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east lansing

highway sign East Lansing Home of Michigan State University
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Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7, and voters in East Lansing will decide whether to add a citywide income tax.

The main goal is to pay down about $200 million in long-term debt mainly stemming from legacy costs, which include employee retirement benefits.

Michigan State University has lobbied against the ballot proposal in East Lansing. A group of university students, business owners and income tax critics also oppose it. 

Only about a third of all states in the U.S., plus the District of Columbia, allow local income taxes.

arrow sign says voting
Flickr user justgrimes / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Election Day in Michigan is Tuesday, November 7. Michigan Radio's "Morning Edition" host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry preview some of the issues for voters around the state: 

Steve Tennes at a microphone
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The owner of a Mid-Michigan farm will be back at the East Lansing Farmer’s Market this Sunday after a judge today granted an injunction in his lawsuit against the city. 

Steve Tennes sued East Lansing when he was denied his usual spot at the farmer’s market. The city said the farmer's Facebook posts saying the Eaton County farm would not host same sex marriages went against a city ordinance.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A group of East Lansing businesses and university student leaders wants the city council to cancel plans for a vote on a city income tax in November.

The ballot proposal calls for creating a tax that would tax residents 1% of their income and non-residents 0.5%.  The tax would generate around $10 million annually. About half the revenues would go toward a property tax rate reduction. City leaders say implementing an income tax would help deal with mounting employee legacy costs

But opposition to the income tax is mounting.

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What can a city facing $200 million in long term debt do?

Raising taxes is one option.

That’s why the City of East Lansing has drawn up an income tax proposal for the November ballot. If approved by voters, residents would pay a 1% tax on their income. Non-residents who work in the city would pay 0.5%.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The East Lansing city council has approved a tentative deal paving the way for a $132 million development project that would change the look of the college town’s downtown.

The 12-story complex will include hundreds of apartments and retail space.   

Mayor Mark Meadows hopes the Center City District project will attract more older people to East Lansing’s downtown.    

“Now someone can open a retail space that doesn’t just cater to somebody who’s 18 to 24 years old,” says Meadows.

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.  

A police officer with motorcycle.
mikefritcherphotograph / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

 

The mistrust and misconceptions between police and the minority communities they serve can run both ways.

That's why the Michigan State University Police Department is hosting a communication session bringing together community leaders and citizens with police officers from all over mid-Michigan. 

A fire
flickr user Matt MacGillivray / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's back to the drawing board for the city of East Lansing. 

District court judge Andrea Larkin has ruled that a 1999 ordinance aimed at cracking down on fires after big games at Michigan State University is unconstitutional.

The ordinance made it illegal to be or stay within 300 feet of a fire unless you are helping to put it out before emergency help arrives. 

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

The East Lansing City Council is considering a new ordinance that would make recreational activities such as tanning or drinking on residential rooftops a misdemeanor.

George Lahanas is the city manager of East Lansing. He says he noticed many young people have been using roofs as a hangout spot.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Two mid-Michigan mayors are trying to lure convention planners looking to move their events out of Indiana. 

The controversy over Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration law has many groups rethinking their convention plans in the Hoosier state.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and East Lansing Mayor Nathan Triplett have posted an open letter encouraging convention planners to look to mid-Michigan.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan State University officials hope to discourage “destructive” celebrations during next week’s final four basketball games.

Ten people were arrested Sunday after the MSU Spartans won their quarterfinal game in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Jason Cody is an MSU spokesman. He bristles at the suggestion post big game rowdiness is a school tradition. 

He says the university is pushing a message to get more students to celebrate responsibly.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Developers signed an agreement to build a quarter-billion dollar housing and retail complex in Lansing today.

Now they just have to figure out how to build it in a floodplain.

The Red Cedar Renaissance project is intended to transform an old golf course on Lansing’s east side into shopping and dining mecca with a mix of apartments and parkland. 

Developers plan to spend $200 million on the project. Another $76 million is earmarked for dealing with the problem that has long stalled development plans:  flooding.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

  EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - East Lansing and Michigan State University's Center for Language Teaching Advancement say they're trying to open up local services to non-English speakers with a program that provides translations of materials into Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean and Spanish.

  The university says the project goes by the name "MELTing POT, MSU East Lansing Together: Promoting Outreach through Translations."

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Team USA lost to Germany today at the World Cup in Brazil.  

But Michigan sports bars are counting themselves as winners.

Since the global soccer tournament began, sports bars have been very busy.   

Business at Peppinos in East Lansing usually slows in June as the college crowd thins. But not this year.

Soccer fans have been packing the bar during the World Cup, especially when Team USA is playing.

user greg l / wikimedia commons

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - East Lansing has arranged for wastewater treatment plant employees to be tested for mercury poisoning after a November spill was disclosed last week.

The Lansing State Journal reports the city is investigating how the spill occurred and why it wasn't immediately reported. Public Works Director Todd Sneathen says he interviewed workers Monday and arranged for tests for as many as 16.

The state says a call to a pollution tip line reported at least 1.5 pounds of mercury spilled.

Sneathen says the city learned of the spill on Thursday when a group of plant workers came forward and requested a meeting.

Sneathen says workers used a vacuum to clean up the spill.

Jim Wilson, Ingham County's environmental health director, says officials found high levels of mercury inside the vacuum.

Rick Pluta / MPRN

About 500 people packed a Michigan State University campus hall Friday to witness President Barack Obama sign the new federal farm bill.

The event capped years of negotiations and some tough compromises with Congress on the complex legislation. President Obama said he’s always glad to return to Michigan to cheer the auto industry recovery. Now, he says, it’s time to do the same for agriculture and rural America.

White House portrait

President Obama will pay his first visit to Michigan in 14 months.

The White House will release details next week on the president's scheduled Friday visit to East Lansing.

He is expected to promote elements of the economic program he rolled out in his State of the Union address. Among other things, the president called for an increase in the federal minimum wage.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A $100 million mixed-use economic development project in Lansing is getting a boost from an Ohio developer.

Voters in Lansing approved putting the old Red Cedar park on the market. The plan has been to create a mix of residential, retail and other commercial space on the land which sits on the border of Lansing and East Lansing.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Thousands of Michigan State students have celebrated the football team's Big Ten title with large, rowdy bonfires.

East Lansing police arrested multiple people Saturday night near River and Cedar streets, which is a traditional spot for MSU students to party after major sports victories. No. 10 MSU defeated No. 2 Ohio State 34-24 late Saturday, earning its first Rose Bowl appearance in a quarter-century.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - More than 114,000 people visited the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum in East Lansing in its first year.

The Lansing State Journal reports that the museum recently held a celebration to thank donors, leaders of Michigan State University, where the museum is located, and staff members.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LOS ANGELES (AP) - For years Eli Broad has said he wants to make his vast, collection of contemporary art accessible to the largest number of people possible.

What better way to do that, the billionaire philanthropist said Tuesday, than to make admission free to the $140 million museum he's building in downtown Los Angeles.

When it opens next year, Broad said during a hard-hat tour of the half-completed building, people will be able to walk in and view works by Andy Warhol, Ed Ruscha and scores of others without paying a cent.

Shirley Collins/American Folklife Center/Library of Congress

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The Great Lakes Folk Festival in East Lansing on Sunday will be the first stop of a traveling exhibit celebrating the 75th anniversary of a song collecting tour through the Upper Midwest.

The Lansing State Journal reports that it commemorates a trip that began in Detroit on Aug. 1, 1938, by 23-year-old Alan Lomax. He carried a recorder and movie camera to gather folk music. Lomax was in charge of the Library of Congress's Archive of American Folk-Song.

ibnlive.in.com

Michigan State University is hosting the quadrennial World Dwarf Games.

The Olympics-style athletic event is drawing more than 400 athletes from 17 countries.

Mike Cekanor is with the Dwarf Athletic Association of America. He says the games are a great showcase for dwarf athletes.

“I think in a lot of ways at times are athletes are overlooked,” says Cekanor, “But at the same time, I think when folks really get to know and appreciate what our athletes are capable of that they are very well respected.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing is joining with five of its neighbors to create something close to a regional fire department. Fire departments in Lansing, East Lansing, Delhi Township, Lansing Township, Meridian Township and Delta Township have signed "shared service" agreements. 

Under the agreements, the closest fire station will respond to local emergencies, whether the emergency is in their town or not. Under existing "mutual aid" agreements, the outside fire department has to be asked to respond. 

Michigan Flyer facebook page

A federal grant to expand bus service between Lansing and Detroit Metro Airport is stalled.

The Tri-County Regional Planning Commission split nine to nine on authorizing a $600,000 grant to help the Michigan Flyer expand its daily trips from eight to twelve.    The commissioner with the potential tie-breaking vote did not attend Wednesday night’s meeting.

State and federal transportation agencies have already approved the grant, which would essentially help offset the costs for the first few months of the added service between East Lansing and Ann Arbor.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Up to 70 thousand people are expected to attend this weekend’s East Lansing Art Festival.

The festival marks its 50th anniversary this year.    The festival started back in the mid-1960’s, when a group of local artists simply wanted to hold a small show along Grand River Avenue.    It’s grown a lot since then. 

Corinn Van Wyck is the festival’s director.   She says organizers try to focus on the quality of art, not just quantity.

“(The festival) is set up to make the arts accessible,” says Van Wyck, “It’s not set up to cram in every square inch with things.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Several Ingham County communities have taken a step toward creating a regional fire department.

Lansing, East Lansing and four other communities signed an agreement to begin implementing the first phase of the “Shared Services” plan.

Randall Talifarro is Lansing and East Lansing’s fire chief. He says getting local fire departments to work more closely together will improve fire protection to nearly 300 thousand Ingham County residents.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

East Lansing city leaders are trying to decide what to do now that the city has decided to drop plans for a $105 million development project downtown. 

user: CedarBendDrive / flickr

The East Lansing Art Festival is kicking off Michigan's outdoor festival season this weekend. Corinn VanWyck is the festival organizer. She says there have been a few changes to this year's festival because of construction going on in the downtown area.

"We've had to move the festival, slightly shifting it to the west and the north, so that has changed the footprint a little bit," she says.

Road closures can be found on the Michigan Department of Transportation's website.

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