lansing

Politics & Government
12:33 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Lansing city council is scheduled to try to override the mayor's budget vetoes this evening

Lansing city council (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing city council is expected to try to override the mayor’s budget vetoes tonight. But the council does not appear to have enough votes to do it.

The Lansing city council made many changes to Mayor Virg Bernero’s spending plan for next year when it passed the budget last month.    A few days later, the mayor vetoed all the council’s changes.    Now it’s the council's chance to respond.  

Six of the council's eight members would need to vote to override the vetoes.   That appears unlikely.   

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Transportation
11:19 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Commission puts brakes on money for expanded bus service between Lansing and Detroit Metro Airport

The owner of the Michigan Flyer bus company says he's frustrated by the commission's split vote on federal grant money to expand service linking East Lansing to Detroit Metro Airport
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.


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Stateside
4:33 pm
Tue May 28, 2013

Sewing circles provide opportunities for women refugees

Could Michigan's garment industry be the next big thing for the state?
user gracey morgueFile

Twelve years ago, St. Vincent's Catholic Charities in Lansing started a job training program for women refugees, but organizers soon realized these women needed something other than job training. 

"If you don't speak English, if you don't have a destination to go to, you can end up being incredibly isolated," said Jillian Olsen.

Jillian shows up once a week to help lead a sewing circle, teaching refugee women how to sew.

Sewing is important for a couple of reasons. It's a skill the women learn as part of the job training program, but it's also a way for the women to socialize and share common experiences.

Austin Davis spoke with some of the volunteers in this program. This piece was produced by Austin Davis and Kyle Norris.

Listen to the full interview above.

Politics & Government
12:24 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Lansing's mayor threatens to veto parts of city budget approved by the city council last night

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has a long list of items he plans to veto in the budget passed by the city council last night.   

The Lansing city council struggled for three hours trying to agree on amendments to the proposed city budget for next year.  

The numbers got so confused, the council took a forty minute break to give the city’s finance director time to figure out if the budget was still balanced, as it’s legally required to be.

Mayor Virg Bernero says the meeting was extremely disorganized.

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Politics & Government
7:52 am
Mon May 20, 2013

In this morning's news: possible cap on FOIA fees, Lansing's budget showdown, education for inmates

Morning News Roundup, Monday, May 20, 2013
User: Brother O'Mara Flickr

Legislation in Michigan House could cap FOIA fees

There is new legislation up for initial hearing this week in Lansing. It is a response to local governments and state agencies charging hefty fees for people to see government records.

"One of the bills would limit most charges for requests filed under the state’s Freedom of Information Act to no more than 10 cents a page. Another would create a Michigan Open Government Commission to hear challenges to government denials of information requests," Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta reports.

Lansing City Council vs. Mayor Virg Bernero

The Lansing city council will vote tonight on a budget for next year. Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports that "the vote will likely put the council at odds with Mayor Virg Bernero." 

The mayor wants to add annual fees for city water and electricity customers. Conversely, the council wants to make several spending cuts including eliminating several new positions the mayor wants to add to the city's payroll. Mayor Virg Bernero will have until Thursday to veto parts of the city budget he doesn’t like. The Lansing city council has until early June to try to override the mayor’s expected vetoes.

Higher education opportunities piloted in Michigan prisons

"After years without funding for prisoners to access higher education, the Michigan Department of Corrections is immersed in several efforts to teach community college courses and vocational training in-house to a small number of inmates who are near parole. Michigan will join a pilot project that hopes to gather enough evidence to possibly resurrect publicly supported postsecondary education in prisons nationally," reports The Detroit News.

Politics & Government
12:30 am
Mon May 20, 2013

Lansing city council votes on FY2014 budget tonight

Earlier this year, the city council heard from a panel appointed to study Lansing's financial state. The mayor incorporated some of the panel's recommendations in his proposed FY2014 budget.
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing city council votes tonight on a budget for next year.

The vote will likely put the council at odds with Mayor Virg Bernero.

The mayor wants to fill a five million dollar hole in the 2014 budget, with added annual fees for city water and electricity customers. The money would pay for streetlights and fire hydrants.

Last week, the city council dumped the fees from the budget.

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Politics & Government
4:00 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Showdown brewing over Lansing's city budget for next year

Lansing city hall (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing city council has rejected a plan to increase fees on city utility customers.

Today the city council approved a budget plan that axes the 46-dollar utility fee and several million dollars in spending in the mayor’s proposed budget for next year. Final council approval is expected Monday night.

“I think many of us had heard the concerns that people wanted to make sure we were making the cuts that needed to be made,” says Carol Wood, Lansing city council president.

Politics & Government
2:00 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Lansing's mayor wants a third term

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero kicking off his campaign for a third term as the capital city's mayor
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says he wants four more years in office. He formally announced his campaign today. 

“I’m telling you folks … Lansing is on the verge,” the partisan crowd groaned, and then laughed, as Virg Bernero joked at his campaign kickoff.

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Politics & Government
11:55 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Time is running short for Lansing city council to make changes to proposed FY2014 budget

Lansing City Hall (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Time is running out for the Lansing city council to come up with changes to the mayor’s budget proposal for next year. 

The city council must approve a budget plan in two weeks.   Council members have been poring over the mayor’s 112 million dollar budget proposal for the past month.

Carol Wood is the Lansing city council president. She says there are some items that could be cut from the budget. 

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Business
12:26 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Insurance company expansion giving Lansing's economy a big boost

Jackson National Life insurance company is expanding its Lansing headquarters

Jackson National Life Insurance Company says it plans to spend $100 million on a new office complex in Lansing.

The life insurance and annuities company is headquartered in the capital city.

The expansion will add a thousand jobs of all types.

Mike Wells is Jackson National’s president. He says their growing business has outgrown the complex they built a decade ago.

“We now have twice the employees we had in Michigan,” says Wells, “we have outgrown our space.”

Politics & Government
11:34 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

Lansing city council approves "unenforceable" resolution on city computer use

Lansing city hall, Lansing, Michigan (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Last night, the Lansing city council took the unusual step of passing a resolution that the city attorney says is “unenforceable”. 

The resolution is intended to define how city council members themselves can use their city issued lap top computers.   The resolution came about in the wake of allegations that one of the city council members had misused their laptop.

A’Lynne Boles-Robinson is the council vice president.  

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Politics & Culture
5:06 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Stateside for Thursday, April 25th, 2013

A state Representative says newly released documents are raising some serious flags about the state’s Education Achievement Authority. On today’s show: we talk with Representative Ellen Cogen Lipton about what she found out about the EAA through a FOIA request.

We check in withe Detroit News columnist Daniel Howes about recent Ford earnings reports. And Mayor Dave Bing has announced he'll run for reelection.

We also talk about the changes to arts education in Lansing public schools.

Later in the show, we speak with Art Prize founder Rick DeVos about another venture of his: Start Garden.
 
And finally, Ann Arbor is on the verge of a championship - a bowling championship. We hear more about tonight's game from WWII vet Mel Shannon.

Politics & Government
9:00 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Lansing City Council approves tax abatement for General Motors

General Motors Lansing Grand River assembly plant (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Lansing City Council has approved a 12 year-four million dollar tax abatement for General Motors.

GM is planning a $38 million expansion to its Lansing Grand River assembly plant.  The expansion is expected to add 150 jobs to the plant.

GM currently makes its Cadillac ATS and CTS at the Lansing plant.   The automaker also plans to start producing its next generation Camaro at the Lansing plant.

Sports
6:29 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon bombing will lead to added security for Sunday's Lansing Marathon

Runners cross the line in last year's Lansing Marathon
TimeFramePhoto.com

The two thousand runners expected to take part in this Sunday’s Lansing marathon can expect to see tight security along the 26-mile course.

The added security is in response to Monday’s deadly bombing at the finish of the Boston Marathon.

Lansing Police Chief Teresa Szymanski says people attending the Lansing marathon will be protected.

“We’ll certainly have additional patrols….we’ll have extra officers working the event. We’ll take precautionary measures…such as bomb sweeps and those types of things we do for these events,” says Szymanski.

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Politics & Government
6:20 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Lansing's police chief retiring

Lansing Police Chief Teresa A. Szymanski (file photo)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing Police Chief Teresa Szymanski is retiring. 

Szymanski has been on the job since 2010.

She is the first woman to serve as the capitol city’s chief of police in the department’s 119-year history.

Szymanski has been part of the Lansing police department for 26 years.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says he plans to name an interim police chief before Szymanski’s retirement becomes official April 20.

Politics & Government
11:22 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Lansing city council discussing utility fee to pay for fire hydrants and city streetlights

Keeping the lights on. Lansing city leaders are discussing a proposed fee on city utility customers to pay for streetlights and fire hydrants
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing city leaders are weighing a couple of options that could increase the bills of city utility customers.

The mayor is proposing either a flat fee or a surcharge based on a customer’s water or electricity use to pay for Lansing’s fire hydrants and streetlights.  The money raised would help the city fill a projected $5 million hole in next year’s city budget.

In the past, the city paid the utility directly from its general fund for maintaining Lansing’s streetlights and fire hydrants.

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Arts & Culture
2:17 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Art, music, and gym teachers get the ax in Lansing

Elementary school teachers are being cut.
Dustin Dwyer Michigan Radio

Update 2:17 p.m.

“The Superintendent is receiving calls from arts groups all over the state saying, ‘Why are you cutting the arts?’” says district spokesman Bob Kolt. “But it’s just not true…we’re contracting out those services to community artists.”

Kolt says the district will bring in about 10-20 “contractors” to help elementary classroom teachers with art, music and gym instruction.

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Politics & Government
7:45 am
Tue March 26, 2013

In this morning's news: Affirmative action, Flint wants to remove EM, balancing Lansing's budget

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

U.S. Supreme Court looks at affirmative action case in Michigan

"The U.S. Supreme Court will review Michigan’s ban on race- and gender-based affirmative action in university admissions. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette is defending the amendment to the state constitution. It was adopted by voters in 2006," Rick Pluta reports.

Flint City Council takes steps to remove EM

"The Flint City Council is asking Governor Rick Snyder to remove the city’s emergency manager and phase out state control of its finances. The council unanimously approved a measure last night to request a state-appointed transition board to oversee the city’s finances," Jake Neher reports.

Lansing Mayor wants residents to pay more for utilities to help with city budget

"Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero wants to close the city’s looming budget deficit by asking city utility customers to pay another $46 a year. Bernero delivered his $112 million proposed budget to the city council last night," Steve Carmody reports.

Politics & Government
10:59 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Lansing's mayor wants city utility customers to help close the city's projected budget deficit

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero outlining his $112 million general fund budget plan at last night's city council meeting
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor is proposing its municipal utility customers pay more to balance the city’s budget next year.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero outlined his budget plan to the city council last night.   Bernero says the city’s budget problems are not quite as serious as expected.    The mayor says better than expected property tax collections and lower than expected city employee health care costs had cut the project budget deficit in half.

Still, Bernero says the city needs to close about a five million dollar budget gap.

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Politics & Government
3:57 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

Lansing's mayor rolls out his proposed budget Monday night

Are there more budget cuts coming to Lansing's police and fire departments?
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero will deliver his proposed city budget for the next year to the city council tomorrow. 

The mayor’s proposed budget is expected to deal with a projected nine million dollar budget shortfall.

A team appointed by Mayor Bernero suggested deep contract concessions by the city’s police and fire unions, among other cuts.

Tom Krug is the executive director with the local Fraternal Order of Police.

He says Lansing police officers have already agreed to more than a million dollars in contract concessions since 2009.

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