Grants aim to spruce up Michigan county fairgrounds

Capital News Service
LANSING — Julia Arian had to look hard to find great food the last time she visited a county fair. “There was only one dingy shelter that had a line that stretched out of the door serving food,” said Arian, a longtime fair enthusiast from Lansing. “The shelter was not appealing at all.”
But the length of the line prompted her to try the food, “which ended up being fantastic!” she said. Next time Arian may not have to look so hard. The Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is offering $300,000 in grants so county fairs can improve their buildings and grounds.

Federal grant aids seniors’ transportation

Capital News Service
LANSING – Seniors will be one step closer to independence with the help of a $1 million federal grant to assist them in getting to doctors’ appointments. U.S. Sens. Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, both Democrats, announced that a grant to the Michigan Department of Transportation would allow more access to transportation to and from physician visits, appointments and other tasks. The grant would assist non-emergency transportation services that use buses or vans to accommodate seniors. MDOT sponsored a grant application from the Michigan Transportation Connection, a statewide nonprofit, under a federal program called Rides to Wellness Demonstration and Innovative Coordinated Access and Mobility.

Grants help drive improvements in St. Johns’ parks

By Jason Dunn
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

ST. JOHNS — The city of St. Johns has seen a steady intake of state-allocated grant money to complete various projects across the city. For small towns like St. Johns though, grant money drives large scale projects; without it, they would probably not be completed.

Animal shelter grants awarded

Capital News Service
LANSING – About $135,000 in funds donated by taxpayers who ticked a box on their state income tax forms will go to 23 registered animal shelters throughout the state. The Animal Welfare Fund grants range from $175 to $10,000, and many will be used for spay and neuter programs, staff education and to cover the cost of housing animals involved in legal cases, according to Jennifer Holton, a communications representative for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. But, she said, some of the money will go to innovative programs that teach children how to take care of animals. Grants for three such programs will finance public education on pet care on local television, a visit to a school with shelter pets to talk about animal care and a virtual fostering program that allows a classroom to follow the course of a shelter pet’s experience. Gladwin County Animal Shelter in Beaverton will get $10,000, its first grant from the Animal Welfare Fund, said Krystal Moore, one of its officers.

Local charities vying for grant money

By Chloe Kiple
Entirely East Lansing

EAST LANSING — Over 90,000 adults in the greater Lansing area are functionally illiterate, or cannot read above a third grade reading level, according to the 2012 U.S. Census survey. This makes it difficult or impossible to complete daily tasks like reading food labels, pay stubs and the directions on a bottle of medicine. The Capital Area Literacy Coalition seeks to empower adults and children with weekly reading tutor services. “There’s not a lot of funding for [illiterate] adults,” said Di Clark, the assistant director of the Capital Area Literacy Coalition. “A lot of times the attitude is ‘they had their chance.’ The reality is, they probably didn’t.”

The group is one of many seeking money from the East Lansing Human Services General Fund Grant.

Meridian Township looking for help cover flood insurance costs

By Lauren Captain
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

OKEMOS — With winter coming to a close, some Meridian Township residents are hoping that snow melting over frozen ground won’t lead to severe flooding. Okemos deals with this type of problem every year. “The most severe spots for flooding in our area are at the corners of Okemos Road and Grand River Avenue, and this is something we have to expect each year around this time as winter comes to a close,” said Younes Ishraidi, the Meridian Township Public Works and Engineering Office’s chief engineer. In hopes of helping people living in flood-prone areas, Meridian Township officials are working on a plan to help residents pay their flood insurance premiums. Township officials recently proposed a grant option idea on Feb. 2 at the township board meeting.

State grants give vets more counselors, faster service

Capital News Service
LANSING – Almost $200,000 in state money is on its way to veterans’ services offices in 19 counties, the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency said. Another $50,000 could be awarded before the year ends, part of a $250,000 allocation from theLegislature, according to the veterans affairs agency. Most of the county offices will use the grants for new technology and to hire more counselors. Wexford County will establish a new office. Rob Price, director of targeted outreach at the Michigan Veterans Affairs Office, said by the end of the year, only seven of Michigan’s 83 counties will be without a county veterans office.

Residents to Bath Township: Use the money you already get, or get it from elsewhere

BATH — Bath Township leaders have a pretty clear idea as to how residents want to pay for community needs: using grants and existing township funds. That’s according to Bath Charter Township’s recently-published results of a community survey regarding the township’s strategic plan. Once sent out to the community, citizens recorded votes and opinions based on the plans and goals given and how to go about them. Citizen results showed that “grants” and “leveraging existing Township funds” were the most popular results as to how to pay for the goals. Ryan Soucy, the Planning Director of the Bath Township Board of Trustees discussed the strategic plan, the community survey and the goals the township is hoping to accomplish.

Non-Profit Art Gallery Draws Funds Primarily From Grants

By Danielle Duggan
Clinton County Chatter

A business whose employees are solely volunteers and whose products come with a low price tag sounds like a recipe for closing down. Clinton County Arts Council, a St. Johns non-profit art gallery that survives primarily on grants, is proof that this business method works. Marta Giesecke, a worker at the art gallery, located at 320 N. Clinton Ave., said that this gallery hires only volunteers. These volunteers are well-educated on the artists of the pieces displayed in the store and can share stories about these artists.