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Wednesday, June 6,2012

The border

The Lansing Police Department's latest attempt to reduce crime in a jurisdictionally challenging corner of the city

by Andy Balaskovitz
It turned out to be 17-year-old Dennis Duane Gibbons Jr., who Tran said was attempting to break into the store from the roof. His point of access was the roof and the heating vent. Initial police reports said he died of exposure after he got stuck. Police at the time said it was unclear why Gibbons attempted to gain entry into the business.
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Wednesday, May 23,2012

With veto pen, bridges burn behind him

Distrust, accusations of thwarting the legislative and collective bargaining process sum up budget cycle 2012. Oh, and the city's finances are still grim.

by Andy Balaskovitz
As Mayor Virg Bernero delivered verbal blow after verbal blow to the City Council’s budget amendments Monday night, 1st Ward Councilwoman Jody Washington looked on in disbelief. And disappointment. With a little confusion on the side — as if to say: “Really?”
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Thursday, May 17,2012

Top-Tier Pay

After layoffs and declining revenue, Delta Dental is comfortable with its executive compensation. A former board member and a dentist who recently dropped his membership are not.

by Andy Balaskovitz
Three years ago, as Delta Dental of Michigan was laying off dozens of employees and losing big contracts with auto industry retirees, it was uncertain whether the nonprofit dental insurance company’s top officials would respond with pay cuts.
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Wednesday, May 16,2012

Theological conflict

Two prominent black ministers say same-sex marriage is a "civil right" but one that doesn't square with the Bible

by Andy Balaskovitz
“I think the president is to be commended. He did not allow his own Christian philosophy or theology to dominate his presidential responsibility,” said Bishop David Maxwell, head of Mayor Virg Bernero’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives.
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Wednesday, May 9,2012

Penny pinching

City Councilwoman Jody Washington promises to continue her no-votes on spending office-holder account funds, citing tough economic times.

by Andy Balaskovitz
But 1st Ward Councilwoman Jody Washington is changing that. Washington vows to “always vote no” whenever Council funding for local events, advertisements and the like come up — even in cases where the funding would cost less than $13 per member to sponsor.
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Wednesday, May 2,2012

Eyesore of the week

by Andy Balaskovitz
Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: This diminutive commercial building on the north fringe of Old Town is easy to dismiss as insignificant. But small commercial buildings, like this one, are one of the most endangered building types in our communities today.
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Wednesday, April 25,2012

'We need help. It's every day'

A grim season for a neighborhood of refugees in south Lansing who are the targets of ongoing vandalism, theft and physical intimidation. LPD: 'This is big as far as attention-wise right now.'

by Andy Balaskovitz
But since November, Bo and his family haven’t been sleeping due to a combination of fear and duty — they take turns staying up all night to keep intruders away. Several other neighbors in Summer Place report similar situations.
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Wednesday, April 18,2012

What's in a study?

Beneath the politics of consolidating Lansing police operations, a web of studies and planning

by Andy Balaskovitz
The study, which began in 2010, cost $175,000, Chad Gamble, the city’s chief operating officer, said. The administration has been sitting on preliminary data since at least December, before former Finance Director Jerry Ambrose left the city to work on the emergency manager team in Flint, said Kevin Feuka, business development manager at C2AE, the firm that conducted the study.
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Wednesday, April 18,2012

Eyesore of the week

by Andy Balaskovitz
The city stopped mowing certain areas of 14 parks throughout the city last year as part of that plan. The goal was to save money. But City Council members and concerned citizens warned the administration about unintended consequences. One was trash build-up in the long grass.
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Wednesday, April 11,2012

Financially 'prudent'

Bernero's plan to spend a portion of police millage money lacks Council support. He says consolidating police headquarters at the South Washington Office Complex won’t happen without it.

by Andy Balaskovitz
At issue is a relatively small piece of Mayor Virg Bernero’s fiscal year 2013 budget recommendation. He’s asking to use $193,900 in new millage revenue on renovations to a former armory on Washington Avenue that the administration plans to use as a new police headquarters.
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