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lansing

JANE KRAMER

Mid-Michigan, and particularly the Lansing area, has long been a landing spot for refugees.

To share their stories, a group of artists in Lansing has put together a storytelling exhibit and a book called Refuge Lansing: Stories of Resettlement in Mid-Michigan.

Lindsey Scullen/Michigan Radio

Come next January, Lansing's going to have itself a new mayor for the first time in a dozen years.

That's because Mayor Virg Bernero chose not to run for re-election.

During his tenure, Bernero never shied away from a fight — if he felt it was warranted — and his plain-spoken style earned him the handle of America's Angriest Mayor.

Grand River Ave. street sign in Lansing, Michigan.
user Lovelac7 / wikimedia commons

A section of roadway in Lansing has been renamed after civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the city council approved the renaming Monday night of East Grand River beginning at Oakland to Washington and West Grand River beginning at Washington to Pine.

More from the Journal's Julie Garcia:
 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Monday night, the Lansing city council declared the opioid crisis a public nuisance. It’s a first step toward filing a lawsuit against drug companies.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Latino leaders and others told the Lansing city council during a public hearing last Monday night why the city should rename part of a city street after activist Cesar Chavez. 

The civil rights icon died in 1993. 

In 1994, Lansing officials renamed part of Grand River Avenue street for Chavez. But a public vote reversed the decision the next year.   

Marisol Garcia says the rebuke still stings.

“It does because I have children,” says Garcia. “For them to see that the city of Lansing is not accepting of an important leader to our community…it’s hurtful.”

Cristian Newman @ismaelnieto

If most people over the age of 65 will need long-term care, what will that look like, and will they be able to afford it? That’s what State Representative Jon Hoadley wants the state to study. He and other lawmakers are backing bills to measure that cost and come up with some funding options.  

Hoadley says people turn 65 every day, but the long-term insurance market is unstable.

“All that together means that a storm is coming,” he says. “We have an opportunity with this bill to get ahead of this problem.”

Sarah Slocum specializes in elder care for a nonprofit health group. She says the state needs to know what all that long-term care will cost.

“We’ve been working very hard in the advocate community, from the department, from the provider prospective to make improvements in long-term care,” Slocum says. “But the puzzle that we have not yet unlocked is financing and how to make that really work across the spectrum.”

The state report wouldn’t make recommendations, but it would outline some options for lawmakers such as tax credits and reinsurance to improve the marketplace. The bill received its first committee hearing last week.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The public will get a look tonight at four proposed futures for the site of Lansing city hall.

Developers bidding to buy Lansing city hall have four different visions for the property across from the state capitol.

One would renovate city hall into a hotel. Two other bidders would construct new towers on the current City Hall plaza, each featuring a hotel. The fourth proposal would tear down city hall and replace it with a hotel.

Developers will deliver 45-minute presentations starting tonight at the Lansing Center.

Lansing city hall
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A developer is scheduled to be selected to buy Lansing city hall by the end of this week.

Four developers submitted proposals to the city. Mayor Virg Bernero says the winning bidder will be the one that makes the highest and best use of the property.

Lansing city hall
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The future of Lansing city hall may rest with paperwork filed today.

Would-be developers had until 5 p.m. to submit their proposals for the property across the street from the state Capitol. The proposals will now move to a committee for review.  

Mayor Virg Bernero says the half-century-old building needs too much work to maintain. He wants to sell the building and use the proceeds to relocate city offices.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing voters will take a step toward electing a new mayor August 8th. 

On Tuesday, Lansing will hold a mayoral primary election which for the first time in a dozen years will not feature Virg Bernero on the ballot.

Bernero’s decision not to run for re-election this year opened the door to five candidates seeking Lansing’s mayor’s office.

Lansing's city hall
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s outgoing mayor wants to sell city hall and find a new home for the city's offices.    

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero today formally asked for proposals from businesses interested in turning Lansing City Hall’s downtown location into a hotel, office space, residential units or retail space.  He’s also asking for a plan to relocate city offices elsewhere.

A few of the items you can check out at the Capital Area District Library's "Library of Things"
Screenshot from CADL.org

The Next Idea

We think of borrowing from a library and what comes to mind? Books. DVDs. CDs.

Now, through the Capital Area District Libraries in Lansing, you can check out a badminton set, a GoPro camera,  a thermal leak detector or even a sewing machine. Those are just some of the items that they have available in the CADL's Library of Things.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing-area churches are banding together to provide sanctuary to immigrants fighting deportation.

“I officially declare, as of this moment, that All Saints Episcopal Church is a sanctuary church,” Pastor Kit Carlson said, standing in front of her East Lansing church Thursday afternoon. She and other religious leaders announced what they call a community sanctuary effort in the Lansing area.  

Archives of Michigan

 


 

May 18 marks the 90th anniversary of largest school massacre in U.S. history. On that day in 1927, in Bath, Michigan, 38 elementary school children and six adults were killed and nearly 60 others were injured. Andrew Philip Kehoe had packed 100 pounds of dynamite and blown up half of a school. 

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio file photo

Lansing's City Council did an about-face last night. 

The Council reversed its earlier unanimous decision to declare Lansing a "sanctuary city". The 5-2 vote means the city is not a sanctuary for immigrants, particularly undocumented immigrants.

The Trump Administration has threatened to punish sanctuary cities by withholding federal funds.

The Michigan and Lansing Chambers of Commerce had been urging Lansing's City Council to rescind that earlier resolution.

Rich Studley, the president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, joined Stateside to explain why they rejected the resolution.

Lansing City Hall building
Michigan State Historic Preservation Office / Flickr

The Michigan and Lansing Chambers of Commerce are urging city council members to rescind a resolution which declares Lansing a "sanctuary city."

In a letter sent to the Lansing City Council Thursday, business leaders wrote that they want the declaration removed because it sends the wrong message.

Tim Daman, president and CEO of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce, and Rich Studley, president and CEO of the Michigan Chamber wrote:

Michigan History Center

The story of how Lansing became our state capital starts when Michigan is in its infancy – back in the early 1800s.

When Michigan became a territory in 1805, Detroit was named territorial capital – and for good reason.

“It was the largest city, certainly, and it was also accessible by water, which was very important in an era when roads are, at best, terrible in most places,” said Valerie Marvin, Michigan state Capitol historian.

Potter Park Zoo

Potter Park, Michigan's oldest public zoo, is working to preserve one of the world's most critically endangered species. Now it's waiting on approval to transport an eastern black rhino male from Texas, in hopes that it may breed with of the zoo's female rhinos.

The Ingham county board of commissioners must approve the cost of the move before the zoo can proceed.

Rick Pluta / Michigan Radio

The Michigan Women's Hall of Fame welcomed its latest group of honorees late last year.

Among the five contemporary honorees was Olivia Letts. She was the first African-American teacher hired by the Lansing School District. She started that job in 1951 and from there, Letts spent her life as an advocate for education, community service and civil rights.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

After 12 years as Lansing’s mayor, Virg Bernero says he won’t seek re-election this fall.

Bernero says he will step down as mayor when his term ends in 10 months, citing his family as his reason to not seek re-election.

During his tenure, the Capitol city has weathered the Great Recession, which forced deep budget cuts due to lost tax revenue. Nevertheless, Bernero says Lansing received millions of dollars of economic development during that time as well.

Jodi Westrick / Michigan Radio

Formerly nicknamed the “Dan Gilbert bills” after the prominent Detroit businessman and developer, legislation to give developers a tax incentive for building on blighted land sailed through a full Senate vote and is now awaiting a hearing in the House.  

The same kind of incentives came up in Lansing last year. But they didn’t go anywhere, because some lawmakers were worried it would only help big cities like Detroit.

This time, supporters on both sides of the aisle say the legislation is for cities big and small.

The state of Michigan hasn't had a poet laureate since 1959 when Edgar Guest (pictured in 1935) passed away.
Wikipedia / NBC Radio

Pop quiz: Who is the poet laureate of Michigan?
 

Sorry, but that's a trick question. The state hasn't had a state poet laureate since Edgar Guest died in 1959.

So, we're getting piecemeal poets laureates around the state – in the Upper Peninsula, Detroit and Grand Rapids, for instance. Now, add Lansing to that list.

For the first time, the poetry community in our Capitol city is searching for Lansing's own poet laureate.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

It took two weeks, but the Lansing city council finally has a president.

The deeply divided city council ended its deadlock last night, when it picked Councilwoman Patricia Spitzley to fill its vacant president’s chair.

The new council president is hopeful the eight-member board can now move forward after the sometimes-personal debate.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing city council remains deadlocked over who should lead them this year.

Last night, the council tried and failed again to break a four-four split on the vote for council president. It was the third straight meeting they failed to do their first job of the new year.

City Clerk Chris Swope says the council can’t just flip a coin or pick a name out of a hat.

“They do have to agree. They have to come to some consensus,” Swope said after the meeting, “and that’s what the framers of the charter had in mind.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

In Lansing, the city council will try again tomorrow to pick a new leader.

The council traditionally picks a new president in January. And as is somewhat traditional, they’re having trouble agreeing on who it should be.

The council has met twice already this year, but no one has garnered enough votes to win the center seat on the council horseshoe. Tuesday’s meeting will give the 8 council members a chance to break their deadlock.

This is a pivotal year for the Lansing city council, with four seats up for election this fall.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state's 138-year-old state Capitol building needs $62 million in urgent repairs to its infrastructure, according to the Capitol Commission, which is responsible for overseeing the building and the grounds.

Chairman Gary Randall says there was a big effort to fix the building in the 1980's and 1990's.

michigan state capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

It is now a new year. With the State House and Senate adjourned until Jan. 11, it's time to get our bearings on what’s likely to be bubbling away on Lansing’s front burner this year.

Michigan Radio’s It’s Just Politics team of Zoe Clark and Rick Pluta joined Stateside to discuss.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Kansas City-based developer is buying nearly 260 acres of former General Motors land in Lansing.

The vacant land is being sold by the Racer Trust, which is disposing of GM properties separated from the automaker during its 2009 bankruptcy. 

Chad Meyer is the CEO of NorthPoint Development. He says the company plans to redevelop the land for industrial use, but declined to give specifics or a timetable.

“It’s typically [the] more manufacturing investment intensive [the] project is, the longer it takes to get those details worked through,” says Meyer.

Portland General Electric / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

Last week, amid the frenzy that followed the presidential election, the Michigan Senate passed a pair of bills that would mean a dramatic overhaul of Michigan’s energy policy. The bills, which still have to make it through the Michigan House of Representatives, would be the first new energy policy in Michigan since 2008.

We spoke with Rick Pluta, Michigan Radio’s Lansing Bureau Chief, about the new legislation. He told us that, although the two bills both had bipartisan support and passed by wide margins, they also have detractors.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Medical marijuana growers in Lansing may soon have to register with city, if they use an “excessive” amount of electricity.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is proposing an ordinance to require people who continuously use 5000 kilowatts of electricity to register with the city.   

“We have seen a number of cases where the growing equipment used to cultivate medical marijuana overloads the electrical circuits in the home,” says Bernero. “This, of course, creates a fire hazard.”

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