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A street pole in the middle of flood water
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Lansing is one of several cities throughout the state dealing with flooding.

Mayor Andy Schor declared a state of emergency Wednesday. Several streets are still blocked off, making it tougher to navigate sections of the city.

John Estill lives right along the Grand River. Flood water covers his entire backyard and has made its way to his basement.

“We’ve got sandbags around the outside of the house, but it’s still seeping in, and we’re trying to keep ahead of it with pumps,” Estill said.

Estill says the drywall in his basement took the most damage.

Lansing City Hall building
Michigan State Historic Preservation Office / Flickr

Lansing officials are urging residents of several neighborhoods to evacuate due to possible flooding.

Mayor Andy Schor declared a state of emergency tonight.

Officials said residents should leave their homes by noon Thursday and stay away until the water recedes. They said rivers will keep rising until Friday.

Whitney Spotts lives near the river in the downtown Cherry Hill neighborhood and has experienced flooding there before. 

She said she and her husband are both musicians, and they are packing up this time.

Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America / Creative Commons

Fifty years ago, the practice of barring people from buying houses in certain neighborhoods or declining home loans because of race or ethnicity became unlawful.

But a new investigation finds it’s still happening.

Beitler Real Estate Services

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor is reopening, slightly, the bidding process involved in the sale of city hall. 

In the 1930s, property assessors graded American cities on a four-point scale, with the worst neighborhoods coded red, giving birth to the term "redlining."
Mapping Inequality: Redlining in New Deal America / Creative Commons

It’s been half a century since the federal government banned discrimination in the home mortgage industry. But a new analysis of mortgage data shows people of color are still routinely denied conventional mortgage loans far more often than white people.

Lansing city hall
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

An apparent administrative oversight means a still-unknown number of city laws in Lansing were wiped off the books - at least temporarily.

The city's regulatory ordinances that went into effect before 2007 were supposed to be re-enacted by last November. 

But that did not happen, and now the City Council is scrambling to fix the problem.

Under Lansing's city charter, the council must vote to re-enact its regulatory ordinances every ten years, or adopt a resolution to let them expire.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor says Michigan’s Capitol City is in a “good place.”

Schor delivered his first State of the City address Wednesday. He took office January 1. 

Schor talked about new efforts to improve Lansing public schools, better connect with city neighborhoods, and promote arts and culture.  

But the mayor says infrastructure, especially crumbling city streets, is a problem.

“We’re going to spend what we have,” says Schor, “but what we have is not enough to fix all the roads.”

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing city council will hold a public hearing Monday night on a proposal to sell city hall to a developer.

Chicago-based Beitler Real Estate Services proposes turning Lansing city hall into a hotel. It’s part of a complicated deal under which the developer would spend $42 million renovating the building. Beitler would also turn the old Lansing State Journal building into the capitol city’s new city hall.

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

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.

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