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Wednesday, February 22,2012

Budget 'challenge'

Is it time to reopen the defined benefits/defined contributions debate as pension and retiree health care costs add to deficit? The Bernero administration says yes.

by Andy Balaskovitz
Randy Hannan, chief of staff for Mayor Virg Bernero, said while "time will tell" if the city’s pension and retiree health care systems are unsustainable, "everything is on the table" when asked about reconfiguring those systems to look more like the private sector.
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Wednesday, February 15,2012

Husband and wife

Why is the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigating Shannon Wiggins? Her husband's probation violation hearing may offer some clues.

by Andy Balaskovitz
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration executed a federal search warrant late last month at her eastside clinic. A spokesman for the federal agency could “neither confirm nor deny” that her second clinic on the north side and her Okemos home are also part of the investigation.
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Monday, February 13,2012

Recovering from the loss

Coping with the loss of a daughter, Lori Black opens up about the final hours of Shayla Johnson’s life and why she thinks the media haven’t accurately portrayed her family

by Andy Balaskovitz
“This is pretty much what my life has become,” Lori Black says while walking into the dining room of her west Lansing home. She’s carrying two stacks of paper. The first is about 3 1/2 inches thick with court hearing notifications. The second stack, of Lansing State Journal newspapers dating back to July 2010, is a little thicker.
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Wednesday, February 8,2012

Eyesore of the week

by Andy Balaskovitz
Property: 1020 Trowbridge Road, East Lansing Owner: CCPL Real Estate Group Assessed value: $286,000 Owner says: Could not be reached for comment Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: It is highly likely that this vacant building is the victim of low visibility.
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Thursday, February 2,2012

Foot-in-mouth disease

The mayor’s loose cannon strikes again, and other memorable Bernero blow-ups

by Andy Balaskovitz
“I was stunned,” Rossman-McKinney said Monday. “The way he specifically referred to Jim Nye in front of hundreds of people. You know our mayor. He gets pretty worked up — and he was really worked up about the thing. It was undignified and uncalled for.”
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Wednesday, January 25,2012

The gamble

Reconfiguring the Stadium District and how a pair of attorneys came to believe in bringing a casino to Lansing

by Andy Balaskovitz
Some legal experts dismiss the Lansing plan because of ongoing federal litigation between the Bay Mills Indian Community and the state in which the Bay Mills Community tried opening an off-reservation casino with money from its self-sufficiency fund. The case is before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Wednesday, January 18,2012

Long may you grow

The high-yielding business of indoor garden supply retailers

by Andy Balaskovitz
The year was 1989 and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had its sights set on a new enemy in the War on Drugs: indoor garden supply retailers.
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Wednesday, January 11,2012

What's next for Lansing Center?

On its 25th anniversary, questions about funding the Lansing Center. Mayor Bernero says the city's $800,000 subsidy is 'unsustainable.'

by Andy Balaskovitz
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero will help lead the invitation-only celebration Thursday night marking the 25th anniversary of the Lansing Center — while also contemplating a way of regionalizing the facility for budgetary reasons.
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Wednesday, January 4,2012

The 2012 Council

Electing Council leadership and anticipating another difficult budget process. Also, Bernero plans to run for re-election in 2013.

by Andy Balaskovitz
A new year for the Lansing City Council brings uncertainty over who will lead the legislative body, another set of budget challenges and a pledge from the mayor that he’s “optimistic” to work with the Council — and plans to run for re-election in 2013.
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Wednesday, December 28,2011

Past due

The top 10 property tax delinquents in Ingham County

by Andy Balaskovitz
The annual list of property tax delinquents in Ingham County keeps growing, but at a much less alarming rate than recent years. And the Ingham County treasurer is hesitantly hopeful that the amount of foreclosure activity is about to plateau.
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