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Thursday, November 4,2010

Will of the people

Law enforcement sees medical marijuana law as vague, may have to wait for courts to clear it up

by Neal McNamara
(Wednesday, May 19) For 40 years, attorney Richard McLellan has been representing regulated industries like liquor, gambling and insurance. And now, he is venturing into a new regulated industry: medical marijuana.
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Thursday, November 4,2010

Lansing looks at medical marijuana dispensary moratorium

by Neal McNamara
(Friday, May 28) A Lansing City Council committee is looking to possibly place a moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries opening as it continues to work on a new zoning ordinance that would regulate dispensaries and compassionate care clubs.
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Thursday, November 4,2010

Negative approach

Is the case of Frederick Wayne Dagit bad for the medical marijuana cause?

by Neal McNamara
(Wednesday, June 9) On Tuesday afternoon, the Rev. Frederick Wayne Dagit sat in a black- and white-striped Ingham County Jail jumpsuit in 55th District Court in Mason. He looked calm, rested and alert.
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Wednesday, October 6,2010

Love and basketball

MSU police say they don’t make recommendations to prosecutors, while police interviews with the victim and a suspect are released in the MSU basketball player-sexual assault saga

by Neal McNamara
Last Wednesday, the Michigan Messenger news website reported that two MSU basketball players had been accused of sexual assault, and that Ingham County Prosecutor Stuart Dunnings III had not taken the MSU Police Department’s recommendation to bring the case to court.
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Wednesday, September 15,2010

Truscott & Obama

How a leading Michigan Republican became associated — however innocently — with a prayer to add the president to the list of deceased celebrities

by Neal McNamara
There may be an object lesson here for users of Facebook.One of about 1.1 million Facebook users “like” a page that urges the Lord to take Barack Obama. One of them is prominent Michigan Republican spokesman John Truscott — who swears he didn’t know that his Facebook page was linked to the so-called prayer.
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Wednesday, September 15,2010

Truscott & Obama

How a leading Michigan Republican became associated — however innocently — with a prayer to add the president to the list of deceased celebrities

by Neal McNamara
There may be an object lesson here for users of Facebook.One of about 1.1 million Facebook users “like” a page that urges the Lord to take Barack Obama. One of them is prominent Michigan Republican spokesman John Truscott — who swears he didn’t know that his Facebook page was linked to the so-called prayer.
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Monday, August 23,2010

The New Tycoon

The Ingham County Land Bank’s quest to make this place a better ... place

by Neal McNamara
On the day Rochelle Rizzi first saw the grand, brick house along Pine Street in Lansing, it was “complete construction zone.” The 6,000-square-foot Colonial Revival house was once the home of the superintendent of the School for the Blind but had been vacant more than a decade. Rizzi was on a quest to find the perfect space for her marketing firm, Rizzi Designs, and when she stepped inside, she knew she had found the right place. “I knew which furniture was going to be in what room,” she remembers. “It just seemed like a great fit.”
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Wednesday, July 28,2010

Debating the 55th seat

by Neal McNamara
On July 8, the four candidates running for Ingham County 55th District Court Judge gathered at the HOM-TV studios in Okemos for a debate. But rather than talk of jurisprudence, most of the debate focused on the efficiency of the court. Candidates Randie Kay Black, Patrick Crowley and Pau...
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Wednesday, June 30,2010

Eye candy of the Week

by Neal McNamara
Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: The barbershop occupies a cherished place in the archetype of Americana. It’s a place where residents gather, share local stories and news, and of course, get hairs cut.
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Wednesday, June 30,2010

THE PLEASE DEPARTMENT

Some reasons it might be harder to get access to public information from your local police department.

by Neal McNamara
The man did not want to give me his name, but he described the home invasion this way: He was sleeping, naked, on his couch very, very early on a Sunday morning when the men barged in waving guns. They demanded his money and his medical marijuana, which they eventually found and allegedly stole.
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Thursday, June 24,2010

Virg Watch

It's about time for Virg's endorsements to start working their magic

by Neal McNamara
Virg Bernero spent the last couple of months racking up endorsements (including the latest, announced Tuesday, from the Michigan Democratic Party Justice Caucus) from the likes of the AFL-CIO and the Michigan Education Association. But, apparently, the giant unions are just now going to st...
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Wednesday, June 23,2010

KIDS IN THE HALL

Meager Lansing Council grinds to halt over vote; appointees, budget amendment left hanging for a while

by Neal McNamara
A Monday night Lansing City Council meeting was delayed for almost an hour because of continuing tensions over a format of holding meetings that was put into place in January by President A’Lynne Robinson.At-Large Councilman Brian Jeffries told his colleagues that he would not vote f...
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Wednesday, June 23,2010

Eyesore of the week

by Neal McNamara
Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: Vacant buildings are a fact. Even attractive buildings can become unoccupied. Without proper maintenance, vacant buildings deteriorate quickly and can attract unsavory activities, like vandalism. So, it is important that even vacant properties be protected and maintained for a future occupant.
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Wednesday, June 23,2010

Lansing's finest

Lansing Police Department third in state to appoint an officer as LGBT liaison

by Neal McNamara
“People are OK, they just don’t want to have it, I guess, pushed in their face,” she said. “Probably not everybody at my department is aware. I do not flaunt it, I just go there and do my job everyday. That’s what it takes to be respected as a police officer.
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Thursday, June 17,2010

Virg Watch

Rebutting Dillon and releasing an economic plan

by Neal McNamara
Tuesday and Wednesday were big days for Virg Bernero, fending off a TV ad launched by Democratic rival Andy Dillon, and releasing his state economic recovery plan.Dillon launched his campaign ad on Tuesday, which focused on hiring Michigan workers first, though the Detroit News reported th...
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Wednesday, June 16,2010

The fighter

Mental health champion Richard Prangley to get award from MSU, another platform for his advocacy

by Neal McNamara
In 1955 at age 6, Prangley was wrongly placed in an institution in Coldwater. He was abused in a system that treated the developmentally disabled as if they did not deserve a normal upbringing. Prangley did not receive any semblance of an education.
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Wednesday, June 16,2010

Eye candy of the Week

by Neal McNamara
Owner says: Could not be reached for comment Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: There’s nothing secret about the stately beauty of the East Lansing Masonic Temple, Lodge No. 482. The stately Italianate building was designed by Mason and Lansing architect Samuel D.
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Wednesday, June 16,2010

Try a cob

Detroit-area woman dreams a way to sop up oil, wants to try it in the Gulf

by Neal McNamara
The idea came to Adria Brown in a dream one night about 20 years ago. She recalled having listened to a news report on the radio about how Exxon had spent billions trying to create a new chemical solvent to clean oil spills. Her idea was much simpler: the absorbent power of corn cobs.
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Wednesday, June 9,2010

Lash back

Suit against Bash Back! temporarily on hold while group looks for a new attorney

by Neal McNamara
It has been more than a year since an Arizona-based Christian legal defense fund sued the “radical queer” Lansing activist group Bash Back! for a 2008 protest at a Delta Township church, but the case is not close to being resolved, and City Pulse has been subpoenaed for records relating to coverage of the protest.
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Wednesday, June 9,2010

The hokey pokey

Ngalamulume campaign ends, for kind of, almost, sort of the second time

by Neal McNamara
It has been a strange week for former 8th Congressional District Democratic candidate Kande Ngalamulume. He quit the race on Thursday, citing a lack of financial resources, and then on Monday told City Pulse that donations were being lined up to bring back the campaign.
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Wednesday, June 9,2010

Big box revival

Church repurposes Lansing’s biggest eyesore, despite city’s objections

by Neal McNamara
Standing in what was once the butcher section of the former Farmer Jack supermarket on South Cedar Street, the Rev. Louis Dixon was about 25 yards away from a team of steelworkers installing a giant girder across the ceiling. In such a huge, empty space, the sparks from their blowtorch and the crackling of steel being cut seemed miles away.
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Wednesday, May 26,2010

'At the end of the day, you have to always challenge the status quo'

Kande Ngalamulume ready to fight the Mike Rogers standard

by Neal McNamara
The other volunteers at the Recycle Livingston center in Howell that day said that Ngalamulume’s clothes really raised the dress code around the place. Plus, the safety vest might have been a little unnecessary since the recycling center is essentially a large parking lot with more stationary Dumpsters than heavy machinery.
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Wednesday, May 26,2010

Virg Watch

Virg's environmental scorecard vs. Andy Dillon's, plus, some national press

by Neal McNamara
Given the recent sunny weather, it might be a good time to look at the environmental record of Virg Bernero.Two weeks ago, Bernero spoke at a forum that hosted by the League of Conservation Voters. And on Tuesday, the League released its annual scorecard of state elected officials.Since Be...
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Wednesday, May 19,2010

Kagan connection

Lansing city attorney got the Socratic treatment from Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan

by Neal McNamara
One day back in 1999 in administrative law class at Harvard University Law School, future Lansing City Attorney Brig Smith was clicking away on his laptop at a game of solitaire while his professor, Elena Kagan, was looking for an answer to a question.
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Wednesday, May 19,2010

Knocked down

A couple of years and a Facebook group later, Lansing resident kisses eyesore goodbye

by Neal McNamara
Since Orlich moved onto Princeton Street five years ago, the house at 735 Princeton has been a problem. At first, the people living there were a nuisance, attracting the attention of the cops. Then, when those people moved out, they left a litter of puppies behind.
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Tuesday, May 18,2010

KIDS IN THE HALL

by Neal McNamara
Thanks to a last minute session of sausage making Monday night, Lansing City Council came to a compromise on city employee salary cuts and approved the $109 million city budget unanimously with no malarkey —  though there were a few grudged “yes” votes.Council held l...
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Wednesday, May 12,2010

Premium channels

Lansing close to giving out grants for cable access, moving forward on a cable access studio

by Neal McNamara
Luckily, the city of Lansing is getting its Pro-Cyc wall for about $5,000 less than the retail price. Instead of buying the piece of equipment directly from Pro-Cyc, Lansing was able to scoop up a floor model used by the company only once for a broadcasters conference in Las Vegas.
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Wednesday, May 12,2010

Virg Watch

Another scuffle with Dillon, and a Michigan Chamber of Commerce appearance

by Neal McNamara
Gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero has had an interesting week: He filed a couple thousand petitions to run for governor, saw the Democratic side of the governor’s race winnowed from three to two, and lashed out at his opponent, Andy Dillon, and an news website.Bernero campaign spo...
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Monday, May 10,2010

Eye candy! of the week

by Neal McNamara
Properties: 320, 326 Ottawa St., Lansing Owner: Dave Anderson and Cathy Stull Assessed: 320, $62,900; 326, $138,500 Owner says: “They were the last two row houses left” Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: In the shadow of the Capitol stand the treasured Emery Houses whose architecture is evocative of Lansing’s Victorian era.
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Friday, May 7,2010

Virg Watch

The difference between Mayor Virg and candidate Virg

by Neal McNamara
What’s the difference between Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, and Michigan gubernatorial candidate Virg Bernero? Well, when it comes to making his stance on issues public, spokesmen for both sides of Bernero’s political life say, not much.On Tuesday, both the mayor’s office a...
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Wednesday, May 5,2010

Ashtray shrine

On its first day, smoking ban brings frustration, fresh air

by Neal McNamara
On Saturday night at around 8 inside Piazzano’s restaurant and bar in north Lansing, the Alabama Crimson Tide girls’ softball team closed a scoreless first inning against the Tennessee Vols, and bartender John DeMarco inhaled smoke-free air for the first time in many years.
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Tuesday, May 4,2010

KIDS IN THE HALL

An aggregation of Lansing government happenings

by Neal McNamara
Mayor Virg Bernero’s administration is asking the City Council approve a plan to spend $350,000 to create a city-run TV production studio at the former Holmes Street School. Deputy Chief of Staff Randy Hannan gave the details during a Monday night budget hearing for City TV, the city...
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Thursday, April 29,2010

Virg Watch

Dems still lag in the polls, plus the latest on Bernero's 527 account

by Neal McNamara
A new poll out today by Rasmussen Reports puts Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero neck-and-neck with House Speaker Andy Dillon, but the two leading Democratic candidates are still largely unknown among voters.The poll shows Bernero polling at 12 percent among voters and Dillon at 13 percent. The g...
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Wednesday, April 28,2010

Clearing the air

Bars and restaurants prepare for Michigan’s new smoking ban, which goes into effect Saturday

by Neal McNamara
If he had lived to see a smoking ban become law in Michigan, Ronald M. Davis would have been proud. Davis was, as described in his New York Times obituary, a “health crusader” who “stayed in the Sisyphean fight against smoking and other health hazards in a nation of fast foods, caloric binges, lazy ways and the anodynes of liquor and cocaine.
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Wednesday, April 21,2010

Virg Watch

by Neal McNamara
This week, the fight continued between Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and House Speaker Andy Dillon, plus Bernero sent out another press release requesting that other politicians take action on some things.According to the Detroit Free Press, gubernatorial hopefuls Bernero, Dillon and state Re...
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Wednesday, April 14,2010

Virg Watch

Donor lists and labor disputes: Dillon v. Bernero continues

by Neal McNamara
Virg Bernero and Andy Dillon continued to beat on each other this past week, this time not on health care, but on campaign donors and labor.On Friday, Bernero’s campaign released a list of attendees to a fundraiser thrown for him by state Commissioner of the Office of Insurance and F...
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Wednesday, April 7,2010

Virg Watch

A new poll sheds light on Bernero's Dillon/Cox attacks

by Neal McNamara
As the gubernatorial race continues, the polls do, too. And they are starting to become more interesting.An Epic MRA poll released Tuesday shows that Democrats are still having a hard time with name recognition, but not as much as in polls past — and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero’...
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Monday, April 5,2010

Remembering the Rev. Lester Stone

Activism, worship and science fiction

by Neal McNamara
On a day that brought news of the death of a friend and spiritual leader, former Lansing Police chief Mark Alley could still manage a smile.He remembered a time at the end of a service at Friendship Baptist Church when the Rev. Lester Stone did something slightly uncharacteristic: As the c...
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Wednesday, March 31,2010

Virg Watch

A few more endorsements, plus Virg's birthday

by Neal McNamara
First off, happy birthday to Mayor Virg Bernero, who was born on this day in 1964. By our math, he turned 46 today.But it was probably a bittersweet lead up to his birthday for the mayor, as a companion of his daughter, Virginia, was the victim of a drug-related homicide (so say Lansing Po...
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Wednesday, March 31,2010

Cable Crisis?

What happened to Lansing's public access, and what's being done about it.

by Neal McNamara
Sinclair is a famed counterculture activist who, among other things, has been a poet, marijuana legalization activist, manager of the band MC5, underground newspaper publisher and founder of the White Panther Party, which sought to help the Black Panther Party.
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Thursday, March 25,2010

Virg Watch

A quirky fundraiser for Bernero, and a campaign stop in Kalamazoo

by Neal McNamara
Would you like to eat ice cream at 8 a.m. and pay $250 to have a private conversation with Virg Bernero? Well, you’re in luck.Last week, the Bernero campaign sent out an invitation for an “un-breakfast” fundraiser on April 1 at Perspective2 in Old Town for the gubernatori...
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Wednesday, March 24,2010

Temple taxes

Local pastor, city official had ongoing delinquent taxes

by Neal McNamara
Maxwell said that the transfer should have been done a long time ago. He said that the transfer “had nothing to do” with the fact that news broke last Wednesday that Charles Moore, the treasurer of Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero’s gubernatorial campaign, owes $91,000 in property taxes.
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Wednesday, March 24,2010

Partially paid

Company that owns downtown Lansing office building pays some back taxes

by Neal McNamara
101 S. Washington Sq. Development LLC paid off $184,380.07 in 2007 taxes and $68,569.93 in late fees on Friday for the office building at 101 S. Washington Square, on the southeast corner of Washington and Michigan Avenue, Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing said.
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Wednesday, March 17,2010

Skate shop

City agency applies for grant for downtown skating rink

by Neal McNamara
The Lansing Tax Increment Finance Authority has applied for a $100,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to build a year-round rink, which would be partially covered. The remaining $400,000 would come from revenues from the TIFA. The TIFA captures taxes in the district and reserves them for uses such as public improvements.
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Wednesday, March 17,2010

Get paid

Why such a tiff over Lansing City Council members giving back some of their pay?

by Neal McNamara
Robinson is referring to an attempt at last week’s Council meeting by At-Large Councilman Brian Jeffries to put a nonbinding resolution on the agenda for each Council member to give up a portion of pay equivalent to how much city employees are losing to furlough days.
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Wednesday, March 17,2010

Virg Watch

A new poll shows Bernero still trailing Dillon, plus a few other endorsements

by Neal McNamara
Another week, another poll of the gubernatorial race. Bill Ballenger, publisher of Inside Michigan Politics,released an early snippet of a poll commissioned by Market Research Group thatshows Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero trailing Speaker of the House Andy Dillonamong likely — that is...
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Monday, March 15,2010

Shopping and skating

Grant could bring year-round skating rink to the Lansing City Market area

by Neal McNamara
A $500,000 ice rink near the new City Market may be in Lansing’s future.The Lansing Tax Increment Finance Authority has applied for a $100,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. to build a year-round rink, which would be partially covered. The remaining $400,000 would come from revenues from the TIFA. The TIFA captures taxes in the district and reserves them for uses such as infrastructure or public improvements. The TIFA board on March 5 approved the use of $400,000 for the rink.
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Wednesday, March 10,2010

Payoff date

Members of boards and commissions still owe taxes

by Neal McNamara
The Rev. Charles Bicy owes $373.25 in winter 2009 taxes on a home he is listed as owning at 501 S. Fairview Ave., according to Ingham County records. They were due to the city on Feb. 16 and turned over to the Ingham County Treasurer’s Office for collection on March 2.
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Wednesday, March 10,2010

Robot attack

Bernero attacked over education, labor issues

by Neal McNamara
At least one call went out on Friday around 4:30 p.m. and asked recipients to contact UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and ask him to not support Bernero for the Democratic nomination for governor. Rumors have circulated recently that Bernero will soon get the union’s endorsement.
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Wednesday, March 10,2010

Kids in the Hall

An aggregator of Lansing government happenings

by Neal McNamara
Dunbar said members needed more time to plan their budgets before they could give up the income. Jeffries said city employees didn’t have much time..
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Wednesday, March 10,2010

Virg Watch

This week: a new poll, and Virg celebrates Mardi Gras

by Neal McNamara
A new poll released today shows Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero trailing rival House Speaker Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, by just a hair at 11 percent to 13 percent — though the poll shows that 56 percent of those surveyed are undecided. State Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith, D-Ypsilanti, got...
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Monday, March 8,2010

Robo-calls attack Bernero

At least three calls since Friday hit Lansing mayor on labor issues

by Neal McNamara
A series of robo-calls have gone out in the past few days attacking Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero on his labor record.At least one call went out on Friday around 4:30 p.m. and asked recipients to contact UAW President Ron Gettelfinger and ask him to not support Bernero for the Democratic nomi...
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Wednesday, March 3,2010

Virg Watch

by Neal McNamara
Bernero did not reveal many details about the plan, but he did speak about a need to rework the state’s economic development tools, which he says are outdated. He also said that the state’s tax system needs to be more attractive to businesses.
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Wednesday, March 3,2010

Forfeiture

Tax foreclosure nears for some local properties

by Neal McNamara
Judgments were issued against 100 S. Washington Square, which is on the southwest corner of Washington and Michigan Avenue, and 211 S. Washington, a historic site that used to be the Michigan Theater. But on Friday, two days after the hearing, the taxes and penalties, totaling $262,604, were paid.
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Wednesday, February 24,2010

Schism?

Under the roof of Friendship Baptist Church, two congregations operate

by Neal McNamara
The Scripture was an apt description of what some members of the church are feeling. The congregation has split into two sides over the past several years, some supporting the church’s 27-year pastor, the Rev. Lester Stone, and others creating an almost entirely new church.
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Wednesday, February 24,2010

Tri-quality

Two major state LGBT groups to merge

by Neal McNamara
Alicia Skillman, executive director of the Detroit-based Triangle Foundation, said that the two groups have been in discussions about the merger since the beginning of last summer. Skillman said that the two groups’ missions are different, but complement each other, and their combination would in the end work toward a goal of equality.
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Wednesday, February 24,2010

Kids in the Hall

An aggregator of Lansing government happenings

by Neal McNamara
Wood and Jeffries are unsupportive of Robinson’s new Council meeting set up, and have been voting against resolving from regular meeting into CoW, though a vote has only come up on it once before. Robinson’s system moves CoW meetings from Thursday afternoons.
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Wednesday, February 24,2010

Virg Watch

by Neal McNamara
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero has touted that he visited with White House officials in Washington before his announcing a run for governor — but over the weekend, it was claimed by an unlikely entity that Bernero’s campaign would get the support of Barack Obama. The Michigan Repu...
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