gebara.

Proposition 2 passes by wide margin

Proposition two, which would end the practice of gerrymandering in Michigan, passed by a 60 percent to 39 percent margin on Nov. 6. An organizer praised the group because it included people from multiple walks of life working toward a common goal.

Anti-gerrymandering effort appears headed for passage

Michigan appears headed toward a new process to draw political boundaries in the state. Proposal 2 would create an independent commission to draw districts for Michigan legislative and congressional offices. Proponents for the measure said the state had fallen victim to gerrymandering, a process by which voting districts are drawn in a way that secures seats for incumbents and their party.