News Highlights From the Last 7 Days

City Pulse News Rewind: New mascot coming to Okemos


New mascot coming to Okemos

A recommendation en route to trustees at Okemos Public Schools suggests replacing the district’s longtime “Chief” and “Chieftain” mascot with a more culturally sensitive replacement of “Wolves.” The final decision is set to be made next month.

Missing teen found dead in river

Authorities have identified a body that was found in the Red Cedar River as Brendan Santo, an 18-year-old Grand Valley State University student who was reported missing after a visit to Michigan State University in October. Cops credited a private investigator with finding his body.

General Motors picks Lansing

After weeks of government officials courting corporate executives with various tax incentives, General Motors formally announced plans to build a $2.6 billion electric vehicle battery plant near the existing Delta Township assembly plant, which is estimated to create about 1,700 new jobs over the next five years as the single largest development project in the city’s history.

Morgan plots return to County Commission

Former Ingham County Commissioner Thomas Morgan is officially staging a comeback tour after filing this week to run for a newly created seat on the Board of Commissioners. Morgan is the only candidate to have filed so far to run for the 7th District, which under recently redrawn district maps includes a chunk of Lansing that was once in the county’s 10th District. His campaign has already picked up several key endorsements (including from local politicians and labor unions) and in the last week of December alone raised more than $27,000 in donations.

Businessman backs off parking lot plans

Following recent neighborhood complaints and some news coverage in City Pulse, Farmington Hills businessman Aaron Williams has tapped the brakes on his plans to build a large parking lot on the edge of the Genesee Neighborhood at 611 N. Butler St. Williams told City Pulse that he’s willing to consider giving away the land to be developed into a community garden.


Eaton County to allow ORVs on backroads

A proposed county ordinance could enable off-road vehicles to legally drive on several dozen Eaton County streets, mostly on backcountry, rural roadways. Still, the idea has generated some criticism from Lansing Mayor Andy Schor, who is worried that the proposal could lead to even more problems with ATVs and dirt bikes illegally cruising through neighborhood streets.


Lansing to sell land for ‘affordable’ housing

A Massachusetts-based real estate development company offered $200,000 to buy a vacant 2-acre parcel owned by the city on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Hillsdale Street. Early plans call for a multi-level apartment building with a variety of housing options that have been deemed “affordable” by city officials. Tax incentives will be sought.


Developers plan food truck bar in REO Town

Contractors plan to begin renovations this summer on a historic building in REO Town, transforming an aging gas station on Washington Avenue into a full-service bar that may eventually be surrounded by a rotating lineup of food trucks. Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant considered opening another location there, but it sold the property to developers for $185,000. The developers are also seeking a 12-year freeze on property taxes to get the project started.


Schor hires new chief of staff

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor hired Jane Bais DiSessa to serve as his chief of staff following the resignation of Deputy Mayor Nicholas Tate. Bais DiSessa brings more than 40 years of local government experience to the job, including most recently having served as a deputy mayor in Pontiac and as a city manager in both Berkley, Michigan, and Brighton, Colorado.

Judge tosses anti-masker’s lawsuit

A Clinton County judge dismissed a lawsuit that was filed last year against Dewitt Public Schools by Adam Holland, the father of two students who decided to sue the district last year over a policy that required students, staff and visitors to wear masks while in school buildings. Holland argued that the superintendent lacked the authority to issue the mandate. District officials, a local judge, and hundreds of years of established case law decided otherwise.

Rent assistance arrives in Lansing

The City Council voted to accept $10.3 million in state grant funding that must be spent by April on covering rent for local tenants adversely affected by the pandemic. In partnership with Ingham County, the city partners with other agencies — like Advent House and the Capital Area Housing Partnership — to distribute the grants locally. Visit for details.


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