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Wednesday, February 18,2015

Open government

Leveling the price of the freedom of information

by Mickey Hirten
Starting this summer, most public bodies in Michigan will be somewhat more accountable, a bit more transparent, in allowing people to discover what they do and how they do it. The so-called Freedom of Information Act — so-called because it’s studded with exceptions and doesnīt apply to the legislature or courts — was modified during the just-ended legislative session to give people a bit more leverage to press government for information.
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Wednesday, February 18,2015

Check and balance

Clerk wants criminal investigation over county commissioner campaign finance fees, bounced check

by Todd Heywood
Late campaign finance reports and a bounced check may have Ingham County Commissioner Bryan Crenshaw facing a criminal investigation and charges. Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, a Democrat, has asked state officials to investigate whether Crenshaw, also a Democrat, may have committed perjury when he signed his campaign finance compliance affidavit on Jan. 2. The requests for investigation were made by letter on Jan. 20 to the Michigan State Police and the Attorney General’s Public Integrity Unit.
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Wednesday, February 18,2015

Wasted efforts

Did East Lansing jeopardize employee and public health in improper mercury cleanup?

by Todd Heywood
It began when a pressure gauge in the Waste Water Treatment Plant in East Lansing broke the day after Thanksgiving 2013. Somewhere between one and half and three pounds of the mercury — a toxic heavy metal — spilled onto the facility floors. A maintenance supervisor used shop vacuums to clean up the spilled liquid metal. According to documents released by the city of East Lansing, he poured the collected mercury down a drain located in a sink in the facility’s shop. He didn’t report the spill to supervisors.
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Wednesday, February 18,2015

Being in Lansing

Duane Stoolmaker, barber of the greats

by Andrew Gauthier
I studied finance at Michigan State University and took a job on Wall Street with Wells Fargo Securities Investment Banking. I worked two years of 80 hour weeks out in the “big city” and decided perhaps it wasn’t for me. Each time I would visit campus, I had a hard time returning to NYC. I missed the area, the people, and MSU. It was summer 2013, when I finally came home. Upon returning to the area, I established a financial advisory/insurance business. I needed a new barber, dry cleaner, etc. It was nearly a whole year before I took my father’s suggestion and headed to Arkie’s to get a haircut. Why had I been so stubborn? After one cut from Duane Stoolmaker, I realized that I had found my barber. Needless to say, I am not planning on finding a different barbershop any time soon.
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Thursday, February 12,2015

Lansing City Council seat

City won’t disclose who is applying to fill the vacant council seat until Friday

by Todd A. Heywood
THURSDAY, FEB. 12 — Business consultant and former journalist Walt Sorg has applied to fill the Lansing City Council seat. City Council is seeking an applicant to replace former at-large member Derrick Quinney. Sorg is the only candidate known to have submitted an application. Lansing City Clerk Chris Swope says he won’t release the names of applicants until the application process is closed.
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

Congressional race

Walberg gets a 2016 opponent... already

by Kyle Melinn
State Rep. Gretchen Driskell’s announcement that she’ll run against U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg in 2016 wasnīt lost this week in national Democratic circles. David Nir, who covers campaigns for the highly read progressive blog "The Daily Kos," lead off his daily update Tuesday with, "Good news for Democrats. Team Blue has landed one of its first legitimate recruits in the arduous battle to reclaim the House."
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

Briefs

by City Pulse
  Friedland Industries wins Outstanding Small Business Award   Friedland Industries received the Greater Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Small Business Award at the chamber’s annual dinner Tuesday. “For nearly 130 years, our family has been...
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

Eye candy of the week

by Daniel Bollman, AIA
Property: 4650 Meridian Road, Saint Katherine’s Chapel, Williamston The State of Michigan historical marker for this structure suggests that it was “the work of an unsophisticated country builder.” This blunt opinion notwithstanding, the building demonstrates the ski...
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

One party payback

Republican legislative agenda:Radical to ridiculous to rational

by Mickey Hirten
The consequence of one-party government — that is Republican — in Michigan can be found in the 78-point grab bag of “action items” release by House members last week. As you would expect after years of inbreeding, what comes out of the Republican caucus can seem normal and reasonable … until it isnīt. Granted, itīs a political document thatīs broad enough to cover the spectrum of Republican thinking. And there are, in fact, initiatives that are some worthy for all of Michigan. But not too many.
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Wednesday, February 11,2015

Shock and awe

Tim Barron attacks shooting victim in Facebook post

by Belinda Thurston
Progress Michigan is asking Lansing radio host Tim Barron to apologize for a post on his Facebook page Sunday that appears to blame the victim of a shooting in East Lansing last week for his own death. Michael Smith, 22 of Lansing, was shot to death last Thursday in a parking lot in East Lansing. The shooting remains under investigation.
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