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News highlights from the last 7 days: June 15, 2022

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Young riders cut the ribbon and lead the first mountain bikers into Dirt School at Burchfield Park in Holt Monday. The new $230,000 training facility provides free bikes and helmets to learners so they can then enjoy the 11 miles of mountain bike opportunities. Find out more at dirtschool.fun. 

Schor eyes $175 million public safety bond issue 

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor is seeking approval from the Lansing City Council to put a $175 million bond proposal on the Nov. 8 ballot to build a public safety building. Schor shared the plan Monday with Council members. It would house fire administration, Lansing Police, a new lock up and a new home for the 54-A District Court. The new building, as well as upgrades to various firehouses in the city, would be funded by a 3.9 mil tax increase. Where the new facility might be located remains unknown. Mayoral spokesperson Scott Bean said it’s too early to determine a site until the full needs for such a building are identified and a rough square-foot estimate drawn up. The request could change as the city digs deeper into the financing and needs, he said. The Monday night pitch session was to gauge Council support. Bean said no initial concerns were expressed.  

Council moves COVID relief funding plan 

The Lansing City Council Ways and Means Committee unanimously approved a $24 million budget distribution for the second payout in federal COVID-19 relief dollars. The Council plan veers sharply from the mayor’s plan, directing more cash into city resources such as fire trucks and vehicle fleet updates and less into grants for organizations, as the mayor sought. The proposal moves to the full Council in two weeks, but it may not pass until later in July when the entire Council is present.  

Neogen plans food safetyfacility 

The city of Lansing announced plans by the Neogen Corp. to build a $70 million food safety testing facility on East Shiawassee Street on property the company already owns. If the project is approved, it is expected to create 60 to 100 full-time jobs. Construction could start as soon as late this summer or early this fall and is expected to take 12 to 14 months to complete. Neogen is celebrating its 40th anniversary. It develops and markets testing kits for food safety for humans and companion animals as well as an array of animal specific medical items. 

Felons on city commissions and boards? 

The Lansing City Council unanimously approved putting a proposed amendment to the City Charter on the November ballot that would allow convicted felons the opportunity to apply for and serve on city commissions and boards, which is currently barred. Mayor Andy Schor sent the proposal to the Council last month. “People can make mistakes, then rehabilitate and become productive members of society,” Schor said. 

Bomb deal for Charlotte man 

Chad Michael Varrone, 39, of Charlotte, pleaded guilty to making a false bomb threat to the state Capitol on Jan. 7, 2021, in exchange for having two felony charges of making terroristic threats dropped. One dropped charge alleged Varrone left a voicemail threatening to kill Detroit lawmaker Cynthia A. Johnson, a Democrat. Johnson over the weekend said she was not consulted about the deal and called it a “slap on the wrist” for the “white defendant,” noting that such pleas are rarely offered by white prosecutors to people of color accused of crimes. 

GR officer charged in Lyoya death 

Grand Rapids Police Department Officer Christopher Schurr has been charged with second-degree murder in the shooting death of Patrick Lyova, a Black immigrant whose father, Patrick Lyoya, is a Lansing resident. Video shows Schurr was on Lyoya’s back directing him to stop trying to grab his taser before he pulled his service weapon and shot Lyoya in the back of the head. “The death was not justified or excused, for example, by self-defense,” Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker said. Supporters of Lyoya rallied outside the courthouse Monday demanding a conviction. 

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