Advisory Board Discusses Drain Easement, Stewardship

The main issue at the Land Preservation Advisory Board meeting Dec. 8 came from the Ingham County Drain Commission.

A proposed drainage easement for the Red Cedar Glen land preserve was presented by Carla Clos, deputy drain commissioner, and representatives from Anderson, Eckstein and Westrick, Inc., Kyle Seidel and Gordon Wilson.

The purpose of the easement is to control the storage of storm water.

Seidel said that 70 percent of the current storage was said to be stored in the wetlands, but it turns out that based on a review of the land only 30 percent was being

Tom Woiwode and Jane Greenway listen as the easement for Red Cedar Glen is proposed.

stored.

The movement of water needs to be controlled, whether for a 100-year storm, ort a six-month storm. This means that it is just as important to gauge the draining needs of a torrential rainfall is it is of normal, seasonal rain.

There was no action taken on this issue, but proposed solutions to the drainage problem were presented, one being controlling water movement with retention ponds.

Elise Tripp, a representative from Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr and Huber, Inc. opened the meeting by presenting three stewardship plans for three sites and six invasive species assessments.

Each stewardship plan had an overview of what kinds of nature occupied the land preserves.

Tom Woiwode, chair of the board and resident member, said, “this is not a parks program, we are in the nature business.”

Dr. Michael Thomas, resident member, began the preliminary discussion of having trails on the land preserves.  He said that the Township Board reminded them that it would be to their benefit to provide more public access to preserves.

“We do want to encourage the public to use the preserves,” Thomas said. “But there are some properties that just should not have trails on them.”

Resident member Steven Webster said it is important to stick with the rubric that the community has voted on.

“We have a really intelligent community and a community that really knows what they’re doing,” he said.

Woiwode agreed and said that the committee needs to interpret what the community says to fit the mission of the program.

“Ten years ago, they voted to protect nature,” said Woiwode. “Two months ago, they voted to protect nature.”

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Sarina’s Superheroes Making a Difference

By Allen Martin
Meridian Times staff writer

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Sarina’s Superheroes! That’s right people, not Superman, but a group of students from Okemos High School who are transforming the lives of young pupils around Meridian Township.

Sarina’s Superheroes is a mentoring program that was presented to the Meridian

Members of the school board discuss the program

Township school board on Nov. 22 by Okemos High School teacher Rachel Freeman to raise awareness and provide an update as to how well the program is running.

The program was started in 2008 by Freeman and Okemos High School student Heidi Breckner. They began with a few high students mentoring at Central Elementary School. After a successful first year, the program caught the attention of other Okemos High School students and its popularity grew.

“The high school kids begin to feel a sense of responsibility for their community and they really want to see the kids succeed,” says Freeman. “The elementary students feel unconditional love and have a role model to look up to who believes in them and pushes them to their full potential.”

Sarah Seger has been supervisor of Sarina’s Superheroes for the past two years and shares a personal connection with the program. Sarina’s Superheroes is named after Seger’s sister, Sarina, who was killed in a car accident on Oct. 10, 2010..

Sarina Seger 1992-2010

“We decided to name the program after my sister because she played a big part in getting the program to become really big. We just wanted to honor her,” says Seger.

Seger thinks the program is excellent at helping the elementary students in various aspects. The high school students aid the elementary students with their schoolwork, give lessons about manners and provide a support system for the mentees.

“I would like to see the high school students gain leadership experience and realize how important it is to give back. For the elementary students, I want to see them learn life lessons and gains self confidence,” says Seger.

Sarina’s Superheroes now mentor at Hiawatha Elementary School every Monday and Wednesday, from 3:50 p.m. to 5 p.m. The program consists of 40 high school students and 25 Hiawatha elementary students and is currently looking to expand its presence to Kinawa fifth and sixth grade school.

Remember that you don’t have to possess superpowers to help the lives of others, and Sarina’s Superheroes prove this every week.

Posted in Allen Martin, Hiawatha Elemetary School, Kinawa 5-6 school, Okemos, Okemos High School, School Board, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Township Board Approves Mixed-Use Planned Unit Development

By Michelle Meunier
Meridian Times staff writer

The new apartment Mt. Hope Crossings apartment complex was a topic of discussion again for the Meridian Township board on Dec. 7.

DTN Management program developer Allen Russell presented the board with a list of things that the company did not do.

“We did not maximize unit count. We could have had 14 units; we have eight,” he said.

He said that the company also did not maximize parking, did not add in token bike spaces, and finally, did not tie its storm water drain into the neighbors to the north, east, south or west — the company did it under Mt. Hope, which Russell called another win-win.

Township Board members look at a new proposal.

“We listened hard and worked hard,” Russell said.

Dr. Harry Settimi, a local chiropractic specialist who works in the building that will be right next store to this development, raised concerns during the public remarks.

He said that he is concerned about walking out of his building and looking straight up at a three-story building, which will be located only 19 feet away.  Other issues deal with parking spilling into the lot at 4500 S. Hagadorn.

However, the main issue seems to be the spirit of the area changing. Russell said it is going to change from an office environment to a mixed-use atmosphere.

Russell is willing to work with the board and the neighboring buildings to make this new development positive for everyone.

Land purchase for preservation passes

The board also approved the purchase of two new land preservation sites.

“It’s nice to see that the public decided to renew the millage,” Treasurer Julie Brixie said. “This looks like it will be a nice addition to the program.”

Trustee Brett Dreyfus said, “I am always pleased that we are a progressive community.”

Posted in Haslett, Meridian Township Meeting, Michelle Meunier, Mt. Hope Crossings, Okemos, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Meridian Township Environmental Commission Learns About Deer Management

By Nick Bryant
Meridian Times staff writer

“Quick fixes are not a good solution,” said Michigan State University Prof. Shawn Riley during a Nov. 17 presentation to the Meridian Township Environmental Commission regarding deer management.

Riley, a professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, said that Meridian Township is a location deer can easily adapt to. Meridian Township has many parks and forests that contain coverage and water sources like rivers and lakes, vast open spaces for deer to roam, and a large food supply both from the forest and from peoples gardens. “We get up to 200 deer per square mile in townships,” Riley said.

The deer can and have become a problem to some citizens. They will eat suburban gardens, and are a danger to drivers.

Riley said that there are things that can be done, but there are no quick fixes or one-time solutions.

Birth control can be instituted, but it is extremely difficult and rather expensive.

Deer can be scared or repelled for a short time by such things as moth balls and certain perfumes, but the deer will come back.

They can be trapped and transferred, but there are not many townships and reserves that will accept the deer, and it is extremely difficult for a deer to adapt to a new home range. Commissioner Lise Schools said most relocated deer die shortly thereafter.

Riley said that the quickest and most effective to manage the deer population is by changing the death rate. Through methods such as trapping and euthanasia, encouraging professional or recreational hunting, the deer population can be regulated.

Riley also said that individuals could help reduce the amount of deer by not feeding them, by planting food that deer dislike, and by fencing their gardens.

Riley urged the commission to inform the public about deer management, and to allow citizens to have a say in decisions regarding public resources, regulations and ordinances in relation to deer.

While deer were the focus of the meeting, a number of other issues were discussed.

Commissioner J. James Kielbaso talked briefly about the recently renewed millage for the Land Preservation Program. For information on the millage, check out this article and this article by Michelle Meunier.

Chairman James Jackson discussed some concerns he had over the land evaluation form the commission uses when appraises land. The commission decided it would take a trip to a park and go step by step through the form to see how the rating process works.

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Okemos Teacher and Artist Lived to be 92

By Kathleen Loftus
Meridian Times staff writer

Marge Page, 92, of Okemos, died Wednesday, Nov. 24.  The burial took place Dec. 4 at Carlsbad Cemetery in New Mexico.

Marge PagePage was born in Hammond, Ind. in 1918.  At age 18, she moved to Silver City, N.M., to attend New Mexico Western University after marrying her high school sweetheart, Eddy Page.  At NMWU, she received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a specialization in art history.  She went on to receive her Masters of Education and became a reading specialist.  Marge taught kindergarten and first grade for almost 15 years and became the reading coordinator for Carlsbad Municipal Schools.

When Page was not teaching, she was creating art.  Her daughter, Connie Page, said her mother was passionate about southwestern themes.  Marge Page designed with oil, acrylic and pen and ink to display people, animals and scenery.  She was the former president of the Carlsbad Area Art Association and held her own shows. Page’s work was even on the cover of Writer’s Digest.

Besides her daughter, Connie, and Connie’s husband Tom, Page is survived by her son, Gordon, and his wife, Rheta; three step grandchildren, and seven step great-grandchildren. Page was buried next to her husband, Eddy.

Marge was creative and venturesome; she loved to travel and explore the world.  Connie Page said, “To Marge, life was an adventure with new things to learn, experience and do. Her love of life engulfed us all, and she leaves this world a better place.”

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Planning Commission Approves Rezoning a Residential Building to a P.O. Building

By Adeela Kiran Aslam
Meridian Times staff writer

Planning Commission of Meridian Township getting ready for the meeting

Planning Commission of Meridian Township getting ready for the meeting


The Nov. 22 planning commission meeting held at the Meridian Town Hall was the grounds for heated debate over a medical marijuana clinic.
The issue was to decide on approving or disapproving a rezoning permit to change a building from a single family-residential building to a professional and office building.
This rezoning struck a special chord with quite a few citizens along with commissioners at the meeting. Architect Liz Harrell argued during the public remarks section that this rezoning should be approved since it would be used as a medical building. “It would be incredibly inappropriate to not grant this permit because you are afraid of the potential abuses that this property could be put to,” Said Harrell. “No marijuana is actually dispensed at the location…. Objecting to this would be like having the lawyer next door not see drunk drivers. It is just inappropriate. ”
Matt Dreck of Okemos Discussing his Concerns

Matt Dreck of Okemos Discussing his Concerns


Some citizens seemed very uneasy about this rezoning. Matt Dreck of Okemos compared the clinic to having an adult movie theater opened up in the middle of professional medical buildings. Dreck also seemed concerned the implications of having the rezoning permit approved. “Recently, there have been some break-ins in some close by medical marijuana dispensaries,” said Dreck. “This may not be a dispensary, but if there are large marijuana leaves on the side of the building, will a thief be able to differentiate? I don’t know.”
Other people seemed uneasy about this as well. Commissioner Richard Honicky argued that having a medical marijuana clinic right across the street from a middle school just didn’t seem right along with the fact that the owners refused to let the commission board have a look in the building.
Commissioner Goodale, Honicky and Jackson attentively listening to resident Dreck

Commissioner Goodale, Honicky and Jackson attentively listening to resident Dreck


Honicky said he had received a letter from the Okemos School Board requesting that this rezoning be denied on the basis of it being so close to school property.
After hearing and discussing everything, the board approved the permit with a nay from commissioners Honicky and Shane Goodale.
“I understand that the rest of the area is zoned as professional office yet I’m in agreement with the school board that hey, isn’t there another place for this place?” Said Honicky. “And in my mind, yes there is another place.”

Posted in Adeela K. Aslam, Local Business, Meridian Township Meeting, Planning Commission Meeting, Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Haslett-Okemos Rotary Club Invites MSU Professor for Weekly Luncheon

By Adeela Kiran Aslam
Meridian Times staff writer

A festive Christmas tree to match the festive mood in the room

A festive Christmas tree to match the festive mood in the room

It was a frigid Tuesday afternoon with the sky a bleak gray, but inside the Walnut Hills Country Club, the atmosphere couldn’t have been warmer or joyous with the Haslett-Okemos Rotary Club.
“I am thankful for a great Thanksgiving dinner and my husband’s book signing party!” says Christine, a member of the club as she puts a dollar into a bucket. The meeting started with a ritual of happy bucks where member Brian Ma passed a bucket around the room and people stood up and said something they were thankful for and put that many dollars in the bucket. Other people were grateful for friends, family and even their kids starting driver’s education.

the Four-Way Test of the Haslett-Okemos Rotary Club

the Four-Way Test of the Haslett-Okemos Rotary Club

President Tammy Lemmer continued the meeting right after happy bucks with some pertinent information on upcoming volunteer opportunities such as Old Newsboys where donations are taken for shoes, boots and socks for children in need in the Greater Lansing Area. Last year alone, roughly $160,000 was raised for 4,449 kids in the area. There was also a quick business update of the community where it appears seven percent more people went shopping this year on black Friday than last year and online shopping was through the roof.

Professor Charles Ballard speaking on the economics of Michigan

Professor Charles Ballard speaking on the economics of Michigan

Shortly after, Prof. Charles Ballard took the stage and started his presentation on Michigan’s economy. “The recent recession is by far the worst since the Great Depression,” Said Ballard. “And the recovery is likely to be long and slow.”
Ballard said Michigan mainly focused only on manufacturing and that put the economy in a very vulnerable situation. He also said that it will likely take two to three years to make up for the recession. Ballard made it a point to demonstrate that the national news makes Michigan’s economic situation sound a lot worse than it really is.
“We are not poor on average,” Said Ballard.
The poorest state in the country currently is Mississippi but according to Professor Ballard, if Michiganders don’t take a different approach to the state economics, they are headed down the same dreary road as Mississippi.
Ballard also discussed how the growth the Michigan economy has recently seen is more for the middle to well-to-do sector such as doctors, CEO’s, and professors while the manufacturing sector is not doing so well.
He pointed out right after the success rate of state economies to education.
“Many of the successful states have been those with high education attainment,” said Ballard.
Michiganders need to focus more on higher education and passing laws and giving funds to higher education if Michigan is to do better as a whole according to Ballard.
He also said that it is an assumed Michiganders pay high taxes while, in fact, Michiganders have chosen to tax themselves a lot less. Ballard said that if Michigan’s economy is to get better, changes have to be made and money has to be spent in the right places.
Though much of the information was a harsh reality of today’s tough economic times, Ballard ended the presentation on a very positive note stating that if we keep up the positive attitude, we can get through the rough times and onto a better future.

Posted in Adeela K. Aslam, Haslett, Haslett-Okemos Rotary Club, MSU, Okemos, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment