By ERIC FREEDMAN
Capital News Service
LANSING — The owners of a dog shot and seriously wounded by a Corrections Department investigator can sue the state for emotional distress and mental anguish damages under federal civil rights law, a judge has ruled. U.S. District Judge Gershwin Drain rejected the state’s argument that the owners, Erica Moreno and Katti Putman, would be entitled only to economic damages if they prove that the investigator acted unconstitutionally. The investigator, Ronald Hughes, several state troopers and a Flint police officer on a multiagency team went to the wrong house in Flint while searching for a fugitive in June 2014, according to court documents. They had an arrest warrant for the fugitive. Hughes mistakenly went into the backyard of the fugitive’s next-door neighbors, where he saw 58-pound Clohe, a 15-year-old pit bull mix, coming out the door and shot her in the face, the decision said.
By Isaac Constans
Listen Up, Lansing Staff Reporter
In any major city, residents have mental maps of friendly areas and those that are uninviting, whether because of crime, blight, lack of interesting points, or all of the aforementioned. In Lansing, those mental maps seem to demarcate the south side of Lansing as a no-entry zone. Lansing as a whole has higher crime rates than state and national averages, with 10.6 violent crimes per 1,000 residents compared to an average of 4.5 and 3.8 violent crimes per 1,000 residents on the state and national levels, respectively, according to Neighborhood Scout. Many of those stats intensify in certain south Lansing neighborhoods. “I know the guy who works on my car can’t get out of Lansing,” Mark Skidmore, a Michigan State University professor of urban economics, said about his auto mechanic from the south side of Lansing.
One of the most important aspects that go into creating a sense of community between a group of people is safety. Creating a space that seems welcoming and safe are high priorities for many people. According to a survey conducted by city-data.com more than 50 percent of people would only live in a place with good safety and low crime rates. While this is a general want for most people it can prove quite difficult to actually accomplish. As an example of this, Lansing is a city that claims to have a hard-working heart with the charm of a small town, according to the city’s visitors page.
By MICHAEL KRANSZ
Capital News Service
LANSING — The recent bust of a mobile meth lab in Big Rapids illustrates the growing popularity of small-scale cooking operations employed by many drug users, and a growing problem for Northern Michigan, a police official said. The bust occurred Nov. 9 and saw 30-year-old Mark Peterson of Big Rapids led away in handcuffs after officers stopped his car in a remote part of the Ferris State University campus, said Bruce Borkovich, the director of public safety at the university. Following the vehicle stop, officers determined that Peterson had been using the car as a “one-pot” meth lab, a cooking operation in which small batches of the drug are produced, Borkovich said. Peterson was living with a Ferris State student in a campus apartment at the time, Borkovich said, and there was no evidence that he’d been distributing the drug.
By SIERRA REOVSKY
Capital News Service
LANSING – With debate about ‘presumptive parole’ in the Legislature, the question arises whether keeping convicts in prison longer will actually prevent them from committing another crime once they’re set free. A recent report from the Council of State Governments found almost no difference in the re-arrests rates of Michigan parolees, whether they’re released within six months of their earliest eligibility date or incarcerated longer. That was true regardless of the crime for which they were imprisoned. “There is no correlation in keeping people longer in prison and keeping the public safer,” said Barbara Levine, associate director of research and policy at the Citizens Alliance on Prisons and Public Spending. “Most of those that committed a serious crime years ago present a lower risk to society, making keeping them in our prisons a waste of our money,” she said.
By Emma-Jean Bedford
and Ian Wendrow
Listen Up, Lansing
LANSING-The question on everyone’s mind lately has been: “What’s happening with these roads?” But it’s not just roads that are troublesome. Lansing has recently been dealing with issues related to low residential population, a distinct lack of diverse businesses, and overall deteriorating infrastructure. An effort to address infrastructure funding is currently on the upcoming May 5 ballot, titled Proposal 1. Proposal 1 is a ballot initiative meant to raise funds, mostly for new road work, through changes in taxes. If passed, the House Fiscal Agency, a non-partisan agency within the House of Representatives that analyzes the financial effects of Michigan legislation, estimates that the tax increase would raise about $2.1 billion this fiscal year; of which $1.23 billion would go towards roads, $463.1 million to the state’s general fund, $292.4 million to schools and $89.9 million to local governments.
LANSING-Armed robberies. Break-ins. Aggravated assault. These are, unfortunately, common terms that Lansing residents deal with everyday. According to a report by Neighborhood Scout compiled from government records, Lansing is safer than just 10 percent of cities in the U.S. with 142 crimes per square mile, compared with the national rate of 37.9 crimes per square mile. Map provided by Neighborhood Scout report and FBI data.
Adelina Joslin is originally from Guatemala City, but relocated to the Lansing area two years ago after moving from Florida.
GRAND LEDGE – Grand Ledge crime rates remain consistently low with a possible spike in property crimes and thefts in Spring 2014, according to police and fire officials.
Small town setting
The types and amount of crimes committed in Grand Ledge differ greatly from crimes that occur in surrounding cities. According to Grand Ledge Police Department officials, the crime rate in Grand Ledge remains fairly consistent. “I think it’s fair to say that our crime rate has stayed the same for the last 5 years,” said Martin Underhill, Police Chief at the Grand Ledge Police Department. Matt Stalding, on-duty officer at the Grand Ledge Fire Department, explained that the low crime rate is attributable to the small town setting.
By Luke Ferris Staff Reporter
Multiple vehicle break-ins or police termed “larcenies” have occurred throughout DeWitt Township on Jan. 30 and the city of DeWitt Feb. 1. Both citizens of DeWitt and DeWitt City Police plan to take precautions furthering instances of vehicle larcenies. On Feb.