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Virg Bernero

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Four weeks from today, Lansing voters will elect the capitol city’s first new mayor in a dozen years.

The next mayor will be a departure in style from the current holder of the office.

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.

Artist rendering of proposed Lansing casino.
Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

Plans for new tribal casinos in downtown Lansing and Romulus have hit a roadblock.

The U.S. Department of the Interior has turned down a request from the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians to take land in Lansing and Romulus into trust. 

Federal officials denied the request because the application failed to show how acquiring this land would “consolidate or enhance” tribal lands. 

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.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Lansing is taking a stand against the Trump administration’s attack on “sanctuary cities.”

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.

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.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A federal lawsuit alleges the chairman of Michigan State University’s Board of Trustees is running a “racketeering enterprise” in Lansing. The suit targets Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and MSU Board of Trustees Chairman Joel Ferguson, among others.

“This is about an elaborate extortion scheme over a project that some say is worth as much at $380 million,” attorney Mike Cox said.

Cox filed the suit on behalf of two businessmen who pitched the development project in 2012. But he says Ferguson used his political influence to win the project instead.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

An Ingham County judge has issued a temporary restraining order blocking a Lansing hotel from evicting nearly 100 homeless people.  

The owners of the Magnuson Hotel say they want to close for needed renovations.

But the city of Lansing sought the injunction to delay the closing by up to 120 days, saying it needs that much time to relocate dozens of homeless men, women and children living there.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor has taken the unusual step of declaring a housing emergency in the Capitol city.

Mayor Virg Bernero declared the emergency after a hotel on the city's south side informed dozens of residents they will be evicted in the next few weeks.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing residents will decide in November if they want to renew a public safety and road millage.

The Lansing City Council approved putting the millage renewal on the ballot Monday. 

The millage raises nearly $8 million annually and costs the average Lansing homeowner about $200 a year.

Back in 2011, Lansing voters narrowly approved a millage increase to pay for police and fire, as well as road improvements. Voters had rejected it six months before.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

The city of Lansing has a new city attorney.

The city council confirmed Jim Smiertka Monday night. He replaces interim city attorney Joseph Abood.   Abood came on board after the sudden departure earlier this year of City Attorney Janene McIntyre. 

McIntyre’s unexplained departure and her $160,000 severance package raised questions about transparency at city hall.

Smiertka says he will work to address those concerns.

“I think it’s important to send a signal that going forward there won’t be these issues,” says Smiertka. 

Virg Bernero, mayor of Lansing.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing's mayor has vetoed a city council decision on affordable housing, which may or may not be about affordable housing.

The city council approved a moratorium on tax breaks for affordable housing on a five to three vote.   

Mayor Virg Bernero says the moratorium discriminates against low income residents, so he vetoed it Wednesday.  It will take six votes to override his veto. 

The veto is the latest salvo in a conflict between the mayor and city council involving affordable housing.  

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has not spoken about why Lansing's former city attorney Janene McIntyre resigned, nor why she was given $160,000 in salary and accrued benefits upon doing so.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There are still unanswered questions and a growing pile of legal bills swirling around the sudden resignation of Lansing's former city attorney.

Janene McIntyre resigned March 4, but was still paid $160,000 in salary and accrued benefits. Now legal costs related to the separation are mounting.

In the meantime, neither McIntyre nor Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero will say why she left and why she was given such a generous payout. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

There’s something brewing around Lansing’s City Hall.

On March 4, Lansing’s city attorney Janene McIntyre resigned voluntarily, but the Lansing State Journal reports that McIntyre was still paid $160,000 in salary and accrued benefits. McIntyre and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero have repeatedly declined to discuss the details about why she left and why she was given such a substantial payment by the city.

Lansing's mayor wants to move city hall

Mar 22, 2016
Virg Bernero, mayor of Lansing.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing City Hall could soon have a new home.

Mayor Virg Bernero wants to move it from its current location across from the state capitol building to a less developed area several blocks south.

Bernero's chief of staff Randy Hannan says the current city hall building is aging and in need of updates. Hannan says it would cost  at least $50 to $60 million to bring it up to modern standards.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing voters may do away with “golden parachutes” for top city appointees.

A charter amendment on next week’s ballot would limit executive contracts to one year and prevent large payouts. The proposal would allow the mayor and city council to make exceptions. 

The proposal was prompted by the more than $600,000 payout to the city’s former utility director after he was fired earlier this year.   

Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians

A federal judge has given an Upper Peninsula Indian tribe a legal victory in its effort to open a casino in Michigan’s state capitol.

The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians announced plans in 2012 to build a quarter-billion dollar casino next to Lansing’s downtown convention center. The tribe is also looking at opening another casino in Huron Township. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A union-sponsored poll shows little support for the city of Lansing to sell its electric utility.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero suggested studying the idea of selling the Lansing Board of Water & Light as part of a potential solution to the capitol city’s hundreds of millions of dollars in unfunded health care and pension liabilities. The idea was first raised by a commission formed by the mayor to examine the city’s financial issues.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says the city council is “flirting with disaster."

The council voted tonight to override Bernero’s veto of a change the council made to his city budget plan. 

The council rejected the mayor’s desire to hire an inspector general to oversee Lansing’s utility. 

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing city council will have to muster six votes to override a mayoral veto when it meets Monday night.

Mayor Virg Bernero issued a veto a few days after the city council passed the city budget for the next fiscal year.

The veto applies to the council’s decision to spend $200,000 to hire an independent firm to audit the Lansing Board of Water & Light.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing city council has rejected the mayor’s plan to keep a closer eye on the city’s utility. 

The Lansing Board of Water and Light’s management has been making changes since it was heavily criticized for its handling of a major winter snow storm and power outage in 2013.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A prominent Democratic politician will be a featured speaker at a marijuana legalization rally in Ann Arbor tomorrow.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero is quick to point out he’s never smoked pot. But the former Democratic candidate for governor says he now supports legalizing it.

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

A new campaign to get people in greater Lansing to live healthier is underway.

During his State of the City address this week, Mayor Virg Bernero stepped on a scale.  

As people in the audience let out surprised giggles, a doctor from Lansing’s Sparrow hospital announced the mayor tipped the scales at 198 pounds. Then the doctor added, “That’s a BMI of 30. That makes you clinically obese.”

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero saved the biggest news in his tenth State of the City address tonight until the end. 

The mayor proposed three city charter changes that would make Lansing's electric utility more accountable to city hall.

The Lansing Board of Water & Light has been under fire for more than a year.  

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Lansing’s mayor is expected to call for a major restructuring of the city’s electric utility tonight.

When Mayor Virg Bernero takes to the podium tonight to deliver his tenth State of the City address, who will run the Lansing Board of Water & Light will top of the agenda.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Lansing City Council last night approved an ordinance that will require home and business owners to shovel snow from sidewalks faster. 

The capitol city’s old ordinance, which involved mailing citations to property owners, sometimes took so long the snow would melt before the property owner received the notice.    

The new ordinance speeds up the process to 48 hours. 

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero says one death last year can be blamed on city residents not shoveling their sidewalks after a snowstorm.

“Life and limb is what’s at stake," says Bernero. 

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